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Monday, October 29, 2012

Barisan Nasional has lost all credibility, legitimacy and moral authority to continue to rule in Malaysia

Lim Kit Siang

The latest report to emanate from the Barisan Nasional camp is that in the 13th General Election, it expects to win more than the 140 parliamentary seats it took in the 2008 General Election and that its worst-case scenario is winning just over 120 seats.

But this is only one of the many projections making their rounds with the worst-case scenario for the Barisan Nasional ranging from the bleak one of losing majority control of Parliament to the even more dismal one which would give Barisan Nasional a total of less than 100 parliamentary seats.

For the first time in the nation’s 55-year history and in thirteen General Elections, Malaysian voters have within their hands the power to decide whether the time has come for a change of Federal government although this would be heavily dependent on whether the next general election is a free, fair and clean one.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak is not confident that he will survive unscathed to continue as the sixth Prime Minister after the 13GE, and this is why he had dillied and dallied for almost two years over when to call for general election although he cannot be unaware of the pressure from the ignominy of being the longest unelected Prime Minister without his own national mandate for the highest office in the land.

Whatever the electorate’s verdict in the 13GE, what is becoming increasingly evident is that Barisan Nasional has lost all credibility, legitimacy and moral authority to continue to rule in Malaysia because it is prepared to undermine the Malaysian nation-building process with contradictory lies, deceit and hypocrisy when campaigning to different racial groups.

To the Malays, UMNO leaders and propagandists spread lies and falsehoods as warning that DAP will be the real power if Pakatan Rakyat forms the federal government in the 13GE, that the Malays will lose political power and become “beggars in their own land”, the position of Islam as the official religion of the country would be displaced with Malaysia becoming a Christian state, the Rulers would be abolished and Malaysia become a Republic.

To the Chinese, MCA leaders and propagandists spread lies and falsehoods as warning that PAS will be the real power if Pakatan Rakyat forms the federal government in the 13 GE, hudud laws would be implemented resulting in the further undermining of non-Muslim rights and interests while non-Muslim women would no more be safe as they could be raped by Muslims – all reminiscent of the MCA and Gerakan lies and falsehoods in the 1999 General Election that a vote for DAP was a vote for PAS and an Islamic State where there will be no pork, no alcohol, no temples, no Chinese schools, beautiful women would not be able to find jobs and there would be a chopping of hands and feet.

UMNO leaders and propagandists do not believe in the lies, falsehoods and deceit perpetrated by the MCA among the Chinese, just as MCA leaders and propagandists do not believe in the lies, falsehoods and deceit perpetrated by UMNO among the Malays – but they are not prepared to expose or deny the respective lies and falsehoods as it serves the objective of trying to frighten the different racial groups and stampede them to vote for Barisan Nasional in the 13GE.

This is where Pakatan Rakyat differs from Barisan Nasional. We do not send out different messages to different groups of Malaysians, whether racial, religious or geographical.

Pakatan Rakyat and the component parties of DAP, PKR and PAS have only one and the same message for all Malaysians – to restore justice, freedom, democracy and good governance and to uphold the fundamental features of the Malaysian Constitution.

In contrast, Barisan Nasional continues its divisive and destructive role to perpetuate its “divide and rule” tactics, sowing the politics of hate and conflict with conflicting and contradictory messages for different ethnic and religious groups in the country.

How can the Barisan Nasional reconcile the lies, falsehoods and deceit spread by UMNO among Malays with the lies, falsehoods and deceit spread by MCA among the Chinese?

This is why I say that the Barisan Nasional has lost all credibility, legitimacy and moral authority to continue to rule in Malaysia because it is prepared to undermine Malaysian nation-building with contradictory lies, deceit and hypocrisy when campaigning to different racial groups – which tear into smithereens Najib’s high-falutin but meaningless 1Malaysia slogan and policy!

This is also why Barisan Nasional deserves to be defeated and replaced by Pakatan Rakyat as the new federal government in Putrajaya in the 13GE.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

25th Anniversary of Operasi Lalang

Change of government needed to undo all the adverse effects of 25-year Operation Lalang on democracy, human rights and national institutions   Lim Kit Siang

Lim Kit Siang, a victim himself in this operation lalang speaks his mind; read it here.

And Twenty-five years later, camaraderie in adversity by Liew Chin Tong, read it at TMI

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Has Chua Soi Lek turned MCA into Malaysian Charlatans Party by keeping quiet on Jamil’s parliamentary answer on hudud?

Lim Kit Siang

Has the MCA President Datuk Seri Dr. Chua Soi Lek turned MCA into “Malaysian Charlatans Party” by keeping quiet on the hudud answer given by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom in Parliament on Tuesday, exposing the utter hypocrisy of the MCA campaign on hudud in the past two years?

Yesterday, in my media statement “UMNO/MCA’s ‘Devil’s Compact’ confirmed by Mahathir within 24 hours”, I had posed the question to Chua and the MCA leadership whether Jamil’s parliamentary reply “if hudud laws are implemented in Malaysia, they will not have any implications on non-Muslims” represented the stand of MCA in Cabinet and BN, “and if not, what are they going to do about it”.

There has been no answer but only thunderous silence!

How can this be the case when in the past two years, Chua had been leading his coterie of MCA Ministers and Deputy Ministers up and down the country with only one campaign theme – that it is a “lie” that hudud laws will not affect non-Muslims.

Using the language of Chua and MCA leaders in their nation-wide campaign in the past two years, are they going to “chastise” Jamil for telling such a “lie” in Parliament, will they demand firm action to be taken by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak against Jamil as his parliamentary answer is contrary to the stand of the four MCA Ministers in Cabinet and the MCA national leadership in the Barisan Nasional or is MCA going to sever ties with UMNO over Jamil’s parliamentary answer?

Or is Chua and MCA Ministers and leaders just playing a political game, without any real conviction whatsoever, and their role is exactly as that described by former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir, viz: MCA’s “hardline stance” against hudud law was “merely aimed at scaring the Chinese community and not aimed at the Malays or Muslims”, which was why MCA “never objected” when Mahathir unilaterally, arbitrarily and unconstitutionally made the “929 Declaration” that Malaysia was an Islamic State at the Gerakan National Delegates’ Conference on September 29, 2001.

Unlike MCA, DAP’s stand on hudud is clear, consistent and principled – that it is not suitable for Malaysia’s plural society and is not part of Pakatan Rakyat’s common policy platform.

In contrast, MCA is only playing an irresponsible political game as when it comes to the crunch in the final analysis, it would comply with UMNO’s wishes and dictates as happened in the unconstitutional and arbitrary “929 Declaration” that Malaysia is an Islamic State.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

UMNO/MCA “Devil’s Compact” confirmed by Mahathir within 24 hours

Lim Kit Siang

Yesterday, I publicly said that MCA and UMNO leaders have reached a “Devil’s Compact” for each side to tell the most blatant lies and falsehoods to frighten Chinese and Malay voters respectively in their desperate belief that such politics of hate and duplicity is the only way to stampede Chinese and Malay voters to vote for Barisan Nasional in the 13th General Election.

I had expected MCA and UMNO leaders and their propagandists to embark on prolonged polemics to deny the existence of such an unholy compact and to throw up all sorts of “red herrings” to distract attention from the “Devil’s Compact”.

What I least expected was for my expose of UMNO/MCA’s “Devil’s Compact” to be confirmed within 24 hours in a most authoritative fashion and in a manner completely disarming and stripping the MCA and UMNO leaders and propagandists bare of their wiles and hypocrisies.

There is only one person who could perform such a feat – Tun Dr. Mahathir and this was exactly what he did yesterday.

At a media conference yesterday at the Universiti Malaya symposium “Inter-civilisation dialogue towards peace, harmonious co-existence and sustainability”, Mahathir admitted that MCA’s “hardline stance” against hudud law at last weekend’s MCA General Assembly was merely aimed at “scaring” the Chinese community and was not aimed at the Malays or Muslims.

Mahathir said:

“Their purpose is to frighten the Chinese, not the Malays or Muslims… MCA wants to scare the Chinese so they will shun DAP.

“In the past, MCA never objected when we declared this country to be an Islamic state and that we will practice Islamic values.”

Yesterday, in a written reply in Parliament, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Senator Datuk Sri Jamil Khir Baharom said that if hudud laws are implemented in Malaysia, they will not have any implications on non-Muslims.

The MCA President Datuk Seri Dr. Chua Soi Lek and the four MCA Ministers should explain whether Jamil’s answer represents the stand of MCA in Cabinet and the Barisan Nasional, and if not, what are they going to do about it.

Mahathir’s confirmation that UMNO and MCA have a “Devil’s Compact” where each side can tell the most blatant lies and falsehoods to respectively frighten Malay and Chinese voters and stampede them to vote for Barisan Nasional deserve the serious attention and strongest condemnation of all Malaysians.

In their “Devil’s Compact”, UMNO leaders keep their silence regardless of the lies disseminated by MCA leaders “to scare the Chinese”, including falsehoods which UMNO leaders know are utterly baseless, such as MCA defamation of PAS and Islam for condoning rape of non-Muslims or for trying to set Malaysia back to the “Dark Ages”.

