Open Letter from a 20-year Old Malaysian to Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohammad

The Most Corrupt Malaysian Prime MinisterNote: I received this Open Letter from a 20-year Malaysian who grew up when Tun Dr. Mahathir was Malaysia’s political supremo. Addin makes many interesting comments. I am from Kedah and of the same generation as the Tun. I have been very critical of our PM Number 4.

It is heartening to read the views of a 20-year old and to note that, although more than 5 decades separate us,  Addin and I are on the same page as far as  Tun Dr. Mahathir is concerned.

Choosing and grooming successors is a challenge and painstaking effort for any one. But for a leader, choosing a successor(s) is a critical task.  The late Lee Kuan Yew made it his primary duty and the results of his efforts are for us to see in Singapore today.

On this score, Tun Dr. Mahathir was a dismal failure and we are saddled with the consequences of his poor leadership choices (Abdullah Badawi and Najib Razak).  Although he brought many changes by transforming our country from an agricultural backwater in  a modern and industrialised state, Tun Dr. Mahathir, as I said in Tom Plate’s book, Conversations with Mahathir Mohamad, deformed Malaysian polity in the process.

Enough is said about the man. Let history decide on the man’s legacy  It is convenient  for us to heap all blame for the present Malaysian malaise on Tun Dr. Mahathir. Aren’t we equally culpable? We allowed it to happen.

So, we now need to move forward and focus our attention on the incumbent Prime Minister Najib Razak, his character and leadership. He cannot be allowed to bring shame to our nation in the eyes of the world. We need to restore trust and confidence in our government.–Din Merican

Open Letter from a 20-year Old Malaysian to Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohammad

by Muhammad Addin Aiman

Dear Tun,

Umar Al-Khattab stood up and said “O Muslims, straighten me with your hands when I go wrong”, and at that instance a Muslim man stood up and said “O Amir al-Mu’minin (Leader of the Believers) if you are not straightened by our hands we will use our sword to straighten you!”. Hearing this Caliph Umar said “Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah) I have such followers.”- World Heritage Encyclopedia

My name is Addin Aiman. I was born in 1995 during the period when you were leading the country into prosperity. I am writing this letter to highlight one of the flaws of you have, Dr Mahathir, the same as what you did to Tunku Abdul Rahman while Tunku was still the Prime Minister. Eventhough you are an ex-prime minister, you have still gotten the hegemony in deciding the fate of the nation. So, allow me to be critical of the man who shaped Malaysia towards betterment. Put yourself into Tunku’s shoes for while reading this humble letter of mine.

Mahathir and his wardsYou sir, with all due respect, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. the 4th Prime Minister was probably the best Prime Minister Malaysia had had surpassing Tun Abdul Razak or Tunku Abdul Rahman. Bar-none your policies has transformed Malaysia which was merely an agricultural back-water prior to the 80s into a highly-industrialized economy. Your strong demeanour for greater equality can be seen since the early 1960’s where you had been critical of the government for having failed to include Malay’s participation in economy i.e. trade and commerce to the point that you had written an open-letter demanding resignation of the then PM, Tunku Abdul Rahman.

Prior to your ascension to the premiership, you were an exceptional goverment officer in which when you were the Minister of Education who showed no nonsense towards discipline to the point of making yourself arrive office at 6 or 7 o’clock and wait and observe for the MoE staff to clock in. Your strong character led by your conviction in building the nation  brought Malaysia to where it is today, one step closer to becoming developed nation. If it was not  for your policies Malaysia could still be a developing nation for decades to come. Event hough Malaysia is already a highly-industrialized economy, it still managed to hinge on that 5-7 per cent GDP growth figures. Meaning to say that we are still improving even when we are already relatively good. But Malaysia won’t be relatively prosperous as it is today if you were not the Prime Minister for 22 years.

I for one recognise that you are not without flaws. Nobody is perfect. Among your flaws is that you failed to provide the nation with good quality leaders. A good leader is a leader who nicely grooms and selects the people to become future leaders when that leader has moved away from power.

Najib and Tun RazakTake for example the late Tun Abdul Razak. The 2nd Prime Minister was aware that in order to build the nation, his party which has a substantial amount of control over the course of the nation he must pick men and women of quality namely with intellect, passion and integrity to become future leaders. He did this by giving them experience in administering the country to prepare them for bigger responsibilities. Up to this day his proteges are influential people who are still playing key roles in nation-building. Among them are Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz and you yourself. Tengku Razaleigh was given the responsibility to become Finance Minister in his late 30s and as a result of Tun Razak’s grooming, Rafidah Aziz became one of the best politician who brought indusrialization, foreign investment,  and trade oppoturnities in Malaysia.

