Malaysians must start to LOVE the right thing and in the right way. My earlier posting Love is a dangerous game to play with! highlights generally about love between two sexes and how it can be good or it can hurt as well.
Love - A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person.
Patriotic - Feeling, expressing, or inspired by love for one's country.
Over the decades of propaganda by the ruling regime, the people are inclined to think that only by loving the ruling government will they be recognised as patriotic that love the country. A misconception of loving the government first and nation second.
The second misconception by the regime after having ruled for over five decades begins to think and act like the nation wealth belongs only to them and the rakyat are their servants to toil with.
The third misconception is the ruling regime demand that the rakyat must be appreciative and grateful of what the government is doing.
These misconceptions must be promptly eradicated from the rakyat's mind or else the future of this nation will be in ruin.
There can be no love for a ruling government but only categorized as, good, poor or bad governance. The rakyat need not be appreciative or be grateful to the government for what they are doing, for better or worst, as they are elected and paid for to do their jobs of running the nation.
This nation can and will only be bankrupted or destroyed by those holding the power and not the rakyat. Patriotism cannot be questioned by the ruling government for covering up their wrong doings when rakyat woke up and protested against them.
GE 13 is just round the corner and voters must start grading the performances of umno/bn rule for the past five decades. Leave love and patriotism aside as they cannot be used to gauge the performances of the government. You can love and like PM Najib but put that as personal. The scrutiny must be deep rooted into the overall long term results that will benefit the country and rakyat and not short term or ad hoc give away, once every five years.
This coming GE, voters must be very attentive of who they are going to vote in to form the next government. They must ask a lot of questions and find the answers themselves, for example, why giving out a one time off RM500 cash to those earning 3K and below now. Why not look into a long term solution for those earning 3k and less, ensuring high purchasing power from the 3k. Can they own a home, a kanchil & regular meals for a family of four with the 3k?
They said, what goes up must come down but I do not see the truth in the prices of consumer goods nor the corruption index and what is the ruling government going to do about it?
If you are patriotic and love your country, you must make the right choice by voting in a credible, competence and clean government with integrity that treated all Malaysians as equal and with respect. Failing to do so will see the nation that you love and being patriotic about in ruin.
Now that Judge Mohamad Zabidin Diah has acquitted Anwar Ibrahim on his “Sodomy II” charge, there is no end of praise heaped upon the judge specifically and the system of justice generally. Prime Minister Najib was quick with his smug assertion that “neither politics nor politicians have any influence over the dispensation of justice.” Foreign governments too have been effusive with their praises. Some now brazenly call for Anwar Ibrahim to apologize for his earlier criticisms of the system.
Hold the accolades! This sordid trial reveals everything that is rotten with the Malaysian system of justice. This case should never have been prosecuted in the first place. That it was reflected the level or more precisely lack of professionalism on the part of these career prosecutors. As for the trial, there were many instances where the judge could have thrown the case out, as when the physical evidence was introduced. Now the learned judge used that as the reason for acquittal.
As for Anwar Ibrahim, he and his family are rightfully grateful for the verdict, but hold on to your apology. Forgiveness, yes, as he said recently; that is always praiseworthy. He rightly cautioned that one court decision does not a judicial spring make. Besides, there is still the monumental task ahead to clear up the mess, and not just in the system of justice. Najib’s much-ballyhooed “transformation” is a charade concocted by his exorbitantly-paid consultants.
Doing Away With Anwar
The decision to do away with Anwar was made a long time ago. In opting for this particular route, they had hoped that whatever the outcome Anwar would be irreparably damaged by the smear. How they misjudged! The public remains convinced that the charge was politically motivated, and crassly at that, right from the very beginning.
The tragedy here, apart from the agony and humiliation Anwar and his family had endured, is that a delayed-adolescent college flunkey desperate for his 15 minutes of fame was being exploited. They used the poor boy as a battering rod, pardon my metaphor, to do in Anwar.
There is only one possible redeeming value to Judge Zabidin continuing this trial in its squalid entirety, and that is to expose the pathetic lack of professionalism of not just the prosecuting team but also the other professionals involved. This included the police officers and crime investigators to the forensic scientists tasked with the crucial DNA analysis and the senior specialists who examined Anwar’s accuser.
Consider those medical specialists. They failed in their duty to inform and educate the court; they owed the court their individual professional judgment, not a committee report. Unlike paid experts, those government doctors were not beholden to the accuser or accused, only to uphold the truth. If they had doubts they should so inform the court. Likewise those chemists; before they performed the DNA analyses they should be satisfied of the integrity of the specimens. If they were forced to perform tests on specimens of questionable integrity, they clearly should have informed the court of their doubts.
Those specialists were based at the General Hospital Kuala Lumpur, an apex institution in the government’s healthcare system; thus presumably they must be the best. They should also have known that this was a very high-profile case and that their performance would come under global scrutiny. It should have been an opportunity for them to showcase their talent and professionalism. Instead the judge singled out the inadequacy of the physical evidence, as reflected in their reports and testimonies, as the reason for acquittal.
The only physician who had acquitted himself well was the foreign doctor who first examined the accuser. That doctor had the conviction to document clearly his findings and impressions without first having to “discuss” it with his superiors. That he had to flee the country afterwards reveals much about our system of justice.
If in his written judgment Judge Zabidin were to comment on the quality of the prosecution’s expert witnesses and address the performance of the prosecution, in particular the alleged gross breach of professional conduct where one member was romantically linked with the accuser, then I will not only take back my criticism but would praise the learned judge profusely. Then there was considerable wisdom in his letting the trial go through its entire course – to serve as a much-needed “teaching moment” for the nation.
