Marina roasts Lim Kok Wing over his tweet in support of Mahathir

December 29,2018

Marina roasts Lim Kok Wing over his tweet in support of Mahathir


PETALING JAYA: Vocal activist Marina Mahathir today rebuked Lim Kok Wing over his tweet supporting Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, after previously telling the senior politician to “shut up to protect his legacy”.

The renowned educationist had today tweeted that Mahathir was “absolutely right in saying that we just need to set our hearts and minds on achieving greater goals to be a great nation”, tagging Mahathir, Education Minister Maszlee Malik and Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman in the tweet.

In a reply two hours later, Marina, who is Mahathir’s daughter, called on Lim to stop what he was doing in buttering up the prime minister.


Do stop it @limkokwing! Where were you last year? Who was it who told Dad to shut up to ‘preserve his legacy’?

“The point is, would he have (apologised) if we hadn’t won GE14? Hmmmm?” she asked in her tweet.

Lim had, in May 2015, been appointed as Najib’s public relations campaign coordinator.

His appointment, believed to be to help burnish Najib’s image, was announced amid the 1MDB scandal, which had put Najib under the spotlight for alleged corruption.

Mahathir had, in a blog post without mentioning names, said a friend had attempted to persuade him to cease criticising Najib. He blogged that the friend had warned that if he continued doing so, he would lose his legacy.

Marina Mahathir, who is Mahathir’s daughter, calls on Lim Kok Wing to stop what he is doing in buttering up the Prime Minister.

PETALING JAYA: Vocal activist Marina Mahathir today rebuked Lim Kok Wing over his tweet supporting Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, after previously telling the senior politician to “shut up to protect his legacy”.

The renowned Bodekist had today tweeted that Mahathir was “absolutely right in saying that we just need to set our hearts and minds on achieving greater goals to be a great nation”, tagging Mahathir, Education Minister Maszlee Malik and Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman in the tweet.

In a reply two hours later, Marina, who is Mahathir’s daughter, called on Lim to stop what he was doing in buttering up the prime minister.

“Do stop it @limkokwing! Where were you last year? Who was it who told Dad to shut up to ‘preserve his legacy.

’If PH hadn’t won, would you have snuck into our house uninvited at Raya to apologise? Just stop it,” she tweeted using her handle @netraKL.

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A Twitter user @jonathanfun then pointed out that most businessmen had “behaved the same way” under former Prime Minister Najib Razak’s term in office and then switched sides after Barisan Nasional fell, citing the case of AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes.

Marina replied the tweet by saying that Lim was “one of the worst”, and that she “couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw him skulking about our kitchen… #cantstandbullshit”.

“Tbelieved to be to help burnish Najib’s image, was announced amid the 1MDB scandal, which had put Najib under the spotlight for alleged corruption.

Mahathir had, in a blog post without mentioning names, said a friend had attempted to persuade him to cease criticizing Najib. He blogged that the friend had warned that if he continued doing so, he would lose his legacy.


And the Malaysian of the Year 2018 is TUN Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamad

December 25, 2018

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Congrats. A lot is expected of you, Mr. Prime Minister, Sir. In the Winter of your epochal years, destiny beckons once again that you act with conviction. Having made history, now you have nothing to lose. You have come a long way, undertaken countless journeys, been around the  world.  Dari Seberang Perak, Alor Setar, Kedah ka perusuk  Dunia. What an incredible Odyssey.  –Din Merican

And the Malaysian of the Year 2018 is TUN Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamad

by A. Kathirasen


To say 2018 has been a momentous year would be an understatement.

As we come to the closing days of the year, we know that we have lived in, and experienced, one of the seminal, defining years in Malaysian history.

It was the year of many firsts, especially in politics: A former Prime Minister became Prime Minister for the second time; at 93, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad also became the oldest Prime Minister in the world; another former Prime Minister faced criminal charges; and a woman became Deputy Prime Minister.