Similarly, MCA leaders keep their silence although they do not believe UMNO lies and falsehoods “to scare the Malays”, that DAP wants to create a Christian Malaysia, abolish the Malay Rulers and set up a Republic!

I am reminded of a general surgeon’s blog yesterday commenting on the 59th MCA General Assembly, who concluded:

“In fact the MCA General Assembly may have struck the final nail to its coffin as to most Malaysians, the MCA has become irrelevant, so is Gerakan, MIC and to some extent Umno. The demise of these race based parties may be a blessing in disguise as we need multi-racial parties to move forwards to survive in a globalized and highly competitive world.”

This is the greatest challenge for all Malaysian voters in the 13GE, whether we are to move forwards as Malaysians with a common vision of hope and optimism that Malaysians united as one people regardless of race, religion, class or territory is the best guarantee for the country to stand tall to compete with the rest of the world or we allow ourselves to wallow in the politics of corruption and greed sowing inter-racial and inter-religious hatred, suspicion and distrust through lies and falsehoods which will only condemn the country to the trajectory of a failed state.

Pakatan Rakyat stands for the former to unite all Malaysians to forge a common destiny while Barisan Nasional stands for the latter, persisting in its “divide-and-rule” tactics among the different racial and religious groups to continue to serve the interests of the Umno-putras and their cronies.

Let the demise of the race-based parties reach its high-water mark in the 13GE.

Pakatan Rakyat stands for the future while Barisan Nasional represents the past!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Can we accept the government’s explanations regarding the AES ?

This article is about the latest implementation of the Automated Enforcement System (AES) which many people and MPs from both sides of the divide have wanted postponed pending more detailed evaluation.

I fully support the AES provided that it is carried out professionally, it can educate the public about the dangers of speeding, running against the red lights and other misdemeanors related to driving.

The reasons for my objection to its present implementation are as follows:

1 Privatisation

Privatizing to two companies without giving sufficient details and claiming that this is not about issuing summons or profiting certain companies but implementation at zero cost to the government is unacceptable..

The first question that comes to mind is this : Would two private companies be willing to invest over RM700 million if they were not making a profit?

The second question is : If the system is not about issuing summons, what then is it for? for and if the system is without summonses, who is going to pay the two private companies?

And the final question is : What guarantee is there that no bailout of the two private companies will occur if indeed lesser summonses are issued and the two private companies cannot recoup their initial costs within five years?

2 Capability in reducing road fatalities?

There are many reasons for road accidents, including reckless driving, driver's ill-health poor eyesight, drunk driving, tiredness, mechanical faults, adverse weather, poor road surface,etc

Speeding has not been included in the list above for the simple reason that it is not a cause of any accident. 'Speed kills' only when it hit something due to an accident that can happen as per the many reasons above!

So, to claim that implementing the AES will reduce fatalities is not a good enough reason.

3 Research and Development (R & D) as well as Quality Control (QC)

Malaysia is among the top countries with records of high car accident rates and death on the road. Has any government department dealing with health, transportation, spare part industries and building of highways made any attempt to find out the reasons why?

In any car accident, who do you likely to see first arriving at the scene, the tow truck, the police or an ambulance? The answer is definitely the tow truck.

After the police have finished with their investigation work, where would the wrecked car be towed to? Most likely to a private workshop.

How many wrecked cars from accidents are towed to RTD or the police R&D department for further inspection to find out whether the accident was due to any mechanical failure?

Is there any government agency to oversee the sales of auto accessories and spare parts to ensure that important spare parts like brake pads and tires meet acceptable standards?

Has the government done thorough research into the causes of accidents and accompanying statistics of at least the last ten years? Have they any statistics to show that deaths caused by accidents will not happen if the driving speed is 110kph and below?

The absence of committed studies, research and statistics to show the different causes of accidents will devalue the implementation of AES.

4 AES is not a money-making machine

Can you believe that two companies are willing to set up the AES at a whopping RM700 million and are not hoping to make a profit? The government knows that most people will pay up the RM300 fine imposed.

To prove that the government is not ‘whitewashing’ the rakyat with regards to their explanation re. implementing the AES, can I suggest the following be executed when drivers receive their summons under the AES?

a First-time offenders: 60 hours of community service at the police station nearest to their homes – to include chores like sweeping the compound, grass-cutting, cleaning drains, washing the office windows, tables and chairs.

b Second-time offenders: 6 months’ suspension of driving license plus 100 hours of community service as per above and to include areas within 100 meters’ radius of the police station.

c Third-time offenders: 2 years’ suspension of driving license plus two thousand ringgit fine plus 200 hours of community service as per item b above.

d Fourth-time offenders: Lifetime suspension of driving license plus five thousand ringgit fine plus 500 hours of community service as per item b above.

5 Conclusion

The government must acknowledge that death can happen in any accident, even if the driving speed is 60kph and not over 110kph. It all depends on the impact with objects, location, car quality and other reasons and causes.

The driving tests must be more rigorous and high standards for passing enforced. Automobile workshops must have qualified technicians to repair and service cars.

The quality of our very own Malaysian cars needs to be improved. Is the full-fledged crash test facility that is being set up in Malacca in operation now?

Implementing AES is only a small part of the overall application to solve the high rates of car accidents and death on the roads. Unless the above measures are taken, the implementation of AES will not be of much help.

History contradicts minister’s arguments that Malaysia is not secular

By Zurairi AR | TMI

Historical accounts show that Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Hussein Onn had both said Malaysia is a secular state, contradicting de facto law minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz’s remarks in Parliament today that the country had no secularist roots.

Nazri told Parliament today that Malaysia has never been declared or endorsed as a secular state, arguing that the country was formed of the Malay Sultanate, an Islamic government and, unlike countries like the United States, India or Turkey, was never declared as secular.

His remarks today come amid debate over the status of the Federal Constitution. It was also made despite a previous Supreme Court ruling that said Malaysia is a secular state, as well as previous statements made by earlier leaders such as the Tunku, the country’s first prime minister.

Tunku Abdul Rahman had referred to Malaysia as a secular state, and not an Islamic one, on a number of separate occasions.

He was first recorded telling Parliament on May 1, 1958: “I would like to make it clear that this country is not an Islamic state as it is generally understood; we merely provided that Islam shall be the official religion of the State.”

The Star had also reported Tunku speaking on February 8, 1983 at a gathering to celebrate his 80th birthday, with the headline “Don’t make Malaysia an Islamic state ― Tunku”, where he said “the country has a multi-racial population with various beliefs. Malaysia must continue as a secular state with Islam as the official religion.”

In the same newspaper, Malaysia’s third PM, Tun Hussein Onn, was reported as supporting his predecessor in rejecting Malaysia being made an Islamic state.

“The nation can still be functional as a secular state with Islam as the official religion,” Hussein said.

National University of Singapore’s Hussin Mutalib had interviewed Tunku for his book, Islam in Malaysia: From Revivalism to Islamic State.

In the interview, Tunku said: “…There is no way we should have an Islamic state here … The nature of our political parties, our coalition government, our democracy, and our multiracial life are sufficient foundations which can be used to build a prosperous and peaceful Malaysia. Why must we look to Iran and other Islamic states?”

An Islamic state is defined as a country where the primary basis for government is Islamic religious rule, the Syariah law. Article 3 of the Federal Constitution states that Islam is the religion of the Federation, and it is used to support the claim that Malaysia is an Islamic state rather than secular.

However, in drafting the Constitution of Malaysia, the Reid Commission had this to say about Islam as an official religion, in its report in February 1957: “The observance of this principle shall not impose any disability on non-Muslim nationals professing and practising their own religion and shall not imply that the state is not a secular state.”

According to the same report, the Council of Rulers (Majlis Raja-Raja) were against the inclusion of such provision: “It is Their Highnesses’ considered view that it would not be desirable to insert some declaration such as has been suggested that the Muslim Faith or Islamic Faith be the established religion of the Federation.”

Justice Abdul Hamid, a member of the Reid Commission from Pakistan, was the main proponent for inserting the provision. “A provision like one suggested above is innocuous. Not less than fifteen countries of the world have a provision of this type entrenched in their Constitutions,” Hamid said in the report.

“(This) declaration has not been found to have caused hardships to anybody, no harm will ensue if such a declaration is included in the Constitution of Malaya.”

The 1988 Che Omar bin Che Soh v. P.P. case in Supreme Court (now Federal Court) is commonly quoted in support of secular Malaysia.

In his judgment, then Lord President Salleh Abbas summarised: “…We have to set aside our personal feelings because the law in this country is still what it is today, secular law, where morality not accepted by the law is not enjoying the status of law.”

The position of Malaysia as a secular state went unchallenged until it was declared otherwise by the nation’s fourth PM, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, in September 29, 2001, while launching Gerakan’s National Delegates Conference.

“Umno wishes to state clearly that Malaysia is an Islamic nation,” the former premier announced, after PAS challenged Umno to declare Malaysia an Islamic state. “This is based on the opinions of many clerics (ulama) who have explained the concept of Islamic state in the past. For the public’s information, a cleric has even written a book titled Malaysia Is an Islamic state.”

Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s administration first declared the country as an Islamic country in July 17, 2007. Then-Deputy PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak told reporters after officiating the International Conference on the Role of Islamic States in a Globalised World: “Islam is the official religion and we are an Islamic nation. But as an Islamic nation, it does not mean that we don’t respect the non-Muslims. The Muslims and the non-Muslims have their own rights (in this country).”