At its most benign the alleged prosecutorial misconduct could simply be the case of a young man and woman with raging hormones. At its most sinister, it is “witness coaching” brought to a whole new low level. When that wild allegation first surfaced, the prosecution dismissed it, only to admit later that the alleged woman was only a “junior” and thus an inconsequential member of the team. Never mind that she was a lawyer, a fellow professional.
The prosecution was led by the government’s top lawyer, the Solicitor-General. He is a career civil servant, not a political appointee and thus, at least theoretically, immune to political pressure. Nonetheless he should have known that in this day and age, the charge of sodomy is patently laughable. Major jurisdictions including the US and Canadian Supreme Courts have decriminalized the act except where it is non-consensual. Heck, even the Chinese Supreme Court has ruled similarly!
Even in Malaysia that statute has rarely been invoked. The only time it was used was in 1998, and the victim was again Anwar. That conviction was subsequently overturned on appeal, but not before he was incarcerated for six long years. If the Solicitor-General had invoked sexual harassment charges instead, that at least would have highlighted an all-too-common problem.
Even if the physical evidence had been compelling, recognizing that this was a high-profile case with all the political implications, and aware of the poor reputation of the judiciary in the eyes of the public, it would have been prudent to appoint an independent prosecutor. That would remove any suspicion of political influence. That the Solicitor-General did not again reflected the caliber of his judgment. The irony is that this case was decided soon after he submitted his early optional retirement!
The verdict not withstanding, many unanswered questions remain. Najib has yet to explain why he met this confused young man just days before he filed the complaint against Anwar. If, as Najib intimated, that they were discussing a scholarship, I can suggest a few other much more talented Malaysians now at top universities who are more deserving of such attention.
Najib and the other UMNO leaders are forever proclaiming that Malaysia is an Islamic state. In this case both the accuser and the accused are Muslims. Why not invoke the shari’a? They did not, for the obvious reason that had it been invoked, both accused and accuser would have to be charged as there was no element of force.
Far from being a turning point, this trial illustrated and highlighted how dysfunctional and ill-equipped our institutions and personnel are in the administration of justice. I predict two things: One, the judge’s written judgment would be long in coming; and two, he will not be bound for promotion any time soon.
The judge walked into the court room, read the judgment in one minute, and disappeared into his chamber.
By the time the flabbergasted people in the court room recovered from their shock and realised what it all meant, they jumped in uncontrollable jubilation with shouts of joy, burst of tears, hugging, back-slapping, utterances of congratulations and thanks.
Within minutes, the same ecstatic outburst also came over the thousands of supporters gathered outside the court building. In fact, the sense of joy and emotional relief has quickly reverberated right across the nation, transcending race and religion.
Such was the high drama that greeted the totally unexpected acquittal of Anwar Ibrahim from the sodomy charge by Justice Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on January 9.
And such was the impact of this sensational Anwar story that it travels instantly around the globe with international TV channels like Al-Jazeera and BBC stopping their programmes to break the news, which no doubt has also brought relief and satisfaction to overseas pro-democracy and human rights bodies and well-wishers who had been anxiously awaiting the outcome of this sodomy trial.
No doubt the heightened sensation derived partly from the shock element of the verdict as no one had expected an acquittal. This is due to the fact that the trial had been so outrageously unjust and vindictive right from the start that everyone recognised it as political persecution and had anticipated a conviction and possibly instant jail on D-day, January 9. And so, imagine the joy of learning the opposite in such a dramatic fashion at the end of this long drawn ordeal.
It is common human experience that it is only when one is on the verge of losing a dear person that he discovers how much he loves that person.
And so it is with Anwar Ibrahim. The nationwide anxieties (expecting the worst scenario) that were steadily building up in the run up to judgment day, and the irrepressible smiling faces that appeared everywhere upon learning Anwar’s acquittal is the best testimony of the hitherto not so obvious truth that the nation has in fact all along treasured his leadership.
Such spontaneous response is also indication that Anwar’s indefatigable struggle to bring an end to the long antiquated and corrupt autocracy in this country, against unparalleled cruelty inflicted on him, has not gone unnoticed and unappreciated by the people, despite the regime’s high-handed media black-out on him all this time.
This wholly unanticipated finale to the three-and-a-half-year-long Anwar Sodomy II saga has far- reaching ramifications, and in fact transformed the political landscape and altered the balance of power between the challenger and the incumbent.
Anwar’s vindication of his innocence and his return to full political life from the precipice of a potentially lengthy prison term has brought the following consequences:
• It has spared Pakatan Rakyat the potential crisis of a leadership vacuum.
• On a personal level, it has revitalised Anwar and strengthened his position as the undisputed leader of the opposition group.
• It has enhanced his public image as prime minister-in-waiting who will lead Pakatan Rakyat to rid the country from the current quagmire of racial and religious dissension and economic malaise perpetrated by Barisan Nasional (BN).
• Having averted near catastrophe, Anwar’s new lease of political life will re-energise the Pakatan alliance and bring the component parties closer together as a compact fighting force.
• It has caused BN a disastrous set-back, for not only bringing a political plot that it has laboured for three-and-a-half years for naught, but also for damaging BN’s public image and credibility.
• It has demoralised BN and increased the risk of its fringe component parties deserting the mother ship.
