The Demise of A Secular State


October 16, 2017

The Demise of  A Secular State

by S. Thayaparan

http://www.malaysiakini.com

“What the State can usefully do is to make itself a central depository, and active circulator and diffuser, of the experience resulting from many trials. Its business is to enable each experimentalist to benefit by the experiments of others, instead of tolerating no experiments but its own.”
John Stuart Mill, “On Liberty”

Malaysiakini columnist P Gunasegeram ends his latest piece, ‘I am a pendatang and proud of it,” with the appropriate “And know that I am here to stay whether you bloody like it or not because this country is mine too!” which is exactly how most non-Malay/ non-Muslims feel whenever they read about the use of the weaponised Islam in this country.

All you have to do is read the comments on social media when Johor’s HRH Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar stands up for what is right and decent when it comes to countering the agendas of Islamists in this country, who would use religion as a demarcation line to understand the frustrations non-Malays have with a system that on the one hand, finds utilitarian value in non-Malay contribution to this country, and on the other, is disgusted by their very existence as Malaysians with hopes and agendas of their own. These agendas are not necessarily different from each other but are anathema to the agendas of these state-sponsored Islamists.

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Johor’s HRH Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar stands up for what is right and decent when it comes to countering the agendas of Islamists in this country. The Malaysian Opposition led by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and his sidekick DAP’s Lim Kit Siang is deaf and dumb on this issue.
 

People often miss the larger narrative when it is easier to digest sound bites. When a religious school burns down, this should have been an opportunity for a national discussion on why these religious schools exists in the first place, what values they are promoting, how safe are they and the corrupt practices that goes in the creation and maintenance of these schools. Instead, nobody was really interested in this, but carried on putting all their eggs in the 1MDB basket.

The Muslims-only launderette issue becomes about how:

1)HRH The Sultan of Johor was the line in the sand when it comes to this type of religious mischief because politicians offered only mild condemnation which sounded more like bemusement, and

2) the relevance of an institution like Jakim (Islamic Development Department) to state religious bodies is questioned by the moves of the Johor Sultan, who, by cutting off contact between the federal religious authorities and his state’s religious department, is making it clear that – for the time being at least – he does not want religious extremism from the federal level contaminating Islamic moderation at the state level.

Where is our glorious opposition in all of this? As I said before – “If you are waffling on your commitment to a secular state, then you have to make your case for an Islamic state and this is where the trouble begins and ends. If oppositional Muslim political operatives and their allies would just stop using religion as the basis of critique and concentrate on furthering the agenda of the secular state, oppositional Muslim MPs would not have to worry about attempting to ‘out-Islam’ their rivals because this would not be the grounds on which they battle for votes.”

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Prime Minister Ayahtollah Najib Razak, Malaysia Al-Islam

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Ayahtollah Abdul Hadi Awang–Deputy Prime Minister, Malaysia al-Islam

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki  reminds us that BN – not Umno but BN – is committed to make Malaysia an Islamic state and of course, we will not hear anything from the MCA and MIC about this glorious agenda. Neither will we hear anything from our doughty opposition, because they have convinced themselves that they need to be “Islamic” to win the votes of the majority of the Malay community to replace the current Umno poohbah who is apparently the enemy of the state.

Which brings up the uncomfortable question of what kind of state? The enemy of an Islamic state or a secular state?

Forsaking the Constitution

Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak blathers on about how we should embrace new politics – whatever that means – and not abandon the Constitution, but the reality is that by chipping away at the Constitution which is what Umno is doing in its attempt to create an “Islamic” state, it is just further evidence that the Constitution is not worth the paper it is printed on.

Meanwhile, the opposition is doing nothing about this. Nobody in the opposition has ever made statements that reaffirm the primacy of the Constitution or the opposition’s agenda of ending the Islamisation process. We do not even know if this is one of the reforms that would “save Malaysia” that the opposition intends to carry out.

 

Remember, “this meme that by benching UMNO, we as Malaysians, whatever our religion or credo, would be safe from the machinations of Islamic extremists, is irrational considering that we neither have a committed secular opposition nor Muslim politicians who openly commit to secular agendas. As long as this remains the default setting of Malaysian politics, there will never be a period where secularism is safe from encroaching Islamic extremism.”

