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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

GE 13 Keyword - PUTRAJAYA - To Capture Or To Defend? Pt 2

Once the Prime Minister dissolved Parliament with the consent of the Agong, PutraJaya will be empty waiting for the next tenant who can offer the highest price in the form of the greatest number of Parliamentary seats as voted in by the rakyat.

There is nothing for the present Government to defend PutraJaya once their term of contract for five years expire. Many have argued and counter PM Najib's called to defend PutraJaya as if there is going to be an imminent invasion from outsiders. Read these two write up on how wrong it was for the PM to make such a war cry to defend PutraJaya at all cost by Kim Quek No political party is entitled to defend Putrajaya and Dr. Hsu's Are we at war?

My suggestion to PM Najib is to fire all his PR and advisers and maybe even Najib himself should step down for being so dumb as to listen and act upon the silly and at time stupid advises that were given to him.

Who will be the next tenant to occupy PutraJaya is decided by Malaysian voters and no one including the present ruling government or PM can defend it by using threats or call for blood shed.

Any party who wants to occupy PutraJaya must convinced the owner (rakyat) that they will take good care of PutraJaya, the welfare of the owner (rakyat) and that their money will be put into good use with fairness and equal distribution. The tenancy agreement to occupy PutraJaya will only be selected depending on how interested tenants can win the heart of the owner, that is the rakyat, during the offer bidding period (election campaigning period).

To capture the PutraJaya tenancy, all interested parties must abide by the rules and requirements of the owner (the rakyat). Using threats, bribery or underhanded tactics are unacceptable and the 'now learned' owner will reject such tenant.

Instead of asking the PutraJaya owner (rakyat) to extend the tenancy agreement, the PM had make a very big mistake by calling his "manufactured imaginary army" to defend it at all cost as if he is now the owner of PutraJaya.

All the grandeur speeches by the PM and numerous calls to defend PutraJaya were signs indicating that the ruling government had very slim chances in capturing the tenancy to PutraJaya.

There is still hope for PM Najib to clinch a new tenancy agreement for PutraJaya provided he is willing to stand firm and take the bull by the horns and stop all calls to defend PutraJaya at all cost, 'crushed bodies and lost lives' etc. Implement the right policies that benefit the rakyat and getting rid all form of racism and discrimination. Do I need to tell him about the rampant corruptions and leakages that he needs to seriously tackle and that no one is above the law?

PutraJaya is to house the rightful tenant selected by the owner (rakyat) and no one can defend it just because they are the present tenant for over 50 years.

As a shareholder of PutraJaya, I am calling all the other shareholders to make sure that the new tenant for PutraJaya must be carefully selected. We cannot allow a tenant who uses PutraJaya to enrich himself, not paying to the rightful owner but cronies while using the enforcement and their own laws to humiliate and threaten the owner.

Pakatan Rakyat is very keen to capture the PutraJaya tenancy and as shareholder I am willing to give this new tenant an opportunity to prove that they can rejuvenate the present downtrodden PutraJaya created by the existing tenant.

Can you agree and join me to change to a new tenant that can take good care of our property, PUTRAJAYA?

GE 13 Keyword - PUTRAJAYA - To Capture Or To Defend? Pt 1

Monday, May 30, 2011

No political party is entitled to defend Putrajaya

By Kim Quek | TMI

There is something disturbing in Premier Najib Razak’s repeated and frantic calls to defend Putrajaya. The latest, when he was addressing youth at the World Youth day gathering in Putrajaya on May 28.

After asking the youth “Will you defend Putrajaya with me?”, and getting a positive answer, he then shouted: “Defend Putrajaya! Defend Putrajaya! Defend Putrajaya!”

His equally paranoid call on an earlier occasion was during the recent 61st Umno general assembly when he shrieked: “Even if our bodies are crushed and our lives lost, brothers and sisters, whatever happens, we must defend Putrajaya”.

Any novice to this country must have imagined that Malaysia must be facing an imminent foreign invasion, otherwise, why should its prime minister be exhorting so earnestly for the defence of its administrative capital?

But we Malaysians know that this is not a case of foreign invasion, but a reflection of the sick mentality of the incumbent political power which has ruled this country without interruption for more than half a century.

Umno has held on to its hegemony for so long that it cannot differentiate between what belongs to the party and what belongs to the people.

Putrajaya is no private property of any political party, but a public asset that belongs to all Malaysians. So no one is entitled to talk about defending Putrajaya, unless the country is facing an invasion by a foreign power.

In fact, Umno is only a guest tenant to Putrajaya, invited by the people to administer the country for a stipulated period. Upon termination of that term of office, the landlord, who is the people, will invite bidders, who are the political parties, to tender their bids for the next term of office. The successful bidder will then be invited to take tenancy in Putrajaya and run the federal government for the next term.

Hence, there is nothing for Umno to defend, except the transient power which ends upon expiration or termination of the term.

It is totally out of order for Najib to talk about defending Putrajaya, least of all its defence with blood and dead bodies.

How would Americans think, if President Obama calls for the defence of Washington DC when facing his adversary in the next presidential election? Surely they would be thinking their President has gone mad! And if he goes on to talk about shedding lives, l bet many will begin to faint.

The concept of lordship over the administrative capital as exclusive private domain by any political power is so alien to the principles of democracy that none would even dream that it could ever be uttered by a contestant for political power.

But in Malaysia, Najib seems to be mighty proud for staking that claim over Putrajaya and for being roundly applauded for doing that.

This is how far Najib and Umno have strayed from the original democratic ideals with which our fore fathers had founded the nation!

Not only is Umno obsessed with clinging on to political power as an exclusive right and a personal death-or-live battle, but even the people’s mindset have been so conditioned by Umno’s lengthy hegemony that, many fail to see Najib’s political posture as an appalling affront against the fundamental tenets of our constitution — that the people are the masters, not the ruling power.

Worse than his claim over Putrajaya, is Najib’s inherent threat to resort to extra constitutional means - violence and bloodshed as intimated by Najib — to retain power when facing electoral defeat or potential defeat. Such act, if transpired, is clearly treason to our people and our Constitution. And the latter is the binding contract among the various communities upon which they had jointly achieved the country’s Independence.

Malaysians must therefore ponder deeply whether they can entrust their fate to a political power that does not hesitate to tear up the Constitution and defy the people’s choice, when facing an unfavourable electoral outcome.

On a separate note, we must strongly condemn BN’s exploitation of the youth gathering event in Putrajaya to launch its political propaganda. This festival, organised at great public expenses, is supposed to be a celebration of youth, and therefore a non-political event. But BN has turned it into a BN political platform where it volleyed vicious attacks against its political opponents.

This is but another one of many instances of BN’s rampant abuse of authority and public funds to advance its parochial political interests, and therefore another important consideration for the people to ponder when weighing the comparative trustworthiness of the existing contestants for political power.

Kim Quek is the author of “The March to Putrajaya”.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

GE 13 Keyword - PUTRAJAYA - To Capture Or To Defend? Pt 1

Is Najib employed to govern this nation as a whole or as an impartial Prime Minister that are more concern with his political coalition parties and to remain in power? What we hear and read from his speeches daily which are supposed to be official government functions are filled with political innuendos.

It looks like a war has been wedged between the ruling government and the rakyat. Najib has been calling its party members to defend PutraJaya at all cost even if need to 'crushed bodies and lost lives' and now calling out to the youths as well.

How naive Najib can be to make these calls:

“If in Egypt one million youths gathered in Tahrir Square to change that country’s leadership... in Malaysia, one million youths gathered to defend Putrajaya,” he said.

“Are you willing to defend Putrajaya?” he asked repeatedly.

The youth in Egypt are fed up with the corrupt, arrogant and incompetent government hence their march to change their country's leadership. In Malaysia, those leaders running PutraJaya are no different, corruptions are as rampant or even worst then Egypt, so is Najib calling Malaysian youths to defend PutraJaya and allow these corruptions to go on and be happy with those incompetent leaders with no integrity?

Najib stressed that the government will not succeed in its ambitious transformation programmes without help from young Malaysians.

“Some call me the Father of Transformation; I don’t know [if the description is accurate], but you all are the catalysts of change,” he said.

After over two years as the most powerful man in this nation, he keeps talking about transformation without any signs or indications that the nation has transformed into what he prescribed or is it just an illusion in his mind. Even worst is that his own ruling government, mostly run by his political party and coalition have shown no transformation nor the will to at all.

How can he be called the 'Father of Transformation' when he allows racism to strife and he himself is such a racist, if you can remember what he did in 1987. He is more fit to be called the 'Father of Racism' or 'Father of Corruption' when he can bribed voters with his famous call 'You Help Me, I Help You'.

“If the youths are with the government, our country will be peaceful and we can continue to make our country prosper,” he said.

This is the only correct statement he had ever made. Not only the youth must be with the government but all Malaysians.

The question is which type of Government?

The corrupt, racist and arrogant government who are willing to 'crushed bodies and lost lives' to defend at all cost in holding on to power, allowing extremists to perpetuate religious and race intolerance without any concern whatsoever happen to the rakyat and country;


A government who put the nation and rakyat first before anything else,
A Malaysia For All.

Why I’m still here but my children won’t be


I am Malaysian. My grandparents escaped war and famine in China to make it here. They and my parents endured the deprivations of WW2 and the brutalities of the Japanese Occupation along with everyone else in this country.

