Malaysia: During the Japanese Occupation, there were No UMNO Malays

October 6, 2015

Malaysia : During  the Japanese Occupation, there were No UMNO Malays

by Dr M. Bakri Musa, Morgan-Hill, Californa

M. Bakri MusaThe Japanese Occupation briefly interrupted British colonial rule. Japanese troops landed in Kota Baru in the early morning of December 8, 1941, and surrendered some 43 months later. That was only a blink in our history but to those who suffered through that terrible period, it was eternity. As brutal as it was, Malays as a culture and community survived.

There was one significant but not widely noted disruption and humiliation of Malay culture during that period. The Japanese, despite their reverence for their own Sun God Emperor, had little use or respect for Malay sultans. At least the British maintained the facade of respect even though those sultans were essentially colonial puppets.

The colonials saw in the institution of Malay sultans an effective means of indirect rule. The British knew full well the reverence Malays had for our sultans. The British must have learned a thing or two from observing kampong (village) boys herding their kerbaus (water buffaloes). Pierce a ring through the lead buffalo’s nose and then even a toddler could effectively control the herd by pulling on the rope tied to that lead beast’s ring.

That essentially was the British approach to controlling the Malay herd; pierce a ring through their sultan’s nose. The rope may be of silk and the ring of gold, but the underlying dynamics are the same.

The Japanese on the other hand totally ignored the sultans. They did not even bother going through a formal ceremony of “de-recognizing” the sultans. The surprise was not how quickly and easily the sultans ceded their power, rather how unceremoniously those sultans lost their honor and prestige among their own subjects.

I once saw a documentary shown in the village by the Information Department about the royal installation of the first Agong. He happened to be the Yang di Pertuan Besar of Negri Sembilan, my state. The next morning I overheard a group of Malay women chatting with my mother. They were making fun of the pompous ceremony depicted in that film.

Those villagers did not see a Queen as the rest of the country did. Instead they saw their former fishing mate made pretty and regal. They remembered her only as a woman wrapped in her wet tattered sarong arguing over a fishing spot in the river during the Occupation. Neither pretty nor regal! My mother remembered her as particularly inept with her tanggok (fishing net). If not for the generosity of fellow villagers, the future queen and her husband would have starved during the Occupation.

Najib Tipu MelayuThe No 1 UMNO Malay

There was something else amazing about those shared fishing trips my mother and the other villagers had with the future queen, and that was the obvious absence of royal fuss or protocol. Only a few months before the Japanese invasion, those members of the royalty could with a click of their fingers command a villager to do their bidding. He would then have to stop whatever he was doing, stoop low, crawl towards the raja and express what a great honor it was to be a slave of the sultan! And if he were to inadvertently make eye contact with the sultan, may Allah have mercy on him for the sultan certainly would not.

All that royal pomp and ceremony together with other elaborate palace rituals vanished overnight under the Japanese. The remarkable thing was, and the villagers did not fail to notice this, how quickly those former royals adapted to their new plebian status! They were not above bickering over a coconut or their favorite fishing hole.

The Japanese also had a profound effect on the behavior of ordinary Malays, especially the youths. Once as a youngster a few years after the war, my father and I were strolling in the village when we encountered a bunch of unemployed Malay boys hanging around and making a nuisance of themselves. Behind them was an abandoned field covered with overgrown brush.

My father commented that such a scene would have been unthinkable during the war. Those idle youths would have been conscripted and sent to work on the infamous Death Railway in Burma, never to return. So everyone, especially able-bodied young men, knew better than to loiter. Likewise the owners of idle but otherwise tillable land; they risked being punished and their land confiscated.

Yes, the Japanese did all those terrible things, scaring young men to go into hiding. However, boys will be boys; they will defy authorities despite the cruelty of the punishments. Indeed if you keep the young repressed for too long, they will eventually blow up, as we saw in Egypt and Tunisia recently, and what Malaysia is now experiencing.

The Japanese were smart enough to go beyond simply meting out cruel punishments. They set up many vocational training centers and those youths eagerly enrolled. Whether that was out of passion for learning and acquiring useful skills or merely fear of being caught idle, I know not. Perhaps both! Whatever it was, they became highly skilled.

My cousin, an unemployed teacher during the war, took up carpentry. He became sufficiently accomplished to build for his family a fairly decent house. Another villager became a tailor, and he continued his business after the war. Yet a third became a radio repairman and later expanded into heavy equipment, a skill he learned from the Japanese. All those young men became productive, each with their own enterprises. There were no GLCs or a benevolent government ready to employ them; they started their own businesses.

UMNO MalayThe Fun Loving Malay

As revealed in a recent History Channel documentary, P. Ramlee’s talent was first discovered and honed while attending a Japanese Naval College in Penang. To “catch” these young men, the Japanese used the ruse of giving out free movie tickets. After the movie those young Malays were then led to waiting trucks to be sorted according to their abilities. Young Ramlee was fortunate not to be sent to work on the Death Railway. That was a tribute to the Japanese skill in spotting talent.

During the Japanese Occupation every square inch of tillable land was cultivated. Even poor soil was tilled, to grow the hardy ubi kayu (tapioca), a cheap but not very good source of starch and calorie. Consumed too much and you would get beri-beri from Vitamin B deficiency. Similarly, every inch of the rice field was cultivated. Had the Japanese discovered short-season rice then, there would have been double and triple plantings per year.

Malays worked very hard then; there were no “lazy natives” despite all the produce going to the Japanese. The consequences of being idle were too horrendous to contemplate.

Even my father, who always complained of how difficult it was for him to learn English, quickly became facile with Japanese and proficient with kanji. The reason for my father and other Malays becoming fast learners was clear; the very effective Japanese teaching technique – learn, or else! That “or else” was the most powerful motivator!

As for our cultural values during that terrible period, I refer readers to that wonderful movie “A Town Like Alice,” based on Nevil Shute’s novel of the same title. It is the story of a group of British women who were abandoned by their husbands in the rush to escape the onslaught of the Japanese. Those women later found refuge in a Malay village and were subsequently adopted en mass by the villagers.

Earlier I mentioned my Chinese-looking friend. In the villages today there are plenty of such individuals of my vintage, especially women. Their parents had given them up during those trying times. Those were the lucky ones.