I mean really, this whole idea of making Malaysia an “Islamic” state is really about making Malaysia more like Saudi Arabia. And you know what the Johor sultan thinks about that, right? Here is a reminder – “If there are some of you who wish to be an Arab and practise Arab culture, and do not wish to follow our Malay customs and traditions, that is up to you. I also welcome you to live in Saudi Arabia.”

But what I really want to know is, what does the opposition think of that? Does the opposition think that Malay culture should emulate Arab culture and if so, does the opposition advocate that Malays who don’t want to follow “Malay” customs and traditions are welcome to live in Saudi Arabia?

Depending on your point of view, the balkanisation of Malaysia is something that is a very real possibility because of this agenda of turning Malaysia into an “Islamic” state. This is not something that any rational person would want and I am including the Malays in this equation, because if they really wanted to live in an Islamic paradise, they would have voted for PAS a long time ago.

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Young Malaysians on a Mission: #TangkapNajib

Writing for Malaysiakini has presented me with opportunity to talk to young people from all over Malaysia. This is purely anecdotal, but what young people tell me is that they are disgusted by politics in this country. They voted for change and even on a state level, this has not happened. Most, if not all, of them say that if UMNO stops “playing” with race and religion they will vote BN because they know all over the world politicians are corrupt.

A common complaint or some variation of the same, is that Pakatan Harapan is not doing anything to stop Malaysia for becoming an Islamic state. Most young people who choose to leave do not leave because of corruption, but because of race and religion.

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Pakatan Harapan is not doing anything to stop Malaysia for becoming an Islamic state.

I am beginning to realise that the idea of voting for the opposition to create a two-party system and the almost zealous advocacy (mine?) of such, is an idea of diminishing returns.

The Tyranny of Malaysian Democracy


October 3, 2017

The Tyranny of Malaysian Democracy

For better or for worse, our hope lies in this bunch of former political enemies (Mahathir, Kit Siang and Anwar) pulled together by fate and a common foe. We cannot afford to take the wrong road again.

Image result for Cogito Ergo Sum

When we cease to think and act, we lose our identity and dignity

COMMENT by Cogito Ergo Sum*| Like everybody else, I am subjective. And like most reasonable Malaysians, I am now more than a little concerned about the current trends and future direction our nation seems to be hurtling towards.

I am as old as Malaysia and have witnessed this nation grow from a fledgling, newly independent state to one that has become a regional and international player in sports, diplomacy and the world economy. It was also, at one time, a paragon of multicultural tolerance and showcased that diversity and unity could be one.

The government of the day, for most of the days in the past, was a benevolent one that provided a vision and clear direction for us to progress with the times technologically, socially and economically.

Along the way, something went terribly wrong. We are now a nation of bigots where once tolerance flourished. Prejudices based on race, religion, gender, creed and colour are now the order of the day, not the exception.

Democratic Leadership of the Corrupt Sort

Despite the institutionalized apartheid policies in the guise of affirmative action that were constructed, people were still able to eke out a decent living and make enough to put aside for a rainy day. And give their kids good education with moral values.

But all that changed almost suddenly. We are now well-known for repressing dissent, jailing social activists and opposition members, 1MDB, and GST. And the list goes on.

A Nation in Debt

We now have a domestic debt of over 80 percent, which means that 80 percent of salaries and wages are set aside for debt repayment and the balance for food, shelter, transport and health. It is impossible to save anything, much less to even have a decent meal once a month.

To exacerbate the problem, we seem to be jailing and punishing the very people who have championed the struggles of the people. Two days ago, Tian Chua (centre in photo), the PKR MP for Batu in Kuala Lumpur, was jailed for being present in a police restricted area.

Malaysian Law is an Ass when our Judges are slaves to Political Power

But his defence was that he was forcibly brought into the restricted area after taking part in an elections reform rally, Bersih in 2012. Surely common sense must prevail. If the facts are correct, according to Tian Chua, the courts should have found the charge defective and released him, even if he withdrew his appeal. What has happened to the concept of judicial review?

