Get serious about fighting corruption


June 24, 2015

COMMENT:

READ THIS by DAP Senator Tunku A. Aziz:

https://dinmerican.wordpress.com/2011/04/01/corruption-is-evil-say-malaysian-politicians-yet/

One lesson we should never ever forget is that politicians as a breed are pathological liars. There are naturally one or two who are reliable and decent.But seriously, you would probably be better off trusting a cat with a plate of fried fish. Opposition politicians are no exception to this universal truth. So keep an eagle eye on them too, including me, just to be on the safe side.–Tunku A. Aziz (2011)

Corruption exists because people vested with power can act with impunity. Our system of governance breeds little Napoleons and big ones and rapacious rent seekers at all levels. Only the little ones are charged and punished. We as citizens are forced to bribe to get anything done.

Therefore we need a total revamp of our public administration and make politicians in power and public officials accountable for their actions. An all-powerful Executive Branch is unacceptable. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely (Lord Acton). Our present system is rotten.

Gani Patail 2Attorney-General with Power without Accountability

For example, we have to take a critical look at Article 145 of the constitution to ensure that the power of the Attorney-General is subject to oversight by a constitutional court. At present, he has “the power, exercisable at his discretion, to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings for an offence, other than proceedings before a Syariah court, a native court or a court-martial”[ art. 145 (3)]. The Attorney-General has security of tenure since he cannot “…be removed from office except on the like grounds and in the like manner as a judge of the Federal Court”. [art.145(6)]

But we should not act on a piecemeal basis. In stead, we should  establish a Royal Commission to review our Constitution and make appropriate recommendations. We need a system of public administration that is open, transparent and accountable.

At the same time we must ensure that no party or coalition is given two-thirds majority to enable it to amend the constitution ever again. For that to happen we must have electoral reforms to ensure free and fair elections supervised by a truly independent Elections Commission. So back to the Constitution, and why not.–Din Merican

 Get serious about fighting corruption

by Wan Saiful Wan Jan@www.thestar.com.my

We must separate the roles of the Attorney-General as legal advisor to the Government and Public Prosecutor who prosecutes cases in court.

IT has become fashionable for critics to express dissatisfaction every time the Auditor-General presents his report to Parliament. So when the second report this year was tabled on June 15, the reaction was generally expected.

But the reaction from Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed is particularly important. Nur Jazlan, who is also Ideas’ Council member this time, says that he is disappointed with the performance of many Government agencies because they have failed to improve.

Nur JazlanPAC Chairman Nur Jazlan

He also said that not long ago he praised Government officials for showing improvements every time the Auditor-General’s report is published. But he felt compelled to retract that praise because this time it was particularly bad.

He went on to say that many of the problems originate from the attitude of civil servants. Apparently the quality of our civil servants has deteriorated, and they don’t even bother to read the rules.

When the PAC Chairman makes such a bold statement, you know that there is something really wrong in the way civil servants manage our money. It is ironic that the Prime Minister recently announced a bonus for our civil servants despite such abysmal indictment.

Under Nur Jazlan, the PAC has been doing a much better job in identifying weaknesses in Government machinery and in demanding accountability. In fact, thanks to the PAC, the public now knows about the risk posed by Pembinaan PFI Sdn Bhd, a Government-linked company that has one of the biggest liabilities among Malaysia’s GLCs. The company has been off the audit radar for almost 10 years, despite the large amount of debt that it has accumulated.

The work of bodies like the PAC is important in our push for better governance in the country. The issues the PAC looks into are not necessarily about corruption.Their responsibility is wider, covering also problems such as leakages and failure to adhere to published policies and procedures.

Fighting corruption, on the other hand, is more commonly associated with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). I am still waiting to see if the MACC would act on a recent admission by Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi that a Special Branch report found that around 80% of our border enforcement officers are involved in corruption.

Nevertheless, I am very aware that even if the MACC were to start an investigation, that is only half of the journey. The other half lies outside of the MACC’s jurisdiction, and that is the prosecution of corruption cases.