Also, the unstoppable Barisan Nasional (BN) was thrown out by an electorate seeking changes; UMNO, MCA and MIC which had formed the government since the first general election in 1955, found themselves on the opposition bench; the DAP, which had been in the opposition since its founding in 1965, suddenly found itself in government; several top civil servants – including the Attorney-General, Chief Secretary to the Government,  the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Chief, the Chief Justice and the Treasury Secretary-General, were eased out or resigned; and while the Pakatan Harapan (PH) won control of the Dewan Rakyat, the BN retained control of the Dewan Negara.


Who among the main players in this dramatic change has had the biggest impact on the nation’s direction in 2018? Is it Dr. Mahathir, former Prime Minister Najib Razak, or PKR supremo and former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim?

Is it Lim Guan Eng who became the first Chinese Finance Minister after Tun H.S.Lee, and Tun Tan Siew Sin  in 44 years? Is it his father Lim Kit Siang – a man who has gone through hellish situations, survived the turbulence of politics, and when his party,  as a PH partner, finally formed the government, decided not to be a minister?  Or is it P Waytha Moorthy, a rebel who led Hindraf to fight the Indian cause and who briefly fled the country to avoid possible arrest but is now a minister shouldering responsibility for the improvement of the Indian community?

What about Attorney-General Tommy Thomas who has unflinchingly gone after suspected wrongdoers and is working to improve the legal system? What about Bersih 2.0 which has played a pivotal role in waking Malaysians to their rights, galvanising them into action and taking on the might of the previous government to ensure free and fair elections?

Is it the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission that is relentlessly pursuing the corrupt after May 9? Or is it the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal that rocked the nation and led to probes in several countries, bringing in its wake unwanted and ugly attention to Malaysia?

Let’s take a look at Najib. Like his father Razak Hussein, Najib served as Prime Minister and UMNO President. In 2009 he became Prime Minister and was going strong until the winds of change swept him out of office and into the court of law. He is the first former Prime Minister to be charged for criminal offences – in this case graft and money-laundering linked to 1MDB, which he set up.

In 1973, the father persuaded several opposition parties to join the Alliance and form the BN; in 2018, the son watched as the BN splintered and returned to the Alliance position with the three original partners – UMNO, MCA and MIC – largely due to his failures.

There is no gain saying the fact that 1MDB was a major reason for the fall of the BN. Although the 1MDB saga had been around since DAP leader Tony Pua raised it in 2010, it did not gain attention until 2014. However, Najib’s government managed to keep it under control by several clever moves, including replacing Attorney-General Gani Patail with Mohamed Apandi Ali. The mainstream media buried news of 1MDB and only some news portals and The Edge Weekly carried criticism of the Finance Ministry-owned investment fund. But when Dr. Mahathir entered the fray to openly oppose Najib and formed PPBM, 1MDB became a potent weapon.

What about Anwar, the Prime Minister-in-waiting, for Malaysian of the Year?  The charismatic politician is back in action, holding the attention of his audience with his oratorical skills which he massages to suit the audience. He was jailed, a second time, on a charge of sodomy by the Najib administration but received a full pardon from the King after PH won the election. Even while in prison twice and even when he did not have power or money to offer his followers, his charisma, and a band of loyalists, kept his party, PKR, going. Today, PKR is the party with the largest number of parliamentarians. What a victory. It speaks well of his political canniness.

The DAP deserves to be considered for the title, too, because from a rank outsider, from a party whose leaders and members never really thought it would be able to form the government, it is today in a position to influence national policy. Despite all the years of suffering under a BN regime that was out to paint it as chauvinistic and anti-Malay, despite all the years of harassment by government agencies, it not only survived, it triumphed in 2018. Its perseverance, one-pointedness and organisational ability has seen it rise above the odds.

And what can I say about Tun Dr. Mahathir that hasn’t already been said? He is the comeback politician par excellence. At an age when most people would prefer to stay at home and spend time with great-grandchildren, he is again directing the course of the nation.

He could have retired as Prime Minister and enjoyed the pensions and perks that come with it. But he didn’t. He felt the country was heading in a perilous wrong direction and that he was needed to fix it. When he formed PPBM and joined the PH alliance of PKR, DAP and Amanah, the voting public felt the nation needed him.