Desperation and depravation

In any democracy, the ballot becomes the silver bullet for ills ailing society. If a government fails in its elected duties, you change it in the next polls. But that hope for a fair and clean poll is now fading. Disingenuous and not so subtle methods are underway to ensure that the incumbents are returned, come hell or high water.

Gerrymandering and altering election boundaries are in full swing and there are efforts to stop them by various NGOs and individuals. But the courts do not seem to be very impressed with these efforts and neither do they seem too keen to upset the apple cart.

As desperation turns into depravation, the ruling regime is conscious that for the very first time in 60 years, dissent and dissatisfaction are now rampant, cutting across racial, religious, and social barriers. And that it could be facing a catastrophic and historic defeat is a very real possibility now.

The desperation becomes more and more apparent by the ludicrous replies given by various officials and ministers to genuine concerns and questions by the opposition and pressure groups.

Joy Ride  on a Military Aircraft at Taxpayers’ Expense

One such reply that stands out is the use of military assets to fly Sarawak chiefs to Putrajaya to thank them for fighting the communist some 47 years ago!

One wonders what four Prime Ministers were doing in four decades of being in power and all of them seem to have forgotten to reward the Sarawak chiefs.

Our “fixed deposits” seem to have garnered no interest in forty years. That latest gaffe is just the tip of the iceberg of a slew of idiotic responses to come out of the corridors of power over the last two years or so.

Thrust into power again

Our hope lies in the fabric of our political set-up. We now have an opposition that seems to have recovered from its own internal squabbles, cobbled together by a motley crew of ageing and youthful leaders.

For many, the resurgence and leadership of Dr Mahathir Mohamad are as repulsive as the idea of Malaysia being led by the current Prime Minister. His chairing of the opposition Pakatan Harapan seems like a fait accompli after the jailing of Anwar Ibrahim, the former opposition leader.

While the opposition has many young leaders in the likes of Nurul Izzah Anwar, Liew Chin Tong and Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman who will be the next generation of lawmakers, they do not as yet have the political acumen to defeat the juggernaut that is Barisan Nasional. For that, Harapan needs the wiles and cunning strategies of older leaders who have been to the brink and back like Mahathir, Lim Kit Siang and others to out-think and out-fox an aging old and wounded wolf.

Mahathir’s Legacy–A Broken System of Governance

Many institutions of governance today suffer the symptoms and ills of 22 years under Dr Mahathir’s leadership. It is not an exaggeration to say that many challenges today are the 92-year-old’s making. However, there were moments of glory and achievement as well.

The people were not taxed beyond what they could bear. Short of apologising for the past, he has, by his actions and words, shown a genuine interest in getting this once beautiful and tolerant nation back onto its feet.

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Whether he has other motives or not, at this present time, we do not know. What we do know is that we lack salt and experienced leaders in the opposition.

 

When our poets, satirists, cartoonists, songwriters and social activists are persecuted, prosecuted and jailed for speaking up, when opposition voices are silenced by the very parliament they have been voted into, we know that democracy has become tyrannical and kleptocratic.

Zunar–The Cartoonist and Freedom Fighter

Harapan needs to tell the people what its game plan is. They need to know and know now, what corrective economic and social measures they have planned after winning over Putrajaya. General broad strokes are no longer enough. The rakyat needs a concrete hope and the brass tacks of programmes for them to believe in.

For better or for worse, our hope lies in this bunch of former political enemies, pulled together by fate and a common foe. We cannot afford to take the wrong road again.

*COGITO ERGO SUM is a Malaysiakini reader.

Najib, Durians and Expats


October 2, 2017

Najib, Durians and Expats

by Dean Johns@www.malaysiakini.com

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I have not only sympathy but also the greatest respect for those most admirable of Malaysians who deliberately choose not to abandon their homeland to the mercies of UMNO-BN, but stay there and fight for it, in many cases at extreme personal and professional cost..–Dean Johns

I see that the tirelessly self-praising Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak bragged to an audience of farmers and fisherfolk this past week that he is “personally responsible” for the recent rapid rise in exports of Malaysian-grown durians to China.

