Donald J Trump and Hillary R. Clinton at Alfred E. Smith Charity Dinner in NYC

October 21, 2016

Donald J. Trump and Hillary R. Clinton at The ( Governor) Alfred E Smith Memorial Dinner (10/20/2016), New York City

Image result for Hillary and Donald in New York Charity Dinner

Watch and decide  what you think. I am of the view that both Presidential candidates lacked sense of humour. They could not put their bitter rivalry behind them even for this charitable dinner at The Waldorf Astoria, Park Avenue, New York City. It was all politics. However, Hillary’s message of unity resonates with me since this election season has been the most divisive ever in American politics.  I wish American voters all the best as they go to the polls on November 8, 2016 and elect the new POTUS.–Din Merican

Do not challenge our ‘special rights’, Khairy tells non-Malays

November 26, 2013

Do not challenge our ‘special rights’, Khairy tells non-Malays

najib-dan-khairy-Non-Malays should never again dispute the special rights of the Malays and the position of the rulers, Khairy Jamaluddin said today, adding that Malays themselves never questioned vernacular schools and the citizenship of non-Malays.

The UMNO Youth Chief said in his policy speech at the party’s general assembly that the Malays had “accepted and they had never questioned” the social contract they agreed upon during the formation of Malaysia.

“If the Malays can accept it by not raising the matter of citizenship and acknowledging that we cannot shut down vernacular schools, why are there those among non-Malays who refuse to honour what they have previously agreed upon? Why are there those who ask for the Malay special privileges to be stopped, those who dispute the position of the Malay rulers and even those who cannot speak a word of the national language? If the Malay people are steadfast in their principles of upholding the agreement, we want to demand that they uphold their end of the bargain. Never again dispute what has been agreed upon,” said Khairy.

imageKhairy said it was a huge sacrifice for the Malays to allow other races to be a part of the country, so non-Malays must keep their end of the bargain and not question Malay rights.

“The demography of the nation changed drastically when the Malays opened the doors of the land to other races to build the nation together. We cannot imagine how big a sacrifice this is.So great were the sacrifices of the Malay people, and all that we ask in return is for the non-Malays to accept several of those matters which I just brought up as the other end of the bargain”, he added.

Khairy also defended the existence of vernacular schools, saying that they were allowed as part of the “status quo” which had “existed pre-Independence, and which will continue to exist”.

Despite Khairy’s statement, some UMNO grassroots leaders have in the past few months demanded that Chinese and Indian schools be shut down for the sake of national unity.

Last Sunday, a coalition of 58 Malay-rights groups repeated the call, and even urged Putrajaya to silence “radical” education organisations like Dong Zhong with the threat of de-registration.

Khairy conceded today that there were “fringe voices” questioning the existence of vernacular schools, but stressed that the UMNO leadership has long accepted the current education system.

“It is already forged in the laws of the land and not even the Minister of Education can change the fate of the vernacular schools.If we do not want to bring up these matters of the things that have been given, do not question the special rights and privileges of the natives,” he said. – November 26, 2014.

A Message to Khairy and his Cohorts from Tariq Ismail

Read this:

Tariq Ismail is the grandson of the late former Deputy Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Ismail Abdul Rahman. He is from Aura Merdeka – Ikatan Sejagat (AMIS) group on Facebook.  Tariq was brought up by the grandfather and his late wife, Toh Puan Norashikin, and is related to PM Najib and Home Affairs Minister, Hishamuddin Hussein. He has something to say about UMNO-Baru (below). 

And I wonder why this diversion from Khairy Jamaluddin, the UMNO Youth Leader. The real issue is endemic corruption and UMNO Baru’s politics of patronage, race and religion, which Khairy chose not to mention. The Special Position of the Malays and Sovereignty of our Malay Rulers was never an issue. UMNO  Baru played this card because it is under seige.Unless there is a serious attempt at reform, it will be a rough road ahead for the party.–Din Merican

Here is why from Tariq Ismail.