By leading the PH to victory he has changed the course of the nation. His motley coalition of parties unseated the Barisan Nasional behemoth which had been in power since Independence in 1957, first as the Alliance and later as the BN.

He has shown that even bitter enemies can work together for a common goal. Three years ago, who would have believed that Dr. Mahathir would work hand in hand with Anwar, the former Deputy Prime Minister whom his administration jailed? Who would have believed that he could work with the DAP, which he had excoriated all his political life until 2017, especially its leader Lim Kit Siang, whom his administration also jailed at one time?

In the aftermath of the May 9 general election victory, he successfully maneuvered the splintering of the BN coalition. Not only did he remove the threat of the BN’s fixed vote deposits of Sarawak and Sabah but also turned them around into supporting his administration. And he brought to heel the once mighty UMNO, the party he helmed for more than 20 years.

There is generally greater confidence among people of a better future, although lately this has been waning. There is greater democratic space and a concerted effort to root out corruption.

While some older Malaysian’s are still skeptical about him, given the slide in democratic practices during his first stint as prime minister, many younger people see him as the only leader capable of bringing about a New Malaysia which practices greater democracy.

I find the pace at which he is going simply amazing. The oldest Prime Minister in the world has become an example not just for Malaysians to emulate but the world to follow. His sheer willpower and determination is unbelievable, and puts to shame many people decades younger.

As I look back, I can see that all the above are worthy of being named Malaysian of the Year, with Dr Mahathir topping the list by a long chalk.

However, there is someone else who has to be considered too. I am talking about you. Yes, you, the Malaysian voter.

Malaysian voters struggled against impediments stacked by the machinations of the BN. Many NGOs and individuals called out the Election Commission for favouring the BN, especially in its electoral boundary redelineation exercise and imposition of certain rules to frustrate the opposition, which it denied. The services of several top civil servants and agencies were used by the BN to deny an opposition victory. Also employed was the usual scare tactic of racial riots if the BN were to lose.

Voters wanted change: a more democratic society where they could express themselves without fear of being detained or harassed; a more Malaysian government that would address the needs of all citizens; a clear  separation of powers between the Executive, Parliament and the Judiciary; and a nation where racial and religious issues would not be used by the elite to stay in power. They also wanted better living standards and better control on the cost of living.

A substantial number of voters decided that enough was enough. Aghast at the direction the nation was taking, they decided to put a brake on it; they decided to be agents of change. Picking up courage, they threw caution to the wind as they trooped to the polling booths and marked the most important X in their lives. And in the process altered the fate of the nation – and theirs too.

For the courage shown in overcoming complacency and fear, for becoming agents of change and giving notice to politicians that they are asserting their right for a say in the nation’s direction, and for showing that change is possible if people act in unison, the Malaysian Voter is the Malaysian of the Year for 2018.

A Kathirasen is executive editor at FMT

The views expressed by the writer do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.




Ode to the Unsung Heroes of GE-14–People of Malaysia

May 23, 2018

Ode to the Unsung Heroes of GE-14–People of Malaysia

By James Unsworth


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Her Departure from Seri Perdana, the Official Residence of the Malaysian Prime Minister, in itself is cause for  celebration

Now that we have the title, Change Was the Victory, perhaps this can be the narrative. Like any good narrative, there will be complications, plot twists and the like, but if the product is truly one Malaysia, one equal Malaysia, then that would be quite the book.

Recently, we all bore witness to a truly momentous and historic event. The momentous occurrence, was the change itself, the change in government. It is not that a band of saviours sailed ashore and a bright destiny was, or even will be, realised, it was merely that change was seen to be possible. It was that hope returned.

The change was the victory. From now on, whoever holds the reins will know that should they govern poorly, they will lose their jobs. They will be kept honest.

It is not the next band of political leaders that needs celebrating therefore, this victory belongs to the people, as the people did not vote for particular individuals, they voted for change, they voted for hope.