And in case this wasn’t enough to convince these primary producers to keep supporting his ever-ruling Umno/BN regime, he also typically announced that he was giving the whole group of them a cash handout.

Big Talking Malaysian Prime Minister–Eating Too Much Durian made him delusional

Apparently at least some of the recipients of this prime ministerial largesse found it pretty impressive. And none so much as chairperson of the National Farmers Association (Nafas) and also BN assemblyperson, Saipolbahari Suib, who expressed tremendous gratitude for Najib’s support and declared that farmers and fishermen are ready to be ‘used’ by him.

“Use us, we are ready to give the best for your leadership,” Malaysiakini reported him as pledging, “We have received so much we will always remember your contributions”.

However, most Malaysiakini readers who commented on this story saw Najib’s so-called “contributions” as nothing but cons, considering that not only is the value of Malaysian exports of durians to China peanuts compared with those from Thailand to China, but that increasing exports of the best Malaysian durians has priced them beyond the reach of local consumers.

And, as I couldn’t help commenting myself, Najib and his Umno/BN regime have made Malaysia smell like durians in the nostrils of the whole wide world by permitting, if not colluding, in the export to the US and elsewhere of countless billions of ringgit allegedly plundered from 1MDB.

All of this in addition, of course, to all the other billions extorted for decades from public funds, overpriced public projects and the nation’s publicly-owned oil, timber and other resources, which have been exported to secret overseas bank accounts or money-laundering real-estate and other investments.

In fact I wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised if dirty, smelly money wasn’t by far Malaysia’s biggest export.

And thus, given that legal and other civil institutions including elections have been designed to ensure that this dire situation doesn’t change anytime soon, if ever, I see the point of Zaid Ibrahim’s recent exhortation to Malaysians desiring a decent future to export themselves and their children to someplace more promising.

Seeking greener pastures

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Actually Zaid  an anglophile, for some reason best known to himself, suggested London as the optimal destination for Malaysians to export or expatriate themselves to.

And personally I find it hard to argue with this, as that’s where my elder son headed for when he exited Australia in search of more exciting professional opportunities twenty or so years ago, and where I make excursions as often as possible to visit him and his family.

But of course there are plenty of perfectly acceptable alternative possibilities, and selfishly I’d suggest that one of them is Australia, and even more specifically Sydney.

This, after all, is where I chose to bring my Ipoh-born wife and KL-born daughter when I extricated them from Malaysia way back in 1997.

And, as I wrote in a 2007 Malaysiakini column titled “Another brain down the drain”, and another in 2010 called “Advance Austrasia Fair”, they seem pretty happy to be here.

There are lots of other Malaysians I’d be delighted to see settled in Sydney too, as it would save me making trips back to UMNO-BN’s unpleasant version or rather perversion of Malaysia for the pleasure of seeing them.

Old friends like Jaya and Jesuis Anwar, for example, to anonymously mention two of many who, for obvious political reasons, I won’t risk more accurately identifying.

But it’s some small consolation in their absence to meet ex-Malaysians like the doctor at a major Sydney hospital who treated me so expertly for my latest medical emergency last week, and who turned out to have been imported here at the age of eight by parents who hailed from Klang and Penang.

As delighted as I always am to meet such Malaysian exports and expats, however, I have lots of sympathy for those who would like to leave the mess that UMNO-BN have made of their beloved country, but for one reason or another just can’t.

And I have not only sympathy but also the greatest respect for those most admirable of Malaysians who deliberately choose not to abandon their homeland to the mercies of UMNO-BN, but stay there and fight for it, in many cases at extreme personal and professional cost.

And I consider that the very least I can do from a distance is to help these stand-and-fight Malaysians as much as possible in their ceaseless efforts to politically execute the excruciating UMNO-BN regime, and finally render it extinct.