• For whatever reason that precipitated this unexpected verdict — whether the last stage reversal was decided by the judge himself or by the political masters to avoid greater net loss of electoral support — such a disastrous finale has apparently deepened the conflict between the hardliners and reform-inclined faction within Umno.
The last point is important as it has the potential to cause an implosion in Umno — a thoroughly corrupted political party, void of political idealism, and characterized by its world famous brand of “money politics” and perennial in-fighting.
That there has been a last moment reversal is suggested by the following occurrences:
First, more than a week before D-day (January 9), blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin (RPK), long time Anwar loyalist, launched a vicious attack on Anwar, branding him a sodomite who was guilty as charged.
These attacks, which were widely publicised in Umno-control newspapers and TV channels, were recognised as a signal that Umno was still on-course to convict Anwar, and the RPK’s attack was a tactical move to pre-empt the potential backlash of an Anwar conviction.
Second, a few days before January 9, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein hinted a softening of stance against the proposed “free Anwar” mass rally on January 9, when he suggested to Anwar’s party PKR to seek permission for the rally from the police, which had up to that point vowed to crack down harshly on it.
And to the surprise of everyone, the police promptly gave their consent upon its first meeting with PKR, despite having vehemently opposed it previously. In hindsight, that could be the point in time when the decision to convict Anwar was reversed, as it makes sense not to clash with Anwar’s supporters when Anwar was already destined to be acquitted.
Third, it is odd that the judge should give only a one-minute verdict at the final judgment, while it took him one hour and fifty minutes to deliver his lengthy judgment at the interim stage to establish the prima facie case.
A palpable explanation is that the one-minute verdict was a last moment decision. Alternatively, it could be the honest but sketchy script of a judge who finally could not bring himself to pass a judgment that would condemn him and his descendents to eternal infamy.
That Umno’s hardline faction has been rattled by the Anwar acquittal is seen in the uncharacteristically belated response of faction leaders deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin and former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
As expected, both hypocritically claimed that the Anwar verdict was proof that the Executive had never interfered with the judiciary. Such manifestly untrue claims only re-confirm that these hardliners are still living in the past, grossly out of tune with the tempo of the Internet age.
These political dinosaurs belong to history. They don’t deserve to rule Malaysia.
Kim Quek is the author of the book, “The March to Putrajaya”.
Line taken from the novel and 1970 film 'Love Story' starring Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal. Many of you may not have seen this great movie or heard about it, probably you are not even born yet or still a toddler.
There are many different expression of love, we will not go into it all, just the kind of love between two opposite sexes that will or will not bloomed and matured into a lasting relationship.
Is there such a thing as 'love at first sight', I would more likely believe it if the saying comes from a female rather than a male. Why, simply because I am a male and I know it cannot be right.
Love cannot be put in the forefront when two opposite sexes met, either the first time or a few more meetings, it should rather be an 'attraction' to each other. Sometimes its infatuation when either sex is longing or in search for a partner.
Its dangerous when love is ignited due to beauty attraction alone over a person's characteristic and personality. Very seldom love will last when beauty is the top priority in seeking for a lasting relationship. True love can only be developed when a couple can see through each other real character and personality.
As "beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder", you should also be able to see through your partner, if real love is there, not from the outside but the inside.
I have seen many couples, as young as 16, falling in love but most did not last through the second year. Many were also influenced by the love story in TV drama series from Taiwan and Hong Kong.
My view on present day type of love affair, rushing into it, easy come easy go behavior, some got hurt, others simply happy to hunt for replacement.
Love is a dangerous game to play with, it can be very hurtful and if you are not ready for it don't start it or force it. Let it be natural, when the time is right for love it will glow within your heart.
One thing to take note, there are happily married couples that do not derived from love but mutual acceptance that they can live and stay together.
Sorry folks, this is not to discourage you from finding love nor falling in love. Just my thought after having seen from friends and relatives that are battling their love affairs, some make it through while others dismayed with broken heart.
When I wrote about how “The law has truly become an ass” back in February 2010 on the battle of the two mentris besar in the Perak power grab impasse, I meant it.
I was totally disgusted and appalled by the apex court finally returning a verdict of 5-0 in favour of Zambry Abdul Kadir over Nizar Jamaluddin, and whatever little regard I had for the judiciary entirely dissipated with that decision. It has never recovered since.
The High Court’s acquittal of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim yesterday has not changed my opinion of the judiciary either. And it’s not just about being a sceptic as the saying “a swallow doesn’t make a summer” suggests. It’s also not about the presiding judge not dismissing this frivolous case from the outset.
Lest you’re still wondering about my despondency and disdain for the judiciary, it’s all about the extreme humiliation we are subjected to as the country is being given global real-time coverage by CNN and Al-Jazeera, et al… all because of Malaysia’s obsession with someone’s anal virginity.
If Mohd Saiful Bukhari’s allegation of being sodomised eight or nine times over a period of two months by a 60-plus-old man with a bad back is to be believed, it doesn’t take a pundit to tell you that the predator must by now be whipped and jailed.
Given the firepower of the government machinery, both overt and covert, and better still for the investigating team, that it’s the second sodomy charge against Anwar, you would have thought they’d be able to prove this charge beyond the shadow of reasonable doubt! All the more if the government truly believes that this one man is Public Enemy No. 1!
But alas, by God’s grace, mercy and infinite knowledge, and to the amazement and shock of everyone present in court yesterday morning, a verdict of “acquittal and discharge” was handed down by the judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah in less than three minutes. I was in court and like everyone else was simply dumbfounded! Again, this former deputy PM has been exonerated.