This statement was echoed by Abdullah in a parliamentary written reply. “Malaysia is an Islamic country which is administered based on the principles of Islam and at the same time adheres to the principles of parliamentary democracy guided by the highest law of the land – the Federal Constitution.”

Should Government Scholars Be Grateful?

By Kee Thuan Chye | Malaysian Digest

Should recipients of government scholarships be grateful? Grateful to whom?

I’m asking this because former minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil mentioned recently that PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli was a Petronas scholar and yet he appeared to be going against the people who had given him the scholarship. As the Petronas scholarship is a government scholarship, she implied he was being “ungrateful”.

She even suggested that other young people of Rafizi’s generation might also be “ungrateful”.

But should Rafizi – and other Petronas scholars, indeed all government scholars, including those awarded the Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam (JPA) scholarships – be beholden to the Government and eternally grateful to it?

First of all, what is “the Government”?

It is the entity that rules and administers the country. And in our democracy, it is made up of the party or parties that won the most number of parliamentary seats in the last general election to gain the right to rule the country.

This party or parties can lose the next general election and cease to be “the Government”. In other words, it is only the government of the day.

Governments come and go, as people say, which means no party or parties can claim ownership of the title “Government” forever.

Barisan Nasional (BN) is the coalition of parties that makes up the current government of the day. In years to come, it may no longer be that. In fact, it may cease to be that sooner if it loses the upcoming 13th general election.

So if “the Government” is something that is subject to change, how can anyone be beholden to “the Government”? How can anyone be eternally grateful to “the Government”?

To supposedly back up her call, Shahrizat said, “I come from a generation that is grateful for things happening to you and we are taught not to bite that hand that feeds you. And somebody who is seen as biting the hand that feeds you would be deemed as derhaka (betrayal).”

But whose is “the hand that feeds” all recipients of government scholarships?

Where does the money to fund the scholarships come from?

Does it all come from the pockets of the ruling elite that helms the government of the day?

Of course not. The money comes from the rakyat. The money from the taxes they pay goes into the coffers of the government of the day. Of course there’s also Petronas money, but that is also the rakyat’s money. And part of this collective money goes into funding scholarships.

By this simple reasoning, “the hand that feeds” all government scholars is the hand of the rakyat.

So if government scholars need to be grateful, they should be grateful to the rakyat. Not the government of the day.

They can show their gratitude by serving the rakyat, by looking after its interests.

Rafizi chose to do this by joining an Opposition party.

Since looking after the rakyat’s interests is what political parties – ruling or Opposition – should do, his opting for that should not be an issue.

After all, the ruling party is supposed to ensure that the rakyat’s welfare is served through the policies it formulates and implements while the Opposition parties are supposed to point out lapses in the implementation and expose the shortcomings. Simplistically put, they should both serve the same cause.

By that token, Rafizi – as well as other government scholarship recipients – should be free to join whichever party they choose. It is their democratic right. Besides, our Federal Constitution itself grants every citizen the right to free association.

Indeed, by exposing the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) scandal, Rafizi was actually serving the rakyat’s interests. He showed us that our money which was given to the National Feedlot Corporation was allegedly not being used to serve its avowed purpose.

How then could Shahrizat suggest the contrary – that Rafizi was being ungrateful to the provider of his scholarship and was committing derhaka?

What derhaka? He should instead be commended for what he did. In fact, he should deserve the rakyat’s gratitude.

Speaking of gratitude, there is one thing more – something basic which I think needs to be examined.

Why should Rafizi or any young person be grateful at all to anyone for getting a government scholarship?

I think they need not be. Because it is the responsibility of the State to see that our young get proper education. If we the rakyat pay taxes that go into giving the young scholarships, we should accept it because we are helping to fulfil that responsibility. It is money correctly spent. It’s like what we would do for our own children.

Besides, as citizens, these young people are entitled to such help – provided they deserve it. And if they are entitled to it, why should they need to be grateful?

From what we can see of Rafizi’s track record and the things he has done in the public sphere, he appears to be a brilliant man. He must have deserved his Petronas scholarship. If, as a taxpayer, I were to have had a hand in funding his education, I would have been more than happy for having done that.

I would not expect him to be grateful – although he has nonetheless performed his duty to society by exposing the NFC scandal.

And by extension, I would not expect any deserving government scholarship recipient to be grateful.

They needed it, we helped. That’s the end of the matter.

Kee Thuan Chye is the author of the bestselling book No More Bullshit, Please, We’re All Malaysians, available in bookstores together with its Malay translation, Jangan Kelentong Lagi, Kita Semua Orang Malaysia.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

MCA’s death knell gets louder

Stanley Koh | FMT

The party goes into a crucial annual assembly amidst doubts over its chances of recovery.

Chinese voters are no longer asking whether MCA will remain credible as part of the ruling coalition, but whether it will survive even as an opposition party.

The general belief is that it will do worse in the 13th general election than the bruising it got in 2008, and most of the blame is placed on Dr Chua Soi Lek’s leadership, or rather the lack of it.

At the party’s 59th annual general assembly this weekend, Chua will no doubt try to boost party morale in preparation for the impending election. Sources familiar with his style predict that he will use emotional rhetoric aimed at imbuing the rank and file with the fighting spirit necessary to pull off the miraculous feat of winning more seats than the party did in 2008.

He is also expected to emphasise that he has brought unity and stability to the party, as he has done on many occasions. His detractors in the party say the claim sounds more hollow and frivolous with each repetition.

Chua, 65, limped into the MCA presidency in April 2010, carrying a tremendous amount of moral baggage. Since then the party has plunged ever more deeply into the political abyss, with no convincing sign that it will recover any time before the election.

Such is the pessimism within a sizeable section of the membership. But many prefer to whisper to each other about their grievances and frustrations rather than discuss them openly, mostly for fear of being accused of disloyalty in the face of a seemingly formidable Pakatan Rakyat, specifically DAP.

When Chua took over as the MCA’s ninth president, many party insiders regretted, saying the event was an ugly stain on the legacy of the third largest Chinese organisation in the world.

They were not referring only to the confession two years earlier that he was the protagonist in a widely distributed pornographic video, but also to his alleged plotting against rivals as he worked his way to the top. Some have said that his political machinations were even sleazier than his sexual indiscretion.

Details of the alleged plotting against former presidents Ong Ka Ting and Ong Tee Keat might one day emerge. For now, however, insiders claiming to be in the know would only speak in general terms, perhaps out of love for the party and in the hope that it will somehow tide over these trying times and one day regain its lost glory.

Recalling Chua’s assertion that he was not interested in any executive position in MCA, they say he was in fact all the while manoeuvring his way to the top, getting himself appointed as Barisan Nasional’s chief coordinator, and then contesting and winning the deputy presidency of MCA and eventually the presidency.

They accuse him of being behind the “Save MCA Campaign” that forced an open inquiry into a so-called “snoop squad”, which in turn undermined the credibility of then president Ong Ka Ting.

Glaring favouritism

They note that many of the party activists who lobbied for the March 2010 EGM that installed him as party president have been rewarded with ministerial and senatorial posts and top jobs in the party and agencies linked to the party. Others are potential candidates in the coming general election.

Such glaring favouritism makes nonsense of his claims of success in uniting the party. Detractors say he had better leave out any talk of unity in his speech this Saturday (today) unless he is not concerned about being called a liar.

Like Umno, MCA is facing the grim possibility of losing votes from even its traditional base of supporters. Analyses of figures from the 2008 election show that sizeable numbers of card-carrying members rejected both parties. The question now is not whether those members will return to the fold this time around, but how many more will join them in giving votes to the opposition.

What about Chinese voters not affiliated with either MCA or any of the opposition parties – the so-called fence sitters? Since they are not involved in any factional animosity, is there any chance that they are impressed enough by Chua’s leadership to give their votes to MCA?

“Me and my friends are not supportive of MCA as a party and consider its role as no longer relevant,” Gary Lim, a 32-year-old insurance executive, told FMT.

Lim, like many voters in his age group, said he resented being treated like a fool by MCA’s propaganda machine.

Referring to what he described as “distortions and lies” about PAS, he said: “It’s as if we’re all so ignorant, or we don’t have other sources of information.

“I have friends from all over Malaysia, and many are from Kelantan. They told me they are living harmoniously there. In fact, they even boast about how liberal the Kelantan government is. I’ve been told that there is even a place where a pork seller does his business close to a mosque.”

Lim said he doubted that the 13th general election would see MCA doing even as well as it did in 2008.

Tony Leong, 50, said Chua and his party appeared to be lacking in sincerity. He said MCA should look at itself in the mirror before accusing rival parties of neglecting their duties to the electorate.

“Recently,” he said, “I read in the news about an MCA leader accusing the opposition of not doing anything at all.

“That is a sweeping statement and a blatant lie. I live in Taman Perdana, Balakong. The opposition MP takes good care of the constituency in terms of rubbish collection, road repairs and even organising gotong royong.”

Food vendor David Yap, 51, said that if MCA were to win more than 15 parliamentary seats in the next election, it would be because of phantom votes. Yap believes there will be a lot of cheating, especially in Selangor, where BN is desperate to deny Pakatan a second term.

