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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Time Out taking a short break Selamat Hari Raya & Happy Merdeka

Time out....Taking an early break for about two weeks. Whatever goodies and nice talks these few weeks are geared for the 13th GE..let them give and you take, after that we really start campaigning.

To All


GE-13: BN wins landslide victory

Mariam Mokhtar | Malaysiakini

Only an optimist would believe that their vote would sweep Umno from power in GE-13. Why bother with a sham election and waste resources going through the motions of an election, where the outcome has already been decided in advance? The headlines will proudly boast: “BN wins. Najib scores a landslide victory, in a massive 103 percent turnout”.

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak wants GE-13 before electoral reforms. In a functioning democracy, the rakyat has a choice. The fundamental difference is that we are denied that choice.

We distrust our electoral processes despite Najib’s assurance about the parliamentary select committee (PSC) on electoral reforms. Will Umno/BN leave office gracefully?

At the 61st Umno general assembly Najib declared: “Even if our bodies are crushed and our lives lost, brothers and sisters, whatever happens, we must defend Putrajaya”.

At the World Youth day meet in Putrajaya, Najib screamed, “Will you defend Putrajaya with me?” before breaking into a disturbing tirade: “Defend Putrajaya! Defend Putrajaya! Defend Putrajaya!”

By 2011, the People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) would consist of 2.6 million members. Will they be issued postal votes too?

Some people believe that certain western democracies are far superior, with honest and principled people in government.

Not true! Politicians in foreign establishments can be just as devious and as corrupt as the Malaysian ones. Their government appears to be working only because their rakyat makes sure the politicians serve them and not the other way around. They are not afraid of criticising their MPs. Politicians who do not adhere to the minimum parliamentary standards, are booted out.

In these countries, elected representatives are monitored, pursued and made accountable for their actions. Politicians are important in that they enact laws in parliament, on our behalf. But politicians need to be regulated. They are the tools with which the state can meddle in our lives.

MPs are to be controlled

MPs are to be controlled, not controlling. It is by us being watchful, and not sycophantic, that keeps MPs in check.

Malaysians have seen a constant barrage of electoral fraud. Last week, former soldiers alleged that they were ordered by their superiors to manipulate votes. But the denunciation by the Chief of the Armed Forces, General Zulkifeli Mohd Zin, who labelled these ex-soldiers as traitors, is itself an act of treachery.

Illegal workers being granted citizenship and voting rights have been unearthed. MyKads of dubious authenticity are distributed to foreigners. Political expediency seems more important than sovereignty. It appears that the NRD is a major threat to national security.

Scores of centenarians, or people who have long since died, have been resurrected, to cast their votes. These accompany the usual complaints of vote-buying, intimidation and promises of aid in exchange for votes.

Gerrymandering, or the division of geographical areas into constituencies which will unfairly benefit only one party, is overlooked by the EC. Pro-opposition areas may have one MP representing over 100,000 voters in the one constituency whereas in BN strongholds, constituencies consist of around 5,000 people.

Just before Bersih’s 9 July march, Wan Ahmad Wan Omar (left), the EC’s deputy chairman, complained that NGOs were obsessed with the comparison of election practices between Malaysia and other countries.

He said, “Elections observers must be domestic observers. Foreign observers, they don’t know our election laws, they don’t understand. It’s a different value system.”

Yet he failed to act after Ambiga Sreenevasan and other local election activists were banned from monitoring the Sarawak state elections.

Wan Ahmad claimed that our election laws were “fair and impartial” and was stung by the “negative” comments of foreign observers.

He said, “They are foreigners, who are they? Why do we need foreigners, Germans commenting on our election system?”

He is right. The culture of “You help me, I help you” is “Umno-esque” and peculiar to Malaysia. Malaysia is ‘superior’ and has nothing to learn from others. Wan Ahmad’s arrogance smacks of “Ketuanan Melayu” and extols the virtues of the warped BTN indoctrination.

So what exactly is the EC’s role when it continually coughs up excuse after lame excuse of why it cannot ensure clean elections?

EC but a toothless dragon

The EC is but a toothless dragon whose only job seems to be the defence of BN. It turns a blind eye when Umno/BN uses government resources, the national media and other instruments of the state, for its own propaganda.

The poor appear to be supportive of Umno and in past elections, people living in decrepit hovels have posters of Umno, Najib or Taib Mahmud (for Sarawak) adorning their homes.

In Sarawak, the villagers idolise Taib, like teenagers would their pop-idol, when Taib makes his grand entrance, by helicopter, at longhouses. Usually, his Mercedes is on standby in case Taib fancies the trek home by car.

The contrast between the villagers’ pitiful surroundings with basic infrastructure, and Taib’s opulence, makes it hard to imagine how they have benefitted from Taib’s long rule. What do they hope to gain by supporting him for another term?

It is the same story in peninsular Malaysia. The rural people and the poor appear to support Umno/BN. Perhaps they are comfortable with the devil you know than the one you don’t. Perhaps the opposition has yet to gain the confidence of the rural folk.

Have the destitute given up hope of change; they are prepared to accept the few tokens of appreciation like sacks of rice, Milo and sugar, in exchange for votes? Does “stability” triumph over “change”?

Bersih cannot do it alone because Umno/BN dominates Malaysian politics. Any attempt by the opposition to “oppose” in Parliament means they are not allowed to table their motions or at worst, they risk being suspended.

With enormous cash reserves, and the ability to utilise government resources, unlike the opposition, Umno/BN can command political patronage amongst businesses. In an election, favours are called in and Umno/BN do act like they are above the law.

Too arrogant to acknowledge the voters

‘Najib & co’ are too arrogant to acknowledge the voters: What is the rakyat saying? What do they want? Can they cast their vote and be sure that the policies and the person they voted for, will be reflected in the final outcome?

Fraud, manipulation, phantom votes and money politics are useful instruments which have helped to prop up Umno, for 54 years.

Umno has been rattled by Bersih and the popular uprising in Egypt has given Malaysians hope. The rakyat is finally getting to have a real taste of democracy but the challenges are enormous as we try and adapt to being “free” and “fair”.

The trick to improving Malaysian politics is not to allow the political parties and their leaders any let-up but to be constantly critical of their performance. Let’s have less praise and more scrutiny.

GE-13 should not be held until electoral reforms are under way. Don’t be fooled by Najib’s latest spin on democracy and his smokescreen about the PSC and electoral reform.

MARIAM MOKHTAR is a non-conformist traditionalist from Perak, a bucket chemist and an armchair eco-warrior. In ‘real-speak’, this translates into that she comes from Ipoh, values change but respects culture, is a petroleum chemist and also an environmental pollution-control scientist.

Monday, August 22, 2011

MCA Chua Soi Lek, Gerakan Koh Tsu Koon caught in a time warp?

Respectable and honorable leaders during the 20th century but what have become of them in the 21st century?

Are MCA Chua Soi Lek and Gerakan Koh Tsu Koon caught in a time warp? Both of them have to be reminded that we are living in the 21st century and the present political scenes and what the rakyat wanted are different from what they used to be. From their talks and political speeches one can see that they are truly out of touch with reality.

Since I am from Penang I will write and use examples from this state.

First, we must acknowledged that no government is 100 per cent perfect, it is just which government performs better than the other in terms of acceptability by the rakyat. Of course the choice of government elected must be from a free and fair election.

Penang is now under Pakatan Rakyat with YB Lim Guan Eng as the Chief Minister. After three years, CM Lim Guan Eng's performances are being challenged, not by the rakyat but from individual opposition party like MCA, Gerakan and Umno.

From local Penangnites and throughout most of the country and far beyond people are saying that Penang is performing better under PR and that is a fact. Can Chua Soi Lek and Koh Tsu Koon admit this fact is true?

Going down stream and into more details of policies and progress developments there are bound to be some dissatisfaction from the rakyat, some for personal reason that may have affected their lively hood, some not getting what they asked for and those opposing just for the sake of opposing.

There are surely some flaws in the state government if MCA and Gerakan were to really look into it. Instead of telling the rakyat the flaws of the government (if any) they rather wedged senseless and baseless accusations (or because they could not find any flaws?) against CM Lim Guan Eng.

Lets have a look at a few senseless and baseless accusations from MCA and Gerakan:

1) Insinuate that Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng wants to be prime minister.

I see nothing wrong if it is true that YB Lim Guan Eng wanted to be the PM. There is no law or any clause in the constitution that barred anyone that aspired to be a PM as long as they can get the mandate from the rakyat. But common sense tells us that it is not possible for a Non Malay to be a PM at least not for the next few decades. What purpose does it serves Chua Soi Lek, MCA or the rakyat for this stupid insinuation? (You can read CM Lim Guan Eng's reply to this here.)

2) Tsu Koon claims sowed seeds of Guan Eng’s gains

What does this kind of statement proves "(But) I would say that if BN were to [have won] in March 08, based on the momentum we have created 21 years under Tun Lim Chong Eu, [and] 18 years under me, Penang would have achieved the same achievements (as the present DAP government.)" (Read the full press report here.)

