Governance Matters–Effective Action speaks louder than words


November 17, 2017

Governance Matters–Effective Action speaks louder than Political Talk

by TK Chua

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com

Image result for Governance Matters

For whatever reasons or motives, I think we have showered enough praise on Dr. D. Jeyakumar, the MP for Sungai Siput and Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), the only “socialist party” in Malaysia. It is a plus if he is humble and willing to serve his constituents diligently.

But first and foremost, why did he become a politician? He must have believed that his policies and “system of government” would bring the people a better life.

Why do people face systemic problems every day – the problems that the government system is supposed to resolve for them? How effective can he be by helping five people here and two people there, when society churns them out by the thousands each year – problems that are generated out of deliberate marginalisation, neglect, discrimination, incompetency and ignorance?

Image result for Mahathir and Good Governance

Lee Lam Thye and Michael Chong have also done the same thing for many years. They helped some people, no doubt, but have they brought societal change to Malaysia? If anything, they have made those who were supposed to do their jobs even more complacent and lazy. When a person gets beaten up, why must he see Chong and not the Police?

Similarly, why can’t the built-in system in Sosco or any government institution provide efficient and equitable services for the people?

We elect MPs because we want better governance and policy changes, not just to provide day-to-day services to the people.

I maintain that if our governance is right, our civil service professional, and our government competent and corruption-free, the services rendered to the people will be above board and fair.

Over many decades, we have fought over ideologies. From my observations, ideologies do not put food on the table or bring people a better life. Both communism and socialism have failed, as has unfettered capitalism or a version of the two extremes.

Image result for Mahathir and Good Governance

Najib Razak believes in 1Malaysia Governance: Lu Tolong Gua, Gua Tolong Lu

What matters the most is pragmatism, “corruption-less” government and good governance. Seriously, does it matter if the government is neoliberal or neoclassical?

Let’s be realistic: Jeyakumar and PSM can’t bring systemic change to this country, at least in the foreseeable future. Instead of creating dissension, he and PSM should join forces with right-minded politicians and political parties to bring fundamental changes to this country.

TK Chua is an FMT reader.

Comment: Dr Jeyakumar was a devoted Member of Parliament, Sungei Siput, Perak. He earned the reputation of being the man who defeated MIC President Samy Velu. He is a committed socialist. While we may recognise his service to his constituents, we should not glorify him. Here, I agree with TK Chua.

Ideology no longer matters these days. Tell me what is communism with Chinese characteristics? It is no longer Maoism. I think it is Confucian capitalism. Times have changed and so have expectations. Politicians have become dinosaurs for not keeping up with the times. They are short of deliverables; in fact, they have not produced results in terms of improving the lives of the people they seek to serve. Ideology does not create and public goods. What is lacking today is good governance. This seems to be a global problem. Look at Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Congo, and Yemen. –Din Merican

 

President Donald J. Trump’s Address to The National Assembly of The Republic of Korea


November 8, 2107

President Donald J. Trump’s Address to The National Assembly of The Republic of Korea

 

CNN–President Donald Trump issued a stark warning to North Korea during his address Wednesday to South Korea’s National Assembly.

TRUMP: Assembly Speaker Chung, distinguished members of this assembly, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for the extraordinary privilege to speak in this great chamber, and to address your people on behalf of the great people of the United States of America.

In our short time in your country, Melania and I have been awed by its ancient, modern wonders, and we are deeply moved by the warmth of your welcome

Last night, President and Mrs. Moon showed us incredible hospitality in a beautiful reception at the Blue House. We had productive discussions on increasing military cooperation and improving the trade relationship between our nations on the principle of fairness and reciprocity.

Through this entire visit, it has been both our pleasure and our honor to create and celebrate a long friendship between the United States and the Republic of Korea.

This alliance between our nations was forged in the crucible of war and strengthened by the trials of history. From the Inchon landings to Pork Chop Hill, American and South Korean soldiers have fought together, sacrificed together, and triumphed together.

Almost 67 years ago, in the spring of 1951, they recaptured what remained of this city, where we are gathered so proudly today. It was the second time in a year that our combined forces took on steep casualties to retake this capital from the Communists.

Over the next weeks and months, the men soldiered through steep mountains and bloody, bloody battles. Driven back at times, they willed their way north to form the line that today divides the oppressed and the free. And there, American and South Korean troops have remained together holding that line for nearly seven decades.

(APPLAUSE)

By the time the armistice was signed in 1953, more than 36,000 Americans had died in the Korean War, with more than 100,000 others very badly wounded. They are heroes, and we honor them.

We also honor and remember the terrible price the people of your country paid for their freedom. You lost hundreds of thousands of brave soldiers and countless innocent civilians in that gruesome war.