Malaysia for Malaysians without bigotry or intolerance.

“MY FAMILY is all UMNO and I was raised in the UMNO mould. However, myTariq Ismail family had instilled into me a sense of Bushido, which included passion and fair play. Always uphold your religion as it is a personal matter and treat others with equality.

I had tried to join UMNO in 2002 with my grandmother pulling my ears after she found the application form and her words were – I raised you and over my dead body will you join the very party that will eat you inside. Moreover, in 15 years time you will be part of a machine that your very soul will diminish.

In 2008, I did try to join UMNO because I thought the wind of change that were apparently blowing then would lead the party to progress. However, no cawangan in Johor or KL would accept me. I scouted around from one UMNO division to another with no result. The Special Branch spooks that looked after Southern Johor told me UMNO will never accept a true blue blood like me.

Just before my grandmother passed away in 2010, she made me promise her to never join the party. I never understood why until I received a call from Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim (DSAI) to lead the Johor siege in 2013. I refused DSAI ‘s request for me to join as I knew I would be a scapegoat if PR had lost.

I still have an affinity with UMNO, but the pragmatic and secular UMNO of old, in which they worked together with all races to ensure this nation was prosperous and united in spirit via tolerance, compassion and recognising and accepting each other’s diversity.

Today’s UMNO is a cesspool of bigoted nouveau riche that has split the Malays and encourage the Malay siege mentality. Mahathir gave the Malays a cosmetic makeover but over looked the Malay inner soul. The Malay soul is lost. Will it be recovered? Yes. Will it be from UMNO…No!

Would I support Anwar Ibrahim to be Prime Minister? No, as he was part of that UMNO Baru sheananigans. However, if DSAI were to retire and promise the public that he will not fight for “justice” and the PM seat, and if Azmin were to take the lead, I may consider joining PKR.

My strategy is such that I shall follow the winds, and forecast the tide. The ship will be steered in one direction – a Malaysia for Malaysians without bigotry or intolerance. A first step is AMIS. Show that a united Malaysian movement of social moderates can steer the nation without playing into anyone’s cards.”–Tariq Ismail

Fund for Kassim Ahmad and Other Persecuted Activists

October 16, 2014

Legal Fund for Kassim Ahmad and Other Persecuted Activists

Greetings from George Town, Penang

Kassim Ahmad

Defending oneself against persecutors in Government service is a very expensive undertaking. Those persecutors can rely on the resources of the state and have no worry about where to obtain money to defray legal costs and related fees. They will get the money from the Treasury.

People like Kassim Ahmad who is no longer working and other activistsAdam Adli and Hishamuddin Rais are under enormous pressure when they have to defend themselves against the oppressive power of the state and its agents. There is no legal aid for them.Kassim Ahmad is fortunate since he has the services of   my competent lawyer friend Rosli Dahlan, but he must still bear legal fees defending himself in our court, and in his case the Shariah Court.

Azmi Sharom 3Some friends have suggested to me some time ago that a special fund should be created to help individuals like Kassim Ahmad, Hishamuddin Rais, Azmi Sharom, Adam Adli, and others who are charged under the Sedition Act to fight their cases. I was reluctant to do so because funding involves asking money from members of the public. Of late, I was persuaded  because these brave people do need our help.

So I am making appeal to all Malaysians who are prepared of their own free will to make a minimum donation of RM10 each for a worthy cause. Please send your contribution to a special account  at Maybank Berhad.

The account number is 514011895152.

Please give generously. We must do our bit to fight oppression and persecution and defend freedom and justice.  I am asking you to sacrifice a cup of coffee at Starbucks and that should not be hard to do. Thank you.–Din Merican

After 56 Years: Race and Religion polarised Us

August 31, 2013

After 56 Years: Race and Religion polarised Us

by Tommy Thomas@

COMMENT: The social contract, social compact or bargain reached by the TommyThomas02three communities under the watchful eye of the British imperial power as a condition to Merdeka was that in exchange for full citizenship, a right to use their language and observe their religion, the non-Malays had to concede special privileges to the Malays to assist the latter to ascend the economic ladder.

