STOP UMNO ‘s discrimination against Malaysians


May 25, 2015

Phnom Penh

STOP UMNO ‘s  discrimination against Malaysians

by Johan Bakri

This is of interest to those watching the development of Malaysia and Singapore I am currently reading two books in parallel:

Kim Quek's March to Putrajaya1]The March to Putrajaya This is about the recent and current happenings in Malaysia

Men-in-white-cvr2] Men in White. This is the history of Singapore and the Peoples Action Party for the last 50 years The contrast is most enlightening; not that one has to read the books to know. The books spell out the minutiae that is not intended for the public eyes. Needless to say the former by Kim Quek is banned in Malaysia.

In his 2010 article titled  UMNO and Population Engineering, Hussein Hamid wrote,

http://steadyaku-steadyaku-husseinhamid.blogspot.com/2010/09/umno-and-population-engineering.html

QUOTE: Since 1957 UMNO has effectively carried out the population Malaysianengineering of our country to ensure its long-term survival by creating the myth of a two pronged “Ketuanan Melayu”. “Ketuanan Melayu” for the Malay masses who are lulled into a feeling of being superior over the non-Malays because of their numbers and “Ketuanan Melayu” for the UMNO Malay political elites through the accumulation of massive material wealth for themselves and their cronies. And while UMNO has failed by almost any measure you chose to gauge them – good governance or morality – without question they have succeeded too well in the engineering of the population of this country of ours.

The duplicity of UMNO in proclaiming Satu Bangsa, Satu Negara while all the while undertaking a relentless program to whittle down the numbers of the non-Malays through very precise and focused initiatives is breathtaking in its effectiveness!

Consider this:

In 1957: – 45% of the population are Chinese.

– 12% of the population are Indians.

In 2010– 25% of the population are Chinese.

– 7% of the population are Indians.

Over 600,000 Chinese and Indian Malaysians with redIC were rejected repeatedly when applying for citizenship and possibly 80% of them had passed away due to old age.

Since 1957:

– 2 million Chinese have emigrated.

– 0.5 million Indians have also emigrated overseas.

– 3 million Indonesians migrated to Malaysia to become Malaysian citizens with Bumiputra status.

Now the non-Malays are well aware of this tinkering and engineering of our population and it would do us Malays no good to say that it was UMNO doing and that we had no hand in what happened. As a Malay I was then comfortable that UMNO was the dominant partner in the Barisan Nasional.

It was comforting to know that Malays controlled four of the five major banks. Education? Between 1968 to 2000:

– 48 Chinese Primary Schools closed down.

– 144 Indian Primary Schools closed down.

– 2637 Malay Primary Schools were built.

Of the total government budget for these schools 2.5% were for the Chinese Primary Schools, 1% for the Indian Primary School and 96.5% for the Malay Primary School .

PETRONAS Petrol Stations? Of the 2000 stations the Malays owned 99%. Yes we Malays were indeed in control. In control of what?

We were in control of the all the business licenses and permits for Taxis and Approved Permits.

We were in control of Government contracts of which 95% were given to Malays.

We were in control of the Rice Trade through BERNAS (Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary) that bought over 80% of Chinese Rice Millers in Kedah.

We were in control of UMBC, MISC and Southern Bank – all previously owned by Chinese (CIMB)

We were in control of bus companies. Throughout Malaysia MARA buses could be seen plying all the routes. Non-Malays were simply displaced by having their application for bus routes and for new buses rejected.

Every new housing estate built had a mosque or a surau. None, I repeat “no” temples or churches were built for any housing estate!

So why with control over all these highly visible entities and business opportunities are the Malays still unable to stand tall and with pride over and above the non-Malays? We are unable to so do because it was not the Malays that benefited from these opportunities – UMNO did.

Why must UMNO constantly harp about the need to spoon feed the Malays – about ketuanan Melayu when it is already in place and about Bumiputra status and all the privileges and rights that goes with that status?

And as a Malay I want to ask the non-Malays why do you still choose to live in a country whose government has by its actions and deeds done whatever it could to make you feel not welcome? The non-Malays I know have all told me the same thing – Malaysia is their country – they know of no other country they can call their own. And so they stay and put up with the abuses.

The difference now is that there are enough Malays who are shamed by the antics of this Malay political organization called UMNO. There are enough Malays to tell the non-Malays that we feel your pain. We understand your frustrations and despair at not being treated as equals in a country you call your own. And enough non-Malays have migrated abroad to cause our country to understand that their loss is another country’s gain. A loss, which our country can ill afford to sustain.