Much of this great city of Seoul was reduced to rubble. Large portions of the country were scarred severely, severely hurt by this horrible war. The economy of this nation was demolished.

But as the entire world knows, over the next two generations, something miraculous happened on the southern half of this peninsula. Family by family, city by city, the people of South Korea built this country into what is today one of the great nations of the world. And I congratulate you.

(APPLAUSE)

In less than one lifetime, South Korea climbed from total devastation to among the wealthiest nations on Earth. Today your economy is more than 350 times larger than what it was in 1960. Trade has increased 1,900 times. Life expectancy has risen from just 53 years to more than 82 years today.

Like Korea, and since my election exactly one year ago today, I celebrate with you.

(APPLAUSE)

The United States is going through something of a miracle itself. Our stock market is at an all-time high. Unemployment is at a 17-year low. We are defeating ISIS. We are strengthening our judiciary, including a brilliant Supreme Court justice, and on and on and on.

Currently stationed in the vicinity of this peninsula are the three largest aircraft carriers in the world, loaded to the maximum with magnificent F-35 and F-18 fighter jets.

In addition, we have nuclear submarines appropriately positioned. The United States under my administration is completely rebuilding its military and is spending hundreds of billions of dollars to the newest and finest military equipment anywhere in the world being built right now.

I want peace through strength.

(APPLAUSE)

We are helping the Republic of Korea far beyond what any other country has ever done. And in the end, we will work things out far better than anybody understands or can even appreciate.

I know that the Republic of Korea, which has become a tremendously successful nation, will be a faithful ally of the United States very long into the future.

(APPLAUSE)

What you have built is truly an inspiration. Your economic transformation was linked to a political one. The proud sovereign and independent people of your nation demanded the right to govern themselves. You secured free parliamentary elections in 1988, the same year you hosted your first Olympics.

Soon after, you elected your first civilian president in more than three decades. And when the republic you won faced financial crisis, you lined up by the millions to give your most prized possessions — your wedding rings, heirlooms and gold “luck” keys to restore the promise of a better future for your children.

(APPLAUSE)

Your wealth is measured in more than money. It is measured in achievements of the mind and achievements of spirit. Over the last several decades, your scientists have — engineers — and engineered so many magnificent things. You’ve pushed the boundaries of technology, pioneered miraculous medical treatments, and emerged as leaders in unlocking the mysteries of our universe.

Korean authors penned roughly 40,000 books this year. Korean musicians fill concert halls all around the world. Young Korean students graduate from college at the highest rates of any country. And Korean golfers are some of the best on Earth.

(APPLAUSE)

In fact — and you know what I’m going to say — the women’s U.S. Open was held this year at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey…

… and it just happened to be won by a great Korean golfer, Sung Hyun Park, and eight of the top 10 players were from Korea. And the top four golfers — one, two, three, four — the top four were from Korea. Congratulations.

(APPLAUSE)

Congratulations. Now, that’s something. That is really something.

Here in Seoul, architectural wonders, like the 63 Building and the Lotte World Tower — very beautiful — grace the sky and house the workers of many growing industries. Your citizens now help to feed the hungry, fight terrorism, and solve problems all over the world. And in a few months, you will host the world and you will do a magnificent job at the 23rd Olympic Winter Games. Good luck.

(APPLAUSE)

The Korean miracle extends exactly as far as the armies of free nations advanced in 1953. Twenty-five miles to the north, there it stops. It all comes to an end, dead stop. The flourishing ends and the prison state of North Korea, sadly, begins.

Workers in North Korea labor grueling hours in unbearable conditions for almost no pay. Recently, the entire working population was ordered to work for 70 days straight or else pay for a day of rest. Families live in homes without plumbing, and fewer than half have electricity. Parents bribe teachers in hopes of saving their sons and daughters from forced labor. More than a million North Koreans died of famine in the 1990s, and more continue to die of hungry today. Among children under the age of 5, nearly 30 percent of afflicted and are afflicted by stunted growth due to malnutrition.

And yet, in 2012 and 2013, the regime spent an estimated $200 million, or almost half the money that it allocated to improve living standards for its people, to instead build even more monuments, towers, and statues to glorify its dictators. What remains of the meager harvest of the North Korean economy is distributed according to perceived loyalty to a twisted regime.

Far from valuing its people as equal citizens, this cruel dictatorship measures them, scores them, and ranks them based on the most arbitrary indications of their allegiance to the state. Those who score the highest in loyalty may live in the capital city. Those who score the lowest starve.

A small infraction by one citizen, such as accidentally staining a picture of the tyrant printed in a discarded newspaper, can wreck the social credit rank of his entire family for many decades.

An estimated 100,000 North Koreans suffer in gulags, toiling in forced labor, and enduring torture, starvation, rape, and murder on a constant basis.