Claiming credit is not wrong but you must question yourself why after 18 years the seeds that you sowed cannot grow and bear fruits. Does it really takes Koh Tsu Koon 18 years plus 21 years of Tun Lim Chong Eu's hard work to enable CM Lim Guan Eng to complete and achieve both previous CMs hard work within three years?

When the first three runners failed to reached their targeted time and lagging behind others in a 4 X 400 meters relay before the last runner pull in all effort to catch up lost time and still manage to win the race, whom do you think the spectators will praised?

3) Penang MCA has repeatedly accused the DAP-led state government of being anti-Chinese

Is this the best that MCA can do to stir the Chinese sentiment against DAP? MCA did not response to Umno's accusation of the Penang administration under Lim being racist for allegedly discriminating against the Malay community.

Now I put the question back to MCA, if CM Lim Guan Eng discriminate against the Malay community and is also anti-Chinese at the same time, whom then is CM Lim serving or favoring?

By now MCA and Gerakan should have known very well that the Malaysian Chinese can stand on their own two feet, work with their two hands using the brains inside their heads to survive without any handouts.

My personal views why the Malay contractors are getting the bulk of the state government projects are,

i) the tenders are open and transparent, no more cronies getting the jobs without tender hence better opportunities

ii) proves that the Malays are capable in a competitive environment and are willing to stand on their own two feet

iii) fewer Chinese tendering state projects most probably they prefer private projects

There is no point for MCA and Gerakan to use race, claiming historic credit or accusations as basis to win votes, its not going to work anymore but again they may still be caught in the time warp of the 20th century.

MCA & Gerakan should instead challenge CM Lim that they can perform better, by proving the following examples that;

1) BN can give RM500 to each senior citizen yearly instead of RM100 being given now.

2) All schools, government or private, religious or non religious as long as they are legal will be allocated RM2 million each, every five years

3) BN will subsidised 50K for first time house owner earning less than 3k and given priority to own an apartment costing less than 200k build by private developers

4) All straight A's student will received state scholarship for tertiary education should they failed to get from Federal.

The list can go on, just think of how you can assist the rakyat like what CM Lim has being doing and show that BN can do even better instead of all the silly and meaningless politiking.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

End the charade, revoke the ban on Bersih 2.0 and drop all charges against the 1,600 Bersih demonstrators and others related to wearing Bersih T-shirt

End the charade, revoke the ban on Bersih 2.0 and drop all charges against the 1,600 Bersih demonstrators and others related to wearing Bersih T-shirts or yellow

By Lim Kit Siang

On the occasion of the sixth yellow Saturday, I call on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to end the Barisan Nasional government charade for the past two months, revoke the ban on Bersih 2.0 and drop all charges against the 1,600 Malaysians arrested for taking part in the peaceful Bersih 2.0 rally for free and fair elections on July 9 and all others related to Bersih 2.0 rally, including those for wearing Bersih T-shirts or just wearing yellow.

Let the Prime Minister and all Barisan Nasional Ministers come out openly to admit that they had gravely mishandled the Bersih 2.0 rally for free and fair elections, which are the most pertinent, legitimate and democratic aspirations of right-thinking Malaysians so that the Malaysian electoral process can win the support, confidence and legitimacy of Malaysian voters.

It is no answer to the Bersih 2.0 rally for the Barisan Nasional Ministers and the Election Commission to counter that if the electoral system is as flawed as alleged by Bersih 2.0, Pakatan Rakyat and the civil society, then Pakatan Rakyat would not have won in five states or denied the Barisan Nasional two-thirds parliamentary majority in the 2008 general elections.

The simple and truthful response to such an argument is that if not for the flawed electoral system, more than five states would have fallen to the Pakatan Rakyat parties and at the national level, the Pakatan Rakyat parties might even be within distance of replacing the Barisan Nasional government in Putrajaya.

Whether such a scenario would have taken place is highly debatable and one could argue until the cows come home without a conclusion but what is undoubtedly beyond dispute is that the Pakatan Rakyat parties would definitely have made more electoral gains whether at the state or parliamentary levels in the 2008 general elections if the flaws in the electoral system had not been present.

The high-handed government and police action on Bersih 2.0 rally have brought the worst publicity and image to Malaysia during Najib’s short tenure as Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister and the Barisan Nasional Ministers should make immediate amends for their gross misjudgement and mishandling of the Bersih 2.0 rally and show respect for their peaceful and patriotic expression by Malaysians regardless of race and religion who had courageously supported the Bersih 2.0 rally despite most unjustified and horrendous threats and intimidations by the various apparatus of government and their proxies.

In fact, the Prime Minister should show appreciation that the Bersih 2.0 peaceful rally of some 50,000 Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, age and gender is so far the best and most outstanding demonstration of the true 1Malaysia concept – which he had promoted but not gone much beyond sloganeering since acceding the highest office of the land.

Will the PSC on electoral reforms be stillborn with another Najib flip flop

By Lim Kit Siang

In just four days, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has done a full flip-flop, reneging on his implicit undertaking on Monday night that the next general elections would not be held until the Parliamentary Select Committee on electoral reforms has reached a national consensus on electoral reforms.

Let me quote from Bernama on Najib’s announcement on Monday night:
KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced Monday, Aug 15 the setting up of a parliamentary select committee on electoral reforms to put to rest any suspicion that there is manipulation by the government in the country’s electoral process.

The prime minister said the committee, comprising government and opposition members, would have its first meeting on Wednesday and would discuss “everything that needs to be done” and reach a consensus on the matter.

“This is so that we can reach a consensus in facing the next election without any suspicion about any manipulation by the government.

“That is why when the issue of free and fair elections was raised recently, the government’s response was for us to tackle the issue which has spawned numerous views, and to a certain extent, disputes,” he said in his speech at the breaking-of-the-fast with the media hosted by Bernama at Wisma Bernama, here.

He said the move was to dispel any misconception that the government was against a clean electoral process.

Najib said the government was committed to continuing the parliamentary democracy tradition that was started by the nation’s forefathers.

“I have said it before and I say it again, that the cabinet members and I do not want to become ministers and prime minister without the support of the people. We will only form the government if it is proven that the people truly choose the Barisan Nasional as their government.

“Let no one misconstrue and say that we do not want a clean process to elect the government,” he said.

Last night, Najib reneged on his commitment on the formation of the parliamentary select committee to “reach a consensus in facing the next election without any suspicion about any manipulation by the government” when he stated that the next general election can be held anytime and is not bound by the work of the parliamentary select committee.

In declaring that the next general election can be held anytime and is not bound by the work of the parliamentary select committee on electoral reforms, Najib is in effect saying that the Barisan Nasional government is now prepared to go ahead with the next general election although it has failed to put to rest suspicions of manipulation by the government in the country’s electoral process.

This has vindicated the intense questioning and doubts about the true intentions of the parliamentary select committee proposal, whether it is a genuine and sincere attempt to address and resolve the many flaws in the electoral system or just a gimmick to sidetrack legitimate and growing public demands for electoral reforms.

This is why so much questions have been raised about the Parliamentary Select Committee proposal, in particular why Pakatan Rakyat parties had not been consulted and agreement sought on the formation of the parliamentary select committee, its membership, terms of reference, time-line and other aspects and whether the Prime Minister could give an iron-clad guarantee that the next general elections would not be held until the recommendations of the parliamentary select committee have been fully implemented.

Malaysians are asking whether Najib has backed down in four days from his implicit undertaking that the parliamentary select committee would be a meaningful exercise and that general elections would only be held after electoral reforms had been effected because of the hardline pressures such as those emanating from the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who had denied that there is any real problem with the electoral system and that only some minor tweaks are required.

Be that as it may, it is now in the court of the Prime Minister as to whether his proposal of a parliamentary select committee will be stillborn because of his refusal to fully consult with and seek the agreement of Pakatan Rakyat on various important aspects of the committee as well to assure all Malaysians that it will be a meaningful exercise and not a political ploy to avoid electoral reforms.

As talents fly home, Penang’s fortunes rise

By Debra Chong | The Malaysian Insider

GEORGE TOWN, Aug 20 — Six months ago Dr William Khor quit his London flat in affluent Kensington to fly home to Penang with little more than a rough plan to build a boutique health resort by the sea.

The former student of St Xavier’s Institution had jetted to the UK near a decade ago in pursuit of a medical degree and initially planned to head home immediately after graduating in 2007.

“The prospects then were not good,” the 28-year-old said, explaining the change in his plan.

He decided to stay on another year and complete his housemanship there to qualify as a doctor while reconsidering his options.

It was during that time that he was scouted by the Singapore General Hospital, which offered him a monthly salary of S$7,000 (about RM17,326) to serve as a general practitioner; he accepted and moved to the Lion City to be closer to his family.

He left after two years, to travel and think over his options for a way he could move home permanently to be a support to his grieving father, alone after Dr Khor’s mother died of cancer.

The UK was his base during that period.

Dr Khor said his homecoming in February was spurred by Penang’s rapid economic growth in the last few years as foreign investors pumped more money in the state than any other in the country and boosted business opportunities.

Dr Khor is not the only one.

Former banker Goh Soo Sing is excited by the property boom going on full throttle in space-strapped Penang.

The 27-year-old had been away since his secondary school years, and is looking forward to putting to work the knowledge and strategies gained through stints with various corporations in his family-owned property development firm.

