On Holier than Thou Putrajaya Idiot Paul Low


December 27, 2016

On Holier than Thou Putrajaya Idiot Paul Low

COMMENT by S. Thayaparan

http://www.malaysiakini.com

‘Using religion as a political weapon always results in self-inflicted wounds.’

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful.”

– Seneca

Really dumb ideas have no problem escaping from the Prime Minister’s Department but Paul Low’s suggestion that the Christian community must be politically relevant and “be able to influence policy in a way that reflects the righteousness of God almighty”, is probably the dumbest idea I have ever heard. It is right up there with how Hindraf used religion – Hinduism – as a means to highlight the disenfranchisement of the Indian community and of course, how Islam has been weaponised in Malaysia.

What exactly does “righteousness of the almighty” mean? Furthermore, how do religious groups influence policy if not by getting into bed with craven politicians by means of campaign donations and the rest of the sordid transaction between church and state? You want to know why Hinduism is regressive in this country. The answer is simple, because the MIC got into the business of religion.

So let me get this right. Paul Low – who works for a Muslim regime – thinks that the Christian community should not engage in politics but still find a way of influencing policy. This is probably the most disingenuous double speak emanating from a Putrajaya minion I have ever heard.

Image result for Archbishop Julian Leow

Add to this Kuala Lumpur Archbishop Julian Leow’s disingenuous contention that “politics and political parties must be distinguished”. Really? In one of my numerous pieces about the so-called ‘Allah’ controversy, I referred to the reality that oppositional politics and religion were intimately entwined. I wrote:

“Meanwhile the DAP who has more or less locked down the Chinese vote, continues to coddle the Christian evangelical movement within its rank, which finds expression in the putrid sloganeering of youth movements like ‘Rise up it’s time to take Subang for Jesus’ endorsed by certain religiously-inclined DAP leaders.”

What this does is give pro-UMNO propagandist the opportunity to further the narratives that Islam is under threat and that opposition parties are attempting to destabilise the country by religious means. Using religion as a political power tool always results in self-inflicted wounds.

Nowhere is this more evident in the unholy alliance between the supposedly secular DAP and vehemently religious PAS. Meanwhile, PKR was standing in the sidelines waiting for the whole thing to blow up so they could reconcile with PAS.

This is not to say that I think religious people should not make their voices heard in a milieu where there is no separation between mosque and state. When writing about the reality of religion in politics, I made two points:

1) “When the political, social and economic reality is predicated on religious superiority and oppression, religious people need to find ways to express themselves in democratic spaces and at the same time realise that the only security they have against further aggression is by supporting secular values.

2) “What I have been contemptuous of is the agenda of Christian politicians using religion as political capital and claiming to be secular while funding Islamic organisations to pander to the Malay/Muslim vote.”

Moreover, point two, the intersection between Christians and Muslims in the opposition have done the most harm because the discourse was framed by craven politicians who were not interested in promoting secular values in both religions, but with creating and maintaining political power.

It is all about credibility. “Credibility is achieved by politicians who leave their religious affiliations at the door and this is especially important for non-Muslim politicians when it comes to dealing with the UMNO state.”

I have made this argument before: “I have argued that the non-Malay power structures are contributing to the indoctrination process by supporting UMNO-enabled institutions thereby setting back any kind of progressive movement in the Malay community. Furthermore, I have been critical of opposition parties that have been reluctant to redefine and propagate ideas that are the exact opposite of the UMNO narrative of what it means to be Malay and Muslim.”

In addition, let me be very clear. I think there should be an exchange of ideas between religious groups but this should not be at the expanse of secular ideas. The problem with the DAP/PAS dalliance is that it was not based on the idea of promoting a progressive secular agenda but attempting to subvert the Malay/Muslim vote which ultimately destabilised the Muslim party, worsening the religious discourse in this country.

