August 2017 Unity–The Sheer Sham of It All

August 14, 2017

August 2017 Unity–The Sheer Sham of It All

by R. Nadeswaran

COMMENT | IT is that time of the year when almost the whole country is engrossed in the word “unity”. They walk for unity; run for unanimity; cycle for harmony; and there are those who are also making a living out of creating sports activities in various guises of good ethnic relations.

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Our leaders have been part of it. I heard the Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak lecture a crowd in Oxford on racial tolerance five years ago. Declaring that he had read the Torah, the Bibles, the Quran and other religious scriptures, Najib claimed Malaysia was an outstanding society where multi-culturalism was alive and kicking.

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Two Islamic Eggheads, one from Perlis  and the other from Perak

Really? Weeks later, back in Malaysia, the religious zealots and racists were spewing their hatred, egged on by narrow-minded bigots who believe that every issue has to be seen through their blinkered eyes of race and religion.

It has not stopped, but takes a break once a year to have the “feel good” sensation just because we want to celebrate our independence as “a united nation”.

“We do not identify ourselves as Malays, Chinese, Kadazans or Indians. We are all Malaysians,” some of the leaders would say and the entire crowd would rise and give thunderous applause.

Around the corner, yet another of their colleagues would talk about his special rights and label part of the population as “pendatang” and add yet another order: “Balik Tongsan”.

Each has its own agenda, sometimes personal, most of the time materialistic – to advance such messages. These examples have been chronicled and can be traced from the archives of newspapers or news portals.

These are not restricted to our leaders. Anyone who has just that little power wants to impose his or her values in the name of race and religion. From heads of government departments and local councils to headmasters and retirees, all want to dictate how the ordinary Malaysian should lead his or her life.

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Seven years ago, I visited my alma mater – Klang High School – after a student complained that “the guru besar had dissolved all non-Muslim religious societies” in the school, which I later found out, was not true. The decision was not made by the headmistress – it was made by the Selangor Education Department.

At that time, it was suggested that efforts be made to identify and punish the religious zealot in the Selangor Education Department. Could it have happened then and will it happen today? Who cares to punish, let alone identify the culprit because such decisions were made in the name of “maruah agama and bangsa”?

To cut a long story short, the matter was resolved, but racism, religious bigotry and extremism continue unabated until today. Occasionally, we hear of this and that, but to what extent such fanaticism exists?

The issue of a school that introduced separate cups for its Muslim and non-Muslim pupils is yet another case. Who introduced it? Why? No one seems to care.

Both the Deputy Ministers of Education – Chong Sin Woon and P Kamalanathan – reacted as expected: with a whimper and no sign of anger or regret at what was happening in our schools. The former stating that the labels were removed as the ministry does not condone such actions. No apology, no explanation – zilch – from the person responsible for such a directive.

At least in Sarawak, we get to see some semblance of discipline. Last year. the principal of a secondary school apologised after controversially rebuking pupils for wearing “big-sized” crosses, while a state minister has upheld the right of Christian schoolchildren to wear necklaces bearing the cross. State Welfare Minister Fatimah Abdullah declared that the wearing of religious symbols in school was not prohibited.

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Remember the flap over the rooftop airwells on houses in Langkawi which resembled crosses from afar? That was in 2015 and the “problem was solved” when the developer painted over the structures. Everything that resembles a cross – however harmless – is seen differently through the eyes of the bird-brained people.

More recently, the Kulim District Office ordered a developer to remove 20 statues described as “inappropriate” from a Bali-themed park at Taman MBI Desaku in Padang Meha.

Kulim district officer and administrator Mohamad Che Nai said the decision was taken following a meeting on the removal of several statues, including those of deities erected in the park. Earlier, the district office ordered the closure of the theme park and removal of two female-winged statues following complaints lodged by netizens who were uncomfortable with the display of god-like figures there.

So, is the council sending its officers to prowl the toy shops to confiscate Disney’s winged fairy dolls or the God-like battle-ready Wonder Woman dolls from Mattel? Is it going to get the MCMC to block sites through which we can make online orders for such dolls?

While one side sings the unity songs, the other is full-steam ahead with the same tune, except that lyrics are changed and laced with bigotry. Who cares? After all, the unity, patriotism and other slogans are short-term “syiok sendiri” efforts. Remember the “Apa lagi Cina Mahu?” cry after the last husting?

After National Day, they will be held in abeyance, raised during the next general election and thereafter buried and entombed only to be resurrected after five years? Hasn’t anyone not seen the pattern?

No Jalur Gemilang? Jalur UMNO then for 60th Merdeka Bash ?