The eldest in his family, and one groomed to inherit the family business, Goh said business today had gone global and a broader perspective was needed to tackle the challenges ahead.

“If I had entered the family business straight from school, my views would have been limited. I had a choice and I chose to come back. There’s no lack of business opportunities on the island,” said the lanky property developer whose previous experiences included the 1 Malaysia Development Berhad in Kuala Lumpur.

Both Dr Khor and Goh are leading the charge of young, educated professionals heading back to the northern state in what appears to be a reversal of the brain drain malaise afflicting Malaysia.

In January, the Najib administration had set up Talent Corporation to revive to revive the nation’s stagnating economy.

A brain drain is depriving Malaysia of talent, and accounts for a third of the country’s one-million strong diaspora, according to the World Bank Economic Monitor.

Singapore alone has absorbed 57per cent of these departing educated workers.

Only 23 per cent of Malaysia’s current work force is highly skilled and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said this number must rise to 37 per cent by 2015 if it is to become a developed nation by 2020.

To Goh, there is ample room to grow in the property sector including on the island.

He is relishing translating architectural designs from paper to stone, steel and glass to draw out Penang’s full potential as “the first custom-made city of globalisation” as dubbed by influential international weekly The Economist in its August 13 issue. He noted with delight the increased value and heightened interest to acquire Penang properties among outsiders, especially those based in the Klang Valley, to expand their operations.

And as these talents return, Penang’s fortunes have been rising.

Shophouses within the George Town heritage enclave today easily fetch RM2 million, minimum, a five-fold rise from two years ago; yet many have not hesitated to fork over the astronomical amount to transform the units — some in highly decrepit states — into attractive boutique inns offering both global and domestic visitors a comfy, clean and calm place to lay their heads at night.

Among them is Penang-born director and performer Chee Sek Thim who managed to purchase property on Malay Street, on the outskirts of the enclave at a reasonable RM400,000, before the market went crazy.

Chee has spent the better part of his three years since moving back applying for all sorts of development permits to renovate his double-storey unit into a bed-and-breakfast-slash-performance-gallery downstairs.

The 48-year-old, whose Petaling Jaya art gallery shuttered in the late noughties, is now running his performance outfit Pocketsize Productions from the turtle-shaped island and said the proceeds from the business will be channelled to pursue his real love — performance art.

Despite the exceptional number of creative- and artistic-minded talents who hail from this Pearl of the Orient, example dancer extraordinaire Aida Redza and world-famous visual artist-turned-social activist Wong Hoy Cheong, Chee lamented the lack of a vibrant arts scene.

“There is no arts scene to speak of,” he insisted when met recently, explaining the lack of systematic efforts to build up infrastructure and train as well as manage local talent.

But he is optimistic there can be one, saying the arts was growing albeit in bursts and spurts, and hoped to play a key role in cultivating that creation.

The personable artist had recently directed River Meets Light, a mixed media performance as part of the George Town Festival 2011, a month-long celebration commemorating the city’s listing as a Unesco World Heritage Site July 7, 2008.

The 2011 festival, into its second year, had coincided with the bigger Penang Arts festival to showcase over 80 programmes on the arts, ranging from film to food and music, even opera and was estimated to have drawn one million visitors this year.

For returnees like Dr Khor, this mix of cultures is what flavours Penang’s lifestyle and cannot be found anywhere else, not in cosmopolitan London or Singapore.

“Penang’s got soul,” he said proudly.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Who’s calling the shot: Najib or Muhyiddin?

By Kim Quek | Malaysia Today

One moment, the Prime Minister surprised almost everyone when he suddenly proposed to form a parliamentary selection committee (PSC) to seek consensus over electoral reforms, in tacit concession to the heated demand spearheaded by Bersih 2.0.

But next moment – barely 48 hours later – he backtracked by saying that there is nothing wrong with the present electoral system, and that he only proposed the PSC because the agitators demanded for reforms.

Such flip flop coming from the flip-flop prone Premier Najib Razak should not have raised any eyebrow, if not for the lightning speed with which he made the reverse turn in apparent deference to his deputy DPM Muhyiddin Yassin who publicly contradicted his boss by saying that Malaysian elections have always been above board, and that the PM’s proposed PSC is only for the purpose of fine tuning the electoral process.

This public statement from Muhyiddin on Aug 16, coming on the heel of Najib’s PSC proposal only the day before is a slap on the face of the latter.


When Najib announced the PSC proposal on Aug 15, there was no mistaking his sincerity when he said:
“The committee will discuss all electoral reforms that need to be implemented in order to achieve bipartisan agreement without any suspicion that there is manipulation by the government”

Najib further stressed that his administration will not form the government unless it is truly elected by the people.

These are words that clearly admit the presence of structural flaws and that these flaws are serious enough to warrant the establishment of a parliamentary select committee. And Najib’s avowed intention to seek consensus and to govern only if “truly elected by the people” is further manifestation of the desire to right a wrong that has been long overdue for correction.

In the face of such gallant and apparently serious attempt to restore some shine to our democracy to the approval of all decent minded Malaysians, Muhyiddin’s daring contradiction of his boss almost in the same breath must have stunned many.

But what is even more shocking is that Najib made an almost immediate U-turn so as to toe the line of his deputy when he practically regurgitated what Muhyiddin said about our electoral system being transparent and credible.

Speaking to a buka puasa function on Aug 17, Najib denied that the PSC proposal is an admission of any defect in our elections. He further said:
“We will improve the election process, if it is disputed.

“We don’t dispute it but to satisfy them, we will implement the changes to the system.”

Such a wishy-washy statement does not befit a prime minister. If there is no fault, why reform? Making changes just because someone makes a complaint? Hasn’t the Prime Minister a stand and a conviction of his own? Forming a PSC is a serious affair that occurs rarely and only in the event of a grave issue that needs to be probed into deeply by Parliament. It is the height of frivolity for the prime minister to propose such a solution to quell complaints against an electoral system that in his opinion is perfectly sound.

Surely a man of the intelligence of the Prime Minister could not have meant what he said – forming a PSC just to silence critics.


Isn’t it obvious that the PM has succumbed to the stronger will of the hard line DPM?

Looking back over Najib’s two-year helm of the nation, one cannot help but lament that it is a premiership that started off with a bang but looking increasingly like ending with a whim – not unlike the path trodden by his lame duck predecessor Abdullah Badawi. His grand reforms sounded correct - political reform under the 1Malaysia banner to unite a fragmented people, and economic transformation through removal of race-based protectionism to revive a dormant economy – but a series of retreat in the face of recalcitrance from the conservative faction within his own party Umno have virtually reduced his so-called transformation to mere sloganeering exercises.

In the midst of such disappointments, his sudden nod to the much yearned for electoral reform was seen as a strategic move to regain the middle ground which would otherwise be irretrievably lost through his ill-advised repression of the the Bersih 2.0 movement, in particular, the cruel and totally unjustified crackdown on the July 9 Bersih rally.

All is not lost, however, if Najib can marshal enough courage to re-assert his prime ministerial authority to push through some meaningful reforms to an election system that has lost all credibility. After all, the prime minister is fully empowered by the Constitution to engage or dismiss his cabinet members, and any move of his towards restoration of constitutionality will surely be supported by not only the right-minded faction within his own party but will also be heartily applauded by all decent-minded Malaysians including opposition members.


Correcting the wrongs of a flawed electoral system need not be all disadvantages to his party, as the rush of goodwill and respect that he will accrue through such a course of action (which will translate into votes in due course) may more than offset the anticipated loss of ill-gotten votes.

Besides, win or loose, Najib will have earned for himself an honourable place in Malaysian history as the prime minister who restored democratic election to his people.

He still has two years to prove his mettle, as election is not due until mid 2013. Why gamble away the chance to walk on the right side of history by rushing into a hasty election which is universally condemned as unfair and flawed, and risk losing everything – for himself, his party and his people?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Electoral Reform a Must Before Next General Election

By Kee Thuan Chye | Malaysian Digest

PRIME Minister Najib Razak is suddenly so generous in calling for electoral reform. He has even called for the establishment of a parliamentary select committee (PSC) to look into this. While it is still premature to say whether this will ensure effective participation by the Opposition in the process, it is nonetheless a radical change from his previous stubborn position against Bersih 2.0’s demands for free and fair elections.

As with much of Malaysian politics, there is probably more to all this than what appears on the surface. Najib must have been comforted by some assurance of electoral victory – and possibly a landslide one – before he would allow himself to accede to an initiative begun by Bersih 2.0. Otherwise, he would be seen to be weak by his own party, Umno, which no doubt would have players in the wings with knives behind their backs.

One hopes this assurance of certain victory does not involve giving illegal immigrants the right to vote. In light of Wanita PKR’s revelation that it has evidence of illegal immigrants taking an oath to vote for BN, this is disturbing.

That’s putting it mildly. For nothing could be so heinous on the part of our government, indeed any government, than to sell the country to foreigners just for the purpose of staying on in power. Such a move of granting citizenships to immigrants overnight would also be extremely unfair to the many who have lived in this country for decades and continue to hold red ICs. But above all, it is the sinister motive that makes it inexcusable.