And more importantly all this ground swell of disgust and contempt at UMNO has manifested itself in a way these political idiots understand – losing our votes in the 12th General Elections. Amen for that. And so we wait for the 13th General Election which we hope will dish out the relevant karma for UMNO and its Barisan Nasional partners.

In the meantime understand what they have done to us all – not only the non-Malays but also to the Malays and do not allow Barisan Nasional led by racist and corrupt UMNO to play the race card and start their divide and rule antics on us again. You are one, with me we are two. UNQUOTE.

High time to wake up from our comfort zone, all of you out there. Malaysia is not doing alright at all. It is still not too late. United we stand, divided  we will fall. Those who know well should pass the message around to those are still sleeping. May God Help us to help ourselves.

http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com

Noor Farida Ariffin–The Catalyst for Change


May 25, 2015

Phnom Penh

G-25’s Ambassador Noor Farida Ariffin–The Catalyst for Change

by Mariam Mokhtar@ http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com.my

Noor_Farida_AriffinWith her razor-sharp mind and equally sharp tongue that can slice through any argument, Noor Farida Ariffin is every inch a fighter. So do not let her string of pearls, pale eye-shadow, pastel coloured jacket and welcoming smile fool you.

The effervescent Danny Quah, Professor of Economics and International Studies and Director of the Saw Swee Hock South East Asian Centre of the London School of Economics (LSE), helped facilitate Farida’s talk on “Fighting Religious Extremism in Malaysia” in London recently. Despite the exam period, when many students were not available, the event was packed with Malaysians and other nationals. There was standing room only at the back, and late comers were relegated to an adjoining room.

Quah called Farida a “patriot”, a “true public servant” and a “genuine Malaysian leader”. He also praised her peers in the G25. The G25 is a group of 25 prominent Malaysians, comprising former diplomats and heads of the civil service, who have sought to “reclaim Malaysia from racial and religious extremism”.

Quah said, “The kind of vitriol and rhetoric that is peddled by intolerant extremists threatens to poison the nation. “Now, more than ever, we need voices such as Her Excellency’s to speak out and help us all come together.”

Farida gave a brief but comprehensive review of the incidents of rising religious extremism in Malaysia. She expressed disappointment that the country’s so-called leaders had allowed Malaysia to slip downhill.

She said that Malaysia once prided itself as a model of racial harmony and a nation that could display a multicultural and multi-religious society to the rest of the world. But the current reality, she said, was a disturbing picture of Islamic NGOs and religious authorities wielding power over a cowed population, with the Malays being watched by a brutal and unapologetic moral police who act like thugs and the non-Malays and non-Muslims subject to intense provocation.

She gave a laundry list of vile acts which involved body snatching, the conversion of minors, the “Allah” issue, the seizure of Bibles and the actions of born-again Muslims. She also spoke of Muslims being persecuted through mindless acts perpetrated by the religious authorities.

In 2012, the mean-spirited religious authorities hounded Nik Raina Abdul Aziz, called her a lesbian, and made her life a living hell by persecuting her because the book “Allah, Liberty and Love” by Canadian author Irshad Manji was sold in the book store where she worked.

The book had not been banned by the Home Ministry. Despite the case being thrown out of court, JAWI lodged an appeal and refused to show any compassion towards Nik Raina and said that “it was not their problem”.

Concern over the disturbing developments of the last few years and the creeping Talibanisation of Malaysia prompted the members of the G25 to express their disgust at the corruption of Malaysia. The original G25 has expanded to 40 members and is still growing. Farida hopes that they would be the catalysts for change.

She said, “The secretaries-general of the various ministries, former diplomats, directors-generals, heart surgeons, etc are establishment figures. They are not rabble rousers. So, we said, ‘Enough is enough.’”

Farida added that an open letter from the G25 to PM Najib Abdul Razak had caused a stir in the nation, which had prompted more of the silent majority to begin speaking out.

Dr. Mahathir started the Politics of Islam

Najib Vs Mahathir

Farida was in no doubt about the start of the rot. She cited former premier Mahathir Mohamad’s role in changing the Constitution in 1988 to make syariah law on par with civil law. She said, “He declared Malaysia an Islamic state, which is not true.”

She expressed horror that fatwas were legally binding in Malaysia, whereas in the rest of the world, they were just legal opinions. She said that hudud law was in clear violation of the Federal Constitution.

“What they are doing is tarnishing the image of Islam,” she said. “The way they are interpreting the religion is wrong. They have hijacked the religion.”