August 13, 2017

No Jalur Gemilang? Jalur UMNO then?

by FA Abdul

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If NO Jalur Gemilang for 60 th Merdeka Bash, then how about  UMNO flag, Mr. Prime Minister. After all, Malaysia is Tanah Melayu. At least if Malaysians won’t, you can order your members to do so.

COMMENT | As I was watering the plants in my father’s garden today, I took a glance around our compound and gasped upon noticing the absence of our favourite August flags.

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For as long as I can remember, August has always been a special month in my parents’ home.

Before the month even began, my mother would take out both flags – Jalur Gemilang and the Penang flag – from the cupboard and give them a good wash by hand with some extra doses of fabric softener.

Once dried, Mum would then get the flags neatly ironed before passing them to Dad, who was in charge of making sure the flags danced in the air for the entire Merdeka month.

I remember those days when I used to be Dad’s assistant, standing and watching the flags being raised from a distance.

“How is it?” Dad would ask.

“Perfect!” I would reply.

Mom would have a big grin on her face, watching both of us from the veranda while enjoying her ginger tea.

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Every year, without fail, my parents continued this August month tradition of ours. When I became a parent, my position as Dad’s assistant was taken over by my children. I would then join my mother at the veranda, sitting there with ginger tea in our hands, watching Dad and his grandchildren raise the flags oh so proudly.

This year, miraculously, the flags are still not up yet.

Bitterness, frustration, anger

Intrigued, I disturbed my father who was religiously watching “Game of Thrones” on his PC.

“Ask your mother,” said Dad, his eyes glued to Daenerys Targaryen, otherwise known as the Mother of Dragons.

I then found my way to the kitchen where Mum was busy frying some ikan kembong for lunch.

“Ma, why haven’t we put up the flags yet? We are already ten days into the month of August,” I said in my broken Tamil.

“We are not going to put up the flags this year,” replied Mum. Gobsmacked, I asked, “But why?”

“I am angry,” said Mum as she flipped her fish.

“Angry at the fish?” I chided.

“Do you know how much I paid for this ikan kembong? RM20 per kilo. It used to be less than RM10. Everything is so expensive these days. Managing a household is becoming so tough and our government is doing nothing about it. The best advice they would give is for us to go out fishing ourselves, if not to rear fish in tanks inside our homes!

“They claim that our economy is prospering, but how can we prosper when ordinary people like us are forced to pay twice as much for a kilo of ikan kembong?” Mum stuttered a bit.

I smiled. Looking at her stutter, I knew mum was very angry.

“Did you hear about the minister who said the little girl who married her rapist is living happily? Did you also hear the other minister who said little girls as young as nine years old were physically and spiritually ready for marriage? Seriously, would they marry off their nine-year-old daughter to an older man if not to a rapist?

“They say we are living in the 21st century but they continue introducing laws as if we live in the Stone Age!” Mum spewed fire like a dragon.

I sensed bitterness in the air. Frustration. Anger.

“Did you see how badly they spoke of Dr Mahathir and the Indian Muslims? They have forgotten how much he has done for the country. If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t be as developed as we are today.

“And now they are trying to blame him for the money lost by Bank Negara some donkey years ago when they can’t even properly investigate 1MDB!”

I choked a little seeing Mum in despair.

“I used to be so proud of being a Malaysian. Now I am just angry,” said Mum as she removed the fried ikan kembong from the wok and replaced it with a new set.

Leaving Mum in the kitchen, I found myself sitting by the veranda, sipping my ginger tea, alone. I imagined our invisible Jalur Gemilang waving gregariously in the wind, back and forth. And all of a sudden, I was consumed with sadness.

Govts can change

The truth is, our nation was not built by one man. But as our hearts balloon with hatred for the people responsible for the mishaps in our country, we are allowing one man, one cabinet and one party to break the faith we once had in our great nation.

We have forgotten that the government can be changed, political turmoil returned to order and the economy uplifted; but if we lose our love for our Malaysia, we could end up losing everything our forefathers had relentlessly built.

“What are you doing here, sitting alone?” asked Dad upon seeing me daydreaming.

“Waiting for the Mother of Dragons,” I chuckled.

“But our Mother of Dragons is in the kitchen, frying some ikan kembong,” laughed Dad.

I smiled.

“Why don’t you go prepare the flags?” said Dad, almost reading my thoughts.

“Really? But what if our Mother of Dragons gets upset?”

“She won’t. Only those who have so much love for our country would feel too much witnessing the injustice taking place,” assured my dad.

And true enough, as soon as our August flags were raised, Mum brought her ginger tea to the veranda and joined us with a big smile on her face.