With the great respect, why the aforementioned is related to your flaws is that you did not do as what Tun Razak would do, which was to choose men and women who would become good leaders. Post-independence up until Tun Hussein Onn’s resignation in 1981, people are appointed based on meritocracy. Relatively inexperienced people that have merit were groomed to become politicians by entering the cabinet or heading top GLCs so that they would make good leaders when they were elevated to positions of  power and authority.

The current state of affairs surrounding the nation alone is the prove of what I have said earlier. When you were the President of UMNO you failed to maintain the quality of the party. UMNO which has great control and power in running the country should not be left in a state of corruption in-terms of integrity and morality. This is because it would be detrimental to the country that hinges heavily on UMNO’s administration. Unfortunately this has happened, specifically during your time as the head of UMNO.

I wish I was born earlier to tell you that it was for very important for you, the then President to protect the sanctity and relevance of UMNO’s struggle.. The sacrifices made by UMNO forefathers with the likes of late Dato’ Jaafar Onn, Tunku, Tun Razak and others must be appreciated. BUT that is not the case now. People in UMNO especially senior party officials are discrediting what UMNO forefathers had achieved for the nation.

This is so because the party that had once been called the (sole) protector of the Malays has turned into a corrupted party with members with inferior moral and ethical values. At the present moment the party has been plagued with so much immorality to the extent that party members that possess merits have no place within the party. Also it is impossible for people ( especially Malays) with a positive idealism who can be useful for the nation to be interested in joining UMNO, even when UMNO is helming the government and country’s administration.

A lot of Malaysians particularly Malays are aggrieved  over the situation surrounding UMNO. Of course they know that UMNO is a corrupted party but what caused the corruption in once esteemed party?

You should know because you were the  Party President for two decades and currently still having dominance in the party. With all due respect, Sir, you have been an exceptional politician since the day you enter politics. Credit must be due but, what you did to UMNO either directly or indirectly is one major taint to your illustrious carrier as both politician and statesmen. The seeds of corruption began to spread in UMNO while you were President. UMNO members began to operate as sly and self-serving Machiavellians in order to fullfil their self-interests and desire instead of party interest and desire. One of the more known Machievellians was none other than Anwar Ibrahim, the man you groomed to become the Prime Minister and ironically the same man who is now fighting for justice, freedom and transparency. Were you not aware that in order for UMNO members to win divisional votes they resorted to bribery? Were you also not aware that to maintain their authority in the party they have to turn to cronyism? Your close party associates and even your protégés had resulted to what I said above, damages. For the fact that you had the power to bring reforms to UMNO, why didn’t you do so?

In contrast, if you look at political parties in developed countries, what is happening there doesn’t apply here. These countries are stable politically, socially and economically because it administrations are spearheaded by political parties and leaders who have integrity and ethics. It is also may be because Party members is to act as buffer between politics and interest of the society. What is happening in UMNO is the opposite. Politics are disconnected from interest of the society and politics for them is based on their selfish and self-centered attitude.

Party members enter UMNO not to partake in the nation-building process but to enrich themselves because UMNO is synonymous with power. With power you can do anything. Nowadays UMNO serves as a wealth making machine. Unlike any other political parties in mature democracies UMNO, unlike the past UMNO, isn’t interested in creating equality and justice, upholding the rule of law and  and  in practising the enlightened progressive  principles of Islam. Power is itself a powerful tool to create changes to the society, but members in UMNO crave for power for misguided and perverted reasons. And these men and women with distorted convictions who have clinched power in UMNO have corrupted UMNO.

Also, as the then Prime Minister you wanted allow the continuation of your legacy, precisely Wawasan 2020  for the advancement and positive progression of the nation but you failed to do so. Your legacy could only have been possible only if you did better in choosing and grooming your successors. You selected the wrong people in UMNO to become leaders of the country who are now ministers and Prime Ministers. Almost all the incompetent and corrupt key players in our country’s administration are people from your UMNO presidential era.

If you were aware of the importance of continuity of efficiency and transparency in the government, you would have selected people based on meritocracy and well ground moral and ethic values. Unfortunately that did not happen. When you were the Prime Minister, cabinet and GLCs appointments were based on loyalty  obedience towards you. Those who disagreed with you would always be left in cold-storage like Tengku Razaleigh and Tun Musa Hitam and others.

Do not get me wrong, every political player must submit their obedience for a leader. Obedience was not the problem for those people who have the merits as politicians and administrators who disagreed with you. It is only because they don’t subscribe to blind obedience.