It was a quid pro quo. It was a consensus arrived after hard bargaining, and has formed the basis of nationhood. In this equilibrium, the non-Malays were not to be relegated to second-class citizens: citizenship was not on a two-tier basis and there was going to be no apartheid, partition or repatriation.

What was required from the non-Malays at the time of Merdeka was undivided loyalty to the new nation. They could no longer owe their allegiance to the mother country, China or India. Racial differences were recognised. Diversity was encouraged. There was no pressure to integrate into one Malayan race.

A new nation was to be integrated over time, but as a plural society. Assimilation was out of the question. Thus, a united Malayan nation did not involve the sacrifice by any community of its religion, culture or customs. Minorities were not to be discriminated in a system of parliamentary democracy based on constitutional supremacy. In many respects, the establishment of Malaysia six years after Merdeka strengthened the social contract.


But as Malaya completes 56 years as an independent sovereign nation today, and more significantly, Malaysia turns half a century on September 16, do the 28 million Malaysians have reason to celebrate? Unfortunately, the popular response would be very much in the negative.

Race and Religion

The twin forces of race and religion have substantially polarised the nation. Every issue of public life, however minor or insignificant, is given an ethnic undertone by politicians and the civil service, and glaringly publicised in the government-controlled mass media. Totally absent in the national landscape is a statesman like the Father of Merdeka, Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first prime minister, who is prepared to speak for the nation and the public weal, rather than from a parochial or sectarian perspective.

Even after the closest general election in our history, with the coalition governing the nation not enjoying majority popular vote, and with the next general election only due in five years, politicking of the worst kind continues daily.

mole-Najib-Razak-endless-possibilities-1MalaysiaThe Prime Minister is not giving the leadership that he sought from the electorate, and which he received. With a 44-seat majority in the Dewan Rakyat, the BN government has a majority which is the envy of many governing coalitions across the globe. Yet, a sense of paralysis grips the centre.

Bread-and-butter issues which largely featured in the election campaign of four months ago, have still not been addressed at all. Not a day goes by without murders, rapes and armed robberies occurring in our homes and our streets. Rampant crime has undermined law and order.

The economy has been shaken by mounting debt; not just the national debt, but also consumer and corporate debt. Comparisons have already been made to the run-up to our 1997 financial crisis which was principally caused by a proliferation of debt.

Thousands of Malaysian companies and nationals speak with their wallets; they just take their money overseas in billions. Our currency has received a battering in the last month, resulting in speculation that Bank Negara may have to intervene to prevent further depreciation of the ringgit.

Merdeka Pic

Bread-and-butter issues, as important as they are to the average Malaysian, still pale in comparison with the massive increase in ethnic tensions. What is the point of Talent Corporation spending hundreds of millions of taxpayers monies in an endeavour to attract Malaysians to return home when racial polarisation is on the increase in their nation.

Thousands of non-Malays have done brilliantly in businesses, professions and other private sector areas in Malaysia. They have flourished regionally and internationally in every society that values meritocracy. Hence there is a huge pool of talented non-Malays willing to be engaged in the public service.

Yet in their homeland, the civil service, the GLCs (government-linked companies), the universities, the army, the police – indeed senior positions in the entire public sector – are dominated by one race. How does one justify such massive hiring of personnel from one race to manage national institutions where national policies are made in a nation of multiple communities that claims there are no classes of citizenship or nationality.

Grand coalition

It is accordingly critical in the public interest that politicians of all parties cease polarising the nation any further. All Malaysians must be treated with sensitivity and delicately. Feelings of communities, however weak and influential, must not be hurt. Hate speech must be avoided at all costs. The government must take the lead, after all the whole purpose of electing leaders is for them to lead the nation.