Neat little boxes

If Paul Low was really interested in religious freedom, he would be advocating secular values that inhibit religious interference of any kind from political parties and the UMNO state. Those secular values would include limiting the state or any governmental organisation from funding, assisting or favouring any one religion. Of course, Paul Low will not advocate any of this.

A while back I took exception to this whole idea of categorising Muslim and Christians into neat little boxes and argued that secular values are not anathema to any religious community or at least those in the community who could go beyond their religious indoctrination:

“What exactly is a ‘true’ Muslim or ‘true’ Christian for that matter? Someone who believes that religion should not be politicised? Someone who believes that you should not mock another’s religion? Someone who believes that religion should not intrude in the private lives of members in any given society? Someone who believes that there should be a separation of church/mosque and state? These are not ‘true’ religious values but rather true secular values or secular humanist values, if you like.”

Instead, Paul Low prefers to throw fuel on the religious fire by encouraging Christians to be more vocal, using the kind of religious polemics – “almighty” and “religious conviction” – that is mana to pro-UMNO propagandists but yet covering his behind by telling them not to engage with politics.

When the Sabah Council of Churches “pray for divine intervention in the challenging state of affairs of our nation for our sake and the sake of our next generation” you know the plot has truly been lost.  Really, divine intervention?

Moreover, that is really the problem with religion and politics in a Muslim-dominated country.  Unlike Western secular democracies where Muslims have a right to voice their dissent, non-Muslims only have the option of praying for divine intervention.

It is extremely frustrating because all these issues of corruption, incompetent governance, racism and the host of other calamities facing this country are not religious issues. Ultimately anyone who uses religion as a means of political expression loses in a country where the religious game is fixed.

Soros, M’kini and are we really doing this again?


November 6, 2016

Soros, M’kini and are we really doing this again?

by S. Thayaparan

 

Image result for Malaysiakini under attack

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorises it and a moral code that glorifies it.”

– Frédéric Bastiat

The Malaysiakini Team (whoever they are) did a quaint job of explaining the Fourth Estate (‘Journalism is not an act against parliamentary democracy’).

It was a pleasant stroll down memory lane about the whys and hows of Malaysiakini and rejoinders that journalism is something more than just reporting the news and regurgitating what the political buffoon class spew on a daily basis.

Image result for Malaysiakini under attack

Me, all I can say is – are we really doing this bull crap again? Four years ago, it was about another organisation – NED (National Endowment for Democracy) – that was funding amongst others, Malaysiakini and attempting to destabilise the government. The mainstream media’s fingerprints were all over that one, too.

Previously on ‘Law & Order: 1Malaysia’: “Under the vomit-inducing headline of  Plot to destabilise the gov’t‘, the New Straits Times (who I believe are propagators of a plot to destabilise rational thinking) outlined a chilling scenario of a motley group of new media types (which includes  Malaysiakini) and social activist organisations who are apparently being funded by a nebulous American entity to destabilise the government and the implication being, to create chaos … CHAOS, I tell you, in Malaysia.”

I was just surprised that the UMNO propaganda organs did not slip in something about homosexuality in this latest assault on the rebel press. And make no mistake, whatever you may think of the alternative press, social media, the lawless terrain of Malaysian online punditry and political agitation, we are rebelling against the narratives imposed on us by UMNO.

Image result for Malaysiakini under attack

The issue of funding in my opinion is irrelevant to the charges of “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy”. As I said when I acknowledged that we were traitors to the principles of democracy – “But even if NED is one of those, what the government needs to do, is prove that an organisation like Malaysiakini is attempting through propaganda to destabilise the government. They could do this by pointing out where Malaysiakini has lied or invented stories that would create mischief and chaos in this country.”

However, this whole idea that Malaysiakini is a threat to parliamentary democracy is the kind of Goebbelsian manoeuvre that is prime evidence that this country is becoming a failed state propped up by regional powers only interested in our utility as a proxy.

Let us say for one moment you could actually justify the use of this most noxious of law. Let us say that an organisation that lies, spins and fabricates was a threat to parliamentary democracy. Let us say that you did not believe in free speech or expression and supported such a law because its utility outweighed any fancy idea one has about free speech and independent journalism.