I am assuming that the justification that you had acted in that way is because you didn’t want externalities to be present when charting and implementing  your policies. You did not want individuals who would not share your vision for a better nation. Although this maybe a valid justification, the manner in which you had acted by associating yourself with Mr. Yes-men and apple-polishers) and elevating them to higher administrative positions have cause much problems.

One of the problems that I can rightfully mention now is the weak administration of the current government led by UMNO. These yes-men or apple polishers that I have said earlier had caused mediocrity to surround decision making and policy of the country. This is because the men and women that you have chosen are nearly of no-capability and doesn’t have the required drive and passion to build the nation.

With the above being said, with all due respect, it is a high-time that you cease your hegemony in the political system to prevent further disruptions. Your concept of protecting your own legacy itself is distorted. I suggest that you leave the people in power to administer the country according to their own respective ways, rightfully.

Remember, if Tun Razak did as what his successors did, you won’t be “Mahathir” in the first place.


M.Addin M. Noor



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.

Malaysia: A Shameless and Racist Nation under Najib Razak, but we Malaysians are fighting back

September 13, 2015

10th Anniversary Dinner & TCK Lecture

Leave the Red Shirts alone and let them self destruct. They are supporting a discredited UMNO Prime Minister, purportedly to redeem Maruah Melayu. Something else worthy of your support and generosity is happening in Kuala Lumpur on Malaysia Day, September 16. 2015.

So, not all are bad news since Malaysians are fighting back to safe their country from perdition. I am sorry that I am unable to be there in person. But I will contact  Dato Ambiga Sreenevasan on how I can support this worthy cause. Please give generously.

Listen to my good friend and fellow civil society activist, Dato’Ambiga  at Oriental Hearts and Minds Institute function to launch the Dr. Tan Chee Khoon Lecture Series and Fund–Raiser in honour of this great Iconic Malaysian and Model Member of Parliament, known during Tunku Abdul Rahman’s premiership as Mr. Opposition–Din Merican.

Here is  the OHMSI message:

Integrity, in essence, represents doing the right thing at all times and in all circumstances, whether or not anyone is watching. For the past 10 years, we have had a specific focus on ‘Integrity’ and constantly engage communities to support or initiate action on specific issues relevant to them.

To mark our 10th anniversary, we are pleased to announce the launch of our inaugural Tan Sri Dr Tan Chee Khoon Lecture Series cum fund-raiser to recognise the man and his contributions, and promote his ideals and legacy in political life.

Championing the local integrity scene today is Civil Society advocate and former Bar Council President, Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan who has relentlessly campaigned for cleaning out all forms of corruption, and mobilised society for greater transparency and election reform.

Dato’ Ambiga will deliver the inaugural lecture themed “Integration with Integrity… Without Fear or Favour” speaking for how the Federal Constitution remains our only hope for integration with integrity as a 1Bangsa Malaysia. The late TCK stood for these values.

Join our campaign on this Malaysia Day, September 16th at Connexion @ Nexus for greater integrity in this nation-state and enjoy the evening with good dinner, great company by supporting this very good cause to revive integrity in Malaysia. If you cannot attend, please take a table and we will fill up your seats with students from local colleges and universities.

 Malaysia: A Shameless and Racist Nation under Najib Razak

by J.D. Lovrenciar@

For how long more must we Malaysians suffer the torrent of shame? How long more must we live with all the tribulations? The political landscape is being riddled with allegations, scandals and expose after expose. The economy takes a beating unceasingly with no one able to say what the Ringgit will be worth tomorrow.

UMNO Red Shirt Goons

And the Prime Minister asks for another six months. How long more? That is the question on every citizens’ minds and the talk of the town. Why must the Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Razak face so many monumental scandals revolving around him like a raging, stinking cesspool?

If the government’s sovereign fund, 1MDB was managed soundly like any other business entity or at the least resolved satisfactorily, would the nation not have been spared the global shaming? Over six years, since 1MDB was hatched in 2009, we knew nothing. The world knew nothing. But in the span of recent months all hell has broken loose and Najib, the captain of 1MDB, insists all will be cleared in six months.

And nobody knows how. He does not give credible reasons and justifications that can not only convince Malaysians but just as critically important, the global community of discerning observers and concerned investors.

Altantuya returns to haunt us


Now the mother of all murders has exploded: If guilty of 1MDB corruption, jail time awaits Najib but for murder – it’s the death row. That aside, the mother of all murders has been burrowed up again. The Aljazeera expose on its 101 is viewed by decision makers around the world.

Malaysians have also been paralyzed by the ‘documentary’ – not just a ‘news’ report mind you. Despite the Palace of justice having rendered the verdict, the questions keep coming back like a relentless boomerang. Why?