Angry that the current leadership has politicised Islam for their own ends, she described the plight of the East Malaysians and said, “Who can blame the Sabahans and Sarawakians for wishing to secede?”

Her detractors have called her an apostate for opposing the implementation of hudud. She said, “Hudud is not Allah’s law. Corrupt businessmen, in cahoots with equally corrupt politicians, steal from the national coffers and get away with their crimes. An unemployed man steals to feed his family and gets his hands chopped off. Is this justice?

“What PAS wants is just to punish. The Quran mentions love, compassion, justice and mercy. The first principle of Islam is upholding justice. These people do not know what they are doing. From ancient times, the history of religion is of the priestly class always arrogating to themselves power and control over their followers. It is all about power.”

Mariam Mokhtar is a FMT columnist.

*Dato’ Noor Farida  Ariffin served as Director-General at the Research, Treaties and International Law Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and  Ambassador-At-Large for the High Legal Experts Group on Follow-up to the ASEAN Charter (HLEG). She was a Civil Servant with over 40 years of experience, 25 of which was with the Judicial and Legal Service, 5 with the Commonwealth Secretariat and 12 with the Foreign Ministry.

She was the Co-Agent of Malaysia for the Pulau Batu Puteh Case has had a long and distinguished career spanning 36 years in the Public Service. She joined the Judicial and Legal Service in February 1971 where she served in various capacities including magistrate, senior assistant registrar in the High Courts of Kuala Lumpur and Penang, legal officer with the Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department, Director of the Legal Aid Bureau and Sessions Court Judge. She was seconded by the Government to the Commonwealth Secretariat in London for 5 years as Director of the Women and Development Programme, Human Resource and Development Group.

In February 1993, upon her return to Malaysia, she was transferred to Wisma Putra to head the newly established Legal Division of the Ministry. In September 1996, she was absorbed into the Administrative and Diplomatic Service and was appointed the Under-Secretary of the newly formed Territorial and Maritime Division of the Foreign Ministry. In August 2000, she was posted to the Netherlands as the Malaysian Ambassador to that country. She was also concurrently appointed the Malaysian Co-Agent to the International Court of Justice for the Pulau Ligitan and Pulau Sipadan Case against Indonesia and the Malaysian Permanent Representative to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons which is based in The Hague. She was elected to the Chair of the 8th Conference of States Parties of the Chemical Weapons Convention in October 2003. Prior to that, at the First Review Conference of the above Convention (April/May 2003) she was elected to chair the Drafting Group on the Political Declaration. She was again appointed the Malaysian Co-Agent by the Government when Malaysia and Singapore agreed to submit the Pulau Batu dispute to the International Court of Justice.

She has been a Director of Eco World Development Group Berhad since March 20, 2015. She served as an Independent Non- Executive Director at S P Setia Berhad from June 18, 2009 to March 26, 2015. She completed her legal studies at the Inns of Court in London. She joined the Judicial and Legal Service in February 1971 where she served in various capacities including magistrate, Senior Assistant Registrar in the High Courts of Kuala Lumpur and Penang, Legal Officer with the Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department, Director of the Legal Aid Bureau and Sessions Court Judge. Her Qualifications include: Barrister- at- Law (Gray’s Inn), United Kingdom in 1970.–www.bloomberg.com

 

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The Positions he Takes on The Rights of Man


May 22, 2015

The Positions he takes on The Rights of Man

by John Barrell

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n23/john-barrell/the-positions-he-takes

Thomas Paine’s ‘Rights of Man’: A Biography by Christopher Hitchens

Hitchens on Paine

If the rights of man are to be upheld in a dark time, we shall require an age of reason,’ wrote Christopher Hitchens last year on the dust jacket of Harvey Kaye’s recent book on Paine on the dust jacket of Harvey Kaye’s recent book on Paine.​* Thomas Paine and the Promise of Revolution. And as if to reinforce that message, he has now himself published a little book on Paine, a ‘biography’ of Rights of Man.

It begins with a dedication, ‘by permission’, to President Jalal Talabani: ‘first elected president of the Republic of Iraq; sworn foe of fascism and theocracy; leader of a national revolution and a people’s army. In the hope that his long struggle will be successful, and will inspire emulation.’ However selective this description of Talabani, who has been all this and almost everything else at one time or another, it is an opening that encourages us to expect a tract for the times: a demonstration perhaps of how Paine’s book can help us understand the complexities of the situation in Iraq, perhaps even of what his theory of rights might have to say about the legislative and judicial innovations introduced into the US and Britain as part of the war on terror.