 

Malaysia’s Namby-Pamby Najib Razak


September  29, 2017

Malaysia’s Namby-Pamby Najib Razak

By Kee Thuan Chye

(received by e-mail)

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The Plain Speaking Duli Tuanku Sultan of Johor

What the Prime Minister, Najib Razak, says after HRH Sultan of Johor ticked off the Muslims-only laundrette owner sounds embarrassingly hollow.

He said there was basis in HRH Sultan’s concern that the laundrette owner’s action would lead to a narrow image of Islam, contrary to the country’s desire to nurture a united, harmonious, moderate and tolerant society.

Examine his language. He comes across as wishy-washy. He is equivocating.

He doesn’t come right out to condemn the laundrette owner’s action. Instead, he says the action is perceived by HRH Sultan as … blah blah blah … and there is basis for his concern (only the Sultan’s concern, not the Government’s too?) and that the Sultan’s action should be well-received.

He adds: “The Government will remain committed to upholding the true Islamic teachings while protecting the interests of the other communities as demanded of Islam.” And pays lip service to his fond rhetoric about this country upholding “Wasatiyyah” and championing the Maqasid Syariah foundational goals.

Image result for Najib RazakThe Blabber Mouthed Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak

 

At no point does he say in no uncertain terms that extremist and society-dividing actions on so-called religious grounds should stop, that the Government would take action against those who practised them.

He was not assertive and certain as HRH Sultan was in declaring such actions taboo. He did not even say they were detrimental to society.

In fact, the Government should have been the very first authority to tick off the laundrette owner. It’s a real shame that the Sultan had to step in and do the Government’s job. Najib’s tagging on to it afterwards makes him look namby-pamby.

Do we want a government that is so wishy-washy, that closes its eyes to such practices? And, no doubt, for its own political expediency, its fear of losing the extremist Muslim vote?

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I’m for a united, harmonious, moderate and tolerant society. I’m not for a wishy-washy government.

Puteri Reformasi Nurul Izzah Anwar talks Politics and her Future


September 25, 2017

Puteri Reformasi Nurul Izzah Anwar talks Politics and her Future

by Zikri Kamarulzaman

http://www.malaysiakini.com

INTERVIEW | For almost two decades, Anwar Ibrahim has been the opposition’s bedrock, a political titan who had cast a long shadow over those opposed to BN.

It is a shadow that his party PKR has struggled to step out of, even in his long absence due to imprisonment over sodomy charges.

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Reverence for Anwar had even stymied Pakatan Harapan at one point, with PKR’s insistence on giving him a top position and delaying the formation of the coalition’s leadership lineup for weeks.

Still, he remains highly regarded, with many still deferring to his judgement or invoking his name in their struggles. But as the 14th general election (GE14) looms, Anwar’s daughter Nurul Izzah feels that it is time for the opposition to step into the light.

“At the end of the day I think even Anwar himself wants us to move beyond his shadow,” the PKR Vice-President told Malaysiakini in an interview on Thursday.

Praising Anwar’s commitment and willingness to sacrifice personal freedoms for a better Malaysia, Nurul Izzah said the former Deputy Prime Minister’s ideals and struggles are embodied by PKR, and is what drives the party forward. however, she said PKR was not a personality based movement.

Her remarks echo that of Anwar’s symbolic statement in June this year, that he would not be seeking a position as Harapan’s candidate for Prime Minister.

His statement came amid long, drawn-out arguments between Harapan and its then-newest member Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia on who should head the new government.

Many in PKR, DAP and Amanah insisted that Anwar was the only choice, but the former opposition leader said such arguments were distracting the coalition from more important matters, such as preparing for GE14.

Malaysia’s Prisoner of Conscience–Anwar Ibrahim

GE14 will likely be the first time since 2008 that Anwar has not been on the ground campaigning for the opposition. He is currently serving a five-year jail term, but is expected to be freed by the middle of 2018 on good behaviour.

Women not given enough priority

Nurul Izzah indicated that his absence will be felt on the campaign circuit, but said many leaders, especially women, have stepped up to the plate.

“We should focus on our core strengths. PKR President Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, and (Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s wife) Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, they have their own followers.