TS Abu KassimTan Sri Abu Kassim of MACC

Our system is designed in such a way that the MACC, just like the Police, can only investigate and not prosecute. Prosecution is the sole discretion of the Attorney-General, who doubles up as our Public Prosecutor.

I have no problem with the MACC not having the power to prosecute. In fact, I think it is right to keep prosecutorial powers away from the investigation agency. Back in 2012, we at IDEAS looked into this issue and compared the experience of Indonesia and Hong Kong in fighting corruption.

We published the findings in July 2012 and concluded that it really does not matter whether or not the MACC has prosecution power. Instead, what is most important is the integrity of the Judiciary and the Attorney-General’s Office.

Any effort to improve the quality of MACC, therefore, will have to be accompanied by reform in both the judiciary and the Attorney-General’s Office. Focusing on the MACC alone is not sufficient.

If we want to see a more effective fight against corruption we must separate the roles of the Attorney-General as legal advisor to the Government and Public Prosecutor who prosecutes cases in court.

Let me justify that with a simple analogy using the case of the allegedly corrupt border enforcement officers.Let’s say the MACC do investigate the allegation and find that the problem runs all the way up to Ministerial level.

The MACC then passes the files to the Attorney-General. How much confidence do we have that the Attorney-General will prosecute his friends in Cabinet? It is obvious that as legal advisor to the Government, he is conflicted. How can he prosecute the very party he is supposed to advise?

There are actually many more proposals to improve the MACC that deserve public attention. If you are interested in this topic, I suggest you search for reports published by the Special Committee on Corruption now chaired by Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang. This bipartisan committee, whose membership consists of members of the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara, regularly comes up with some very good ideas.

One of those ideas is for the MACC to be given independence in recruiting their own officers. This suggestion has been mooted since 2010 and it makes a lot of sense. To be truly independent, MACC cannot continue to be dependent on seconded staff from the Public Service Commission, because this creates a conflict of loyalty.

But unfortunately, this idea has not received the attention that it deserves from the Government. There are times when I ask myself if our Ministers are really serious in the fight against corruption. For if they are really serious, why are they ignoring sensible ideas coming from a committee whose membership is from among their own colleagues?

Don’t they realise that the longer they choose to do nothing, the more people will feel that they have things to hide?

Wan Saiful Wan Jan is Chief Executive of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (www.ideas.org.my).

Malaysia’s Long Road to Change


June 21, 2015

Malaysia’s Long Road to Change

by Asia Sentinel Editors

http://www.asiasentinel.com/opinion/malaysias-long-road-to-change/

Taken in the current context, it is remarkable that Prime Minister Najib Razak remains in power. In an actual democracy – instead of the kind of purpose-built one-party state in Malaysia – he would presumably be long gone and perhaps in the dock.–The Asia Sentinel Editors.

Adam AdliAdam Adli- A  Rebel with Causes

The headline issues behind Malaysia’s current political crisis often puzzle outside observers, not just for the specific and sometimes bizarre details but for what they reveal about a system designed to maintain the status quo at all costs. Taken in the current context, it is remarkable that Prime Minister Najib Razak remains in power. In an actual democracy – instead of the kind of purpose-built one-party state in Malaysia – he would presumably be long gone and perhaps in the dock.

Najib's ScandalsThe 1Malaysia Development Berhad debacle, with its overtones of greed, political favoritism and inside deals is exactly the kind of sleaze that should and does bring down governments worldwide. Add to that the lingering issue of the 2006 murder of the misbegotten Mongolian party girl Altantuya Shaariibuu by bodyguards linked to Najib, the shamelessly cooked-up jailing of long-suffering opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, the poisonous stew of bitter racial politics manipulated by the ruling elite and the widespread disgust with the acquisitive ways of Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, and it is a wonder that anyone can keep a straight face while claiming Malaysia’s system is anything but a thinly disguised playpen for the Barisan National and its cronies.