The Chinese were not the only ones to do that; so did some Europeans. They willingly gave up their babies and young ones to escape the Japanese unencumbered. There was the spectacular case (spectacular because she triggered a deadly riot in Singapore after the war) of Maria Hertogh or Nadra Binte Ma’arof, depending upon your biases and sympathies.

Tan-Sri-Mohd Ali Rastam

Ahmad Maslan at Red Shirt eventThe Malay Racists

Her Dutch mother gave her up for adoption to a Malay family during the war. When it was over she tried to reclaim her child who by now had become fully attached to her adopted family. The ensuing ugly court battle spilled into the community, pitting the natives against the ruling colonials. In the end the ruling colonial trial judge followed his tribal instinct instead of the evidence presented, and awarded custody to the biological mother. In so doing the judge ignored the now important sociological concept of parenthood.

Han Suyin’s gripping novella Cast But One Shadow, though under a different setting, re-chronicles that drama.

The Japanese Occupation, terrible though it was, offered many useful lessons. It also revealed many positive and resilient aspects of Malay culture. For one, as mentioned earlier, there were no lazy Malays then; we were all very productive. For another, as can be seen from the movie “A Town Like Alice,” even during times of severe deprivation we maintained our values and willingly shared whatever little blessings we had with others, including those who were once our oppressors.

There is one other significant aspect to the Japanese Occupation now forgotten but nonetheless bears highlighting. That is, the Japanese effortlessly destroyed a significant part of Malay culture – our institutions of royalty. The Japanese did not purposely do so; they simply found no significance to the sultans and simply ignored them. Yet our culture and society survived. That should tell us something of the value and utility of these sultans.

Today when I see these sultans and other members of the royal family lording it over the rest of us, I wish someone would kindly remind them of their fathers’ and grandfathers’ fate during the Occupation. If that could happen then, it could happen again. Such a reminder might just curb some of their excesses.

Beyond Economics– First Fix the Political Elephant in the Room

October 5, 2015

Beyond Economics:  First Fix The Politics

by Dato’Seri Nazir Razak

Nazir Razak at Khazanah Megatrends

The theme of Khazanah Megatrends this year is around “innovation” and “creative disruption.”

In the next 30 minutes I would like to share with you some personal stories and anecdotes, and perspectives about why Malaysia remains frustrated in its quest for greater creativity and innovation, risk and adventure taking, ethics and integrity in our economy, and how thinking about this problem leads me to the same conclusion as when I think of many other pressing national issues – we must address the “elephant in the room”.


As a 25-year banking veteran, I would be the first to admit that banks have been poor at supporting not just innovation, but many creative ideas.

Some who survived to tell the tale include two young Malaysians who some years ago came to see me about buying an airline for RM1 to build a regional low-cost carrier. I showed them the door very quickly and quite rudely, and was only nice to them when AirAsia was successful and going for its IPO.

Similarly, our experiments at banking start-ups and technology companies did not go well. Banks are by definition conservative, highly regulated and staffed with bankers.

In the mid-1990s, in response to the perceived lack of access to capital for technology start-ups, I was asked to chair the “Industry Action Committee” to set up Mesdaq, the Malaysian Nasdaq.

Even before we had venture capital and proven technology companies, we decided to set up a stock exchange. And lots of money was spent on the new exchange when really it should have just been another board at Bursa; it would have been a far cheaper failed experiment. Till today, I regret not saying no to this project, but it was a good early lesson for me and probably why I do find it hard to keep my mouth shut.

As banks and the capital markets fell short, the government availed lots of money for technology and start-ups in general. Funds like MTDC and several venture companies were seeded by the government. Money itself has never been the problem. The problem was that we never had the institutional capabilities to allocate the money effectively, bias as we were to local intermediaries who lacked experience and networks, and prone as we were to proliferating agencies rather than building large institutions with economies of scale and partnerships with international experience and networks.

Today however, I do think that from a capital standpoint, there is much less frustration on the part of budding entrepreneurs and creative disrupters. Equinas, for instance, has scale and leverages professional fund managers well.

GLICs have evolved to apply best international standards in investing and now hire – and pay – a much better cadre of professionals for themselves and at investee companies. There has also been a proliferation of private equity and venture capitalists to supplant banks and offer more effective risk and reward structures.

There is room for improvement, of course. I would like to see more funds made available to smaller companies and more focus on how to encourage large GLICs to better support small companies or small deals.

I would also urge that we look at how to make it less punitive for banks to become investors in PE funds given the difference in the needs of our emerging economy versus the more developed markets where these new rules are being written.

Mentoring and international perspectives

Innovation is about three things – insight, idea and implementation. Beyond capital, entrepreneurs need guidance to help them build their ventures. Malaysia has had Technology Park Malaysia and others, and lately MaGIC, with varying degrees of success.

I feel that one thing lacking has been the international element to mentoring. It is unrealistic to think of building sustainable businesses based purely on domestic dynamics in this era of Asean economic integration and an increasingly borderless world.

This is why a few other individuals and I set up the not-for-profit organisation Endeavour Malaysia in 2013. In partnership with Endeavour Worldwide we search for entrepreneurs via a rigorous selection and interview process by first the local management, then the local board and finally the international Endeavour board.

Successful entrepreneurs are badged “Endeavour”, allocated local and international mentors, and are given access an international network of businesses – about 1,100 Endeavour companies worldwide.

Endeavour Worldwide is all about successful business people eager to give back by supporting new entrepreneurs. It does take an entrepreneur to know one and it takes knowledge from all over the world to assess the prospects of the best ideas.

Local mentors for Malaysian Endeavour companies include my co-founders Afzal Rahim, Mark Chang, Brahmal Vasudevan and Tony Fernandes.

Endeavour’s “mentor capitalist” model has worked extremely well in Latin America, where its biggest success story is MercadoLibre, the eBay equivalent. Marcos Galperin started the company in 1999 and was selected by Endeavour that year itself.

He expanded the business across the continent and the company is now listed on the Nasdaq with a market cap of about US$4 billion. Marcos is the perfect example of how a high-impact entrepreneur can have an outsized impact on the ecosystem around him or her. He subsequently became a founder and board member of Endeavour as well role model, mentor or direct investor in a whole string of emerging companies.

I hope that we can rapidly add to the six Endeavour companies that we have so far, but overall Malaysian entrepreneurs now have reasonable choice of ecosystems to help them.

Beyond economics

If we define access to capital and ecosystems as economics, then I would say we have over the years largely addressed the economic issues, but there is still no real breakthrough.