Talk has indeed been rife for the past few months that a project of this sinister nature is already in the works. More suspicions were raised when the Election Commission (EC) announced it would use the biometric system to identify voters as this is the system also being used by the Government in its 6P amnesty program to register foreign workers as well as illegal immigrants. Opposition politicians are especially worried that those not qualified to vote could in the process get registered as voters. The illegal immigrants that Wanita PKR says were made to swear an oath of allegiance to Umno/BN are allegedly from the 6P amnesty program.

This sort of tactic, together with the granting of citizenships to new immigrants, has supposedly been used in Project M (also known as Project IC) in Sabah when Mahathir Mohamad was prime minister, so that the demographic and voting patterns would favor BN and entrench it as the ruling regime there. If this is being repeated now, it would reaffirm BN’s ruthless tendency to stoop to underhand tactics to serve its own cause, without any regard for the people.

There is also the possibility that Najib’s call for the setting-up of a PSC is merely a public relations ploy, in light of what Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar has said in response – that it would take a year before the committee can conclude discussions.

If Najib had prior knowledge of that before making his announcement, then his move counts for nothing. The next general election (GE) may very well be called soon, less than a year from now. Which means it may be held prior to the electoral reform. Which means it may be held with the shortcomings of the current system still intact. How can that be satisfactory?

If doing it via the PSC takes too long, even though Najib still has one and a half years left before calling for fresh polls, then another method must be sought.

For example, on the pressing and crucial issue of cleaning the electoral roll, which has been found to be full of dirt and discrepancies, Bersih 2.0 chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan has suggested this: “Set up a committee, give it three months and let’s just clean it up.” Why not take this suggestion up? The committee could be made up of the EC, BN and Pakatan Rakyat representatives, the Bar Council and Bersih 2.0.

A few other issues can also be addressed through stakeholder discussions that could take only a matter of a few months.

One is the debate on Bersih 2.0’s advocacy for the use of indelible ink versus the EC’s proposal to use the biometric system.

Another is the debate over the length of the campaign period. Bersih 2.0 is asking for a minimum of 21 days but the EC has been giving excuses against it. In the 1959 and 1964 GEs, the campaign period was as long as 35 days, and for the one in 1969, it was 28 days. A reasonable length of time is needed to let voters acquaint themselves with the candidates and their promises, but Najib has scoffed at the idea that a short campaign period is a disadvantage to the Opposition, claiming that Pakatan Rakyat campaigns “every day… with a ceramah here and a ceramah there”. He, however, ignores the fact that his own ruling party gets to campaign day in day out on a much larger scale through the mass media it controls.

Even during the campaign period, the ruling party has almost total access to the print and broadcasting media. Prior to the 1999 GE, Opposition parties were given at least a bit of airtime on RTM’s radio stations to broadcast their manifestoes. But in 1999, the Government announced that as RTM was Government-owned, preference would be given to government parties. Since then, no Opposition party has been heard on the air.

It is for this reason that one of Bersih 2.0’s demands is the granting of free and fair access to the media to all political parties. As the ruling party becomes merely a caretaker government when a general election is in progress, it should not hog the media facilities but instead open them up to all political parties, including the Opposition. Resolving this issue through discussion should also not take long.

Neither should the issue of reforming postal voting.

Whatever the process adopted to ensure that electoral reform is achieved, it is imperative that it be completed before the 13th GE. If Najib is truly sincere about reform, if his statements that “we will only want to form a government if the rakyat truly chooses Barisan Nasional” and that “I do not want to be prime minister without the people’s support” are to be believed, he should make a pledge not to call for the 13th GE until the reform has been effected.

And while all this is going on, let’s not forget that Bersih 2.0 is still considered illegal, after Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein declared it so last month. He should now admit that if it had not been for Bersih 2.0’s insistence on electoral reform, embodied in its eight demands and publicly vented in its July 9 mass rally, we would not have arrived at this point.

Hishammuddin should admit that Bersih 2.0 has demonstrated the power that civil society can have to pressure the ruling party to re-examine its stand. He should also note that the Deputy Speaker has now actually said, that as electoral reform is a matter of great importance to the public interest, “It is best we discuss it in-depth and involve all stakeholders including Bersih, NGOs, the Bar Council and civil society.”

If no less than the Deputy Speaker of Parliament has expressed recognition of Bersih 2.0, isn’t it about time that Hishammuddin revoked his order against the group?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The myopic Malaysian

Mariam Mokhtar | Malaysiakini

If we are not happy with our car, we fix it or change to a better model. If we are dissatisfied with our clothing, we change tailors or buy another dress. If the restaurant food which is served is rubbish, we demand a refund or send it back to the kitchen. Some of us are even prepared to marry another woman if the current one(s) are unsatisfactory. So why not political parties?

Various people have urged Prime minister Najib Abdul Razak to resign but some people are hesitant because they fear that Najib’s deputy, Muhyiddin Yassin would take over.

To think that Muhyiddin (right) is the only choice means that Malaysians are still in a coma, or are too lazy to exercise their grey cells, or perhaps cannot see beyond their noses. Have these myopic Malaysians forgotten that Malaysia does have an opposition? And that they have a choice?

Should the opposition return to the drawing board to make their arguments for good governance a little more clear? Are their policies neither practical nor appealing to the grass-root voters?

No one is saying the opposition are perfect but are we prepared for more years under Umno/BN? Should we sacrifice our children’s futures? Can our nation’s finances bear the strain of Umno/BN’s mismanagement? To say that we cannot unseat Najib because Muhyiddin is waiting on the sidelines is both daft and irresponsible.

If we think that we do not have enough capable people ready then why have we not identified and nurtured those whom we see have the potential to be our future leaders?

In the meantime, there is a lot of unease about the state of our nation. Why can’t we behave like democratically minded citizens and exercise our democratic right and might?

This government is receptive to the public’s views. Their driving force is fear. They can and do make U-turns.

For months, the government talked about amending the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) to cover online content and the Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and the Information, Communication and Culture Minister, Rais Yatim, warned about an imminent ban.

Although Najib was fearful of Facebook and Twitter in triggering the rebellion in Egypt, he later backed down on censoring the Internet. The backlash from Malaysians would have caused him irreparable damage.

Last week, Umno Senator Ezam Mohd Nor declared that he would wage war against those who tarnished Islam. He threatened an arson attack on the online news portals and warned Muslims working for Malaysiakini and Malaysian Insider.

He said, “Don’t be a (Brutus) for the infidel’s agenda. You can find employment elsewhere,” and “We give you a last warning. If you don’t stop, we’ll burn.”

The world knows we train water cannons and fire tear-gas canisters at peaceful protesters and that two foreign lawyers were deported in as many weeks. The BBC and CNBC are aware Najib and Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud paid for a golden gloss to be painted over their tarnished images.

Myopia causes untold damage

Yesterday, Ezam retreated like a dog with his tail between his legs. Ezam’s myopia has cost Umno untold damage, especially during Ramadan.

Umno/BN can and do make U-turns, but all for the wrong reasons.

After 54 years, Umno/BN have failed miserably. See how our people behave, the lawlessness and corruption. Instead of investing in the family unit, the community and the people, Umno/BN invests in billion ringgit mega-projects which are phallic symbols of Umno’s political dominance.

The government can forget about enticing the smartest and most skilled Malaysians, including Malays, to return and contribute towards the Malaysian economy, if they continue to use race and religion as divisive tools. Unlike the Umno/BN politicians, money is not everything to these people. Moreover, ’1Malaysia’ does not mean equality; ’1Malaysia’ is a farcical con.

The constitution says everyone is free to practise the religion of his choice and yet myopic Muslims claim absolute ownership of the word; ‘Allah’ and are prepared to use violence to defend their ownership.

When our leaders destabilise our fragile community using religion, how many Muslims are prepared to protest that the message of tolerance, peace and understanding is gone?

When a Muslim insults or converts someone of another faith, where are the Muslim voices of condemnation?

Polygamous marriages are conducted with ease, despite the assurances of the religious department. No one is belittling the extraordinary efforts of the single mother bringing up a family (often without much money or help), but, many Muslim men do not adhere to the tenets of the religion and polygamous marriages invariably cause the breakdown of many families. Many children, especially sons, grow up without a firm father figure.

In some states, child marriages are conducted with ease. In others, Muslim families record a high number of incestuous relationships. The Muslim youths’ high dependence on drugs is an open secret.

When Aleesha died after her bid to change her name and gender was rejected by a court, where was the Muslim censure? Even in Pakistan, which harboured Osama bin Laden, transsexuals are treated with more dignity and given a new name.

Muslims fear the moral police and are prepared to risk their lives perching on window ledges because they fear the humiliation of being caught. Single mothers who are thought to ‘kill’ their babies risk capital punishment even though the baby is stillborn, and unmarried underage teenagers who have sex must get married, even if they are unprepared for a marriage that is destined for failure.

azlanIncredibly, there are no howls of protest from the holier-than-thou, myopic and heretical Muslims who care more about the number of inches their tudung covers their face, or that the food they eat has been prepared and served by a non-Muslim and is therefore, considered non-halal.