In one known instance, a nine-year-old boy was imprisoned for 10 years because his grandfather was accused of treason. In another, a student was beaten in school for forgetting a single detail about the life of Kim Jong-un. Soldiers have kidnapped foreigners and forced them to work as language tutors for North Korean spies.

In the part of Korea that was a stronghold for Christianity before the war, Christians and other people of faith who are found praying or holding a religious book of any kind are now detained, tortured, and, in many cases, even executed.

North Korean women are forced to abort babies that are considered ethnically inferior. And if these babies are born, the newborns are murdered. One woman’s baby born to a Chinese father was taken away in a bucket. The guard said it did not deserve to live because it was impure. So why would China feel an obligation to help North Korea?

The horror of life in North Korea is so complete that citizens pay bribes to government officials to have themselves exported aboard as slaves. They would rather be slaves than live in North Korea.

To attempt to flee is a crime punishable by death. One person who escaped remarked, “When I think about it now, I was not a human being. I was more like an animal. Only after leaving North Korea did I realize what life was supposed to be.”

And so, on this peninsula, we have watched the results of a tragic experiment in a laboratory of history. It is a tale of one people, but two Koreas. One Korea in which the people took control of their lives and their country and chose a future of freedom and justice, of civilization and incredible achievement, and another Korea in which leaders imprison their people under the banner of tyranny, fascism, and oppression.

The results of this experiment are in, and they are totally conclusive. When the Korean War began in 1950, the two Koreas were approximately equal in GDP per capita. But by the 1990s, South Korea’s wealth had surpassed North Korea’s by more than 10 times. And today, the South’s economy is over 40 times larger. So you started the same a short while ago, and now you’re 40 times larger. You’re doing something right.

Considering the misery wrought by the North Korean dictatorship, it is no surprise that it has been forced to take increasingly desperate measures to prevent its people from understanding this brutal contrast. Because the regime fears the truth above all else, it forbids virtually all contact with the outside world. Not just my speech today, but even the most commonplace facts of South Korean life are forbidden knowledge to the North Korean people.

Western and South Korean music is banned. Possession of foreign media is a crime punishable by death. Citizens spy on fellow citizens. Their homes are subject to search at any time, and their every action is subject to surveillance. In place of a vibrant society, the people of North Korea are bombarded by state propaganda practically every waking hour of the day.

North Korea is a country ruled as a cult. At the center of this military cult is a deranged belief in the leader’s destiny to rule as parent-protector over a conquered Korean peninsula and an enslaved Korean people.

The more successful South Korea becomes, the more decisively you discredit the dark fantasy at the heart of the Kim regime. In this way, the very existence of a thriving South Korean republic threatens the very survival of the North Korean dictatorship.

This city and this assembly are living proof that a free and independent Korea not only can but does stand strong, sovereign, and proud among the nations of the world.

(APPLAUSE)

Here the strength of the nation does not come from the false glory of a tyrant. It comes from the true and powerful glory of a strong and great people, the people of the Republic of Korea, a Korean people who are free to live, to flourish, to worship, to love, to build, and to grow their own destiny.

In this republic, the people have done what no dictator ever could. You took, with the help of the United States, responsibility for yourselves and ownership of your future. You had a dream, a Korean dream, and you built that dream into a great reality.

In so doing, you performed the Miracle on the Han that we see all around us, from the stunning skyline of Seoul to the plains and peaks of this beautiful landscape. You have done it freely, you have done it happily, and you have done it in your own very beautiful way.

This reality, this wonderful place, your success is the greatest cause of anxiety, alarm, and even panic to the North Korean regime. That is why the Kim regime seeks conflict abroad, to distract from total failure that they suffer at home.

Since the so-called armistice, there have been hundreds of North Korean attacks on Americans and South Koreans. These attacks have included the capture and torture of the brave American soldiers of the USS Pueblo, repeated assaults on American helicopters, and the 1969 downing of a U.S. surveillance plane that killed 31 American servicemen.

The regime has made numerous lethal incursions in South Korea, attempted to assassinate senior leaders, attacked South Korean ships, and tortured Otto Warmbier, ultimately leading to that fine young man’s death.

All the while, the regime has pursued nuclear weapons with the deluded hope that it could blackmail its way to the ultimate objective. So — and that objective we are not going to let it have. We are not going to let it have. All of Korea is under that spell divided in half. South Korea will never allow what’s going on in North Korea to continue to happen.

The North Korean regime has pursued its nuclear and ballistic missile programs in defiance of every assurance, agreement, and commitment it has made to the United States and its allies. It’s broken all of those commitments. After promising to freeze its plutonium program in 1994, it repeated the benefits of the deal and then, and then immediately continued its illicit nuclear activities.

In 2005, after years of diplomacy, the dictatorship agreed to ultimately abandon its nuclear programs and return to the treaty on nonproliferation. But it never did. And worse, it tested the very weapons it said it was going to give up.