Still, and finally, we may be witnessing the endgame in the country’s painful transition from the 20th century politics and governance that started with the transition from British colonialism to rule by the Barisan Nasional, the race-based coalition of political parties led by the United Malays National Organization. In power since 1957, the Barisan is the world’s longest-ruling parliamentary coalition.

Malaysia, a much richer and more sophisticated country now than it was when the kampungs could so easily be fooled by the elite, may finally have no choice but to adapt to the demands of the 21st century and the digital era.

Finding its own way

If it happens it won’t be anything like the Arab Spring, the sudden downfall of Indonesia’s Suharto or the tumultuous and joyous chaos favored by the Philippines when its people and elites overthrow governments. Instead it will be the result of a long, frustrating process that began with Anwar’s premature and frustrated effort to supplant then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in 1998 during the chaos of the Asian Financial Crisis.

anwar_ibrahim2Curiously, 17 years after those first attempts at reformasi, it almost looks as if the country is back where it started. Mahathir is lashing out, only this time at the sitting Prime Minister; Anwar is back in prison on trumped-up charges; the PM is again facing a financial scandal.

But in those days, Anwar’s movement had virtually no media voice. His supporters dreamed to no avail of a radio station that might take up the cudgels. But in keeping with the digital age, today’s political drama is being played out on the Internet by contending blogs and social media chatter that even has the royalty getting in on the act, such as the Johor Crown Prince’s recent weighing in via Facebook. Malaysians are also skewering Najib and Rosmah with vicious spoofs on YouTube.

It remains for the system to catch up with the popular mood and realize that Malaysia will stand still or go in reverse if racial gerrymandering and rank corruption prevail over change. Perhaps the real significance of the recent tantalizing news that Najib’s powerful banker brother, Nazir Razak, is poised to lead an NGO that will seek to build a unity government is that big business may finally be putting the nation’s best interests ahead of the payoffs and perks handed out by UMNO

Indeed, if UMNO chooses to align itself with the medieval minds of PAS in imposing sharia law and hudud amputations in parts of the country as a cynical way of clinging to power, an admirably modern business sector that has accomplished much could see itself mortally damaged.

The long race

Here is one way to look at this marathon drama. 1998 marked the year when Malaysians first threw off the shackles of fear by protesting in the streets. They marched, they had no fear of being arrested, they began speaking out. Later, Internet sites like Malaysiakini, Malaysia Today and Malaysian Insider kept the flames of free thought alive at a time when the mainstream media were all owned by the ruling political parties.

In 2008, a decade later, this manifested itself in the electoral field. The ruling coalition lost its two-thirds majority in parliament to the Anwar-led opposition; the then-PM was shown the door by his party colleagues led by Mahathir; and Najib took over. But in the 2013 election, the BN did even worse. It’s taken 17 years to get to this point, but the once-unthinkable question is finally being asked by more and people: is Malaysia’s single-party-rule system finally in its death throes?

Unlike more obvious dictatorships such as those that once existed in the Philippines and Indonesia, Malaysia’s collective party-certified dictators could hide under the guise of legality. That curtain is falling away and the only system most Malaysians have ever known seems as close as it has ever been to real change.

That such change carries with it risks and unease is certainly the case. The alternative – a seemingly crooked and ossified elite clinging to power through corruption, court manipulation and racism – seems far worse. Just as other countries have found a way forward without their once-entrenched despots, we are certain Malaysia will find its path.

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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Criminalizing Malaysia’s Opposition


May 13, 2015

Phnom Penh by The Mekong

The Opinion Pages | Op-Ed Contributor

Criminalizing Malaysia’s Opposition

by Nurul izzah Anwar, Member of Parliament

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/13/opinion/criminalizing-malaysias-opposition.html?ref=world&_r=1

World leaders need to tell Mr. Najib and his cronies that trade and economic considerations, including the much talked about Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, will not be placed above civil and political rights. It’s time for Malaysia’s friends around the world to stop giving our leaders a pass on sharply declining human rights and the rule of law.–Nurul izzah Anwar

Nurul IzzahKUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Last Thursday, my mother was elected the new member of Malaysia’s Parliament from Permatang Pauh, a seat that was wrested away from the opposition through the politically motivated conviction of my father, Anwar Ibrahim, a former Deputy Prime Minister and the country’s Opposition Leader. In February, the highest court in Malaysia sent him to prison for five years on trumped up charges of sodomy. He is serving his third prison sentence since 1999.