Yap, who claimed to be an avid follower of current events through print and online media, said he could not cite any achievement that MCA had made under Chua’s leadership.

“I don’t know what MCA has done apart from barking at the opposition,” he said. “Perhaps it will be more effective as an opposition party. But we’ll see.”

How do Najib, Nazri or MACC know whether RM40 million “smuggled” cash at HKIA in August 2008 was laundered money or not?

Lim Kit Siang

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday denied that there was any attempt to illegally smuggle the RM40 million “donation for Sabah Umno” into the country.

Responding to a question at a press conference at the UMNO headquarters yesterday, Najib curtly said “No” when asked whether there was any basis to the opposition claim that the funds were smuggled or laundered through Hong Kong, adding: “It has already been explained in Parliament”.

Nothing has been explained in Parliament as to whether the RM40 million cash in Singapore currency which Sabah timber trader Michael Chia had in his luggage before boarding a flight to Kuala Lumpur at the Hong Kong International airport on August 14, 2008 and was arrested for currency trafficking and laundering was “smuggled or laundered money”.

All that Parliament had been told is the Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman had been cleared of “corruption” as the RM40 million concerned were “contribution” to Sabah UMNO and not for Musa’s personal use, and that “no element of corruption was proven” – although this flies in the face of media reports at the time that Chia had told the Hong Kong authorities that the money belonged to Musa.

There are two separate questions here: firstly, whether the RM40 million cash was a transaction in an offence of corruption, whether involving Musa or UMNO Sabah; and secondly, whether the RM40 million cash was dirty money derived from corruption and/or illegal activities which had to be smuggled or laundered into the country.

Nazri has reportedly retracted what he told Parliament on Thursday and clarified that it was the MACC and not Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) which had cleared Musa of corruption on the ground that the RM40 million cash was a contribution to Sabah UMNO and not for Musa’s personal use.

But when Najib denied that the RM40 million cash was “smuggled or laundered” money, claiming that it had already been explained in Parliament, it invites the question how Najib or Nazri know that the RM40 million cash in Singapore currency for which Michael Chia was arrested at the HK International Airport on August 14, 2008 for currency trafficking or laundering was NOT “smuggled or laundered” money?

Did MACC also clear Michael Chia’s RM40 million cash in Singapore currency as clean money and not dirty corruption or laundered money, and if so, MACC should explain how it arrive at this finding or it risk being dubbed as Malaysian Abetting Corruption Commission instead of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

MCA: After Mega Dinner, Mega Disaster Awaiting

By Koon Yew Yin

It was reported in the Star that several thousand people attended the mega dinner in the Ipoh Stadium, organised by the Perak MCA on 14 October. In his speech, Dr Chua Soi Lek, the MCA President, urged the guests to vote for the Barisan National because it had established a solid foundation dating back to independence. He also said that DAP would not be able to defend the Chinese even if Pakatan Rakyat took over power because it is subservient to PAS and Parti Keadilan. At the function, Dr Chua presented RM 500,000 to 44 Chinese primary schools and 6 national type secondary schools or Rm 10,000 for each school.

Various thoughts come to my mind on reading the report of the mega dinner. One is of disbelief that the MCA leaders can stoop so low in using public funds for Chinese education in their attempt to win a few seats in the coming elections. But we should not be surprised especially when we look at MCA’s track record in the 2008 general election in Perak where they won only one state and three parliamentary seats.

A Chairman of one of the Chinese schools told me that he did not attend the dinner because he did not want to appear so stupid as to accept the Rm 10,000 bribe to vote for the MCA. Learning from the senior partner, electoral bribery appears to be the main item in the standard operating procedure manual of MCA for the coming election. But unlike UMNO in the Peninsula, and Taib and Musa Aman in Sarawak and Sabah who have billions in their political slush funds, MCA can only throw out crumbs – such is the party’s impotency and poor standing in the BN and governmental system.

MCA: See No Evil, Speak No Evil, Hear no Evil

With regard to Dr Chua’s statement that DAP is subservient to PAS and PKR, it is necessary to remind MCA supporters that almost every act of the Perak Pakatan Rakyat administration before BN unfairly regained control, was criticised by the Malaysian mainstream press, especially by Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian. Chinese readers of the Malay papers and media will be familiar – and must be thoroughly disgusted – with the racist campaign of hate and poison poured out on a daily basis by UMNO, the MCA’s partner, which owns the mainstream Malay papers. Now what has the MCA to say about Utusan’s lies and dirty reporting – nothing! The silence of the MCA in response to the racist brainwashing engaged in by UMNO speaks volumes about the low quality and lack of backbone of the MCA’s leaders – past and present. We now see that the Malays are being peddled the line that the Pakatan Rakyat is selling out to the non-Malays and that there is a Christian plot to take over the country. These dirty tricks and political spinning have not only continued but have gotten worse. Increasingly racial and religious extremist sentiments are coming to the forefront which all of us need to condemn if our country’s social fabric is not to be torn apart. But does the MCA dare to speak out? No, instead it is a party to these dirty tactics.

National Education: Monumental MCA Failing

It is pathetic to see the MCA going round the country and throwing out crumbs to the Chinese schools. During the past 50 years, not only has MCA failed Chinese education dismally but it has also been a leading partner in the decline of our national school system. Today our national schools are characterized by regressive language and religious dogmas, dismal performance, low standards and unemployable products. No middle or upper middle class parent – whether Chinese, Malay, Indian or from any community – would want to have their young children schooled in the sekolah rendah kebangsaan and sekolah menegah if they can help it.

This national disgrace has the MCA as one of its leading players. The party has held the Deputy Minister of Education portfolio for umpteen years. Can the MCA point to any educational innovation that it has introduced? Can the MCA point to any educational policy of merit, fairness, and tolerance that it has been responsible for since independence?

The Chinese Deputy Minister of Education or Dr. Chua may be good at giving speeches to Chinese schools and giving out chicken feed funds but when it comes to helping determine the course of national educational policy in key areas, their position is more like that of the office boy.

Let’s take the National Education Blueprint report. Now what is the MCA to say about the establishment of the matriculation college system which has discriminated against the deserving non-Bumiputeras. Malaysian public universities offer a one-year matriculation programme. These courses have largely catered to the Bumiputera population and are deemed as having a much lower standard, qualifying criteria and final examination requirement for entry into university. This situation is in contrast to that which non-Bumiputera students face as they are required to sit for the much tougher two-year STPM in Form 6. Now how did this system come about if the MCA has not been a willing accessory to the educational discrimination and injustice.

A Fair National Policy: What has MCA Done?

Many Malaysians, including myself, fully support the policy that attention should be given to the educational needs of the underprivileged in society, with appropriate consideration and greater weight to those in the poorer rural-based Bumiputera (Malays and non-Malay Bumiputera) community. However, the needs of deserving non-Malays should also be treated fairly and equally.

For example, information on awards should be publicly disclosed and widely disseminated. The government’s scholarship policy tacitly endorsed by the MCA has been indiscriminately applied to favour of the well to do from one community. Without proper checks and balances, it has had a crippling effect on Malaysian parents and their children, and this includes many poorer Malays.

But I suspect MCA leaders do not care about this and other flaws in our education system. After all, their children are not studying in the local Chinese schools that are receiving a pittance in government aid but studying abroad in expensive private schools and universities – many at tax payers’ expense.

This is why I, and many of my friends, am of the opinion that a mega-disaster is awaiting for the MCA in the coming elections.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Malaysia’s elections: Should the international community care?

Ambiga Sreenevasan | TMI

Those in the international community may be forgiven for saying, “Is there a problem with the democratic process in Malaysia?”

In the international arena, our leaders portray Malaysia as a moderate Islamic nation that is built on the democratic principles that are enshrined in our Federal Constitution. The fundamental rights of freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of assembly, the right to life and a fair electoral process, are indeed guaranteed under our Federal Constitution.

The reality is, however, far less idyllic. There are serious questions whether these rights are respected and upheld by those in power.

Since before the 1990’s, Malaysians have been pushing for a reform of the system of governance. There has been growing discontent over issues like rampant corruption, abuse of power, deaths in custody and selective prosecution (or persecution), to name but a few of the grouses.

We are increasingly alarmed by the use of race and religion by politicians to divide the people for political gain, with no regard whatsoever for the possible long term consequences of this conduct.

We note with disgust our mainstream media descending to the lowest depths of junk journalism. We are appalled at the growing instances of political violence.

In the clearest example of how low we have sunk, human rights defenders and civil society who are seen as opposing the government are facing ruthless attacks by the government of the day. SUARAM, established in 1989 and who has in the past year been exposing possible corruption by Malaysians in high places in the purchase of Scorpene submarines from France, is suddenly facing investigation by several government agencies.

The mainstream media is once again playing its role in showing no regard whatsoever for presenting the whole truth. In a front page news story, preposterous claims were made that NGOs like SUARAM and BERSIH were funded by organisations like National Democratic Institute (NDI) and Open Society Institute (OSI) for the purpose of overthrowing the government. Directors of SUARAM have been hauled up by enforcement agencies for their expose on the corruption, yet our anti- corruption agency fails to even begin to investigate the claims of SUARAM that a huge commission of RM500 million had been received by a Malaysian entity in the Scorpene deal.