They rode out the uncertainties of May 13 along with everyone else in this country. Everyone in my family has contributed to the growth and development of this nation, as I do now. So yes, I bristle when anyone questions our right to be here and our right to call ourselves Malaysian.

My husband is not Malaysian. He is an expatriate from a country that has been ranked one of the happiest in the world. Save The Children recently ranked it one of the top countries in the world to be a mother, taking into account maternity leave, childcare options and maternal mortality and child health.

Nobody in his country ever questioned his right to be there or called him a “pendatang” just because his grandparents or parents were not born in that country.

Yet, here we stay. Our life here is good, even privileged, some would say. My children go to an international school where the standard of teaching is world class. We live in a gated community with a lovely playground for the children and resort-like clubhouse facilities.

We have good and reliable domestic help that has made it easy for me to be a working mum. We enjoy good healthcare, relatively low taxation (compared to where my husband is from) and a standard of living I’m sure my grandparents would not have dared dream of when they first arrived.

Every day I am grateful that we have all this. My husband and I worked hard to have this lifestyle for our children and us. No handouts, no grants, no scholarships, no nothing — just some luck, and the sweat and toil and work ethic our parents and grandparents drilled into us. Yet, I am acutely aware that there are fellow Malaysians who work just as hard but don’t get the desired results. So I feel very fortunate indeed.

When I read about the struggles of Page and other parents fighting to get their children a decent education, I am humbled. I feel blessed that that does not have to be my struggle. If I had married a Malaysian, I’m sure it would be though as my children may not have been eligible to get into a school with decent standards where important global languages are taught.

When I read about children being snatched from playgrounds, lives taken during burglaries and house break-ins, I grieve for those families. I tell myself, yes we have to pay for our home security because we can’t depend on the police, but at least we can afford it.

When I read about the struggles of finding good childcare or work-life balance, I feel truly blessed for my trusty nanny-cum-housekeeper-cum-cook from the Philippines who loves and cares for my children like they are her own. I know I could never have this arrangement where my husband is from.

For all those reasons, we are still here, for now. We would dearly love to stay forever, but I worry about whether my children will have the opportunities I did. When they are grown, will the multinationals still be here to provide jobs?

If they wanted to start their own enterprises, will they be able to do it without currying favour and handing out bribes? Because we are ordinary people — we don’t have contacts and we don’t know anybody “important.” Will it be possible, in one more generation, to make a decent living without those connections? Some would say it is already impossible now. Will my children, when they are grown and if we are still here, ever be able to share meals and exchange ideas with friends of all races and religions without focusing on their differences? Will there even be secular public spaces left?

More importantly, I want to remove my children from the concept of entitlement that colours all public engagements and debate in this country.

I would like to be able to say to my fellow Malaysians, yes I will stay and fight the good fight with you, but the sad truth is that I’m convinced the battle is lost. We are regressing. The racists and extremists are winning because it suits the political agenda of our degenerate ruling elite. Mediocrity trumps meritocracy any day because it suits those in charge.

If our schools are lousy, it means the next generation won’t know enough to challenge them. Meanwhile, their children and grandchildren are in the same school as mine, or at least other private and international schools. And while you fight for scholarships for your brilliant and deserving children, theirs are already abroad and being groomed to rule over yours. It’s already happened once.

As one of the few taxpayers in this country (yet another way I’m a minority!), I begrudge every sen I have to pay because I just don’t see it going to do anything useful for those who need it most. Yet, I wouldn’t mind paying even more taxes if public accounting was more transparent, showing legitimate expenses for better public transport and education, subsidies for maternity leave and crèches at work.

However, even all that may be moot. We probably couldn’t stay even if we really wanted to. When my husband was last at the immigration offices, he casually asked for the form to apply for permanent residency. The officer at the counter asked him, “What race is your wife?” When my husband gave him the information, the officer laughed and said, “You married the wrong woman lah.” My husband has been here long enough to understand that was more a political jab than a personal one, but that was the nail in the coffin for any plans we had to stay here forever.

I have not lost all hope for this country. I love it too much. But in order to turn things around, we need the majority to want to change. Despots can be overthrown — look at the Arab Spring — but it is always the majority of passionate, I’ve-had-it-with-this-system, right-thinking people who force change. But how many of those do you see in this country?

So while we have a timeframe in mind for when to leave, meanwhile we stay and we do the best we can. We pay our taxes. We mind the laws. We give to worthy causes. I vote and sign petitions and engage with all my Malaysian friends. But tell me, is that enough?

So one day, we will take our children away and root them in a country that is not Malaysia. When they are grown, and I am old, I do want to come back. This is my country, but it won’t be theirs.

At a crossroads


My wife and I met while we were studying overseas. After graduating, I returned to Malaysia while she completed her studies and eventually returned two years later. We started our careers and eventually got married and started our family. It never crossed our minds to settle anywhere else other than Malaysia. In university, I was active in the students’ movement and was determined that when I returned I would make a difference in my country.

That was 20 years ago.

Five years later, my brother decided to migrate. Deep inside I was angry and thought that he was foolish. He was an engineer with two degrees and an MBA, and he was seeking greener pastures? Well, he can leave… but no sir, I will stay and make this place I grew up a better place.

Another 12 years passed, and this time it was my sister’s family who was leaving. What? A family of medical professionals leaving? Even a specialist within their midst who won international awards and accolades for research papers, and they are turning their backs on us here? They earn tonnes more than me and they are worried they cannot afford their children’s education? Why don’t they stay here and together we will change the system and make this a better place? There are already so few of us left here to change the system and THEY ARE LEAVING!!?? Well they can go, but I will stay and soldier on…

Another three years passed; last week my wife downloaded an application form for migration. My hands trembled even as I held the form. Is this finally going to be the path I take? The form states that if I am over 45 I will not qualify! This is my final year!

This is my family’s last call… after this, we will not be welcomed even if we want to go. My heart sank. My wife and I had a heart-to-heart talk. We are middle-class professionals with no big businesses or wealth of any significance to be inherited by our children.

Our next generation will need a strong education foundation to start them off. They are doing well enough in school, not geniuses, but still in the best class and with good prospects for good careers if given a fair chance.

We have heard stories from friends and neighbours of children getting 9As and were asked to do geography when they wanted to be engineers. Were offered history when they wanted to do law. They had to go private. We are resigned to the fact that we will likely have to privately fund our own children’s education.

I looked at my bank account. Have I saved enough to put my children through private education? Not really… maybe partially. Will my children be able to get full A+s to get scholarships? Unlikely. Is my income low enough to be considered poor so that my children will qualify for underprivileged scholarships? I don’t think so. Is my skin “brown” enough for my children to get a “Bumi” quota? Sorry, wrong place.

Today I look into the mirror and I see grey hairs. My vision is beginning to blur. I have to change to a presbyopia specs soon. I switched on the computer and clicked on The Malaysian Insider — I see the face of Ibrahim Ali shouting. I looked out of the window, I see people queuing up in a petrol station nearby. I see Makcik Som selling nasi lemak, just as she has always done for so many years. Twenty years have passed.

I am tired. The prickly durian spirit of yesteryear has been worn down to a smooth watermelon. No longer prickly, no longer pungent. Am I giving up? No! Definitely not. But what about my children? Must they also sacrifice for my cause?

Yes, I have decided to put in my application, to give my children a fair chance. But I will stay, because I have a dream. A 20-year-old dream. I will settle my children overseas and I will return to make that difference that I dreamt of… If I don’t realise that dream at least my children won’t have to dream that same dream for their children. Ibrahim Ali may not like my children, but I do … enough to stop dreaming for a while.

Call me a traitor, pengkhianat, pendatang, pengkhayal or whatever. Maybe I don’t have enough faith in what I am doing. But I will leave for little while and I’ll be back. I am thankful that my great-grandfather came to Malaya for his children. Perhaps my generation will be the last generation here, but I will stay as long as I can.

Recently, I read an article about socialism that gave an analogy of an economics professor and his class. The class insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be too rich or too poor in such a system.

So the professor proposed that they experiment socialism in the class. All grades in their next test would be averaged so that no one would fail and no one would do extremely well.

After the next test, the entire class achieved an average of “B”. The students who studied were a little unhappy while those who did not were elated. By and large everyone accepted the situation because they passed.

As the second test approached, those who had studied previously worked a little less, while those who previously did not study did not see why they should study, afterall they still passed. So by the second test the average results was a “D”. Everyone was unhappy now.

By the third test, the average was an “F”. The scores never increased and everyone started bickering, name-calling and this resulted in animosity towards one another. Classes were disrupted and studies affected.

To their surprise, everyone failed in the next test. The professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great but when government takes the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed. Could not be any simpler than that. You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

I believe our country is now at a crossroads. My father’s generation was at point “B” where everyone passed and managed an average score of “B” like in the professor’s class — by and large it was tolerable and everyone accepted the situation.

Today we are probably at an average score “D”. Things are not going that well and our country is not doing as well as it should. We are losing out to our neighbours. A lot of people are unhappy. People are starting to bicker. So where do we move from here? Point “F”?

I still hold on to my 20-year-old dream, so I will stay… but if I turn out to be a daydreamer then at least my children don’t have to live in their father’s daydream.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Why I stay, but why my children should not

Ekompute | TMI

When the New Economic Policy was first launched in 1971, I really thought that it would only be for 20 years, just as what the government had said. But anyway, who can argue against the NEP when its two-prong objectives are to:

1. eradicate poverty, irrespective of race;

2. restructure society so as to eliminate the identification of ethnicity with economic function.