In March, I delivered a speech in Parliament focused on good governance and judicial reform on behalf of my father. The reading was deemed seditious by the government, and I was arrested and locked up overnight.

The Sedition Act, which criminalizes speech uttered “to excite disaffection” against the government, is one of this administration’s favorite cudgels. Its definition is so broad that it gives the government sweeping powers to arrest and lock up critics under the guise of punishing “sedition” or in the ostensible pursuit of maintaining public order.

In the last two years, it has been used successfully to harass or prosecute scores of people, mostly government officials, including several members of Parliament. The cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, better known as Zunar, was hit with nine charges under the Sedition Act — mostly based on tweets allegedly attacking the Judiciary over the verdict against my father. His artwork and cartoons were confiscated, and he is now out on bail.

In addition to harassing me and persecuting my father, the state has applied constant pressure on my mother, a state assemblywoman, in hopes that she will wilt both physically and psychologically. The Police have also hinted of their plans to interrogate my younger sister, Nurul Nuha, who is leading March 2 Freedom, a coalition to free my father.

We are running out of family members for officials to arrest on bogus charges. What’s most alarming is that the government’s actions are part of a much larger pattern of threats to the rule of law and human rights. In recent months, every week or so brings news of the politically motivated detention of a government critic. I am out on bail now, but my arrest is intended to silence me and to warn other would-be government critics.

The United Malays National Organization, known as UMNO, and its allies have been in power since independence in 1957. The tempo of state repression quickened two years ago after the 2013 parliamentary elections when the opposition won 51 percent of votes cast, versus 47 percent for the government.

Through gerrymandering and the creation of uneven electoral districts, the ruling coalition clung to power by holding on to 60 percent of the seats. The Electoral Integrity Project, an international organization, recently rated Malaysia as having the worst electoral-district boundaries in the world and among the worst election rules. This places Malaysia alongside countries like Zimbabwe, Angola and Egypt.

The opposition’s showing at the polls two years ago was a political near-death experience for Prime Minister Najib Razak and the ruling party. It was answered with investigations, arrests and imprisonment.

Meanwhile, UMNO, whose main constituency has historically been the ethnic Malay Muslim majority, with help from its pliant coalition partners, has cynically raised the mercury on issues related to race, religion and the Malaysian royal family, so as to keep the mult-ethnic opposition coalition on the defensive.

Religious freedom in a country with sizable Christian, Buddhist and Hindu minorities is now endangered as public figures vying for popular support among Muslims have supported the persecution of religious minorities. Christians, who make up about 10 percent of the population, have been a prime target.

Last month, for example, in one high-profile incident, demonstrators in Petaling Jaya demanded that Christians remove a cross from the exterior of their church — and the cross was removed. And in 2013, Ibrahim Ali, a leader of Perkasa, a Malay supremacist organization, allegedly publicly endorsed the burning of Bibles.

Instead of focusing on dissenters, government officials should be doing their jobs. For one thing, Malaysia’s economy needs revamping. A sizable portion of the working population in a young country of 30 million citizens still remains eligible for welfare cash handouts. We are too reliant on natural resources. The gap between the rich and poor has been growing and is now among the widest in the region. Our education system remains weak and incoherently structured, creating an unemployable class with poor career prospects.

The Pakatan Rakyat opposition coalition that my party is a part of aims to focus on structural reforms in key economic policies with the goal of creating a clean and more effective government. Reducing inequality and the cost of living, providing affordable housing, good governance and a serious fight against corruption are our priorities.

