Friday, March 28, 2008
Maybe you have a different take on this. It'll be interesting to hear your views.
Click here for the picture and the article written on this by AP. I malas wan do again so i linked to my blog.
Friday, March 21, 2008
“Why Middle East Continues to Burn?
– Muslim World and the so called War on Terrorism”
Organized by SIRD
Date: 27 Mac 2008 (Thursday)
Time: 8.00 to 10.00 pm
Venue: The Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (No 1, Jalan Maharajalela, 50150 Kuala Lumpur) [see map]
Ever since the European colonial power led by Britain planted the Jewish state of Israel on the Palestinian soil the Middle East remains unstable. Isreal’s Western backed aggressive and expansionist policies have cause death and destruction. Even today Isreal remains the sole source of instability in the Middle East aggravated by deep divisions within the Arabs.
Meanwhile the so called war on terrorism turned out to be a war on Islam and Muslims. Under this campaign every Muslim man with a beard and Muslim women with a scarf is regarded as terrorist, hunted, arrested and tortured.
Exploiting the political climates the United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK) invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and virtually ruined these two countries while Muslims were killed under various pretexts in many Muslim countries.
Under these circumstances what is the future holds for the Middle East in particular and the Muslim in general?
1) Mr. Latheef Farook
Latheef Farook began his journalistic career with the now defunct Independent Newspapers in 1966 before joining the Sri Lanka’s premier English language daily Ceylon Daily News and the evening daily Ceylon Observer from 1971 covering local politics and foreign affairs besides finance and economic sectors.
Simultaneously working as the Sri Lankan correspondent for Middle Eastern news agencies following the local response to developments in the Middle East, especially in the context of the strong pro-Arab policy adopted by the then Sri Lankan government of Mrs Srimavo Bandaranaike, he also concentrated on economic developments in the international scene, especially in the developing world.
In 1976, Ceylon Daily News nominated him for the United Nations sponsored Dag Hammarskjold scholarship for Third World journalists.
In 1979, he led a group of Sri Lankan journalists to Dubai, relaunching the Gulf News before joining the Khaleej Times a year later, where for seven years he covered almost every aspect of Dubai’s development program, besides covering the Indian elections of 1979, which brought Ms. Indira Gandhi to power. Rejoining the Gulf News in 1987 he subsequently became the Gulf News Bureau Chief in Bahrain where he filed regular articles on the Gulf’s and Middle East’s sensitive political scene, economy, finance, banking and social problems besides extensively interviewing visiting world leaders.
In 2002 he became Head of Special Reports for the Gulf News in Dubai before returning home to launch the South Asia News Agency in Colombo in 2003, supplying feature articles on almost every aspect of Sri Lanka aimed mainly at catering to Sri Lankan expatriates in the Gulf region, Europe, the Americas and the Far East.
His book “War on Terrorism – The Untold Truths” was first published in Malaysia in May 2006 by SIRD. The book highlights all global issues since the collapse of the former Soviet Union and provides the other side of the US led campaign on the so called “War on Terrorism” which in fact is a global campaign against Islam and Muslims. It is being translated into many languages including Tamil.
Latheef Farook now resides family in Colombo.
2) Dr. Farish Noor
Dr. Farish A. Noor is a political scientist and historian and is presently Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University; and Director of Research for the Research Cluster ‘Transnational Religion in Southeast Asia’.
He is also affiliated professor at Muhamadiyah University, Surakarta and Sunan Kalijaga Islamic University, Jogjakarta, where he teaches both political theory and comparative religion.
He is the author of Islam Embedded: The Historical Development of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party PAS: 1951-2003. (In two volumes), Malaysian Sociological Research Institute (MSRI), Kuala Lumpur, 2004.
His other writings include: Writings on the War on Terror (Globalmedia Press, India, 2006), From Majapahit to Putrajaya: Searching For Another Malaysia (Silverfish Books, Kuala Lumpur, 2005), Islam Progresif: Peluang, Tentangan dan Masa Depannya di Asia Tenggara (SAMHA, Jogjakarta, 2005), Di San Zhi Yan Kan Ma Lai Xi Ya (Sin Chew Jit Poh Press, Petaling Jaya, 2004), The Other Malaysia: Writings on Malaysia’s Subaltern History (Silverfish Books, Kuala Lumpur, 2003); and New Voices of Islam, (International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World, Leiden, Netherlands, 2002).
Apart from his academic writings he is also a columnist for several newspapers across Southeast Asia, South Asia, South Africa and Europe. His columns have appeared in The New Straits Times, Sin Chew Jit Poh, Malaysiakini.com, The Star, The Pakistan Daily Times, The Khaleej Times, Far Eastern Economic Review, Jakarta Post, Bangkok Post, al-Qalam, and others. He has also been a radio essayist for the BBC World Service and BBC Radio 4.
For any further details please contact Ms Choong: 019-3503563 or Zul at 019-3083804 or our office at: 03 79578343/ 8342
(The Strategic Information and Research Development Centre (SIRD) is an independent publishing house founded in January 2000 in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. The SIRD list focuses on Malaysian and Southeast Asian Studies, Economics, Gender Studies, the Social Sciences, Politics, and International Relations. Our books address the scholarly community, students, the NGO and development communities, policymakers, activists, and the wider public.
SIRD also distributes titles (via its sister organization, GB Gerakbudaya Enterprise Sdn. Bhd.) published by scholarly and institutional presses, NGOs, and other independent publishers. We also organize seminars, forums, and group discussions. All this, we believe, is conducive to the development and consolidation of the notions of civil liberty and democracy.)***
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Chance to shape a new political frontier
PETALING JAYA: Malaysians need to think out of the box following the changes resulting from the recent general election, said a well-known political scientist.
The election results that transcended racial and religious sentiments have opened up possibilities of a new construct, said Dr Farish Noor, a Senior Fellow of NTU Singapore's Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
“Being in the frontier, we have no map or compass.