Surely Al Jazeera would not want to make a fool of itself and squander off its hard-earned reputation because of a murder story in a third world country, would it?

Aging before his time and why?

And to add to the derogatory impact on our national integrity and reputation, only now we learn that the reporter was thrown out of Malaysia for working on the expose. And if that is not enough, we are now threatening to go after the reporter who is not a Malaysian citizen.

When the Transparency International Council met here and sledge hammered Malaysia’s questionable and worrying state of graft in the full view of international media and about 1,000 delegates from over 100 countries around the world, we shouted back at them demanding that they did not respect the host country.

We did not scream at the corruption. Instead we trained our cannons on the highly credible leaders who spoke without fear or favor. Meanwhile the Ringgit is plunging but we stoically maintain that our fundamentals are string.

Mysterious disappearance of AT LEAST 2 key govt figures

Add to all these the mysterious disappearance of at least two key figures in government. Inevitably, the public is speculating since nothing is forthcoming from their leaders and especially Najib.

What we have are all the sandiwara distractions like the ‘red shirts’ and race bashing. We also have ridiculous allegations that Malaysians are trying to topple their government. We hear that some individuals are committing treason by peddling lies to ensure they can oust the sitting Prime Minister.

Indeed the country is being besieged not by any foreign power but by our sins of omission and commission. People are sharing similar sentiments at the work place, in the weekend markets, in neighborhoods and with every conversation – why is Najib insisting that he wants to remain in power?

And why are there some idiots willing to fight tooth and nail to defend him using only racial slurs to incite hatred and destroy racial harmony just to keep this dishonest and corrupt leader in power. Truly it is bewildering. Every night Malaysians end their shop-talk and go to bed with that insecure feeling of ‘what is next tomorrow?’.

Dr M a reborn hero

Ex premier Mahathir Mohamad has called for Najib to resign as well as demanded an investigation into Altantuya’s murder be re-opened. . The just released Al-Jazeera video claims that Najib’s close friend Razak Baginda had pulled the trigger, while Sirul and another cop Azilah Hadri used  C4 explosives to blow her body beyond recognition.

It is therefore not surprising why people are willing to throw their support for Tun Dr. Mahathir’s call for Najib to step down even though they may not regard Mahathir as a spotless leopard.

It is also not uncommon to hear street conversations stating that ‘at least Pak Lah (Najib’s predecessor) had the grace to quit in the best interest of the nation rather than fight for extended time behind the wheels of the nation’.

So how long more must Malaysia endure.  In any case it is a decision that Malaysians must make and if they fail to do so, they must take personal and collective blame. Meanwhile some media in Malaysia choose to survive by the philosophy of ‘see no evil, speak no evil and hear no evil’.

Post Najib Reforms needed for a better Malaysia

September 2, 2015

Post Najib Reforms needed for a better Malaysia

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

Najib and RosieGoodbye Najib and  FLOM Rosie

Despite the bravado, Najib Razak’s days as Prime Minister are numbered. Last weekend’s massive Bersih 4 demonstrations are only the latest and most public expressions of citizens’ disgust and contempt for him and his ilk.

I hope Najib is spared the ignominious fate of many corrupt Third World leaders. The visceral hatred for him not just as a leader but also a person is palpable. The sentiment is worse for his obscenely ostentatious wife. Judging by the extraordinarily tight security around him these days, Najib too is aware of this.

If Najib were to suffer a Marcos, or worse, a Ngo Dinh Diem, that would plunge Malaysia into an abyss; likewise if Najib were to execute an Assad. Assad is still in power but I shudder to imagine the images of his last days, as surely that would come. I saw enough gory details of Gaddafi’s.

Regardless of Najib’s fate, prudence calls for Malaysia to be ready for a post-Najib administration. Those arguing for patience have it wrong. Nothing in the constitution precludes the removal of a sitting prime minister between elections. It has been done.

If Najib’s successor were to be chosen in the manner of recent past, meaning, by UMNO power brokers, that would only ensure another mediocre pick. Najib is worse than Abdullah (who would have thought that possible!); rest assured that Najib’s successor chosen thus would be even worse. This Ahmad Zahid character, Najib’s current deputy, is fast living up (or down) to that low expectation.

Mahathir has apologized for his role in picking Najib, and Abdullah before that. It is not productive to continue blaming Mahathir; he retired over a decade ago. Malaysia should be able to recover from his blunders by now. At least the man recognizes his error and is trying to rectify it. He succeeded in ridding us of Abdullah; let’s hope he would be too with Najib.