Malaysia’s answer to extremism has been economic opportunity. Now that this deal is faltering, and now that the borders are porous — more than 1,000 refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh landed on our shores on Monday — there is a risk that extremism could find a home here.

It’s encouraging that Mahathir Mohamad, the country’s former long-time Prime Minister, has recently become Prime Minister Najib’s fiercest critic, attacking him as corrupt and incompetent.

But we need louder voices to condemn what’s happening here. World leaders need to tell Mr. Najib and his cronies that trade and economic considerations, including the much talked about Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, will not be placed above civil and political rights. It’s time for Malaysia’s friends around the world to stop giving our leaders a pass on sharply declining human rights and the rule of law.

Democracy at work in the United Kingdom


May 11, 2015

 Phnom Penh by The Mekong

COMMENT:  Public duty? Yes, in the United Kingdom, the cradle of democracy. Why? Because politiciansDin Merican lastest there treat politics as a call to public service. Men and women  who enter politics are individuals with outstanding credentials and generally clean record of service to Britons. They are part of the system that is open, transparent and accountable. The 2015 British Elections is shining example of true democracy at work. It was conducted peacefully and there is no talk of rigging and cheating. Clean and fair elections  was the order of the day.

In Malaysia, politics in recent years has become an opportunity for politicians to further their self interest. We no longer have leaders like Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Abdul Razak and Tun Dr. Ismail Abdul Rahman, Tun Tan Siew Sin, Tun Sambanthan and Tun Hussein Onn, who gave their lives in the service of the country. Today, our politicians are thieves of state, to whom the idea of public duty and national service is not their ethos.

Tunku, Razak, IsmailWe started out as a democracy with a  strong constitution which treats all citizens as equals under the law, guarantees freedom of  assembly, expression and speech, freedom of religion,  and clear separation of power between the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. The British left us with an outstanding civil service , an education system which was second to none, a judiciary system that we all can be proud of , and a dedicated Police Force. But the British were no angels. They also left with draconian laws like the Internal Security Act and the Sedition Act.  But democratic politics was their legacy.

After nearly 58 years of UMNO-Barisan, our democratic system of governance has broken down and is in need of urgent reform. Over the last 6 years, we have seen our fundamental freedoms taken away from us. Our Parliament is a rubber stamp; our judiciary is compromised; our civil service is mediocre and incompetent led by a bunch of apple polishers;  our Police Force  which is headed by an Inspector General of Police treats us like enemies of state, not as taxpayers and citizens who should be protected from criminals; our fiscal management is in a total mess because we have a Finance Minister who regards our national coffers as if it were his own and mismanages our economy.  We  have rampant corruption and abuses of power.

As a result, we are far being a democracy as originally envisioned  by our founding fathers. In stead, we have become a nation divided by class, race and religion with a Prime Minister who answers to no one and who acts with impunity and in defiance of what you and I think of him and his Cabinet of incompetent, inept, mute and self serving Ministers. In short, we have become a racist and theocratic state led by men and women who no longer uphold the traditions of public duty–Din Merican

Democracy at work in the United Kingdom

by Mike Tan @www. the antdaily.com.my
The UK elections are over, and the Conservatives, under David Cameron, won an overwhelming 331 seats, its first such victory since 1992.
Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg, David Farage

While David Cameron takes his time to select his Cabinet, his rivals lost no time in taking responsibility for their parties’ poor showing in the elections. Three UK political party leaders – Ed Miliband of the Labour Party, Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats and Nigel Farage of the UK Independent Party (picture above) – all resigned after their parties suffered big losses in the election.

All four men may have different political perspectives and ambitions, but they share one thing in common – the wisdom of knowing when to step down when their time is up. They neither hesitated nor shied from their final act of duty as leaders of a political party, announcing their resignations the day after the results were known.

They leave with the knowledge that their parties will continue with the political struggle, that there will be others who will take their place and helm the respective parties in the future. Their parties are full of ambitious and knowledgeable politicians, not mere sycophants and yes-men. This is why democracy is alive and well in UK.

