No Reason to celebrate 60th Merdeka Day


August 18, 2017

No Reason to celebrate 60th Merdeka Day

by Stephen Ng@www.malaysiakini.com

Image result for UMNO Flags

COMMENT | As we approach Merdeka Day, one thing is too obvious not to be noticed.

This observation that I make will answer the question I pose: “How can BN gain back people’s confidence after 2008?”

Sixty years have passed and BN has ruled the nation. This year is crucial as it may be the coming general election that will decide whether Malaysia will return to BN or see a change of government at the federal level.

Image result for Jalur Gemilang at half mast

On August 31, 2017–In stead of rejoicing, we Malaysians  mourn the state of our country. After 60 years of Merdeka, we are being colonised by corrupt and racist UMNO kleptocrats and their partners in MCA, MIC, Gerakan.–Din Merican

My observation is based on the mood of the people as we approach Merdeka Day. It is obvious that the flags are not flying. By now, most shops would be carrying the Malaysian flag and cars would be adorned with the Jalur Gemilang.

But, unless some arm-twisting tactics are used, by now the flags would be all over the place. Patriotism is not something that can be forced. It has to come from the people’s own sentiments.

Although patriotism has nothing to do with giving support to the government of the day, its absence can indicate the people’s sentiments and confidence towards those in the powers of corridor.

This year is the 60th anniversary since Malaysia achieved its independence from the British colonial government in 1957, yet Malaysians are generally lukewarm about the celebration this year.

Why are Malaysians not showing their patriotism?

It does not cost more than RM10 to purchase a Malaysian flag, but could it be that Malaysians are unwilling to fork out even that amount of money, not forgetting the additional 60 sen for the Goods and Services Tax (GST)?

After three years, by now, most Malaysians would have felt the burden of the GST on their rising cost of living.

Only a total reversal of the GST, which unfortunately Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak said is impossible to implement, is the only way BN can gain the people’s confidence.

Pakatan Harapan said the moment they win the general election, they would remove the GST. So, why is BN saying it cannot be abolished?

Is it because the country has reached such a financial state that despite the oil money, the government would not be able to meet financial obligations without the income from GST collection?

All the “positive” reports aside, one needs to only read Tricia Yeoh’s open letter to Najib to realise how much of Najib’s speech at Invest Malaysia last month can be swallowed.

The truth is most people have a very negative economic outlook, with most saying that the country appears to be going nowhere. Malaysians are beginning to see the doom ahead of them with the latest report that in 2016, the country’s debt has hit RM908.7 billion or 74 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

This is one of the highest since the country achieved independence. To say it is no problem is something hard for even ordinary Malaysians to believe. Imagine you are earning RM10,000, but you have to service your loan for the RM7,000 that you have borrowed.

You may be living a lifestyle of someone earning RM17,000 a month, but how many people even earn RM5,000 a month? This is called “over gearing”.

If people smell that something is not right, they will panic to think that the country’s total foreign debts may show that we are in real danger of bankruptcy.

One explanation after another has been given. For example, everyone knows that it is the weaker ringgit that is contributing to the higher cost of foreign debts, but what is the BN government doing about controlling external debts?

What we are hearing about are the mega projects being carried out using borrowed funds. The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) for example is to be built using money from a soft loan provided by China’s Exim Bank at 3 percent over a period of 20 years.

Anyone borrowing from the bank for a housing loan for that period of time will realise that it is not that rosy after all. The moment someone defaults on a loan, there will be penalties. The bank may even force the property to be auctioned off.

Would the RM55 billion soft loan place Malaysia under the control of a Chinese bank, hence, indirectly the Chinese government? No banks would loan any amount of money if it does not have the assurance that it is able to get back the money.

Besides, we all know that Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) is not making any profit despite running the North-South corridor. What makes us think that the ECRL would be able to pay back the loan?

Political violence

Image result for UMNO Red Shirts

UMNO-Malay Unity, not National Unity

It is not only the financial aspect that people are worried about. No thanks to its past record, and people like Jamal Mohd Yunos and his Red Shirts, people seem to have the impression that UMNO is given the right to use violence.

Peace-loving Malaysians are no longer easily intimidated. The silent majority may not do much, but the sentiments are definitely not with UMNO when more political violence unfolds, whether linked to the party, its members, or otherwise.