Najib's 2015 CabinetNajib’s 2015 Cabinet

It is not enough to dump just Najib. His entire cabinet too has to go, plus half a dozen top heads in the permanent establishment. To redress Najib’s legacy of endemic corruption, I propose granting temporary amnesty to corruptors who confess. To discourage future such acts, I propose a permanent body to scrutinize all gifts and public contracts awarded to the top 100 officials. They would also have to declare their assets annually to this body. Anything less would condemn Malaysia to “business as usual.” It cannot afford that.

Transition Prime Minister and Unity Cabinet

Najib’s successor should be chosen through consensus by the parties now in Parliament. That would be the only way to get a unity leader. That individual would of course have to be ratified by Parliament. As UMNO has the largest number of representatives, it is only right that the Prime Minister should be a current UMNO MP. His cabinet however, should comprise nominees of all parties.

The new Prime Minister and his ministers should commit to three stipulations. One, they should not be candidates in the next general elections; two, give up their party positions (if they have any) in the interim; and three, agree to stay out of government for at least a year immediately following their tenure.

Reduce the cabinet to about a dozen ministers, as with Tunku’s original team back in 1955. The current bloated one is inefficient, designed less to pick the best candidates more to bribe compliant and none too bright supporters. Former Parliamentary Accounts Committee Chairman Nur Juzlan tasked with investigating 1MDB, now a junior minister, is Exhibit A.

The first stipulation would ensure that ministers focus on their cabinet responsibilities and not be sidelined with jockeying to be candidates in the next election. Without this stricture those new ministers would begin their next political campaign right away, mocking the unity theme of the cabinet.

The second — decoupling cabinet appointments from party positions – could prove to be a worthy precedent for future administrations. The duties of a minister are onerous enough without the added burden of party obligations. This stipulation would also widen the talent pool beyond career politicians.

Najib’s current ministers have to go with him. They have either explicitly or implicitly by their silence endorsed Najib’s corrupt ways. They do not deserve to lead the nation. Firing them would impress upon new ministers that while they may serve at the pleasure of the Prime Minister, their ultimate paymaster and thus clients are the citizens.

Tengku Razaleigh HamzahThe Prime Minister In Waiting–Good for Malaysia

One standout candidate for Prime Minister is Tengku Razaleigh. He commands instant respect at home and abroad. Untainted by the many sordid UMNO scandals, he is also highly regarded by the opposition as well as ordinary citizens. At age 78 we can believe him when he says that he would not stand in the next election, as he informed Najib last week. He is robust physically and mentally. No other candidate comes close to Razaleigh.

If reluctant leaders make the best ones, then the Tengku is the embodiment of that principle. With his accomplishments he does not need yet another accolade, especially now that the Prime Minister’s post has been soiled.

Fire Key Leaders in the Permanent Establishment

One least-noted but very revealing aspect to the present 1MDB scandal is the less-than-admirable to downright despicable performances of many heads in the permanent establishment.


Bank Negara Governor, hitherto distinguished by her sterling professional reputation, was reduced to saying that her duties were done with the handing in of her report on 1MDB to the Attorney General. She was not in the least interested on whether her findings would be acted upon, using the Jamaican excuse, “It’s not my job, mon!” She felt no compulsion to protect the integrity of her institution. She also failed in her obligation to the public, her ultimate paymaster.

It gets worse. Chief Secretary Ali Hamsa, the top civil servant, announced the retroactive retirement of Attorney-General Gani Patail while he (Gani) was in the final stages of investigating Najib’s scandal. Not to be outdone, Hamsa’s new appointee as A-G, Apandi Ali, announced even before being sworn in that Najib was cleared of any wrongdoing!

Apandi ampuThe Man behind the Sapuman

If you want to bodek (suck up) at least do so in a credible way so as to spare yourself and your master needless embarrassment. In case the point is missed, Apandi, a retired judge, was a former state UMNO treasurer. A political hack, essentially.

Meanwhile the number one and two at the Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) chose to be on elective medical leave in the midst of the crisis. To top that, Inspector-General of the Police (IGP) Khalid Abu Bakar made himself the subject of international ridicule when his request to Interpol for the arrest of the Sarawak Report editor was rebuffed. In an unusual departure, Interpol asserted that its Red Alert is meant to nab terrorists and dangerous criminals. The smack to the IGP’s face was heard around the world.

The IGP tried to keep that rebuff secret. The first blunder was bad enough, but a second one so soon! Sheer incompetence and lack of professionalism personified.

Low and AbuLow and Abu–Corruption Busters

At a minimum Chief Secretary Ali Hamsa, IGP Khalid Abu Bakar, MACC Chief Abu Kassim, and new Attorney-General Apandi Ali should be fired. They should be prosecuted for obstruction of justice with respect to the 1MDB investigation.