“We need to be brave to imagine,” he said, adding there was a need to look beyond superstition in charting new territories.
“Can Umno consider the possibility of a president from a Kadazan, Bajau, Iban, Penan or Peranakan background, PAS a non-Malay Muslim president or DAP a Malay or Indian leader?” Dr Farish asked during the Post-elections analysis open dialogue organised by the Centre for Public Policy Studies yesterday.
“Are we forever to remain beholden to history and trapped by the circumstances of the past?
Or are we going to admit to ourselves that this nation-state of ours is an invented construct and as such is also open to deconstruction, revision, adaptation and subsequently evolution?”
While deconstructing Malaysia, new leaders would encounter such obstacles that need to be overcome, he said
Human rights lawyer Malik Imtiaz said there was a need for civil society to be vigilant and hold the new state governments to higher standards of leadership.
The new leaders from the Opposition were generally young, while the Barisan Nasional had to be viewed constructively as a counter-balancing force because absolute power corrupts, he added.
Executive director of Sedar Institute Khoo Kay Peng said the relationship between the Federal Government and state governments would have to operate on a new dimension and that the former could not ignore the power held in five states.
Columnist Zainon Ahmad said the mainstream media had behaved disgracefully during the elections but would now have to reinvent itself to keep the people informed.
Let's give them credit where it's due.
From Elizabeth Wong, ADUN for Bukit Lanjan (PKR) in Selangor.
Fortunately, some members of the media caught this on camera.
Unfortunately, we can’t march right in to stop them because (i) we haven’t been sworn in; (ii) police has cordoned off the state office since Saturday night.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
|Full list of 2008 cabinet|
|Mar 18, 08 1:02pm|
The following is the list of cabinet ministers and their deputies as announced by the prime minister at 12 noon today.
Deputies: Mohd Johari Baharum (Umno), Mashitah Ibrahim (Umno, to be appointed senator), SK Devamany (MIC) and Hasan Malek (Umno).
PM unveils 'trimmed-down' cabinet
|Mar 18, 08 10:46am|
breaking news Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today announced his 'trimmed-down' cabinet.
During a 20-minute press conference at his office in Putrajaya, Abdullah said he has decided not to appoint any parliamentary secretaries - bringing the number of appointments down from 90 to 68.
He has also dropped many notable veterans and roped in new faces, who now make up half of the cabinet.
Those axed are veteran leaders Rafidah Aziz, Jamaluddin Jarjis, Azmi Khalid, Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and Radzi Sheikh Ahmad, who is known to be close to the prime minister.
The premier has dropped his portfolio of internal security and outgoing foreign minister Syed Hamid Albar will run a newly merged Home Affairs and Internal Security Ministry.
Abdullah has also retained his finance portfolio and Nor Mohamed Yakcop will continue to serve as second finance minister.
His previous cabinet had a whopping 32 ministers, 39 deputy ministers and 20 parliamentary secretaries, with jobs handed out to many of the 14 race-based parties that make up the Barisan Nasional coalition.
Among the interesting new faces are Zaid Ibrahim (left), who has been appointed minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of legal affairs.
According to Abdullah, Zaid will be put in charge of legal affairs and oversee reforms in the judiciary.
Only 17 of the 32 ministers in the previous cabinet have been retained - with five keeping their old posts while 12 moved to new profolios.
Among them are Dr Rais Yatim, who has been named foreign minister and Ong Tee Keat (transport minister).
Making a return to the cabinet is Shahrir Samad (right) who is appointed domestic trade and consumer affairs minister.
Also back from the political wilderness is Muhammad Muhd Taib, who is now rural development minister. Muhd Taib quit as Selangor mentri besar in 1997 after he was charged for breaching Australian financial regulations in bringing in huge amount of undeclared cash. He was later acquitted.
Meanwhile, Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud's son Sulaiman has been appointed deputy tourism minister.
Khairy not in the line-up
Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin was not named in the cabinet line up announced by his father-in-law.
Prior to the elections, it was speculated that Khairy - the 32-year-old Oxford graduate - will be given an important post.
However, the March 8 polls reversed his fortunes. Many blamed the young politician for BN's disastrous performance.
Since then, pressure had mounted on the prime minister not to include his son-in-law in the line-up.
Ka Chuan takes over from brother
MCA secretary-general Ong Ka Chuan (left) has been made housing and local government minister replacing his brother and MCA president Ka Ting.
Party vice-president Ong Tee Keat is transport minister replacing deputy president Chan Kong Choy. Youth chief Liow Tiong Lai is health minister and Women's wing chief Dr Ng Yen Yen is women, family and development minister.
MCA was also trounced in the elections. The party only managed to retain 15 out of its 40 parliamentary seats.
MIC loses Works Ministry
MIC failed to retain its control over the works ministry and party's secretary-general Dr S Subramaniam has been appointed human resources minister.
The previous works minister was MIC president S Samy Vellu. The party suffered heavy losses in the March 8 polls, losing six out of nine parliamentary seats and 12 out of 19 state seats.
MIC information chief M Saravanan has been appointed deputy federal territories minister while central working committee (CWC) member S Devamany is deputy natural resources and mining minister.
Rafidah dropped: No explanation
Rafidah (file photo, far right), who has held the trade portfolio since 1987, was the highest-profile casualty of the reshuffle.
Abdullah would not comment on the departure of Rafidah - also chief of Umno's influential women's wing - who is to be replaced by outgoing agriculture minister Muhyiddin Yasin.
"I don't discuss why. I think she should make way for someone new," he said.
Abdullah: I'm not quitting
Abdullah reiterated his insistence on staying in power, saying he had been given "a very strong mandate".
"I am not going to shirk my responsibilities," he said, adding that in his new term he would focus on implementing the many projects launched during the outgoing administration.