In 2009, the United States gave negotiations yet another chance and offered North Korea the open hand of engagement. The regime responded by sinking a South Korean Navy ship, killing 46 Korean sailors. To this day, it continues to launch missiles over the sovereign territory of Japan and all other neighbors, test nuclear devices, and develop ICBMs to threaten the United States itself.

The regime has interpreted America’s past restraint as weakness. This would be a fatal miscalculation.

This is a very different administration than the United States has had in the past. Today I hope I speak not only for our countries, but for all civilized nations when I say to the North: Do not underestimate us. And do not try us.

We will defend our common security, our shared prosperity, and our sacred liberty. We did not choose to draw here on this peninsula…

(APPLAUSE)

… this magnificent peninsula the thin line of civilization that runs around the world and down through time. But here it was drawn, and here it remains to this day.

It is the line between peace and war, between decency and depravity, between law and tyranny, between hope and total despair. It is a line that has been drawn many times in many places throughout history. To hold that line is a choice free nations have always had to make.

We have learned together the high cost of weakness and the high stakes of its defense. America’s men and women in uniform have given their lives in the fight against Nazism, imperialism, Communism, and terrorism. America does not seek conflict or confrontation. But we will never run from it.

Image result for Donald Trump at The Korean National Assembly

History is filled with discarded regimes that have foolishly tested America’s resolve. Anyone who doubts the strength or determination of the United States should look to our past, and you will doubt it no longer.

We will not permit America or our allies to be blackmailed or attacked. We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction. We will not be intimidated. And we will not let the worst atrocities in history be repeated here on this ground we fought and died so hard to secure.

(APPLAUSE)

That is why I come here to the heart of a free and flourishing Korea with a message for the peace-loving nations of the world: The time for excuses is over. Now is the time for strength. If you want peace, you must stand strong at all times. The world…

(APPLAUSE)

The world cannot tolerate the menace of a rogue regime that threatens with nuclear devastation. All responsible nations must join forces to isolate the brutal regime of North Korea, to deny it and any form, any form of it, you cannot support, you cannot supply, you cannot accept.

We call on every nation, including China and Russia, to fully implement U.N. Security Council resolutions, downgrade diplomatic relations with the regime, and sever all ties of trade and technology. It is our responsibility and our duty to confront this danger together, because the longer we wait, the greater the danger grows and the fewer the options become.

(APPLAUSE)

And to those nations that choose to ignore this threat — or worse still, to enable it — the weight of this crisis is on your conscience. I also have come here to this peninsula to deliver a message directly to the leader of the North Korean dictatorship.

The weapons you are acquiring are not making you safer. They are putting your regime in grave danger. Every step you take down this dark path increases the peril you face.

North Korea is not the paradise your grandfather envisioned. It is a hell that no person deserves.

Yet despite every crime you have committed against God and man, you are ready to offer — and we will do that — we will offer a path to a much better future. It begins with an end to the aggression of your regime, a stop to your development of ballistic missiles, and complete, verifiable, and total denuclearization.

(APPLAUSE)

A sky-top view of this peninsula shows a nation of dazzling light in the South and a mass of impenetrable darkness in the North. We seek a future of light, prosperity, and peace. But we are only prepared to discuss this brighter path for North Korea if its leaders cease their threats and dismantle their nuclear program.

The sinister regime of North Korea is right about only one thing: The Korean people do have a glorious destiny. But they could not be more wrong about what that destiny looks like. The destiny of the Korean people is not to suffer in the bondage of oppression, but to thrive in the glory of freedom.

(APPLAUSE)

What South Koreans have achieved on this peninsula is more than a victory for your nation. It is a victory for every nation that believes in the human spirit. And it is our hope that someday soon all of your brothers and sisters of the North will be able to enjoy the fullest of life intended by God.

Your republic shows us all of what is possible. In just a few decades, with only the hard work, courage, and talents of your people, you turned this war-torn land into a nation blessed with wealth, rich in culture, and deep in spirit. You built a home where all families can flourish and where all children can shine and be happy.

This Korea stands strong and tall among the great community of independent, confident, and peace-loving nations. We are nations that respect our citizens, cherish our liberty, treasure our sovereignty, and control our own destiny. We affirm the dignity of every person and embrace the full potential of every soul. And we are always prepared to defend the vital interests of our people against the cruel ambition of tyrants.

Together, we dream of a Korea that is free, a peninsula that is safe, and families that are reunited once again. We dream of highways connecting North and South, of cousins embracing cousins, and this nuclear nightmare replaced with the beautiful promise of peace.

Until that day comes, we stand strong and alert. Our eyes are fixed to the North and our hearts praying for the day when all Koreans can live in freedom.