Civil society is now continuously portrayed in the media as the enemy who is seeking to overthrow the government at the behest of foreign powers. These accusations have also been hurled at BERSIH, more so since July last year when we had a successful rally of more than 50,000 people on the streets of KL, clamouring for clean and fair elections. Another rally was held in April this year when more than 200,000 people were on the streets, again asking for electoral reform.

Malaysians do not easily take to the streets. The numbers must mean that there were good reasons why they did.

I will not go into more details of the attacks that human rights defenders have had to face by those in authority or those who had the tacit approval of the authorities. Suffice it to say they have been sustained and relentless.

When asked, our leaders will say that this government is reforming because of the replacement of many oppressive laws, and the apparent move to greater democracy. They will say that after the BERSIH rally last year, a parliamentary select committee for electoral reform was set up and a report issued.

What they don’t go on to explain is what replaces these oppressive laws and what they are doing to effectively implement the PSC recommendations. In my view, the new legislation just does not go far enough, and the important recommendations of the PSC report are largely ignored or poorly implemented.

BERSIH also continues to receive reports of electoral malpractices and the integrity of the electoral roll leaves much to be desired. Our Election Commission does not enjoy public confidence and is not seen by many as independent. This together with all the other issues that plague our system of governance leads to the inevitable conclusion that the next crucial general elections will be seriously flawed.

All the so-called reforms are like attempting to varnish a table that is ridden with termites. It is difficult to fix a system that is fundamentally flawed by building on the same rotten foundation. That is, even if there is real political will to reform.

The Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security which is headed by Mr. Kofi Annan and which has many distinguished members including H.E Dr Ernesto Zedillo former President of Mexico, Dr Madeleine K. Albright and Professor Amartya Sen, issued a ground-breaking report on clean and fair elections dated September 2012.

In his foreword, Kofi Annan states, “The spread of democracy across the world has been one of the most dramatic changes I have witnessed over the course of my career. In country after country, people have risked their lives to call for free elections, democratic accountability, the rule of law and respect for human rights. Elections are the indispensable root of democracy…..”

I make no apologies for quoting from this report at length for I cannot say it better. The report clearly outlines that clean and fair elections are not just about choosing leaders, but are about building a solid framework for a democracy that works for the people. After studies, the following were some of the conclusions arrived at:

1. “Elections with integrity are important to values that we hold dear — human rights and democratic principles. Elections give life to rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and association, the right to take part in the government of one’s country through freely elected representatives, the right of equal access to public service in one’s country, and the recognition that the authority of government derives from the will of the people, expressed in “genuine periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot.

2. Elections are fundamental to the ethos and principles of democracy…..

3. Citizens lose confidence in democratic processes when elections are not inclusive, transparent, and accountable. When elections have integrity, they bolster democracy, respect fundamental rights, and produce elected officials who are more likely to represent their citizens’ interests.

4. But in addition to promoting democratic values and human rights, elections with integrity can also yield other tangible benefits for citizens. Evidence from around the world suggests that elections with integrity matter for empowering women, fighting corruption, delivering services to the poor, improving governance, and ending civil wars…….

5. Electoral accountability, in turn, is associated with lessening government corruption…….

6. Electoral accountability, in turn, has direct benefits for improving representation of the poor……..

7. Even in countries emerging from civil wars — the most difficult of contexts for building democracy — research now shows that when the termination of the war is accompanied by elections in which former combatants run for office and campaign for votes, countries are less likely to revert to civil war. At the same time, however, other studies note that fraudulent elections are correlated with societal violence and political instability…….”

In an interview after the presentation of the report, Stephen Stedman, director of the Global Commission and a political scientist from Stanford was asked what the motivation was for the report.

In speaking of the chairman Kofi Annan, he said that Annan was “driven by his experience of having to deal with several elections in Africa that had become violent and had gone off the rails. And there is a frustration he feels about how little attention had been paid to those places before they blew up”. (The emphasis is mine)

Let us be clear. Malaysia is not facing the problems or the hopelessness that gave rise to the Arab Spring. We are blessed with an abundance of resources and talent. But to assume that all is well and that there is no need to scrutinise the democratic processes, would be a mistake.

We want change before things do blow up in our faces. We do not want an Arab Spring. We want to choose our leaders in clean and fair elections. If there is to be change, we want to do it through the ballot box.

If the government is willing to overlook, and in fact tacitly support, corruption and abuse of power, and promote racism and religious bigotry for its own ends, how can we trust that the elections will be clean and fair?

There is even an admission of malpractices in the past. A Royal Commission of Inquiry has been set up by the government in the state of Sabah in respect of a large number of foreigners having been given citizenships in exchange for votes for more than 20 years. BERSIH has received reports that this practice continues and even in West Malaysia.

Why is this happening? It is because the party that has been in power for 55 years is now feeling vulnerable. As Aung Sang Suu Kyi has famously said, “It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”

So why should one country be bothered about electoral processes in another?

We know that if any such suggestion is made, the immediate diplomatic response is that there will be no interference by one country into such domestic matters of another country. Not that this is entirely true in fact.

As observed of the international community in the commission report “While their rhetorical support for elections with integrity may be constant, their record of responding to flawed elections is not. In some cases, their interest lies in bolstering a preferred candidate, not in an election with integrity per se.

Too often, democratic governments have turned a blind eye to electoral malpractice by regimes and incumbents with whom they have friendly relations”.

And the best answer to why everyone should be interested in clean and fair elections everywhere is stated in the report thus:

“We still live in a world in which states act on their strategic interests. The key lies in reminding democratic governments that their strategic interest is best served by supporting elections with integrity. Not only do democratic governments share an interest in the spread of democracy as a bulwark for international peace, but they must also learn that their bilateral relations are strengthened when their partners have democratic legitimacy earned through genuine elections.”

Malaysia is a member of many important regional and international organisations and appears to enjoy the confidence of its neighbours. We can set valuable examples in the region. We have what it takes to be a role model.

But we can only be that if the example we set is one of a truly democratic system of governance borne out of clean and fair elections. And if we are to be valuable contributors to the global community, then it is in everyone’s interests that our elections are clean and fair.

Only fools or knaves or those who are both could believe the lies about DAP seeking to establish a Christian State in Malaysia

Lim Kit Siang

Desperation knows no bounds. This is amply illustrated by UMNO/BN political desperadoes, whether in the political front-line or hiding in the shadows pulling propaganda strings hatching the most far-fetched and outlandish conspiratorial theories in the mainstream or social media to create fear and sow the seeds of hate and conflict to ensure the survival of the sixth Prime Minister and the ruling coalition in the imminent 13th General Election.

The issue of a Christian Malaysia and the allegation that DAP wants to repeal Article 3 of the Federal Constitution providing for Islam as the religion of the Malaysian Federation in order to establish a Christian State is one of the most irresponsible and reckless of lies and falsehoods in the current repertoire of the UMNO/BN political desperadoes.

In fact, those who disseminate such lies and falsehoods utterly reckless about its damage to the process of nation-building in multi-racial and multi-religious Malaysia qualify to be condemned as the vilest and most despicable traitors to the vision of an united and harmonious Malaysian nation!

Only fools or knaves or those who are both could believe the lies that the DAP is seeking to establish a Christian State.

Henceforth, let Malaysians put the “fools or knaves” test to the political desperadoes who could so recklessly and irresponsibly disseminate such lies and falsehoods – whether they are fools or knaves, or both!

As far as I know (and I am prepared to stand contradicted), there has never been any call for the establishment of a Christian State in the country in the 55 years since the attainment of Merdeka in 1957 or in the 49 years since for the formation of Malaysia in 1963.

Is it possible that some five decades after Independence in 1957 and formation of Malaysia in 1963 that there is now a call for the establishment of a Christian state in Malaysia?

First reason why only fools or knaves or those who are both could believe it.

All throughout the DAP’s 46-year history, the DAP has been constant and consistent in the stand, which is also that of the first three Prime Ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein, that Malaysia is a democratic, multi-racial, secular and multi-religious nation with Islam as the official religion but Malaysia is not an Islamic State.

By “secular”, we do not mean anti-religion, anti-God, anti-Islam, anti-Christianity, anti-Buddhism, anti-Hinduism or anti-Sikkhism but a state polity which is morality-based and pro-Islam, pro-Christianity, pro-Buddhism, pro-Hinduism and pro-Sikkhism in defending and enhancing the multi-religious characteristics and diversity of the Malaysian nation.

Is it possible that 46 years later, DAP is now seeking to establish a Christian state when no DAP leader or any DAP policy document had ever referred to it?

Second reason why only fools or knaves or those who are both could believe it.

Christians are the third-largest religious groups in Malaysia viz Muslim 60.4%, Buddhist 19.2%, Christian 9.1% and Hindu 6.3%, Confucianism, Taoism, other traditional Chinese religions 2.6%.

Third reason why only fools or knaves or those who are both could believe it.

There are at most some 35 Christian MPs in Parliament or about one-sixth of the total Parliamentary strength – a far cry from the two-thirds of 148 MPs out of a total of 222 MPs required to amend the Federal Constitution to establish a Christian state.

Fourth reason why only fools or knaves or those who are both could believe the lie about a campaign to establish a Christian Malaysia and DAP’s involvement in this campaign.