However, as Yogi Berra says, “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is.”

If the two objectives had been pursued honestly and diligently, I think no one will object to the NEP, even if it runs perpetually.

However, the NEP has been turned into a political tool and interpreted to serve only those in power, such that even after double the time frame since its inception, the ordinary Malays are said to be still poor.

How can any wakil rakyat reconcile himself to this fact, that the people he claims to be fighting for are still living in poverty, while he himself, as a people’s representative, lives in a multi-million ringgit mansion?

Yes, I am referring only to wakil rakyats who are multi-millionaires. Where is their conscience and who are they trying to bluff?

Anyway, the 20 years have come and gone and the best part of my life is over. And then I was hoodwinked by the mainstream media throughout Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s rule, with its spins and lies, looking forward to the day when a more equitable society is achieved under the government-engineered NEP.

Then came “Ketuanan Melayu” that claims that because the Malays are the “tuans” in this country, special privileges are a Malay birthright that should become a permanent fixture of Malaysian society.

And I began to wonder, what is the meaning of Islam being the official religion of this country when Islam forbids racial supremacy of any kind?

I found the answer in Quran’s Surah 2 which says that there are three categories of people: (1) The Righteous; (2) The Disbelievers; and (3) The Hypocrites. See the order in which the Quran categorises the people.

The Hypocrites are placed after the Disbelievers. There is no need for me to elaborate but it enlightens me as to why things are happening the way it is in Malaysia, something that I had never, prior to referring to the Quran, been able to reconcile myself to, when the constitution specifically says that Islam is the official religion of the country. (To me, “the religion” and “the official religion” makes no difference.)

And as God would have it, the Internet revolution came and, with it, access to more information, the likes of which we have never seen before.

A strong admirer of Dr Mahathir before I started reading Malaysiakini and now, The Malaysian Insider, the abuses of the government boggle my imagination. I just find it unbelievable, had it not been true.

Selective prosecutions have made me lose faith in hoping for any justice in Malaysia under the present government. The only glimmer of hope is that there is now an alternative coalition that may yet dislodge the Barisan Nasional one day, if not in the next general election, then at the very least, bring the Barisan Nasional to its senses that justice and fairness must prevail in any society.

Without justice and fairness, no society can long endure. I have always wondered why Islamic spiritual values have not found its way into Malaysian society, despite the building of so many mosques, while the pursuit of money and power at all cost, two Satanic elements, have become the mainstay of Malaysian society.

Yet, despite the glimmer of hope, I still encourage my children to leave Malaysia, if they have half a chance… not to give up citizenship but to eke out a living elsewhere. Let the Malays take all the choicest jobs they want. Why fight with them, now that globalisation has opened new vistas.

Malaysia should be trying to compete at the international level and not engage in in-fighting among ourselves on this small speck of land. We are no different from a rich family whose members are always fighting over inheritance. We should well know what is waiting for this type of family at the end of the day.

As it is, we have already slid behind many countries in terms of economic competitiveness and this, despite the fact that Malaysia is blessed with so many natural resources, including petroleum. Only our ego is telling us that we are doing fine.

I do not think that the Barisan Nasional is going to leave graciously, should it lose in the 13th general election. On a more positive note, it is heartening to note that there are now more and more enlightened Malays who can see the injustice all around us.

Yes, there is still hope for Malaysia as long as we have a two-party system. And that’s good news for people like me who, at this age, have no other options but to stay.

And why not? After all, everything in this world belongs to God and we are all descendants of Adam and Eve… that is, if we still believe in Islam or any of the Abrahamic religions.

I will never trade it for another country

Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi | TMI

If the principles of jus soli were strictly enforced in the country, I wouldn’t even be registered as a citizen of Malaysia. Thirty-one years ago, my father was working for an multi-national corporation based in the Sillicon Valley and he brought his young bride along. I suppose I was conceived during this time. I was born in San Jose, California in the United States of America.

I even have a US birth certificate and a US passport (expired in 1988) to boot. The US recognises dual citizenship so I have no doubt that I am already recognised as a citizen of the US. But because my parents had the foresight to register me at the US Embassy in Washington, DC using Borang W, I became a Malaysian citizen at birth. My father could have made the decision to stay. But he didn’t. He came home to Malaysia with his family in tow.

I grew up in a middle-class family and was for most of my life based in Penang, having been enrolled into a private school (Sekolah Sri Inai). The majority of students were non-Muslim Chinese, I was only one of the very few Muslim students around in the whole school.

Regardless, I had a lot of inter-racial contact and I count a lot of non-Muslims and Muslims alike as among my closest friends during this time period. Back when we were children, the issue of race and religion did not count for much, not even during the 1990s.

However, my father decided to enrol me into a government school, where the racial balance was rather skewed and I saw some form of racism first-hand. There was even discrimination against me, even though I am Constitutionally-defined as a Malay (although today, I do not see myself as such). Moving on to secondary school, I began to make more friends as I grew accustomed to the culture surrounding me and my family.

I was overwhelmingly pro-Umno throughout my earlier student years and saw everything through their lenses. Then 1998 came, when Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was unjustly sacked and publicly humiliated, under dubious circumstances.

This incident forced me to start seeing things through a wider lens. I learned over the years of the pervasive corruption within Umno, the excesses of their leaders and their unjust treatment of Malaysians — and even the Malays, those whom they claim to be protecting.

I started to read up and learn about Islam, eventually embracing my religious roots and realised that the only way to achieve universal peace is through the justice of political Islam.

Fast forward to today, the political climate is far different from what it was during the 1990s. Barisan Nasional/Umno is now widely seen as corrupt and unjust, manipulating race issues for their political gain.

The wealth of their leaders is unaccounted for, their continuous disregard for the livelihoods of the rakyat even more evident in the past decade. The economy is being managed badly and social problems such as baby dumping, promiscuous sex among teenagers and crime are on the rise and unlikely to be reduced significantly for as long as the current government remains in power.

With all these known excesses and problems in Malaysia, why am I still here? Why have I remained in Malaysia? I could have just as easily moved to the United States , where I would be welcomed as a citizen and, unlike others who choose to leave, have the right to vote and participate in the political process.

I remained in Malaysia because I believe that to achieve change, the only way to do it is with political change and that must begin with oneself. I translated this into action when I registered as a life member of the Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS) in 2007.

This belief would not have changed, even if the political tsunami of 2008 did not happen and the tripartite opposition did not make significant gains. Whining and groaning and voting with your feet will not bring about change, it will only bring further apathy to those who stayed behind. The lack of patriotism from those who discarded their vote should not be a reason for anyone to leave the country and never come back.

On a personal note, I am doing reasonably well with my own SEO / Internet business and consistently obtaining clients from the US and the UK / Europe. Although there may be a higher income if I were to leave the country and start living elsewhere, the cost of living in other countries is relatively higher than what it currently is in Malaysia.

Also, I believe that my wife would be able to wear the hijab freely in public, and I will be free to practise Islam openly, without anyone on the street harassing us or calling us “terrorists.” Despite what one may be led to believe, xenophobia and religious bias is not absent in the US, the UK, Europe or anywhere else.

Malaysia is my home, and for better or for worse I will never trade it for another country.

The author is a Muslim Internet activist and blogs at Critical Thoughts (

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"The Great Pretender" Onslaught To Win Big In The 13th General Election (13th GE )

"You had to pretend conformity while privately pursuing high and dangerous nonconformism" (Anthony Burgess)

'Pretend': To feign an action or character, give a false appearance of; feign, represent fictitiously, make believe, take upon oneself; venture.

And the person who pretends is called the 'pretender'.


This nation is run by 'pretenders' using feign actions, false appearances by way of slogans, rhetoric and acronyms.

Those who are 35 years old and above should have voted at least twice and under the rule of 2 Prime Ministers. From the 4th, the 5th and the present 6th Prime Minister what we have are 'pretender' leaders and the 'great pretender' is none other than the 6th PM.

Just like his predecessors he is not short of rhetoric and slogans. What have become of his '1Malaysia, People First Performance Now' slogans and rhetoric?

In addition, with the guise to propel the nation to be developed by 2020 he spent a big sum to come out with the GTP (Government Transformation Programme), ETP (Economic Transformation Programme) and NKRAs (National Key Result Areas). Even though he and his cohorts claimed success, the general public do not have that 'feel' of anything better nor improving their standard of living.

A big win in the coming 13th GE is the only thing in his mind since he took over as the Prime Minister and what he must do in order to achieve this sole goal. Singing different tunes to different audiences and by allowing his party organ, the msm, malay NGOs to champion only the malay rights while he portrayed himself in 'pretentious way' as the hero to the non malays.

He takes upon himself and feels no shame nor guilt in representing fictitiously and make believe of his great potential as a leader for all Malaysians.

We can no longer allow 'pretender' leaders to con the rakyat into voting a government that does not care about the well being of the populace but only their self interest to win and stay in power.

'a muddle-headed educational system, a corrupt and incompetent government, racial polarisation engendered by government policies, discrimination in educational enrolment and scholarships, public sector employment and an environment increasingly intolerant of the non-Malay, non-Muslim races'. - from 'Why I chose Australia' by (Alan Roy)

The above are critical things that the PM should look into and take action immediately but after more then 2 years in office, his only concern is how to win big in the 13th GE and let lose his ministers and others to create more racial and religious tension.