Recent data shows national productivity growth slowing down from 2.7% between 2006 and 2010 to 2.1% between 2011 and 2014. And other worrying data points include the story of two recent big Malaysian innovation success stories – GrabTaxi and HappyFresh – they started in KL but have effectively moved to Singapore and Indonesia for various reasons.

When I asked several entrepreneurs whether if given the choice they would choose to be based in Malaysia, most said no, and those who said yes tended to strongly espouse their nationalistic sentiment. Even though it is just my crude dipstick survey, it is worrying because we are at risk of losing the best companies that we nurture.

So I asked those who said they would move away what their concerns are, without fail, they go beyond economics to the big picture, and relate not just their own concerns but perception of their potential international financiers and partners.

Role of the government

The heavy presence of government in the economy is one issue they highlight. We have spoken and agreed ad nauseam in various other platforms about reducing government involvement in business, yet the data from the past few years show quite the opposite.

Even more important is the role of government in overseeing business competition – the rules of the game in each sector. Much of this has been covered in the New Economic Model, and we are making progress with the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and Aviation Commission, for instance. But much, much more needs to be done.

The more sensitive area of concern is the perception that people or businesses are not equal before the government and even when one can accept preferential treatment based on our affirmative action policy, the rules are often not clear. Added to that is a culture of top down decision-making, even in the sphere of innovation.

Let me share with you one personal anecdote. In 2004, I was appointed to the board of the infamous InventQjaya, set up by a self-described genius innovator, generously funded by the government with cash and a super smart building in Cyberjaya.

I joined two other independent directors, Tan Sri Shahril Shamsuddin and Datuk Sidek Ahmad. From early on, we sensed things were not right and when we conducted our own technical due diligence there were a lot of question marks around the intellectual property the company had expensively acquired from the genius innovator’s own company back in the US.

The turning point for me was when he showed us his “killer invention” – a glass window which would turn opaque at the touch of a button. Well, massage parlours in Korea had had them for years – so I was told!

Shahril and Sidek, who were both more literate in science than me, also found other dubious inventions. So finally, together with MoF official Datuk Rahim Mokti, we decided that enough was enough, we had to do the right thing.

Truth be told, if we knew how painful blowing the whistle was going to be, I’m not sure if we would have done it!

Etched in my memory is the day Shahril and I went to report the case at the A-G’s chamber. After spending a couple of hours showing all the evidence, the officer calmly asked “Did you bring your toothbrush?”

He said, based on his experience, people who make accusations are often the real crooks so perhaps he should detain us! So then we spent another couple of hours explaining that it wasn’t us –thankfully, we were convincing enough.

After triggering the institutional processes, we were advised that we had to see and explain ourselves to Tun (Dr) Mahathir who had firmly backed the project. After the A-G Chamber experience, we were too afraid so we ran to the master salesman Tan Sri Nor Yakcop and begged him to carry the news for us. I was told Tan Sri Nor did a splendid job, Tun agreed that we were doing the right thing and we were safe.

The authorities never managed to build the legal case against the inventor. A lot of money was wasted, but a great deal more would have been lost had we, the directors appointed by the government, not done our fiduciary duty and been willing to tell truth to power.

I have never fully traced the history of how and why InventQjaya started, but I was told it was by navigating the corridors of power and convincing the PM. Tun’s idea of a government-backed R&D centre was good, the problem was how it was implemented.

There could have been a tender open to scientists across the globe, for instance, as opposed to one man’s full trust in another who went on to liberally use the threat of his access to power to get his way.

I am sure there are other similar stories. So we need to recalibrate how the corridors of power work, re-establish processes and reaffirm institutional checks and balances. Over the years, power has become too concentrated and system checks and balances are not functioning as they should.

Human capital and education

Another issue that the entrepreneurs highlighted was human capital.I will not delve into education reform as many of our finest, Tan Sri Azman, Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar, Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah and Tony were part of the National Education System Evaluation Panel set up in 2011, and from what I gather, the issues are well-understood.

There is of course plenty of research that show correlation between national propensity to innovate and the right educational policies. It’s the political realities of education reform that seem to have held us back. On the wider issue of talent retention or drain itself, again much has been discussed via TalentCorp, etc, but then when I speak to the brightest overseas Malaysians, the most often cited reasons for not coming home are socio-political.

Politics–The Elephant in the Room

The elephant in the room is politics and the socio-economic structures that have evolved in tandem over the years. As we have seen over the last two general elections, the dominant political party system that we have had since independence is at risk.

While we can point to many other countries where the transition to a multi-party system happens peacefully, Malaysia has a unique and complex with a potentially toxic mix of race and religion deeply embedded in the political system, so we can’t take that for granted.

Meanwhile, crucial reform proposals by many of our cleverest people like the NEAC which presented the NEM that proposed major structural reforms, have been frozen by politics.

I won’t try to predict the consequences of continuing with the current trajectory of Malaysian politics. But I will predict that if we don’t undertake major structural reform of our socio-economy soon, we may well lose the international economics game.

Way forward

I propose that we go back in history. Not to the early, joyous, optimistic days of the initial post-Merdeka years.

Instead, let’s travel back to the devastating blow we suffered on May 13, 1969 – a day of infamy in our short history as a nation. A day that punctured our innocent idealism and introduced us to the Hobbesian nature of reality.

In the wake of that tragic and horrific blood-letting, the government declared emergency rule and set up a National Operations Council led by Tun Razak to run the country after Parliament was suspended indefinitely.

Eight months later in January 1970, Tun Razak chaired the first National Consultative Council, or NCC, meeting to examine the ethnic, political, economic and cultural sparks that provoked the May 13 episode and undermined national unity.

The NCC’s members consisted of just three ministers – Tun Dr Ismail, Tun Tan Siew Sin and Tun Sambanthan – as well as representatives from state governments, members of religious establishments, professional bodies, unions, teachers associations and political parties – a balanced representation of the population.

The NCC’s deliberations over a few months produced two extremely significant documents that guided our nation in the post-May 13 years: the New Economic Policy or NEP, and the Rukunegara.

Parliament was subsequently reinstated while the NEP spurred the growth of the government’s involvement in business with the establishment of many agencies to facilitate the rebalancing of wealth among ethnic groups and poverty eradication initiatives, with considerable success. The NEP epitomised what this conference is all about – innovation, creative disruption and inclusivity.