These myopic Malaysian Muslims have strange values in life. They are silent about our gambling and alcohol consuming VVIPs, who are custodians of Islam in Malaysia. They are also prepared to close one eye to their corrupt leaders and politicians who are alleged to have raped their maids or alleged to have had extramarital affairs or alleged to have committed murder and other crimes.

Malaysia’s main political party, Umno will find it difficult to shed the image of the arrogant ‘Dumno party’. Umno is steeped in corruption, internal feuding and U-turns. Women in the ministerial ranks serve only as a token presence. These women have scant knowledge of women’s issues and have few creative solutions to offer. They are women who tow the party line and who are afraid to stand up against fellow politicians who belittle them.

The opposition may have made some progress with sections of our community but there is still a long way to go before being fully accepted.

Malaysians need to seize the opportunity for political reform and ensure that Malaysia is only led by patriotic people who have the interests of Malaysians at heart. Politicians and institutions who permit foreigners to enter by the back door are the real traitors. Perhaps the myopic Malaysian cannot see that.

MARIAM MOKHTAR is a non-conformist traditionalist from Perak, a bucket chemist and an armchair eco-warrior. In ‘real-speak’, this translates into that she comes from Ipoh, values change but respects culture, is a petroleum chemist and also an environmental pollution-control scientist.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Leave the sinking Titanic now!

"Just Trust Us Sdn Bhd" (JTU) is the biggest corporation in this country for 54 years running. In a nation that comprises of many races, smaller corporations were formed to operate businesses to suit each individual race. In no time these small corporations were bought over by "Just Trust Us Sdn Bhd" and incorporated into a major company called "Just Follow Our Command Sdn. Bhd" (JFOC) to which "Just Trust Us Sdn. Bhd" remains the major shareholders.

There are many private corporations that are envy of "JTU" and "JFOC" successes (even though by dubious means). They tried many times in corporate take over bids but failed miserably.

Even though "JFOC" is in the forefront carrying out the daily business, it is "JTU" that controls every single thing from behind. All top portfolios in "JFOC" are themselves holding high position in "JTU". Every three years election is called to elect who will be the management team in "JTU" and even though there are thousands of shareholders only a handful are allowed to vote. "JTU" is in fact owned and controlled by a handful of close and trusted associates and will remain so as long as other shareholders dare not raise the issue.

"JFOC" has its own functioning system and election but it is not of significance as "JTU" is the real master behind it all.

"JTU" and "JFOC" are having good run for over fifty years, making tonnes of money, dubious transactions, siphoning "JFOC" corporate money and depositing in overseas accounts, living a very good life themselves while other shareholders are left with nothing or just pittance to survive on a daily basis.

Over the years shareholders have been hoodwinked into believing that "JTU" and "JFOC" were doing fine and both corporations remain strong that they will never be placed under receivership nor face insolvency.

But lately, cracks are showing up, signs of mismanagement, inappropriate transactions that cause huge loses and a claimed that "JFOC" may go bankrupt soon. Shareholders are complaining and showing their dissent publicly but "JTU" and "JFOC" management teams are not listening. New lies are born to cover up old lies and disciplinary actions taken against those shareholders who are more vocal.

A titanic that boasted it can never sink had hit an iceberg and about to sink. This titanic is gonna sink for sure and those in it are going to drown if they don't leave the sinking ship now. If they leave now, at least there is still a chance to survive and see another day.

Help is on the way, another big corporation "PR Sdn. Bhd" had been formed, which is more trustworthy and on the verged of taking over "JFOC". This new corporation had shown their ability to run businesses with integrity and transparency. Every transaction account will be opened for viewing to shareholders. The management team are people with integrity, honesty and they will ensure that all profits generated will be distributed equally. They will not entertain any dubious business transactions nor corruptions.

Shareholders of "JTU" and "JFOC" must not cling on to these corporations that had failed to give out dividends, lied to so often, rampant corruptions and have no intention of helping shareholders except their own associates.

Shareholders of "JTU" and "JFOC" should let go of their shares and invest in this new corporation "PR Sdn Bhd" that is genuinely helping each and every shareholders. Give it a chance and if you feel dissatisfied with their performances you can always sell your shares and reinvest into "JTU" and "JFOC" should they be wise to have make a corporate transformation.

Shareholders have nothing to lose but everything to gain by leaving a failing corporation and invest into a more stable and reliable one. Don't you think?

Monday, August 8, 2011

How unprincipled and low can you go, Chua Soi Lek, as MCA President?

by Lim Kit Siang

Any Malaysian given three answers to the question: Who made the allegation that DAP wants to create a “little China” in Malaysia would invariably name Utusan Malaysia, Berita Harian and UMNO although not necessarily in the same order.

Nobody would have named the MCA let alone the MCA President, Datuk Seri Dr. Chua Soi Lek as it is so wild, absurd and irresponsible a charge no sane or reasonable person would make.

One could disagree with Chua Soi Lek to date but so far he has kept to certain standards in his public statements and speeches.

But Chua Soi Lek’s allegation in Kota Kinabalu yesterday that DAP wants to create a “little China” in Malaysia must rank as among the most despicable and dastardly of lies in Malaysian politics designed to help UMNO ultras to scare Malay voters.

Chua is doing both his race and nation a great disservice in making such a baseless, despicable and dastardly charge.

Chua could not possibly believe that he could deceive Chinese voters in Malaysia into believing his lie – as DAP is not a new political party but has a 45-year history and record to prove that DAP leaders had never espoused a Chinese Malaysia but had always been committed to a Malaysian Malaysia where the diverse races, religions, cultures and regions can find unity and harmony through fair and just nation-building policies.

The declaration of DAP leaders ring down the past four and a half decades loud and clear: the DAP does not want a Chinese Malaysia, Malay Malaysia, Indian Malaysia, Iban Malaysia or Kadazan Malaysia but a Malaysian Malaysia!

Right from the very beginning in 1966, DAP had held forth a vision of a Malaysia for all Malaysians, where every citizen identify himself or herself as Malaysian first of all, bound by a common nationality and transcending their racial, religious and cultural differences.

This was why in the first general election contested by the DAP in 1969 – followed in subsequent general elections – DAP fielded a multi-racial slate of candidates, Malay, Chinese and Indians with two Malays elected as State Assemblymen and more Indian MPs elected on the DAP ticket than the Malaysian Indian Congress!

This was also why DAP leaders have no hesitation in accepting the definition propounded by Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia policy of “a nation where every Malaysian perceives himself or herself as Malaysian first, and by race, religion, geographical region or socio-economic background second and where the principles of 1Malaysia are woven into the economic, political and social fabric of society”.

In March last year, I challenged all the Barisan Nasional Cabinet Ministers to declare in Parliament that they accept the 1Malaysia definition of nation-building – but not a single BN Minister, including the four MCA Ministers, dared to contradict the Deputy Prime Minister and UMNO Deputy President, Tan Sri Muhyiddin when he declared that he was Malay first and Malaysian second!

This was why Najib’s 1Malaysia was quickly exposed as a hollow one, nothing more than a public relations exercise and a 1Malaysia circus mired in 1Malaysia Tupperware, 1Malaysia T-shirt, 1Malaysia Mineral Water, 1Malaysia Burger and other 1Malaysia goodies.

Malaysian voters regardless of race who had voted and supported the DAP through the ten general elections from 1969 to 2008 did so because of their support for the DAP’s vision of a democratic, clean, fair, just and united Malaysian nation of diverse races and religions, and not for a Chinese Malaysia or a “little China” coined by Chua.

Chua cannot possibly believe that he could influence a single Chinese voter with the lie that the DAP wants to create a “little China” in Malaysia.

Why then is he making such an irresponsible allegation, with the MCA newspaper the Star giving it full coverage?

The purpose is clear – to provide grist to the ultra UMNO mills like Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian in their campaign to smear and demonise the DAP as anti-Malay and anti-Islam to scare the Malay voters from supporting and voting for the DAP and Pakatan Rakyat.

Already the UMNO propaganda mills, particularly Utusan and Berita, face a crisis of credibility with the law of diminishing returns working against them – with more and more Malays disbelieving their lies about the DAP being anti-Malay and anti-Islam, with their tall tales of a DAP plot to create a Christian Malaysia and appoint a Christian Prime Minister.

Now, these Umno mills of lies and poisonous propaganda will get a breather as they will be able to quote the MCA President himself with the latest despicable and dastardly lie against the DAP of wanting to create a “little China” in Malaysia.

How unprincipled and low can you go, Chua Soi Lek, as MCA President?

The world is watching

by R. Nadeswaran | The Sun

READERS will remember that in the past, this columnist had refused to touch on race, religion and politics. Today, an intrepid step is being taken to address an issue which has tarnished the name of the country. The actions of a few have embarrassed all Malaysians, especially our leaders who exemplify moderation, tolerance and restraint. The many words of our founding fathers and their successors appear to have fallen on deaf ears. Instead, selfish individuals are defying the government in their zest to impose their own beliefs and values without any consideration whatsoever.

In May, I was sitting in the audience and applauded after the prime minister gave a resounding talk on Islam and moderation at Oxford. Quoting the Torah, the Bible and the Quran, he explained Malaysia’s success in embracing multi-cultures and multi-religions. Two weeks later, watching the royal wedding on television at a street party, I gladly pointed out to English friends the presence of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Raja Permaisuri at Westminster Abbey.