There are many capable Malaysians who could replace those four, and others. However, with citizens now so deeply polarized, it is unlikely that any local replacement could command the confidence and respect of the populace. Thus the new administration should initiate a global search to get the best talent without regard to nationality.

An important task for these new appointees would be to groom their local successors, to impress upon them the importance of protecting and enhancing the integrity of their institutions. They should not be handmaidens to their political superiors. This is especially critical now as our public institutions, even religious ones, are hopelessly corrupt and politicized.

Consider that Najib was embarrassed enough to withdraw his previously arranged address to an international conference on anti-corruption. The urbane and sophisticated audience would laugh him off. Not so at local mosques. There he was in his long white jubbah a la the Grand Ayatollah, Najib leading a congregational prayer with the compliant local media in full force with cameras on hand. Next the man would go for umrah and announced that he had a vision that the RM2 billion “donation” was rezeki, and the donor a descendant of the Prophet!

Samuel Johnson had it off; religion, not patriotism, is the last refuge of scoundrels, at least Malay-Muslim ones.

Amnesty for Corruptors and Asset Declaration

Corruption is now endemic in Malaysia; it is the norm at all levels. The only reason Najib’s RM 2 billion “donation” raised a raucous was the sheer colossal amount (even in today’s devalued ringgit) and the utter brazenness of the man.

It is hard to gauge the extent of or aggregate loss from corruption. Its corrosive consequences are of course beyond quantification, from collapsed buildings endangering their occupants to watered-down academic standards depriving the young their rightful opportunities.

One suggestion would be to grant amnesty to encourage corruptors to come forward. That would give some insight as to the extent of the blight as well as its infinite variations. There is no limit to human ingenuity in disguising corruption, from friendly “wagers” at golf games to the funding of Hajj pilgrimages. Nothing is sacred to the corrupt.

Generated by IJG JPEG Library

Amnesty would also create a prisoner’s dilemma between the corrupting parties that could potentially be exploited. If one side confesses and the other does not, you now have the evidence to prosecute the other party.

To reduce future opportunities for corruption, there should be a permanent body to scrutinize all gifts and contracts given to the top 100 public officials and their immediate families. This 100 would include the sultans and governors, cabinet and chief ministers, top civil servants and heads of major statutory bodies, as well as Federal Court judges. They would also have to declare their assets annually to this body.There are many excellent models of such bodies out there; there is no need to reinvent the wheel.

Von Mises

Meanwhile Bersih 4 and other protests against Najib must continue until the man is finally booted out. However, dumping only Najib without the other needed changes would only condemn Malaysia to business as usual. The nation can ill afford that.

The Unsung Heroes behind Bersih

September 1, 2015

The Unsung Heroes behind Bersih

And after that came Bersih 2 and  Bersih 3, and now, Bersih 4. But the Bersih that came after the 10th November 2007 Bersih march was not what we had in mind. It was not a political movement. It was neither pro-government nor pro-opposition. It was a reform movement, first for electoral reforms and then for political reforms.


by Raja Petra Kamarudin

RPKI did not write anything over the last one week because Malaysia was experiencing Bersih fever and no one really wanted to read anything that had nothing to do with Bersih. But then if you do write about Bersih people would expect you to write something pro-Bersih and in support of Bersih. Any article that does not ask people to come out in support of Bersih would be seen as anti-opposition.

So I thought better I do not write anything and allow Bersih to end first before writing, although a number of people did ask me why I am so quiet after sometimes coming out with three articles a day.

So, yes, people are still talking about Bersih till today. Many are analysing Bersih from this or that angle. So I, too, will write about Bersih, but not from the pro or anti angle. I will just write about…Bersih.

Bersih was first mooted in 2007 after the launch of the anti-Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi movement in 2006. Of course, it was Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who was behind that movement so understandably we did not get the support of the top leadership of PKR and DAP. The PAS leaders, however, did not seem to have much problems working with Dr Mahathir.

Soon after the 2006 ‘Get Badawi’ movement was launched, Dr Mahathir suggested that the pro-government and pro-opposition Bloggers unite. We had our first meeting at the Press Club attended by Bloggers from both sides of the political divide where we formed a committee. They suggested that I become the President but I declined. I suggested instead that Mahathir loyalist Ron should take that post but he, too, declined. So finally another Mahathir loyalist, Rocky, was appointed the President instead.