Could I be wrong to call him 'The Great Pretender', all he does is talk, talk, talk and could not walk his talk or are we Malaysians so gullible to believe his call for another mandate to give time for his acronyms GTP, ETP and NKRAs to bear fruits?

All I can say is "NO MORE" pretension, we need to change and change we must.

Below a great song from The Platters - The Great Pretender with lyrics. Enjoy and think very carefully comes the 13th GE.

The Platters Lyrics

" The Great Pretender "

(Buck Ram)
Oh-oh, yes I'm the great pretender
Pretending that I'm doing well
My need is such I pretend too much
I'm lonely but no one can tell

Oh-oh, yes I'm the great pretender
Adrift in a world of my own
I've played the game but to my real shame
You've left me to grieve all alone

Too real is this feeling of make-believe
Too real when I feel what my heart can't conceal

Yes, I'm the great pretender
Just laughin' and gay like a clown
I seem to be what I'm not, you see
I'm wearing my heart like a crown
Pretending that you're still around

Too real is this feeling of make-believe
Too real when I feel what my heart can't conceal

Yes, I'm the great pretender
Just laughin' and gay like a clown
I seem to be what I'm not, you see
I'm wearing my heart like a crown
Pretending that you're still around

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Don’t give up on Malaysia

June Rubis | TMI

Discovering the fresh corpse of an orangutan was probably the last straw. It had been shot several times and left to die on a riverbank. We discovered the corpse while paddling up a river in Batang Ai National Park.

Killing an orangutan, a totally protected animal, in Sarawak is an offence that could lead to two years’ imprisonment or a fine of RM30,000. Very few have been prosecuted for wildlife crimes in Sarawak, and the lack of prosecution or arrests does not necessarily mean that no crimes have been committed.

Stumbling upon a fresh kill of a wildlife species that I had dedicated my young life to help protect and conserve, hurt a lot. The fact that the orangutan was shot and killed in a national park in Sarawak, just a few kilometres from the ranger station, was horrifying. What else could be going on undetected in the vast areas of our protected national parks and wildlife sanctuaries?

My team of field assistants and I immediately turned back to report our find to the authorities. My field surveys had to be postponed for another day.

Devastated, I returned to Kuching to have a heart-to-heart talk with my boss. I had been working in the conservation field for about four years, and was tired of having my reports of hunting in totally protected areas in the state either ignored or questioned for their veracity.

Now having the ultimate evidence, an actual corpse that no one could deny the existence of, did not give me the comfort that perhaps this time around, there would be stern action taken against the perpetrators.

Sarawak has the best state laws for the protection of wildlife in the country, yet implementation remains an issue.

I asked my boss, whom I greatly respect, what is the point of continuing in this line of work when it feels like we’re trying to stop a flood while armed with leaky buckets.

He looked straight into my eyes, and explained, “June, conservation work is not a sprint, it’s a life-long marathon. Do not give up just yet. Sometimes we cannot see the impact of our work until much later.”

This advice has remained with me to this day, many years later.

While my work scope may have changed from wildlife research to working on human-related issues (yet still related to conservation), I haven’t given up on NGO work. About five years since the orangutan killing, I still believe that the work I do for my country is a life-long marathon.

Lately, there’s been a lot of frustration with our political leaders, on how our country is run, and how some individuals seem to have a free rein to spout racial and religious hatred.

I believe in the goodness and moderation of the average Malaysian, and I am sure, just like me, most of us are confused at times about where this country seems to be heading. And it hurts. It feels like we are trying to stem a flood of bigotry and enmity with a few buckets of reasoning and good sense.

We struggle to have our voices heard but will the political leaders of the day listen and react appropriately to our grievances? And sometimes, some of us consider leaving the country, the inevitable brain-drain dilemma. Sometimes, some of us just want to give up, and stop caring.

I say to you: Don’t.

Maybe it is hard to see it now, but when I look back just a mere few years, not many of us even dared voice out how we felt. Now there are many good voices, proudly Malaysian, and daring to put our names to our opinions.

A year ago, I didn’t think I would be writing what I’ve written for this column and A year ago, I didn’t have the nerve to do so and I only gathered the courage after being inspired by brave individuals standing up and fighting for what they believe in.

I don’t know what the impact of my writing would be and whether it would resonate with others who would feel braver as a result, and so stand up on their own. I don’t know yet the repercussions of my writing and how it would affect my own work.

I do know to write as my conscience dictates, and hope that in doing so, my little contribution would help lead to a more open society, particularly for my own beloved state of Sarawak.

If we stay strong to our beliefs and passions, no matter what they are, the journey will certainly be a life-long marathon. We may not know the impact of our work just yet but have faith that it will get better.

So strap up your boots, and prepare for your personal odyssey.

And don’t give up on Malaysia just yet.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Why, why, why?

By KJ John | Malaysiakini

Why would the ‘naughty boy of Malaysian journalism’ Utusan Malaysia carry such a headline as Kristian agama rasmi? (Christianity as the official religion?), when it is probably not the truth, not reality either, and not possible, and never in the minds or hearts of any Christian.

Christians are generally rational and not merely emotional but we also seek to love every neighbour at the end of the day. And yet the recalcitrant publication accused all Christians with one sweep of their ink-spill. And, most terribly, even the government of Malaysia’s initial reactions were also ‘idiocratic’ to say the least.

I am really upset, hurt, and therefore insist and ask Utusan for an apology for hurting our feelings and sense of dignity; of every Christian in Malaysia.

Bureaucracy is obvious when public servants use laws to hide their inertia. But the more serious issue of ‘Idiocracy’ is when public officials (having a publishing permit makes UM public here) abuse the laws for their private or political agenda.

Based on the above definition, the first ‘idiocrats’ are those who created this new public lie in the first place. Utusan Malaysia based their report on unverified blogger stories. Therefore, in my heart and mind, they are “already guilty unless they can prove their innocence”. A mere slap on their wrist is not good enough. I want to see their apology, in writing. Yes, we need to adopt the French system of justice because the damage has already been done.

I, too, have been maligned by their headline because I, too, am a Christian. They say I am part and parcel of what I think of as an impossible mission agenda; at least as it depends on earthy powers within limited democratic means.

Professor Aziz Bari has since categorically clarified that that agenda is almost improbable, if not impossible. It can never be done without the general concurrence of the Council of Malay Rulers, for they are the protectors of Islam in this country. All of them are Muslim, as far as I know.

Some other hidden agenda?

Why then did UM publish so maliciously? Did they do it only to increase their readership by sensationalising untruths and such stories? Or did they have some other hidden motive or agenda? And neither is their brand of publishing responsible journalism, as defined by Professor Hamdan Adnan. His group in support of the human rights of journalists has also already issued a credible statement on the matter decrying such irresponsible sensational journalism.

Lying like this is totally illegitimate but why is the so-called Home Affairs Minister, also a lawyer by training, “colluding” by making a statement as if he fully and totally believes the Utusan headline. Now they are given only a slap on the wrist. Why not cut off their hand in true Muslim spirit?

Why did he not question the logic of the statement or veracity of its possible truth? I mean, he should know his constitutional law? Maybe he really believes that the British democratic system is so apparent in Malaysia that we too can change the monarchy as we choose and whenever we do not like their cultural expression? What an idiocratic mindset!

The third and, to me, the most disgusting ‘idiocrat’ is none other than our minister who wrote his doctoral thesis only for “academic purposes” and does not even believe in his findings or his own analysis. He argued “successfully” and made the case that Malaysia was an executive state (more like a republic) and even got his PhD awarded for it. But soon after, and when he became a minister, he disassociated himself from his thesis.

In my lexicon and ideals of academic collegiality, he should really surrender his PhD thesis. To put it simply, he lied since he did not believe in what he wrote. Maybe his ethics are only limited to the ‘katak dibawah tempurung’ variety.

Having now defined the context of this column, allow me to ask why, why, why would a mainstream newspaper owned by the party which sells the 1Malaysia idea and ideal put such lies on its front page? Secondly, why would they do it in the week before May 13?

My questions are therefore directed to all Umno card carrying members. Why do three million of you allow lies to be propagated in your name? Is such lying kosher within thr Islamic faith? I am sincere and I have only the greatest of respect for my very many dear Muslim friends who speak and live by the truth of their beliefs.

But, I also hate politicians who lie about their beliefs. Moreover, I have zero tolerance for Umnoputeras who lie through their front teeth, steal public assets in the name of the bumiputera agenda, and rationalise it all under the ketuanan Melayu agenda. Although they are a very small minority, they make the most noise.

UM seems to live, breathe and have her being under such a worldview or mindset; and as far as I know it has nothing to do with the Islam that I know, have studied and observed.

Personal priorities above all else

All such functionaries instead use and abuse religion of any faith system in the fashion of all modernists. They put their personal priorities, their thoughts and feelings, and their interests above all else. The whole world revolves around them. They belong to, in my language and theology, the unholy trinity of “I, Me, and Myself!” Extreme self interests drive their very existence.

How else can we see results of such modern but ugly capitalism as we see today? Whether in the US of A, or Europe, or the Middle East, or Confucian China, or Hindu India, such capitalism and the promotion of ugly self-interest seems kosher and the very mainstream thing. So long as you are “not caught” or “found out” it is okay to carry on doing what you do. The public space has therefore lost all its morality under the falsely secular model of separation between the sacred and the secular.