I had been willing to accept any verdict and in fact scenario-planned all eventualities. Every scenario, best and worst case, has its upside and downside for both sides i.e. the federal government (Barisan Nasional) and the opposition (Pakatan Rakyat).
But to have the BN leaders, including the PM, unashamedly telling the rakyat that the judiciary is independent and credible because it acquitted Anwar is certainly the first darnedest thing said in 2012 in the political arena.
At the start of the new year, respected blogger Marina Mahathir called for a “End Stupid Statements” campaign. It looks like we really need one after reading and hearing some of the statements made after yesterday’s verdict.
Lest you fail to see the perverted logic of the BN leaders’ statement, let’s try a different scenario where the verdict came back as “guilty”. Is the PM and other leaders saying that if the court found Anwar guilty of sodomy, the judiciary is no longer independent and credible?
This is idiocy and lunacy of the severest degree! A judiciary that is independent and has integrity is not judged by a single verdict. It has to gain the trust and respect of the entire citizenry through doggedly delivering justice without fear or favour. Every time.
As if that statement of Anwar’s acquittal proving the judiciary is indeed independent wasn’t moronic enough to make this nation a laughing stock again in the eyes of the global legal community, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, alleged by many to be the master strategist of Sodomy1 and perhaps as claimed by some to be working in concert with the current administration in Sodomy 2, declares that the acquittal proves there is no conspiracy against Anwar.
Despite the 87 days of court hearing, 27 witnesses for the prosecution team, the judge could rule that the prosecution had not done enough to prove Anwar had committed sodomy.
It’s not that the prosecution had not done enough. There was simply not enough evidence. And for a second attempt, some might allude, failure to prosecute was indeed extremely disgraceful. To have a verdict that the DNA and oral evidence were uncorroborated didn’t speak well not of a conspiracy theory ibut of the conspirators in a Sodomy 2.0.. sigh again.
And finally, the cost of the all this legal wrangling. Who bears it? And how much exactly is the burden to tax-payers’ money? Saiful is now mulling an appeal. Sigh.
The buck stops with you, Mr PM! Let’s stop this gutter politics. Let’s all make a commitment to build this country of ours to a great and respectable nation again.
Yes, we are in a zero-sum game, but let it be on the plane of policy advocacy, performance, and political-intellectual acumen and not a destructive gutter politics of the worst order. Let us be a functional democracy and stop doing more of the same things.
This is the path to genuine reform and redemption.
If we are in denial, we do it at our peril and we will die by our own swords!
With the acquittal by the High Court of the sodomy charge against Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, a key page in the country’s political history has been turned.
Immediate winners are of course Anwar, his family, his team of lawyers and the opposition. For Anwar, it was not only exoneration of the sexual smear charges brought against him; it was also a victory for his political fortunes and that of Pakatan Rakyat, now re-energised, ahead of the coming elections.
As the clock winds down — much more slowly now as a result of this verdict — towards the end of the current term of the Barisan Nasional government, Anwar has quite rightly refrained from crowing over this unexpected verdict.
In his first comments to the press following the court decision, Anwar asked his supporters to concentrate on the larger reform agenda, and on fighting against corruption and ensuring the freedom of the media.
Tribute to a courageous and conscientious judge
This reminder that Malaysians have to focus on the larger struggle for justice and freedom is salutary. Anwar’s is only one in a string of recent political cases, the great majority of which the independence and integrity of the country’s judiciary has been tested and found wanting.
Special tribute must be paid to judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah, who must have come under tremendous pressure to return a guilty verdict in what was clearly a politically motivated trial. Instead he delivered a judicial decision based on established principles of criminal justice. His judgment was the right one. His statement that the court could not exclude the possibility of the DNA samples being compromised addressed only one of the many doubts raised against the prosecution’s case.
It was a case which relied on the accusation of one person, Saiful Bukhari Azlan, who coincidentally had met the then Deputy Prime Minister, Najib Razak, several days before the alleged incident.
In most other democratic courts of law, this meeting would have raised immediate doubts about the credibility of the accuser as well as resulted in outright dismissal of the charges, and condemnation of the prosecution and its political masters for attempting to use the courts to cripple their political opponents.
Losers in the Sodomy II case
Losers are the prime minister, the Attorney-General exercising his office as public prosecutor, and Umno. Najib’s unexplained meeting with Saiful and refusal to testify despite being served subpoenas requiring him and his wife Rosmah Mansor to appear in court should have alerted his minders that even if the judge had returned a guilty verdict, the court of public opinion — in Malaysia as well as the rest of the world — would not easily believe that the prime minister was not an interested party and had no connection at all with Saiful.
Najib’s political standing has now taken an enormous beating that no amount of spinning by the Information Minister Rais Yatim, that the verdict proves that the courts are free from political manipulation, can help salvage.
As for the Attorney-General, he must have been expecting to secure conviction and deliver his greatest triumph to his political masters. Instead he was handed a lesson in the principles of the delivery of justice by one of his colleagues in the judiciary legal service.
The prosecution can still appeal against the decision but in doing so it can only worsen the negative opinions and perception of the public at large that the Attorney-General’s Chambers has been turned into a political tool of the Barisan government, with the current Attorney-General drastically lowering the standards of his office in his partiality towards the executive.
Umno — more correctly the legacy of Mahathir’s Umno — is the biggest loser. Dr Mahathir Mohamad concocted the first sodomy charge against Anwar to prevent his deputy from taking over power but before that he had already gutted the judiciary of its integrity and independence.