My English friends asked me about religious restrictions and my reply was: “As far as I know, Islam does not restrict its followers from entering a church. I have met many Muslim colleagues and friends who attend church weddings.” The king of Malaysia, they were told, is head of Islam in Malaysia like the queen of England is the head of religion in England. Last month, the prime minister was granted an audience with the pope with a view to establish diplomatic relations with the Vatican, endorsing our country’s temperance on religion.

These actions reinforced the principle that although Islam is the official religion, there’s room for other faiths to co-exist without any fear or harassment. It took just a few hours last Wednesday to demolish these efforts of promoting a “moderate Malaysia” to the world. The raid at the community hall of the Methodist Church in Petaling Jaya and its repercussions reverberated around the world, painting Malaysia and the religion as intolerant establishments.

One publication summed up the action as “religious police harassed Christians attending a dinner”. Sitting away from Malaysia, one cannot make a valid judgment and verify such claims, but reading online versions from Malaysia and around the world, one cannot deny that, yet again, we have shot ourselves in the foot.

A report filed by the Associated Press which has thousands of subscribers said: “Malaysian Christian officials accused Islamic authorities on Thursday of unlawfully entering a church and harassing guests at a community dinner. The incident reignited criticism that authorities in the Muslim-majority country fail to respect the rights of Christian, Buddhist and Hindu minorities. Government officials have repeatedly denied being unfair to minorities, despite complaints about a wide range of issues including court disputes involving religious conversions and restrictions against Malay-language Bibles.”

This and others by news agencies have put not only Malaysia in bad light, but Islam itself. To make matters worse, British newspapers reported on Friday that a Westminster court had found four Muslims guilty of putting up posters declaring “Christmas to be evil”. The posters claimed Christmas was “responsible for rape, teenage pregnancies, abortion, promiscuity and paedophilia.” Reading both reports together could very well present an entirely different picture.

The four may have acted as individuals and may not have belonged to any religious organisation or were backed by any group but their actions have resulted in the religion being perceived as intolerant. Similarly, the raid in Malaysia may have been carried out by religious officers, but when it makes the news, it is perceived and reported as “Malaysian religious police”, although we do not have a separate arm of the Royal Malaysian Police enforcing religious diktat.

When government servants misuse or abuse their powers, it is reflected on the state and the leadership. People who read the reports tend to attach labels to both the country and the religion.

The government and its leaders are spending time, effort and money in trying to promote Malaysia both as a holiday destination and for investment opportunities. Besides, we are wooing talent from abroad. What messages are we conveying to them with such actions? We have to take immediate steps to change the perception of the outside world by re-emphasising that religious acceptance – not mere tolerance – is the hallmark of our multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society. That means that the actions of zealots and fanatics must be curtailed and those who choose to misuse and abuse their power must be dealt with severely.

To the legal mind, it may be just trespass because religious officers have no power of search and entry. It is much more than that. If a group that allegedly distributed pamphlets and was in possession of T-shirts can be charged with subversion, than what these officers have done is much more serious. Let us be reminded that the world is watching and if nothing is done, let us not blame anyone but ourselves for being labelled in the same lines as Iran or Zimbabwe. The western media, the opposition or “anti-national” elements should not be the scapegoats for the country being pigeon-holed and written off as intolerant and insensitive.

R. Nadeswaran is compelled to make a stand as the actions of a few are hurting all Malaysians. He is theSun’s UK correspondent based in London and can be contacted at:

Friday, August 5, 2011

Really ! Non Partisan in Malaysia Boleh?

Many NGOs, major Bodies fighting their Causes or institutions always claimed to be non partisan when making their calls for change towards their causes. This should be the way as we see it all around the globe but can it be followed in this nation whereby everything you do is one way or another tied to politics?

Non partisan: free from party affiliation
In political science, nonpartisan denotes an election, event, organization or person in which there is no formally declared association with a political party affiliation. wikipedia

Partisan: In politics, partisan literally means organized into political parties. The expression "partisan politics" usually refers to fervent, sometimes militant, support of a party, cause, faction, person, or idea. wikipedia

Once any party/parties are elected to form the government, elected representatives should shed their party partisanship and perform their government duties in a non partisan manner and served each and every rakyat irrespective of their political affiliation.

But do we see that happening, even the top leaders including the PM are so partisan that they are willing to forsake other races and religions to ensure that they remain popular among their party members. The PM even goes to the extend that he will only help those who are willing to help him with "Lu tolong wa, wa tolong lu" and inciting his party members to "crushed bodies and lost lives" in order to defend PutraJaya.

The PDRM, army, judiciary and other institutions like MACC and the EC are supposed to be non partisan in their duties to serve and protect without fear or favor, but they are more partisan then any party members.

The government always listen and work with the rakyat, so they claimed but do we see it happening? More often you will be treated as enemy of the state or even worst get arrested for daring to speak out.

The ruling government is building a wall, the great wall of PutraJaya, whereby those NGOs and Institutions calling for changes to unfair policies, outdated laws or causes that affect the ruling government will not be able to penetrate this great wall. You can scream and shout outside the wall perimeter but those inside the wall will not hear of it.

Just take a look at Bersih 2.0, how the government got so paranoid and over reacted to a simple 8 demands for the EC that it was declared illegal. Bersih 2.0 is non partisan, it invited all political parties on both side to support its call but only Pakatan Rakyat supported it and umno/bn created much chaos during the rally in downtown KL to fight their so call imaginary enemies. They simply won't listen to the rakyat and prefer to take tough actions to show their superiority and power.

Many NGOs, the bar council and other Bodies are calling for the repeal of the ISA, EO, PPPA, other outdated policies and to impose that the PDRM, MACC and Judiciary perform their duties without fear or favor and in a non bias attitude but the great wall of PutraJaya are still rock solid to fend of all these calls.

What we can see and the only option to break down the great wall of PutraJaya is the call for a change in federal government.

I have being following a little such Bodies like Bersih 2.0, My Constitution, UndiMalaysia, SABM, Suaram and individuals like Edmund BobBon, Malik Imtiaz and Haris Ibrahim, all are doing great jobs in fighting for and spreading the constitutional rights of the rakyat, spreading and pursuing their causes for changes in certain outdated laws and inefficient policies.

They are non partisan in the hope that whoever rules will take note of their demands and act on it. They can continue to be non partisan in fighting for their causes but I am wondering will it be effective with the present ruling government having the great wall of PutraJaya and shutting themselves inside?

What I see is that being non partisan will not really help in advancing any causes that are not favorable to the ruling government. What we need is partisanship to bring change in the federal government level and give notice to whichever new party taking over to listen to the NGOs, Bodies and institutions demands.

The present political scenario in Malaysia has no room for non partisanship! One way or another one has to fight for whatever cause in a partisan way.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Why the gov’t is paranoid

By KJ John | MalaysiaKini

I always believed paranoia was the sickness of weak and fearful people, or those who have just cause for abject fear. For example, after 9/11, the Americans were absolutely overcome with paranoia only because such an unfortunate incident was “not in their paradigm of possibilities; worse still, probabilities!” Therefore, I could tolerate, accept and appreciate their paranoia as they did three 100 percent complete checks on me within the same airport in November 2001.

But, why is the government of Malaysia also paranoid these days? First we ban “an avowedly peaceful rally to ask for clean and fair elections”. Nonetheless, it then became the best example of a peaceful rally of ordinary Malaysians reflecting the 1Malaysia syndrome; except for police disturbance.

But the police did it in order to achieve their agenda of ‘self-fulfilling their concept of a ban’. Thereby they created chaos for Malaysians in the capital city by artificially creating a chock-a-bloc situation with their arbitrary and disingenuous road checks. They were a self-fulfilling prophecy; demonstrating their power and authority but nothing else.

Then they banned 91 individuals from entering certain KL geographic areas but were using the 2007 list of names and participants of Bersih 1.0. Finally they ban yellow T-shirts as ‘potential weapons of mass danger’, and arrest innocent citizens for wearing such yellow T-shirts.

Earlier, they created the fear of “enemies of state” trying to establish a Christian state (can someone tell me what that means anyway), believing a blogger. Now, even the peaceful, erudite and eloquent but activist Islamic scholar Dr Asri Zainul Abidin is considered a national threat. Ambiga Sreenevasan was declared a Hindu nationalist threat.

Just a month ago, the PSM 6 were legally detained under the Emergency Ordinance for allegedly being a “communist threat to the nation”. But suddenly, they are no longer a threat but the police do not apologise for their mistake. Can someone please explain all this fear?

Why all this scheming and planning to create an “apparent air of chaos” in a country now being declared as one of the most peaceful in the world. Please remember also that the police found an arsenal of weapons, perfectly colour-coordinated and brand-new weapons of war, and ‘petrol bombs in plastic bottles’, all said to be part and parcel of the Bersih 2.0 arsenal. Presumably, all China-made and distributed.

Justifying the next ‘national emergency’?

Let me take a guess. Maybe all this is to justify the making of the next “national emergency” and the requisite ISA detentions. Maybe they are strategic moves from the playbook of Operation Lallang now being readied.