Will Paine help us adjudicate between the rights of those who died in the Twin Towers and those who have been tortured in Guantanamo and elsewhere? Between the non-combatant victims murdered by the suicide bombers of the insurgency and the non-combatants murdered by the Americans in Fallujah or Haditha or Makr al-Deeb? By the end of the book, Hitchens still seems to believe that he will. ‘In a time,’ he writes in his final sentence, ‘when both rights and reason are under several kinds of open and covert attack, the life and writing of Thomas Paine will always be part of the arsenal on which we shall need to depend.’ In the event, between the dedication and the final sentence the book says nothing about Iraq or the war on terror, perhaps in silent acknowledgment of the difficulty of knowing quite how to depend on Paine in these dark times, perhaps because Hitchens believes it best to let Paine speak for himself and to leave President Talabani and the rest of us to make the connections. I would be more persuaded by the wisdom of this method if the book made more effort to expound and to summarise Paine’s political philosophy. But compared with any other book on Paine I can think of, this one is casual, even perfunctory. Long before I reached the end of what is a very long short book, I was at a loss to know why it had been written.

Discussing the reasons why Burke, who had supported the revolution in America, should have been so hostile to the revolution in France, even in its earliest and most innocent phase, Hitchens remarks that ‘it is a deformity in some “radicals”’ – he has Marx particularly in mind – ‘to imagine that, once they have found the lowest or meanest motive for an action or for a person, they have correctly identified the authentic or “real” one.’ Quite right too; and if any radical, misled by George Galloway’s description of Hitchens as ‘a drink-soaked former Trotskyite popinjay’, should suggest that this book was written out of vanity, he would surely be mistaken.

A vain man would have taken care to write a better book than this: more original, more accurate, less damaging to his own estimation of himself, less somniferously inert. The press release accompanying the book led me to expect something much livelier; Hitchens, it exclaims, ‘marvels’ at the forethought of Rights of Man, and ‘revels’ in its contentiousness. There is a bit of marvelling and revelling here and there, but it is as routine as everything else in this book, which reads like the work of a tired man.

Too tired, to begin with, to check his facts. Rights of Man (not The Rights of Man, as Hitchens persistently calls it) was written as an answer to Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, and Hitchens tells us that among others who wrote replies to Burke, along with Joseph Priestley and Mary Wollstonecraft, was William Godwin, which he wasn’t. He says that, unlike Paine, Wollstonecraft advocated votes for women, which she didn’t. Paine himself, Hitchens says, was not discouraged from writing Part One of Rights of Man by the rough treatment he received at the hands of a Parisian crowd following Louis XVI’s flight to Varennes. Nor should he have been, for Part One was published several months before the king fled and Paine was manhandled.

According to Hitchens, Part Two was produced partly to explain to Dr Johnson the need for a written constitution, and partly to endorse Ricardo’s views on commerce and free trade, but when it was written Johnson had been dead for seven years and Ricardo, not yet 20, had published no views that required endorsing.

Paine was charged with seditious libel for publishing Part Two, and to escape arrest he fled to France, accompanied by the Wykehamist gentleman-lawyer John Frost, described by Hitchens as secretary of the London Corresponding Society (LCS). The LCS was a society of radical artisans, not a gentleman’s club, and its secretary was in fact the shoemaker Thomas Hardy. The trial proceeded in Paine’s absence, and according to Hitchens the future prime minister Spencer Perceval ‘opened for the prosecution’; in fact, though Perceval read the indictment to the court, the prosecution was much too important to be left to so relatively junior a barrister, and was opened by the attorney general himself.

In 1794 Paine published The Age of Reason, ‘probably’, thinks Hitchens, in reaction to a sermon by Richard Watson, the bishop of Llandaff, though, as Paine himself tells us, he had not heard of the sermon until it was advertised in Watson’s reply to The Age of Reason, An Apology for the Bible.

This is only a selection of the many errors in this book, and they are not trivial; they misrepresent matters of fact that are essential to an understanding of the context of Paine’s writings, and it is in the course of Hitchens’s attempt to describe that context that they occur. It is the more surprising to find these errors, as none of them occur in John Keane’s biography of Paine (1995), on which Hitchens depends heavily – it must have been lying open on his desk as he was writing this book. Here for example is Keane on Watson’s Apology:

Watson … went so far as to admit that parts of the Pentateuch were not written by Moses and that some of the psalms were not composed by David … Paine took particular pleasure in some of the Bishop’s curious admissions. For example, The Age of Reason questioned whether God really commanded that all men and married women among the Midianites should be slaughtered and their maidens preserved. Not so, the Bishop indignantly retorted. The maidens were not preserved for immoral purposes, as Paine had wickedly suggested, but as slaves, to which Christians could not legitimately object.