Thank you. God bless you. God bless the Korean people. Thank you very much. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

American Liberal Education: Lessons for Malaysia


November 6, 2017

American Liberal Education: Lessons for Malaysia

by Dr. M. Bakri Musa

Morgan-Hill, California

Western secular, humanistic liberal education may have many faults but it is still superior to what is being offered elsewhere. That is a good enough reason for Malaysia to embrace it.–Dr. M. Bakri Musa

Image result for allan bloom the closing of the american mind
Professor Allan Bloom–The Closing of the American Mind

 

My praise for American liberal education notwithstanding, there is no shortage of criticisms of the system. Allan Bloom may be among the earliest and harshest, but you could have a small library compiling books, monographs, and essays critical of the system. A few years ago The New York Review of Books carried an article reviewing eight such books, including one co-written by the former President of Princeton University.

Examine the typical American high school today; it is huge. The largest has an enrollment exceeding 5,000. As there are only four high school years, this means the graduating class would have about 1,250 students. That is less a school, more a huge human educational factory or warehouse. Many American schools now have policemen patrolling and metal detectors. Still that had not prevented great tragedies like the Columbine High School massacre of 1999 that shocked the nation

The physical challenges brought on by the sheer massive size of these institutions aside, there are other even greater non-physical crises. For the most part they are hidden and consequently become entrenched and pervasive.

Then there are the exorbitant and rising costs of college which defy rational explanations. They are then hidden by the ready availability of student loans. Those loans contribute to the problem as universities can now raise fees with impunity. Economists predict that the next financial crisis in America will be with student loans. The scale and impact would be much bigger than the current [2008] housing bust.

Then there is the faculty. At many universities especially the top ones, professors are more akin to full-time researchers, with teaching a chore to be avoided at all costs. Professors brag about “protected time” from teaching, that being the new badge of honor! Teaching falls increasingly on over-worked adjunct (part-time) faculty and graduate students.

More alarming, researchers at universities are mostly funded by industry or special interest groups, thus calling into question the integrity of their work. An alumnus of Harvard Business School related how the luminaries there were heaping praises on Royal Bank of Scotland’s management right up to the bank’s collapse. No surprise there as those professors were highly-paid consultants to the bank at the time.

At the other end of the spectrum is the corrupting influence of lucrative collegiate sports. On many campuses, the highest paid and most influential individual is not the president or the brilliant professors, but the football coach!

Those criticisms do not detract from the value of the American broad-based liberal education. It aims to produce “T” graduates, depth in one field with interest and general understanding across broad areas. In contrast, the Malaysian system we inherited from the British produces “I” graduates with narrowly focused skills and interests.

The world now recognizes the value of a liberal education. China, India, and Japan (indeed the world) send their best students to America. These countries are also busy enticing American colleges to set up branch campuses in their home countries. The greatest concentration of American colleges is in the Middle East, specifically the Gulf States. Within a generation this will prove transformational for the Arab world. Already in Egypt, the most prestigious university (where the elite send their children and where the graduates are highly sought after) is not the centuries-old Al Azhar but the American University in Cairo, established less than a hundred years ago. Likewise, despite the turmoil in Lebanon, the American University in Beirut remains the crown jewel of Arab intellectual achievement.

My concern is not with the American criticisms of its system, rather those coming from commentators and intellectuals of the developing world, specifically Malaysia. Those criticisms carry much more weight with local policymakers and parents.

To these Malaysian critics, American liberal education is devoid of “values” and geared only to serve the needs of the economic machinery of its capitalistic system. They hold up as exemplary the Islamic education system with its objective of producing “good” citizens inculcated with the “correct” moral values. To these critics, unless you believe in God, (not any God however, only the God that they pray to), you cannot be moral, ethical, or “good.”

These critics belittle the achievements of Western education in producing competent engineers and scientists, denouncing them as mere “tools” of the capitalistic economy. That may well be, but by being those “tools” these graduates are serving and contributing to the good of society. When American universities produce competent engineers who design safe jet planes, the whole world benefits; likewise when the system produces scientists who discover vaccines against major killers like polio. Those graduates fit the Islamic definition of being soleh.

Condolence to Syed Hussein Alatas
Professor Dr. Syed Hussein Alatas
Image result for The Myth of The Lazy Native by Dr Syed Hussein Alatas
 

There was one critic worthy of special mention because of the wide reception of his views especially in the Muslim world, the acclaimed sociologist Professor Dr. Syed Hussein Alatas. He accused the Western system of education of perpetrating “intellectual imperialism,” imposing its views on students and scholars from the developing world. They, in turn, are guilty of having a “captive mind,” which he defined as an “uncritical and imitative mind dominated by an external source, whose thinking is deflected from an independent perspective.” That external source is of course Western scholarship

I commend Dr. Syed Hussein’s take on the social sciences but when he tried to extend his observation to the natural sciences, he was on “thin ice,” to use an English metaphor. To him, my using that metaphor reflects this Western intellectual imperialism. Otherwise, he would presumably argue, I would use a different metaphor, like stepping on a banana peel. That would be more in tune with our tropical environment, quite apart from being more readily understood by those from the tropics.