Unfortunately too, within our Malaysia Boleh culture, what the late MGG Pillai labelled as Bolehland, there is another yet newer morality in public space: while we preach religion until our throats turn coarse we become spiritual simply by definition. Really? Humbug!

There are now more temples, mosques, churches and shrines and we even claim to be a developed nation, but we cannot understand why our public space morality is so bad, so poor or so crude. Why is bribery and corruption so cultural and endemic today? Why is incest on the rise? Why are new born babies dumped? Why are our elderly care homes so pathetic? Why are local restaurants so filthy and unhygienic and why are our toilets so smelly? Developed country?

Why, Malaysians, why do we tolerate such lying and stealing in public space? Why, moderate majority Malaysians, why do we allow such rape to continue unabated? Cannot we say NO as did the Tunisians? Cannot we say NO as did the Egyptians or Libyans? Cannot we join the Syrians and say NO to regimes that have outlived their human purpose? Or, do we really believe in saviours like Osama and Obama?

Can we not join those who already said NO on March 8, and again in Sibu, and now in Sarawak, and also Singapore? We can say NO and seek change. Let us!

Are not all these truth matters? Are they not an issue about truths versus lies? Did we not lose billions to corruption and cronyism? Cannot we say NO to that? Did we not see public assets stolen in the PKFZ? Do we need another two more deaths in the MACC to know that we are sick to the core?

Well, dear Malaysians, these issues are not about race or religion. That is what the powers want us to believe. They are really about truth, righteousness, and justice in the public spaces of our lived life. We need ALL to stand up for truth and righteousness, and not just leave it to the Teoh Beng Hocks of the world. May God bless Malaysia.

KJ JOHN was in public service for 29 years. He is now dean of the Faculty of Economics and Policy Science at UCSI University, Malaysia. The views expressed above are truths that matter to him as an individual citizen wearing private and civil society hats and therefore are not opinions of the university or faculty. Do send feedback to him at

Why I left Malaysia


I’ve left Malaysia for about nine years now, and lived and worked in several countries such as Singapore, China and, now, Hong Kong.

The past and recent news reports on brain drain have pretty much summarised the reasons for leaving Malaysia except they were not accepted by our leaders. I’ll just echo some of the findings by relating my personal experience.

Social injustice

Unable to get into local universities even with good academic results. Mine was a working-class family and my dad had to work extremely hard to save (barely) enough money to put me through a private college (whose quality could be questioned).

It was a twinning program with an American university. A large portion of our class (100 per cent non-Bumiputera) didn’t end up going to the America for their final year to “twin” with the university because of financial difficulties. Those who did, like me, mostly have remained overseas.

Low income

I did return to work in Kuala Lumpur briefly. My salary was so pathetic I was constantly worried about having to work for 10-15 years before my dad’s investment in my education could be recovered.

Lack of meritocracy

My first job was with a government-linked corporation. We were educated, but quite explicitly some management positions were only given to the Malays. On the other hand, and to be fair, many private companies selectively avoid hiring Malays because of a general perception that they are less competent compared to the other races. Neither the GLCs nor private firms were actively promoting or hiring the best without an implied policy based on skin colour.

Barriers to returning

Today, after over a decade of working, I’ve established my finances, and started up a family in Hong Kong. Returning to Malaysia is not impossible but many barriers lie ahead.

My wife is Korean. We have heard of horror stories about the difficulty of foreign spouses not being able to get permanent residence/citizenship in Malaysia despite years of residency.

Our son was born in Korea. When we approached the Malaysian consulate to register him, we were told we would have to wait up to a year to get a reply. A year to register a child with an uncertain outcome? Something is very wrong.

At the same time, a friend’s construction company doesn’t seem to have any problem getting his Indonesian workers ICs with speedy approvals.


If it’s so difficult to register our son, will he be able to get into a local school? What about quality of education? If I have to take a pay-cut (easily 60 per cent) to return to the country, I’d need to be reassured that quality education can be obtained cheaply (or at 60 per cent discount too).

It’s not very encouraging to learn from the news and ranking of Malaysian public universities that have been on the decline year after year. Will I want to return to the country and repeat the same history my dad went through to put his son to college?

Lack of economic focus

Years ago, this was manufacturing. What about now? What has happened to MSC and the various corridors? What’s our niche? What sectors can overseas Malaysian go back to? Banking? Biotech? Agriculture? Oil and gas? All I hear thousands of miles away in the past few years is some sexual allegations about Anwar Ibrahim.

Lack of positive publicity and encouragement

Every time when we return to Malaysia for holidays or when we meet Malaysians outside of the country (getting very often these days), we are asked not to return by friends, relatives and strangers.

Some even asked us how to get out of the country! Imagine having your foreign spouse hearing all these negative comments about your own country… not to mention, it’s getting easier to meet your friends and relatives outside of the country than in Malaysia.

ES reads The Malaysian Insider.

Unapologetically Sarawakian


UH-OH, WHAT’VE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO? Seriously, for someone who has not written anything more than work emails and business proposals in the last 10 years, it’s more than a mental block that I have to deal with. It’s not unlike getting a 50-year old who only knows how to ‘pangkah dacing’ his whole life to ‘mark the Rocket’.

Growing up as a kid on the banks of mighty Sarawak River, along the Gambier Street shophouses, I was fortunate enough to experience 1st hand the ‘rojak’ of cultures that’s Sarawak - not only did we ‘tolerate’ each other’s existence, we mingled. You had the ‘tambang’ operators from across river, the kopi-o stall taukeh, the long-eared Orang Ulu who’d just stepped off the green-coloured STC bus at Ban Hock Lane, the tattooed Iban, the ‘kuli’ at the docks, the mee jawa and satay seller who plied his trade outside a Chinese kopitiam, the Indian spice trader, the barber shop frequented by men and children alike from all ages.

One example was my late grandmother herself - 60ish at the time; she spoke maybe a dozen Malay words. Yet there you have her chatting away animatedly with the Malay ‘cikgu’ from across river. Scenes of strangers who’d just met sharing a coffee-table by the roadside were the norm, rather than exception. These are sadly, lost forever in the name of "development".

One common feature though that has thus far withstood the effects of "national intergration" and Umno-styled, polarizing politics of "race and religion" is most aptly describe not in words but the photo below which I took off a Borneo Post article about a week ago:

Sarawak is the only place where I’m able to have Chinese ‘kueh chap’ and Malay ‘Mee Jawa’ in one meal, at one place. Sarawak is the only place left where I’m able to have my pork-filled meal while chatting away with a Muslim friend who is having a halal spread. In public. And I fully intend to keep it that way. If JAIS, JAKIM, JAKUN or any other acronym has an issue with that, talk to my Sarawakian hand!

Just in case anyone is wondering which planet I came from, if the 18-Point Agreement were to be respected and upheld, Sarawak is rightfully ’secular’, with Islam being the Official Religion of the Federation.

Moving away from food, aren’t we tired of constantly being told what to do by our ‘Big Brothers’ from the Semenanjung? Everyone, (even MIC!) has an advice or three, despite some of them being geographically challenged - some friends still think that Mount Kinabalu is in Kuching. And how many of us got the ‘Welcome to Malaysia’ greeting before !@#%*?

Isn’t it about time to dish out some payback?

It’s time for Sarawakians to offer our countrymen from across the South China Sea some advice in return.

After all, most of us can tell that Kangar is in Perlis and Kota Tinggi is in Johor. As responsible members of the Federation, shouldn’t we weigh in on the current Lynas Rare Earth Plant controversy? Let’s tell Koh Tsu Koon’s Gerakan how to retake Penang. Time for us to stand up and show the rest that we are not just a mere State, that we are a third of the Federation - let’s act the part!!!

One day, when a Sarawakian assumes the office of the Prime Minister without having to change his name, religion and join UMNO… idealistic or not, that to me is the true measure of Malaysia’s success.

Non-Muslim PM! Why not?

By RK Anand | FTM

Huddled in the driver’s seat of those red and white cars zipping through traffic is a political animal, whose eyes light up when prodded on the happenings in the nation. These are the asphalt soothsayers who predict the fate of politicians and political parties for a fee determined, at least among the more scrupulous ones, by a meter affixed to the dashboard.

In one such episode on a sweltering afternoon, the catalyst being a mangled Proton being towed, a cabbie laments about the deplorable state of Malaysian-made cars and how he is forced to drive a particular make, because that is the rule.

Taking solace in the fact that he is behind the wheel of an antiquated model, powered by a reliable Mitsubishi motor, he sneers that there is nothing “pro” in the locally-designed “Campro” engine fitted in the newer cars.

Instead of stuffing these cars down our throats by imposing exorbitant taxes on foreign models, making the probability of owning one for an average wage earner a distant dream, he suggests that local manufacturers simply make good cars. How difficult can that be? He mused.

He fails to comprehend the logic of repeatedly sounding the alarm over the high number of fatal road accidents when these companies churn out coffins on wheels.

And in the next sentence, he blames the government, as cabbies often do.

Shaking his head in disappointment, he utters these prophetic words: “Something must change. If the government does not want to change, then we must change the government.”

The alleged Christian plot

Predictably, the conversation soon drifts towards the latest controversy and the cabbie turns up the air-conditioning another notch. It is the alleged plot to baptise Malaysia and install a Christian prime minister at its helm. The Buddhist cabbie sees nothing wrong with this.