I even see signs of the mainstream media being linked “to a Hitler-like propaganda programme of misleading the nation about what is public interest”.

All these manoeuvrings are developed within modern institutions of democracy; whether it is called the Election Commission, or the Media Council, or even the National Professors Council. It is therefore simply most appropriate that all mainstream media professionals stayed clear from the so-called Media Council recently. As Prof AB Shamsul rightly said recently, there is something “really rotten with our state of democracy”.

The last I heard anything about any Media Council was when Zaid Ibrahim was de facto Law Minister. But not only did the current so-called Media Council meet behind closed doors, what was even more astounding is that the Internet or alternative media was excluded but nevertheless represented by another “crony”, the so-called Blog House.

The original and genuine Bloggers group was called Bloggers’ United Malaysia or BUM. I attended one of their annual conferences and argued why the media was the 5th estate and not the fourth. I had argued that traditionally and always the fourth estate was the public service and this needed to be understood, appreciated, and recognised correctly by all concerned.

The media then becomes the fifth estate and has an equal role to keep the rest of the governance system under check and balance. I have always called the community of ordinary citizens as the sixth estate of good governance. Global institutions of good governance become the 7th estate.

Therefore I find it humorous that the secretary-general of the Information Ministry, a fourth estate representative, is appointed by a government minister to lead and set up this important and needed self-surveillance group of the media professionals. But he is not a media professional.

This move establishes and confirms my thesis that the public service must become the fourth estate; not an extension of intentions of the executive. The current non-existent fourth estate has become too blindly compliant to the executive agenda.

Serving with professionalism and neutrality

Originally and always, in the British tradition of parliamentary democracy, the public service could serve any government in power with true professionalism and neutrality. After half a century of Malayanisation (actually, to be accurate we must call this ‘Melayuisation’), we have lost this culture of neutrality and professionalism.

Today, it is a rather blind compliance culture under the rubric of “saya yang menurut perintah;” meaning ‘perintah of the menteri,’ and not that of the Agong, or even in the public interest.

Therefore, the Agong meeting Bersih representatives in a public audience and requesting them to meet in a stadium was a breakthrough of professional neutrality. But, the resultant and subsequent non-compliance is an abject and total disregard for the institution of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong by the government of the day; whether the executive or the public services.

It takes a neutral fourth estate to take orders only from the Agong, when the government of the day has some variant political ideas about the nature of good governance and the public interest.

So, my advice to the executive in Malaysia… please do not become paranoid. The Good Lord decides who rules Malaysia come the next general election, and please remember the whole world is also watching. What is free or not free or not fair will ultimately be decided by the people of Malaysia.

Gerrymandering can only help up to a certain point. If the swing is so severe, as had happened and almost happened in 1969 and again in 1999, the possibility of regime change is very real.

Nonetheless, in this day and age, the use of unfair and unethical means of “rule by law” will not sustain any system that has been constitutionally governed under the rule of law principle. Please read Ambiga’s acceptance speech on receiving an honorary doctorate in law from the University of Exeter, Britain and you will understand my sentiments on this issue. May God bless Malaysia.

Monday, August 1, 2011

GE-13: Only one chance to vote out BN

By Kenny Gan | Malaysia Chronicle

Despite the popularity of Pakatan Rakyat the 13th general election is still a David vs. Goliah contest on an unlevel playing field where the incumbent has colossal advantages in media, money and machinery. BN controls all the levers of power including the most crucial one, the Election Commission and is not ashamed to use whatever means - fair or foul - to beat off the PR challenge, mostly foul.

Given the unevenness of the contest I venture to say that the 13th G.E. will be more of a contest on whether BN can regain its two-thirds majority rather than a frenzied fight for Putrajaya. The two most crucial states to the campaign, namely Sarawak and Sabah which together contribute 25% of the parliamentary seats still remain BN’s fixed deposit to a large degree. In Sabah the illegal immigrants absorbed into the electoral rolls have undermined the right to self-determination of native Sabahans.

However all is not doom and gloom and there still remains a thin wedge of chance that PR can overcome the odds to unseat the juggernaut BN. It all hinges on that ever recurring political event in Umno – a power struggle – coupled with a serious underestimation of civil society by the corridors of power.

Pakatan’s Last Stand

But first of all, let us consider what happens if PR fails to unseat BN from Federal power. The signs are already clear that BN will take certain steps to ensure it will never have to face the threat of losing power again. This will be achieved not by increasing BN’s popularity but by underhanded methods to compromise the electoral process so that BN can rule without fear of losing power, short of a street revolution.

Already the Election Commission is in collusion with an enthusiastic BN to implement an opaque biometric verification system which will allow BN greater scope to cheat using phantom voters and illegal immigrants issued with MyKads. Co-incidentally or maybe not, the biometric data of 2 million foreign workers are being collected. This expensive system which is largely useless for preventing multiple voting is favoured instead of the much cheaper and simpler indelible ink which would put the brakes on phantom voters.

Even more ominous, the government is establishing Territorial Army companies in all 222 parliamentary constituencies and there are rumblings that they will eventually be given postal votes. When army companies are established by parliamentary constituencies instead of more appropriate criteria one can infer that their main purpose is not the defence of the country.

Both the biometric system and the Territorial army companies are not expected to be implemented in time for the 13th G.E. but will be firmly in place for the 14th G.E. We should also not forget that gerrymandering will be another BN weapon in the 14th G.E. as the present delineation of electoral boundaries is not expected to be completed in time for the 13th G.E.

What this means is that the 13th G.E. may well be the last window of opportunity left for the people to choose their government before the regime entrench itself through a severely compromised electoral system. The 13th G.E. will be Pakatan's last stand before Malaysia becomes a full-fledged dictatorship with false trappings of democracy.

Najib’s Last Stand

But if the 13th GE is Pakatan’s last stand it is also Najib’s last stand. The writing on the wall is clear. Get back BN’s two-third majority or be pulled down.

Throughout most of Najib’s troubled premiership he has been dogged with odd acts of sabotage by his subordinates especially with regards to his 1Malaysia concept. Things have come to a head now and it is no longer possible to ignore the rumblings of a power struggle in Umno.

Recent events point to this tumult in the corridors of power. The police’s heavy oppression of the Bersih rally bordering on the ludicrous as if to enrage civil society, the flip-flop by Najib on the stadium offer to Bersih (probably forced by hardliners), the leakage to the media of Rosmah’s RM24 million diamond ring, the formation of Amanah and Najib’s cutting short his family holiday to rush back to Malaysia are symptoms of this struggle.

The unjust and illogical detention of the PSM-6 for frivolous reasons can only be intended to weaken Najib politically. Although they have released the damage has already been done. When a deputy Minister starts criticizing the handling of the Bersih rally the fight has shifted to the public arena.

The anti-Najib faction cannot allow him to win two-thirds majority in the next general election or his job will be safe. The conspirators have to weaken him politically and limit the extent of cheating in the polls to give PR a chance.

But they walk a fine line as there is a danger of overdoing things. The 13th G.E. is a David vs. Goliath battle but when two giants battle David may sneak in and run away with the crown.

Civil Society Strikes Back

On his first day as Prime Minister, Najib Razak said:

“Economic progress and better education have directly resulted in the birth of a class of voters who are better informed, very demanding and highly critical. If we do not heed this message, their seething anger will become hatred and in the end this may cause them to abandon us altogether.”

Unfortunately Najib did not follow his own advice nor did he impose this on his subordinates or the instruments of government. The intelligence of Malaysians are being insulted on an almost daily basis as if our society exists in the time warp of the 1970s when access to information was limited and the word of the government was trusted. Whether it is the imaginative reasons manufactured to demonize the Bersih rally, Anwar’s shaky sodomy trial held together by a compliant judge or the speculative suicide verdict of the Teoh RCI, Malaysians are being treated as gullible simpletons.

Civil society is frustrated and infuriated at the government’s lack of respect for them. The government is behaving like a dictatorship and not a democracy. They have taken their frustration to cyberspace and the social media and will find an outlet in the next general election. BN has completely lost the urban middle class. They have also lost the Chinese, the Indians, Christian, the fence sitters and the young voters.

But the people who talk down to others are themselves not smart enough to realize the effect they are causing. There is a sharp disconnect between state and society fostered no doubt by a sycophantic press which deprives the government of valuable feedback. The stage is set for a swing of anti-BN votes to PR by those who want an alternative to an abusive and corrupt government, any alternative as long as it is not BN.

Pakatan’s Strategies

However PR should not celebrate yet because it takes a lot to displace BN. It is not enough to be a little more popular than BN, it takes overwhelming support to overwhelm BN’s cheating.

To level the playing field a little PR should push for implementation of at least three essential election reforms, namely proper conduct of postal votes, use of indelible ink and allowing all overseas Malaysians to vote.

There should not be any more public dissent within the group. PR must present a united front and a cohesive group. All arguments should be behind closed doors and no party or individual should go to the press to settle any argument.

For the first time ever the opposition front can claim to be able to displace BN with a high degree of credibility. This changes the dynamics completely from merely trying to be a strong opposition to being a government in waiting. PR is now able to make wide sweeping promises of what it intends to do it if it wins the election.

Promises such as reducing the price of oil and electricity to relieve the burden of the people can be made with good effect. Even BN traditional strongholds like Felda can be breached by promising a better deal for them. However populist measures such as distributing cash should not be made. The intelligence of Malaysians should be respected and the public knows what is sustainable and what is not.

The later the election is held the more favourable for PR with more young voters joining the rolls, more BN scandals emerging and the economy biting deeper. If it is to be held this year it will probably be November and we should know by October when Najib presents the budget. If an election budget is presented and should the Election Commission be as stubborn as it is now, Bersih 3.0 should be called and this time it should be held in every major town. The EC may still not act but it will deal BN a few body blows or even buy more time for PR if the election is postponed to next year.

The People’s Last Stand

The 13th G.E. may be the one and only time that Malaysians have any chance of replacing BN with another government. Such a chance may never come again as the goalposts will be moved after the 13th G.E. It should be noted that the present level of cheating will not work if Malaysians come out in large numbers and vote against BN.

We should not waste any votes on so-called third force parties like MCLM, HRM and KITA. Such split voting will only help to BN retain its power. There is no such thing as a third force unless there is a two party system in place. Although the level of support for PR is high enough to be considered a two party system in theory this is only true if both parties respect the rules of democracy. If the ruling party continues to oppress the opposition, abuse its power and corrupts all the institutions of democracy to perpetuate its rule while depending on a compromised election system to win, it is still a one party totalitarian rule in practice. A two party a system will only be in place if BN loses power at least once.

There are some who do not like BN but think that PR is not good enough to get their votes. They are missing the point because it is not about voting angels to parliament but creating a two party system. What can angels do in Parliament if BN is still the Federal power? MCLM which prides itself on selecting sterling candidates should answer this question. If PR does not perform we can easily vote them out but the same cannot be said of BN.

Another type of voters fear change and prefer to maintain the status quo. “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t” is their adage. But they fail to understand that the status quo cannot be maintained if BN continues to rule. There is only so much economic plunder and uncompetitive racial policies that one country can take. Economic decline has a way of accelerating exponentially. When we become a maid exporting country everybody will suffer except the Umnoputras.

The 13th general election represents a nexus of conducive factors which may just work together to push out BN. A united opposition, a power struggle in Umno, an alienated civil society and most important of all, an election system which isn’t totally corrupted yet. This is not only Pakatan’s last stand but also the People’s last stand against tyranny and economic mismanagement. The chance may never come again.

13th GE : Malaysians must grasp the possibility for the first time in nation’s history for change of government in Putrajaya

By Lim Kit Siang

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak had said that UMNO must reform or it would be reformed.

From recent events, it is crystal clear that Umno and Barisan Nasional are incapable of reform and must be reformed by the people effecting a change of federal government from Barisan Nasional to Pakatan Rakyat in the next general elections.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced the MIC President G. Palanivel as his second Indian Cabinet Minister implementing his notorious philosophy spelt out in the Sibu by-election of “Gua tolong lu, lu tolong gua” – when the duty of any responsible government must be to serve all needy Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or political beliefs.

It is this cynical philosophy where essential public services are treated as a barter trade between the government and the people which is the root cause of the host of abuses of power and corruption afflicting the country destroying our national unity and international competitiveness.

This is one big difference between the Pakatan Rakyat government in Putrajaya from the Najib government – no Cabinet appointments or government decisions or projects based on “Gua tolong lu, lu tolong gua” but strictly on the basis of merit or need.

This evening, the Prime Minister was put in a spot over his signature “1Malaysia” policy and slogan by a student at the 5th Annual Malaysian Student Leaders Summit who asked Najib whether he was prepared to state he was Malaysian first and what he thought of Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s infamous remark of being “Malay first and Malaysian next”.

I remember very vividly Muhyiddin’s reply as it was in response to my challenge to all Cabinet Ministers in Parliament in March last year to declare their stand whether they are Malaysians first and their religion, region and socio-economic status second to demonstrate their full allegiance to Najib’s 1Malaysia policy.

Najib dodged the student’s question on the ground that he did not want to give grounds for people to create divisions between him and his deputy.

This is a real cop-out, an evasion of the question which is even more significant than any direct answer as it revealed the total hollowness of Najib’s 1Malaysia policy – which has so far not gone beyond circus fanfare of 1Malaysia Tupperware, 1Malaysia T-shirt, 1Malaysia Burger, 1Malaysia Mineral Water and other gimmicry.

The real 1Malaysia was achieved on July 9 in the Bersih 2.0 rally for free and fair elections as the weeks of mainstream media demonisation and police threats as well as the unjustified lockdown of Kuala Lumpur did not prevent the phenomenon of Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region, gender or sex coming together as one Malaysian people in the common cause of a Bersih Malaysia!

Najib should be celebrating the Berish 1Malaysia coming of age on July 9, but instead he and his Cabinet Ministers have not let up in their groundless and irresponsible attacks on Bersih 2.0 and Malaysians who support the cause of a Clean Malaysia.

The next general elections could be very near and may be held as early as October/November and all Malaysians must grasp the possibility for the first time in nation’s history for change of power in Putrajaya.

Before the Sarawak state general elections, many have forecast that Najib may hold the 13th general elections before the Puasa month and could be in June or July.

However, after the poor Barisan Nasional performance in the April 16 Sarawak state polls, despite Barisan Nasional retaining its two-thirds majority in the state, talk of general elections veered to end of the year.

After the series of self-inflicted wounds following the gross mishandling of the 709 Bersih 2.0 rally, including the mala fide detention of the PSM6 under Emergency Ordinance, UMNO and Barisan Nasional self-confidence suffered grievous blows pushing forecasts of the possible polls date for the next general elections to next year.

However, when Najib cut short his overseas trip after his most embarrassing visits to London, the Vatican, Rome and Paris – hounded by adverse international reactions to the high-handed government response to Bersih 2.0 rally – the possibility of polls being held in October or November has again returned to the fore.

Be that as it may, regardless of when the next polls are held, whether in October/November this year or next year, Malaysians must be aware that the next general elections is going to be the most important one in the nation’s history as it is within the power of the voters to decide whether there should be a change of the national government in Putrajaya from Barisan Nasional to Pakatan Rakyat.

UMNO and Barisan Nasional are incapable of reform as they could only be reformed by the people voting for a new Pakatan Rakyat government in Putrajaya.

It is only with a new government in Putrajaya that there can be major policy changes in the country, as for instance in resolving the long-standing grievances of taxi drivers in the country by implementing a “Permits for Taxi Drivers” policy.

IGP and deputy, step down for lying to public

By S Arutchelvan | Malaysiakini

On behalf of the party, PSM would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all the brave people for all their effort, solidarity, support and struggle in ensuring the release of our six comrades. We wish to thank the massive support from all quarters – the civil society movements, the NGOs, the legal assistance from the lawyers, Pakatan Rakyat parties the DAP, PKR, PAS as well as PRM.

Also individuals from BN like Khairy Jamaluddin, individuals in Gerakan, MCA and MIC. As well the great solidarity of the International community as well as the international socialist parties all over the world.

We thank all those who have sent letters, solidarity message and participated in online petition, those who lodged police reports, send in memorandum, collected signatures, spoken out, held nightly vigils, held prayers and kept protesting the arrest.

We dedicate this release to all these brave people in Malaysia and all over the world, They are the true heroes who released our six comrades. This is a victory for all those who demanded for change and stood up against oppression. We are humbled by this great support, courage and solidarity.

Five main issues PSM wants to raise:

1. Before we go into that, we would like to express our thanks and gratitude to the wardens and the policemen who according to our released comrades took very good care of them and treated them well and with respect.

The problem is not with the lower ranking policemen but with the top level of the police force. We call for the immediate resignation of the IGP and especially the deputy IGP, both of whom we consider were the main actors in manufacturing lies and fabricating evidence to punish PSM and the EO6.

They have lied to the Malaysians over the last 34 days that

PSM is waging war against DYMM Yang DiPertuan Agong.

PSM trying to revive the MCP

PSM working with foreign agents elements to topple the Government

PSM is the “penggerak” or the main organiser of BERSIH

Because of this manipulation, the IGP and the DIGP should resign.

2. The arrest and the detention of the PSM6 is unlawful, illegal and in bad faith. The central committee of the party will discuss with our lawyer on the next course of action with regards to this.

3. We call for the AG to drop the case against of the 24 other PSM members and grassroots members who have been charged on other ridiculous grounds related to Bersih 2.0 especially for distributing Bersih leaflets. Bersih was only declared illegal by the Home Ministry on July 2 whereas the 24 were arrested on 25 June. It is therefore a waste of public funds for the government to pursue the charges, and we call upon the AG to drop this case.

4. We call for the repeal of the Emergency Ordinance (EO), Internal Security Act (ISA), as well as the Dangerous Drug Act's special prevention measures that allows detention without trial. All detention without trial laws should go. The government should seek to either charge detainees or release them.

5. PSM will next embark on a nationwide tour to explain to the people the true reason behind the arrests of our members and the conspiracy against PSM, and to continue our call 'Udahlah tu....bersaralah', as well as to thank the people for their support as well as explain

Long live the people! Long live PSM

S Arutchelvan is PSM secretary general.


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