By these criteria, the news organisations that were a threat to parliamentary democracy would be news organs like the New Straits Times and Utusan Malaysia. The latter has even admitted to spinning the facts for a political party and publicly bemoaned that the lack of funds were affecting its efficacy.

In fact, I would argue that any news organisations that are owned by political parties are a threat to parliamentary democracy. I would argue that any organisation that threatens the independence of democratic institutions are a threat to parliamentary democracy.

A pimple on the UMNO face

Do you understand why laws like this are so pernicious and ridiculous? Not to mention if they were applied objectively, the whole UMNO house of cards would come crashing down. The red-shirts, the deal with China, the pro-Islam rhetoric, all this is part of a greater Najib stratagem.

This is what I wrote about the National Security Council (NSC) Act a couple of months ago (and bear in mind that the legal machinations of the UMNO state on issues like these flows directly from the poisoned well, which is the NSC Act):

“However the reality is, that besides a fancy title, this Act redefines the powers of the executive and it is not hyperbolic to claim, that with this Act, we are no longer just a Third World country or developing country or whatever other nonsensical nomenclature that economists like to use, but rather a dictatorship, which the New York Times reports Donald Greenlees, an authority on South-East Asia with Australian National University, as saying: ‘[Najib] is a throwback to the era of Marcos’ Philippines and Suharto’s Indonesia with ruling families hungry for power and great wealth. Imelda had her shoes and Rosmah has her Birkin bags. But the bags are vastly more valuable than the shoes.’”

So now, we have this Open Society Foundations (OSF) conundrum, where apparently because US billionaire George Soros has a “personal interest” in the elections of Malaysia, any organisation receiving funds from the society he founded must be out to destroy and to destabilise UMNO.

Image result for UMNO Spin Machine

Prime Minister in Waiting–Disaster in the works

China has an interest in elections in Malaysia. US has an interest in elections in Malaysia. Saudi Arabia has an interest in elections in Malaysia, and even ‘donated’ vast sums of money to ensure that Umno remains in power. So really, is it any wonder that numerous power brokers for whatever reasons have an interest in a Muslim country which is in trouble because of the corruption scandals that is destroying the country’s fragile democracy?

Ever since Malaysiakini erupted like a pimple on the UMNO face, the minions of Putrajaya have done their utmost to silence one of the few news organisations that offer an alternative to the standard narrative.

And let me be very clear, as someone who writes for Malaysiakini, I have also been critical of Malaysiakini and how it presents the news. Indeed, if you look around, there is much criticism of Malaysiakini and these come from not only establishment hacks but also folks who have worked for Malaysiakini and other independent journalists.

So, there is no question of blind loyalty on my part. The day Malaysiakini tells me what to write or even implies that certain topics are verboten is the day I stop writing. However, this is not about Malaysiakini. This never was about Malaysiakini.

All this is about silencing Malaysiakini in an attempt to silence the thousands of anonymous voices that inhabit the comment sections and spread articles though social media that agitates the population.

All this is about silencing voices that disagree with the official narratives and the actions of plutocrats and corrupt officials that are ruining this country. All this is about silencing conflict that has remained hidden beneath a veneer of civility.

All this is about silencing freedom of speech and expression of the average angry Malaysian. This is not just about journalism. This is about silencing us.

In Solidarity with Malaysiakini


November 6, 2016

In Solidarity with Malaysiakini

A few years ago, I had the privilege  as a Fellow of Seacem Center of working with both Premesh Chandran and Steven Gan and the group of outstanding journalists at Malaysiakini. I found them to be a group of thorough, brave, loyal and hardworking Malaysians who were bringing news and views about issues affecting our country.