So, here we are today.  The NEP that was set to be a 20-year programme remains 44 years on, albeit in a much mutated form. In the meantime, the world and our place in it have changed, not least with the advent of the knowledge economy and the shift in economic power from large corporates and institutions to individual talent and entrepreneurship. The near future looks even scarier as articulated this morning by Charles Leadbeater.

Supply chains have shifted dramatically and creative disruptors flourish in economies where vested interests are not protected by governments and politics. Is our economic system substantially designed in the 1970s able to cope with the demands of today?

We all seem to know major reforms are needed – there is already much good literature on reforms from the government itself – but implementation has been trapped by realpolitik. Recent events are surely symptoms of systemic strain.

I believe that just as in the post-May 13 era, we are now facing a national challenge. Back then, the fundamental issue was national unity. Today, in the 21st century, the parameters have widened. National unity and the forging of a Malaysian identity are still very much works in progress. But added to them are a plethora of problems ranging from the ethical to the practical, and even our quest to spur innovation and creative destruction leads us to this fundamental national challenge.

We urgently need a new social and economic re-engineering programme to suit today’s challenges and for today’s Malaysians. My humble suggestion is this: the time is ripe for the setting up of a council similar to the NCC. Let’s call it the National Consultative Council 2 or NCC2.

To borrow a leaf from history, let us once again bring together the best and brightest among us Malaysians to huddle and deliberate our options. Let the NCC2 be no different from the first NCC in terms of participation from all members of our Malaysian society.

Its membership should be inclusive, its deliberations wide-ranging, and its reports succinct and practical to implement. And it should be led by someone or some people with the moral authority to bring the good and the great to the table for the sake of the nation’s new future.

My own ideas on how the NCC2 would function are still evolving. Offhand, I would suggest the setting up of six panels to deliberate on the following critical issues, namely:

1) Constitutional reforms;

2) Electoral reforms;

3) Economic reforms-affirmative action, role of government;

4) National unity and the social contract;

5) Preserving and strengthening the integrity of the federation; and

6) Institutional integrity – checks and balances between various branches of government and within government itself.

I make no apologies for adopting NCC from my late father. As I have written earlier, he was a Malaysian to the core, a public servant to the extreme definition of that. I believe his legacy of an inclusive, deliberative, and Malaysian vision and identity, is even more relevant today than it was in the dark days after May 13.


As I said at the start of my speech, there are adults who consider my views on current affairs as unsuitable. And they will look for 1,001 motives behind my suggestion of NCC2 instead of what I have just articulated. That is their prerogative.

Just as it is my prerogative to say we can and must opt for national – politics, economics and social – recalibration. We have to address the elephant in the room. Malaysia needs innovative and creative disruption of a national scale to spur innovation and creative disruption in our economy. Malaysia also needs innovative and creative disruption of a national scale to secure our future and realise the true potential of our great nation. We have done it before, we must do it again.

* Datuk Seri Nazir Razak is chairman of CIMB Group. This is his speech at the Khazanah Megatrends Forum in Kuala Lumpur today.

Countering and Preventing the spread of violent extremism

October 1, 2015

A Prelude to his Address at UNGA

Countering and Preventing the spread of violent extremism

by Najib Tun Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia

Delivered at Ecosoc Chamber, New York (September 29, 2015)


I join earlier speakers in expressing my appreciation to President Obama for spearheading and galvanising the international community’s campaign to combat and ultimately eradicate – Insh’Allah – the spread of the so-called Islamic State.

We must give those in IS a clear choice. Renounce your virulent creed of hate, violence and extremism and be guided back towards the righteous path, or face the consequences. Malaysia completely and unequivocally rejects any attempt to associate the wicked crimes they perpetrate with Islam.

We condemn their blatant misrepresentation of the Deen when they say that their sadistic brutality, torture and murder of innocent men, women and children – Muslims and non-Muslims alike – is justified in the name of a religion that is truly one of peace, justice, tolerance and compassion.

My region – Southeast Asia – has not been spared this threat, and to counter this we have taken proactive steps, both nationally and within the framework of ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Kulup NajibYou are known by the Company you keep

As Chair of ASEAN this year, Malaysia will be hosting two key ministerial-level meetings on transnational crime, and on the rise of radicalisation and violent extremism, in Kuala Lumpur over the next few days.

Later this year, ASEAN Heads of State and Government will also deliberate on these issues. Let me assure everyone present that we take them very seriously indeed.

At the national level, we have strengthened the legal framework by updating and, where necessary, enacting new legislation. We have also undertaken measures to strengthen the administrative and operational capacities of the relevant law enforcement authorities. We must make pre-emptive arrests if necessary, and if there is irrefutable evidence, to save innocent lives.

Because we have fortunately not suffered a major terrorist outrage in Malaysia, some appear to believe that we are not afflicted by this scourge. Nothing could be further from the truth. The work done by the relevant authorities is largely unsung, for reasons of security.

But our counter-terrorism forces have been unceasing in their attempts to identify extremists who wish to travel to the Middle East via Malaysia – and stopped many from ruining their lives and the lives of others. They have also arrested over 100 suspected of links with IS. There are those who wish to bring their barbarity and bombings to Malaysia. We will not let them.

These successes would not have been possible without close collaboration at the international level, and we will continue to deepen our cooperation with like-minded nations, sharing timely intelligence, working with relevant military, police and cyber security to deal with this insidious threat.However, these efforts are only part of what is necessary. IS has harnessed a highly effective approach to communications and messaging. The so-called online terrorists have been deployed to devastating effect, inspiring too many of the impressionable, the vulnerable and the excluded to join their ranks.

A focused attempt to counter the narrative and online presence of IS is required. Southeast Asia currently lacks an overarching programme to do this, so we must address this and efforts are underway.

I believe that with the necessary support and participation, this could become an important bulwark at the forefront of region-wide efforts to amplify anti-IS messaging. This work could not be more important. For the lies that IS employs are insidious. For instance, they claim that it is their duty to destroy historical sites, because the Prophet Muhammad destroyed the idols that had been introduced into the Ka`ba in Mecca.

This is based on a false analogy. The Ka`ba was built by the Prophet Ibrahim for the worship of the One True God, and later generations added the idols. The Prophet Muhammad was commanded to purify the Ka`ba of these idols for its use by his followers, to bring it back to its original form.