And here is Hitchens: Watson, he tells us,

was willing to admit that Moses could not have written all of the Pentateuch and that David was not invariably the psalmist. But he would not give too much ground. Paine was quite out of order, wrote the good bishop, in saying that God had ordered the slaughter of all adult male and female Midianites, preserving only the daughters for rapine. On the contrary, the daughters had been preserved solely for the purpose of slavery. No hint of immorality was involved.

Or here is Keane on the problems Paine encountered in his efforts to publish Part One of Rights of Man:

Paine finished the first part of Rights of Man on his 54th birthday, 29 January 1791 … The next day, Paine passed the manuscript to the well-known London publisher Joseph Johnson, who set about printing it in time for the opening of Parliament and Washington’s birthday on 22 February. As the unbound copies piled up in the printing shop, Johnson was visited repeatedly by government agents. Although Johnson had already published replies to Burke’s Reflections by Thomas Christie, Mary Wollstonecraft and Capel Lofft, he sensed, correctly, that Paine’s manuscript would attract far more attention and bitter controversy than all of them combined. Fearing the book police, and unnerved by the prospect of arrest and bankruptcy, Johnson suppressed the book on the very day of its scheduled publication.

And here is Hitchens again:

Having completed Part One on his 54th birthday, 29 January 1791, Paine made haste to take the manuscript to a printer named Joseph Johnson. The proposed publication deadline, of 22 February, was intended to coincide with the opening of Parliament and the birthday of George Washington. Mr Johnson was a man of some nerve and principle, as he had demonstrated by printing several radical replies to Burke (including the one by Mary Wollstonecraft) but he took fright after several heavy-footed visits from William Pitt’s political police. On the day of publication, he announced that The Rights of Man would not appear under the imprint of his press.

Although Hitchens’s debt to Keane is palpable in passages like this – the same selection of facts in the same order – there is of course no question of plagiarism, for Hitchens everywhere introduces little touches of fine writing that allow him to claim ownership of what he has borrowed: the inspired choice of ‘heavy-footed’, for example, to describe the visits of the police, or the tellingly patronising phrase ‘the good bishop’ – though if Hitchens had taken the trouble to find out more about Watson he would perhaps be less dismissive of him. Like Burke, Watson was sympathetic to the cause of the American colonists but strongly supported William Pitt’s war on terror, and so, like Burke, was regarded by radicals as having abandoned his principles.

Hitchens nowhere acknowledges the debt he owes to Keane’s narrative, though he does have footnotes to Keane, eight in all, which cite him simply as the source for quotations. With unexpected generosity, indeed, he three times acknowledges Keane for quotations that he must have found elsewhere, for the versions he gives are considerably longer than those in Keane’s book.

Hitchens’s casual attitude to facts is not compensated for by a corresponding precision with ideas, or any concern for the range, the richness, the complexity of Paine’s thinking. For example, we will not learn from Hitchens anything much about what Paine thought the rights of man actually were. ‘The great achievement of Paine,’ he tells us, ‘was to have introduced the discussion of human rights … Prior to this, discussion about “rights” had been limited to “natural” or “civil” rights.’ I have no idea what this means. For Paine, the rights we have by virtue of being human – the rights of man – take the form of ‘natural’ rights, ‘civil’ rights, ‘political’ rights, and he discriminates between them with increasing care; but he would surely have been puzzled by the notion of human rights as something beyond, something different from, not ‘limited’ to, natural, civil or political rights.

Hitchens seems similarly at sea in his brief discussion of Paine’s theory of revolution which he understands entirely in terms of ‘the sudden return or restoration’ of a lost golden age, holding Paine responsible (among others) ‘for the “heaven on earth” propaganda … that disordered the radical tradition thereafter’. This is entirely to ignore the trajectory in Paine’s thought from a ‘full-circle’ theory of revolution as a return to the founding contract of society, to one in which, as Mark Philip pointed out in his superb short book on Paine (1989), revolution is represented as a new stage of social organisation made necessary by social, economic and intellectual progress.

Ambiga on Human Rights In Malaysia


May 20, 2015

Phnom Penh

Ambiga Sreenevasan on Human Rights @ ASEAN People’s Forum

ambiga

“What have we done to deserve this stifling of various freedoms by Putrajaya? (Government of Malaysia).”What a great question for us to ask ourselves and ask of this Barisan Nasional Government.