Dr Mahathir’s Umno supporters have continued in a similar vein, taking the political persecution of Anwar further by using it as the lynchpin of their campaign of demonisation of Anwar and the opposition. Now that strategy has backfired badly and may be the final nail in the coffin of Barisan rule over the country.
The biggest winner
Lastly, the biggest winner of all is the thinking and writing Malaysian public. Not reported in the mainstream media and constantly ahead of the pundits and even legal analysts in their analysis of the Anwar case, Malaysians used the Internet to voice their outrage at the prosecution’s case and to call for an end to attempts to make a mockery of the justice system in the pursuit of power.
Cynical observers have argued that the judiciary is only free and fair when it suits Umno and the government, and that the verdict was only because its leaders felt that a guilty verdict would lead to a worse situation compared to discharging Anwar.
That may be true but it still is a testimony to the influence of new and vibrant voices of dissent aimed at reform and restoring a truly free and independent judiciary.
Dr Lim Teck Ghee is director, Centre for Policy Initiatives, Malaysia.
WE, the national delegates of the Democratic Action Party, assembled here at the National Conference in Shah Alam, Selangor, on 8th January 2012, hereby reaffirm the principles of the DAP and so duly commit to lead the way in effecting much-needed change in the form of democratisation and economic well being in order to achieve the Malaysian Dream of a more prosperous, democratic and dignified Malaysia.
We convey our highest salutations and heartiest congratulations to the Duli Yang Maha Mulia Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah on his proclamation as the 14th Yang di-Pertuan Agong of the Malaysian Federation. May his sovereign reign encourage and foster the spirit of democracy and human rights amongst his loyal subjects. Daulat Tuanku!
On the cusp of change
All around the world, change is happening with a ferocity unseen since the end of the Cold War. People in every corner of the globe, from Tahrir Square to Wall Street, are rising in unprecedented numbers. Formerly passive societies have suddenly discovered newfound courage to stand up and reclaim their dignity.
Dignity is the new keyword that has catalysed the global movement for change. Social and economic inequality, spiralling debt and unemployment, elites enriching themselves at the expense of the ordinary citizen, these are all common pictures across the world today.
Malaysia experienced a watershed moment of her own, when on the 9th of July 2011, Malaysians from all walks of life rose in unison to demand their rights for clean, free and fair elections. Young and old, from various parts of the country, tens of thousands of Malaysians flooded the streets of Kuala Lumpur in spite of the heavy-handed tactics of the authorities.
Like their counterparts in the Middle East, North Africa, America and Europe, Malaysians stood up because they could no longer accept having their dignity robbed day in and day out by leaders that sought only to enrich themselves.
As a nation blessed with natural resources, adequate infrastructure, a relatively young population and respectable levels of literacy and education, Malaysia has so much potential. Yet we are saddened each day to hear stories of corruption, outflow of illicit funds, a stagnating economy and a general decline in quality of life.
Today, Malaysia is on the cusp of change. In partnership with our friends in Pakatan Rakyat, DAP humbly offers itself as the agent of change for all Malaysians in an agenda that will place us on the path to achieving the Malaysian Dream.
In a global environment of rising inflation, high unemployment and spiralling indebtedness, the situation in Malaysia is not getting any better. To put matters into perspective, the bottom 60% of our population have an average household income of less than RM3,000 a month, while the bottom 40% live on less than RM1,500 a month.
More worryingly, Bank Negara’s Annual Report 2010 revealed that Malaysia’s household debt at the end of 2010 was RM 581 billion or 76 per cent of GDP, thus giving us the dubious honour of having the second-highest level of household debt in Asia, after South Korea.
In addition, the Malaysian household debt service ratio stood at 47.8 per cent in 2010, meaning that nearly half of the average family’s income goes to repaying debts. As a rule, banks would not lend money to those whose total servicing of interest exceeded one third of their income. In other words, we are spiralling into an indebted nation.
There does not seem to be a way out as income has also stagnated in the last 10 years. This has resulted in a dire situation whereby the bottom 40 per cent of our population earns only 14.3 per cent of the total income while the top 20 per cent shares 50 per cent of the total income.
To make matters worse, federal debt has now touched RM456 billion as at the end of last year while our debt-to-GDP (Gross Domestic Product) ratio has nearly reached the national debt ceiling of 55%.
In this context, we must look towards a new paradigm. The Barisan Nasional Government’s attempts at addressing this economic imbalance through pump-priming economics and acronym-filled programmes such as the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), Government Transformation Programme (GTP), National Key Economic Areas (NKEA) and so on unfortunately does not make any significant difference.
It is therefore time to introduce the concept of economic solidarity. By this we mean solidarity between the rich and the poor, between the urban and the rural, between the strong and the weak. Ultimately, our aim must be to build a society that empowers its people, especially the bottom 60% that really need it.
More than anything, we need to ensure economic survival and create economic solidarity through:
1. Implementing minimum wage.
2. Indexing minimum wage to the rate of inflation.
3. Fostering female participation in the work force.
4. Reducing reliance on unskilled foreign labour.
5. Moving up the value chain in automation and technology.
6. Addressing corruption and leakages through the CAT (Competency, Accountability, Transparency) Governance model.
7. Observing rule of law.
8. Upholding the legitimate rights of workers.
We also need to address the weaknesses inherent in the current system that is characterised by corruption, crony capitalism and monopolies. As the situation stands, Malaysia is the only rice-producing country that has privatised rice production and worse, consolidated it into a monopoly under a single crony capitalist company. As a result, while Thailand and Indonesia are self-sufficient, we are dependent on imported rice for one third of our consumption. And because of the monopoly, we are paying more for imported rice than even Singapore.