For the same reasons, mainstream and social media which perpetrated and disseminated these lies and falsehoods are either fools, knaves or both.

Malaysian voters must demonstrate that they are not so easily duped by such lies and falsehoods in the 13th General Election and to be brave and visionary enough to effect the changes in the national political landscape which are necessary to place the country on a right footing in nation building after five decades of corruption, economic plunder, abuses of power and the divisive politics of race and religion.

Governing Malaysia

By Zairil Khir Johari | TMI

A favourite line of attack adopted by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government these days is the accusation that the opposition is only capable of making empty promises and hence is unable to govern.

To corroborate this premise, the prime minister recently suggested three points, namely: that the opposition coalition has failed to formalise itself under a common party symbol, that the inability to formulate a shadow Cabinet reveals a lack of credibility, and that the opposition’s sweet promises are in reality “venomous poison” that will eventually bring financial ruin to the country. In stressing the last point, he even went so far as to say that the Buku Jingga, the opposition’s official policy manifesto, “is not worth the paper it is printed on.”

Now, it’s all very fine for the prime minister to partake in showboating, especially when the mainstream media will offer no space for a rejoinder by the opposition. Unfortunately, even with the near-monopoly of information that he enjoys, it is disappointing that the prime minister has to resort to mischievous half-truths, unabashed hypocrisy and outright lies in order to malign the opposition.

Take the first point, on the matter of a common symbol. It is true that after four years of working together as a de facto coalition, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) is still not a registered entity. But what the PM has conveniently failed to mention is the fact that an application had actually been submitted three years ago, and has since been sitting at the doorsteps of the Home Ministry awaiting approval. Thus, the prime minister has really got some cheek to accuse PR for “failing” to register as a single party!

The second bone of contention has arguably a little more merit. It cannot be denied that the PR coalition has to date not drawn up a “shadow Cabinet” (although Utusan Malaysia has kindly taken upon itself to produce one on its behalf). While this is an oft-repeated criticism, I feel that it is rarely discussed in the proper context.

Many who speak of a shadow Cabinet often refer to the British equivalent. Yet there are two great dissimilarities at play here. Firstly, unlike the British Parliament, the Malaysian Parliament accords no institutional space for an “official opposition”. Members of a would-be shadow Cabinet would be neither recognised nor given the same amount of standing, respect or access as their British counterparts. In fact, the way our parliamentary sessions are conducted, even the opposition leader has no real opportunity to debate directly with the prime minister.

Secondly, when Labour was in power prior to the current Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government, both the Conservatives and the Liberal-Democrats had their own separate shadow Cabinets. This is due to the nature of multi-party democracy in Britain, in which coalitions are ad-hoc and not formalised arrangements. In our country, we have a pseudo “two-coalition” system with entirely different dynamics. Added to the fact that the formalisation of the opposition coalition under a single umbrella is being deliberately blocked by the government, the demand for a shadow Cabinet is grossly unfair.

That said, to say, as the prime minister did, that a shadow Cabinet is “fundamental” in proving governing ability is disingenuous. Take the United States, for example. There, whichever party in the opposition does not have a “shadow president” until a presidential candidate is chosen in the lead-up to the national elections. And even then, besides selecting a running mate, the alternative president does not go further by naming a shadow Cabinet.

What Malaysia really needs more than a shadow Cabinet is a capable opposition which is able to “check” the government by provoking accountability and pointing out shortcomings. And in this regard, I believe the PR leaders are doing their job. For example, can anyone recall prior to 2008 the national Budget being scrutinised as meticulously as is done today? Furthermore, various scandals, leakages and problems have been successfully unearthed and made public in the last few years due to diligent detective work by opposition MPs.

Finally, is it not an exercise in hypocrisy for the BN to attack PR for not having a shadow Cabinet when the BN themselves are unable to form shadow executive councils for each of the four PR-ruled states? At least all three parties in PR have publicly agreed on an alternative prime minister — does the BN even know who their chief minister-designates are?

Moving on to Najib’s third point — that PR is unable to govern and is only good at mouthing populist policies that will bankrupt the country. This is of course a serious matter. After all, Malaysians want to be convinced that they are voting for a credible alternative government.

In rebutting this point, I will not attempt to rattle off the string of achievements that have been accomplished by the “inexperienced” PR state governments over the last four years, particularly their success in overcoming fiscal deficits, plugging leakages, reducing corruption, increasing investments, and implementing welfare policies.

Instead, I would like to make a few observations about the Federal government. Let us consider some of the more recent policy decisions by Putrajaya. Firstly, there is the recently-launched Go-KL free bus service in the inner city. I must say that free public transport is a fantastic way to promote sustainable urban mobility. I would also hail it as an innovative idea if it weren’t for the fact that a similar service had been pioneered in Penang through the inner-city CAT (Central Area Transit) buses and the bridge-crossing BEST (Bridge Express Shuttle Transit) service, both provided free (wi-fi included) courtesy of the Penang state government.

And then we have an announcement in the recent national Budget about a programme to provide women with free mammogram scans for cancer detection and early intervention. An admirable idea indeed, and I am prepared to accept that its resemblance to the MammoSel programme introduced by the Selangor state government two years ago is purely coincidental.

Next, it is impossible to ignore the infamous BR1M welfare assistance programme. Giving cash aid to poor families — now where have I heard that done before? Surely not in an “irresponsible” PR state? It must be another coincidence, along with the selection of the target group of households earning less than RM3,000 monthly income, a key demographic originally highlighted by the “worthless” Buku Jingga.

Speaking of irresponsible policies, the Buku Jingga’s proposal to abolish highway tolls by nationalising toll companies has of course been the target of stinging ridicule. Yet was it not only last month that the prime minister announced a proposed government takeover of the Eastern Dispersal Link in Johor Baru in order to make it toll-free?

Let us not also forget the abolishment of the ISA and the formation of a royal commission of inquiry to investigate the problem of illegal immigration in Sabah, two more Buku Jingga proposals that have since been adopted by the BN government. At the rate it is going, all the “poisonous” promises in the Buku Jingga are set to be fulfilled.

If imitation is the best form of flattery, then the prime minister must have a very brown nose.

Can MACC recover from the disastrous setback of being exposed as among the most inept and incompetent anti-corruption agencies in the world?

Lim Kit Siang

There continues to be widespread disbelief and questions galore about the highly-publicized exoneration of Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman of corruption in connection with the seizure of S$16 million (RM40 million) cash and arrest of Sabah businessman Michael Chia at the Hong Kong International Airport on August 14, 2008 for money trafficking and laundering before boarding a flight bound for Kuala Lumpur.

It was earlier reported that Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) found that the money was earmarked for Musa and were part of more funds being deposited into a Swiss bank account containing US$30 million allegedly being held in trust for the Sabah Chief Minister by a lawyer.

If what the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said in his parliamentary reply is true, that investigation papers submitted to the Attorney-General by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) show that the RM40 million a Sabah businessman was caught with in trying to smuggle into Malaysia from Hong Kong were political contributions to the state Umno and not for Chief Minister Musa Aman and that “no element of corruption was proven”, two immediate questions arise:

1. Why did the MACC submit investigation papers to the Attorney-General for decision when “no element of corruption was proven”; and

2. Why has the MACC taken more than four years to discover that it has no case of corruption against Musa Aman?

Both these questions lead to a third question:

3. Can MACC recover from the disastrous setback of being exposed as among the most inept and incompetent anti-corruption agencies in the world – taking more than four years to discover that the RM40 million smuggled Hong Kong foreign laundered fund was not meant for Musa Aman but for Sabah UMNO?

It is most pathetic that MACC, which had just hosted the 6th International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA) Conference and general meeting has allowed itself to be made an international fool as in other countries, the head of the anti-corruption agency would have resigned in protest at such indignity and public shame.

But these are not the only questions swirling among Malaysians the past three days over the bizarre tale of the foreign laundered money in Singapore currency amounting to RM40 million which had to be smuggled out of Hong Kong into Malaysia, and which Sabah UMNO has claimed ownership to exonerate Musa Aman, especially after the refusal by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to reveal the identity of the donor of the RM40 million smuggled laundered foreign funds!

But what needs no question is the fact that the greatest casualty of the caper of the RM40 million smuggled foreign laundered money at the Hong Kong International Airport four years ago is none other than Najib’s Government Transformation Programme to combat corruption and with it, the MACC.

As Najib is an interested party as UMNO President, he should establish a RCI into the RM40 million Hong Kong-laundered UMNO funds to clear UMNO/BN and Malaysia’s name

Lim Kit Siang

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has refused to disclose the source of the RM40 million “political donation” for UMNO Sabah that was the subject of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigation of Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Musa Aman, giving an unbelievably weak and unacceptable excuse.

Najib said that “All parties have a right to receive political donations” and “As long as it is through the right channels, it is not an offence”.

What Najib had completely ignored is that the RM40 million is not “above-board money” but dirty money, as it is Hong Kong-laundered UMNO funds which the Sabah businessman Michael Chia had tried to smuggle into the country in his luggage in cash in the form of $S16 million currency but got arrested at the Hong Kong International Airport on August 14, 2008 for money trafficking and laundering.