We love our country, pay our taxes faithfully (albeit, grudgingly at times), volunteer for social causes, donate to needy causes, celebrate our diverse cultures and faith, live peaceably and in harmony with our neighbours and thank God for our many blessings as Malaysians. And what do we get in return?

We get plundered, lorded over, insulted and told to migrate if not happy by our public servants. Yes, please don’t ever forget, they are our servants! The word ‘minister’ was from the Latin word for ‘servants’. Let’s get that right from the start, lest we forget who the real boss is in a democracy.

When we want to protest about how we are treated we are told (by our servants) we have to get permission. When we speak we have to worry about 3 a.m raids by Police with balaclava and sub-machine guns. We draw cartoons or make satirical videos but must not offend ‘she with the big hairdo’ or get charged with sedition. We tweet but the King of Twit (The Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar) monitors our tweets and sends his hounds after us.

Meanwhile we have delusional Ministers telling us not to worry. We have the best education and universities in the world. Our Manglish is better than our neighbour down south. Our Proton is better than BMW. We have the best democracy in the world. Yeah, best my  sweet charity. We don’t hear them boasting that we are Number 1 in corrupt business practices or that we conduct one of the worst election processes in the world.

Yet in everyday life all these self-congratulatory claims make no sense. Many of our graduates cannot get employed and when they do, they are paid RM2,000 a month or thereabouts. Our median monthly salary is RM1,500. Minimum wage is RM900, for many, before ‘deductions’.

How come after more than five decades of this government’s ‘management’ of our economy, over 4 million households and almost 3 million singles still qualify for Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) handouts. That’s almost 23 million of our 30 million population, 76 percent.

Where has all our wealth gone ? 1Malaysia Development Berhad, Bumiputra Malaysia Finance, Port Kelang Free Zone, MAS, Perwaja, Maminco, etc? To add salt to our many financial injuries, they tax us with the Goods and Services Tax (GST) because otherwise the country would go bankrupt! Cost of living is going up but our income is stagnant because we cannot compete. We cannot compete because they have messed up our education system, or to put it another way, they have messed up our children’s future!

Food costs will go up because we are a huge net importer of food and the Ringgit is sliding south against the US dollar. Our nasi lemak and wantan noodles have already gone up if you have not realised by now. And we have another minister assuring us that with GST, prices of goods will go down, if not, cook more at home or in your dorm. Cook with what? Our rice, flour, sugar, beef, milk, fish and vegetables are mostly imported with US dollar.

Ahmad MaslanAhmad Maslan (CGPA-3.85) and his Boss

Hello? You do not need a CGPA of 3.85 to know that, it is just common sense . Pride does not feed hungry stomachs

Blessed with arable land and good weather all year round, we should be exporting food worldwide. But no, we will have none of that. Instead of growing and cultivating edible crop and livestock, we cut down our thousand-year old forests and replace them with oil palm with which we cannot fill our stomach with (unless you want a quick death) and depend on cheap foreign labour to harvest.

My beef with oil palm is that it does not enrich the workers, only the already filthy rich tycoons. Maybe some of us are proud of our billionaires making it into Forbes’ top billionaires list but pride does not feed hungry stomachs.

To compete with other producers globally we use cheap foreign labour not only for our plantations but also for our factories. Paying them minimum wages, we suppress our own Malaysian workers and we do not bother with increasing productivity and investing in innovation so that we can earn higher income, so that more of us can “afford” to pay income tax and not ‘qualify’ for BR1M.

When our ministers boast of the millions qualifying for BR1M, it’s like saying, “Hooray! Look at the huge number of poor people we have to help.” How retarded can we get?

So again, we ask ourselves, what have we done to deserve this? Actually, come to think of it, we have brought this upon ourselves. We have faithfully voted in this same government all these past 13 general elections, in 10 of which we gave them two-third majorities to amend our federal constitution over 700 times. Malaysia Boleh (Malaysia Can).

Yes, perhaps we got the government we deserve. But better late than never as they say. As Malaysians we deserve better, much better. The next time we cast our votes, we should vote for a better future, remembering what a lousy management we have had for the past five decades. We should vote to take back our power to sack non-performing public servants and install competent, honest and selfless servants.