Another example of crony capitalism is the lop-sided Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) signed between Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) and the politically-linked Independent Power Producers (IPP). As a result, we have amassed high levels of electricity reserve margins because TNB is forced to buy electricity it doesn’t need. This extra burden on TNB is then passed on to the people in the form of electricity tariff increases.
The consistent pattern of our crony economy is the fact that well-connected cronies are fast enriching themselves at the expense of the people. This is also evident in the highway toll concession agreements that have been made between the Government and politically-connected toll operators, which allow them to increase their toll periodically over extended concession periods, despite the fact that most of them have already recouped vast profits far surpassing their investment outlays.
It is time that we replace this crony capitalistic economy with a “People’s Economy” that will focus on increasing disposable income and improving the basic foundations of skills, technology and productivity.
More than forty years ago, Malaysia was regarded as a wealthy country, what with all the natural resources we have been blessed with. Then, our GDP per capita was USD350 while South Korea trailed at USD130. Today, South Korea’s GDP per capita stands at around USD20,000 while we are languishing behind at around USD7,000. Forty years ago, the average Malaysian was three times richer than the average South Korean. Today, they are three times richer than us.
What happened in the last four decades? Why have we stagnated while countries that were previously inferior economically have now overtaken and far surpassed us? This has happened because human talent was not valued and maximised, freedom of opportunity was not encouraged and a system was fostered that rewards know-who rather than know-how. Merit and excellence became secondary to political connections.
Hence, we now need to rebuild our economy to achieve prosperity based on innovation and the ability to create and adapt to new and relevant ecosystems. For example, today is the age of the information superhighway. In order for us to prosper we will need to build internet-related industries and skills that are relevant to these industries.
We also need to build a new generation of entrepreneurs imbued with energy and expertise. However, entrepreneurship must necessarily be driven by the innovation, creativity and drive of the private sector. In this regard, we believe that the business of government is to get out of business. It is sufficient to plant the foundational seeds, but business must then be let to grow and thrive and do what they do best.
The Government’s role in cultivating economic prosperity is to invest in the future by concentrating on its social functions. Focus should be given to the areas of infrastructure, housing, education, transportation and healthcare, whereby a strong government role will ultimately result in improving the economic well-being of the people. For example, better public transportation will reduce the necessity to buy cars and thus immediately increase disposable income in place of car loans. The same applies with government intervention in affordable housing, education subsidies and healthcare.
In Penang, we have embarked on a series of social programmes that have lessened the burdens of the people. Besides hand-outs to target groups, we have also provided subsidies in kidney dialysis and free buses for commuters along certain routes. We have also managed to abolish hardcore poverty a year after taking over. Now, we are aiming to eliminate poverty altogether by 2015. If we can do this in Penang, we can do this for the rest of Malaysia.
Besides correcting economic injustices, there is also an urgent need to restore democracy. The most basic aspect of democracy is freedom, and thus we need to restore the dignity and freedom of the Rakyat through:
1. Institutional reform.
2. Clean, free and fair elections.
3. Fiscal and political decentralisation.
4. Freedom of speech, expression and assembly.
A country is only as good as its basic institutions. In Malaysia, there is a great crisis of confidence in the very institutions meant to protect us. DAP promises to make institutional reform a critical priority, starting with the Election Commission, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the Police Force, the Judiciary and Parliament.
Institutional reform also encompasses the revitalisation of our once proud and respected Civil Service. We will embark on a programme to restore the professionalism and efficiency of civil servants by improving their skills, environment and productivity. We will also ensure that salaries of civil servants are adequate and competitive, especially those at the support and administrative grades and not just those at the professional and upper management levels.
The Civil Service needs to be refined and respected and not reduced.
We also recognise the many sacrifices made by both our police and armed forces who work day in and day out to ensure our peace and security. We therefore seek to ensure that they are protected from predatory rentiers that abuse the system to enrich themselves at the expense of the rank and file.
Malaysians also demand the right to clean, free and fair elections. It is for this reason that Malaysians marched on 9th July 2011. The power to vote is a sacrosanct right, and any disenfranchisement of that right needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
Democratisation also necessarily entails decentralisation or devolvement of powers. This was a pivotal aspect of the democratisation processes that took place in South Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia. Yet in Malaysia, despite being a federation of states, power and authority has been increasingly centralised at the national level. As an example, in 1990, the combined total of all the state budgets made up 25 per cent of the federal budget. Today, it is less than 9 per cent. Clearly, there is a need for greater fiscal decentralisation in order to create greater empowerment at the local level.
The time of Federal Government knows best is over. Housing, transportation, garbage collection, sewerage, health and even education services should be devolved to the state government. How can someone sitting in Putrajaya be expected to make decisions on public transportation or garbage collection in Taiping or even Johor Bahru? How can the Federal Government meet the housing needs of the people when land is a state matter?
Malaysians yearn for their voices to be heard. A society that stifles free thought will suppress creativity and the cultivation of new ideas. Democratic space is therefore key to progress and competitiveness.