“Who cares about the PM’s religion? Why are these fellows making so much noise? Nonsense!” he thunders, thumping his right hand on the heat-baked and sweat-stained steering wheel.

Warned that such unbridled subversiveness can land him in trouble, he balks and eases his foot off the accelerator, nearly bringing the car to a halt. “Are you police, special branch?”

When assured that he is communicating with a civilian, he lets out a sigh of relief and continues with his thoughts on the dicey subject, turning one air-conditioning vent in his direction.

He argues that the prime minister’s race and religion are negligible issues, especially in this era when even the US, where unspeakable atrocities had been committed against the blacks once, can now embrace Barack Obama as its leader.

To him, if the prime minister believes in doing the right thing, is not corrupt and helps people of all races, then the latter will be doing the bidding of God, irrespective of his faith or even if he is an atheist.

The cabbie has a point.

Perhaps the time has come for Malaysians to accept the fact that such a fate is possible. Not now, but in the future when values and integrity take precedence over creed and colour. When race-based political parties and the likes of Perkasa and Hindraf are reduced to nothing more than museum artifacts.

On that December day nearly six decades ago in Alabama, when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus for a white passenger and became an icon for the civil rights movement, did a single American, regardless of colour, imagine that a “black” (albeit half) will rule the White House?

Borderless world

Like it or not, politics of race is a shrinking commodity in a borderless world, and Malaysia is no exception. Economically, the country is rapidly evolving but politically, it is still trapped in the Jurassic era, with some dinosaurs demanding that the clock stands still at May 13, 1969.

These agent provocateurs warn of bloodletting if the status quo is challenged.

Is it possible that even after 42 years, Malaysians are still prepared to put down their Starbucks coffee, pick up machetes and run amok through the malls, decapitating heads and severing limbs? Or mount horses and camels; and gallop through the city streets to wage a crusade? Or perhaps, they just prefer to make a beeline at the cinemas when the next installment of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” hits the screens and let the politicians cull each other.

Will politicians themselves want to plunge the nation into the economic dark ages with a civil strife and risk not being invited again to deliver a speech on moderation at prestigious tertiary institutions?

It is these agent provocateurs who are Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Barisan Nasional’s real political threat, not the opposition. It is they who provide the rivals with sledgehammers to punch holes in the 1Malaysia concept. And the longer Najib tolerates them, the greater he risks standing on a pile of rubble.

Some call it freedom of expression. But when one form of expression is curtailed and in some cases handcuffed, while another, despite the dangers it poses, is allowed to spread the entire length and breadth of the nation, it reeks of double standard and ulterior political motives.

“What are the Malays trying to protect?” asks the flustered cabbie, throwing his hands into the air but promptly bringing them down when the car veers off to the right in the direction of a drain. “The alignment is bad, I must fix it soon or my tyres will ‘rosak’ (wear out). Tyres not cheap, boss, everything now is expensive, don’t know what this government is doing.”

Asked to elaborate on his earlier remark, the cabbie’s economic grievance comes to an abrupt end and he leans closer. “The Malays are not stupid, they know what is happening. My Malay friends also tell me the same thing, they also read the Internet. You cannot bullshit to them.”

‘People want peace’

The cabbie explains that while Perkasa’s screams about protecting special rights, a large number of Malays are still struggling to make ends meet in this land which they “lord” over.

“Who are those living in low-cost flats? Who rides motorcycles because they cannot afford cars? These fellows talk as if all the Malays are rich, so they must protect their wealth from people like us. Only a handful are rich, the rest are poor. So where did the money go? Into a few pockets!”

“Sometimes on TV they show Malay families with no money for food. The children cannot even afford to go to school. How can this happen when you are the ‘tuan’ (master) and you have a Malay PM?”

“If you truly care about your race, you will make them more confident. You won’t put them down by telling them that they cannot survive without help. You will make them independent, not dependent.”

The cabbie also believes that Malaysians, especially the Malays, have become more mature and tolerant towards different views and that is why despite some quarters desperately trying to stir up trouble, nothing adverse happens.

“When the churches got firebombed, everyone thought there is going to be a clash but nothing happened. Last time, you pour a little kerosene, there will be a huge fire. Now, you pour litres of kerosene, the fire is small.

“People have changed but the politicians are the same and they are scared because they can no longer use race and religion to create fear to win elections. The younger generation reads the Internet, they know what is happening. People want peace.”

As his face contorts with anger, the cabbie complains that when the government allows certain groups to talk disparagingly of others, this only serves to make the non-Malays feel less patriotic.

Because a country, he says, is like a mother, and it is difficult to love a mother who always favours one child, saying that only that child was conceived in her womb, while the rest are adopted.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A very dirty and very dangerous game!

By Ahmad Mustapha Hassan | TMI

MAY 16 — In sports, games can be made dirty and sometimes fatal. But they only involve the players and nobody else. But in the case of politics, when the game becomes dirty and dangerous, the country and the people will suffer. There are no gainers and even the perpetrators themselves will suffer. Their aim is to destroy their opponents with no compunction as to what happens to the country. We have to beware of such political shenanigans!

The current coalition of parties in power, especially the main player Umno, is in a state of panic. The length of time that they had been in power had made them flabby in their thinking and actions. They simply cannot comprehend that their actions and the actions of their cahoots are wrong and detrimental to the welfare of the people. Their blind support for the grave mistakes by their agents proves their inability to grasp the seriousness of these actions. They pass the blame on others for the blunders made by these agent provocateurs.

It is very easy to see how the attacks by the Barisan Nasional are done and how amateurish they are.

Umno is in the first place afraid of the growing influence of PAS and thus uses religion to attack this party. Umno accuses the party of foregoing its principles when it works with the DAP. It tries its very best to make PAS break loose from working together with the DAP. It knows that the coming together of PAS and the DAP would spell disaster for Umno. For once the country sees the working together of the rural and urban voters.

It even uses race to break this working arrangement. By co-operating with the DAP, Umno tries to portray that PAS has abandoned the welfare of the Malays and also had compromised on its Islamic principles.

The strategy however does not work.

Umno is also scared stiff of the influence and inroads made by PKR. To Umno, if they could break Anwar, PKR would be completely crippled. It was not possible to use religion or race to fight PKR and so the target has to be Anwar. Anwar has the intellectual capacity that Umno leaders are incapable of challenging. They have therefore to use other means to kill him politically. Since he has the charisma and the ability to sway crowds at all public gatherings, his image has therefore to be smeared.

Despite the misuse of power it has not dented Anwar’s image. They had to resort to sex scandals but this too has not helped. PKR is still popular and making serious inroads in Umno strongholds. Umno is now resorting to pressing the panic button. They again resorted to what they are familiar with and that is sex.

Another sex accusation was levelled at Anwar and now the case is ongoing.

The case may take some time before a verdict can be reached and in the mean time the general election is due. Desperate times need desperate means. A video purported to show an image of someone looking like Anwar having sex with a supposedly Chinese prostitute was produced to help destroy Anwar’s image. As one blogger wrote, “Out of 10 who saw the video, 11 did not believe that it was Anwar!” What a sad scheme!

Another indomitable enemy that Umno fears is the DAP which has managed to penetrate and conquer domains that used to be the political preserve of the MCA and the Gerakan.

To Umno, the MCA and Gerakan are spent forces and now it is up to Umno to tackle the threat posed by the DAP. Attacks on DAP leaders like Lim Kit Siang and Karpal Singh had no political effect. They continue to be ever so popular.

Umno is unable to inflict any major dent in the character of these two charismatic leaders. Umno is also very perturbed by the impressive progress made by the DAP-led Penang government. Stronger tactics have to be resorted to by Umno to damage the standing of the DAP and its rule in Penang.

Race issues had been tried and there is no visible effect at all. More Malays are giving support to the DAP.

Religion is now being used. A meeting of Christian priests in Penang is now being used to create tension. They are accusing them of wanting to make Christianity the official religion of the country. Umno will grab any incident and spin it to counter the challenges posed by the opposition.

Using the issue of Christianity to damage the DAP shows the kind of calibre of Umno politicians. They will stoop to any level to achieve their goals.

But Umno forgets that the people are smarter now. Their spin simply will not sway them. Their dirty tricks department has been recycling old gimmicks and failing miserably and in the process losing more ground.

Malaysians can no longer be conned that easily.

Ahmad Mustapha Hassan is the author of “The Unmaking of Malaysia” and a former general manager of state news agency Bernama. He was also the press secretary to former Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and then-Deputy Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Shame on you, Najib

by Maclean Patrick | FMT

In AD 64, 10 of the 14 districts of Rome went up in flames in a fire that raged for five and a half days.

Contrary to popular belief, Nero did not light the “Great Fire of Rome”. This was a rumour at the time and in order to deflect blame, Nero blamed the Christians. Thus, began the persecution of the Christians under Nero’s reign. During this period, Christians were tortured, fed to the animals and burnt at the stakes (illuminating Nero’s palaces during his parties to which we get the term “human candle”).

After the Great Fire of Rome, Nero organised relief efforts for all those affected. He opened his palaces to shelter the victims of the fire and provided food for the starving citizens. Nero played the saviour of Rome, winning over the hearts of the Romans with his charitable works. And when it came time to find fault, Nero placed the blame on the Christians without providing any proof whatsoever on their alleged involvement.