Image result for The University of Malaya in the 1960s
The University of Malaya, Pantai Valley, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia circa 1960s

 

That aside, Dr. Syed Hussein’s observation carries considerable truth. In the early years of the University of Malaya, its leaders and policymakers were more obsessed with replicating a jungle version of Oxford and Cambridge than making a university of Malaya, meaning one that would serve the specific needs of the local society.

Far too often what goes on at local campuses bears little relevance to the surrounding reality. Malaysia desperately needs English teachers, yet not one local university has a Department of English. Likewise, rubber and tin are our two major resources, yet there is very little research into either commodity done on Malaysian campuses. The same goes for endemic local parasitic diseases like dengue.

Dr. Syed Hussein was correct in citing the lack of creativity of students from developing countries who have had the benefit of superior education at Western universities.

I once asked a Malaysian professor why he had not contributed any original published work since getting his doctorate from an Ivy League university. When he noted that I was not impressed with his ready excuse of heavy administrative burdens, he tried others, such as inadequate support facilities like libraries. He obviously had not heard of the Internet. Indeed, many journals and research institutions now give free membership (and thus access to publications and research findings) if you identify yourself as a scholar or faculty from the developing world.

I agree with Dr. Syed Hussein when he chastised Third World graduates and scholars who have had the benefit of superior education afforded at leading Western universities for exhibiting “captive minds” and not demonstrating creativity when solving local problems. I disagree with him however, when he faulted those institutions and their faculties.

Many of the innovations and creative thinking in the developing world today are the products of minds nurtured at leading Western universities. The good Dr. Syed Hussein was Exhibit One, as he had a Phd from the University of Amsterdam. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syed_Hussein_Alatas ).Those “captive minds” that Dr. Syed Hussein condemned are more likely to be the products of Third World universities including such leading ones as Al Azhar. I cannot think of any innovation, Islamic or otherwise, that emanates from that institution.

Western secular, humanistic liberal education may have many faults but it is still superior to what is being offered elsewhere. That is a good enough reason for Malaysia to embrace it.

 

Ops Lalang–Dr. Mahathir and Anwar are the Villians, says MCA Publicity Man


October 30, 2017

Ops Lalang–Dr. Mahathir and Anwar are the Villians, says MCA Publicity Man

Image result for Tee Lian Ker

by Ti Lian Ker@www.malaysiakini.com

COMMENT | We are now commemorating the 30th anniversary of the biggest crackdown on innocent activists, politicians from both sides of the divide (including MCA leaders ), intellectuals, academics and activists, including the revocation of the publishing licences of two dailies – the MCA-owned The Star and Sin Chew Jit Poh.

The dragnet was the landmark of then Prime inister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s draconian iron-fisted Machiavellian style of maintaining power for 22 years.

Mahathir had been an authoritarian and condemned for bringing “dooms and time bombs” to Malaysia by his political enemy – but now ally – DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang.

Image result for Mahathir and Anwar

Ops Lalang was said to be caused by the growing racial tensions by Mahathir’s government that were said to be too “tolerant” and “liberal”. However, the real and immediate cause was the appointment of about 100 non-Mandarin speaking senior assistants to vernacular Chinese schools, which caused anxiety and fear among Chinese educationists and politicians.

On October 11, 1987, the United Chinese Schools Committee Association, also known as Dong Jiao Zong, together with Chinese politicians had gathered more than 2,000 people to protest against this decision that was seen as a direct attack on the character of Chinese vernacular schools.

Coincidentally, the Education Minister then was Anwar Ibrahim. At the time, Anwar was a rising political star and Mahathir’s protege in UMNO. Anwar repeatedly warned of retaliation and that the Education Ministry’s decision would not be changed or compromised despite pressure from component parties, including MCA.

Image result for lim kit siang and mahathir

 

A week later, on October 17, 1987, UMNO Youth responded to the Thean Hou Kong 2,000 gathering with a bigger rally of 10,000, where UMNO politicians displayed their ire at MCA politicians for participating in the protest.

This was followed with a promise of a half a million UMNO members gathering on November 1, 1987, by the then UMNO Secretary-General Sanusi Junid, who is a Mahathir loyalist. This was calculated and meant to increase the tempo of racial tension.

However, on or about October 27, 1987, Ops Lalang was carried out, targeting Chinese activists, academicians, politicians, etc, who were arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA). They were arrested and detained without trial by the order of the Home Minister, who was also the prime minister.