He said he was well aware of criticism that he had plenty of good policies but that his administration was "very short on implementation".
The premier defended his deputy and heir-apparent Najib Razak against allegations of wrongdoing in military contracts, and said they had the "best of relationships".
"There is no proof that Najib is involved in any corrupt activities," he said.
"People can make all kinds of allegations, but what is important is that there is no evidence of that."
At least Khairy isn't!
Forgiveness is the only way.
For more information, please visit
A number of international media reported that Malaysians head to the polls amidst racial tensions. They show pictures of Hindraf supporters throwing rocks, PAS within the Bersih march and FRUs spraying on demonstrators. It gives the misleading picture that racial strife is the main factor for the defeat of BN.
I don't believe that analysis is correct. I believe that we are seeing a new nationalism. Malaysians are asking - what does it mean to be a Malaysian. In fact, they're not only asking, they are answering it with their votes. It's a search for a new Identity. We want a Malaysia where all Malaysians are equal. That is why we see such a high turnout of first time voters who predominantly vote for the opposition.
These are the younger generation who were born after independence and do not share the divisive racial politics that came with the creation of the Malaysian nation state. They ask: Why should some Malaysians be less equal than others?
They vent their frustrations through the unofficial channels. If BN leaders have bothered to read blogs and web news, they would have an inkling into how huge this discontentment is. Instead they only believed in the mainstream media that has ironically created a bubble of illusion that led to their own downfall.
Non-Malays voted overwhelmingly for the opposition because they don't want to be 2nd and 3rd class citizens anymore. The Indian's call for Makkal Sakti- People Power which demolished the MIC and in places that are split between BN and opposition, their "minority" vote tip the scales away from BN.
As for the sway of Malay votes away from the BN, there is a palpable disgust that the BN is not doing enough to fight corruption and Bumiputera privileges meant little to them when they feel that wealth is only distributed among BN elites.
Anwar Ibrahim is savvy and he has been echoing this sentiment in all his ceramahs. He calls for an end to the NEP, and still attracted the Malay votes. And that's because the opposition coalition recognised that hunger, that cry for equality and the need to belong and answered it - Justice and equality for all. Even PAS has caught on. Nik Aziz says Islam does not discriminate. I saw many Indian youths and elderly Chinese bearing PAS flags campaigning for PAS.
The only party that is oblivious to this hunger is well - the BN! They are still scratching their heads wondeing what hit them. They can't hope to understand because their very existence is what is so hateful to many. They represent the old politics of divide and rule. Race-based politics where UMNO as the Malay party must be KIng to all other ethnic groups. And if you are not Malay by their definition, you are merely a "pendatang" who is here by their grace. "We should be grateful" is perhaps the most hated oft repeated line of the BN leaders to any dissenting voice.
I say to them -They should be grateful for the overtime we have given them.
Monday, March 17, 2008
[I'm taking the liberty of poaching this from Mkini site because I think it is a very good read and prescient analysis by Josh Hong, columnist]
Much of the nation was immersed in euphoria over the unexpected wins by the major opposition parties last weekend, only to taste some bitter fruits of victory now.
Yes, Umno, MCA, MIC and Gerakan fell like a house of cards in many of their parliamentary and state assembly constituencies, but racist politics is still very much alive and kicking. I mean, within the DAP itself.
Initially, I was extremely heartened to note that Islam, or the Islamic state debate, played a very insignificant role in the just concluded general elections, as opposed to the previous two. I remember Lim Keng Yeik of Gerakan and Ng Yen Yen of MCA, the two chief non-Muslim propagandists of Umno, going around Chinese areas scare-mongering the voters with ‘no pork, no karaoke and no cosmetics’ talks in 1999 and 2004, but those ridiculous words were conspicuously absent this time around.
Instead, Ong Ka Ting, the MCA president, and Lim, in their imperfect harmony, resorted to a relentless smearing of Anwar Ibrahim as an anti-Chinese fanatic. The strategy backfired and their parties lost big with Gerakan almost routed.
So it was crystal clear that Islam was a non-issue, so then why has Lim Kit Siang, the DAP veteran and stalwart, chose to have a post-election manifesto by allowing religion to raise its ugly head?
LKS, in an utterly disrespectful and arrogant manner, issued a statement instructing all the newly elected DAP assemblymen of Perak to boycott the swearing-in ceremony, scheduled to take place at Istana Iskandariah in Kuala Kangsar this week. Well, who did he think he is?
Need not be answerable?
He is no longer the secretary-general, the post that he vacated in 1999 after his ignominious defeat in Tanjong. The incumbent is his son Lim Guan Eng who is now the Chief Minister of Penang, but Guan Eng has maintained his elegant silence so far. Neither is LKS party chairman, the post currently occupied by Karpal Singh.
So, how on earth has LKS - a mere MP for Ipoh Timur - this power over DAP state assemblymen in Perak? I thought half of the country voted for separate administrations at state and federal levels.
Why can’t PAS secretary Mohd. Nizar Jamaluddin be the first choice as menteri besar of Perak? Because he is a Muslim? So a Muslim cannot represent and safeguard non-Muslim interests, if I buy LKS’ argument? If the DAP veteran honestly thought he had to make a stand so that he would not be seen to have ‘betrayed’ the Chinese who had voted for his party nationwide, LKS must also understand DAP could not have formed the government in Penang and won a total number of 28 parliamentary seats, unprecedented in the party’s history, without the huge swing in the Malay vote!
For instance, Teo Nie Ching of DAP defeated MCA heavyweight Hoh Hee Lee with a splendid majority of 21,025 in Serdang, but this could not have come about without the party securing 40% of the Malay votes in the constituency. So LKS seriously believes he need not be answerable to them?
How pathetic to see LKS is still obsessed with the harmful dichotomy of race and religion although the nation has awakened. Perhaps he has so used to the racist game orchestrated by Umno that he can hardly recognise the vastly changed political landscape.