They may not be outspoken, but they are waiting for the right moment to strike with another tsunami. This is my observation especially after Mahathir and his men abandoned UMNO.

Image result for UMNO Red Shirts

Jamal Ikan Bakar Yunos and his Red Shirts on a rampage?

The answer to my question, “How BN can gain back people’s confidence?” therefore requires more soul-searching on the part of BN leaders, including those from Sabah and Sarawak.

If flying of the Jalur Gemilang is any indication of the people’s sentiments, it is time for some serious discussions at the higher level.

STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in following political developments in the country since 2008.

Beleaguered Bannon speaks his mind amidst Trump’s Charlottesville snafu


August 8, 2017

Beleaguered Bannon speaks his mind amidst Trump’s Charlottesville  snafu

by Staff writers, APNews Corp Australia Network

http://www.news.com.au

DONALD Trump’s right-hand man Steve Bannon has slammed far-right Republicans as a “collection of clowns” and claimed his enemies are “wetting themselves” in a bizarre interview.

 

Fox News reports the White House Strategist, who was also the former executive chair of far-right US news outlet Breitbart, called a reporter with left-leaning magazine The American Prospect.

“Ethno-nationalism — it’s losers. It’s a fringe element,” Bannon said. “I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more.” He added: “These guys are a collection of clowns.”

In the wide-ranging interview, Bannon also said that his adversaries within the State, Defense and Treasury Departments are “wetting themselves” as he works to push them out of the administration.

Bannon said he called the writer, Robert Kuttner, because the strategist agreed with a recent article explaining how China would benefit from the nuclear threats between the US and North Korea.

Steve Bannon has slammed the alt-right in a rare interview. Picture: AFP

Steve Bannon has slammed the alt-right in a rare interview. Picture: AFP  Source:AFP

 

Bannon detailed his push to punish China with tougher trade sanctions and talked of plans to oust opponents of the move. “I’m changing out people at East Asian Defense; I’m getting hawks in. I’m getting Susan Thornton [acting head of East Asian and Pacific Affairs] out at State,” the strategist said.

 Bannon’s interview also covered North Korea. Despite Trump’s claims of “fire and fury” against the regime, Bannon said “There’s no military solution [to North Korea’s nuclear threats], forget it.”

“Until someone solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about. There’s no military solution here, they got us,” Bannon said.

Steve Bannon claims his enemies are ‘wetting themselves’. Picture: AFP

Steve Bannon claims his enemies are ‘wetting themselves’. Picture: AFP Source:AFP

 

Bannon has been the target of speculation across the country about his future in the Trump administration. The President refused to express confidence in Bannon during an impromptu news conference on Tuesday, saying: “We’ll see what happens”.

Trump asked to delay rally

President Trump has been asked by Phoenix Major, Greg Stanton, to delay a rally scheduled for August 22 following the backlash over the Charlottesville riots on the weekend.

In a statement he released on Twitter, Mayor Stanton expressed his disappointment in the President’s decision to hold a campaign rally as “our nation is still healing from the tragic events in Charlottesville”.

“If President Trump is coming to announce a pardon for former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, then it will be clear that his true intent is to inflame emotions and further divide our nation,” he wrote. Arpaio, who dubbed himself “America’s Toughest Sheriff” and has been found guilty of violating a court order for racial profiling.

Trump has said he is “seriously considering” pardoning the former sheriff. “He has done a lot in the fight against illegal immigration. He’s a great American patriot and I hate to see what has happened to him,” Trump said.

Mayor Stanton said he hopes that he hopes the President uses “sound judgment” and delays his visit.

Meanwhile, Trump has scrapped two business councils as more CEOs quit and former Presidents join Republicans in attacking his comments on Charlottesville.

Mr Trump pulled the pin on the manufacturing council after eight CEOs resigned in the wake of his remarks on the white supremacist attack in Virginia.

He also said he would disband the strategy and policy forum, which includes business leaders such as JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon, PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi and Boeing’s Jim McNerney.

“Rather than putting pressure on the business people of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!” he tweeted.

The strategy and policy forum, which is separate to the manufacturing council, chose to act as a group and informed the White House last night that it would be disbanded.