The historical sites being destroyed by ISIS were never used for the worship of the One God and then later desecrated; so the argument for destroying them does not and cannot apply. Moreover, God informs us that these sites we travel by, and which denote past civilizations — some of which were global superpowers of their time, but are now no more — are signs to remind us not to be arrogant, but to walk the earth humbly.

Moderation, or “wasatiyyah” in Islam, and its associated values such as humbleness, compassion and love for our fellow man – these are noble virtues that IS and their fellow extremists are lack totally. Retelling the narrative of the true Islam that elevates these virtues is as vital in countering extremism as putting a stop to the barbarities that these misguided people perpetrate.

Let me say again: Malaysia stands with all present today to redouble these efforts. We will not allow imposters to besmirch the name of a religion which, in its true form – if interpreted correctly – is a light to mankind

Singapore’s Lee Hsien Loong’s Message to PAP MPs

September 29, 2015

Now on a more sombre and serious note read this from Barack Obama:

…development is threatened by bad governance. Today, we affirm what we know to be true from decades of experience — development and economic growth that is truly sustainable and inclusive depends on governments and institutions that care about their people, that are accountable, that respect human rights and deliver justice for everybody and not just some.

So, in the face of corruption that siphons billions away from schools and hospitals and infrastructure into foreign bank accounts, governments have to embrace transparency and open government and rule of law.

And citizens and civil society groups must be free to organize and speak their mind and work for progress, because that’s how countries develop; that’s how countries succeed

Note: I wonder what our Prime Minister Najib Razak might say to UMNO, MCA, Gerakan and other partners in Barisan Nasional. Let me suggest something for your consideration. You are welcome to add your own.

To those who lost the election, he would say take it easy.  He would talk his Ikan Bakar seller, Jamal and ask him to invite you to join his Red Shirt group and help to defend me, and protect maruah orang Melayu against pendatang cina.

Here are the 3 things from our Prime Minister, apart from tahniah for their success.

1.Carpe diem quam minimum credula ( seize the day and don’t worry about the future). Just forget your promises to those who were foolish enough to vote for you in GE13. Sapu semua before we lose in GE 14.

MACC won’t touch if you are loyal to me. They are toothless and dysfunctional. Don’t worry about Abu Kassim, the MACC Chief as he has been badly traumatised by 1MDB.

2. Gua tolong lu, lu tolong gua. Forget about integrity. We have the National Integrity Institute and my side kick, Dato Paul Low to worry about this.  They are doing a lot of research on this subject. But don’t expect the Institute to come with their recommendations any time soon.

3. Cash is King. If someone put loads of money into your personal bank account say it is a d0nation from those generous Arabs with loads of petrodollars to give you. If don’t  know what to say, get in touch with that Keruak fella from Sabah, Khairy Jamaluddin and Nazri Aziz. These guys know what I will say before I can speak. Don’t worry about me. In case you do not know, I am keramat. I am untouchable as long I can take care of Rosmah. Her ilmu is very strong. Even Harun Din, PAS Spiritual leader cannot get near her. –Din Merican

Singapore’s Lee Hsien Loong’s Message to PAP MPs

…integrity, honesty and incorruptibility are fundamental to our party. We must never tire of reminding ourselves of their importance.–PM Lee Hsien Loong.

PAP wins 2015 General Elections Led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

PAP wins 2015 General Elections Led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

It is a tradition for the Prime Minister to send a letter on “Rules of Prudence” to all the PAP MPs after an election. The context each time may be different but the subject remains constant, because integrity, honesty and incorruptibility are fundamental to our party. We must never tire of reminding ourselves of their importance.

2. Our party has won 83 out of 89 seats in the just concluded general election, with all seats contested. Overall, the PAP won 69.9% of the votes.

3. The people have endorsed what we have done in the previous term, and given us a clear mandate to take Singapore forward beyond SG50. Now we must fulfil what we have promised to do in our manifesto. We must never break faith with the people, but must always carry out our duties to them responsibly, address their worries and advance their interests.

4. Be humble in victory. As MPs, always remember we are servants of the people, not masters. Do not mistake the strong election result to mean that our efforts have succeeded, and that we can afford to slacken.

Much work remains to be done tackling issues which concern Singaporeans, and finding new ways to improve people’s lives. Listen hard to voter concerns, help them to tackle pressing needs, and convey their worries and aspirations to the government.

Persuade them to support policies which are in their own long-term benefit, while helping the government to formulate good policies and stay in close touch with the people.

Upholding our reputation and integrity

5. One vital factor that has enabled the PAP to retain the trust of Singaporeans all these years is honesty and integrity.The PAP’s reputation for clean, incorruptible government is one of our most precious assets. As PAP MPs, your personal standing reflects this high standing of the Party as a whole.

I cannot stress strongly enough that every MP must uphold the rigorous standards that we have set for ourselves, and do nothing to compromise them. Never give cause for allegations that you are misusing your position, especially your access to ministers. That would discredit both you and the Party.

6. As MPs, you will come across many different sorts of people. Many altruistic, public-spirited individuals will help you without wanting anything in return, spending time and money to get community projects going and to serve residents. But a few will cultivate you to obtain benefits for themselves or their companies, to gain respectability by association with you, or to get you to influence ministries and statutory boards to make decisions in their favour.

Gift hampers on festive occasions, entertainment, and personal favours big and small are just a few of countless social lubricants which such people use to ingratiate themselves to MPs and make you obligated to them.

7. You must distinguish between these two groups of people, and be shrewd in assessing the motives of those who seek to get close to you. At all times be seen to be beyond the influence of gifts or favours.

8. Be scrupulously proper in your contacts with government departments or public officers. Do not lobby any ministry or statutory board on behalf of anyone who is not your constituent or grassroots activist. Do not raise matters with public officers on behalf of friends, clients, contractors, employers, or financiers to advance their business interests.

Conduct business with government agencies in writing and avoid making telephone requests. If you have to speak, follow-up in writing to put your requests on record.

9. MPs are often approached by friends, grassroots leaders or proprietors and businessmen to officiate at the openings of their new shops or other business events. They usually offer a gesture, such as a donation to a charity or constituency welfare fund.

Though it may be awkward to refuse such requests, once you accept one, you will be hard-pressed to draw a line. As a rule, you should decline invitations to such business events. If you feel you should attend, please obtain prior approval from the Whip.

Separating business and politics

10. Separate your public political position from your private, professional or business interests. MPs who are in business, who occupy senior management positions in companies, or who sit on company boards should be especially vigilant.