Poisoning the people
Although I have my reservations about monarchy, even a ceremonial one, I agree with many that the royal household of Perak is unique and different from the rest in Malaysia. The Perak royals are highly respected for their intelligence and commitment to justice, especially the Regent Raja Nazrin Shah, who in my view is far more popular and genuinely loved by Malaysians of all races. Does LKS think he can surpass the Regent in unifying the people of Perak?
True, LKS has apologised to the Sultan and Regent of Perak, but this is not enough. He should go a step further by admitting that he failed to take into account the feelings of the Malay/Muslim community, a constituency that the DAP could barely win in the past.
As Ibrahim Suffian of Merdeka Centre has pointed out, the opposition parties must view the sharp decrease of Malay representation in Penang and Perak very seriously. If mishandled, the Malay voters who have just ventured into the new political terrain could feel threatened and flock back to Umno.
Let’s not forget, the two major Malay dailies, Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian, are still bent on poisoning the people with lies, fears, greed and hysteria, not to mention RTM and TV3 which reach nearly all corners of the country. DAP must exercise extra caution in order not to give more fodder for the racist party to regain its losses.
But LKS has apparently failed to live up to the expectations of those who are hungry for truly multiethnic politics. The more LKS meddles in the affairs in Penang and Perak, the more DAP sounds like the People’s Action Party of Singapore, and LKS himself like Lee Kuan Yew.
Should Umno successfully cash in on this negative impression and recover much of the Malay vote, LKS can go back to doing what he does best: being the perpetual Mr Opposition Leader.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
I am putting in a plug for a blog by a very very very good pal of mine, who is near and dear to my heart. This friend is a notable photojournalist, investigative reporter, senior researcher at an international broadcast news media network and also a filmmaker. We've known each other for more than 15 years and I have deep respect and admiration for my friend's achievements.
So, please do give the blog above a healthy dose of attention! :-)
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Date: Saturday, 15 March 2008
Time: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm (lunch not provided)
Venue: Level 4 Multipurpose Hall (MPH), Sunway University College
• Chairperson Tan Sri Dato' Dr. Ramon V. Navaratham, Centre for PublicPolicy Studies.
• Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria, Executive Director of Yayasan StrategikSosial
• Dr Farish Noor, Senior Fellow, Rajaratnam School of International Studies, NTU Singapore.
• Khoo Kay Peng, Executive Director of SEDAR Institute.
• Malik Imtiaz, Human Rights Lawyer and Activist
• Tricia Yeoh, Director of the Centre for Public Policy Studies.
The 12th General Elections 2008 campaigning period has seen anunprecedented movement of civil society organization participation,ranging from voter education to endorsement of political party candidates. 7.14 million out of 10.2 eligible Malaysian million voters voted last Saturday with the loose opposition gaining state-control over five states and BN, the ruling coalition losing its two-thirds majority in parliament. Rising prices, increasing crime rates, the rise in interethnic and inter-religious spates, and unaddressed corruption, all led to the widelyheld perception that the Government was simply not doing its jobsatisfactorily.
This elections period also saw the rise of the internetand telecommunications in mobilizing fundraising for campaigning, dissemination of information, and shaping of opinions. Indeed, there has been a major shift in Malaysia's electoral trend, showing that ethnic-based affirmative action is irrelevant in today's competitive and globalized society– a sure sign of a maturing democratic society.
Join our panel discussion this Saturday as we analyze and discuss the unexpected yet exciting outcome of the 12th General Elections and inparticular what the implications are for the future of Malaysia'spolitical fabric, culture and framework.
Please contact Shu Yi at firstname.lastname@example.org / 012-2113391 to RSVP.
Brookings Institution & University of California, Davis
wwoo@brookings. edu & http://us.f542.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?Toemail@example.com
[The article below is written by a Penangite, who now lives overseas. He wrote this hoping for some feedback from YOUNG PEOPLE. A good pal of mine is a friend of Mr Wing. So, if you read it and have a comment, please email it to him directly. He is very interested to know what young Msians think. Thanks!]
A large tremor has just gone through the Malaysian political landscape. Barisan Nasional (and in its former reincarnation, Alliance), a coalition of race-based parties that has ruled Malaysia
since independence in 1957, suffered an unprecedented reduction in its political power in the national elections held on March 8, 2008. The opposition now controls five of the 13 states in Malaysia compared to just one state prior to March 8. Barisan Nasional now holds 63 percent of the parliamentary seats compared to 91 percent previously.
This big election loss reveals a withdrawal of support for Barisan Nasional by all the three major races - the Malays, the Chinese and the Indians. This humbling of Barisan Nasional should be properly understood as stemming from the same cause that enabled Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to start his first term in 2004 with a 91 percent victory, when the coalition’s share for almost 40 years had always been about 70 percent. The scale of the 2004 victory reflected overwhelming endorsement of Badawi’s pledge to move Malaysia away from the polarizing and corrupt politics of his predecessor, Mahathir bin Mohamad, who was also widely disliked for his systematic undermining of democratic and legal institutions.
However, since Badawi was Mahathir’s chosen successor, and that the same political coalition continued in power, this promise of radical reform was a most difficult task to fulfill because it would have re-allocated the political rents significantly and could thus have mobilized the long-entrenched power-brokers to challenge Badawi’s leadership. Moreover, a quick policy overhaul could be politically delegitimizing because it would be tantamount to admitting that the Barisan Nasional had been guilty of gross mismanagement for a long time, a charge that Badawi could not totally disassociate himself from. The large swing to the opposition parties in the recent election is in essence a huge protest vote against the slow pace of the repudiation by Barisan Nasional of Mahathir’s divisive policies and crony-style management. Badawi should use this election setback to convince his Malay party, UMNO (the overwhelmingly dominant member within Barisan Nasional), that its continued political leadership depends on the immediate adoption of radically different governance structure, development paradigm, and social compact that would unite the races, increase the accountability of the state, and inject new dynamism into the economy.