National Unity in Malaysia

August 5, 2017

Between The Lines: National Unity in Malaysia

Channel News Asia

What are the challenges of forging national unity in a post-colonial, multi-ethnic state? From Kuala Lumpur, our panel of Malaysian experts evaluates the country’s progress, and outlines the tasks ahead.


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COMMENT: Today, Malaysia is a divided nation led by a corrupt Prime Minister. Before unity can be restored, Najib Razak and UMNO kleptocrats and their surrogates in Barisan Nasional (namely MCA, MIC and Gerakan) and PAS must be removed via democratic elections. Otherwise, it is all talk, which is at best purely speculative and futile. The country is in a political crisis. Malaysians know that, but they are not willing to openly admit that their country is a dysfunctional state heading towards a financial crisis due to the 1mdb scandal, and high national debt and a weakening economic fundamentals.–Din Merican

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Indian Muslims: Think before like MIC you leap into the heap of empty promises

July 19, 2017

Indian Muslims: Think before like MIC you leap into the heap of empty promises

by Rais

Islam is an emancipating religion. It seeks to liberate minds and bodies from the shackles of the old order. Blessed are those who use Islam to free themselves from the chains of slavery.

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It is not the place here to speak about the various versions of servitude in India. It is more appropriate to talk about how Indians born and bred in Malaysia, through time, have found their liberation here.

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The Emancipated Mamak

If Dr Mahathir Mohamad is held up as a model of emancipation, with his father being a stern headmaster in Kedah, he has shown the extent to which a hardworking and diligent man can reach the pinnacles of power: the premiership.

When power slipped from his hands between 2003 and 2016, Mahathir did not give in or up. He returned to his core principles, forming strategic and horizontal alliances with Pakatan Harapan de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, even the Democratic Action Party, and Amanah, all of whom had been his nemesis before, to create a common front to save Malaysia.

He proposed, they agreed. And as he said to Nurul Izzah Anwar in London, “The past is the past. Let’s look to the future.” Coming from a 92-year-old man, the word “future” could mean a small window of opportunity to change Malaysia.

But it could also mean, once Malaysia is positively transformed from a kleptocracy back into a democracy, the world is ours for the taking. Why?

Look around. The Muslim world is in a dejected state. Turkey and Indonesia may have their own strengths, but they don’t have the unique resources of combining Islam side-by-side with the Anglo-Saxon institutions in the country, with ardent agreement to work closely with Sabah and Sarawak. Malaysia does.

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The Mysterious Mamak

And, if Malaysia is not the laughing stock of the world, then it stands the chance to be a top Muslim power. One where Malay, and Indian Muslim leaders, work side-by-side with our non-Malay and non-Indian brothers.

A fake olive branch

This is why Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s overture towards Indians and Indian Muslims should be rejected wholesale.

In areas where the rights of Indians have never been truly respected, such as Cameron Highlands, where the waters from the dams can actually flood the areas twice, with nary a solution from MIC’s former President G Palanivel, the key is to bid him and others of his ilk a permanent goodbye.

Thanks for your service, but no thanks. Indian Muslims do not need to rise up like Hindraf. The Indian Muslims’ power rests with their ability to hold various levers of power in the government.

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The Mamaks have thrived in Malaysia for Generations without Najib Razak

Chief Secretary to the Government Ali Hamsa is an Indian Muslim too. The Indian Muslims should encourage him to use all the powers within him to encourage Indian Muslims to work in the government. But if he cannot make a pip or a squeak, then the olive branch extended by Najib to Indian Muslims is not real.

Lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is an Indian Muslim. If he has his conscience, he should explain why there is alleged evidence of him receiving RM9.5 million to be the special prosecutor of the government on the second trial of Anwar Ibrahim.

The same goes for Treasury Secretary-General Mohd Irwan Serigar. Why did he cancel the planned sale of a 60 percent stake in Bandar Malaysia to Iskandar Waterfront Holdings and China Railway Engineering Conglomerate?

If he truly believes Islam is a religion that seeks to liberate and improve the welfare of all, this is the place to start. If he doesn’t  pander to more Indian Muslim NGOs to support the Najib government, he is proverbially signing his death warrant.

The waves from the people are unstoppable. Mahathir and Anwar Ibrahim have reconciled their differences. The ground has shifted back to 1981 when both of them teamed up to turn back the tide of PAS.

Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng have also seen the writing on the wall, and done likewise. They know DAP cannot ignore the experience of Mahathir, Muhyiddin Yassin and Mukhriz Mahathir. Together, all three carry powerful human networks that can help all Malaysians including Indian Muslims.