I learned first hand what they had to go through to bring to us timely and accurate information about what is happening in, and to our country and elsewhere.  Everyday, when I arrived at my work place at Malaysiakini office then in Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur I would pass the wall of their rented premises which was blemished by red paint marks sprayed by pro-UMNO lawbreakers. I would be reminded of the hazards these committed journalists face daily. Since that time, I came to admire and respect their courage for speaking the truth to power and their commitment to the highest standards of journalistic reporting.

Like them, I never shied away from speaking the politically inconvenient truth and like them I will through my blog, twitter and Facebook accounts and other peaceful means hold men and women in positions of power– be they in  politics, public administration,  and business–to account for their decisions and actions. Threats and intimidation would not work with us.

Today, Gan, Chandran and their team are facing existential threats from UMNO-sponsored and Najib-supported Red Shirts led by that despicable. irresponsible,  and racist Jamal Ikan Bakar Yunos.

By threatening the news portal, the Red Shirts are breaking the law. But as things stand today, the hooligans are above the law because they are connected to UMNO, which controls the levers of power in Malaysia. Even our Inspector-General Police has no guts to stand up to the Red Shirts.

Image result for Din Merican and Kamsiah Haider at Bersih

Together my wife Dr. Kamsiah. G. Haider, I stand in solidarity with Premesh Chandran and Steven Gan and the Malaysiakini team. They deserve our support for doing their job splendidly.

I hope you, my loyal readers and friends around the world, will also stand up for Malaysiakini and freedom of the press. We all face existential threats from forces more powerful than us, but let us be reminded by William Shakespeare that “cowards die a thousand times”. –Din Merican

Malaysiakini controlled by its journalists, not outsiders

by Zikri Kamarulzaman

 Malaysiakini is under the full control of its journalists and editors, not its investors or outsiders, said the independent news portal editor-in-chief Steven Gan.

“When it comes to outsiders or even Malaysiakini shareholders influencing our editorial, that is completely impossible,” Gan said at a press conference following the red-shirts rally outside the news portal’s office in Petaling Jaya today.

Gan said even the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF), which owns 29 percent of Malaysiakini, had no say in the website’s editorial policy.

He explained that the two had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) when the venture capital made the investment 10 years ago, agreeing that the latter would have “no editorial say” in Malaysiakini.

Gan was responding to red-shirts leader Jamal Md Yunos, who said Malaysiakini’s editorial was not independent and that it bowed to the will of American business magnate George Soros.

Soros’ Open Society Foundations (OSF) is one of 50 MDIF investors and funders, which include a number of European banks. Malaysiakini had also received funds from the OSF for two KiniTV news programmes in Sarawak.

Gan said the real influencers in Malaysiakini’s editorial policies are its journalists.

“We have daily meetings, and all Malaysiakini journalists and editors decide on what to report and follow up on,” he said.

Image result for Premesh Chandran

Elaborating on the company’s shareholders, Gan said that he and Malaysiakini CEO Premesh Chandran (above) were the majority shareholders, a total of 59 percent. Besides the 29 percent owned MDIF, 12 percent are owned by Malaysiakini staff.

Meanwhile, he said there was only one politician among the scores of shareholders in Malaysiakini.

Subang MP Sivarasa Rasiah, who is from the opposition PKR, has a very small stake after investing RM5,000 in the company 17 years ago when he was a human rights lawyer. “That was 10 years before he decided to run for Parliament. His share is 0.001 percent. It’s really minor,” Gan said.

Up to 700 red-shirts had turned up for the rally against Malaysiakini this afternoon, which lasted about two and a half hours.

The protest was spurred by leaked documents which allege that Malaysiakini, Bersih and Merdeka Centre were being funded by the OSF.

Jamal had originally wanted to hold a rally in Dataran Merdeka, but moved the location to Malaysiakini’s office after Kuala Lumpur City Hall denied both the red-shirts and Bersih permission to gather at the historic square.