Contrast that with MCA president Liow Tiong Lai, who recently announced that MCA will work hard to reform the party. “MCA needs to work harder in the future. We need to effectively show the party’s role as part of the government to gain more support from the Chinese community,” he said.

It is no secret that support for MCA is at an all-time low, with the once-mighty party now only having seven parliamentary seats and 11 state assemblymen. MCA had suffered consecutive defeats in the previous two general elections, and is close to becoming irrelevant in the eyes of the Malaysian public.

To be fair, MCA was helmed by Dr Chua Soi Lek at that time, who had declared that MCA should not accept any government posts following its worst electoral defeat ever. In doing so, Chua did something no Malaysian political leader had ever done before.

Perhaps Malaysian politicians feel they have earned the right to ministerial positions in other ways than a good showing in elections, unlike their counterparts in the UK.

Chua ultimately made way for Liow in December 2013.Liow quickly reversed Chua’s decision, taking the much-coveted Transport Minister’s post for himself. Chua’s son, Chua Tee Yong, became deputy finance minister as well. Yet MCA remains as it always has been – doing the same thing, or rather, not doing anything at all, if you listen to its critics.

Liow has yet to lead MCA as president into a general election, and thus he remains untested. His track record thus far, however, has not been good.Under his leadership, MCA avoided contesting the Bukit Gelugor by-election and lost the Kajang by-election, both held in 2014. In all honestly, MCA had little if no chance of winning, so it made the right move to avoid contesting against DAP, but had to put up a fight in Kajang, where it predictably lost.

Liow would argue that he and MCA have not been given a chance to prove themselves in a general election. He might even claim that his call for reform will be the first step to a drastic change in MCA and ultimately lead to Chinese voters supporting the party once again.

It’s true, Liow hasn’t proven himself yet. But rest assured, nothing will stop him from taking a ministerial position after the next general election, unless he is forced to step down, like his predecessor.

In UK, political party leaders lead their parties to victory before becoming ministers. In Malaysia, they become ministers before leading their party into elections, and even if their parties suffer humiliating defeats.

That is the difference between the democracy practised there and what goes on here in our country. And in a way, this somewhat explains why Malaysia will never ever be great like Great Britain. – The Ant Daily

Attorney-General A Gani Patail: Time to Go


May 3, 2015

Phnom Penh by The Mekong

Attorney-General A Gani Patail: Time to Go, says UMNO-owned Mingguan Malaysia

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/a-g-no-longer-up-to-the-burden-awang-selamat-claims

Gani Patail 2Under-fire Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail likely no longer wants the “burden” of being Malaysia’s Attorney-General, UMNO-owned Mingguan Malaysia said today citing his allegedly poor health.

Saying that Gani was again facing a new wave of criticism over past failures to prosecute cases of sedition involving insults against Islam and the royalty, the editors writing under the Awang Selamat pseudonym said the A-G was being viewed as an obstacle to demands for stern action.

“That is the general perception. But sometimes Awang sympathises with the A-G, Gani Patail who is always being bashed for the weakness of others. “Rumour has it that Gani is on leave due to health issues… Personally, Awang feels Gani should not be further burdened with this heavy and challenging duty. His commitment and service for the past 12 years is undeniable,” they wrote.

The paper added that Gani’s contract is due to expire soon, and said he was not likely to want to remain in the post even if offered an extension as he is at a point in life when family and health are of greater importance.

“Let someone new navigate the challenge. Who will this be?”

Selective Prosecution

Gani is regularly accused of selective prosecution from both sides of the political divide. Pro-establishment voices claim he is not stern enough with incidents involving perceived insults against the Malays, Muslims and the Malay Rulers. Opposition leaders in turn accuse him of intentionally targeting them as well as dissenters against the government while ignoring provocation against non-Muslims.

Gani came under intense criticism last year after it was revealed that his office chose not to prosecute PERKASA President Datuk Ibrahim Ali for the latter’s call for Muslims to burn copies of the Bible, purportedly as the Malay Rights leader was acting in defence of Islam.