This has raised a very pertinent question, whether the MACC and the Attorney-General are empowered to enquire and prosecute the top UMNO leadership (including the UMNO President) whether for corruption or money laundering without getting the green-light from the Prime Minister?

Nobody in Malaysia is under the illusion that the MACC and Attorney-General have such powers, that is to conduct full investigations into the top UMNO leadership including the UMNO President, involving corruption and money laundering, as the Prime Minister is none other than the UMNO President himself.

In the circumstances, any independent, thorough and professional investigation involving the top UMNO leadership including the UMNO President for corruption or money-laundering cannot be undertaken under the auspices of the MACC or Attorney-General, but must be by a completely separate and independent commission.

As Najib is an interested party as UMNO President, he should establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into the RM40 million Hong Kong-laundered UMNO funds and other foreign UMNO/BN laundered monies to clear UMNO/BN and Malaysia’s name.

This will also demonstrate that Najib is truly serious about fighting corruption, in particular grand corruption, involving top political and public personalities and that his high-sounding “anti-corruption” speech last week at the opening of the International Association for Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA) Conference in Kuala Lumpur last week will not go down in the history of international anti-corruption conferences as the most insincere and hypocritical one.

Najib refuses to disclose source of Sabah Umno’s political donation

By Md Izwan | TMI

Datuk Seri Najib Razak refused tonight to disclose the source of a political donation received by Umno Sabah that was the subject of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) investigation of Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman.

“It is a political donation. All parties have a right to receive political donations. As long as it is through the right channels, it is not an offence,” the Umno president (picture) told reporters after chairing a Barisan Nasional (BN) supreme council meeting.

“We are not at liberty to disclose… the opposition also receives donations and they don’t disclose,” he said.

Yesterday, Parliament was told the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had cleared Musa of graft and money-laundering allegations after finding that the over S$16 million (RM40 million) allegedly channelled to the Sabah chief minister through corrupt means was meant for Sabah Umno’s use.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz said the Attorney-General’s Chambers had shelved the matter after finding no element of corruption in the case, which was first raised by whistleblower site Sarawak Report earlier this year.

In April this year, Sarawak Report had revealed documents allegedly from the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) showing that a Sabah lawyer was holding some US$30 million in a Swiss bank account for Musa.

The report also claimed that a paper trail showed that the millions in euro as well as US, Hong Kong and Singapore dollars had been channelled from several firms managed by Hong Kong-based timber trader Michael Chia to a number of British Virgin Island companies and subsequently to the lawyer’s Swiss account.

Musa has since denied any link with Chia, who was arrested and charged with money laundering after attempting to smuggle S$16 million (RM40 million) back to Malaysia in 2008.

According to media reports, Chia had at the time allegedly told the Hong Kong authorities that the money belonged to Musa.

Musa had previously accused Sarawak Report of defaming him, claiming the graft allegations were likely part of a conspiracy by his detractors who wanted to topple Barisan Nasional (BN) in the east Malaysian state.

He had said he would offer full co-operation to the authorities if he was required to but stressed that in the meantime, his focus was on serving the state instead of “entertaining these frivolous allegations”.

Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) said today it was appalled with the government’s conclusion that “no element of corruption was proven” in its investigation of Musa.

The anti-graft watchdog urged the authorities today to ensure a full disclosure of the political contribution.

Malaysians could just imagine what would have happened if RM40 million cash Michael Chia caught trying to smuggle into Malaysia from Hong Kong were meant for Anwar or anyone of the PR parties

Lim Kit Siang

The case of the Sabah businessman Michael Chia caught red-handed at the Hong Kong International Airport on August 14, 2008 with RM40 million cash in his luggage before he could board a flight to Kuala Lumpur is bizarre enough but even more weird is the utter indifference and unconcern shown by the authorities to the case purportedly because the RM40 million which Chia was trying to smuggle into Malaysia from Hong Kong were political contributions to the state Umno and not for Chief Minister Musa Aman’s personal use and that “no element of corruption was proven”.

Malaysians could imagine the prolonged nation-wide furore that would have ensued if the RM40 million cash Chia had been caught red-handed at the Hong Kong International Airport trying to smuggle into Malaysia had been meant for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim or anyone of the three Pakatan Rakyat parties!

The leaders at various levels of Barisan Nasional component parties and their mainstream mass media would have competed, day-in-day out for weeks, demanding full accounting and action by the authorities, including throwing the books on corruption or money laundering.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak would have trotted out his exhortation at the recent International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA) conference in Kuala Lumpur on the critical and crucial importance to instil “a natural abhorrence to corruption” among people in positions of power and authority.

UMNO/BN Ministers and leaders would have issued one warning after another about treachery, traitors and the betrayal of the nation from the dangers and evils of foreign funding, particularly dirty money while dubious organisations and individuals would have crawled all over the country with demonstrations, butt-dances and denunciations.

But now, there is pin-drop silence from all these sectors and no “natural abhorrence to corruption” whatsoever!

The question Sabahans and Malaysians are entitled to ask the Prime Minister is whether the case of the RM40 million dirty cash – whether for Sabah Chief Minister or Sabah UMNO (of which Musa is Chairman) – is now fully closed as far as the Malaysian government is concerned, for this will also signal the end of all credibility of the independence, integrity and professionalism of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and Najib’s Government Transformation Programme (GTP) which prioritised “fighting corruption”, including “grand corruption”, as one of the key NKRA programmes.

It is really tragic. Just a week ago, Najib was waxing lyrical, taking the moral high ground at the opening of the IAACA Conference in Kuala Lumpur about the critical role for people and positions of power and authority to exemplify the “right values” to fight corruption, and today, all credibility and reputation of Najib’s anti-corruption campaign and the MACC completely in tatters.

Where is Najib’s “natural abhorrence” of corruption when as PM he could be completely indifferent about RM40 million “black money” attempted to be smuggled into Malaysia – whether for Sabah Chief Minister or Sabah UMNO?

Lim Kit Siang

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz invites national and international disbelief when in a written parliamentary reply to Batu MP Chua Tian Chan he said that investigation papers submitted to the Attorney-General by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) show that RM40 million a Sabah businessman was caught with in trying to smuggle into Malaysia from Hong Kong were political contributions to the state Umno and not for Chief Minister Musa Aman and that “no element of corruption was proven”.

On August 22, 2008, Sabah DAP officials comprising DAP MP for Kota Kinabalu Hiew King Cheu, DAP Sabah State Assemblyman for Sri Tanjong Jimmy Wong Sze Phin and Sabah DAP leader Edward Mujie lodged a police report at the Dang Wangi police station in Kuala Lumpur to demand that the Anti-Corruption Agency (before its replacement by MACC) investigate the allegation which had appeared in the press and Internet about a Hong Kong seizure of S$16 million cash and arrest of Michael Chia, a confidante of Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman at the Hong Kong International Airport on August 14, 2008 for alleged money trafficking and laundering before boarding flight bound for Kuala Lumpur.

More than four years after the event, Sabahans and Malaysians are now asked to believe that the RM40 million was not meant for Musa’s “personal use” as they were meant for Sabah UMNO – which contradicted media reports at the time that Chia had allegedly told the Hong Kong authorities that the money belonged to Musa.

It was only last week at the opening of the 6th conference and general meeting of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA) that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak preached to the international community about the crucial importance in the battle against corruption to instil “a natural abhorrence to corruption” into the conscience of society.

After taking the high moral ground stressing the critical role for people in positions of power and authority to exemplify and exhibit the “right values” to fight corruption at the IAACA conference last week, Najib has intensified the incredulity and disbelief felt by Sabahans and Malaysians, because all are asking one question:

Where is Najib’s “natural abhorrence” of corruption when as PM he could be completely indifferent about RM40 million “black money” attempted to be smuggled into Malaysia – whether for Sabah Chief Minister or Sabah UMNO?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Konsert BERSIH 8T - 13 October 2012 - Reminder

Will be away for a short trip next few days and will end up at Kelana Jaya Stadium on Saturday 13 October 2012.

A reminder to all those who support the call for a clean and fair election, please attend the Konsert BERSIH 8T - 13 October 2012
See You All There

What’s keeping Malaysia’s Opposition together?

Bridget Welsh | TMI

What keeps the Malaysian opposition Pakatan Rakyat (People’s Alliance) together? The quick answer often given is the common search of political power.

While power frames the relationships between three disparate political parties – Islamist PAS, secular-committed Democratic Action Party and the umbrella reform-oriented PKR of Mr Anwar Ibrahim – it is not the glue of the opposition alliance. Were this the case, PAS would have left the coalition when UMNO floated the offer of joining the government in 2008 and intense jockeying took place within PAS.

The answer lies in the three parties’ shared moral compact. Pakatan Rakyat is an alliance of profoundly different backgrounds, with secularists, theocrats, conservatives and progressives working together. In a world wracked with tensions over religion and misunderstandings, Malaysia’s opposition stands out in bucking international trends of difference.


Three common principles bind the Opposition together. The first is deep concern with endemic corruption.

The problem of corruption is not new, and while Malaysia’s practices are assessed above many in Asia, including Indonesia, what has become increasingly apparent is that it has crossed the line of acceptability for many Malaysians. Survey results show that an overwhelming majority view their officials as corrupt and believe that their officials do not abide by the law.