They must cease immediately playing the racial, religious and ethnic card, and take policy decisions that would promote a plural society. If all these actions can only be taken by a government of national unity, that is, a grand coalition of BN and Pakatan Rakyat parties, the national interest compels such an urgent outcome.

There is a genuine widespread concern that we must all play our part in rolling back the loud public discourse on race and religion. This is an awakening call. Unless remedial measures are taken soon, young Malaysians who have the world at their feet, will desert the nation because they feel they have no place under the Malaysian sun.

They are our future, but they see no future at home. That is the tragedy that must be avoided this 56th Merdeka, and this 50th Malaysia Day.

Counterbalance Policy on US-China Relations

July 10, 2013

Counterbalance Policy on US-China Relations

Robert A. Manning, Atlantic Councilby Robert A. Manning, Atlantic Council (07-09-13)

A widely held belief among many in China is that every US policy move affecting China is part of a concerted strategy of containment aimed at preventing China’s re-emergence.

Thus, the US ‘rebalancing’ in Asia; the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP); and the US alliances with Japan, the ROK and Australia, are all components of a US effort to maintain US dominance at China’s expense.

This view is wrong. Containment was US policy toward the former Soviet Union during the Cold War. The USSR was a rival ideology, a competing anti-capitalist economic system aimed at expanding the Soviet empire. Indeed, fear of Soviet hegemony was a major factor that led President Nixon and Chairman Mao to open US–China relations in 1971.

Containment was an effort to isolate Moscow economically; undermine its ideology; and contain its military power with a robust US nuclear arsenal, alliances such as NATO to its West and Japan to its East, and an integrated global trade and financial system. Containment meant minimal social or economic interaction with Russians.

The United States also pursued such a policy toward Iraq under Saddam Hussein and toward Iran known as ‘dual containment’. This meant economic sanctions and, in the case of Iraq, a no-fly zone limiting Saddam’s ability to control Iraq outside Baghdad.

This is decidedly not US policy toward China. Eight US Presidents from Nixon to Obama have pursued a policy of facilitating China’s economic modernisation and integration into the international system. The United States has pursued a consistent policy of cooperating with China where interests overlap and seeking to manage differences.

Nixon and MaoZhou EnLai, Chairman Mao, Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger

No country has benefited more than China from the security role that the United States has played in East Asia, underpinning stability and economic globalisation over the past four decades. As China launched its reform and opening policies, its economy grew from some US$202 billion in 1980 to roughly US$7 trillion by 2012, as it joined global institutions from the WTO to the IAEA.

The United States became China’s largest trading partner, with bilateral trade in 2012 reaching US$536 billion. US investment has helped fuel China’s astonishing economic growth over the past three decades, and China holds more than $1 trillion in US treasury bonds. Cultural ties have also grown: some 200,000 students — including the daughter of President Xi Jinping — attend US universities.

This reflects an economic relationship of deep interdependence. This is also why the TPP is not a device to contain China but rather a means of furthering economic integration in the Asia Pacific. Though the Obama administration has not explained it well, China could decide to join the TPP if and when it is willing to adopt the agreement’s trade rules. As China’s new leadership pursues a new wave of economic reforms, Beijing will likely find that better protections for its intellectual property rights and other standards serve its interests.

As China has developed its increasingly sophisticated military capabilities, Washington has also pursued a geopolitical posture of hedging against strategic uncertainty. So too has China. This duality of economic integration and strategic competition is the prevalent geopolitical reality in the Asia Pacific. It is why nations from India to Vietnam have increased security cooperation with the United States and, increasingly, with each other.

This is counterbalancing, a time-honoured approach to the game ofPresidents of China and US nations, and not to be confused with containment. Long before the US ‘rebalancing’ was proclaimed, the United States has been strengthening alliances and security partnerships in East Asia for over two decades. The current US posture is the accumulation of those efforts.