You must not exploit your public position as Government MPs, your close contacts with the Ministers, or your access to government departments and civil servants, for your personal interest or the benefit of your employers. Your conduct must always be above board.

11. MPs who are employed by companies or industry associations may at times have to make public statements on behalf of their company or industry association. If you have to do so, make it clear that you are not speaking as an MP, but in your private, professional or business capacity.

12. Do not use parliamentary questions as a means to lobby the government on behalf of your businesses or clients. When you raise questions in Parliament related to your own businesses or your clients, be careful to first declare your pecuniary interest in the issue.

13. You may, however, speak freely to Cabinet ministers, who are your parliamentary colleagues. Ministers will listen carefully to arguments on principles, especially when they relate to the general policy of their ministries.

But ministers will not exercise their discretion to change individual decisions without very good reasons which they can justify publicly. Parliamentary secretaries and ministers of state who intervene in their ministries to reverse or alter decisions should promptly report the matter to their ministers to protect themselves against possible accusations of misconduct.

The government must always base decisions on the merits of the issues, and cannot yield to pressure from interested parties.


14. MPs are often invited to serve on the Boards of private and publicly listed companies. This is a sign that the private sector values PAP MPs’ integrity and experience, and reflects the high standing of the party and of PAP MPs in general.

The party permits MPs to serve as directors, provided you keep your private and public responsibilities rigorously separate, and your private appointments do not compromise your duties and performance as an MP.

15. The public will closely scrutinise your involvement in companies, because you are a PAP MP. Conduct your business activities so as to bring credit to yourself and to the party.

Adverse publicity on your performance as a director, or lapses in the companies you are associated with, will tarnish your reputation as an MP and lower the public’s regard for the party.

16. You should not solicit for directorships in any companies, lest you appear to be exploiting your political position to benefit yourself.

17. You should not accept directorships where your role is just to dress up the board with a PAP MP or two, in order to make the company look more respectable.

18. Some grassroots leaders are businessmen who own or manage companies. You should not sit on any boards of companies owned or chaired by grassroots leaders appointed by you, so as to avoid the perception that you are obligated to them or advancing their business interests.

19. If you are offered a directorship, you have to decide for yourself whether to accept. The Party is not in a position to vet or approve such decisions.

20. Before accepting, consider the possible impact of the directorship on your political life. Ensure that the company understands that you are doing so strictly in your private capacity, and will not use your public position to champion the interests of the company, or lobby the government on its behalf.

21. Make every effort to familiarise yourself with the business, track record and background of the key promoters of the company. Satisfy yourself that the company is reputable, and that you are able to make a meaningful contribution. Specifically, just like anyone else contemplating a directorship, you should ask yourself:

a. How well do you know the company, its business strategy, financial status, shareholding structure and the underlying industry?

b. Do you know your fellow directors, the way the board and its committees fulfil their responsibilities, the reporting structure between board and management and the relationship between shareholders and the company?

c. Do you have sufficient industry, financial or professional expertise to fulfil your expected role and responsibilities as a Director? Do you understand your obligations under the law and the Code of Corporate Governance? Will you be able to discharge your fiduciary duties properly and without fear or favour?

d. Will you face any conflicts of interest, and if so can you manage them? If in any doubt, you should decline.

22. Once you have decided to take up a Directorship, please inform the Whip. Detailed reporting requirements are listed in the Annex.


23. MPs are expected to attend all sittings of Parliament. If you have to be absent from any sitting, seek permission from the Government Whip. Please inform the Whip if you have to leave the Parliament premises while a sitting is on.

24. If you travel abroad, or need to be absent from Parliament for any reason, you must apply to the Speaker for leave, with copies to the Leader of the House and the Government Whip. You should also inform the Whip where you can be reached while abroad.

25. I have asked the Speaker to give all MPs, particularly new MPs, ample opportunity and latitude to speak in Parliament. Your first opportunity will be during the debate on the President’s Address at the opening of Parliament in January 2016.

Following that, at the Budget Debate, all MPs should speak up. Script your speeches or put your key points in note form to structure your presentation and help the media.

26. The public expects PAP MPs to express their views frankly, whether for or against government policies. During debates, speak freely and with conviction. Press your points vigorously, and do not shy away from robust debate.

However, please exercise judgement when putting your points across, and do not get carried away playing to the gallery.

27. Bring out questions and issues that Singaporeans and your constituents have concerns about, and grapevine talk for the government to rebut, but avoid unwittingly lending credence to baseless gossip. This will show that you and the party are in touch with the ground, and speaking up for Singaporeans.

Bringing up pertinent issues and questions in a timely manner helps ministers to put across the facts, explain the reasons for policies and decisions, and maintain public confidence in the openness and integrity of our actions.

28. Your honest, informed views are an important political input to ministers when they formulate and review policies. Ministers will accept valid, constructive suggestions, but they have to challenge inaccurate or mistaken views.

Over time, the public will see that PAP backbenchers are as effective as opposition MPs, if not better, at holding ministers to account, getting issues fully debated, and influencing policies for the better.

Important public occasions

29. On certain occasions, like the National Day Parade and the Investiture Ceremony for National Day Awards, the whole establishment, i.e. the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary, will be there. Those who cannot attend must have very good reasons. Those who have accepted the invitation must attend, otherwise they leave empty seats, which does no credit to them or to the party.

30. At all public functions and constituency events, punctuality is of paramount importance.


31. You should not accept gifts which might place you under obligations which conflict with your public duties. If you receive any gifts other than from close personal friends or relatives, you must declare them to the Clerk of Parliament who will have the gifts valued. If you wish to keep the gifts, you must pay the government for them at the valuation price.


32. Party branches should not raise funds on their own without permission, for example by soliciting advertisements for a souvenir magazine or a carnival.

If you intend to raise funds, please clear it beforehand with the organising secretary. When your branch embarks on a collective fund-raising activity, eg. a Family Day or Walk-A-Jog, you must follow the rules strictly.

Financial prudence

33. As MPs, you should manage your personal financial affairs prudently. Do not over-extend yourself or become financially embarrassed. This would be not only a potential source of personal embarrassment, but also a weakness which may expose you to pressure or blackmail.

34. In particular, be careful about making major financial commitments assuming that you will continue to receive your MP’s allowance. While MPs typically serve several terms, you cannot assume that you will automatically be fielded in future general elections, or that if fielded you will definitely be re-elected. There is neither tenure nor job security in politics.