Looking back, the protagonists or “villains” of the dark period known as Ops Lalang were none other than Mahathir and Anwar.

Was the blatant and forceful decision to appoint a large number of non-Mandarin speaking teachers to helm Chinese vernacular schools intentional? Was this decision made knowing that it would provoke a massive “violent” reaction from Chinese educationists and politicians?

Were the events leading to Ops Lalang orchestrated by both Mahathir and Anwar?

Ironically, we are now asked by the biggest critic of these two “villains” who was also a victim of Ops Lalang, Kit Siang, to vote and support these “villains”.

DAP and Kit Siang might have chosen to forgive and absolve these “villains” but there are others, including MCA politicians, who were innocent victims of this blatant abuse of power. We cannot allow a repeat of such a politically heinous act. Never again!


TI LIAN KER is MCA publicity spokesperson and religious harmony bureau chairperson.

 

Crapitalism versus Conmunism


October 28, 2017

Crapitalism versus Conmunism

by Dean Johns

https://deanjohns.wordpress.com/2017/10/28/crapitalism-versus-conmunism/

The state of global power-economics these days seems to me to pretty well illustrate the truth of John Kenneth Galbraith’s famous remark that ‘under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism it’s just the opposite’.

Image result for john kenneth galbraith quote on capitalism and communism

In other words, capitalism at its crappiest, in the form of so-called ‘neoliberalism’, is devoted to the greater enrichment of the rich and the further impoverishment of the poor by many means including the process of privatizing profits and socializing losses, as witnessed most spectacularly in relatively recent times by the splurging of public money to prop-up the predatory profiteers that precipitated the global financial crisis of 2007-8.

While Communism, having already been revealed as a monstrous con by decades of murderous Stalinist and Maoist totalitarianism and the collapse of the USSR in 1991, has been spurred by its decades of failure to achieve world domination by military means to finally embracing money as the way to beat the crapitalist West and its allies at their own game.

This strategy looks like a winner so far for Conmunist and now also crapitalist China, as it already has the US deeply in its debt, and is busily making countries like Australia, for example, as dependent on it as possible through trade, while outright buying those that, like Malaysia, have ruling regimes that are allegedly for sale to the highest bidder.

And, in recognition of the well-known fact that capitalism/crapitalism is driven by fear as well as greed, China continues supporting the Kim regime in North Korea to keep its competitors nervous.

Meanwhile, the exponents of crapitalism everywhere else seem to imagine that it’s business as usual, and continue to try and excuse their execrable excesses by quoting the observation by Adam Smith (1723-1790) in his classic work on economics, The Wealth of Nations, that ‘it is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.’

But they take care to selectively ignore the fact that, while he identified self-interest as the motivation for capitalist entrepreneurship, Smith deplored self-interest so excessive as to constitute neoliberal-style crapitalism.

Stating, for example, that ‘our merchants and masters complain much of the bad effects of high wages in raising the price and lessening the sale of goods. They say nothing concerning the bad effects of high profits. They are silent with regard to the pernicious effects of their own gains.’

And also declaring that ‘no society can surely be flourishing and happy of which by far the greater part of the numbers are poor and miserable.’

Image result for karl marx quotes

By about a century after Smith had written these cautionary words, however, capitalism if not outright crapitalism had rendered the vast majority of people in most societies so poor and miserable that Karl Marx called for the abolition of not just private profiteering, but private property.

Instead proposing public or ‘collective’ or national ownership of each country’s natural resources, land, agriculture, manufacturing, trade and commerce, and the equal participation of all citizens according to the principle he famously stated as ‘from each according to his abilities; to each according to his needs.’

This, Marx predicted, would lead to the elimination of not just economic and social inequalities, but even, eventually, to the ‘withering-away of the state.’

But unfortunately he placed far too much faith in G.W.F. Hegel’s ‘dialectic’ proposing the paradoxical reversal of the master-slave relationship, and too little, if any, in Immanuel Kant’s perception that one crucial factor that differentiates us humans from other animals is that we’re driven by not just by potentially satiable physical needs but also by our capacities for insatiable psychological wants, or greeds.

So the idealism of Marx’s ‘Communist Manifesto’ quickly manifestered into fake Marxist, Leninist and other ideologies according to which, as George Orwell famously remarked in his classic political allegory Animal Farm, ‘all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.’

And, catastrophically worse, as Orwell went on to expound in his subsequent novel 1984, the state, far from withering away as Marx had predicted, became utterly dictatorial, or, in a word, totalitarian.

Single-party dictatorships used Marx’s all-too-true observation that ‘religion is the opiate of the people’ to force their people to forsake their worship of traditional deities in favour of omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent communist parties and their quasi-divine premiers like Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong and others of their accursed ilk.