It was soon after that when PKR held its annual assembly in Penang, which I also attended but only as a ‘reporter’ and not as a delegate or party member. Azmin Ali took the stage and in front of hundreds of PKR delegates he shouted, “All those who are collaborating with Dr Mahathir can fook off!” Anwar Ibrahim was smirking as he looked at me, giving me a very clear message that that meant people like me who were now working with Dr Mahathir.

t was DAP leader Ronnie Liu, one of the ‘founding fathers’ of Bersih, who contacted me to ask me to get involved. They needed someone who could reach the palace because the plan was to march to the Agong’s palace to hand over a petition for electoral reforms. I then contacted the late Tunku Vic and asked him to also participate because I would need his help to talk to Istana Negara.

It was around that time that UMNO Youth organised a blood donation drive at the Kampung Baru mosque and I asked Ronnie to mobilise a group of DAP supporters, of course all Chinese, to go and donate blood at the mosque, which they did. I felt if DAP could bring along a group of Chinese to donate blood at Mukhriz Mahathir’s event in Kampung Baru that would be good for the planned cooperation between us from the opposition and those pro-government supporters.

We had a number of meetings leading to the 10th November 2007 Bersih march, some in a DAP chap’s house, Uncle Lee, and some in Ron’s house. I even brought along some UMNO supporters to the DAP meeting. Clearly Bersih was not an opposition effort but a joint effort between pro-opposition and pro-government people. Ron even arranged for someone to donate Bersih T-shirts and baseball caps.

The key to the whole thing would be to get His Majesty the Agong to agree to receive the petition from Bersih. And this was the work of Tunku Vic and Din Merican who made numerous phone calls to the right people to obtain the consent of Istana Negara. We made it very clear that Bersih was not a political movement but a non-partisan movement that was supported by opposition as well as government supporters, the UMNO supporters in particular. Basically it was a peoples’ movement with no political affiliations and one that was only interested in electoral reforms.

We eventually received consent from Istana Negara and were told that only ten representatives would be allowed to enter the palace. The rest, which we expected to number in the tens of thousands, would have to remain outside the palace gates. And with that the police, which had initially classified the planned march as an illegal gathering, reluctantly had to agree to let us march.

Bersih was now a movement officially recognised by the government and Istana Negara. We then sat down to prepare our list of electoral reforms that we wanted to hand to His Majesty the Agong.

On 10th November 2007, we marched to the palace but on reaching the palace gate we were told to wait outside and not go in yet. The palace representative came outside to meet us and said that our ten representatives are welcome to enter the palace and we replied that we had been told to wait because some of the party leaders were on the way.

The crowd that had been waiting for almost an hour began to get restless. Some walked up to me to ask what was going on. Is the palace now refusing to allow us in? No, I replied. In fact they came out to invite us in. But we had been told to wait for the party leaders.

Eventually the party leaders arrived and immediately took the petition from us and walked into the palace. After handing over the petition to the palace they came out and started making speeches. We could see that the police were becoming agitated because we had assured them that this was not going to be turned into a political rally.

After the party leaders finished giving their speeches we broke up and went home. The Bersih rally, which had originally been intended as a peoples’ march to the Agong’s palace to hand a petition calling for electoral reforms, had been turned into a political rally. Understandably Tunku Vic was not too pleased because that had more or less violated the trust that the Agong had placed in us when we assured His Majesty that this was not about politics but about electoral reforms.

After that, of course, came the 2008 general election, which could be said to be partly influenced by Bersih and the Hindraf rally that same month. It also cannot be denied that Pakatan Rakyat’s success was also because the pro-government and pro-opposition Bloggers united to send the same message to the voters, which is vote for change.

Never before in history had those from both sides of the political divide united under one cause.

2008 was the year when we came under the banner of Barisan Rakyat and not Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat. We even had our own poster. After the 2008 general election we decided to take the Bersih effort one step further. Bersih was about electoral reforms. However, to be able to see electoral reforms we need to first see political reforms. So we met, yet again, in Tunku Vic’s house together with Umno and DAP supporters to come out with a document that listed down what political reforms were needed.

Basically, electoral reforms would be part of or a component of political reforms. If we can see political reforms then electoral reforms would come as well. It is not enough we just see electoral reforms. We need more than that. We need political reforms first, which would include electoral reforms.

But by then those in Pakatan Rakyat no longer wanted to talk about this. They had already won five states and had denied Barisan Nasional its two-thirds majority in Parliament. They were confident that in the next general election in 2013 they would be able to win the federal government.

Those in Barisan Nasional, such as Dr Mahathir, also no longer needed to fight for reforms. Their only interest was to oust the Prime Minister and that had already been achieved. And that was the only objective they had in mind. Reforms were the excuse they were using just to get rid of the Prime Minister.

So we found that the fight for political reforms was no longer on the agenda of both sides of the political divide. So this meant electoral reforms would also no longer be on the agenda as well. And this meant we would need a third force if we wanted to achieve the reforms we were seeking. And this would have to be something that the civil society pushes for.