Striving successfully under adversity has been a Badawi trademark. Badawi was sent into the political wilderness in 1987 when he joined an unsuccessful rebellion against Mahathir but he
was recalled subsequently when Mahathir found his administrative and political talents to be indispensable. There is therefore basis to think that Badawi could once again be the ‘comeback kid’ in Malaysian politics. However, Badawi’s reinvention of UMNO will require him to draw the correct lessons from the election debacle of 2008.
The correct lessons
Since 1971, UMNO has been enforcing a comprehensive scheme of wealth and income transfer to the Malay community (especially to the pro-UMNO segment) through the imposition of race-based criteria on a broad range of state and private activities e.g. fiscal transfers, state employment, state procurement, university admissions, private sector hiring, and issuance of licenses. The obvious outcomes are the decline of Chinese and Indians in the bureaucracy (especially in the police and armed forces), the fast emergence of state-favored Malay conglomerates (often monopolies), proliferation of large government-linked companies (GLCs) controlled by former Malay civil servants, soaring corruption (with its deleterious effects with administrative performance) , large-scale flight of Chinese capital, and steady outward migration of the Chinese and Indian middle-class.
Unfortunately for Badawi, this patronage system had become harder to maintain because the GDP growth trend became lower after the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-1999, and this attenuated the growth rate of the of the political rents received by UMNO for distribution as political patronage. However, the growth rate of the demand for political largesse remained the same as before 1997, rendering the political patronage system financially unsustainable.
In response, UMNO raised the rent extraction rate on the Chinese and Indian communities (e.g. GLCs were instructed to confine their transactions to Malay vendors, and the proportion of licenses given to Malays was raised significantly for most activities), hence disillusioning them of his 2004 campaign promise. This increased squeeze on Chinese and Indian businesses was extremely ill-advised because by discouraging private investment, it lowered the GDP growth rate further, and set the stage for a potential spiral of higher rent extraction rate and lower GDP growth rate.
What has also greatly distressed the non-Malay communities since 2004 is the perceived abetment by UMNO of the increasing Islamization of their everyday life. In May 2007, Malaysia’s Federal Court (equivalent to the U.S. Supreme Court) ruled that it would defer to the shariah court to decide whether a woman could receive legal recognition of her religious conversion from Islam to Christianity; an outrageous admission that the constitution, which contained a “freedom of religion” article, was not the highest law in the land. To date, the shariah courts have rejected every application to convert from Islam.
At the same time, some UMNO-controlled state governments showed unusual enthusiasm in demolishing ‘illegally built’ Chinese and Indian temples that had existed prior to independence. Islamic officials also seized and buried the bodies of several Indians who had allegedly converted to Islam, without giving due considerations to the strong claims to the contrary by their immediate families. In addition, the government decided that the Malay language translation of Christian publications could no longer translate ‘God’ as ‘Allah’ even though this is a common practice in other Muslim countries. The Chinese and Indians had long favored association with UMNO over the other strong Malay party, PAS, because it was an Islamic party committed to establishing a theocratic state. It was ironic that just as PAS was amending its theocratic state objective to Islamic rule based on multiculturalism, UMNO began pushing Islam-first policies in addition to its traditional Malays first policies. It was therefore no surprise that Chinese and Indians voted en bloc for the first time for an opposition front that included PAS.
The biggest mistake of UMNO was, however, not this tightening of the economic and religious squeeze on the Chinese and Indians, it was the failure to recognize the extreme seriousness of the common desire in all three races for improved administrative performance (especially on corruption and law and order); and for improved racial and religious relations. The fundamental nature of the public demand for the latter was a change not perceived by the UMNO leadership that had thrived durably by championing Malay supremacy. The rapid income growth and urbanization in the last thirty years have greatly familiarized the growing middle classes of the three races with each other, leading to the steady growth of a national identity that was above racial identity, and that was forged by the increasing acceptance of a common destiny within a multicultural framework.
UMNO lost big in 2008 because it ignored this pervasive wish for a harmonious alternative by an increasing proportion of the increasingly well-educated Malays, Chinese and Indians. The
general public was generally alienated by UMNO’s occasional provocative gestures like waving the kris (a Malay sword) at its annual party conferences, which was interpreted as a statement
of UMNO’s willingness to resort to extreme actions to get its way.
The corrupt politics and incompetent administration of the Mahathir era continued largely unabated into the Badawi era. The deplorable crime situation saw no perceptible improvements, and yet the government did not move on the reform recommendations drawn up by a royal commission that Badawi had set up upon coming into power. When the commercial affairs branch of the police force and the anti-corruption agency started arresting members from the other side for alleged malfeasance, Badawi appalled the public when he was seen as adopting a hands-off approach to what was commonly believed to be an internal squabble over the division of spoils proffered by criminal elements. This sense of lack of control, or lack of concern, over the integrity of public institutions was further confirmed by two events that became widely known in 2007.
In September 2006, two members of the security squad assigned to the Deputy Prime Minister used closely-monitored plastic explosives to obliterate the body of a Mongolian woman they had murdered. This woman was romantically linked to at least one member of the UMNO elite; and her entry and exit record had been mysteriously erased from the immigration record. In September 2007, a video tape was released showing a highly inappropriate conversation in 2001 between (allegedly) the then Chief Judge (later Chief Justice) and Mahathir’s personal lawyer on future judicial appointments. It also came out later that the contacts of this lawyer with the judiciary included vacationing in New Zealand with the then Chief Justice in 1994, and writing judgment drafts for a High Court judge in 1994.