Prompt and Concrete Measures Needed, says Malaysian Bar


May 20, 2015

Phnom Penh

Rohingya and Bangladeshi Boat People Crisis: Call for Prompt Action

steven_thiru

The Malaysian Bar is appalled by the ongoing saga of the fate be- falling boatloads of thousands of people heading for our shores. It is a humanitarian catastrophe. The tragedy of suffering and even loss of life — through drowning and fights for survival on board boats left to drift on the high seas — is heart-rending.

 Boat People 1Regardless of the identity and status of the people on board these many boats, the first order of priority must be to prevent further suffering and loss of human life, bearing in mind that there are pregnant women, women who are nursing infants, and children, on board the boats. This means the Malaysian Government must allow these boats to land, set up reception centres to receive the people on board, document them, and provide them with basic amenities. There is a precedent for doing this, in the way Malaysia treated the Vietnamese boat people in the 1970s.

The Malaysian Bar acknowledges that some of the people on the boats may well be nationals of Bangladesh looking for better economic prospects than those available in their home country. They will have to be identified and, if necessary, repatriated. There are proper channels for dealing with the recruitment of foreign labour and other forms of legitimate migration from Bangladesh.

Be that as it may, there are also allegations that some of these nationals of Bangladesh on the boats have actually paid human traffickers to assist them to leave.This must be investigated and, if confirmed, the human traffickers must be apprehended and punished to the full extent of the law. Moreover, these victims of human trafficking should be accorded proper protection under our laws, including under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007. However, many amongst the people on the boats are from the Rohingya community, fleeing from Myanmar due to religious persecution.

While it may seem unneighbourly to accuse a fellow ASEAN Government of wrongful conduct, it cannot be disputed that the Rohingyas have not been granted citizenship in Myanmar, thereby rendering them stateless.  Further, they have been deprived of all political rights and systematically displaced from their traditional places of abode.

Regrettably, Malaysia has indirectly contributed to the exacerbation of this problem involving the Rohingyas, by repeatedly ignoring the matter for many years. The misguided and undue respect for the hallowed principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of a fellow ASEAN member state has meant that Myanmar has been allowed to pursue a domestic policy of persecution of the Rohingyas, and even to dispute the historical evidence of their presence in areas in present-day Myanmar. Malaysia and other ASEAN nations have the responsibility to protect the Rohingyas so as not to compound the issue of ethnic cleansing that is being allegedly carried out by Myanmar.

The Malaysian Bar welcomes the fact that the Malaysian Government has scheduled a meeting tomorrow with the Governments of Indonesia and Thailand to discuss the situation.  However, the Malaysian Bar calls on the Malaysian Government to do more than just convene discussions, and to do it quickly. It is critical to address this issue head-on, and Malaysia as the Chair of ASEAN must take the lead and show the way forward.  The fact that Myanmar is reported as not being willing to attend tomorrow’s meeting with Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia means that the process already begins with a huge handicap, namely the refusal of the country of origin to participate in a process of finding a solution.

Boat People 2

Ironically, 2015 is the onset of the much-touted ASEAN Economic Community.  ASEAN cannot only be about the rich and well-off, the educated and the employed.  An ASEAN community that has no room for, and which says nothing about, the poor and the downtrodden is a sad shadow of a caring community.  The manner in which this crisis is dealt with will define ASEAN, and a failure to satisfactorily address the problem will jeopardise the very integrity of ASEAN.

Malaysians are, by nature, a generous people.  Blessed with relative peace and prosperity, we have reached out in the past and organised flotillas to assist the Palestinians, and have taken in Acehnese and Bosnian refugees fleeing persecution in their homeland. It is therefore somewhat perplexing that the same humanitarian spirit appears to be absent in the Malaysian Government’s response to the boatloads of Rohingyas coming to our shores.

The Malaysian Bar calls on the Malaysian Government to immediately engage with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees here in Kuala Lumpur to put into place a system of receiving and registering this latest wave of boat people, and to find a place of transition where they can land and their claims for refugee status documented and determined, followed by either repatriation or resettlement.

As Malaysia is a member of the UN Security Council, we also call upon the Malaysian Government to move a resolution for intervention in this crisis of alleged ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas from Myanmar.  In the past, the UN Security Council had passed specific resolutions for intervention regarding Mali, Sudan and South Sudan.  It is timely as well for the Malaysian Government to consider enacting legislation that will grant recognition for refugees in Malaysia and give them legally-mandated protection and provision in line with international standards.  Further, Malaysia should also accede to the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol.

The Malaysian Bar calls on the Myanmar Government to put an end to the stigma of “statelessness” and recognise the Rohingyas’ long-overdue right to citizenship.  This lies at the core of this crisis and unless it is addressed by Myanmar, the exodus of the Rohingyas is likely to continue unabated.