“The womenfolk are always, always not given enough priority. I feel that it is a Zeitgeist for female empowerment. It is our moment to seize the future of Malaysia,” the Lembah Pantai MP said.

But to truly step out of Anwar’s shadow, she said, one thing must be done by the opposition, which is to achieve critical mass among all walks of society in order to enact reforms.

“If you want to step out of the shadow, we should harness everyone’s strength… Even harnessing the strength and support of PAS members.

“If we can harness a former dictator (Mahathir) who has embraced reformasi, don’t tell me that you can’t harness everyone else.”

In the following excerpt from Malaysiakini‘s interview, Nurul Izzah addresses speculation that she will be defending Anwar’s traditional seat Permatang Pauh, as well as whether her siblings will be contesting in GE14.

The interview has been edited for language and brevity:

Will you defend Lembah Pantai? There are rumours that you will move to Permatang Pauh.

I love rumours, Malaysia is built on rumours, at least because we don’t have access to mainstream media. Thankfully, we have Malaysiakini, which can allay some rumours

It has been such an honour (being Lembah Pantai MP) because I contested in 2008 and it was Bangsar, it was Lembah Pantai, it was Kerinchi.

Lembah Pantai is a microcosm of Malaysia, and that’s where I got the chance to represent them. I was humbled by the experience, especially more so winning for a second term the most hotly contested seat (in the Federal Territories) previously held by (UMNO Wanita Chief) Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, and then the new minister (Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin), who controlled the coffers of Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), and who defined the name of the game in terms of political patronage. So, it was so monumental for me.

I’ve learned so much. I would love to serve them (Lembah Pantai constituents) again. But we are all tied to the decisions made by the political bureau. This is exactly my same answer in 2008 when people asked me, “Are you going to contest Lembah Pantai?”.

Now we are making our rounds visiting the constituencies especially where people are in need of help, and we are planning a huge Deepavali get together.

So, for me until D-Day, which is election day, it’s going to be a battle in Lembah Pantai, that is how I look at it.

If PKR’s political bureau decides that you have to go to Permatang Pauh, would you go?

Yes. Of course. As a soldier of the party, I would expect every candidate that hasn’t been dropped to follow the instructions of the party.

There is a certain degree of freedom allocated to you as an individual, but there’s also the responsibility you have towards the organisation, and that’s community responsibility at work.

Assuming you stay in Lembah Pantai, your vote majority fell by over 1,000 votes in GE13. Can you survive?

I was really humbled by that win. It was extremely challenging. You aren’t taking into account the exact number of votes and the exact degree of manipulation.

Who knows exactly how many votes were cast for us? At the same time, you also have the transfer of voters that took place quite alarmingly in the last election, and because of that, I don’t really place much of an issue in terms of numbers.

It’s more of whether the seats are marginal or whether it’s supposed to be a safe cushion for us in the government. We have to ensure there is a high degree of voter awareness. We have to utilise technology whether it is cell phone cameras etcetera, to guard against vote tampering.

We do hope this time around with all this preparation and investment in poll monitors, legal support, there will be a reduction in terms of BN getting fewer opportunities to get away with fraud.

Prime Minister Najib Razak (seen with his Advisors and Sycophants) faces the greatest challenge of his long political career– Credibility. Problems he faces are of his own making. He is seen as a corrupt, dishonest, lying and greedy leader. As a result, he is today the most unpopular Prime Minister in our country’s history. That said, he has all the advantages of incumbency and should not be underestimated–Din Merican

But we have to be realistic. It is life or death for (Prime Minister) Najib (Abdul Razak). It is life or death for his government. They won’t stop at anything.

That is something we have to be prepared for. You have to understand that we used to win due to protest votes. We used to win due to people genuinely giving a chance to the opposition. But this time around, it’s going to be a clear headcount war.

Every person has to be engaged.The approach by Harapan’s secretariat is canvassing, getting out to the voters like never before utilising sentiment analysis, which is what (PKR Vice-President) Rafizi Ramli has been mentioning, also Institut Darul Ehsan has been , targeting people’s sentiments.