Now fast-forward to May 2011, and Christians were again falsely blamed for a fire started by a rumour. Only this time, the accuser and the ruler are in cahoots. While the nation simmers as religious and racial tensions rise – created largely by Utusan Malaysia and Umno – Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak steps in in an attempt at playing the good “cop”.

Shame on Najib, for like Nero, all your deeds are just for personal gains. All your deeds are to secure your position as head of this corrupt government. Shame on you that you would burn, at the stake, innocents just so that you may gain more support from the Malay grassroots.

There is internal bickering within Umno itself as to who will helm the party after Najib. And seemingly anxious to show his strength, Najib is working over-time to garner the support of the Malays as the nation heads towards the 13th general election.

Huge mis-step

This fear of losing the reins of government is further compounded by gains the opposition front made in the recent Sarawak state election. People are waking up and making a stand.

A huge mis-step was made by Umno and its various mouthpieces stepped out to attack the Chinese for their support towards the DAP, especially after the Sarawak state election. The poor mindset of the Barisan Nasional (BN) at that time was that all Chinese support had been thrown behind the DAP and therefore the Chinese had to be punished.

Thus, various accusations were levelled at the Chinese, prompting even the Chinese component parties within BN to state their stand. In all this bickering, did Najib step forward to stamp his authority as the prime minister of Malaysia? No, instead he allowed it to fester. And when the Chinese have been painted as enemies of the BN and the government, the same charge was hurled at the Christians.

It comes as no surprise that the DAP and the Christian community were jointly charged when Utusan Malaysia lied about a plot to Christianise Malaysia. And did Najib step forward to defend the minority group being targeted by this deluge of lies and unfounded accusations? No. Instead, he opted to keep quiet and being the opportunist, he would play the role of good cop.

Let’s not be hood-winked by the play being scripted here. Najib played it out as if the Christians were the one causing all the ruckus. Why then did Najib not meet DAP, too, since it was also labelled by Utusan Malaysia for being in cahoots with the Christians?

No, Najib was not out to calm matters. Instead, the matter has been turned on its head and the Christian leaders were made out as apologetic leaders apologising to the prime minister for even thinking about the matter. Did Najib in any way tell the leaders that they were not to blame but that it was Utusan’s fault for reporting lies? No.

Reckless minions

Najib assured the Muslim leaders that Islam will remain the religion of the federation, and the Christian leaders assured the Muslims that Islam’s place will be respected.

Umno, Najib and Utusan Malaysia washed off their hands for an obvious misdeed. And for formality’s sake, Utusan Malaysia was only issued a warning letter and bloggers like Big Dog were allowed to continue yelping in their kernel.

Shame on you, Najib. You are the prime minister for all Malaysians and especially responsible for the minority voices in the country. Yet, you safeguard your own position first at the expense of the minorities.

You allow the nation to burn under the weight of mismanagement and turn on the minority communities, branding them as the culprits for your inability to control your reckless minions.

The problem in Malaysia is not so much racial or religious tension but rather it is a leader who is so out of touch with the principles of governing people of diverse backgrounds.

Maclean Patrick is a Kuching-based blogger and an FMT columnist.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Umno still searching for the Mother of all Conspiracies

by Iskandar Dzulkarnain | Malaysia Chronicle

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim may be wrong. The general election won't be any time soon.

If I were to make a prediction it would be on the 11th November 2011. That is of course, if Najib is pulling a fast one on us. Dr M is right; it wouldn’t do BN any good to have the Election this early. Preparations must be complete. A dry run is in order to gauge public sentiment.

It could have been sooner, but a lot of things have gone wrong. Silly BN is recoiling at the rate and number of fires it has to douse after foolishly creating them. Even the arsonists cannot run away in time.

Still looking for the Conspiracy that works

Nothing works for them anymore, and their strategists are still cracking their heads for the one and only one Idea, that will convince the people - especially the predominant Malays - that there is a conspiracy to take over the nation.

Some sort of coup d’etat like the one Najib pulled in Perak. It could also be an invasion of the Chinese remote-controlled from Singapore, or a second coming of Christ. But most probably it will be the anti-Christ. Such conspiracy theories make great reading and every one loves a good science fiction.

Although, little green men from Mars sounds a little too far-fetched a theory, the Chinese have been around for thousands of years.

Other than building the Great Wall of China, which happens to be the only structure recognizable from space if you are sitting in a space shuttle, this remarkable race of people have also built little Chinas all over the great cities of the world. Their acumen for business is second to none, and they rather use their secret weapon to conquer the world with their economic might.

Not far behind are the Indians. With their beautiful features and sharp noses, they too are set to conquer the world with their genius for writing computer software and handling microchips.

I may be wrong but it seems to me, the Westerners are starting to lag behind, unable to compete with their overpriced products which are also bulky, unreliable and fuel inefficient compared to the durability of Eastern-made products.

The Malays under Najib's Umno

As for the Malays, we seem to love hot spicy food. And sex. Triple X and hardcore till the end. We like it so much that every night at 8pm, our Malay-controlled TV3 shows snippets of a pornographic tape so that our young can pick up tips and become proficient lovers.

Not content with the ordinary, Malays go for oral stories and tales from the backside too. Nothing as good as snuggling together with the wife, on a comfortable couch to enjoy a great porn movie, never mind in color or black and white. If you doubt me, just ask UMNO's Ahmad Maslan if watching the man who looked Anwar cavorting with a prostitute on the tape gave him and his wife a good time too.

For most of us, our childlike innocence to the ravages of porn has been rudely awakened. Some of us will never be the same again and some may have sore asses. But this is part of the transformation promised by our Prime Minister Najib Razak - himself no slouch at the sexual game either.

Then we are treated to the likes of the Bourne Conspiracy, with attempted assassination, high speed sabotage, kidnapping of new born babies, and CSI intrigues with DNA profiling. All this Cloak and Dagger stuff keeps us upright on our seats trying to catch our breath.

In their insanity to maintain their grip on power, the UMNO elite have stepped up the attacks to change public perception, armed with a powerful mass media.

Their demented focus on showering the populace with deception and lies have made them blind to the economic damage a small country like ours can sustain should destabilization succeed.

Our total damage may even exceed that of Japan’s recent Nuclear Disaster cum Giant Tsunami. Some say that Japan may never recover. But do our leaders care?

What Malaysians want

Malaysia is still in a stage of infancy and we still have far to go and much more to achieve. Any attacks to the integrity of our nation will lead us to fumble and fall. It will take us many years to recover, or we may never recover at all. We do not want to be another Cambodia, Burma or Bangladesh.

All Malaysians want is the right to live in peace.

The right to equal treatment, color blindness, a future to look forward to and the right to compete on a level playing field. We want to be governed by a corrupt-free, fair and just government that cares for the people and upholds laws and the constitution. Anything else would be a bonus.

Every Malaysian wants to be patriotic, civic-minded, regard Malaysia as a home and to integrate and treat everyone like fellow citizens without class or creed. No more friction, no more yellow men, brown men, dark men, jungle men but just simply Malaysian, with no superior or inferior beings and without caste and classifications.

Is this beyond BN’s intellectual scope to understand?

Putrajaya belongs to the rakyat, not to BN

by J. D. Lovrenciear | Malaysia Chronicle

The leaders and followers of BN keep reminding everyone, every now and then, that they will give their lives to protect Putrajaya. They keep harping s,o and so much so, that one wonders if Putrajaya actually belongs to a single political party only.

Then why have General Elections in the first place? Can we please allow some sanity to prevail on this land?

Politicians must be told in no uncertain terms that it is the citizens who allowe the politicians and their party to govern the nation and its people. And Putrajaya - the seat of administrative power does not belong to the politicians. Period!

If the rakyat decide to go for change (or 'transformation' as what some BN leaders prefer) and vote the alternative party or coalition of parties to form the government, then the winning team gets to Putrajaya.

Politicians championing and threatening that they will spill blood and crush bones to keep Putrajaya in their control is akin to a draconic tyrant who refuses to listen to the will of the people. This is no democracy as is enshrined in the Constitution of every democartic nation.

Just because one political party has enjoyed forming the ruling government for so long it does not automatically qualify them as the government by default. Seasons come. seasons go. People all over the world, throughout history, have demonstarted that governments must come and there will be a time for them to go.

BN cannot be more supreme than the Law of Nature either.

And for BN to keep drumming up racial, religious and sex capers, series after series, is indeed exhausting the nation's populace to a point that BN may in all likelihood be denied of even a one-third majority (or minority) placing within Putrajaya.

So stop your nonsensical triads and get down to business. Your real enemy is corruption. Deal with it. Use all the powers the citizens have vested upon you to govern. Clean up. Flush out the nation's Number One Enemy - corruption, then you do not have to worry. People will allow you another extended stay anchored in Putrajaya.

If you ask the man in the street - a potential voter, no one cares if the PM is this color or that religion. No one really cares about the sexual orientation of this fellow and the sex preferences of that fellow.

What people care is for an able and distinguished leader. One who can ensure that every citizen is able to lead a decent life, justifiably distributed between work and leisure just like the citizens in neighbouring countries like Thailand and Singapore.

What people want is that crooks do not steal and stash away the cream from the larder and deprive the 80% of the population to live on the crumbs left behind as is the case today.

What people want is that the Judiciary and the Executive go after the corrupt crooks in the best interest of King, citizens and nation.