Finally, it is time for ASEAN to do away with the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of an ASEAN member state.  What this crisis clearly shows is that what happens in a neighbouring country can, and often does, have cross-border implications.  Whether it is about the haze or human rights, it is plain for all to see that ASEAN’s aim to “prosper thy neighbour” must include intervening in situations in neighbouring countries that have the potential of affecting, even destabilising, the region as a whole.  It is myopic to pursue economic progress in ASEAN without seriously considering social and political reforms.

The Malaysian Bar recognises that this humanitarian crisis requires prompt and concrete legal solutions. The pain, suffering and loss of life off our shores must end.  It is time to stop the pretense and the piecemeal measures in this catastrophe, and to put in place a comprehensive and lasting solution. The Malaysian Bar stands ready to provide advice and assistance.

 Steven Thiru
President, Malaysian Bar
19 May 2015   

Rosli’s arrest as “distressing to witness” and “very disturbing”, says Witness


May 18, 2015

Phnom Penh

Rosli’s arrest as “distressing to witness” and “very disturbing”, says Witness

by Ho Kit Yen@www.freemalaysiatoday.com

Rosli DThe much anticipated battle between senior lawyers Cecil Abraham, acting for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), and Lambert Rasa-Ratnam, fizzled out meekly earlier today, with Abraham seeming to restrict himself from asking too many questions of Lambert and the two other partners who took the witness stand today. Abraham also later absented himself from proceedings in the afternoon.

Lambert was testifying in a case which Rosli had commenced against the MACC, several of its officers and the Government of Malaysia. The suit involved claims by Rosli for assault and false imprisonment against MACC (formerly known as the Anti-Corruption Agency, or ACA) and the Government of Malaysia.

In his Witness Statement which was tendered in Court as part of his testimony, Lambert described Rosli’s arrest as “distressing to witness” and “very disturbing”.

“This raw display of power and force was to me totally unnecessary and unbecoming of any professional law enforcement agency,” he said. “The only purpose it served was to embarrass and humiliate Rosli before his colleagues and staff.”

Earlier, Lambert narrated how, on the eve of Hari Raya in 2007, Rosli had sought out another of the firm’s partners, Kumar Kanagasingam, with whom Lambert was having lunch. “He looked troubled,” Lambert said

He told us he had received a visit from some ACA officers and that they had requested him to go to the ACA with them without saying why, Lambert testified.

“Around 2:30 pm, Rosli telephoned me (and) asked me to come to his room, Lambert told the court, “He mentioned some people were there.” Lambert’s evidence was that he saw three men there and that they told him that their instructions were to take Rosli to their office.

One of them, Mohan, dangled handcuffs in front of Rosli and claimed that he was under instructions to handcuff him, Lambert added.

“Mohan (then) made a call on his mobile. Shortly thereafter two men stormed into the room,” Lambert testified saying that, one of them, whose name was Sok One, “was particularly animated and aggressive.”

“Sok One shouted out to bring Rosli down and handcuff him,” Lambert recalled. “He also told Rosli he would punch him.” Rosli was in pain, and his wrists had begun to swell and bleed, he added.

Then Managing Partner of the firm Ng Leong Huat testified as to his ‘shock’ at seeing Rosli handcuffed, claiming that after much protest, one of the officers, Azam Baki, eventually relented and uncuffed him.

“I find it unacceptable that the ACA officers had breached our office security by forcing their way through our restricted area at Level 17,” he insisted. “That is not a public area. The ACA officers had no business to be there.”

He said news of Rosli’s arrest, which appeared in the mainstream news media, “led to a very negative impression of the firm,” “impacted on the firm’s revenue” and gave rise to “difficulty in bidding for work generally and especially with government agencies.”

Rosli’s own performance and revenue also deteriorated, he added. Kumar Kanagasingam, another partner of the firm, testified that he met a very worried Rosli at lunch time on the day of his arrest. He said on hearing of the ‘commotion’ in Rosli’s office, he rushed down but only managed to see Rosli getting into a car accompanied by ACA officers.

He also testified as to the difficulties, loss and hardships suffered by Rosli and the firm as a result of the former’s arrest and the subsequent criminal trial.

When trial resumed after lunch, two secretaries of the firm, Ayuniza Iswan and Lai Pey Niew En, also gave their own accounts of the arrest. They were cross-examined by Rishwant Singh, with Cecil Abraham absent from proceedings in the afternoon.