Scandal after scandal, from the National Feedlot Corporation and Scorpene, to the recent revelations about the extension of the Ampang LRT, has inundated citizens. While there are many civil servants who work hard to deliver services, there are pressures within the system to conform to predatory practices.

Malaysian corruption was initially concentrated among the elite through the practice of “money politics”. But more and more, it is extending into everyday issues such as school fees, crime prevention and service provision.

Most basic food items, such as sugar and rice, are tied to non-transparent deals of politically-aligned businessmen, as are bigger items such as cars through Approved Permit licence allocations.

These weaknesses in governance share a common moral thread – a privileged minority using the system to their advantage, and this is hurting the majority and widening inequality.


This leads to the second shared principle – fairness. The three political parties each have a different take on what is fair, but there are areas of similarity: Namely, everyone should have a seat at the table; everyone should be treated fairly in a court of law; and social and economic inequalities should be minimised.

This shared view of fairness extends into the outrage over unfair legal decisions and deep-seated concerns about poverty and displacement of many Malaysians. Pakatan’s conception of citizenship has evolved into one in which all Malaysians are exactly that — Malaysians. It is a modern view of citizenship, in which everyone has rights and the government is to respond to the people, not the other way round.

The Opposition’s moral compact is also driven by a mutual interest in expanding democratic governance to level the political playing field.

Calls for the removal of the Internal Security Act (which was suspended and replaced by the more benign but less tested Security Offences Act earlier this year), electoral reform, freedoms of assembly, religion and speech, among other things, all fall under the umbrella of expanding political space and rights.

Ever since the reformasi movement of 1999, opposition activists have joined forces in highlighting democratic deficits and showcasing reasons for an expansion of democracy. Each protest and political crisis has brought the opposition together – from Bersih 1.0 in 2007, to the defections and subsequent takeover of the Perak state government in 2009. The bonds forged by protesting together are strong.

Since 2008, there have been significant efforts to rupture the Opposition’s moral compact on multiple fronts. The charges of sodomy and corruption have been tied to attempts to discredit opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and raise doubts about his moral calibre to lead. The introduction of issues such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual (LGBT) rights puts pressure on the relationship between the liberals and others within the Pakatan Rakyat.

The sensitive “Allah” issue that rose to the fore in 2010 tested the Islamists’ position. The push for Malay rights under the rubric “Ketuanan Melayu” reflects efforts to reinforce ethnic supremacy over shared humanity and equality, to reimpose the social contract of the past.

Each of these issues has not broken the ties between the opposition actors, and it is in part due to the prominence of the underlying principles that bring them together.


This is not a moral compact without problems, however. The biggest challenge for the Opposition lies within. It has to do with an issue being negotiated throughout the Muslim world: The place and form of Islamic law, notably hudud.

Globally, Islamist political parties from AKP in Turkey to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt are grappling with how to bring about Islamic governance while maintaining rights. For liberals, the introduction of measures such as hudud violates the shared democratic ideals, as there remains deep mistrust of Islamists in office.

For secularists, hudud violates their view of governance. Doubts persist in some quarters about whether the Islamists will continue to hold to the ideals in office, respect different religious rights and, importantly, tolerate difference within their own community.

Detractors point to Algeria and Iran as testimony to a potential violation of trust. Others more open-minded highlight the negotiated paths of Turkey and Morocco.

For Malaysia, the hudud issue remains on the agenda, unresolved and unlikely to be so before polls. In public remarks, Mr Anwar has stressed the centrality of dialogue and principle of consensus. There appears to be a working agreement to agree to disagree.

Among Islamists there has been a global trend towards greater accommodation of difference and an appreciation of constitutional frameworks for governance. Many in the PAS old guard, nevertheless, are tied to the vision of a religious theocracy that is increasingly becoming outmoded, even in Egypt where the President comes from one of the historically strongest advocates of these measures, the Muslim Brotherhood.

Islamists the world over are having to reprioritise their principles in order to govern societies, and PAS will have to as well. What is important is that it will need to do this on its own terms, rather than respond to ultimatums from allies and opponents alike.

Hudud will remain salient to this campaign, because at its core, it puts pressure on Malaysia’s Opposition to reassess, reaffirm and reinforce their common moral priorities. It is this common ground however, that is Pakatan’s moral compact — and for now it is on firm ground. — Today

Champion Chameleon!

Have a good laugh.
Is this the quality of a good leader?

By Martin Jalleh

Monday, October 8, 2012

‘Utusan lied about church ticking off Penang CM’

By Lee Long Hui | 1:54PM Oct 8, 2012


Two Christian leaders quoted by Utusan Malaysia as having criticised the Penang chief minister, have slammed the report as a “complete lie”.

Lutheran Evangelical Church bishop Solomon Rajah and former Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM) president Thomas Philips (right) said their words had been taken out of context in the report headlined ‘Church is not a place for politics’.

They have demanded a retraction of the report published in the Sunday edition, Mingguan Malaysia, and a public apology from the Umno-owned Utusan in its next edition.

At a press conference today, at which CCM secretary general Hermen Shastri was present, the two explained that the reporter concerned had only contacted them for their general views on “the church and politics”.

“It was never a reaction or response to Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s dialogue with pastors in Penang,” said Solomon.

“Never was I aware that I would be misquoted (or that what I said would be) misconstrued. I never knew that my views would be used to serve Utusan’s own purpose and agenda. This is sad.”

Solomon, who sees himself as an ardent supporter of Lim, stressed that he would not have consented to the interview had he known that Utusan would misquote him.

Among others, the Mingguan report had quoted Solomon as saying “I’m sure (Lim) knows that the church need not be urged to stand up for justice for political purposes.”

‘Reporter should apologise, too’

Philips said the report “is a complete lie” that has jeopardised his reputation, insisting that his actual views had not been reported.

“It is an act of defamation. I am shocked and outraged by the journalist’s lack of competency,” he said.

“What I said was not what was reported, and stands against everything I personally believe in. I would like the reporter herself to apologise for this inaccurate and misleading report.”

However, both said they are not interested in pursuing legal action.

Philips said they just wanted to point out that Utusan “is lying”, explaining that he does not think the church “has time to go into legal action”.

Echoing him, Solomon said it would be enough for the daily to apologise.

“I’m not taking any legal action. I don’t have time for this because I have other things to do,” he added.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Walk the Talk on Corruption, Prime Minister

By Lim Guan Eng | Din Merican

Will BN leaders pass the test to walk the talk in fighting corruption by making a public declaration of assets, implementing open competitive tenders, bar family members from being involved with government business and drop BN leaders with extravagant lifestyles?

Prime Minister Najib Razak’s speech at the opening of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities Conference urged leaders at all levels of society to exhibit the right values and ethical conduct in order to prevent corruption. Unfortunately Najib is long on rhetoric but short on action in fighting corruption.

The drop in Malaysia’s Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) from No. 37 in 2003 to No. 60 in 2012 is the most damaging indictment of BN’s failure to root out corruption.

Worse, TI Malaysia Deputy President Mohammad Ali even noted that Malaysia’s CPI has continued to decline as “elements of state” that facilitated “grand corruption” were still prevalent. Even Housing and Local Government Minister Chor Chee Heung admitted that corruption costs Malaysia RM26 billion every year.

Again, Najib has failed to walk the talk leading to not only the Malacca Chief Minister proudly showing off his son’s wedding with 130,000 guests, never mind who paid for it or how much it costs.

So far there are no answers to disturbing questions about the extent of the extraordinary wealth of Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud with allegations that his family is worth billions of ringgit.

The enormity of Taib’s family wealth is corroborated by the current divorce proceedings of his son Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib, in which his ex-wife has revealed that he is worth at least RM1 billion, with personal accounts all over the world.

If Najib wants Malaysians to take his fight against corruption seriously, then he must institutionalise public declaration of assets. This has been done in Penang where the Chief Minister and the entire state exco has made a public declaration of assets that has even been certified by an international accounting firm. If Penang can do it, why can’t the Prime Minister and his federal cabinet do the same?

At the same time, BN leaders with extravagant lifestyle owning luxury homes, cars and even number plates must be dropped. Family members must also be barred from being involved in government businesses to avoid another RM 250 million ‘cows and condos’ National Feedlot scandal.

Another necessary element in the battle against corruption is to institutionalise open competitive tenders. Without open competitive tenders, public projects are directly negotiated and awarded to cronies causing loss of public revenue such as the cheap sale of the Sungai Besi Air Force Base land.

Can the RM386 million for 57 KR1M stores in Sabah and Sarawak or RM6.7 million per store be justified? At RM6.7 million per store, are the KR1M stores selling basic necessities like sugar, salt and rice or luxury items like jewellery and designer handbags?

In Penang, open competitive tenders were implemented immediately after the change of government in 2008 and as a result the state government has been able to achieve surplus budgets every year since, with proceeds from the savings going back to the people annually in the form of an ‘anti-corruption dividend’.

This is a result of a zero tolerance of corruption policy where Pakatan leaders pass the test to walk the talk by making a public declaration of assets, implementing open competitive tenders, barring family members from being involved with government businesses and do not have leaders with extravagant lifestyles. Can Najib apply the same anti-corruption test?

LIM GUAN ENG is Bagan MP and Penang Chief Minister.


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