A Reform Agenda for Malaysia
There are three interrelated sets of required reforms. The first set focuses on the socio-political compact that enabled the founding of Malaysia. The foremost element is the reversal of the erosion of the 1957 principle of Malaysian-style multiculturalism. The articles in the constitution (especially the ones on religious freedom, protection of minority rights, and the special status of the Malays) should be decisively confirmed as the highest law in the country. The pursuit of greater social justice through preferential state-paid programs should be guided by the income level of the recipients regardless of race. Poverty is race-blind, and so should be the help extended to the victims.
The second set of required reforms is to improve the administrative performance of the state. The fundamental change needed to achieve this goal is to increase the accountability of the
state to its taxpayers through a free press and an independent judiciary, with both regulated by a code of professional conduct. Free elections alone, which Malaysia luckily possesses, is incapable of making a government sufficiently accountable to the public. While racial quotas for state employment would be continued for some years to come, the improvement of administrative accountability requires that promotion within the bureaucracy be based strictly on merit.
The third set of reforms is to adopt a new engine of economic growth. Mahathir’s development strategy and policy instruments were the products of the circumstances Malaysia faced in 1969-
1971. Much has changed since in the world and in Malaysia. An upgrading of the strategic vision and policy framework is required to accommodate the facts of economic globalization and of Malaysia now being a middle-income industrialized country. Mahathir’s strategy is now incapable of delivering the same salubrious results as before, and many of the policy instruments (e.g. the Industrial Coordination Act) now inflict pain with no gain.
The next stage of Malaysian economic development would have to be knowledge driven, and this requires the government to turn its attention away from massive physical capital accumulation (e.g. completing the planned construction of Putra Jaya) toward massive human capital accumulation, and to use meritocracy to motivate the invested human capital to achieve its productivity potential. The latter represents a switch away from the present zero-sum mentality to the realization that any new knowledge created would be instantly absorbed by other qualified co-workers who would then build upon it, bringing benefits to all. Furthermore, to facilitate training at, and communication with, the leading innovation centers in the world, the teaching of the English language must be greatly expanded, starting at the Primary One level.
The bulk of the poor are Malays, and that there must be special programs targeted at the poor. The special programs to accelerate the economic progress of the Malays should emphasize the acquisition of human capital more than the present transfer of financial capital. Malaysia’s transition to knowledge-driven economy would require the emergence of more Malays as worldclass researchers, and this could be achieved if their training is enhanced through toughened domestic competition and through better access to learning English. The way to hasten the expansion of dynamic Malay business and engineering groups is not to replace the market mechanism of competition with preferred vendor policies but to strengthen the competitiveness of these groups.
UMNO now stands at the cross road of either continuing the usual politics or becoming an agent for comprehensive changes by enabling Badawi to implement with alacrity the reforms promised
in the 2004 campaign. If UMNO does not move on, then Malaysia will move on eventually, but without UMNO leadership.
ELECTION: FOR, OR AGAINST UMNO-PUTRAISM?
For the first time, there appears to be a clear-cut battle line between the opposition parties - PAS, DAP & PKR - and the ruling Barisan Nasional in the coming election.
Reading through the manifestos of the opposition parties, they seem to have said in one voice: "No more race politics please! Let us get on with genuine nation-building by restoring the democratic rights as enshrined in our Constitution to all citizens, irrespective of race, creed or colour."
BN says: "We have done well in the past 50 years, let us maintain the status quo."
Well, look closely and it is clear that what they really mean is: UMNO will continue its autocratic rule which is characterized by rampant corruption, bribery, pervasive racism, abrogation of democracy, impaired Judiciary, wanton abuse of power and authority, religious intolerance, perverting the course of justice, uncontrollable crime rate and runaway inflation!
Of these evils that are plaguing this country, what irks people most are the ones that have inflicted pain to the common people: the unbearable price hikes and the equally unbearable crime rates. So, let us zoom in on these two issues.
Crime rates have been spiraling uncontrollably in recent years due to two main factors:
(a) a hopelessly corrupt and incompetent police force, and
(b) absentee ministerial oversight under the Minister of Internal Security cum
Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi.
A corrupt police force is the natural product of a corrupt political leadership. It doesn't make sense any way for a corrupt political leadership to maintain a clean and competent force, for the latter, if truly uncorrupted, would surely put the former in
That is why the proposed Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) will never be implemented as long as UMNO is in power. And that is also why crime rate will never come down as long as UMNO is in power.
What about inflation?
BN has a point when it says that local prices are affected by escalation of world prices of commodities. But why are Singaporeans, who are even more affected by world commodity price escalation than us, do not cry out in such pain as Malaysians? Shouldn't Singapore, which produces no primary commodity at all, suffer more than Malaysia, which is a major exporter of primary commodities?
The answer is simple. First, Singapore has been enjoying robust economic growth while Malaysia has not, despite BN's claim to the contrary. The vast majority of Malaysians
who have been struggling to make ends meet, could hardly stay above the water under the recent price spirals.
Secondly, Malaysia's notorious income disparity, which is already worst in the region, has further worsened under Umno-putraism - the policy of favoritism enjoyed by UMNO elites and cronies, resulting in vast majority being deprived of equitable share of the nation's wealth.
Thirdly, unreasonable hikes in costs of services - road tolls, electricity, water, telecommunications etc - due to one-sided agreements and monopolies favouring crony enterprises to the detriment of consumers.
Fourthly, we have a wantonly corrupt and inept administration that has lost its moral
authority to impose discipline on traders, many of whom are obviously indulging in profiteering.
It will be seen that, as all roads lead to Rome, all these evils could be traced to one root cause - racism.
It is through racism that UMNO is able to maintain its hegemony through racial divide and rule. While in power, it amends the Constitution and enacts laws that abrogate democracy in a continual eroding process that eventually allowed it to have amassed immense autocratic power to the Executive. UMNO manipulates the democratic institutions - judiciary, attorney general's chambers, police, ACA, election commission, civil service, etc ¡V not to serve people, but to serve the self- interests of its party leaders, cronies and the favoured.