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This ballad therefore is not dedicated to the big names of the new government, it is for the smaller, less heard, but nonetheless effective actors, the everyday man, the everyday woman, who long ago spoke of ‘Malaysians’, long before 1Malaysia, those who spoke of equality, justice and transparency and saw political change as the first step towards this.

This ballad is dedicated to the quiet warriors, the quiet heroes, who, in Malcolm Gladwell’s terminology, were “the few”, the few who became the many, the many who spoke together last week. This ballad is to people like my wife: Gayatri Unsworth.

Since before I knew my wife, she has spoken with a tone of confused frustration about a Malaysia, without “Malaysians”, where division is normal and unity is a dream.

I’ve heard the stories of her childhood, of Ahmad’s, Chin’s, Kumar’s and Jonathan’s, of an idyllic singular Malaysia. When she was a young journalism student, I read her articles, which accounted as such and in which she dreamed of a day where this might once again become reality.

When she was a young professional in Australia, I heard her broadcast this message in her weekly Malay Language programme on SBS Radio around the country, to the Malaysian diaspora.

Back in Malaysia, I heard her imbue this message in her teaching to university students, as she taught them journalism ethics. I have heard this message repeated and manifest in the actions of her many graduated students, who have since taken leading roles in the Malaysian and foreign media and other aspects of civic life.

I have read it in her alternate news media articles, like ‘Merdeka, Merdeka, Merdeka’, widely read before a previous election, in her FB posts, in her weekly column and even in her article published the night before this famous election. I have seen it in her work with charities and social enterprises and in the way she raises our children.

Most importantly, I have heard it in the way she has consistently and calmly (and sometimes not so calmly) held firm in innumerate conversations over the past two decades, with family, friends and strangers, even when they said, “don’t trouble”, “don’t risk”.

I am delighted for my wife and for this country, as every one of these individuals has changed their tune, over time, gradually, one by one. Every wave, began with a ripple.

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Tun Dr. Mahathir is back with his Fellow Malaysians to make history and drain the swamp in Putrajaya. Together, we can make a difference

My celebration this week is for Malaysia, a country I love and for Malaysians and my tribute is to those few, those quiet warriors, those quiet heroes who kept on, kept on, kept on, until all of a sudden it happened!

Is there still plenty to fix in Malaysia? Yes. I first came to Malaysia in 2001 and I have lived here full-time for the past 12 years, longer than I have lived in any other place and I have observed many things.

Will these things be fixed because there is a different group in charge? No, maybe some, but that is not the point. Change was the victory, but it is just the beginning, not the end, not the climax, not even the introduction, just the title of a new story: Change Was the Victory.

I love this country, I was married here, my children have been born and raised here, I have taught here, I have studied here, I have bought, lived in and then sold a house here.

I have traveled all over this beautiful land and lived in three states, as I followed the work, like so many. I have become “me” here. I have partaken in the culinary multiculturalism of open-house culture, I have cheered for Harimau Malaya in the stands, I have cried at Chong Wei’s loses and sung Negaraku with pride.

I have sat in the front row at a Zainal Abidin concert, rocked out at Rock the World (back in the day), been to more weddings than I can remember, each a different kind, sweat it out on the local badminton court each Monday night and craved a teh tarik or Milo ais straight after.

But, despite my BM, my palate for sambal, my pride, my history on the ground, my Malaysian cultural idiosyncrasies, I will always be a foreigner. Well, maybe not always, but certainly for a long time yet.

Before I might be accepted, Malaysians need to accept each other, they need to come to know each other, one bangsa, equal. This is the story that needs to next be written.

Now that we have the title, Change Was the Victory, perhaps this can be the narrative. Like any good narrative, there will be complications, plot twists and the like, but if the product is truly one Malaysia, one equal Malaysia, then that would be quite the book.

James is the Head of English at an esteemed private school in Malaysia.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.