It takes a Najib Razak to sink a 143-year old Swiss Bank


May 26, 2016

Malaysia Boleh: It takes a Najib Razak to sink a 143-year old Swiss Bank

http://www.malaysiakini.com

KINIGUIDE: The 1MDB saga has left a trail destruction across three continents, with key corporate and banking figures having to resign, bankers charged and accounts frozen.

However, the biggest casualty to date is BSI Bank, which faces criminal proceedings for, among others, failing to adhere to anti-money-laundering regulations in handling transfers linked to 1MDB. An international investigation, primarily led by Swiss and Singaporean authorities, has unravelled the 143-year-old bank.

Malaysiakini looks at the significance of these developments and BSI’s role in the 1MDB saga.

About BSI

Banca della Swizzera Italiana, or BSI, was founded in 1873.It began an international expansion in 1969 and spread its wings to Hong Kong in 1981 and later Singapore in 2005.

According to BSI’s 2015 annual report, it had 1,256 employees in Switzerland and 656 employees outside the country, with 310 in Asia.

It is currently owned by Grupo BTG Pactual but is in the process of being acquired by EFG International for 1.33 billion Swiss franc. The amount is expected to be lesser following regulators’ action against BSI.

The unmaking of BSI

Even before Swiss and Singapore authorities hammered the nail into BSI’s coffin, the bank was already disintegrating as the 1MDB probe gained momentum.

Last month, Bloomberg reported that several senior employees had left BSI Singapore, including committee members who vetted major clients during 1MDB’s time as well as its head of compliance.

The chief operating officer for BSI’s Asia operations, Gary Tucker, had also left the bank, while BSI’s head of Asia operations, Hanspeter Brunner, announced his retirement. But the most devastating blow came when Singapore on Tuesday ordered BSI Bank in the city state to be shut down.

It was the first such action by Singapore authorities in 32 years.Switzerland’s financial regulator, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma) also ordered similar action, approving EFG International’s complete takeover of BSI. This was on condition that BSI will be dissolved within 12 months through its integration into EFG International.

What did BSI do wrong?

Both Switzerland and Singapore authorities have released general statements on BSI’s offences, which have been short on specifics.In Switzerland, Finma concluded that BSI was in serious breach of the statutory due diligence requirements in relation to money laundering and serious violations of the principles of adequate risk management and appropriate organisation.

In Singapore, authorities found BSI to be in “serious breaches of anti-money-laundering requirements, poor management oversight of the bank’s operations and gross misconduct by some of the bank’s staff.” These were in context of investigations linked to 1MDB.

Connecting the dots

Prior to the investigations initiated by Swiss and Singapore authorities, whistleblower portal Sarawak Report had highlighted the role of BSI in the diversion of 1MDB’s funds.It started with the US$1.83 billion which 1MDB had channelled overseas for its joint-venture activities with PetroSaudi International between 2009 and 2011.

This is the same amount that Bank Negara later ordered 1MDB to repatriate, which the Malaysian fund had failed to do and for which it was fined. Of this sum, US$1.03 billion did not go to the joint-venture. It was instead diverted to Good Star Limited’s account at RBS Coutts in Zurich, whose beneficiary owner is Penang-born billionaire Jho Low.

Here is where BSI comes in.More than half of the diverted sum, or US$529 million, was transferred to Abu Dhabi Kuwait Malaysia Investment Corporation’s (BVI) account at BSI Singapore between June 28, 2011 and September 4, 2013. The beneficiary owner was also Jho Low.

Sarawak Report, based on leaked Singapore investigation papers, had as early as April last year reported that Jho Low controlled at least 45 bank accounts at BSI under various company names.

These revelations appeared consistent with the findings of Finma which noted: “In the context of the 1MDB case, the bank (BSI) failed to adequately monitor relationships with a client group with around 100 accounts at the bank.”

It said funds were moved within these accounts without proper justification. Coincidentally, 1MDB’s subsidiary Brazen Sky Limited also banked with BSI where its US$1.1 billion in ‘fund units’ was held.