Through these manipulations, the ruling elite have pursued its illegitimate interests with impunity, such as amassing illegal wealth and crushing down on political dissents.
As a result, racism and corruption have run unabated, devastating the nation to an untenable level in a dictatorial ambience. Apart from causing the worst racial polarization and brain drain through intensifying racial discrimination, Umno-putraism has seriously undermined the integrity and efficiency of the entire government machinery through uninhibited corruption.
In particular, our judiciary is held in scorn because the judges who are appointed for no reason other than their willingness to come to the biding of, and dance to the tune of their UMNO masters.
Our race-biased institutions of learning ¡V once recognized throughout the world before
and years after Merdeka - have now plunged to such lows that not only are our tertiary qualifications no longer recognized by Australia, UK and America and other western and Asian countries, it has now become the butt of bad jokes in the bar.
Malaysia's international competitiveness has slipped from the top to the bottom rank in the region, shunned by foreign and local investors alike. One of the most worrisome indicator is the slip of Malaysia's export growth to the bottom for the region for 2007 (refer to Star, Nov 29, 2007).
In 2007, when global economy expanded strongly and primary commodity prices surged, Malaysia should have enjoyed admirable export growth and economic boom since it is a major exporter of primary commodities and a net petroleum exporter. So why are the people groaning of economic hardship amidst rising costs of living and declining quality of life?
Hong Kong and Singapore have no natural resources whatsoever, and yet they are reaping bountiful budget surpluses and distributing generous cash to their citizens. In contrast, Malaysia is richly endowed with natural resources and yet it has to struggle to prop up its economy through ten consecutive years of heavy budget-deficit spending.
The country's performance is pathetic. No rational person can deny that Malaysia has been grossly misruled and mismanaged. And the culprit behind it all is UMNO's racist and corrupt politics.
On the eve of election, UMNO may be satisfied that it will continue to be cuddled by its core supporters. This feeling has no doubt been reinforced by the goodwill it has gained through Barisan's deceptive and cunningly executed bribe ¡V in the form of a hefty wage increase for the 1.2 million government servants in the bloated bureaucracy. But these people must be reminded that this unusual benefit may be short lived ¡V given that it will only increase the growing threat of soaring inflation for the country. Besides, such hefty wage increased favour basically only one racial sector while other races in the country are deprived and left to bear the brunt and burden of the cost of this wage increase. One can hardly blame them for feeling further deprived and marginalized. This is not something that any government can feel proud of. On the contrary, this is clearly a case of "robbing Peter to pay Paul".
What must be understood that only a clean and competent political leadership can extricate the nation from the present quagmire and bring long term prosperity to the entire nation.
Malaysians must now decide whether they want continue to tolerate the shame of living as second class citizens in a Third-World country under the bankrupt divide-and- rule policies of a racist UMNO for another five year, along with s with all the collateral vices intact. Or they want to hold their heads high and say, "NO MORE!" to Barisan.
The choice is clear. Let's grab the chance that is before us and give a fresh start to Malaysia by welcoming genuine multi-racialism to restore democracy and good government to the people.
In short, the vote to be cast on the 8th of March should be treated as a verdict on Umno-putraism: for or against?
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Mar 10, 08 6:20pm
Barisan Nasional only gained about 51 percent of the popular vote from the 7.9 million ballots cast on Saturday. However, it took 63 percent of the seats contested - or 140 of 222 seats in Parliament.
Interestingly, its peninsula-wide popular vote was only 49.79 percent, which effectively means that the opposition received the majority vote in this part of the country. However, when converted to parliamentary seats, BN has 85 of the constituencies in the peninsula, while the opposition bagged 80. Almost 40 percent of the BN's seats are in Sabah and Sarawak - 55 out of 140. In 2004, BN won about 64 percent of the popular vote nationwide and 92 percent of the 219 parliamentary seats on offer then.
As the dust settles on the 12th general election, we highlight a number of quirky facts and figures.
The youngest candidate was PKR’s Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, who is 26. He defeated Seri Setia incumbent Seripa Noli Syed Hussin.
The oldest candidate was grandma Maimun Yusuf, 89, who contested in the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary seat. She lost her deposit.
56 also-rans from opposition parties and independent candidates lost their deposits after failing to secure one-eighth of the votes cast.
The largest majority was won by DAP’s Teresa Kok against BN’s Carol Chew, by 36,492 votes in the Seputeh parliamentary seat in Kuala Lumpur.
The smallest majority was just 14 votes for BN’s Hamdi Abu Bakar who beat Abu Bakar Haji Hussain of PAS in the Pengkalan Baharu state seat in Perak.
Four pivotal players in the Lingam tape scandal also won: Loh Gwo Burne (who recorded the footage), Wee Choo Keong (lawyer who represented VK Lingam’s brother during the inquiry) and R Sivarasa and Sim Tze Tzin (listed as witnesses but eventually not called). All four are from PKR.
There will be two ‘lone rangers’ in Parliament: Zulhasnan Rafique, the sole BN survivor in Kuala Lumpur’s 11 parliamentary seats - he took Setiawangsa; and DAP’s Chong Chieng Jen who won Bandar Kuching in Sarawak - the remaining 30 parliamentary seats went to BN.
The biggest number of candidates was in the Sukau state seat, Sabah, where eight candidates ran, including five Independents.
Prominent blogger Jeff Ooi - whose campaign was done online and funds were raised through his website - won the Jelutong parliamentary seat in Penang for DAP.
Other bloggers are Tony Pua (DAP, Petaling Jaya Utara parliamentary seat), Elizabeth Wong (PKR, Bukit Lanjan state seat) and Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (PKR, Seri Setia state seat).
Civil society activists who succeeded were Charles Santiago (DAP, water-privatisation issues), Edward Lee (DAP, local community), Elizabeth Wong and R Sivarasa (PKR, human rights).
The losses in BN component parties will result in vacancies in various ministries, forcing a cabinet reshuffle.