Of course, except in cases like that of the Christian so-called ‘right’ and those nations ranging from Saudi Arabia to Malaysia led by lying, repressive and clearly corrupt regimes falsely claiming to be genuinely Islamic for the purpose of keeping the ‘faithful’ supporting them, religion is not so much of an opiate of the people these days as it was back in Karl Marx’s time.

Image result for Najib Razak quotes

Najib Razak– People First in Words, but he robs state money and puts Rm2.6  billion into his personal bank account, making him Malaysia’s First crabitalist in Action

But there are lots of alternative people-dumbing opiates available now than Karl ever dreamed of. In Australia, for example, the country I happen to inhabit, the list of alternative addictions to religion to keep as many people as possible from focusing on the fact that the nation is cursed with as crapitalist a neoliberal government as any on the planet is virtually endless.

Ranging from actual opiates like heroin and opioid prescription painkillers through alcohol, sport, poker machines, celebrity worship and ‘reality’ television to the entire web of potential addictions awaiting the unwary online, from pathological levels of social networking through gaming and gambling to internet porn.

Personally, as a recovering workaholic, reformed capitalist and long-time fan of Karl Marx’s ideal of ‘from each according to his ability and to each according to his needs’ but an enemy of its perversion by ideological communism, the only refuge from crapitalism, conmunism and popular opiates that I’ve been able to find is my favourite alternative Marxism.

Image result for Groucho Marxism

Groucho Marxism, that is. As the great Groucho himself famously remarked, I have no desire to join any club that would have me as a member. Especially if it was a club that thought it could club me into claiming complete, unquestioning faith in crapitalism, communism, nationalism, patriotism or indeed any other economic, political religious or social –ism you can think of.

Ops Lalang, ISA, and a Certain Mahathir Mohamad


October 28, 2017

Ops Lalang, ISA, and a Certain  Mahathir Mohamad

by Azmi Sharom

Image result for Mahathir Mohamad, Isa and Op Lalang

 

TUN Dr Mahathir Mohamad gave an interview to an online news portal a few days ago about Operation Lalang in 1987.

I found the interview to be infuriating and here is why. Firstly, he tried to absolve himself from any blame by saying the detention was done by the Police and on Police advice. Gosh, I had no idea he was such a malleable Prime Minister.

Let me explain how the Internal Security Act (ISA), which was repealed in 2012, worked. When they detained a person initially, it was done at the discretion of the Police.

This was when you got a bunch of cops, normally heavily armed, arresting you, usually in the middle of the night.

This detention could last up to 60 days. After those 60 days the detention could be extended to another two years, and another and another ad infinitum.

This longer detention was done at the discretion of the Home Affairs Minister, who was Dr Mahathir at that time.

Image result for Kassim Ahmad and Universiti KeduaKassim Ahmad (second from left) as a young socialist with his wife and fellow leftists visiting Karl Marx’s grave in Highgate Cemetery, London.
Image result for Universiti Kedua

Nowhere in the law did it say he must obey the advice of the Police. The discretion was his and he must take the responsibility of locking people up without trial and putting families into a terrible state of affairs. Anything else is cowardly.

Then he went on to make light of the detentions, saying that most were released quickly. Yes, sure. This is true, if you were a Barisan Nasional member who was detained. If you were an opposition member, then you were detained for close to two years.

This may seem like nothing to some but let me say this: when you are detained without trial and the length of your detention is uncertain, as it is totally within the discretion of some minister, this is no small matter.

Can you imagine how distraught a person would be, not knowing when they would be released and being helpless and unable to care for their loved ones?

Image result for syed husin ali

What about the spouses and the children who don’t know when they will see their father or mother free again? And for what? Com­mitting a crime? No, because some people accused them of being a threat to national security, with not one ounce of evidence proffered before an impartial court.

Image result for syed husin ali

The ISA was an unjust law used in an unjust manner. But oh, apparently the ex-PM thought so too and he tried to get rid of it. But the cops wouldn’t let him. My God, how disingenuous can you get? You had the power, not the Police, and you had 22 years to do something about it.

He went on to say that he had vilified some people to win elections. Did he also lock people up without trial to win elections?

After all, those who were locked up longest were primarily his direct political opponents. There will be those who will tell me to shut up. These are the pragmatists, who would rather the past be forgotten so that there can be victory today.

Yeah well, I can’t stop them from acting and behaving as they wish. We are living in an age of pragmatism winning over principle, after all.

And I know with certainty that the ex-PM will never apologise. It is not in his character to admit ever being wrong. But for goodness sake, don’t insult us with the garbage that he has been spouting.

It presumes we are stupid, and it is an unforgivable insult to the detainees and their families who suffered so much.

Azmi Sharom (azmi.sharom@gmail.com) is a law teacher. The views expressed here are entirely the writer’s own.