“The thinking was it was important to do as a group,” a member told CNBC. “As a panel, not as individuals because it would have more significant impact. It makes a central point that it’s not going to go forward. It’s done.”

Mr Trump’s tweet came as two more CEOs quit his manufacturing council before he pulled the plug on it.

 

Campbell Soup CEO Denise Morrison was the last to quit the council before it was disbanded. Picture: AP

 

Campbell Soup CEO Denise Morrison was the last to quit the council before it was disbanded. Picture: AP Source:AP

 

3M's CEO Inge Thulin has quit Donald Trump's manufacturing council. Picture: Supplied

 

3M’s CEO Inge Thulin has quit Donald Trump’s manufacturing council Picture: AP Source:AP.

 

Inge Thulin, the Chief Executive of 3M, and Campbell Soup CEO Denise Morrison, both said they would no longer be a part of the group.

“Following yesterday’s remarks from the president, I cannot remain on the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative,” Ms Morrison said in a statement. “Racism and murder are unequivocally reprehensible and are not morally equivalent to anything else that happened in Charlottesville.”

 

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich also quit on Tuesday. Picture: AP

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich also quit on Tuesday. Picture: AP Source:AP

 

Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank quit the council on Tuesday. Picture: AP

Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank quit the council on Tuesday. Picture: AP  Source:AP

 

They joined Scott Paul from the Alliance for American Manufacturing, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and AFL-CIO’s former Deputy Chief of Staff Thea Lee, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier who had previously quit.

Disney CEO Robert 'Bob' Iger quit the council over Donald Trump’s withdrawal of the Paris Climate Change Accord. Picture: Supplied

Disney CEO Robert ‘Bob’ Iger quit the council over Donald Trump’s withdrawal of the Paris Climate Change Accord.

 

Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was the first to quit the council over Donald Trump’s travel ban. Picture: Getty

 

Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was the first to quit the council over Donald Trump’s travel ban. Picture: Getty Source:Getty Images

The council had already seen Uber’s Travis Kalanick resign over Mr Trump’s travel ban and Disney CEO Bob Iger and Tesla Elon Musk resign over the president’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Change Accord.

Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush rebuke Trump’s comment

It came as former US presidents George H.W. Bush and his son George W. Bush issued a tough joint statement condemning racial bigotry and anti-Semitism, in a thinly-veiled rebuke of Donald Trump.

On Tuesday, Mr Trump sparked a political firestorm when he said that counter-protesters appeared to be equally to blame for violence over the weekend at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“America must always reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred in all forms,” the father-son former presidents said in a statement issued from Kennebunkport, Maine, where they have a family home.

George HW Bush and George W Bush issued a joint statement condemning racial bigotry. Picture: Supplied.

George HW Bush and George W Bush issued a joint statement condemning racial bigotry. Picture: Supplied.Source: Supplied

 

The statement by the Bushes did not mention Mr Trump by name. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also weighed in on the weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, castigating Mr Trump without naming him.

“We can have no tolerance for an ideology of racial hatred. There are no good neo-nazis, ”Mr McConnell said in a statement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Picture: AFP.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Picture: AFP. Source:AP

 

Mr McConnell’s wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, stood next to Mr Trump on Tuesday as he insisted both sides of the weekend’s clash bore some responsibility for the violence that led to one death and nearly two dozen injuries.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao (R), the wife of Mitch McConnell, looks on as President Donald Trump makes more comments about Charlottesville. Picture: Getty

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao (R), the wife of Mitch McConnell, looks on as President Donald Trump makes more comments about Charlottesville. Picture: Getty Source:AFP

 

Senior White House officials have been reported as saying Mr Trump had gone off the rails at the press conference and that much of what he said was not agreed on.That could be evident in the body language of his new chief of staff General John Kelly who hung his head as the event descended into chaos.

Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich was more direct in his attack on Mr Trump’s comments overnight. “Pathetic, isn’t it just pathetic?” Mr Kasich said in a TV interview. “The President of the United States needs to condemn these kinds of hate groups.”

Ohio Governor John Kasich said Donald Trump’s response to Charlottesville was “pathetic”. Picture: AP.