Counterbalancing means mobilising resources and partners to offset a perceived challenge to the existing strategic balance. The danger is that this can create a dynamic known as a ‘security dilemma’ in international relations theory. One state increasing its military strength because it feels vulnerable may produce an unintended reaction in another state which feels threatened, leading to a spiral of increased tensions and conflict.

This is evident in US–China relations. The US ‘rebalance’ reflects a response to a growing Chinese military power, a concern that a longtime core US interest — maritime access — may be at risk. And as prominent strategic thinker Dr Wu Xinbo of Fudan University has written, ‘China has responded by continuing to develop its “area-denial” and “anti-access” capabilities so as to maintain a reliable deterrent against US forces within the so-called first island chain’. From the US perspective, this may have cause and effect backwards, but it captures the action–reaction dynamic at play.

This Pentagon–PLA mirror-imaging and reflexive competition lies behind the strategic distrust in US–China relations. It is also why Presidents Obama and Xi agreed on the need to create a new type of relationship at the recent US–China Summit in California.

The challenge to the US–China relationship, and more broadly to stability in East Asia, is how to move from strategic distrust to strategic reassurance. The reality is that mutual vulnerabilities, from economic and financial to cyberspace, outer space and climate change, are shared interests. At the end of the day, whether US–China relations become more cooperative or competitive will be a major factor shaping the international order in the 21st century.

Robert A. Manning is a senior fellow of the Brent Scowcroft Center for International Security at the Atlantic Council. He served as a senior counselor from 2001 to 2004 and a member of the US Department of State Policy Planning Staff from 2004 to 2008.

Dissolution of Parliament Tomorrow (April 3, 2013)?

April 2, 2013

Dissolution of Parliament Tomorrow (April 3, 2013)?

STRONG HINT: Ministers told to prepare for photo session before Cabinet meeting

Parliament is expected to be dissolved as early as tomorrow after the Cabinet Malaysian Parliamentmeeting in Putrajaya, paving the way for the 13th general election.Speculation is mounting following the distribution of letters by the Prime Minister’s Office, requesting all Cabinet Ministers to attend the meeting in a dark lounge suit and red tie for a photography session.

If Parliament is dissolved tomorrow, nomination of candidates is likely to be held later next week, while polling day will fall on April 27 at the latest.

According to practice, the cabinet ministers will have a photo session with the Prime Minister and his Deputy at the final meeting of the cabinet, followed by an announcement on the dissolution of Parliament afterwards.

Najib-Op DaulatIt is understood that the photo session would be done before tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting and Datuk Seri Najib Razak would subsequently hold a press conference to announce the dissolution of Parliament.

Tradition dictates that the Prime Minister will first meet the Yang di-Pertuan Agong before the cabinet meeting to seek his consent to dissolve Parliament.

Several ministers contacted confirmed that they have received the letters, and did not discount the possibility that Najib would announce Parliament’s dissolution after the meeting.

“I have received the letter. This could well be the final cabinet meeting for this term, as according to tradition, Parliament is dissolved after that,” said one Minister.

If Parliament is dissolved tomorrow, it would mark a full four years to the date Najib first helmed the country after he was appointed as Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s successor in 2009.

The government’s full five-year term will end on April 30, after which Abdul-Aziz-Mohd-Yusof-Wan-Ahmad-Wan-OmarParliament will automatically dissolve.The Election Commission (EC) will then have 60 days to hold the election to set up a new government.

Last Thursday, the Negri Sembilan state legislative assembly was the first to automatically dissolve. It is now governed by a caretaker government.

Deputy EC chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said if Parliament is dissolved tomorrow, the EC would call for a special meeting as soon as possible to decide on basic matters such as the electoral roll, letters of appointment to election officers, as well as the dates for the nomination of candidates and polling day.