What people want is for the police to give every citizen a decent sense of safety and security like in Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong. Never mind about Switzerland and the rest of the progressive world.

What people want is that they be made proud by a government of leaders who are walking and talking icons of examplary standards, upholding civil liberties and the virtues of mortal humanity.

Are all these too complex and difficult to understand? Or is it that the 20% of people who control 80% of the population are so insulated that they do not care anymore?

J. D. Lovrenciear is a reader of Malaysia Chronicle

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Don't write when you are angry !

May 2011 is the most difficult month for Malaysians. It reminded us of what happen 42 years ago on May 13th and sadly today we are still facing political threats of fear from none other then those who are facing defeat after in power for over 50 years.

The latest most dangerous and unsubstantiated reports by Utusan has angered and traumatised many. Making it worst was the reluctant of the Prime Minister, Home Minister and information Minister in taking immediate action against Utusan and put a stop to it.

I am also very angry over this "should not have published" unsubstantiated report by Utusan. I will stop writing temporary until things cool down and appropriate action taken against Utusan. It is best this way as I feel that one can make mistakes when one is angry.

Anyway I will still post important and relevant news written by others with link back.

Malaysian human capital outflow

By Michael Lee | TMI

Once, on the way to the airport in the cold dead of night, I had a heated discussion with an acquaintance of my father from the US about having a life outside of Malaysia.

I was in my teens then, fresh from the Malaysian public education system and was a staunch supporter of our government’s policies. The man who initiated the discussion, on the other hand, was a successful overseas Malaysian himself and was going on about the many merits of leaving Malaysia for a better life abroad. He himself had left Malaysia decades ago after getting his degree and has since found success in an auto-parts business he founded.

Throughout the drive, he cherry picked on the rampant corruption and injustices, particularly against non-Bumiputeras, like us, deep set in the Malaysian social, economic and political system.

While I believed most of what he said to be true, it was not something I haven’t heard before.

Again and again, my defence was that Malaysia was young in being independent compared with the US and needed more time to mature before the inequalities and inefficiencies fade away. The conversation ended in, what I believe, a stalemate, with his detailed reasoning unable to pierce the wall that was my youthful optimism. This took place about 18 years ago.

Fast forward another 6-7 years, in a mamak stall somewhere south of the Klang Valley, with my two friends, both many years my senior. One of them raised his decision to move to Taiwan and to start a life there with his Taiwanese wife. Coincidentally, he had just a few months previously returned from Taiwan after his privately-funded tertiary education there ended. Despite our suggestion, he did not believe that bringing his new Taiwanese wife to Malaysia instead would be an alternative worth considering.

Again, as with my father’s friend, I attempted to sway him home, albeit unsuccessfully. Halfway into the drinks, his reasons for leaving unmasked into, again, the injustices, perceived or real, that plagued the non-Bumis in Malaysia. He saw no agreeable future for him in Malaysia. There was nothing we could have said to convince him otherwise. He moved to Taiwan later that year and has since worked hard to start a small food shop that sustained his family’s life there.

By far the most poignant experience I have on the matter was with my distant cousin in Ireland. He was there working part time as a small-time cook for a former Malaysian in a two-man operated neighbourhood curry shop to finance his culinary studies in a nearby town. He studied during the morning and worked in the afternoon and late into the night. On weekends, he worked all day and well into the night. All the while, he stayed in the cramp and dusty attic of the curry shop by himself, sleeping on an old mattress on the floor.

It was during my visit in the middle of winter that I experienced for myself first hand just how lonely and bitter that type of living arrangement was. Unlike the previous two, it was obvious, even to me, that the man did not need any convincing Malaysia is good, because evidently, his willingness to go through what he had been going through daily was conviction enough for all to see. As it worked out, a handful of years of perseverance later, he is now residing in UK as a successful chef and, the last I heard, had since succeeded in his own pastry business there.

On a related note, and I’m not sure if it’s still the going trend these days, but back when I was a secondary student at my Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK), I have watched many of my better-than-average secondary classmates whisked away to Singapore via the Asean scholarship and, to my knowledge, none have returned back to Malaysia. Our southern neighbour was so keen on Malaysian academic achievers that some of those who failed to apply for the Asean scholarship programme were approached individually after their STPM exam.

A close friend of mine attests to this as she herself has experienced this. In her first few months in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Nanyang Technology University of Singapore (NTU) contacted her directly at her house to offer her a full scholarship for a degree course in information technology. Ironically, the course offered has always been her first choice but the course she was studying at UKM at the time was the last on her list of choices.

Due to family obligations at that point in time of her life, she was forced to decline the offer. But this was not the end to it. Further to this, NTU called her again days later to ask her reasons for declining their offer and gave her the opportunity to reconsider again.

After much thought and consultation with her friends and family which was unanimous in their bias, she took up NTU’s offer and left for Singapore. She is now working with a multinational corporation there and has since taken up permanent residence in Singapore.

The above are just an inkling of some of the real cases that I have personally come across. I don’t think it’s necessary to point out other examples as I’m pretty sure a lot of Malaysians may be already intimately acquainted with this phenomenon. Given the very recent World Bank statistics on Malaysia’s human capital outflow, the above, unfortunately, are but a scratch on the surface.

The fact was not lost on me, of course, that the Malaysian government throughout the years has had more than its fair share of unflattering news, deserved or otherwise. But I always held on to the hope that all the corruption, inefficiencies and misdirection would be scraped away eventually in due time. Not so because of some inner sense of righteousness or of my own naive optimism in the conscience from our leaders but from a more practical and realistic standpoint — that being, because we live in among an increasingly competitive global economy and we are quickly running out of excuses and options.

But that did not happen.

As a nation, we have been steadily but surely reaching an impasse. The fact that we are overlooked by foreign and even domestic investors nowadays shows that Malaysia is no longer the “Asian tiger” it once was.

The rise of the opposition political parties after the 2008 “tsunami” elections intensified the in-fighting among our leaders and stirred the incumbent BN leaders to become more preoccupied in staying in power rather than to govern the country properly for once.

The news we read in the media grew more and more unbelievable and outrageous. From unsinkable submarines to RM25,000 laptops purchased by civil servants, from the provocative act of dragging of a cow’s head in public to the Molotov cocktail attacks on churches, from the rise of Perkasa/Pembela to the Allah debacle in east Malaysia, from calling for the abandonment of English in our education system to the recent import of 300 American teachers, etc, etc. The list goes on, even today.

And while those sensationalistic news peppered itself regularly all over the local media, boiling beneath the surface are the bread-and-butter issues that have been increasingly plaguing the day-to-day lives of the average working Malaysian.

From the price of homes to the price of food, the rapid rise in the cost of living is now more prominent than ever. For an ordinary salaryman like myself, even as a degree holder, I foresee that my meagre income will no longer be able to meet my young family’s future financial needs.

I found myself starting to apply for a job overseas since a year ago, just to chance the possibility that some company outside of Malaysia might want to consider hiring me. In the beginning, my family, I especially, had been very reluctant to even consider leaving as I have a very rewarding career in Malaysia. Also, Malaysia is my home. I was born and raised in Malaysia and has always felt that Malaysia is a wonderful place to call live. This is not solely because I’ve been told this repeatedly by the government-sponsored media since I was young, or because I grew up well integrated with our public national school system philosophies.

To cut a long story short, and to my surprise, a job did find me months later, and following in my predecessor’s footsteps, my wife and I, together with our three-year old son have recently moved to Hong Kong. To be honest, the overall package offered was only slightly more lucrative than my job in Malaysia when one factors in the cost of living. Even so, it did not affect our eventual decision to take the job because that was not the sole reason for applying for an overseas job in the first place.

I do not think it’s necessary to go through the faults of Malaysia, or more specifically, its government, just to prove that it has faults. Perfection is not something to be expected from an individual let alone from a collection of provincial populists strung loosely together by bureaucracy. Understandably, no government is perfect. But that’s not really the point.

Even as I type this, I am watching the headline news on HK local television network talking about the effects of the recent minimum wage implementation. I believe that this is a newsworthy issue that directly affects the majority of HK residents. Now contrast this with the headline news in Malaysia two days ago about a major Malaysian newspaper inciting fear against the Christians for allegedly wanting a Christian Malaysian prime minister?

I cannot speak for others who had left the country as to their reasons or their motivations for doing so. I can only speak for myself and, to an extent, my wife. I came to seek our fortunes overseas because I feel that the opportunity cost of just staying put is far too high. Furthermore, in my line of work, I may soon find it difficult to get work in the future due to the shrinking pool of my potential employers.

With regards to the human capital outflow, it is my humble opinion that the government should take steps to build up the country properly first before even considering setting up ad hoc agencies like Talent Corp.

If Malaysians like me who has only recently left Malaysia would not consider moving back to Malaysia solely based upon any temporary and half-hearted measures by our Talent Corp, what are the chances of enticing Malaysians that have been overseas for much longer than I and more entrenched in their lives abroad?

If anything, I believe that, at the moment, the government would be better focused in creating reasons and opportunities for Malaysians living in Malaysia now to prevent them from leaving rather than waste money and effort trying to lure overseas Malaysians to come back.

No one really wants to go through the difficult decision of leaving home, away from family and friends for an extended amount of time if they felt that they had a reasonable choice in the first place.

Michael Lee reads The Malaysian Insider.


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