A culture of freedom must therefore be created, and what better way than to benchmark ourselves against the “Four Freedoms” as expounded by the United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his 1941 State of the Union address. These are:
1. Freedom of speech and expression.
2. Freedom of worship.
3. Freedom from want.
4. Freedom from fear.
Malaysia will never be able to move forward towards a high-income economy and developed-nation status until and unless we are able to provide our people with strong public institutions, restore their right to clean, free and fair elections, empower them with fiscal and political decentralisation and provide an environment that respects and encourages a culture of freedom.
The Malaysian Dream
The impetus is upon us now to forge a better future for Malaysia, one that is truly Malaysian, where no dream is impossible, where everyone can express their thoughts in peace, where justice and security is guaranteed and where prosperity and dignity is assured.
This is the Malaysian Dream. A new national landscape built upon the foundational ideals of a Malaysian Malaysia where every citizen is Malaysian First and where moderation and cooperation is celebrated through the Middle Malaysia ideal and where there is no room for extremism and bigotry.
We aspire for the Malaysian Dream, and in the pursut of this dream, we would like to reafirm our commitments as thus:
1. To defend our system of Parliamentary Democracy and Constitutional Monarchy with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as the Head of State. DAP is committed to upholding the Federal Constitution as the most supreme law of the country and to honour it in the spirit of Merdeka 1957 and the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
2. To preserve the special position of the Malays and Bumiputeras while protecting the rights of other races as enshrined in Article 153 of the Federal Constitution.
3. To safeguard the position of Islam as the religion of the Federation while simultaneously championing the freedom of other religions to be practised in peace and harmony, as enshrined in Articles 3 and 11 of the Federal Constitution.
4. To dignify Bahasa Melayu as the National Language as enshrined in Article 152 of the Federal Constitution, while encouraging the use and study of other mother tongues in order to create a society that excels through language diversity.
5. To champion the right of the Rakyat to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of association as enshrined in Article 10 of the Federal Consitution.
6. To honour the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the rights of the people of Sabah and Sarawak.
7. To dignify all Malaysians through the eradication of poverty and a more equitable distribution of wealth, and empowering the Rakyat through equal opportunities for all without discrimination based on gender, skin colour or religion.
8. To cultivate a learned and broad-minded civil society with academic and intellectual freedom without the shackles of the University and University Colleges Act.
9. To ensure the right of every citizen to clean, free and fair elections.
10. To put an end to deaths, abuses or injuries inflicted in the custody of security agencies.
11. To establish integrity and leadership and to fight corruption by implementing open tenders, publicising the contents of government contracts and agreements, and publicly declaring assets of all government leaders.
12. To review the lop-sided agreements with crony capitalist companies such as the Power Purchase Agreements with the Independent Power Producers and the highway toll concessions with the toll operators.
Malaysia is a rich country blessed with every resource imaginable. It is unfathomable that today, 55 years after Merdeka and 49 years since the formation of Malaysia, our social, political and economic institutions have degenerated into a quagmire of greed, cronyism and corruption.
Not only is our country now politically and economically impaired, the systematic and extremist machinations of the Barisan Nasional Government has also left our society treading on thin ice. The future of our country is at stake unless we act collectively and immediately.
Four years ago, we were entrusted with an opportunity to prove that we can institute change. In that time, we have shown that we are able to punch above our weight. We have shown that with a clear agenda of economic solidarity and democracy, we can make a difference. Now, we seek to bring this agenda to the national level.
And there is no more opportune time than now. Today, the opportunity to transform our country is real and before us. Today, the vindication of right over might is at hand. Our party has persevered for 46 years for this very moment. Let us now stand together, united in diversity and committed to our ideals.
The temperature is lower now after a few days of enlightenment for RPK. RPK is not seeking for popularity, be famous or a materialist. It is you, the people that go after him, believe in him, follow him and to some, worshipping him like an angle. I would say it is leaning more towards a cult like fascination.
I must admit that I did once adore this man, met him once at the 2007 Anti-ISA Bersih rally, a nice, gentle and quiet man. I would say that he is still that same kind of person even though his recent interviews may let many people thought otherwise.
RPK is playing a game, a game that only one person can play and he sets his own game plan, rules and regulations while you, the people are the guessing spectators. Each time he played his game the people will start guessing what it is.
Since his unfortunate pressured departure from Malaysia, RPK is no longer aligned to anyone or party but himself. He is a one man show and he plotted his game plan very carefully and he played it well. In a cult like manner, he listen only to himself and play his game, the type to his own liking and when to play it. Since he is outside the boundary he has nothing to lose, he does not care if you are happy or not with him as long as he felt that every game he played he is the winner.
The latest interview with NST is one of his game plan but may have gone off course unexpectedly. Did umno really gain anything from it? Who is umno targeting from this news, the rural or urban folks? I would say none. The urban folks are able to sense what is going on and why umno is so hard press to get this interview. For the rural folks, they are scratching their heads, apa ini? Not long ago they are fed with all sorts of denial of what RPK wrote, RPK is a fugitive, a wanted man and a liar and today they are praising him. These latest interview added no value to umno and may harm them even more.
The first game RPK lost or is it? There must be a winner and who is the winner if umno and RPK lost? Of course its the rakyat, the voters and to an extend Pakatan Rakyat. Maybe RPK did not lose after all, this may be what he wanted it to be. To arouse the anger of fence sitters and his faithful followers to look deeper and seek the right choice.
Yes, RPK does not like to lose in his own game, that is why you are seeing his latest bombardment against the Selangor Government because he is challenged. He does not care whether what he wrote are the truth or lies, its not in his game book to write the truth all the times.