Ohio Governor John Kasich said Donald Trump’s response to Charlottesville was “pathetic”. Picture: AP.Source:AP

 

Mr Trump insisted on Tuesday that many on the political right who gathered in Charlottesville were peaceful protesters themselves who aimed to save a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee from the scrap heap.

Former Republican candidate Mitt Romney said the sides Mr Trump was discussing were from “morally different universes.”

Confederate Monuments Removed in Baltimore, Maryland

Work crews in Baltimore took down four monuments to the pro-slavery Civil War Confederacy on Wednesday before dawn without drawing protests of a sort that greeted the planned removal of a statue in the neighbouring state of Virginia.

Workers load statues of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson on a flatbed truck in the early hours of August 16, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. Picture: AFP.

Workers load statues of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson on a flatbed truck in the early hours of August 16, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. Picture: AFP. Source:AFP

 

Monuments, including one of Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate army in the American Civil War, and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, a Confederate general, were dismantled overnight and taken from the Maryland city’s Wyman Park Dell after the city council on Monday approved the removal.

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said she and the city council decided to carry out the removals “quickly and quietly.”

 

Surviving America’s Political Meltdown


August 17, 2017

Surviving America’s Political Meltdown

by Jeffrey D. Sachs*

Image result for Jeffrey Sachs

*Jeffrey D. Sachs, Professor of Sustainable Development and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University, is Director of Columbia’s Center for Sustainable Development and of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. His books include The End of Poverty, Common Wealth, The Age of Sustainable Development, and, most recently, Building the New American Economy.

The US is in the midst of a political meltdown, unable to manage a domestic economic agenda or a coherent foreign policy. The White House is in turmoil; Congress is paralyzed; and the world is looking on in astonishment and dread. If we are to survive and overcome this collapse, we must understand its sources.

There are two power centers in Washington, DC: the White House and the Capitol. Both are in disarray, but for different reasons.

Image result for The White House

The White House–Calm and Dignified from the Outside and Messy and Toxic Inside

The dysfunctionality of the White House is largely a matter of President Donald Trump’s personality. To many experts, Trump’s behavior – grandiose self-regard, pathological lying, lack of remorse or guilt, expressive shallowness, parasitic lifestyle, impulsiveness, failure to accept responsibility for his own actions, and short-term marital relationships – are symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder.

The consequences could be dire. Pathological narcissists have a tendency to indulge in violent conflicts and wars (think of Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam or of Andrew Jackson and the ethnic cleansing of Native Americans). At a minimum, Trump lacks the psychological characteristics needed for constructive governance: honesty, dignity, competence, empathy, relevant experience, and the capacity to plan. According to some observers, Trump also shows signs of diminished mental capacity.

Image result for Trump

The hope in Washington is that “adults in the room” will keep Trump’s dangerous tendencies in check. But the “adults” in Trump’s administration are increasingly military figures rather than civilians, including three generals (John Kelly, the new White House Chief of Staff, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis). Wise civilian leaders are the key to peace, especially given that America’s vast war machine is always revving. Recall John F. Kennedy’s military advisers, who advocated war during the Cuban Missile Crisis, or consider Mattis’s anti-Iran belligerence.

There are two other escape valves: the 25th Amendment, which charts a course for removing a president who is unable to discharge the responsibilities of office, and impeachment for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Both measures are extreme in the US constitutional order, and both would depend on the agreement of Republican leaders. Nonetheless, one or the other may prove necessary and even urgent in the event that Trump’s psychological instability or political weakness leads him to launch a war.

The political meltdown in Congress is less dramatic, but serious nonetheless. There, the cause is not a personality disorder; it’s money. The legislative branch has been deeply corrupted by corporate lobbying and campaign contributions. Two brothers, the industrialists David and Charles Koch, worth a combined $100 billion, virtually own the votes, and voices, of Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The result is politically perverse. Ryan and McConnell relentlessly push legislation favored by the Koch Brothers rather than the American people. The attempted repeal of President Barack Obama’s signature health-care legislation, the 2010 Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) had nothing to do with voters’ views or interests; it was simply what the Koch brothers (and other Republican mega-donors) wanted.