Trump is right on China-US Trade

April 9, 2018

Trump is right on China-US Trade

by  Dr. Fareed Zakaria

Ever since the resignation of top advisers Gary Cohn and H.R. McMaster, it does seem as if the Trump White House has gotten more chaotic, if that is possible. But amid the noise and tumult, including the alarming tweets about Amazon and Mexico, let’s be honest — on one big, fundamental point, President Trump is right: China is a trade cheat.

Many of the Trump administration’s economic documents have been laughably sketchy and amateurish. But the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s report to Congress on China’s compliance with global trading rules is an exception worth reading. In measured prose and great detail, it lays out the many ways that China has failed to enact promised economic reforms and backtracked on others, and uses formal and informal means to block foreign firms from competing in China’s market. It points out correctly that in recent years, the Chinese government has increased its intervention in the economy, particularly taking aim at foreign companies. All of this directly contradicts Beijing’s commitments when it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

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President Donald Trump’s Trade Policy: Getting Tough on China

Whether one accepts the trade representative’s conclusion that “the United States erred in supporting China’s entry into the WTO,” it is clear that the expectation that China would continue to liberalize its markets after its entry has proved to be mistaken.

Washington approached China’s entry into the world trading system no differently from that of other countries that joined in the mid-20th century. As countries were admitted, the free world (especially the United States) opened its markets to the new entrants, and those countries in turn lowered barriers to their markets. That’s how it went with such nations as Japan, South Korea and Singapore. But there were two notable factors about these countries: They were relatively small compared with the size of the global economy, and they also lived under the American security umbrella. Both factors meant that Washington and the West had considerable leverage over these new entrants. Singapore had 2.2 million people and a gross domestic product of $19 billion when it joined the GATT (the precursor to the WTO), while South Korea had 30 million people and a GDP of $41 billion. Japan was larger, with 90 million people and a GDP of under $800 billion. (All GDP figures are adjusted for inflation.)

And then came China, with 1.3 billion people and a GDP of $2.4 trillion when it joined the WTO in 2001. That was almost a fifth of the U.S. economy. The Chinese seemed to recognize that once they were in the system, the size of their market would ensure that every country would vie for access, and this would give them the ability to cheat without much fear of reprisal. Moreover, Beijing was never dependent on Washington for its security. It had fought a war against American troops in the 1950s with some success and had grown into a great power in its own right.

The scale and speed of China’s integration into the world trading system made it a seismic event. The distinguished economist David Autor, along with two colleagues, has published study after study on the impact of the so-called China Shock. They conclude that about a quarter of all manufacturing jobs lost in the United States between 1990 and 2007 could be explained by the deluge of Chinese imports. Nothing on this scale had happened before.

Look at the Chinese economy today. It has managed to block or curb the world’s most advanced and successful technology companies, from Google to Facebook to Amazon. Foreign banks often have to operate with local partners who add zero value — essentially a tax on foreign companies. Foreign manufacturers are forced to share their technology with local partners who then systematically reverse engineer some of the same products and compete against their partners. And then there is cybertheft. The most extensive cyberwarfare waged by a foreign power against the United States is done not by Russia but by China. The targets are American companies, whose secrets and intellectual property are then shared with Chinese competitors.

China is not alone. Countries such as India and Brazil are also trade cheats. In fact, the last series of world trade talks, the Doha Round, was killed by obstructionism from Brazil and India, in tandem with China. Today the greatest threat to the open world economy comes from these large countries that have chosen to maintain mixed economies, refuse to liberalize much more and have enough power to hold firm.

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The Trump administration may not have chosen the wisest course forward — focusing on steel, slapping on tariffs, alienating key allies, working outside the WTO — but its frustration is understandable. Previous administrations exerted pressure privately, worked within the system and tried to get allies on board, with limited results. Getting tough on China is a case where I am willing to give Trump’s unconventional methods a try. Nothing else has worked.

Bank Negara RCI –A Political Witch hunt?

September 26, 2017

Bank Negara RCI –A Political Witch hunt

by Wan Saiful Wan

The hearings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on Bank Negara Malaysia’s foreign exchange trading losses has ended. They called in 25 witnesses, and apparently more than 40 relevant documents have been scrutinised.