So do not get over excited when RPK has another pow wow with umno, another time another game. Just follow his game but always lookout for the positive aspect of the game.
Lastly, many are asking, 'is RPK being bought over, a turn-coat'? The answer will be known if anyone knows what has become of Bala lately. RPK has yet to play the latest Bala game, when, no one knows accept RPK himself.
I am not going to respond to the xenophobic responses around news that Aspan Alias and Sakmongkol are about to join DAP. No explanation will be able to change preconceived biases. So why bother? So we are about to join or have joined DAP. The DAP is a democratic party committed to the rule of law, good governance and good government. It abhors corruption and abuse of political office. To me those are attractive propositions. UMNO on the other hand has turned its back on these. It harps only on one primal worry of Malays- when UMNO is threatened it shares the threat with Malays at large. So a threat to UMNO is translated mindlessly into a threat to Malays as a whole. Nothing can be farther from the truth. That is how UMNO has approached politics in Malaysia basically- make its fears public, make the gains private for selected Malays within UMNO. I have only one message to that- those salad days and that halcyon period are over. UMNO is trapped by its own successes. Indeed its supporters and leaders assume ownership of the wrong things and end up digging in to support the wrong choices. My answer is, if we do indeed change our political vehicle that is what we are actually doing. Don’t read our move as blasphemous or treasonable. The DAP is more relevant and functional in achieving a more democratic and abuse-free society. As a Muslim, we are changing wadah not aqidah. So, I thought it would be more substantive to answer my critics by writing an article, why shouldn’t Malays embrace DAP politics? That’s the only way to dominate and conquer your fears. How has DAP politics been inimical to the general political health of this country? Can any DAP Chinese leader be a PM when it’s contesting only at most 50-55 seats? Can any DAP non Malay leader harbor the dream of becoming a PM in a country dominated by Malays? Has the DAP threatened the institution of Malay rulers? DAP has never done that or will not be mad to countenance such rebellious idea, but UMNO on the other hand has insulted the Malay rulers way back in 1998 constitutional crisis. Can we reasonably accept the allegation that the DAP is instrumental in claims that Malays are being converted into Christians when most DAP members are not themselves Christians? We have to do better than that to take Malays as imbeciles. Only UMNO seems to do that. But DAP is Chinese chauvinist party and anti-Malay. I will answer by examining the deeds rather than slogans. When I was an ADUN in the Pahang Legislative assembly ( 2004-2008) I have never heard the lone DAP member ever speak about anti Malay themes. He spoke about abuse of power, about mindless spending, he spoke about maladministration. The first book Lim Kit Siang writes that I read was Time Bombs in Malaysia. After that I read so many books written by Kit Siang that touched on the Maika Scandals, the BMF financial scandal and so on. If we are honest enough, we have to admit, the issues raised were never about one race dominating the other but were always about the abuses of those in power, corruption, and a continuous attack on policies that are ruinous to this country. So we are going to oppose Kit Siang on the basis of the fact that these things are spoken of by a Chinaman? To the Chinese UMNO is also a chauvinist Malay party except, their leaders can be easily bought. The Malay will sell all to abandon their cause. Er…correction, the UMNO Malay, I mean. I would also like to respond by saying- why Malays should consider joining DAP en masse. It’s a party committed to democratic principles and rule of law. I can only imagine, so many can prosper under a regime of freedom of speech within DAP. I can speak on the plight of the displaced and disowned Malays with more energy than allowed of in UMNO. The interest of Malays can be fought of on any political platform other than UMNO. That is what UMNO fears. Its monopoly is broken. So the past week I have had many friends calling me asking whether it’s true I am joining DAP? Some folks in my hometown, Pekan refer to me now as Dato DAP. I find the responses somewhat amusing and comical. There was a comment reminding me and Aspan as to who started May 13? The thrust of that reminder is to remind us; of his and others belief that DAP started the May 13 incident. Ok, you want to play ball, we play ball too. Since you want to know, what if I say Tun Razak allowed it to happen because the ensuing troubles would give him an excuse to kick out Tengku Abdul Rahman? The point is, there was no single contributor to the May 13 incident. But I would place some blame on Tun Razak who as Home Minister allowed things to degenerate. He allowed it so that a proclamation of emergency can be made. Finally, let me deal with certain responses from certain pro UMNO bloggers. The chief spokesman is of course that paid lackey and buffoon of a regurgitating machine. He does nothing but regurgitate material passed on to him by his paymasters. The material he writes and posts therefore emits the strong smell of vomit. The owner of the lard layered brain does what he does best- spewing personal attacks. And so he invites comments from likeminded mental gnomes to do what he has orchestrated. Why the paranoia? If we are not good, failed ADUN, bankrupt politicians, it will be cinch for any winnable UMNO candidates to beat us. So, it’s no cause of concern or a sleep depriver. But please remember to stop telling lies about us so that we can promise not to tell the truth about you. I see a sense of hopelessness. They cannot attack our nationalist credentials because we are as Malay as they are too ( to some we are , in fact more Malay in appearance and in thinking) – so they do what they do best. Attack me on the personal side. No big deal. My advice to these UMNO bloggers is simple. Please stop telling lies about me, and I promise not to tell the truth about you people. And telling the truth about you people includes telling the truth about top UMNO leaders including the PM who is Pekan UMNO division head. If we are so easily beatable, then why all the fuss? We can’t do damage to invincible UMNO. We on the other hand, see UMNO as the party before, presently and forever stealing, pillaging and ruining the country.