That’s why the repeal legislation was kept secret until the last moment and was never subjected to expert testimony or analysis – or even considered by a Congressional committee. The legislation could pass only if it was hidden from view and voted on in the middle of the night. In the end, three Republican senators jumped ship, siding with the American people rather than with the Kochs.

Between Trump’s narcissism and the Koch brothers’ money, the US government has become a shambles. Washington is still filled with many smart and talented people of both parties, but America’s political institutions and formal processes are diminished. The federal government is hemorrhaging scientific expertise, as researchers leave or are purged, and as agency budgets are targeted for deep cuts. Seasoned diplomats are flooding out of the State Department. Lobbyists, meanwhile, are installing cronies and hacks throughout the government.

Through the din, new drumbeats of war can be heard, most ominously against Iran and North Korea. Is it posturing or real? Nobody knows. Trump’s foreign and military policies are now announced in early-morning tweets, without the foreknowledge of the White House staff or senior officials. The situation is dangerous and deteriorating.

I suggest three immediate steps, and a fourth longer-term step.

The first step is to take Trump off Twitter. The US – and the world – needs public policy by consultation and deliberation, not one man’s worsening pathology. The American people, by a large margin, concur that Trump’s tweets are hurting national security and the presidency.

Second, congressional leaders should agree, on a bipartisan basis, to constrain Trump’s belligerent proclivities. Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution vests the authority to declare war with Congress, and Congress needs to reassert that authority now, before it’s too late.

Third, the world’s major powers – most urgently, America’s NATO allies, China, and Russia – should make clear that any unilateral US attack on Iran or North Korea would constitute a grave and illegal violation of the peace, and that matters of war and peace must be agreed within the UN Security Council. If the US had heeded the UN Security Council’s collective wisdom in the recent past, it would have avoided several ongoing disasters, including the chaos in Iraq, Libya, and Syria, and saved trillions of  dollars and many hundreds of thousands of lives.

The fourth, longer-term step is constitutional reform to move away the US away from its volatile presidential system to a parliamentary system, or at least to a mixed presidential-parliamentary system, as in France. The power of the president – and therefore the danger of a runaway presidency – is far too great.

Much more needs to be done to restore democratic legitimacy in the US, including introduction of stricter limits on campaign financing and lobbying. First and foremost, however, we must survive the dangerous Trump presidency by preserving the peace.

‘Nothing to Hide’ Violence 2.0 – the Harbinger of Anarchy in Malusia


August 17, 2017

‘Nothing to Hide’ Violence 2.0 – the Harbinger of Anarchy in Malusia

by S Thayaparan

http://www.malaysiakini.com

Image result for See, people with power understand exactly one thing: violence.”  - Noam Chomsky

COMMENT | Would it surprise anyone that when the dust of this recent scuffle at the Nothing to Hide 2.0 forum settles, the perpetrators – always young Malay youths – would be portrayed as the aggrieved party, much like the thieves of the Low Yat fiasco? UMNO has always been protective of its voting base with Malay opposition voices harassed and intimidated when it comes to courting this specific demographic.

While I have been skeptical of the efficacy of this particular tactic of the opposition when it comes to using the 1MDB issue as a vote getter, the response from the regime and the attempts to derail any form of dialogue points to how much this regime fears the architect of modern Malaysia – Dr Mahathir Mohamad -and his designs on the throne of Putrajaya.

While the current UMNO grand poohbah holds solidarity prayers with Muslims begging God for peace and stability, the Najib refuseniks busy themselves with the task of destabilising UMNO hegemony. There is no point talking about a Malaysian tsunami because the violence in this event, the harassment that Malay opposition figures face, the use of the state apparatus to investigate Najib refuseniks’ sympathisers points to the reality that the next general elections will be the ultimate Malay scuffle.

While some would argue that the questions asked by these so-called provocateurs were meant to derail the forum, the reality is that those questions form the basis of right-wing Malay politics and are the means to which UMNO has maintained hegemony.

Those question about the Memali incident, Bersatu’s simpatico with the DAP and the supposed sins of jailed political prisoner Anwar Ibrahim – rights, race and religion – were meant to demonstrate that the former UMNO Prime Minister had abandoned the Malay community and conspires with the ‘Chinese DAP’ to supplant the rightful place of Malays and Islam in this country.