Declaration of income

35. For your own protection, every MP should disclose to me, in confidence, your business and professional interests, your present employment and monthly pay, all retainers and fees that you are receiving, and whether your job requires you to get in touch with officers of government ministries or statutory boards on behalf of employers or clients.

Office holders need not do so because you will be subject to the reporting requirements of the Code of Conduct for ministers. This should be done by 31 October 2015.

General misbehaviour

36. The PAP has held our position in successive elections because our integrity has never been in doubt, and because we are sensitive to the views and attitudes of the people we represent.

MPs must always uphold the high standards of the party and not have lifestyles or personal conduct which will embarrass themselves and the party. Any slackening of standards, or show of arrogance or indifference by any MP, will erode confidence in him, and ultimately in the party and government.

New MPs can pick up the dos and don’ts from older MPs. You should conduct yourselves always with modesty, decorum and dignity, particularly in the media. You must win respect, not popularity, to stay the course.

Media publicity

37. I am releasing a copy of this letter to the media so that the public knows the high standards we demand of our MPs.

* Lee Hsien Loong, the Singapore prime minister, is Secretary-General of the People’s Action Party (PAP).

China’s Ambassador Tells Malaysia to Stop the Racism

September 26, 2015

China’s Ambassador Tells Malaysia to Stop the Racism

by John

china_ambassador_huang_mugshot_tmiAmbassador Huang

Huang Huikang, the Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia, is expected to be summoned to the country’s Foreign Ministry on September 28 for a remarkable visit last Friday to the center of a Chinese area threatened by Malay-supremacy thugs to say the Chinese government is opposed to terrorism, extremism and any forms of discrimination based on race.

Such an action by an Ambassador, not just in Malaysia but anywhere, is virtually unheard of. By any measure, it constitutes unprecedented interference in domestic politics and is viewed by critics as a raw assertion of Chinese power. China is now Malaysia’s second-largest trading partner, with bilateral trade amounting to US$28.2 billion in 2014 and may well be the largest, since Malaysia’s trade with Singapore is US$33.3 billion and Singapore acts largely as an entrepôt, shipping goods on to other countries including China.

Huang’s stroll through Chinatown was a clear indication that China would not tolerate any form of criminal intimidation. But it has also raised serious concerns in the ethnic Chinese community that what is regarded as mainland ham-handedness could make it worse for them rather than better.

Nonetheless, despite the allegations of affront, Huang’s visit to the Petaling Street area appears to have played a role in bringing to a halt, however temporary, growing threats and intimidation by so-called Red Shirts led by a United Malays National Organization Division Chief named Jamal Md Yunos against Chinese hawkers and merchants in the area, the epicenter of the urban Chinese community, home of the historic 127-year-old central market and to hundreds of Chinese street hawkers and traders. Police arrested Jamal Yunos and warned Red Shirt protesters against marching through the area. The Red Shirts had been scheduled to march through Petaling Street today, Sept. 26 amid outright threats of violence.

The Red Shirt protest is closely tied to Malaysia’s deteriorating political situation, in which critics say the Prime Minister is attempting to use a perceived threat by the Chinese, who dominate the economic landscape, to attempt to dominate the political one as well via the Democratic Action Party, the predominant ethnic Chinese party. Najib’s position is threatened by not just the domestic political equation, but by investigations into allegations of money laundering and corruption by the US, Swiss, UK, French and Singaporean governments. 

He and UMNO officials have responded by blaming an international conspiracy to bring down parliamentary democratic rule in Malaysia. Add that international conspiracy the Chinese community. On Aug. 29, the good government NGO Bersih brought hundreds of thousands of protesters against to the streets in a two-day rally dominated by the Chinese, giving UMNO the opportunity to characterize the rally as a DAP stratagem to wreck the Barisan Nasional, the ruling national coalition.

As tensions have grown, the Red Shirts have flung insults including Cina babi, meaning “Chinese are pigs,” seemingly with the support of officials linked to UMNO. Last week, police had to use water canon to drive back Red Shirt protesters attempting to force their way into the Petaling Street area, allegedly to demand that authorities raid traders allegedly selling fake goods or running other illegal activities.

Mahathir Mohamad, the 90-year-old former prime minister attempting to bring down Najib, charged last week that Najib is paying the protesters to distract from charges that US$861 million had mysteriously appeared in his personal bank account in 2013. Some of the protesters have acknowledged that they have been paid although Najib, in New York for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, denied he had done so.

Huang, wearing a batik shirt, presented mooncakes to the traders in recognition of the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, which begins on Jan. 29. Reading from a prepared statement, he said that: “Nobody has the right to undermine the authority of the law or trample on the rule of law. The Chinese government has always pursued peaceful co-existence in international relationship and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. But with regard to the infringement on China’s national interests, violations of legal rights and interests of Chinese citizens and businesses which may damage the friendly relationship between China and the host country, we will not sit by idly.”

“I think Najib has brought (the Ambassador’s action) upon himself,” said Din Merican, a longtime academic and blogger now teaching at a university in Cambodia. “His racist rhetoric is raising international concerns since in a globalized world, there are many stakeholders. Najib must show that he can protect the interest of foreign investors who have stakes in Malaysia. Fanning the flames of racial hatred and Islamic bigotry is not an option for him. China is sending a message to Najib to stop going overboard with his racism.  The non-interference argument can no longer be used when human rights are being abused with impunity. The Red shirts are Najib’s paid proxies. The besieged Prime Minister is looking for a pretext to declare emergency rule to extend his political life. He knows that UMNO and Barisan Nasional will lose the general election in 2018 if he remains Prime Minister.”

Ambassadors “don’t do that,” said Wong Chin Huat, a political scientist and fellow at the Penang Institute in Penang. “I find it extraordinary because Ambassadors don’t do things in public.You go make a call, you don’t leave a trace”. Wong pointed out that the Ambassador didn’t make a clear distinction whether he was speaking for Chinese nationals or Malaysia’s ethnic Chinese as well.

“That is a no-no in Malaysia,” Wong said. “Some ethnic Malays feel uncomfortable with the idea that a Chinese Ambassador is acting in a way that he appears to be representing the Chinese here. I would be offended myself if he is saying that. If he wants to express concern, he should be doing it privately.