‘Yenge poh renge?’

Cozying up to Najib now, especially when he is weak, and will get weaker, is an exercise in futility. Even the head of MIC Dr S Subramaniam merely averred recently that Najib had done more than Mahathir for the Indians – but he couldn’t explain why, how, when, or, how much. Because nothing was really done! Election trinkets are not serious developments to help Indians or Indian Muslims.

Under Mahathir, capable Indian Muslims were promoted. One must surely know Nor Mohamed Yakcop who is the current Deputy Chairman of Khazanah Nasional Berhad. As recorded in a book by former editor of The Star Wong Sulong, Nor Mohamed was one of the pivotal figures who kept the financial speculators at bay during the Asian Financial Crisis.

Indeed, look at what Professor Jomo Kwame Sundaram, himself a Muslim, was able to achieve together with Professor Chandra Muzaffar of JUST World Trust. Both were the intellectual lights of the Malaysian academic scene, and still are.

Forget not the many Indian Muslim businesses that have prospered and mushroomed over the years throughout Malaysia. Indian Muslims as a collective community has indeed contributed much to Malaysia and its growth.

Indian Muslims in Malaysia can rise, and have risen. But reaching out to Najib, a politically beleaguered Prime Minister, is not the way forward.

In fact, we should ask the Prime Minister: “Yenge poh renge?” That’s Tamil for “where are you going with this?”. And, clearly, he is going nowhere.

Indian Muslims must be smart enough to know: God helps those who help themselves. The Malaysian people are rejecting Najib to help improve their own lot. Indians and Indian Muslims must not lose this God-sent opportunity.

Prime Minister Najib Razak makes a mockery of 1Malaysia

July 16, 2017

Prime Minister Najib Razak makes a mockery of 1Malaysia

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Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto.

It would be hypocritical for Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to champion moderation while at the same time endorsing the National Civics Bureau (BTN) which is perceived to be promoting racism, said Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto.

“While he advocates the idea of 1Malaysia, particularly during the 2013 general election, being the founding father of the Global Moderate Movement, a self-praising defender of the concept of ‘wasatiyah‘ or moderation, the Prime Minister continues to fan the flames of separatism and discrimination by feeding the monster of racism under his very own nose, disguised as the BTN in the Prime Minister’s Office,” she said in a statement today.

Patto was responding to Najib who yesterday praised BTN and said the agency was relevant to ensure victories in future general elections. He had said that BTN had specific objectives of moulding Malaysians to ensure the continuity of the government’s leadership and hold on power.

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UMNO Racists

Encik  Mohd Hasan Mohamed (Dua dari kiri) YBhg. Datuk Seri Zainal Abidin Osmandan YB Senator Prof Tan Sri Dr Ibrahim Shah Bin Abu Shah –BTN, Jabatan Perdana Menteri

“This statement of using (or misusing) the BTN for political continuity is a reflection of the arrogance and high-handedness of UMNO-BN to abuse government machinery to cling on to power. Has Najib misplaced his moral compass or is he bankrupt of ideas, ways and means to win the next general elections legitimately that he has to dip his nib into the potent pot of racism, bigotry and hatred to draw up a malignant plan that will further keep alive ‘divide and rule’ racial politics that will cement UMNO-BN as a government for decades to come,” said Patto.

She added that BTN, despite being publicly assigned the task of nation-building, had done the opposite. “It is an open secret that the BTN has done nothing to promote tolerance, professionalism, fairness and patriotism and instead has been dancing to the tune of UMNO-BN in propagating the likes of supremacy, racism, divisive policies and all that contribute to the destruction of a cohesive, just, fair society in Malaysia.

“After 36 years, it is without a doubt that the BTN has failed in nation-building, which ironically falls in line with exactly what UMNO and their leaders have been fighting for,” she said.

Patto urged Najib to disband BTN if his 1Malaysia slogan is genuine. If Najib does not, she added, Harapan will do so if it captures Putrajaya.

“There is no place amongst peace loving Malaysians in a Malaysian Malaysia for BTN to continue to exist,” she said.

Oops, I forgot me-dementia

June 27, 2017

From Langkawi Island

Langkawi Beach, Malaysia - I'll be there in 4 weeks! Yay.:

The only sane place left in “Malusia” to visit, rest and recuperate

Oops, I forgot me-dementia

by Dean

As my old mate Sam T told me in his comment on my discussion last week of all the forms of dementia I could think of, the most troubling of them all had somehow slipped my mind.