Barisan Rakyat-2007Barisan Rakyat not Pakatan Rakyat

And that, of course, was when we came out with the idea of a civil society movement that we called the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement or MCLM. But that is a story I have told many times so no need for me to repeat myself.

And after that came Bersih 2 and  Bersih 3, and now, Bersih 4. But the Bersih that came after the 10th November 2007 Bersih march was not what we had in mind. It was not a political movement. It was neither pro-government nor pro-opposition. It was a reform movement, first for electoral reforms and then for political reforms.

But I suppose that is something that can now never be achieved. Anyway, to me, the unsung heroes who made Bersih back in 2007 a success were Tunku Vic, Ronnie Liu, Din Merican, Ron, Uncle Lee, Jad, and many more from UMNO, DAP, PAS and PKR, Bloggers included, who put aside their political differences for the sake of seeking reforms.



Mahathir–The Game Changer for Bersih 4?

September 1, 2015

Malaysia: Mahathir–The Game Changer for Bersih 4?

by Scott Ng

mahathirbersih-4The Game Changer for Bersih 4 or a Free Rider?

Mahathir Mohamad’s presence at last weekend’s Bersih rally marked a watershed moment in Malaysian politics. Perhaps it was not the watershed moment Bersih was looking for, but it was of singular significance nonetheless, considering the less than illustrious history Mahathir has had with street demonstrations, something many felt compelled to point out.

Up till that point, Bersih 4 had been impressive, but lacking the needed impact to turn heads in Putrajaya. The crowds were well-disciplined and jovial, everything was proceeding as planned, but there was no spark to ignite the moment, unlike previous Bersih rallies, where turmoil defined the protests as some of the most significant in Malaysian history.

There was also the matter of the crowd’s racial composition, as the low Malay turnout led to government mouthpieces spinning Bersih 4 into a Chinese-DAP movement as opposed to a truly Malaysian one. The full spectrum of Malaysian colour needed to be on its most extravagant display, but it fell short and Najib celebrated another victory as media headlines painted the day’s procession as a largely tame event.

Then the rumblings started. Mahathir will be at Bersih. Tun M is coming. He’s coming when we need him. And sure enough, Mahathir appeared out of the blue, causing a media frenzy that shot Bersih back into significance. Although he left as quickly as he came, he had ignited a spark for Bersih. Immediately, Najib’s damage control team went into overdrive. They accused Mahathir of being a hypocrite and traitor, having betrayed Umno by having the sheer, unmitigated gall to step foot among the rabble rousers. How dare he consort with the enemy, they screamed.

Mahathir would make his intentions known the next day as once again, word spread of his impending arrival at the rally, this time accompanied by photos of him and his wife making their way to the crowds along with former law minister Zaid Ibrahim. And sure enough, he came and delivered a speech from the steps of Central Market.

In his speech, Mahathir made four very bold statements that may lay the foundations for future protests. One, he emphasised that he was at the rally for the people, placing importance on people power in the effort to oust Najib. Two, he announced that all UMNO MPs had been bribed by Najib, along with all of Umno’s division chiefs. Three, he proclaimed again that Najib’s RM2.6 billion did not come from the Arabs, but from 1MDB. Four, he told everyone to keep demonstrating, saying it was one of the last resorts in their attempt to be rid of Najib.

Mahathir’s presence changed the perception that Bersih 4 was a “Chinese thing” and legitimised Bersih and all future rallies as avenues to oust Najib, regardless of the intentions or agendas of the organisers. As an elder statesman, his words carry more weight than the voice of the multitudes, especially to the Malays.

Bersih 4.0 in Jalan Tun Perak

Despite all this, some, including some people in Bersih, felt that it was an apt time to make Mahathir account for his past sins. Yes, his sins are numerous, and yes, there are people who cannot forgive him. He paved the way for Najib to act the way he does.

You can hate him all you want, you can criticise and you can mock, but do not pretend that you did not need him. He came when you needed him the most, deeply aware that some people in the crowd despised him.

Some have called this Mahathir’s repentance. Perhaps it really is his repentance for hand picking what many consider to be the worst Prime Minister in Malaysian history. Perhaps removing Najib is the last goal he needs to achieve so that he may rest a little easier when he goes off for his long sleep. If the old man wants to repent, who are we to stop him or mock him?

Mahathir changed the game for Bersih and the people. He repainted the battle lines as no longer being a case of “DAP/the Opposition against UMNO,” but a case of “The rakyat versus Najib.” Whatever you think of him, Mahathir came through for the people last weekend. Perhaps we should be focusing on that a little more.