These must all coalesce into a targeted smart and sophisticated campaign. Every message counts. We can’t make a mistake because BN (UMNO-BN) will be watching and, of course, their mistakes can be managed very well through a controlled media, but not ours.

So yes, I think because of that, marginal seats are not just ours for winning but also theirs for losing.

Will your siblings be contesting in GE14?

(Laughs). You have to ask them. I think that’s quite a funny question you know… all of us have the Anwar DNA.

I grew up very much in my formative years with reformasi. He was in prison for a long time. I can’t change the fact that I’m very much his daughter. But in terms of learning about human rights, civil rights, that is from (my time in) Abim, Suaram. That formed me into the person I am today.

We (my siblings and I) are all of different cohorts. I’m building a future for Malaysia. I want to represent my generation, and that’s the generation born from 1980, 1985, to 1999. That’s my generation. So I represent them.

I think my sisters and my brothers represent their generation. You don’t need to be a politician to enact change

You have to give them the right to choose. So you have to ask my siblings (whether they want to contest in GE14). For now, they are quite happy in their own chosen vocations.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I want to continue fighting for the ideals I believe in. I want to be proud of the fact that I am a living testament to my children as someone who will do everything I can to secure a better future for them.

MP Nurul Izzah Anwar who was born into a political family is Vice President of Parti KeADILan Rakyat (PKR) which was founded by her father, Anwar Ibrahim. Her mother, Dr. Wan Azizah is PKR President.

And of course, I’d like to always be there as their mother. Supporting them, empowering them. Since they’re the biggest joys for me.

YESTERDAY: No negotiations, Nurul Izzah says Harapan’s stand is clear

 

Former Prime Minister Dr.Mahathir Mohamed allowed in Sarawak. Congrats to Chief Minister Abang Jo and Sarawakians


September 24, 2017

Former Prime Minister Dr.Mahathir Mohamed allowed in Sarawak. Congrats to Chief Minister Abang Jo and Sarawakians

by Francis Siah

http://www.malaysiakini.com

Image result for mahathir mohamad

At long last, former Premier and Pakatan Harapan chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohamad will be stepping onto Sarawak soil again. He is scheduled to speak at a Pakatan Harapan event in Kuching on September 24.

Mahathir’s visit this time is significant as he is visiting the Hornbill State for the first time as a leader of the opposition.

In the past, I paid little or no attention to Mahathir’s visit to my home state when he was Prime Minister. Those were normal, ordinary events – yeah, what is so extraordinary about a Prime Minister visiting a state within his own country? Like many others, Sarawakians or not, I must honestly concede that I didn’t really care when Mahathir came a-visiting.

This time, however, I care. Why? I had wanted to arrange a Mahathir visit to Sarawak since late last year. No, my intention was not political. I would be inviting him under the auspices of my NGO, the Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS).

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Welcome to Sarawak, the mystical Land of the Hornbills, where the legendary headhunters of Borneo originated. A land rich in cultural heritage and colourful ethnic tribes, discover the excitement of traditional animistic beliefs and immerse in this festive paradise.

Be mesmerised by Sarawak’s treasure of natural wonders; from ancient rainforests to national parks, wild caves to spectacular limestone pinnacles, pristine beaches to sparkling azure ocean, and rare flora to exotic fauna. Seeped in old-world exotic charm, Sarawak is also blessed with modern technology, infrastructure and facilities and is ready to take on the world. Sarawak’s brand new state-of-the-art hotels and convention centre are supported by a fantastic range of great eco-tourism products, adventure destinations and world-famed hospitality. Sarawak joined Malaysia on Septmber 16, 1963–54 Years ago.

My objective? I feel that Mahathir owes it to the people of Sarawak to explain what he has been doing or intends to achieve for the nation should he be successful in unseating Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak in the 14th General Election (GE14). There are so many questions Sarawakians would want to ask him.

It has been more than two years since he came out with his guns blazing at Najib Razak and all throughout, the people of Sarawak were left in the dark about his intentions. A visit to the state to personally explain his goals and future plans for the nation would be in order, or so I thought.