So, while urban opposition propaganda promulgates the narrative that we are all in this together, the reality is that this “scuffle” between the Malays in the existential threat facing UMNO today. This fight will eventually determine not who controls the destiny of the Malay polity – mainstream Malay politics is based on “Ketuanism” – but rather who controls the gravy train.

Image result for UMNO Ketuanism

The Target of N2H 2.0 Violence–Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad

Nothing will come of any investigation into this matter as nothing has ever come of any investigation where the UMNO ‘titushkas’ have used political violence to disrupt the numerous oppositional and other activists’ forums meant to highlight or discuss the malfeasances of the state.

Ironically, a friend of mine from PAS told me just recently that he remembers the time when the UMNO ‘titushkas’ disrupted ceramahs and various other political gatherings to demonstrate that the opposition could not maintain stability in their own house, then how could they with the country.

Image result for Zahid Hamidi and Tiga Line Gang

N2H Violence –The Harbinger of Things to Come

In case anyone assumes that it is prejudicial to jump to conclusion as to UMNO’s role and my description of the UMNO provocateurs, read the comments of Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi with regard to the intersection between organised thuggery and UMNO;

“He said, ‘The 6,171 Malays, they are not real thugs (samseng), they were Pekida members and were part of the Tiga Line group, Gang 30, Gang 7 – these are festivities (kendurikendara) gangsters.” Furthermore, he added, ‘I tell our Tiga Line friends, do what should be done.’”

And what exactly should these groups be doing? I would argue that if three years ago you made the claim that Tiga Line was disrupting Bersih activities, you would get UMNO members saying that these thugs are only doing what needs to be done.”

Instilling fear

In other words, it should surprise no one that what needed to be done was to disrupt Nothing to Hide 2.0 to instil a sense of fear in any Malay participant that there would be violence in Bersatu’s political gathering. This is why the state security apparatus is shifting the blame to the organisers of the forum instead of the disruptors of the event.

Always keep in mind UMNO veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s rejoinder – “(Bagaimanapun) jangan memandang rendah kepada kerajaan kerana mereka ada kuasa, ada televisyen, radio, duit dan media. Mereka juga ada alat-alat risikan dan sebagainya. Media dia lebih tahu pada kita. Dia tahu kita belum tahu lagi. Sama ada dengan kekuasaan itu, parti yang berkuasa akan kalah saya tidak tahu.”

What makes this a little more dangerous is the fact that UMNO is not only turning on the Malay community, it is also turning on its own. It should surprise nobody that the former Prime Minister has many sympathisers within UMNO who do not make up the elite of UMNO but who are the “ordinary people” of the party and the beneficiaries of his patronage of his long UMNO watch.

These true believers are pining for the days when the corruption was managed and UMNO kept the Islamists – PAS – at bay while the Islamists within worked their dark sorcery on the Malay community. These are the sleepers that the current UMNO elite fear. What damage have they done in terms of leaks (propaganda) or could they do during the election (sabotage)?

One of the complaints I get from Malay opposition operatives is that I always seem to highlight the political violence against non-Malay opposition parties and personalities and imply – I disagree with this description – that Malays have an easy ride when it comes to spreading their message to the Malay demographic.

Malay academics and social activists always remind me that when it comes to violence carried out by the state, the Malay demographic feels the boot the most. However, what should be of concern is that this time because of the political actors involved, the level of support of the Najib refuseniks and the hidden hands of the Malay opposition political elite, the violence could escalate.

It would be easy to dismiss Nothing to Hide 2.0 violence as just another episode where the state disrupts a gathering – or as some have argued, a black bag operation from the master manipulator – because this is, in reality, the shape of things to come.

When you have a sitting Prime Minister who refuses to acknowledge if he would abide by the results of the democratic process, when there are laws in place which override the traditional mechanism for declaring emergency and a security apparatus which is not independent (and has more or less made such a claim), what you have is a Molotov cocktail of racial and religious disorder.

The most important question is who is going to throw that cocktail, and if you think that UMNO is the only one capable of doing that, you have not been paying attention.

 

Trump and Racism: A Moral Failure that shames America


August 16, 2017

Trump and Racism: A Moral Failure that shames America

Editorial

The Guardian view on Donald Trump and racism: a moral failure that shames America

No previous US President of modern times would have failed to condemn his country’s white nationalists. This one did.