S Samy Vellu (Works Ministry)
Shahrizat Abdul Jalil (Women, Family and Community Development Ministry)
Zainuddin Maidin (Information Ministry)
Abdul Aziz Shamsuddin (Rural and Territory Development Ministry)
Chia Kwang Chye (Information Ministry)
G Palanivel (Women, Family and Community Development)
Tan Chai Ho (Home Ministry)
V Veerasingam (Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry)
S Sothinathan (Natural Resources and Environment Ministry)
Donald Lim (Tourism Ministry)
Fu Ah Kiow (Internal Security Ministry)
M Kayveas (Prime Minister’s Department)
Chew Mei Fun (Women, Family and Community Development Ministry)
P Komala Devi (Education Ministry)
Lee Kah Choon (Health Ministry)
Ng Lip Yong (Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry)
S Vigneswaran (Youth and Sports Ministry)
Rahman Ibrahim (Home Ministry)
Dr Mohd Ruddin Ab Ghani (Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry)
Yew Teong Look (Federal Territories Ministry)
The full team from the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry all lost in the polls.
All top MIC leaders were wiped out - president, deputy presidents, two vice-presidents, women's chief and youth chief (one of the three vice-presidents, KS Nijar, did not contest).
Anwar Ibrahim, PKR de facto leader, quoted in Star today
"Some mentris besar in the past spent half-a-million ringgit to renovate their offices. Such things cannot be an example in this new administration."
Nurul Izzah Anwar, Lembah Pantai MP at a press conference yesterday.
(On whether she will vacate the seat to force a by-election so that her father, Anwar Ibrahim, can re-enter politics after a five-year ban): "I have already started working in my constituency. The question does not arise."
PPP president M Kayveas, quoted in Star today
"Prior to the elections, Barisan Nasional had kept on telling people to show their dissatisfaction through the ballot box. Now they have really shown it."
taken from www.malaysiakini.com
Monday, March 10, 2008
Pilihanraya Umum Ke-12 merupakan satu ujian yang penting bagi semua pemimpin politik negara kita. Apakah mesej yang dibawa dalam keputusan pilihanraya ini? Apakah makna kemenangan di dalam pilihanraya kepada Barisan Nasional, KeADILan, PAS dan DAP? Siapakah yang paling manfaat daripada pilihanraya? Ke mana Malaysia selepas Pilihanraya Umum Ke-12 ini?
Semua ini akan diperbincangkan dalam forum ini. Tiga panelis yang terkenal berikut dijemput untuk memberi pandangan mereka.
Panelis 1: Datuk Kadir Jasin
Ketua Pengarang Berita Publishing Sdn Bhd. Bekas Ketua Pengarang Kumpulan NSTP Bhd. Beliau juga menulis satu blog popular yang bertajuk “The Scribe A Kadir Jasin”
Panelis 2: Datuk Dr. Toh Kin Woon
Pengerusi Socio-Economic and Environmental Research Institute (SERI) dan bekas Ahli EXCO Kerajaan Pulau Pinang
Panelis 3: Mr Ibrahim Suffian
Pengarah Merdeka Centre, satu firma penyelidikan pendapat yang popular.
Maklumat berkenaan dengan forum adalah seperti berikut:
Tarikh: 12 Mac 2008 (Rabu)
Masa: 8.00pm – 10.30pm
Tempat: MCPA, Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (map)
Bahasa: Bahasa Malaysia
Penganjur: Strategic Information Research & Development Centre (SIRD)
Kehadiran tuan-tuan dan puan-puan sekalian adalah dialu-alukan. Sebarang pertanyaan sila menghubungi Project Coordinator di SIRD, Lee Khai Loon (firstname.lastname@example.org) at DL: 77831164 or mobile: 013-3970519. Project Assistant, Chua Yee Ling (email@example.com) or mobile: 012-7355025
(SIRD is an independent publishing and research centre. In the past few years, we have organized various talks and seminars on topics ranging from socio-cultural to political issues.)
**Thanks to Karen for the info.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
so what happens now? where our RM2 million went? masuk whose pocket d the commision.
why they nvr do research properly first b4 deciding to buy the ink? why must spend money our money and then decide not to use it. their reasons is the constitution allows us to vote whether our fingers are marked or not. why nvr study this earlier? INCOMPETENT!!
then SPR said they nvr used the mykad feature bcoz a mykad reader costs RM60,000 each. Is not that preposterous. how can a simple machine like that cost the same as a Proton Waja. bloody ridiculous.
In my opinion, SPR are just the dogs of Abdullah and BN. BN say woof they woof. BN say come they come. BN say dont use ink, they dont use ink. now its so much easier for BN to cheat in this GE.
i begin to wonder wats the point of me voting at all this time if the inevitable happens. but i will still vote no matter wat. if everybody thinks the way i do and still vote, i believe we can make a difference. vote BN out!
Monday, March 3, 2008
Electoral Website - Absolutely ridiculous
Someone tells me that the Rembau elections are rigged... I don't know if you can make head or tail of these figures. It's quite cute. Not surprising, asusual -_- Nothing's changed in this country in 15 years...-yj
FW: Electoral Website - Absolutely ridiculous
Check out these following IC numbers in the electoral website given here.
I tried my IC number and my details came out correctly but try using the following IC numbers: 890211050014,
Ages of these people (from the first 6 digits of their IC) are 19, 12,13 and 9 and they are all registered voters in Rembau where Khairy is standing!
The nine-year old is also named "Long Fatt" ... seriously.
THIS IS ABSOLUTE MOCKERY OF THE ELECTIONS!!!!!!!!!
You wonder, should I even bother going to the polls!??!!
-- hwa yang jerng kuala lumpur 6016 235 2931
Saturday, March 1, 2008
everyone, pls watch this with a mind free of prejudice. listen to what he say, analyze it critically.