Furthermore, Singapore court proceedings showed that SRC International, a former subsidiary of 1MDB, also had its accounts at BSI. BSI banker Yeo Jiawei was charged for allegedly signing a fraudulent reference letter in the name of BSI to Citigroup Inc’s head of anti-money laundering to facilitate the transfer of US$11.95 million from SRC International to Equity International Partners Limited.

The beneficiary owner of Equity International Partners Limited was Tan Kim Loong, an associate of Jho Low and also the original beneficiary of Tanore Finance that funnelled US$681 million to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s personal bank accounts.

Singapore prosecutors described this component as a “new front” in its investigation but it is unclear how it is linked to Jho Low’s movement of US$529 million into, within and out of BSI.

Information disclosed to the public is likely just a small portion of the investigations but more details are expected as court proceedings in Switzerland and Singapore commence.

Is this the end of the 1MDB saga? On the contrary, it is just the beginning. Sarawak Report claimed that the US$529 million in Jho Low’s account in BSI was cleared out of BSI Singapore and was believed to have been moved to Hong Kong.

It is unclear which financial institution it went to. Hong Kong authorities have acknowledged an investigation but little information has been provided so far.Finma is also reportedly looking into RBS Coutts, from which the US$529 million came from before it entered BSI’s system.

Furthermore, other banking institutions are also expected to be in the line of fire.One key institution is Falcon Private Banking, which Tanore Finance used to transfer US$681 million (often referred to as RM2.6 billion) into Najib’s AmBank account.

Sarawak Report claimed that US$650 million of this money was transferred back to Tanore Finance’s account at Falcon Private Banking in Singapore on Aug 30, 2013.

Interestingly, EFG International, which is set to take over BSI, had also acquired Falcon Private Bank’s Hong Kong arm for 800 million Swiss francs from Aabar Investments PJS in 2014.

This KiniGuide was produced by Nigel Aw.

The Mukhriz Firing–It’s Personal for Mahathir


February 4, 2016

On Mukhriz: It’s Personal now for Tun Dr. Mahathir

COMMENT by Malaysiakini:

What goes around, comes around. So dictate the laws of karma.In the not too distant past, a politician in the upper echelons was unceremoniously removed, shamed, degraded, beaten and imprisoned.

Then too, many leaders in UMNO had toed the line, remained silent or lent their voices to the chorus of assailment.

And now, the architect of that poignant episode, which served as the impetus for the events that changed the Malaysian political landscape, has a front row seat to witness a similar scene unfold.

This time, it is his own son, Murkhriz Mahathir, who has been forced out of power while those in UMNO continued to remain aphonic. Therein lies the problem with Dr Mahathir Mohamad – it is difficult to feel sympathy for a man who exhibited little or no compassion in deposing his political foe.

Whenever the former Prime Minister points a finger at another accusing him of being unjust or abusing his position, he has four fingers pointing back at him.

One wonders if Mahathir is reflecting on his past deeds at this juncture, and coming to terms with how, over the decades, fate has dictated that he transforms from invincible to vulnerable. Then again, he is a politician to the core, one through whose veins course the art of Machiavelli, where statecraft is managed with cunning shrewdness.

Same strategies

And now, his successors are employing the same strategies to retain their grip on power. He has taught them well.

While he might be suffering from amnesiac spells that have disconnected his medial temporal lobe responsible for storing memories, the people, however, have not forgotten.

Hence, it came as no surprise that when a photograph depicting Mahathir’s wife Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali embracing their son following his forced resignation as Menteri Besar circulated on social media, some expressed sadness and sympathy, others recalled certain incidents during his tenure.

Furthermore, Mukhriz Mahathir is not Anwar Ibrahim. Charlatan or otherwise, Mukhriz is perhaps the most courageous politician to have emerged from the UMNO ranks in recent times. And it is ironic that his detractors with lesser testicular fortitude continue to harp on his real or fabricated sexual orientation to disparage his manhood.

Mukhriz, on the other hand, is nothing more than his father’s son. He ascended the political hierarchy due to his surname, which opened doors without effort on his part. The son of the former Prime Minister is not a fighter. He would not want to risk landing in prison or taking to the streets, let alone being dealt with a black eye.

However, Mahathir’s adversaries would be committing a fatal error in believing that the move against his son would bring the nonagenarian to his knees.They have struck him where it hurts most.

Mahathir is a predator, and such creatures are most ferocious when wounded. The killer instinct does not mellow with age. And the wound inflicted has left his heart bleeding.

If at all Mahathir was on the brink of relenting and ending his campaign to remove the current Prime Minister, the ouster of his son would renew his zeal for blood.For now, it is no longer about politics. It is personal.

Congratulations, Malaysiakini


October 30, 2015

To my friends Premesh, Steven, Guna, and the men and women behind MalaysiakiniDin Merican@Rosler and Kinibiz, congratulations on this significant award from me in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. May it be Gold the next time.

Because of the Internet, I,  as a loyal subscriber and keen reader, am able to access your portals and as a result, I am up to speed on political, economic and social developments in our country. I thank you very much for this service, and urge to keep up your good work. Please try to challenge yourselves and explore ways and means to communicate better. Being in the news business, you know, as well as I do, that we cannot please everyone. But we must never fail to try to be balanced and fair.

Your portals and I have been identified as being pro-Opposition. Nothing is further from the truth than that. We may be critical but we are not pro any coalition or party and certainly not anti-government which is elected by Malaysians, irrespective of the flaws in our electoral system. Unfortunately, I have had a hard time to convince UMNO and BN supporters that I am not the “enemy”. I have not stop trying.

Since coming to Phnom Penh and being an academic at Cambodia’s top private university, I am conscious that my friends and associates here look at me as a Malaysian and judge me on how I conduct myself as a Malaysian and on the quality of my pedagogy and research work, although when they read my blog, they know that I have been critical of my country’s leadership and their policies. Stereo-typing is convenient, but never helpful.

We are going through difficult times, to put it mildly. But as an optimist, I am embracing myself for better times ahead, anchored in my belief that tough times do not last, but tough Malaysians do.  Lest we forget,  Malaysia is not just Najib and his henchmen in UMNO-BN. Malaysia is all of us. We must work together for a great future.–Din Merican

Congratulations, Malaysiakini

Independent news portal Malaysiakini has been hailed as one of the top brands in Malaysia at the 6th Putra Brand Awards (tonight). While Malaysiakini has won awards on two previous occasions, it is the first time the portal bagged the silver in the Media Network category.

It picked up the bronze award last year and at the inaugural Putra Brand Awards in 2010. Wayne Lim (photo, left), CEO of Malaysia SME, handed over the award to Malaysiakini CEO Premesh Chandran at a gala dinner in Majestic Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.

The other media outlets that won awards in the Media Network category were Astro, TV3, and Era (Gold); Hitz FM (Silver); and The Star, ntv7, and The Malaysian Insider (Bronze). Meanwhile, Maybank, Malaysia’s leading bank with the widest network, won the Putra Brand of The Year award.

According to the brand awareness award host, the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Malaysia (4As), the Putra Brand Awards is unique as Malaysian consumers themselves are the judges.

A consumer research polling system involving 6,000 people helped select Malaysia’s most preferred brands across a spectrum of 24 categories, with the top three brands in each category being honoured with a gold, silver, and bronze ranking.

This is the largest consumer research sampling of its kind nationwide, covering both East and West Malaysia.

We thank our subscribers, readers, advertisers, and most of all the Malaysiakini team, who work tirelessly to give the country the news and views that matter. “The awards reflect that the internet today is the mainstream, with two internet brands winning awards,” said Premesh (photo).

Malaysiakini, launched in 1999, is the country’s top news website.According to comScore, the portal has the highest number of visitors in the first half of this year, ahead of both Star Online and The Malaysian Insider. American-based comScore is a global leader in digital media analytics.