As George W Bush’s speechwriter put it this weekend, it is one of the “difficult but primary duties” of a political leader to speak for a nation in traumatic times. A space shuttle explodes, a school student goes on a shooting spree, a terrorist flies a plane into a building, a hurricane floods a city. When such things happen, Michael Gerson wrote in the Washington Post, “It falls to the president to express something of the nation’s soul.” Yet if Donald Trump’s words about the violent white extremist mobilisation in Virginia on Saturday – which an under-pressure White House was desperately trying to clarify on Sunday – are an expression of its soul, America may be on the road to perdition.

The original United States of America was built on white supremacy. The US constitution of 1787 treated black slaves as equivalent to three-fifths of a free white and gave no rights at all to Native Americans, who were regarded as belonging to their own nations. After the civil war, Jim Crow laws enforced segregation across the defeated south and comprehensively disfranchised African Americans for nearly a century. Writing Mein Kampf in the 1920s, Adolf Hitler praised America’s institutional racism as a model from which Nazi Germany could learn. Only in the postwar period, and then slowly and incompletely, was meaningful racial equality pursued by the land of the free.

Image result for White Supremacy in America

America Gone Crazy

Yet, while American racism has extremely deep and tenacious historical roots, without which the events in Virginia on Saturday cannot be properly understood, some large things have changed for the better over the past 60 or so years. Equal rights have been enforced. Equality has been embraced. America has elected a black president. It would be difficult to imagine any US president of this more recent period, of whatever party, who would not have responded to the neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville with anything except explicit condemnation and disgust. Any president, that is, until this one.

Image result for David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan

There is absolutely no moral equivalence between the fanatical white supremacists who rallied in the Virginia city on Saturday and the equality defenders who demonstrated peacefully against them, one of whom was rammed and killed by a speeding car allegedly driven by a man who had attended the neo-Nazi rally. The supremacists hate black people and Jews, and regard white people as superior. They talk portentously about blood, soil and the right to bear arms. They admire Hitler and give Nazi salutes. They fly the flags of the pro-slavery Confederacy – the ostensible cause of their rallies this summer is Charlottesville’s decision, more than 150 years after the south’s surrender, to remove a statue of Robert E Lee from a park. And one of them committed the sort of act that was rightly called terrorism when it occurred in Nice, Berlin and London.

Yet, in his first response on Saturday, Mr Trump utterly failed in his primary duty to uphold equality and speak the truth about the racist violence that had taken place. Instead of placing the blame where it belonged, on the supremacists and Klansmen who triggered these events, and rather than stand up for the indivisibility of equality and tolerance before the law, Mr Trump’s words were by turns slippery, banal and morally compromised. It was not true that the violence in Charlottesville came from “many sides”, as Mr Trump evasively said, before repeating his evasion. It is the head of state’s duty to stand up, explicitly and unequivocally, against racists and those who promote racial violence. Mr Trump was found wanting.

That would not have happened under Mr Bush, for all his faults. Nor is it true of top Republicans like Cory Gardner, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Orrin Hatch, none of them social liberals, who were all quick to call the supremacists out. Even the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, who is few people’s idea of an ideological exemplar, condemned the racists. But Mr Trump did not.

Image result for David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan

It is hard to believe that the omission was an oversight and hard to treat it merely as a reminder of Mr Trump’s inadequacy for the presidency. The concern is that Mr Trump’s blathering was wholly deliberate until the White House got worried by the reaction. The worry is that he recognises that his election has empowered angry white people, including those who describe themselves as “alt-right” but who should be called what they are – white supremacists. The hope is that this dishonest and morally shaming moment will define Mr Trump for sufficient decent Americans that he will not be trusted again. Sadly, the evidence of modern America gives too few grounds for optimism.

August 2017 Unity–The Sheer Sham of It All


August 14, 2017

August 2017 Unity–The Sheer Sham of It All

by R. Nadeswaran

http://www.malaysiakini.com

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.

Image result for Najib promotes racism

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.

Image result for harussani zakaria

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.

Image result for Extremist Malaysia

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.

Image result for racial segregation in Malaysia

OR

Image result for racial segregation in Malaysia

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?