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And this lapse really started me wondering, indeed worrying. How could I have been so blinkered in my thinking as to focus on such syndromes as he-mentia, shementia, cementia, sedimentia, academentia and doughmentia to the exclusion of the most fundamental human mentia of them all, me-mentia?

The answer, I’m afraid, is that it was probably a case of so-called ‘Freudian forgetfulness’, or what Freud himself called repression, of the shame I feel at how self-centred and self-interested I see myself as still being despite my best efforts to minimise such symptoms of my own me-mentia.

Not that I haven’t made some progress toward sanity in this regard. For example, I fancy myself an exception to Logan Pearsall Smith’s devastating contention that “every author, however modest, keeps a most outrageous vanity chained like a madman in the padded cell of his breast.”

And even if self-awareness of my literary limitations is ever insufficient to keep my ego in check in this regard, I can always remind myself that I’m a mere columnist, not an author, and in any case, I can always rely on readers like the aforementioned Sam T to bring me back to my senses.

That being said, however, it’s an inescapable fact of life that everyone of us needs certain basic feelings of self-worth and self-care to enable us to successfully compete with our fellows for the food, drink, shelter and whatever else we need to survive and if possible thrive.

But unfortunately, as the great German philosopher Immanuel Kant argued in distinguishing us from other animals, physical “needs” can be satisfied, but the human mind endlessly invents “wants” that it proceeds to imagine are further needs and thus is capable of an infinity of insatiable greed.

And not just material greed, but also and perhaps more problematically, psychological ones, as postulated by the great psychoanalyst Alfred Adler in his rebuttal of Sigmund Freud’s theory of the primacy of so-called “infant sexuality” in the human psyche, with his perception that infantile powerlessness, or what he called “inferiority”, motivates a lifelong struggle for “superiority”.

Happily for most of us, our greed for economic, social and other forms of superiority are kept within at least somewhat sensible bounds by a combination of competitive pressure from our peers, the limitations of our talents, energies or opportunities, and even, in some cases, ethical regard for the rights of others as well as for ourselves.

Rights that are enshrined in the “social contracts” to which those of us sufficiently fortunate as enjoy civilised forms of government are party, and that underpin the civil and criminal laws designed to protect us against the worst excesses of our own and others’ me-mentias.

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You are fine Dean-just keep on writing to save Malaysia from Naji-mentia

A situation that is very far from the case indeed in Malaysia, or perhaps that should be Me-laysia, considering how me-mented to the extent of megalomanic the members and supporters of its perennially-ruling UMNO-BN regime so clearly are.

Dr M for Madhathir destroyed both the social contract and the Rule of Law in Malaysia during his 22 years as Prime Minister of the country, and his current successor, Najib Abdul Razak has now further transformed it into his own, personal 1Me-laysia in which he and his accomplices and accessories in the alleged massive 1MDB and sundry other frauds have abolished not only the rule of law but such concepts as justice and truth in favour of their own self-interest.

And, to add insult to injury, also self-indulgence, as witnessed by the lavish celebrations, the jet-set lifestyle and international shopping sprees to which Najib and his spouse have allegedly treated themselves and their entourages.

Plus, even more insultingly to the Malaysian people, the privilege of indulging in every conceivable falsehood concerning their alleged crimes, from outright denial that anything is amiss, to supporting squads of paid apologists, propagandists and outright perjurers in politics, the civil services and the press for the purpose of misleading the people.

Meanwhile, another supreme example of me-mentia is busy on some apparently psychotic project to turn the You-nited States of America into the Me-nited States of Donald Trump.

Fortunately for sane US citizens– there are many of them still around– and the rest of the world, however, Trump has the same Department of Justice to contend with as Najib Abdul Razak and his 1MDB gang do; his manic tweeting is making him more of a laughing-stock by the day; his bizarre peace-pilgrimage-cum-arms-sales-mission to Saudi Arabia was a grim global joke; and now, today as I write this, I see he has even outraged the golfing fraternity by driving his buggy over some putting greens.

What the late, great Alfred Adler would diagnose as the source of the de-mented senses of self-importance and entitlement demonstrated by Najib, Trump and their ilk in the Russian, North Korean and other ruling regimes is anybody’s guess.

Do they have superiority complexes arising from inherited privilege? Or are they massively and pathologically over-compensating for inferiority complexes caused by overly-repressive parenting or deep-seated suspicions or outright convictions that they’re somehow truly inferior?

Who knows? And, come to that, who cares? Just as long as the rest of us can overcome our own petty personal me-mentias for long enough, and in sufficiently large numbers, to put these egomanic, megalomanic me-maniacs in their place, which in every case appears to be some institution, be it penal, psychiatric or a combination of both.