Early this year, I spoke to a Mahathir aide (I will not mention his name as I did not obtain his permission to do so) about my plan to invite Mahathir to visit Sarawak. He was very positive about my proposal and got back to me after a while, informing me that his boss has agreed in principle to visit my home state at the invitation of MoCS.

On May 15 this year, I met up with the aide at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Cyberjaya to discuss my plan in detail on the proposed Mahathir visit to my home state.

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Kuching–The Enchanting Cat City–welcomes former Prime Minister of Malaysia Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad

By this time, it was not just a visit to Kuching and a meet-the-NGOs session as I had originally planned. A friend who leads a Dayak NGO has also asked whether a visit to Betong to meet the Iban community leaders could be arranged in Mahathir’s itinerary. This was put forward in our discussion that morning and as always, Mahathir’s aide was very positive about including it in the itinerary.

Then came the all-important question which he placed before me. Would Mahathir be barred from stepping foot in Sarawak?

A ‘mortal sin’

To be honest, that question had not crossed my mind but that was a valid question indeed. A number of opposition politicians and prominent social activists have been barred from Sarawak but would Mahathir, a former long serving Prime Minister, receive the same cold treatment?

Faced with that poser, my immediate reaction was, “Surely, the Chief Minister of Sarawak would have more in him than to find some flimsy excuses to stop a 92-year-old former Prime Minister from stepping foot in Sarawak.

No, that couldn’t and shouldn’t happen, I thought to myself. It would be a mortal sin to bar Mahathir’s entry into the state.

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Surely, my Chief Minister, Abang Johari Openg (photo), would not stoop that low in imposing a ban on a highly revered Malaysian statesman just because Mahathir has aligned himself with the opposition now. Abang Jo should understand politics better than anyone else in Sarawak since he is the Chief Minister.

Must I also mention that Abang Jo should know what a “mortal sin” is since he also received his early education in a Catholic institution, St Joseph’s School, in Kuching?

But in planning for Mahathir to visit Sarawak, I had to ensure that he is allowed in. Oh, wouldn’t it be embarrassing if the nonagenarian former PM were to be stopped at the Kuching Airport and sent back to Kuala Lumpur on the next available flight? We could not afford for this to happen. It would be a total disaster.

The very next day, I quickly checked with my sources in the Sarawak Chief Minister’s Office and was greatly relieved to find out that Mahathir was not on the “blacklist” of unwelcomed visitors, whether in the political or other categories. He is “clean”.

Yes, why should Mahathir be barred at all? Sarawak BN leaders should have no quarrel with Mahathir. All of Sarawak should consider this an internal UMNO problem which has spiraled out of control. And there is no UMNO in Sarawak.

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Mahathir and Najib have reached a point of no return. One is adamant on staying in power, come what may, and the other is determined to oust a sitting Prime Minister, no matter what it takes.

I have to say that I am very happy that not a single BN leader from Sarawak has come out publicly to criticise or condemn Mahathir since he formed Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) and teamed up with the opposition. Not a squeak came from them against the former Prime Minister.

Call it what you like, political wisdom or political maturity, but the fact remains – Sarawak BN leaders have no axe to grind with Mahathir. Wisely, they have stayed above the fray, and Abang Jo and his team should continue to do so.

Since May, other commitments have delayed my plan to organise a Mahathir visit to Sarawak. But I am most glad that he will be in my home state on September 24.

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Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at The White House with America’s Political Icon President Ronald Reagan

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Najib Razak pays hormage to an American Political Novice President Donald Trump

This is the opportunity for him to explain in person to Sarawakians his plans and programmes for the nation should Pakatan Harapan win GE14, and what will happen if BN retains power.

I hope Mahathir will have a dialogue with leaders of civil society while he is in Kuching and answer all their lingering questions. Confusion and doubts on his plans of action for the future and progress of the country must be cleared.As a Sarawakian, I extend a warm welcome to Tun to my home state. May your first visit as an opposition leader to Sarawak be fruitful, meaningful and memorable.

Welcome to the Land of the Hornbill again, Tun.


FRANCIS PAUL SIAH heads the Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) and can be reached at sirsiah@gmail.com.