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The RCI was to investigate the losses incurred by Bank Negara in the early 1990s. The RCI was led by its chairman Sidek Hassan, who is former Chief Secretary to the government and current chairman of PETRONAS.

At the beginning of the RCI, Sidek told the public that they had been given five key tasks.

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Zeroing the Blame on Dr. Mahathir for Bank Negara Forex Losses.But what about 1MBD Scandal?

First, to determine the authenticity of the allegation on the foreign exchange trading losses suffered by Bank Negara Malaysia in the 1990s and its implications on the national economy.

Second, to determine whether BNM’s involvement in the foreign exchange trading activities which caused the losses had contravened the Central Bank Ordinance 1958 or any relevant laws.

Third, to determine whether there were hidden facts or information relating to foreign exchange losses suffered by BNM and misleading statements given to the Cabinet, Parliament and the Public.

Fourth, to recommend suitable actions to be taken against those found to be directly or indirectly involved in causing the losses and hiding the facts and information on the losses.

Fifth, to recommend appropriate measures to ensure the incident will not recur.

I find the increasing demands for RCIs rather worrying. Yes, indeed it is a legitimate tool that we can use to investigate any pertinent matter. But the fact that we see more and more people calling for RCIs on various issues show that there is a lack of trust in the regular mechanisms or institutions that exist to investigate matters.

We already have bodies like the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), plus various other law enforcement agencies, whose jobs are to conduct investigations on matters under their purview.

Public demand for RCIs to be formed imply that they do not fully trust the existing institutions, and that is why another body needs to be formed. This declining trust in our public institutions worries me.

In any case, the formation of this latest RCI is another low in itself. It was formed to investigate a matter that took place 30 years ago, when there are more than enough things that remain unresolved today.

The Malays have a saying about this: “Gajah depan mata tak nampak, tapi kuman di seberang laut nampak jelas.”

Supporters of former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed have claimed that the RCI is an attempt by the government to tarnish his legacy. They have a point.

The focus of this investigation seems to be on Mahathir alone. With a stretch, perhaps it will implicate Anwar Ibrahim too. But the focus seems to be Mahathir.

I find this truly amazing because the RCI was formed only when Mahathir formed a new political party that is currently challenging UMNO.

When he was still in UMNO, nobody was interested in investigating him. And when he was Prime Minister, many of these people, from all races and religions, were kissing his hands.

Some of the current members of the Cabinet were Mahathir’s ardent defenders soon after the losses were incurred by Bank Negara. They stayed sheepishly silent while Mahathir was their leader. And they continued to be silent even after Mahathir’s retirement as Prime Minister in 2003.

Is it a coincidence that these politicians suddenly found their conscience a few months after Mahathir founded a new opposition party?

Where did they hide that conscience during the years when they were worshipping Mahathir?

Malaysia follows a Westminster-style democracy where the cabinet as a whole acts collectively. There is no one-man-show. All members of the cabinet are collectively and equally responsible for all the decisions.

Now with the new-found conscience, can we reasonably expect that everyone who has ever served under Mahathir’s Cabinet will take collective responsibility for any recommendations made by the RCI?

Or are they going to blame Mahathir alone since he is now an opposition leader, while claiming infallibility for those who are still in government?

An RCI is an institution that we usually appeal to in order to boost confidence in our system of government. When other bodies cannot fully fulfil the trust burden, we often appeal to entities like the RCI to step in and play their roles.

The high regards commanded by an entity like the RCI is the reason why it usually works. That is also why such a body deserves the word “Royal” in its name. But abusing an RCI like this is completely unacceptable. It erodes trust in yet another institution in the country.

If Mahathir has done any wrong in the Bank Negara forex dealings, then those people who were in his Cabinet at that time should have resigned in protest, or they should at least have spoken, then. Not just now. But they had 30 years to do it.

Failing to resign at that time shows that they have no real principles. And what a shame that they damage public trust in the noble institution of the RCI too in this blatant exhibition of their hypocrisy.

Wan Saiful Wan Jan is chief executive of Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS).