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Monday, January 31, 2011

Wishing All A Happy & Prosperous Chinese New Year

With nations toppling their corrupt and dictator leaders what will the year of the rabbit bring us? Malaysia will not go that way but we pray and hope that the ruling government will not take us down that road just because of money and power crazy.

Wishing All

A Happy And Prosperous

Chinese New Year

The Year of the Rabbit

Rabbits, and those born under compatible signs, will likely benefit from luck or good fortune during a Rabbit year — 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, or 2011.

Characteristics of The Rabbit

The three words that best describe the rabbit? Calm and gentle, but persistent.

Quietly charismatic, thoughtful and calm, rabbits are admired for their tactful and considerate dealings with all who know them. As such, they are most often depended upon for their wise counsel, or as someone in which to put valued trust in a personal friendship or a business dealing. Interested in Chinese Zodiac read more here.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tenang By-Election Official Results

Barisan National won the Tenang by-election but short of their target of garnering a 5,000 majority. The official results :

Barisan National 6,699

PR/PAS 2,992

Majority 3,707

As expected BN hangs on to the Malay votes while the Chinese votes, with a slight increase, went to PAS.

Will Najib dare to call for the 13th GE base on this result and also with various umno leaders claiming that umno does not need the Chinese votes to stay in power?

From the results, the Chinese no longer have any faith in MCA and its relevancy.

Malaysiakini Graphic

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Big Contrast Between #tanyaObama And #tanyanajib

Ever wonder why PM Najib dare not face the rakyat in a live debate with the Opposition leader? Instead of having a live Q & A he came out with the stupid #tanyanajib that does not provide the true picture of what he is doing for the betterment of the nation.

Just compare the two videos below and judge for yourself.

President Obama answers questions on a wide range of issues submitted by and voted on by YouTube users in an interview moderated by YouTube's Steve Grove. January 27, 2011

Prime Minister Najib #tanyanajib, collecting questions posted on FB and twitter, then took time to select questions of his choice before answering.

This is the statement release from the White House:

Today, President Obama and senior officials from around the Administration will be answering your questions about the State of the Union Address and the President’s vision to win the future. Be sure to tune in - you can watch all the live question and answer sessions today on

Your Questions Answered. Watch Live

Here’s the lineup for today on

* 11:30 a.m. EST: Economy Roundtable with Austan Goolsbee, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers
* 1:00 p.m. EST: Foreign Policy Roundtable with Denis McDonough, Deputy National Security Advisor
* 2:30 p.m. EST: Live YouTube interview with President Barack Obama
* 3:15 p.m. EST: Education Roundtable with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
* 4:30 p.m. EST: Health Care Roundtable with Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius

If you haven’t already, be sure to watch the President’s State of the Union Address:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tenang By-Election: A Mountain To Climb For Pakatan Rakyat


A miracle in Sibu that gave PR/DAP the winning seat but for the Tenang by-election, PR/PAS needs more than just a miracle. Normally pundits, media and political analysts would have come out with their prediction of the winning party in the early stage for most by-elections. But we have yet to see any prediction for Tenang, the simple reason being, its going to be a BN win, only by what majority.

But PR/PAS is not giving up so easily, they are giving Umno/BN a good fight and will be happy to see that BN wins will not see the 5,000 majority boasted by the DPM and it will be a big win if they can reduced BN majority that it got for the 2008 GE.

Mt. Everest is the highest mountain with its treacherous path and yet it had been conquered by many even though its not that easy. Likewise for PR/PAS, Tenang is going to be a tough mountain to climb but it can also be conquered with proper climbing tools, equipments and a good mountain guide.

The Special Bunch lead by Bernard Khoo ( Zorro) is at ground zero to provide the latest happening. Please Click here for updates or Cikgu Mala Blog for day to day activities.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tenang Candidate Cikgu Mala & Her Blog

Cikgu Mala

Calon N.05 Tenang

Tarikh lahir : 6 Jun 1973

Tempat lahir : Kampung Serom 3, Muar, Johor

Pendidikan : Sekolah Kebangsaan Lembaga Kemajuan Tanah Persekutuan (LKTP) Kemelah
Sekolah Menengah Tenang Stesen
Sekolah Menengah Paduka Tuan
Sekolah Menengah Datuk Bentara Dalam

Maktab Tuanku Bainun

Politik : Ketua Dewan Muslimat PAS Labis
Naib Ketua Dewan Muslimat Johor
Exco Pendidikan Dewan Muslimat PAS Pusat
Penyelia Pusat Aduan Rakyat Dun Tenang


Friday, January 21, 2011

Economic Philosophies at War By Liew Chin Tong

“The philosophical basis of PR’s policies is that by genuinely addressing the economic concerns of the bottom 60% of the population, the rest of the nation will be better off in a “rising tide” that lifts all boats.”

Race is a factor in political contestations in Malaysia probably ever since the birth of electoral politics in the country. But while ethnicity may still matter, debates over economic philosophies and policies will likely play a major part in deciding the outcomes of the next general election.

Two unique features distinguish the next election from the previous ones.

First, for the first time, the opposition can claim to have some experiences in government as a coalition and beyond the fringe states. Before the collapse of the Perak state government, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition partners govern five states with about 60% of the country’s population.

Surviving one blow after another from a seemingly “hostile” federal government, inheriting a less than satisfactory civil service, and constrained by the lack of resources and authorities, the PR states are still alive and kicking, to say the least.

Second, while the 1990 and 1999 elections saw some forms of opposition coalition, PR is entering the next election not as an ad hoc arrangement like its predecessors.

Collaborations of PR parties exist not only at national level but had extended to state and local levels for nearly three years now.

This co-operation has survived a sustained pressure on issues that could have broken up the coalition — the Malay unity talk promoted by Umno, various religious issues aimed at eroding PAS support and not to mention the numerous attacks on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and PKR and constant flaying of Lim Guan Eng and DAP by vernacular newspaper controlled by Umno.

Indeed, not only that PR did not disintegrate as its opponent wishes, the opposition coalition has released major policy documents in the forms of Common Policy Framework in December 2009 and PR’s Agenda in December 2010. Not in Malaysia’s electoral history that manifestos of sort are released years ahead of expiry date of parliamentary terms.

The hotly debated “100-day programme” is but a small portion of the actual documents.

The real challenge posed by the nascent opposition coalition to Umno/Barisan Nasional, one of the world’s oldest elected ruling party that is still in office, lies in their contrasting perceptions of
economic realities facing the people and the ensuring prescriptions to remedy them.

It’s the economic philosophies at war.

The government’s Economic Transformation Programme is a resemblance of Mahathirnomics. It is all about first world infrastructure without serious attempt to remedy the third world mentality.

The assumption is that capital investment alone is sufficient to solve Malaysia’s economic malaise and bring the economy to the next level.

Students of economics would know that growth comes from various factors of production which include capital investment, technological upgrade (or some would call innovation), labour (or human capital).

A holistic view is needed. PR understands the economic realities which elude the government’s latest programme: that many still have low income despite working hard due to an archaic policy belief that wages must be kept low to keep jobs and many are self-employed in the informal sectors (think about the hawkers, petty traders and taxi drivers) with very little financial security because formal jobs do not pay enough.

Many are also heavily indebted with monthly instalments such as cars, houses and consumer products like television, refrigerators and furniture.

According to the New Economic Model documents, the bottom 40% of Malaysian households are living with a monthly average income of RM1,500 (and three-quarters of them are bumiputera) while 60% of the households (of four persons averagely) live with a less than RM3,000 income, which is near subsistence if one lives in the cities.

It is worth noting that an estimated 68% of Malaysia’s population lives in urban settings (cities and towns with population more than 10,000) in 2010, a huge increase from 33% in 1970.

A World Bank report on Malaysia in November 2010 has the following findings:

• Income inequality in Malaysia is among the highest in Asia and resembles that of Latin America’s — the bottom 40% of the population earn 14.3% of the total income while the top 20% earn nearly 50% of the total income;

• Wages are low — 66% of all formal workers in the manufacturing and construction sectors earn less than RM900 per month;

• A huge informal sector — 35% of household heads are classified as self-employed informal workers.

It has also been reported that household debts are mounting and has reached 77% of GDP.

While many among the young urban poor and lower income groups are not registered as voters and the electoral system is disproportionally skewed in favour of those in the rural sectors, it is suffice to conclude that the economically struggling households are electorally potent.

The philosophical basis of PR’s policies is that by genuinely addressing the economic concerns of the bottom 60% of the population, the rest of the nation will be better off in a “rising tide” that lifts all boats.

We need a new way of looking at the economy. Distribution and growth are not mutually exclusive and actually works hand-in-hand.

As a start, PR proposes to improve the disposable income of Malaysians through better provisions of public goods such as the “buy-back” of tolled roads with an aim of eventually removing tolls, re-channelling of subsidies from independent power producers to other more needy causes and cheaper broadband access.

A better public transport system, an affordable and decent healthcare, and a new look at housing policies, deserves further attention notably to cater for those in the low and mid- dle income groups.

When ordinary folks do not have to pay for basic services like tolled roads, they will have more cash in hand to improve their standards of living and to pay for the education and skill upgrade of themselves and their children.

Wage structure is another area in which a new paradigm is needed to save Malaysia from the vicious cycle of low wage, low skill and low productivity. PR is committed to implement a minimum wage system.

A more holistic view of the economy is where PR begins its quest for better alternative policies for Malaysia. These policies will surely be an important part of the political debate in anticipation of the next general election.

*Australian National University (ANU) educated Liew Chin Tong is the Member of Parliament for Bukit Bendera

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Leader Who Doesn't Take Risks Is No Leader


Today we are living in a world where taking risks is a must-do in order to move forward. We cannot be afraid of taking risks just because someone is telling us not to.

We take risks in almost everything we do daily. Are you not risking your safety driving to work, knowing there is always the possibility of an accident? Do you not take a risk when you decide to change your job because the company is not treating you well, for your new company may behave in the same way as the company you left behind?

You take the risk to change something because that something have fouled up and is not giving you the result that you want.

When a country's leader dares not take the risk to move the country forward because of his inability to do so and advises the rakyat not to take risks for change, the nation will fail.

It is rather sad to see Datuk Seri Najib Razak advising the people not to risk the country’s future through experimentation by voting for the Opposition, but to continue supporting Barisan Nasional (BN) in order to safeguard their future (or is it to safeguard his own future?).

This country has been under Umno/BN rule for 53 years and each year we are falling behind in almost every field compared to other Asean countries. Twenty, thirty years ago we were ahead of Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea but today we are nowhere near them while Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand are about to overtake us.

We are going down the road to becoming like Zimbabwe, because of the way Umno/BN is running this nation. Is there really any safeguard for our future when the country may be bankrupt by 2019?

To continue supporting Umno/BN will be a disaster for the people and the country. We have to take the risk to bring about change for a better future for us and the generations to come.

People must not fear to change a government that has failed its rakyat and they should boldly take the risk to usher in a new government.

The PM said BN upheld the concept of close cooperation among the component parties which shared the same ideology and that is why they have made the country successful and wish to bring it to the next level of success. Is the PM telling us the truth?

How can it be a concept of close cooperation and sharing the same ideology when for decades the behavior has been more a master-servant type of relationship?

Why does it take 53 years to bring the country to the next level when Pakatan Rakyat can do it in 100 days?

The PM likes to talk a lot especially during by-elections but we know these talks are just to garner votes. He bad-mouthed the Opposition pact, referring to it as sharing a pillow but having different dreams and ambitions, pretending to be friends in order to defeat BN and acting out a political ‘sandiwara, trying to fool the people. He says their cooperation is fragile and theirs is not a workable relationship.

The PM seems to be happy and proud of what he says because he is surrounded by speech writers and foreign advisers that provide him the notes and there are no opponents to counter his statements.

But he dares not take the risk to have an open debate with the Opposition leader regarding the economy and important national issues. He said that he is not afraid, that he has all the information and he is the Prime Minister and yet he will not debate.

I guess you all should know by now why he does not want to have this open debate, a risk he will not take because it will show up his weaknesses when he is alone facing the opponent without any assistants to provide him with the answers.

Najib said if the people choose to vote for the Opposition, the country’s future will be in jeopardy and it will not be easy for the people to get back what had been built up with much effort all these years.

How much jeopardy can the country be in when it is already in such a sad state. It would be much better to stop any further destruction caused by umno/BN and to let a new government rebuild it from scratch.

South Korea was nearly devastated by the Korean wars and Japan, from two atomic bombs but they have rebuilt and have overtaken us in many fields.

Malaysia will not progress into a developed nation if we let umno/BN continue to rape and plunder, and with the incompetent MACC not willing to perform its duty to stop this. The judiciary and PDRM will only abide by umno/BN's law which is to suppress and bring down the Opposition.

The time for Malaysian voters to take the risk is now. Do not believe what the PM is telling you - not to take risks - for he is only trying to get your votes and remain in power.


Reclaim our religion and streets from those who attacked Teo

By Mariam Mokhtar
Malaysia Chronicle

It is about time responsible Muslims spoke out openly to stop the hypocrisy in our society and reclaim both the religion and streets from barbaric people whose only aim is to create hatred towards non-muslims.

Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching received a death threat yesterday and a dead chicken was left at the entrance to her office.

Recently she was condemned for wearing tight clothing when she attended a mosque aerobics/health and fitness morning on 12 December.

In August, she was accused of another indiscretion, this time for addressing an audience in the prayer area of a Surau in Kajang Sentral on 22 August.

I was born a Muslim, but have been described as Jewish by inclination, a Christian by spirit, a Hindu by acceptance, a Buddhist by karma and on the Malaysian forms which ask me to state my “race”, I get into trouble because I always write, “human”.

If I had an MP like Teo who tried her best to reach out and engage all walks of society regardless of their racial or religious inclinations, I would be happy.

She could be dressed like Lady Gaga or Lady Godiva for all I care.

What matters is that she looks after her constituents, addresses their problems and tries to resolve them. That is why people elect their MPs.

I am prepared to overlook any mistakes made by people, in the way they dress as long as their hearts and actions are sincere.

What use have we of people who dress the part but who are rotten to the core, who have nothing to offer the Malaysian people in terms of integration and cohesion?

The people who left the chicken as a warning for Teo, are cowards. They tarnish the good name of Islam and have no place in our society.

Unfortunately our government has a half-hearted attitude towards Muslim/Malay extremist groups in this country. These groups create tension, violence and hatred toward non-Muslims.

It is us Muslims who need to immediately act, to effect change.

Look at the recent trends in our society. When we woke up to the shocking news that children were being married off to older men, what did these Muslim groups do? Nothing.

When women were being whipped for having sex outside of marriage, did we hear any protests about their mistreatment even though they were first offenders and had willingly pleaded guilty? No.

When there were reports of paedophilia and incest we looked away.

When a maid was raped, no one came to her defence.

We have broken families and suffering children because one of the parents converted and whisked the children away, but do we hear any protests about the injustice? No.

We expect others to respect our religion but happily and unashamedly condemn non-Muslims in our Friday sermons in the mosques.

What sort of messages are we passing to our young?

We collect funds and stage mock assaults complete with rifles and handguns in our shopping complexes just to highlight the suffering of the Palestinians but we conveniently kick our own non-muslim citizens around like a football.

We have forgotten our true Malaysian roots. What happened to our characteristic mutual respect and understanding for other races, that we were once famous for? It appears that we now have to adhere to 'visitation rules' for Muslims during times of non-Muslim celebration.

I went to a mission school like my parents and their siblings. I continued my education overseas and as part of the school’s activities, spent time in churches, synagogues and temples, where prayers were also held for Muslims.

I returned to Malaysia where we curse the non-Muslims and teach our young to hate them and call them infidels. If that was not enough, we drag a cow's head through the streets and set churches alight.

Are these messages of love and peace, or messages of hate?

Here is one woman, Teo Nie Ching who is trying her best to reach out to her community and we have fools who are hell-bent on stopping her.

Where are the voices of condemnation from the ruling party and our Islamic leaders? What about royalty? We do not need their political interference, but are they not the rulers of everyone in the land?

Most important of all, where are the other 'normal' Muslim voices to stop this madness?

Is this what our government and the people want – a breakdown of law and order, a disintegration of trust and mutual respect?

We Muslims need to stop blaming our problems on others. We Muslims need to admit that we tend to create problems for ourselves.

It is our silence against the violence and cowardly acts of these sick people that gives them the stimuli to continue their evil acts.

Who will join me and demonstrate with passion and in such numbers against the violent attacks perpetrated against courageous people like Teo?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Penang Is The No.1 State

Penang Is The No.1 State For Total Capital Investments In 2010 Attracting RM 12,238 Million

Penang Is The No.1 State For Total Capital Investments In 2010 Attracting RM 12,238 Million, Up Nearly 5 Times As Compared To RM 2,165 Million In 2009 And Comprising 26% Of Malaysia’s Total Investments Of RM47,177 Million For 2010.

According to Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA), Penang is the No.1 state for total capital investments in manufacturing projects in 2010 attracting RM 12,238 million, up nearly 5 times as compared to RM 2,165 million in 2009. This is the first time in history that Penang has topped the list of investments amongst all states and is the highest investment received ever. This success is due to the hard work by the 1.6 million Penangites together with state government leaders and agencies as well as federal government agencies from MIDA and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

Penang’s investments were derived from new investments of RM 2,846 million and expansion by existing investors of RM 9,392 million. Clearly these figures only captured those industries that sought incentives from MIDA and not the new or expansion investments that did not require grants from the federal government.

The significance of this historic achievement is highlighted by Penang contribution of RM 12,238 million to Malaysia investment constituting 26% of Malaysia’s total investments of RM 47,177 million of 2010. Yesterday Minister of international trade and industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed announced a 45% increase in Malaysia 2010 investment performance from RM 32,637 million in 2009 to RM 47,177 million in 2010. Penang moved up from No. 4 in 2009 to Nol 1 in 2010, increasing by 465% from RM 2,165 million in 2009 to RM 12,238 million in 2010.(see attached)

The 465% increase in investments in Penang reflects confidence in the energy, expertise and entrepreneurship of our human talent. Further this is an affirmation of the state government’s strategy of promoting Penang as a location of choice based on 7 critical success factors(CSF) of growth:-

1. Ready availability of skilled human talent;

2. Effective and efficient supply chain management;

3. Competent and reliable logistics and communications hub

4. Strong Intellectual Property protection;

5. Good governance and effective leadership;

6. Building creativity and innovation in science and technology; and

7. Livable and intelligent city.

Penang believes that CAT governance of competency accountability and transparency has also built confidence that a government with integrity can make things happen and both execute and deliver. Penang was not only the best performer in managing state finances in Malaysia according to the Auditor-General Report for 2009 but also received accolades for anti-corruption from Transparency International.

As the newly-crowned champion amongst all states in attracting investments, the Penang state government wishes to congratulate the people of Penang. With the best financial performance, the best state in clean governance, the best green practices and now the top performer in investments, Penangites can now proudly say “Penang Leads!”.


Press Conference Statement By Penang Chief Minister In Komtar, George Town On 19.1.2011

Teoh Beng Hock family's open letter to prime minister

Sincerity is the fundamental basis for transformational leadership. Without sincerity, there is absolutely no chance for the truth to prevail in Beng Hock's death.

Dear Mr Prime Minister,

Do you not know that the verdict of the inquest has brought our family much pain and anguish?

For more than 500 days, we waited anxiously for the truth, clinging on to as much hope as we could have mustered, that the coroner's court would eventually find out how Beng Hock died, only to be told the result was an open verdict.

After one and a half years, we still have no idea how he died. What is stopping the authorities from finding out the truth?

When we complained about the biased inquest, you ignored us; when we demanded for a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) to probe Beng Hock's cause of death, you did not respond to us.

We still remember what you said to us when we met you last year. You said that the government would conduct a thorough investigation to ensure that no stone would be left unturned.

Yes, we want a thorough investigation. The final verdict of the inquest confirmed that Beng Hock sustained pre-fall injury to his neck.

Our family wants to know who caused the injury, how it was sustained and who should be responsible for it.

It has been two weeks since the coroner delivered his verdict which did not rule out the possibility of homicide in a convincing manner. Why didn't the government continue to investigate the pre-fall injury on Beng Hock's neck?

Why didn't the government continue to probe the contradictory statements made by the MACC officers?

You set up a royal commission of inquiry on 7 January 2011, one which would not investigate Beng Hock's cause of death. We are deeply disappointed with the announcement as this RCI would not pursue the parties and personnel responsible for his death and would not bring closure to the case.

This RCI was also formed without prior consultation with our family on its terms of reference as well as the recommended commissioners.

We want an independent, transparent, and credible royal commission. The uncompassionate, non-transparent decision making process which had come to characterise the previous investigation into the case must not be repeated. We do not want an encore of the inquest.

Mr. Prime Minister, we have travelled to many parts of the country in the past few weeks, collecting no less than 80,000 signatures from compassionate citizens who are supporting our appeal to the government to set up an RCI into the cause of Beng Hock's death.

After your announcement on setting up the RCI on MACC investigation methods, as many as 126 civil society organisations urged the government to include the cause of death into the terms of reference.

Over the past year and a half, many political parties and non-governmental organisations, including BN component parties MCA and Gerakan, the Bar Council, Aliran and others, have repeatedly called upon the government to set up an RCI.

It is clear that an RCI into Beng Hock's cause of death is what many Malaysians are asking for. Ignoring the voices of the people is akin to betraying the spirit of democracy.

You have quoted the Chinese idioms "Worry before the world worries, Happy after the world is happy" and propagate your slogan "People first".

These are noble aspirations, and we praise you for it. However, if you refuse to listen to the people's voice on Beng Hock, ignoring the demand of 80,000 petition endorsees and 126 civil society organisation, is this still putting "people first" and "worry before the world worries"?

Our family agrees and affirms the demand of 126 organisations to include cause of death into the terms of reference of royal commission and appoint seven persons of high integrity, with good track records in defending human rights to be commissioners.

We do hope the PM could hold on the name list to be submitted to Yang Di Pertuan Agong, please listen to us, let our family and the people of this country have confidence on the royal commission established by you.

Mr. Prime Minister, Teoh Beng Hock is no different from millions of ordinary Malaysians. This country must treasure their lives and contributions, just as the Federal Constitution must ensure their fundamental rights and their right to live.

Nobody's life should suffer deprivation and be snatched away, in the land one was born.

Nobody should experience any form institutional torture and violence, just as the respect for the dignity of life and the protection of human rights is the benchmark of a nation's greatness.

We hope the government sincerely confronts the issue of Beng Hock's death and ensures justice for a simple Malaysian life, Teoh Beng Hock. The government owes us the truth.

Our family will not give up in pursuing justice, as many brave and conscientious Malaysians have are standing up to join us in our efforts. We trust that civil society will support our struggle, and we will continue to organise nation-wide road shows to propagate this need for justice. We will not give up until true justice prevails.


Teoh Lee Lan
Representative of Teoh Beng Hock family

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mahathir’s legacy: An open verdict?

By Tunku Aziz
The MalaysianInsider

Let us disabuse ourselves, quickly, of the notion that 2011 would be an improvement over last year. Nothing so far has given us any reason for optimism. Just look at the way the affairs of the nation were being conducted in the first week of the new year.

Take, for example, the appointment of the Selangor state secretary. The Sultan in this very public controversy, I am afraid, has been badly advised. He has blithely, amidst much pomp and circumstance, naturally, trespassed, in a manner of speaking, into a politically explosive situation, a veritable minefield if ever there was one. Minefields, political or otherwise, are not known for their ability to distinguish a Sultan from a mentri besar.

He is a constitutional monarch, the Sultan, I mean, not the MB who is a political animal. His Royal Highness should confine himself to matters in which he has a clearly defined role to play.

Plunging into the murky waters of politics, where even killer whales fear to put in an appearance, is to risk losing the special constitutional protection that sets His Royal Highness apart from the chattering hordes of common politicians.

HRH has now blown to smithereens the aura and mystique of his royal person. Rightly or wrongly, many now invariably see him in a new light, and from a different perspective or angle, as a person who no longer is above the political fray.

I know this is not true, but perceptions are difficult creatures to tame. All rather unfortunate because the controversy could arguably have been avoided. There is, of course, that little legal maxim “The King Can Do No Wrong.” Unfortunately it was inappropriate to apply it in this context. I hope we have all learnt a good deal from this unfortunate and unhappy episode.

Then, there was that “clearing-of-the-air” farcical drama. The ever nimble-footed, redoubtable Attorney-General of Malaysia, acting on his own initiative and, no doubt, prompted by the urgings of his newfound conscience, went to the citadel of all that is good and honourable, to prostrate himself and grovel before Ramon Navaratnam and the serried ranks of the country’s pillars of the establishment.

I am assured these are men of unquestionable honour with an unquenchable thirst for the truth. A-G Gani Patail, looking suitably contrite, shedding a few tears for effect, was there to explain how he managed, on the salary of a civil servant, to pay for the high-end haj package for himself and the accompanying family entourage. He was responding to allegations of impropriety centring on the question of who actually paid for the trip.

The good Tan Sri Gani Patail turned up with a few grubby receipts as proof that the trip was “kosher”. Ramon Navaratnam, the well-known eager upstager, pronounced his satisfaction with the explanation given by the A-G and, therefore, in his infinite wisdom, he verily declared that no investigation into the allegations of corruption against the A-G was necessary.

Now that a new operating procedure has been put in train, citizens suspected of corruption will not be investigated. I suppose just as well considering the incomparable cutting-edge investigation prowess of the MACC. Suspects will only be required to appear before Navaratnam & Co. And an instant decision is guaranteed. Now that a pattern has been set, we should remember that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Even the MACC can understand that.

The whole sad and disgraceful spectacle was a total sham, deftly organised and orchestrated by the increasingly farcical MACC. Messrs Gilbert and Sullivan would have approved entirely the creative energy and ingenuity of Datuk Abu Kassim in producing an operetta to the accompaniment of nothing more than a lot of empty drums signifying nothing more than a lot of hot air.

If they were alive today, they would have named it “The Pirates of Putrajaya” as a companion edition to their own amusing “The Pirates of Penzance”. I should have been extremely surprised if the MACC had not produced this masterpiece of deception.

A good try both Ramon and Abu Kassim who obviously deserve each other. In the meantime, Robert Phang is being demonised because he had the moral courage and rectitude to challenge Ramon’s lightning verdict of NOT GUILTY. The A-G shed tears: the nation is in mourning because justice has been sacrificed and trivialised yet again.

The long-awaited coroner’s verdict on the death of Teoh Beng Hock had finally been delivered. The open verdict is nothing if not an affront to human dignity and a travesty of justice. Any reasonable citizen following the proceedings would have, in all the circumstances, been entitled to expect other than an open verdict which in the event has opened a can of worms to destroy the last vestige of public trust in the criminal justice system, long eroded by corruption.

The system, as we all know, was emasculated by successive prime ministers, starting with Mahathir. The unholy trinity of corruption, abuse of power with impunity, and desecration of religious, ethical and moral values in national life, sanctified by Che Det, will I am sure last many lifetimes unless we say enough is enough.

The verdict reminds me of a comment on public enquiries I came across a long time ago (source forgotten) which goes: “As civil servants are apt to say, one does not commission an enquiry unless one clearly knows the answer.” The coroner, a civil servant, knew at the outset what verdict should be delivered. Blame the corrupt system. The coroner was merely doing the job expected of him by the Najib administration.

Mahathir’s legacy has left this nation in a shambles. Should he not at least admit responsibility and ask for forgiveness so that we may start afresh to rebuild Malaysia without the excesses of the past?

Monday, January 17, 2011

BERSIH 2.0: All Hell Breaks Loose with Proxy Voting


BERSIH 2.0 urges the Election Commission to withdraw its proposal of proxy voting, warning that all hell may break loose when proxy voting is abused, threatening even the legitimacy of the next government.

BERSIH 2.0 will organise a public forum later this month on absentee voting reform, which is the real solution to help address the issue of absentee voters. The coalition hopes EC Chairperson or his representative will participate as a panelist to respond to the public’s concerns.

BERSIH 2.0 stresses that proxy voting is highly vulnerable for democratizing countries like Malaysia because it may succumb to vote buying or coercion, resulting in disenfranchisement. Bosses may ask employees to sign away their voting rights.

So will superiors their subordinates, husbands their wives (or vice versa) and parents their children. In the most absurd scenario, loan sharks (Ah Longs) may even force every of their debtors to be registered as voters and then sign away their ballots, which can then be traded to political parties.

BERSIH 2.0 warns that, widespread disenfranchisement will erode the legitimacy of the new government – whichever parties are elected – and land the nation into political chaos. There are already enough allegations of bosses controlling employees’ voting in East Malaysia and under the current postal voting system, coerced proxy voting in military barracks and police stations.

BERSIH 2.0 says that the way to help address the issue of absentee voters is to make postal voting available to all and mandatory to none. All voters with reasonable grounds to be away from their constituency on polling day should be allowed to vote by postal ballots, provided they apply in advance, say, three weeks before polling day.
Under the current system, postal voting is imposed on military and police voters, but available as an option to only overseas bureaucrats and students and election officials.

BERSIH 2.0 expresses regret that the EC plans to propose 30 changes to the electoral process to the Cabinet without consulting civil society and political parties. Nothing was raised in BERSIH 2.0′s meeting with the EC last November.

BERSIH also criticizes the EC, whose independence is provided for by the Federal Constitution, for reducing itself to a subordinate body of the Cabinet by seeking the latter’s permission for any changes. It has failed to fulfill its constitutional mandate and, therefore, not gain public confidence.

Issued by

Bersih 2.0 Steering Committee


SC members — Wong Chin Huat @ 019 350 2823 or Maria Chin Abdullah @ 013 342 2931

Only Umno/BN Can Deliver - True Or False? You decide

"Only Umno/BN can deliver." Have we not heard enough of this? Exactly what did Umno/BN deliver? If it has delivered whatever it claims to have done, why is there the need to spend millions of the rakyat’s money on rhetoric propaganda and slogans? It is obvious that the purpose is to patch the image of Umno/BN, especially the PM’s.

If the party has delivered, should not the rakyat be happy and will they not vote BN into power again? Instead, we find that the rakyat are crying for change.

Why are Umno/BN and the PM so worried about Pakatan Rakyat's rise, so much so that they are continuously demonising Pakatan and using Umno’s controlled multi-media blatantly to help them?

A good government continues with its daily task of good governance and does not indulge in politicking every day to defend its position.

I suppose the Umno/BN government is claiming delivery of development such as more schools, infrastructure and utilities which rightly should be the duty of any ruling government to provide.

Yes, I admit that Umno/BN does deliver but look at the quality and the ballooning costs. Can our graduates compete with those outside the country? Are there sufficient classrooms to cater for the increasing number of students? Why are there losses of billions through leakages and corruption in connection with on the so-called development projects?

We have great highways and by-ways with tolls that increase in tandem with the increase in the number of cars on the road. We are an oil-producing nation but our petrol prices have to follow world market pricing. What kind of deliveries are these?

Are our institutions performing righteously, fairly and with integrity? Is the delivery system of these institutions following the constitution and rule of law or are they according to the whims and fancies of Umno/BN? Is detention without trial or death in custody part of its delivery system?

What kind of delivery is Umno/BN talking about when the Prime Minister will not go for an open debate with the opposition leader in explaining his economic plans or important national issues to the rakyat?

What the rakyat today want is to see true delivery in shape and form and not just hear propaganda and slogans.

If the PM's claim that 'Only Umno/BN can deliver' is true, why then is our country still in such dire straits and why did not become a developed nation decades back?

Umno/BN claim that only they can deliver but it is up to the rakyat to judge whether the delivery is acceptable or not.

Fifty-four years is a very long time for one coalition to rule this nation. We cannot simply believe that slogan 'Only Umno/BN can deliver'. We need to move forward and give others a chance to prove their worth. We do need CHANGE and we should allow Pakatan Rakyat to form the next Federal Government for only then can we judge whether the promise of their 100-day programme can be fulfilled.

Please take the poll at the top of page.

Do you believe that Only Umno/BN Can Deliver:



Sunday, January 16, 2011

Press Statement By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng - New Convention Centre(sPICE)

MPPP Will Be Paying A Net Sum Of RM 11.5 Million Cash In Exchange For A Penang People’s Park(PPP) That Will Give Penangites A sub-terranean New Convention Centre(sPICE) Worth RM300 Million, A New 7 Acre Public Park, Upagraded and Refurbished PISA And Aquatic Centre.

Majlis Perbandaran has approved by open tender the construction of a Malaysia’s first sub-terranean convention center costing RM300 million known as sub-terranean Penang International Convention & Exhibition(sPICE) Centre. There were 3 companies that submitted a formal Request for Proposal under an open tender system beginning in 2009, and the best offer and design was awarded to a subsidiary company of listed company and renowned property developer, S.P Setia Bhd.

An open tender system is one of the key planks of Penang PR state government’s CAT governance of Competency, Accountability and Transparency. Three key requirements were considered – best value for money pricing, best product quality and whether it can be maintained to match world-class standards. sPICE fulfilled all three requirements and more. sPICE also provided a green structure and a new park with an area of 7 acres on top of its roof.

The beauty of the open tender system is that SP Setia is not only offering to build sPICE but also an entire new concept which they call Penang People’s Park(PPP). PPP comprise 5 key important portions:-

1. RM300 million sPICE;

2. A new 7 acre public park

3. Refurbished, repaired and upgraded Penang International Sports Arena(PISA);

4. Refurbished, repaired and upgraded Aquatic Centre;

5. A new hotel and retail outlets and additional car park.

In other words, the PPP offers not just the RM300 million sPICE, but also refurbished, repaired and upgraded PISA and Aquatic Centre, as well as a new 7 acre public park for public use.

In financial terms, MPPP is supposed to pay RM50 million for a RM300 million sPICE – a good exchange under any circumstances. However the financial terms are even better for MPPP. MPPP will earn RM25 million in savings from refurbishing, repairing and upgrading PISA and Aquatic Centre that MPPP need not spend. Further SP Setia’s will also buy the portion of the land at current valuation to build a 4-star hotel to complement sPICE and pay MPPP RM13.5 million for the land.

Instead of MPPP paying RM 50 million, MPPP will be actually paying RM 11.5 million because MPPP will earn RM38.5 million from selling land at RM13.5 million based on current valuation for the hotel and savings of RM25 million needed to spend to upgrade, refurbish and repair PISA and Aquatic Centre. This is why MPPP President Patahyiah binti Ismail was so excited about not just the design and building of the PPP but also the financial terms – which she described as a good deal for MPPP and the people of Penang.

Questions were raised as to how SP Setia would be able to generate back their costs for their RM300 million investment with a mere RM 11.5 million payment from MPPP. This is where the question of confidence in Penang’s future prospects comes in.

Ever since PR Penang state government outlined our vision of transforming Penang into an international and intelligent city, Penang has seen much business activity. The old paradigms do not work. The platform for the future is one of unbridled confidence that the state government is committed towards economic growth through good governance, integrity in leadership, public-private partnership, infrastructure works, balanced development for all and performance-based approach such as open tenders. In other words, the business of government is to get out of business.

SP Setia believes that by managing sPICE for 30 years, they will be able to recoup their investments from rentals and related activities. This is a vote of confidence for Penang that Penang will be a preferred choice of investors, tourists, young and talented residents who desire a sustainable habitat.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Let’s stop talking politics and get real!

By P Ramakrishnan

Let’s set aside political rhetoric and rigmarole and become sensible and serious. We cannot – and should not – play politics at the expense of our national well-being to score meaningless political points. What should be uppermost are the nation and its people.

The Pakatan Opposition Leader, Datuk Seri Ibrahim Anwar, has come out with his 100-day plan to transform Malaysia’s economy for the greater benefit of Malaysians. His transformation plan for the country, according to him, will cost the national budget RM19 billion.

Our Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, has pooh-poohed this plan. His caustic dismissal of Anwar’s plan won him a round of applause from the party faithful. They laughed and felt good that Anwar was being bashed.

Najib, in evaluating Anwar’s plan, questioned where the fund was coming from for this grandiose transformation and contended that if this plan were to be implemented it would bankrupt the country in two years and reduce it to the pathetic status of Greece.

On the other hand, Anwar had countered Najib by claiming that RM28 billion can be recouped from corruption and leakages the country suffers as a result of poor management as estimated by the Auditor-General in his report. By waging a relentless war against corruption, the government can recoup this colossal amount and use it for the benefit of the many instead of allowing a few connected cronies to reap profit through graft.

Anwar talked about saving RM19 billion from the subsidies given to the Independent Power Producers and another RM4 billion by overhauling the toll concession system. We are not sure how successful Pakatan would be in these two areas considering the legal implications involved.

However, recouping the money lost as a result of corruption and poor management is a real possibility. The Pakatan-led Penang government has shown that prudent and stringent management of public coffers can indeed save millions of ringgit for the benefit of the people. Not only has the Penang state government provided various benefits for the people, it has also accumulated more reserves – a fantastic achievements within three years.

Anwar has stated that he is prepared to defend his transformation plan and has thrown down the gauntlet, challenging Najib to a national debate. This is a golden opportunity for Najib to expose what he claims as Anwar’s irresponsible and irrational plan that is not achievable. If Anwar is fishing for votes with plans that are attractive to the voters but which will spell doom for Malaysia, Najib has a responsibility and duty to expose this hog-wash which is presented as a national plan.

We are not interested in the views of BN politicians, one or two economists and academics who tend to parrot the Prime Minister and deprecate Anwar’s plan because they are people who are expected to flatter the Prime Minister. Their role is as expected, to toe the official line.

We are not interested in Umno Youth leader Khairy Jamaluddin or Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz picking up the gauntlet to debate Anwar. They don’t measure up to the Prime Minister’s status or stature to stand in for him and therefore do not qualify to debate Anwar. Anwar did not challenge them to a debate; he challenged Najib. It is as simple as that.

Anwar is the Leader of the Opposition; Najib is the Leader of the BN. Anwar is the Prime Minister-in–waiting; Najib is the serving Prime Minister. Both are top leaders of their respective parties. They are equally matched to take on each another.

Apart from that, the issue involved is a matter of grave importance to the nation. The economy is the cornerstone of our survival; it is what will ensure our success and well-being. That is why a national televised debate is all the more crucial for the people to make an informed decision.

This matter concerns not only the party faithful of both parties but also all citizens. They have a right to this debate. They want to know where the economy is heading to; they want to know what is in store for them and for the country.

Let the debate take place and let us set a precedent for debating all issues concerning the nation. Let this be the trend for the future.

It is a real pity that Najib has turned down Anwar’s challenge to debate their economic policies. Najib’s decision has not taken anyone by surprise but Malaysians are disappointed that Najib has failed to justify his criticism of Pakatan’s plan through a national, televised, public debate. He could have nailed Anwar and projected the BN’s economic policies as superior and deserving the people’s support. He failed himself and let down the BN government terribly.

Najib’s justification “that voters did not need such an exercise to decide if they wanted Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat in Putrajaya” does not hold water. If a referendum was taken to ascertain whether such a debate was necessary, without a doubt a vast majority of voters would welcome it.

Najib does not make sense in stating, “If we want to debate, there must be an outcome from the debate. I do not see one and what is important is public opinion.”

Indeed, if there was a debate there will be an outcome. Malaysians will be able to judge whose economic policy is superior and who deserves their support. Malaysians are clamouring for this debate.

We should consciously cultivate the culture of public debate rather than having a mindless mob at our doorsteps or turning up at the police station to make innumerable reports that amount to nothing.

P Ramakrishnan is president of Aliran

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Playing Survival Every Day


Almost three years after taking over the Penang government, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng is firmly in the seat. On New Year’s Eve, Lim spoke to HIMANSHU BHATT of his experiences as a selfconfessed “Survivor” and about the state government.

HOW was your relationship with former chief minister Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu after you assumed office?

Tun Lim said he felt it would be very challenging for me, as it was for him … I think he felt I was facing the same circumstances and conditions as he experienced when he won power in 1969.

He advised that it was important to take charge. And I agree that we have to take charge. Take charge not by compulsion, but by example and by persuasion. He felt that it was important that we must be fully in command, to be in control of all aspects of government. I told him that I don’t think that I am that capable. So I rely on my trusted comrades. For instance, he said I should also handle local government. I said I can’t cope. So I leave it to Chow (Kon Yeow).

Your political opponents have accused you of not being consultative, of being obdurate. They have even used the word “dictatorial”.

In a way that is a sort of back-handed compliment. They even try to portray me as a future DPM or PM. I have said many times – I have no higher ambitions. I think there are many people more qualified than me to be the prime minister.

I am happy where I am now as the CM, and I want to do the job as best I can. I don’t think I can do it alone. I need the collective effort of everyone, every person on the team. They are just trying to break up my team, but they won’t succeed.

I mean when I was away for a week, the government functioned. So it’s the system that works that matters. My councillors are also doing their job. The main thing is that the system overrides all. Once there is a system failure, it shows that your leadership, your management skills are questionable.

Nowadays when investors come, they not only look at you as a leader but at your team. You may be able to convince them personally, but can you convince them collectively? If you can’t convince them collectively, I don’t think they will put their money here.

When they come here, they do not just do a due diligence on you, they also do a due diligence on the team. I can say to them, you can call me anytime. But you know-lah they are also protocol-guided. They won’t just call anytime. They would prefer to call somebody lower down that they can talk to and interact with, that they can get things done with.

There have been challenging periods.

Every day is a challenge. Every day is a survival exercise. It’s like experiencing Survivor – you know the TV series – every day.

What do you reckon have been the biggest challenges in power?

Some of these civil servants, little Napoleonslah. Those under the state government’s watch we can deal with. Those under federal, we are powerless. I think that has been disconcerting.

Number two has been lack of funds to carry out our programmes. Number three is the lack of cooperation from certain ministers.

What are main challenges in federal-state relations? How do you see relations between the federal government and the Pakatan Rakyat states evolving in the next year or so?

I would say there are always federal leaders who are intent on having a workable, cordial relationship. But they are torpedoed and sometimes sabotaged by those who are gungho in warring with Pakatan states, regardless of national interests. So we are hopeful that cooler heads will prevail. Cooler, saner and more sober heads will prevail at the end of the day.

Because for Penang we are the second most important state. We provide nearly 30% of the country’s exports. We provide a substantial source of revenue. We contribute 70% of the medical tourism receipts in the country. And we are a major port, major tourist destination. And of course we are, I would say, the most dynamic E&E (electronics and electrical) cluster in the world.

So can you ignore Penang? If Penang loses, Malaysia loses. If Penang wins, Malaysia wins. So it is in the best interest of Malaysia that Penang succeeds. And that’s why it is shortsighted and counter-productive … if you want to victimise, punish or marginalise Penang. It is in everyone’s best interest that we work together for the benefit of Malaysians.

I mean whatever their (voter’s) choices, you have to respect them. This is democracy. If you want to punish the state government, you are also punishing the people for exercising their democratic choice of government. And that’s wrong. That is not only wrong, but it is immoral, unethical and downright evil. And we have contributed. All the tax receipts you take, we don’t get a single sen back. So far, we got only 3% of what we paid.

We saw the prime minister coming to officiate at the expansion of the Penang Airport. Interestingly enough, he said that the federal government is allocating funds for Penang to help make it a regional economic hub. How do you look upon that?

Of course, I welcome the suggestion. And we are still waiting for more details. So I think the devil is in the details. Unless this is forthcoming we are still waiting … And waiting, and waiting. (laughs).

I have been observing the war on information (between BN and PR).

We are not doing very well on that … I think we can do more.

You have been trying to penetrate the ground with your own publications. Is it reaching the masses?

It is. They get at least an explanation from the state government. Whether you agree with it or not, at least there is an explanation.

There are reports that the Penang Port’s privatisation has been decided. Are you disappointed that the Penang government’s formal bid to take over the port may not succeed?

I have written to the prime minister. Finally, of course, we have to respect the decision made, because they are the regulators. But as long as it complies with international best practices and transparency guidelines – by ensuring that you get the best price for the best quality, and that Penang Port would be able to be a truly international port, fully benchmarked against international best practices and be the premier port in the northern region – we will be able to live with it. That is our primary concern.

If it’s granted to Syed Mokhtar (Al-Bukhary), for instance, is it the best bid? Was there an open tender? If there was an open tender, was that the best bid, according to international norms and best practices? If it is so, we can live with it. Our concern is that it may not be so. Even though we may be disappointed by not succeeding, we will be able to live with it if it is the best bid. If the bid is better than ours, why not?

There were concerns about the impact privatisation would have on ticket prices of services like the ferry which is largely absorbed by Penang Port. How much would privatisation affect not just the shippers but Penangites who use the port facility?

According to international best practices, the interests of Penangites must also be taken into account. The iconic ferry service is identified with Penang, the heritage of Penang, the soul of Penang. It cannot be stopped. It cannot be taken away.

Any attempt to scale down or remove the ferry service will be opposed vigorously by the state government. We are even willing to take it off their hands, if they don’t want it. Give it to us, we’ll handle it.

What about relations among Pakatan partners in Penang?

I think they are good. Grassroots are even stronger.

There are concerns that the relationship between DAP and PAS, although working well, may not continue in the long-term, with divergent views on secularism and Islamic governance. How do you respond to this?

Those who say it won’t work in the long-term don’t want us to work in the short-term and medium-term. That is why they say it won’t work in the long-term. But so far it has worked, whether in Penang or in other states. And despite all the tensions and the pressures, we have continued to be bound together.

Even on the use of the word Allah, PAS has come out with a strong stand. Since it can be used in the Middle East, there is no monopoly on the word. It should continue to be allowed to be used by Christians in the Bible, as in Indonesia.

There have also been some remarks that you are “bending over backwards” in policies on Islamic issues, like giving extra allocations, in a way that even the previous government was not doing, for the sake of appeasing PAS and the Malay-Muslim masses.

What do you mean by “bending over backwards”? If you think that bending over backwards for justice, for integrity, for good governance, accountability, and doing what is right is immoral, then so be it.

We must not just do the right thing. We must do things right. So if there is a need and basis, we have to give necessary approvals. What’s wrong with it? And this can only be done if you have a strong budget. That’s where good governance comes in.

We are also giving money to Tamil schools, Chinese schools, mission schools. Are we saying we are denying them? No. We also build school for Azad (Tamil school on island). We also build Islamic schools.

In terms of the state’s finances, what are the biggest expenditures that you need to focus on this year?

Land acquisition will be the biggest expenditure. We are talking about affordable housing and future industrial development for both the island and mainland.

In terms of revenue?

Basically our land premium, quit rent. These are main sources of revenue.

Since the implementation of the open-tender exercise you can basically see the expenditure having become much more consolidated and tighter.

Leaner. Meaner … meaner in the sense that there is line-item accounting, justification for every sen spent. That’s why it’s meaner.

Leaner, meaner and cleaner … It will be leaner by cutting out the unnecessary frills. It will be meaner in that we want to ensure that every sen is accounted for.

You offer this material, you must provide that material. No substitute, unless it is justifiable, and then you must give some recompense. And cleaner in the sense that there is no hankypanky. You can see the results. We had budget surpluses for the last three years. I think no other state has that. Even though we projected deficits, so far we have revenues. Even this year (2010) we will have a small surplus. We were projecting a deficit of around RM80 million. But I think we’ll get a surplus. Lean, mean, clean accounting. LMC.

When it comes to making tough decisions, is there anyone that you consult or get advice from?

We consult all the relevant key personalities … Anwar (Ibrahim), my dad (Lim Kit Siang), Karpal (Singh). Definitely, we do consult. And they give their input.

You have a massive headache in Jelutong and other places, because of the massive eviction of residents on private land.

When you talk about the eviction exercises, they are not only the Malay kampung. Out of the eight villages affected in Jelutong, six are Chinese. That’s 75%. So it’s not a Malay issue, but you know lah how the press plays it up. They don’t see the 75%. They just see the 25% as being 100%. So it’s become racially-tinged. And that’s very sad.

What about the civil servants in the state? Do you think the Pakatan government has been able to garner sufficient loyalty?

That has been our greatest challenge, and will remain our greatest challenge. If you want to transform Penang to be an intelligent and international city, you have to reform the civil service. No two ways about it. You have to get the civil service to adopt international best practices, and adapt themselves to international benchmarks. Otherwise you will not succeed.

It’s a challenging process. We have to do our work daily. It’s a real grind. We grind it out every day. But I believe that the civil service is beginning to see our sincerity and our seriousness to bring better service to the people. To bring change, to improve the lives of the people, and to make a difference. When we say we travel economy, we mean it, for domestic flights … You want to show that you mean business. And then our anti-corruption measures are effective. You cut down waste, you cut down kickbacks.

And we are praised by Transparency International for CAT (Competency, Accountability, Transparency) governance. This is the highest accolade that any government can get.

I had made a comment last year that the state policies under the DAP-led government, particularly in terms of welfare, seem to be tinged with modernist-socialist elements. Am I on the mark?

(laughs) Social democratic inclinations-lah.

When DAP was established in 1967, the Setapak Declaration registered it as a Democratic Socialist entity.

Now we have changed it to Social Democracy … From “each according to his own” to “each according to his needs”. So while we recognise that growth cannot be balanced, development must be given for all. So there is no contradiction there. We can allow unbalanced growth, but we must ensure that the benefits of it must be distributed and reach everyone.

At the same time, when we talk about social democracy, it is basically a continuous reminder to us that while we must be optimistic in action we must be pessimistic in thought.

And I think that the safety-net factor, that we try to make sure everyone has a stake in the fruits of economic success, if any, I think that would at least give everybody an equal stake.

You are referring to the hardcore poverty alleviation scheme where the state tops up a family’s income to RM500 a month, and the Senior Citizens Appreciation Scheme.

We don’t have much money, but we can give RM100 to every senior citizen. It’s an anti-corruption dividend. I think that message struck. Because we are clean, we are able to give money to you … And you know the money we spent on upgrading public flats, despite them owing so much rental and maintenance fees.

You start off the New Year by celebrating the 54th anniversary of George Town as a city. The Queen of England had signed a charter in January 1957 but the Housing and Local Government Ministry insists that George Town is not a city. What do you hope to achieve by this commemoration?

I say call a spade a spade … We are trying to resuscitate, resurrect the original status of George Town as a city, the first city in Malaysia – something we should be proud of. And it’s given in a royal charter by the queen. So we should maintain that status.

After all, in the laws anything that is promulgated by the previous colonial government still remains in extant as it is. So why not George Town as it is? The integral aspect of declaring George Town as a city is to maintain its integrity. As a heritage city which is recognised by Unesco. I think that integrity is important.

You have said that Penang will keep its options open about dissolving the state assembly if Parliament dissolves early. What do you hope to achieve if you stretch until the maximum period (2013)?

The main thing is to make these aspirations operational. I think that would be the key aspect. That means that you deliver and implement. You talk about open tender, it’s in operation. You have seen the results but you have not really seen the flower of it. You have only seen the green shoots.

Because what we want to see in Malaysia and Penang is that every one must feel that they can be as good as they want to be. You should not tell people that they cannot be better because of the colour of their skin. Or they do not deserve equal rights because of the colour of their skin. Or that they are not really Malaysians in the full sense of the word because of the colour of their skin. Doesn’t make sense. And I find it most distressing that they can keep on telling children and adults, that you cannot be the best, that you cannot realise your potential, not because of anything else but because of your background. I think that is ridiculous. Is that the type of country that we want? Where these people who preach the message of hate, of division, of anger and resentment, where they succeed in telling our children that they cannot be as good as they want to be. Nonsense.

At the same time Malay kids are told that they need this help because they are not good enough. What type of message is that? You are giving them an inferiority complex. On the other hand you cannot be as good as you want to be because of the colour of your skin. Now that is really distressful. It’s not just sad, it’s outrageous.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Open Letter to Chua Soi Lek

By Kee Thuan Chye

Dear Soi Lek,

You are a highly educated person and one with the ability to think. As such, you are probably aware that the welfare of this nation rests on more than just the MCA winning its share of seats at the next general election and remaining in the coalition that holds the power to decide the fate of Malaysia.

You are probably aware that the way forward for Malaysia is renouncing the way of the Barisan Nasional, led by Umno, falling back on an outdated decades-old formula. And that if you and the MCA continue to collude with the other parties in BN to retain power, you are subscribing to practices that could lead the nation to racial rifts and economic ruin.

Would you not agree with me that at this point in our history, as we stand at this crucial crossroads deciding which is the best path to take, national politics should no longer be race-based?

If you do agree, what then is the rationale for the MCA to continue to exist as an ethnocentric party? What is the rationale for you and your party members to stick with Umno which avowedly fights for the Malays and the MIC which avowedly fights for the Indians?

How long more do you see this ethnocentric equation taking hold of the lives of Malaysians, causing strife from time to time when disputes arise over who should get what and how much? We’ve had 53 years of that; isn’t it enough?

Which is more important for you and your MCA colleagues: To stay on in BN in order to reap the rewards of being in government positions, or to do something that will ensure the honour and integrity of your party and of yourselves? I cannot tell you what that thing is which you could do to gain rectitude. You have to find it yourself.

But as you search for an answer, perhaps you would like to reflect on how strong the MCA’s position really is within the BN coalition for the party to achieve its aims. Are you, for instance, contributing to inter-racial understanding and harmony? How could that be when you have to speak up against any threat to the position of the Chinese? How could that be when Umno must speak up against any perceived threat against the Malays?

It’s a game full of contradictions, isn’t it? You can’t have one and the other, can you? In fact, your attempts over the past several months to speak up for the Chinese – indeed, for the country as a whole – clearly illustrate this.

Last August, after the Malaysian Chinese Economic Congress, when you called on the Government to gradually remove the 30 per cent Bumiputra equity in all sectors of the economy, you were immediately jumped upon by Umno deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin. He even warned you about May 13.

A few days later, in your interview with a Malay-language newspaper, you had to soften what you had said, clearly showing your vulnerability.

Even Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein told you to “stick to the struggles of BN”. What are they? Do you know?

You were even a target of criticism at the Umno general assembly last October. A delegate slammed you for saying that the social contract should not be discussed openly.

Then at the BN convention last month, you called for a ban on the use of the term “Ketuanan Melayu”, and you told Umno it should not approve government policies during its supreme council meetings. But straight away, Hishammuddin said you had upset many BN leaders, including those in the MCA.

This boggles the mind. What you said was absolutely right – how could Umno take it upon itself to decide on government policies when it is only one of the component parties of BN? Does the MCA have no say? So how could MCA leaders be upset by what you said? Have they become Umnofied themselves? Have they become slaves of their masters? Or, as former Perak menteri besar Nizar Jamaluddin said, “running dogs”?

If so, what dignity is left in them? And in you, if you continue to serve the MCA within the BN fold?

Isn’t it obvious, too, that what you say doesn’t count for “doodley-squat”, as the American novelist Kurt Vonnegut would call it?

To be brutally honest, what good is your speaking up when you are still within the same cabal and your partners not only disagree with you, they don’t respect what you say?

As you have probably been informed, people outside don’t give much credence to your speaking up, anyway. They think it’s just a sandiwara act to merely give the impression that you are standing up for what is right. But it’s just an act.

I admit that going by the issues you have been bringing up recently, you are highlighting the fact that things are not being done right, and that your political partners should be held accountable. I might even hazard that you are at least concerned. What I fail to see, though, is your commitment.

For instance, at the MCA general assembly last October, Umno president Najib Razak told your party right within your own premises to be less communal and less demanding. Did you have an answer to that? Did you tell him in return to ensure that Umno would be less communal too? Did you tell him that the MCA was not being more demanding, that it was merely asking for what is guaranteed all Malaysians?

You see, I believe you know what is right for the country, but you are not willing to go all the way to ensuring that what is right prevails. If you were, you would not continue with the current regime. You would press for reform.

Surely, you would not disagree with me if I said the judiciary needs to be independent, that it needs to regain the trust of the people? The same with the police, the mainstream media and the civil service?

Surely, you would not disagree with me if I said our education system needs to be totally revamped to institute quality and regard for merit?

Surely, you would not disagree with me if I said that the way we award government projects needs to be transparent to eliminate cronyism? Or is that too tough a call after your appointment as Penang Port Commission chairman, a move that raised many eyebrows?

Above all, surely you would not disagree with me if I said we need a government that is clean; tells the truth; follows the rule of law; uses public funds for the people’s sake rather than for its own; and upholds the country’s institutions rather than abuses them for its own advantage?

Do we have such a government today?

If we did, you would not have said what you said last Dec 5 – when you called for each BN component party to have an equal voice and to share power “genuinely”; when you said BN had to change to be inclusive, multi-racial and to put the people first.

I know how to read between the lines, Soi Lek, and what you said that time said a lot about the coalition your party is part of.

Do you think it is capable of responding to your calls for change? Right now, looking just at the Cabinet line-up, we can see what a far cry it is from the days of Tunku Abdul Rahman. Will we ever see an inclusive government that has non-Malay ministers for the portfolios of Finance, Trade and Industry, or Defence? That no longer looks at skin color but at ability, integrity and character?

I think you might better serve the people by taking the first step that leads away from race-based politics. If you choose to do that, you will be blazing a trail. And that could bring honor not only to you but your party as well. Unless, of course, you’re a politician first and a public servant last. Then all I’ve been saying here would be worth doodley-squat.


Why did Beng Hock die? Who are his killers?

By P Ramakrishnan

We don’t need experts or eminent persons to tell us if Teoh Beng Hock’s human rights have been violated. Ask the common man in the street and he will tell you right away that Beng Hock’s rights have been blatantly and violently abused and violated. This fact is as plain as daylight.

So why do we need a Royal Commission of Inquiry to find out “whether it (MACC) had violated human rights”. Beng Hock’s family is not interested in this.

Malaysians don’t want a RCI to waste its time in investigating procedures adopted by the MACC with regard to his death. That’s not the issue, dear Prime Minister.

All that everyone is dying to find out is how did Beng Hock die? Why did he die? Who caused his death?

The inquest has clearly stated that it wasn’t a suicide. How then did he drop from the 14th floor and land on the 5th floor of the MACC building? Who was responsible for this fall from the 14th floor, dear Prime Minister?

The inquest has confirmed that there were pre-fall neck injuries. Who caused these injuries on Beng Hock’s neck? Why were these injuries caused? What damage did these injuries do to Beng Hock? Did he die as a result of these injuries?

This is what Beng Hock’s family is demanding to know, dear Prime Minister. Why are you wasting everybody’s time setting up a RCI to carry out irrelevant investigations that will not throw any light as to how Beng Hock died – and why. This is what the whole country is interested in, dear Prime Minister.

Beng Hock was interrogated for nearly 11 hours from 5.00 pm right up to 3.45 am the next day in the most inhuman way. He was deprived of food, denied sleep and rest and subjected to intense questioning. What does that suggest, dear Prime Minister?

Before 5.00pm on that day – 15 July 2009 – it was a working day for Beng Hock. Assuming that he got up for work at 7.00 am, it would add another 10 hours to his non-stop questioning for nearly 11 hours. That would mean he was on his feet for almost 21 hours. Doesn’t it strike you as an extreme form of torture that he was subjected to in a barbaric manner, dear Prime Minister?

Under the circumstance, do we really need a RCI to tell us that Beng Hock’s human rights were indeed violated? Isn’t it very apparent? Isn’t it rather obvious?

What is not apparent and what is not obvious is: How did Beng Hock die? Who caused his death? Who are his killers? That is all Beng Hock’s family is dying to know in order to bring closure to this human tragedy, dear Prime Minister.

The purpose of the RCI should simply be to establish why and how Beng Hock died. Any other investigation will not do justice to Beng Hock’s family, dear Prime Minister.

P Ramakrishnan is president of Aliran

Bruce Lee Demands Justice For Beng Hock ( Videos With English Subtitles)


A nasilemak2020 production.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

These Are My Questions To Najib Upon His Request #tanyanajib

These are the questions that I posed to Najib at #tanyanajib upon his request on tweeter. We will wait and see how many he will answer and truthfully.

#tanyanajib do u @NajibRazak uphold the constitution & rule of law in governing this nation?

#tanyanajib pls @NajibRazak answer all questions and not selective, since u ask for it answer them all

#tanyanajib is @NajibRazak 1Malaysia dead or alive

#tanyanajib y @NajibRazak u still tolerate utusan racist newspaper that is working against your 1Malaysia

#tanyanajib y @NajibRazak RCI not meant to find the cause of Teoh Beng Hock's death?

#tanyanajib do u @NajibRazak really read all these tanya & r u going to answer all of them, if not what is the purpose of having it

#tanyanajib have you @NajibRazak ever lie to us

#tanyanajib y @NajibRazak that our nation keeps tumbling down on almost everything as compared to other asian countries

#tanyanajib y @NajibRazak u keep saying that you listen to rakyat but we never see any of it

#tanyanajib y @NajibRazak not doing anything about the so many death in custody

Monday, January 10, 2011

Did Pakatan Rakyat Cause The Premature Birth Of MCLM?

If Malaysian voters still have that inclination to vote for the devil you know rather then the devil you do not know, I can safely say that Malaysia is still in the infant stage of politics and the future is not going to get any better.

For over 50 years Malaysians grew up with the knowledge of only a single coalition party governing the country. After the 90's, the birth of a two-party system for the country became a great possibility but due to many complications created by the ruling party, this was not to be – until 2008.

It was then that a “caesarean section” was performed, Pakatan Rakyat was born and a two-party system came into existence. Born late and under unusual circumstances, the newly-born became inflicted with all kinds of illnesses and time and patience were needed to raise this weak little baby.

Malaysians wanted a two-party system but, unfortunately, were not willing to give this newly-born coalition party a chance to mature. Neither did they provide whatever support needed to help heal the many sicknesses. Instead, they grumbled and complained about its deficiencies and offered little or no assistance to groom it into a healthy adult.

The common advice from our elderly when we are eager to attain our life’s goals is: "Take one step at a time; do not rush to climb up the ladder.”

Many elected politicians thought that they were always smarter than others and they fought, stepped on each other, stabbed each other in the back just to get to the top of the ladder.

Remember what one leader recently said? He talked about "crushed bodies and lost lives" to ensure his party remained at the top. These are not the type of politicians we want, fighting for their own agenda instead of looking after the people that voted them in.

Malaysia is inflicted with cancerous politics from head to toe and it thrives in most of the institutions. Yet the Government of the day keeps on denying it is ill and is not willing to seek medication or to have it cured first before embarking on the road to a true Malaysian First society and becoming a developed nation by 2020. Cancer cells are also found in the newly-minted 1Malaysia and if no curer is sought, this nation ain't going any much further.

Even though the ruling Government is hell-bent on stopping the march of a two-party system, the rakyat are pushing for it. Their hope lies in Pakatan Rakyat which was given a ‘caesarean birth’ after the 308 tsunami.

What I foresee is that it will take one or two generations before Malaysia can be rid of the present sad political situation that we are facing today. A whole new generation must emerge that is fully mature and knows how crucial it is to have a government that is credible, upholds integrity and honours its promises.

Race-based political parties must no longer exist and whichever party or independents can provide what the new generation wants must not emphasise race or religion to get elected.

In the meantime, we have to deal with the present political situation - a two-party system. There is a choice now with the existence of Pakatan Rakyat but alas, this newborn is rather a little too hot to handle with its mix of stubbornness, arrogance, selfishness, indecent performance of jumping frogs and playing around with sentiments to the extent of confusing the rakyat and even causing others to turn away disgusted.

In the midst of the fragmentation, there emerged another baby in the political arena. But this baby, though born prematurely, is healthy. It named itself MCLM.

Pakatan Rakyat is still at an early learning stage but people expect it to behave and act like an adult. They want an immediate 100% performance from PR without realising that it is an impossible task not only for PR but for any other coalition that has trodden only a two-year path.
Since PR is having problems, naturally some people will want to take a look at the newborn MCLM and what it has to offer.

MCLM, from my point of view, is not supposed to be around as yet and from what I can foresee, it should only be around one or two generations down the road. I am quite sure that it will not survive in the present political environment if it intends to go it alone. But due to the various weaknesses in Pakatan Rakyat, it was born prematurely.

Many of the founders and followers of MCLM supported the Opposition in the last GE and they intend to do so provided Pakatan Rakyat can see eye to eye with them. Both are fighting the same cause and their agenda is almost identical and we see no reason for them not to work together.

Even though MCLM may at times speak like it is on its own (can we blame it since it was was born ahead of its time) or criticising PR leaders, we must not let these criticisms cloud our minds. MCLM and PR may differ in how to get things done but the main objective or the final hoped-for end results are the same.

Since Pakatan Rakyat in a way caused the premature birth of MCLM, it should accept responsibility and work closely with MCLM to form a formidable force to fight against the big evil monster.


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