Najib catches much of the blame from observers over Huang’s move, although Gerakan and the Malaysian Chinese Association, two ethnic Chinese component parties in the Barisan Nasional, the ruling national coalition led by UMNO, come in for their own share of criticism.

“Najib is fomenting this to save his political skin,” said a Malay businessman who declined to be quoted by name. “But Gerakan and the MCA haven’t got the balls to stand up to him.”

“Malaysia views his remarks seriously,” a foreign ministry official told local media. “It is tantamount to interfering in Malaysia’s domestic affairs.”

Armand Azha Abu Hanifah,  a member of UMNO’s youth wing executive committee, demanded an apology from Huang for both the government and the Malaysian people.

Learn from Germany on Race Relations

September 23, 2015

Learn from Germany on Race Relations

by K K Tan

The Racist NaibThe Racist and  The Hypocrite

AFTER a break of several months, I feel compelled to write about the latest race-relations scenario plaguing our multi-ethnic country.

After all, I started a column for this paper writing about race issues in Malaysia and around the world, under the name “Beyond Race” in November 2008, just after the election victory of the first black president of the United States, Barack Obama.

I would like to quote several paragraphs from my first article to show its relevance in the current race debate.

THE election of Barack Obama as the first black president of the United States has inspired people not just in the US but also the world over on the issue of “looking beyond race”. Obama has been elected to represent not just his own “kind” but white Americans and other minorities such as Hispanics and Asians as well.

Our government leaders have welcomed president-elect Obama as someone who is likely to be more sympathetic to developing countries. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said any citizen can be prime minister of Malaysia while Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim added that Obama’s victory proved that Americans were able to look beyond race and religious beliefs in electing their leader.

Open and even rational debates on any race issue have tended to be muted. Even in this so-called modern civilised world, many people are still governed by their baser instincts of irrational fear and insecurity that a person of one race cannot be trusted to truly represent or look after the interests of other races. The use of race and religion in history for politics has tended to reinforce this prejudice till today.

More recently at home, when former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad condemned Zionism and its strong influence in the West at the 10th OIC Summit in October 2003 (just before he stepped down), there were many criticisms against him for being anti-Semitic, especially from the Western media. Hardly anyone came to his defence. I wrote an article in the local press to defend his stand and explain the history and ideology of Zionism (which the UN had even resolved to be a form of racism). I highlighted the terrible injustices against and sufferings by the predominantly Muslim Palestinian people since the creation of the state of Israel.

Dr Mahathir wrote to me to express his gratitude over the article, saying that “not many have done this or argued based on reason”. A non-Muslim friend had questioned me and found it hard to accept that as a non-Muslim, I could be so strong in my stand on what was perceived as basically a Muslim position. My reply was that I am a human being first, everything else next. Fighting injustices and oppression or defending universal rights or values should transcend one’s race, religion or nationality.

In our local scenario, excessive race-based politicking is becoming counter-productive, self-destructive and often plain stupid because they undermine the collective strength of our racial diversity and our economic competitiveness as a nation.

The winds of positive change are sweeping not just the US but the world in general, our country included. With much greater access to education and the freer flow of information and knowledge, the younger generations are also becoming more open minded, less gullible and smarter in looking at various issues.

With the recent changes on the local political landscape, our local race-based parties, which were created out of political expediency during the times of our Independence, will need to reform or even overhaul themselves by “looking beyond race”, otherwise they risk becoming irrelevant.

Red Shirt Poster

Now let’s look at the current debate of the red shirts’ rally versus the Bersih one. Based on reports, many statements (including banners and posters) made at the red shirts rally were rather explicit and if the police and public prosecutor were to strictly apply the Sedition Act, many bloggers, writers, politicians, extremists and social thugs would be charged in court for promoting hatred towards another race.

We have an ex-minister trying to justify racism in the name of Islam and another racial activist proudly proclaiming to be a “constitutional racist”. Such people have no idea what racism or racialism is all about and should learn from the Palestinian people or black South Africans how they have suffered under racism. The public outcry by many decent-minded people against such idiotic remarks shows that there is still sanity in our society. Everyone must realise that any racial conflict is bad for business, the economy and ALL Malaysians regardless of their ethnicity. It would undermine the very interests of their community that they (racial extremists) loudly profess to defend against unproven threats.


There have been no reports of the Bersih rally making any statements on race or religion. But they should have called a spade a spade and called it the “Anti-PM Rally”. Also, the rally should not have gone ahead if they knew that there would be a lack of participation from the Malays or that it would be dominated by the Chinese.

While the political leadership crisis was essentially a power struggle among Malay leaders, it could easily be exploited and manipulated into a racial conflict, which is the last thing our country and economy need. So the non-Malay leaders should not appear to intervene.

Sure, there are broad governance issues involved but many rural Malays in Peninsular Malaysia may not perceive the issues in the same manner as the educated urban middle class and it is so easy to play the race card in our country. It is a no-brainer that even an uneducated bigot would know how to exploit the situation. But we have some smart and educated extremists waiting for the opportunity to cause an ethnic conflict.

History has shown that it does not require many such extremists to cause or escalate any conflict into a racial one, often with the help of some writers and bloggers who are good at playing with words and human psychology to confuse, distract and deceive readers.

The response of the red shirts should not, therefore, come as a surprise. For every action, there is a reaction, the bigger the action, the stronger the reaction. So, the proponents of Bersih should learn how to deal with it in an intelligent manner, without being drawn further into the “race trap”.

I have also written on many occasions on the need to ban race hate speeches and tighten the laws against extremists and opportunists out to exploit or inflame a situation. Unfortunately, the policymakers do not seem to appreciate the urgency or need for such “no-platform” laws which are common even in the more developed democracies.

Germany probably has the toughest laws in the world in banning hate speeches and it has demonstrated that it has learned well from the race-hate policies of its fascist Nazi past. Unlike Japan, it has certainly redeemed itself and set leadership-by-example of a developed country, with its initiative to take in and warmly welcome hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees escaping from the violent sectarian conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

This refugee programme would cost the German taxpayers billions of dollars, even though they have no role in the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. These Muslim refugees are not welcome or turned away by the other Muslim countries, so why should the German government reach out in such a significant manner to help these people of another race or religion? This is the best example of looking beyond race when dealing with any crisis or issue.

The writer, CEO of a think-tank and strategic consultancy firm, believes that we have much to learn on how to treat people of another race or religion from Germany today. Comments: