Share |

Saturday, October 11, 2008

NOT PRAYING TOGETHER

A commentator on my blog remarked that I did not sit together with Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak at Friday prayers in the National Mosque just before the end of Ramadhan.

I must explain that since I became Minister of Education in 1974 I had always prayed outside the main prayer hall. When I became Prime Minister the ushers led me towards the place just behind the Imam. I declined because I still preferred praying outside. Even today I have been praying outside.

Only for Hari Raya prayers when the Agong would be present I would show respect for him by praying in the same row with him.

So that Friday I took my usual place outside. After prayers I was kept behind by some people who wanted to shake my hand and to wish me Selamat Hari Raya. I in turn wished them the same.

I did not see Najib or Abdullah who I heard later was in the main prayer hall reciting his doa.

I was not being a bad Muslim when I prayed outside in my usual place. It would look odd if I were to suddenly decide to pray inside.

For those interested I had shaken the PM's hand at a buka puasa at the Istana Negara.

Bapak Demokrasi?

Koh Tsu Koon, the Gerakan president, says today that Pak Lah deserves the title Bapa Demokrasi for allowing a greater freedom of speech during his premiership.

The former chief minister of Penang forgets that it was Pak Lah who broke Malaysia's promise to the world that it would not censor the Internet. He has also forgotten, perhaps, that Raja Petra is still being detained under the Interal Security Act and a journalist was detained under the same Act for 18 hours for a doing her job. Newspapers were issued show-cause letters, editors reprimanded on the phone, and publishing permits have been suspended during his time.

In fact, one of the first things Pak Lah did after he became Prime Minister was to sack NSTP group editor-in-chief Abdullah Kok Lanas for an article he deemed too critical of the Saudis!

And Gerakan wonders how it lost Penang to the DAP?-Rocky's Bru

Zaid: Mahathir is back in power with Najib

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Datuk Zaid Ibrahim©The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 — Former de facto Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim says Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s impending rise to become Umno president and Prime Minister marks the return of “Mahathirism”.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, he said, will become Malaysia’s “de facto PM”, standing behind Najib.

He said the fall of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is a result of Dr Mahathir prevailing.

Zaid, who resigned recently from Abdullah's Cabinet in protest against the use of the Internal Security Act, said he did not expect Najib to continue Abdullah's reform agenda once he takes over.

"Legal and constitutional reforms make you less powerful, more accountable and less able to use the privileges of power.

"Why would someone trained and schooled by Dr Mahathir introduce reforms. Have you heard Najib speak of reforms?” he told The Malaysian Insider.

Zaid said he expects Najib's administration to be more authoritarian with more controls and restrictions compared to that of Abdullah's.

Abdullah, he said, believed in reforms, but "he did not have the stomach" to push through the changes needed.

During the interview he also responded to allegations made against him by Dr Mahathir on the latter's blog recently.

In his chedet.com blog, Dr Mahathir accused Zaid of being in Perth, Australia during the March general election, and for helping the Pas candidate win the Kota Baru constituency against the Barisan Nasional.

Dr Mahathir also criticised Zaid's move as minister to have the government institute ex-gratia payments to the judges who were sacked as a result of the 1988 judicial crisis.

Said Zaid in response: "He says I helped the Pas candidate, but the fact is Pas was going to win no matter what because of the anti-BN mood.

"He has conveniently forgotten that he actively asked the people to vote against BN to teach Abdullah a lesson."

Zaid added that Dr Mahathir would never be able to accept why ex-gratia payments were made to the judges because it reflects badly on his legacy as Prime Minister.

He said Dr Mahathir would never understand the need for reforms because, to him, "more authoritarianism is better”.

The former minister said Malaysia's political and economic uncertainties today is a result of Dr Mahathir.

He also blamed Dr Mahathir for Umno's unpopularity and lack of proper leadership.

"The truth is we have had no proper election since 1987," he said in reference to the year in which Dr Mahathir defeated Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah by a wafer-thin majority to retain the Umno presidency.

Soon after that election, Umno was declared illegal in a court case which led eventually to the 1988 judicial crisis and the sacking of judges involved in the case.

Under Dr Mahathir, the Societies Act was also subsequently amended disallowing judicial review of any political party decision.

"After the Societies Act was amended the president of Umno could do anything.

"You have destroyed the fabric of our lives as a democracy. Have you not done enough?''

Zaid said Malaysia faced an uncertain and more authoritarian future when Najib takes over.

"You had 23 years of Dr Mahathir, so let's say Najib lasts for 10 years as PM with Mahathir behind him. That means a total of 33 years under Dr Mahathir."

Pay attention, Malaysia

By Hazlin Hassan

OCT 11 - While the world is reeling from what is possibly the worst global economic crisis since The Great Depression, most Malaysians have been too preoccupied with the nation's own political drama to pay much attention to the financial meltdown.

Everyone is busy talking politics. The opposition taking over, the opposition not taking over; the PM stepping down, the PM not stepping down; who will become the new PM's deputy, who will not; is Anwar guilty of sodomy, is he innocent?

Based on the newspaper headlines, many seem to think that the financial crisis only affects the US, Europe, and other countries in the region. Malaysians tend to think that, based on strong commodities and crude oil prices that Petronas is selling, we are somehow insulated from what is happening elsewhere.

Well, if they have been reading reports closely, they would see that palm oil and crude oil prices have also plunged.

Local newspapers have not been reporting the meltdown on a big scale. The coverage is still mainly limited to the business or foreign sections, and tend to present the "official" side of things.

In Friday's edition of The Star, the biggest English daily, a story on local banks focused on the positives.

The lead story of the business section of The Star said that banks were turning cautious but have not put the brakes on lending to businesses.

It also stressed that the country's high savings rate and healthy foreign reserves would enable local banks to weather the global credit squeeze.

As a result, perhaps not many Malaysians are even aware of the spreading fear in global markets.

This sort of thinking is perhaps further boosted by the country's leaders who kept insisting that Malaysia's economic fundamentals are strong, rather than preparing the ground for what is to come - slower economic growth, and perhaps job losses.

Second Finance Minister Nor Mohamed Yakcob was quoted in yesterday's papers as saying that Malaysia is unlikely to enter into a recession. He did admit however that "if the crisis creates a recession in the US and Europe, all countries will be affected."

Mass-selling Malay-language Utusan Malaysia played up Nor Mohamed's comments and made it their lead story for the business pages, with the headline saying "Malaysia confident will not fall into recession."

Quoting the central bank, the government has said that both direct and indirect exposure of Malaysian financial institutions in terms of holding of securities linked to the US sub-prime mortgages and lending to entities associated with them, accounted for only 0.3 per cent of the banking system's capital base.

Further supporting this argument is the fact that the Malaysian bourse also has not plunged to the depths seen by neighbouring Indonesia, which was forced to suspend trading this week after huge falls.

ut observers cautioned that Malaysians must pay careful attention to events happening elsewhere before they end up being taken by surprise.

Some say this time, if the recession lands on Malaysian shores, it might well be worse than the 1997-98 Asian Financial Crisis.

First to go could be Malaysian exports, 20 per cent of which go to the US. A drop in exports could cause major job losses. This would then affect consumer spending and curtail growth.

We are already seeing the prices of commodities fall, particularly fuel and palm oil, two commodities which Malaysia depends on heavily for its earnings. This could result in a vicious bite soon enough unless prices
recover.

A big chunk of the Malaysian government annual revenue, about 46 per cent, comes from the petroleum funds. So falling oil prices could mean the government might have to crimp on building infrastructure and rural projects, like schools and drainage.

Also, many palm oil growers are rural Malays in the government-backed Felda estates. During the Asian financial crisis, the sentiment against the government in the rural areas were negative because many growers `found it tough to make ends meet.

And job losses jumped as electronics factories closed or pared operations. All these means that, like it or not, whether they pay attention to it or not, the global meltdown will soon enough knock on the doors of many Malaysians. - Straits Times Blog

A return to Mahathir's style of ruling?

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's leaving office in March 2009 may see a return to the authoritarian rule familiar to Malaysians during the 22-year iron rule of his predecessor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

For one thing Abdullah will be handing over power to his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who has been waiting in the wings ever since Mahathir retired in November 2003.

"Najib is a carbon copy of Dr Mahathir, and we fear in his rise to power a possible return of iron-fisted rule and intolerance for dissent and curbs on the political opposition," said a diplomat with a European mission, on condition of anonymity.

Najib, an economist by training, has vast experience in government and politics but has always been in the shadow of Mahathir and Abdullah.

His views and policies on dissent, human rights and the political opposition are relatively unknown.

Critics said Najib's rise to power would also see the return of Mahathir to political centre stage, probably as a tenured adviser to the government.

"I welcome the departure of Abdullah and am ready to give advice to the new government," Mahathir told local reporters after confirming that Abdullah was leaving.

Abdullah, who failed to carry out the major reforms he had promised in 2004, has promised to implement at least three reforms before he leaves in March, but civil society activists are not excited by his promise.

Abdullah said he would not abolish the draconian internal security act, which allows for detention without trial, but will see to the creation of an independent commission to select judges, an independent oversight
commission to curb police corruption and abuse and place the Anti-Corruption Agency under an independent commission and give it more bite.

"He should carry out these reforms in the short time he has," veteran opposition lawmaker Lim Kit Siang said. "If he is serious, and if he gets cracking, we will cooperate with him, and he would be assured of a permanent legacy and will be remembered well."

Although Abdullah failed to carry out the promised reforms he remained a well-liked figure among the people who understood that he could not act because he was under siege from within and outside.

"While most Malaysians welcome Najib, they also feel sad that Abdullah is leaving," said Ramon Navaratnam, a former senior finance ministry official who is now the president of Transparency International, Malaysia.

"He was a most likeable and affable leader, but he was rather unhurried about his job. He delayed reforms and was indecisive, and that got him into trouble with the people," he said. Although Abdullah's decision to leave has settled the succession battle in his ruling Umno party it is unlikely to end the larger political battle between a resurgent opposition led by former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and a considerably weakened Barisan Nasional ruling coalition.

Political analysts say the tussle would worsen because Abdullah's choice, Najib, and the iconic opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, are arch-rivals for political power.

Abdullah rose up the ranks of Umno but was well liked and in the shadows during the 22 years when Mahathir held sway. Mahathir had said last year he picked Abdullah as a "temporary substitute" to hold the seat for Najib.

"Abdullah would be remembered as a pleasant man who simply did not have the skills or the gumption to rule," said a Chinese newspaper editor who declined to be identified. "He tried to please everybody and in the end failed to please anybody."

Najib was only 22 when he entered politics after the death of his father, revered second prime minister Abdul Razak, in 1976. He became the country's youngest minister two years later.

But his standing has been damaged by links to the 2006 murder of a Mongolian woman with whom he allegedly had an affair. Anwar also accused him of receiving kickbacks on defense deals he had handled.

Najib denied the allegations and swore on the Quran that he had never met Altantuya Shaariibuu, a former model who was killed and blown up with explosives.

Reacting to the developments Anwar said it would be an "unmitigated disaster" for Malaysia if Najib became prime minister. "Najib has given no indication of his commitment to judicial reform and corruption. These are issues that the Malaysian people expressed deep concerns over," he said.

"Malaysians fear that under Najib democratic freedoms will be curtailed and the use of draconian laws such as the ISA would be extended," Anwar said. He also referred to "unanswered questions" over alleged defense contract kickbacks and the Shaariibuu murder.

"He (Najib) takes over at a very difficult time for Malaysia, with political and economic turmoil on the rise and with all previously accepted norms now under attack," Navaratnam said.

"He has the experience and Umno backing, but he is under a cloud over the Mongolian affair," he added. "His performance as national leader would be affected unless the controversy is cleared up."

Foreign diplomats say Najib's immediate tasks included getting a grip on the sliding economy, reassuring foreign investors and easing rising ethnic tensions.

"He really has some big and complex issues to deal with," the European diplomat said. - Inter Press Service

Banning Hindraf will be futile

By Baradan Kuppusamy

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 — Going by the increasingly alarming comments from national leaders it appears the government is set to move against Hindraf, an unregistered, chaotic group that was founded two years ago in Seremban to defend temples from demolition by local authorities.

The government is currently weighing the type of action that can be taken against Hindraf, insiders said, adding the movement is now officially seen as extremist and a threat to national security and the personal security of national leaders.

Mostly likely Hindraf would be declared an illegal or extremist group like Al Arqam, which was banned in 1994. Hindraf leaders could also be prosecuted for various “offences” as there are numerous statues that can be thrown at them for alleged “illegal” activities.

The question, however, is should Hindraf be banned at all? And why now?

Is it because Hindraf, as a minority within a minority, is easily and safely used as a favourite whipping boy for Umno leaders as they battle for positions in the party elections?

Or is it because Hindraf has won over enough of the Tamil underclass and is growing in size and would eventually become an indispensable pillar of strength for the opposition Pakatan Rakyat?

The government cannot just ban Hindraf and declare it an extremist organisation simply because it gatecrashed a Hari Raya do or did not shake hands with national leaders or shouted "Abolish ISA!"

Whatever the reasons, banning Hindraf now is an unwise move, one that could potentially make the situation worst.

Hindraf is more of a movement than an organisation or a political party.

It has no symbol, no membership, no organisational chart and no ideology. It has no expressed agenda beyond helping Indians. It has no constitution nor an order of battle.

And yet it has made its presence felt in the country with its numerous demonstrations, candlelight vigils across the country and in gatecrashing Prime Minister Datuk Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's office and functions on numerous occasions.

No doubt Hindraf is emerging as the backbone of the newly resurgent opposition, giving it a new, critical mass and a radical "we dare to oppose" tinge.

Some quarters see Hindraf as a "growing menace" but it is really very Tamil and rooted in the emotional linkages and shared grievances that the Tamil underclass had suffered together.

In the light of this origin it should not be seen exclusively as "extremist" or "opposition" but as a movement of like-minded people trying to find a footing in a dynamically changing political landscape.

Most Hindraf supporters are from the Tamil underclass that forms about 60 per cent of the Indian community.

These are the children of labourers who were uprooted from rubber and oil palm estates in Peninsular Malaysia and moved to the urban centres as railway-line squatters but later transported into rumah panjangs and low-cost flats.

They had previously supported the MIC and later the IPF but have since given allegiance to the opposition political parties including and surprisingly even Pas that at one time they had feared.

It's surprising that Hindraf has survived this long and prospered even though the five main founding leaders who, after sparking the movement and leading people in a huge demonstration on Nov 25, were arrested and are now languishing under ISA detention in the Kamunting camp.

Another leader, P. Wythamurthy, is in self-imposed exile in London and trying to run the Hindraf by remote control from abroad using SMS text messages and tele-conferencing.

The reasons for the persistence of Hindraf — the emotional linkages and shared common grievances — are the very same reason that would enable it to survive any attempts at banning it.

The government cannot ban the strong emotional allegiance the Tamil underclass feels for the Hindraf 5 and for the movement, however chaotic and disorganised.

The best way for the authorities is to negotiate, co-opt and manage and address the core issues that gave birth to the Tamil underclass movement — poverty, marginalisation and lack of opportunities for upward mobility.

The very shape of Hindraf — chaotic, divided, indisciplined and without a clear line of authority — are reasons why Hindraf is not a threat.

The authorities must show understanding, knowledge, wisdom and patience in dealing with Hindraf and accept that the way to defeat any potential for extremism is to resolve and free the Tamil underclass from the tragic cycle of poverty and crime it is caught in.

Banning Hindraf would not erase the grievances; Hindraf would resurface in another name.

Sean Connery, Catherine Zeta, Chow Yun-Fat, Ang Lee and Aaron Kwok also to be honoured for filming in Malaysia?

A reporter just phoned up, asking for my comments on popular Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan as one of the 77 new Malacca Datuks on the occasion of the 70th birthday of the Malacca Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob.

I was astounded and I said so. Are there no Malaysian film stars, artists or sports-people who have greater title to be honoured and encouraged as compared to Shahrukh?

I don’t think the reason that has been given for making Shahrukh Khan a Malacca Datuk would impress or convince many – that the Bollywood actor-dancer had “contributed to our tourism industry when he acted in a movie filmed in Malaysia”.

On this basis, shouldn’t Hollywood stars Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta Jones be honoured for their 1999 film “Entrapment” which first promoted the Twin Towers to the world shortly after they were completed when the Twin Towers was used as the film location – although the film was subsequently accused of “distortion” when images of Malacca slums were spliced with shots of the 1,482ft-high skyscrapers.

Or the 2000 Academy Award-nominee film “Anna and the King” (a remake of “The King and I”) starring Jodie Foster and Chow Yun-Fat (and our Patrick Teoh) which was mostly shot in Penang?

Or are Taiwan Gold Horse Award 2005/6 Best Leading Actor Aaron Kwok to be similarly awarded for his 2006 film “After This Our Exile” and world-famous director Ang Lee for his 2007 film “Lust, Caution”. starring Tony Leung & Tang Wei, as both promoted Malaysia as having been filmed or used footages from Perak?

What about other foreign stars in films which had used Malaysia for their location?

Shah Rukh Khan To Receive Datukship

MELAKA, Oct 11 (Bernama) -- Bollywood leading actor Shah Rukh Khan will receive a datukship from the Melaka Yang Dipertua Negeri, in conjunction with his 70th birthday Saturday.

Melaka Chief Minister's political secretary Saadon Basirun said the actor would be awarded the Darjah Mulia Seri Melaka (DMSM).

He said the investiture ceremony will involve 758 recipients of titles, appointments, stars and medals from Melaka and would be held at the Seri Negeri Hall, Ayer Keroh here Saturday and on Sunday.

"Shah Rukh will receive his title in another ceremony at a later date," Saadon told reporters here.

The actor is among 77 recipients awarded the DMSM.

Saadon said Shah Rukh was awarded the title for his contribution to the entertainment industry at international level.

"Shah Rukh Khan has also contributed to our tourism industry when he acted in a movie filmed in Malaysia," he said.

He said local artists awarded the Darjah Seri Melaka (DSM) without a title were traditional Malay song singer Goh Eng Boon, popularly known as Andre Goh, comedian Jantan Osman also known as Ali Mamak and 60's singer Mariam Ahmad.

Meanwhile, Melaka Chief Minister's press secretary Daud Awang and Nanyang Siang Pau manager were also awarded the DSM.

Melaka Hari Ini (MHI) part-time journalist Jaafar Neemat will receive the Jaksa Pendamai (JP) while Melaka Mass Media Club Yang Dipertua Sha'rin Sahad,

The Star chief reporter R. Letchumanan and TV9 newsroom manager Mohd Lokman Hamidi will be awarded the Bintang Cemerlang Melaka (BCM).

MHI editor Md Yusof Mohamed will receive the Bintang Khidmat Terpuji (BKT) while The Star photographer A Malek Yahya, TV9 journalist Mohamed Raffi Bachik and China Press journalist Monica Tay Sookeen will be awarded the Pingat Jaksa Pendamai (PJK).

-- BERNAMA

Umno nominations count

Shamsul has a "sticky" to help you keep up with who are getting the nominations for Umno's top posts. For the Umno Youth's top post, for eg. it's 5-4 in Mukhriz's favour right now. Shamsul isn't likely to get you the news first, but he won't put any spin on it like the mainstream media are allegedly doing here.

p.s. Also, I heard a top Umno man has been dropping Najib's name to get divisions to nominate KJ for the Umno Youth's top post.

By the way, have you read Shamsul's Lain Kali lah?
"... It is people like you who keep the leader safe from the truth, who give him bad advice and who do nothing but increase people's loathing for the Government."
-Rocky's bru

Bar: Look after minority rights

Can Abdullah achieve reforms in his time left?


Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’©The Edge Daily
PETALING JAYA: Outgoing Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s pledge to reform key institutions must be applauded, but it could be a case of too little, too late.

Abdullah announced on Wednesday that he intended to see through five initiatives before making his exit after the Umno polls in March.

The initiatives are to establish the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) to enhance the stature of the judiciary, to establish the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission with greater powers of investigation and enforcement, to establish the Special Complaints Commission (SCC) to enhance the integrity and effectiveness of enforcement agencies, to strengthen and enlarge the social safety net to ensure aid for all, regardless of race and religion and to hold a Barisan Nasional (BN) convention to improve inter-racial and inter-religious relations.

The time to push for such deep changes had come when Abdullah led the BN to an unprecedented 90% mandate at the 2004 general election with his tag line “Work with me, not work for me”. Now, Abdullah’s valiant determination can be likened to a football team trying to score goals during extra time when the team is lagging far behind.

“He does not have the time. It is not as simple as that,” said political analyst Khoo Kay Peng when contacted.

Even at the peak of his popularity, it was difficult for the prime minister to carry out these reforms, Khoo said. And now that he is leaving the post, the task would be even more difficult.

“To push through the initiatives, Abdullah needs consensus from the cabinet. It is not his decision alone.

“(Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak) would be cautious because he would want to ensure that the amendments do not undermine his administration. He would not want the initiatives to be shoved down his throat,” said Khoo.

It is no secret that Abdullah did not have support from some of his Umno cabinet colleagues especially where the JAC was concerned. Former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, who was tasked to look into matters dealing with law and judiciary, admitted that he faced a huge brick wall where the JAC was concerned.

“JAC is unlikely to crystallise,” said Khoo. “He (Abdullah) would not have the support from Umno.

“I really don’t see how he could push it through. I have not heard of any consultation on the JAC. Drafting of the Bill would take time as all must agree on the powers vested on the Bill,” he said.

Abdullah would also be unlikely to garner the support of the opposition for the SCC because the opposition had wanted the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), which was recommended by the Royal Commission, Khoo said. The SCC has been seen as a watered-down version of the IPCMC. It was presented to parliament in December last year, but was withdrawn.

Khoo said Abdullah would, however, be likely to succeed in holding the BN convention to improve inter-racial and inter-religious relations, where he could get a panel and speak for a couple of days without nailing down any concrete measures.

“At the end of the day, he would say ‘Don’t blame me for not trying.’ He wanted to introduce (changes) but failed,” Khoo said, forecasting the expected outcome since the initiatives are difficult to carry through.

Dr Ooi Kee Beng of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) does not believe Abdullah has the conviction or the will to battle the resistance in Umno to get the reforms through. “If he had the ability to become a strong leader convinced of the need for reforms, then the country or Umno or BN wouldn’t be in the state it is in.”

Another analyst, Wong Chin Huat, chairperson of the Writers Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI) said technically, Abdullah has the time to achieve the reforms because he just needs some of the initiatives to be passed in parliament. The current session would resume sitting on Monday.

“Doing all these things will leave Abdullah with a good name, but some Umno hardliners would see it as shooting itself in the foot.

“For Abdullah, it would be his legacy and he would ask for the chance to carry them out. It is a matter of political will, and he is fighting to leave his legacy,” said Wong.

Abdullah needs to push his initiatives through parliament in this session which will end on Dec 11, said Wong. The new session in the new year traditionally starts around March/April, by which time Abdullah would have made his exit.

“He should see all his ‘babies’ functioning before he leaves office,” said Wong.

Gerakan bent on multiracialism

By Shannon Teoh

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 10 — Far from disintegrating after being smashed in the March 8 general election, Gerakan believes its multiracial ideology makes this the right time for the party to become more relevant.

With Gerakan heading into crucial party elections this weekend, the multiracial agenda has become an important side plot for the party at a crossroads.

Several leaders believe that with Barisan Nasional’s race-based politics becoming increasingly obsolete, it can start playing a more central role in the future of the governing coalition instead of leaving it.

Vice-president Datuk Chang Ko Youn said the March 8 debacle had a brighter side in that the people had validated the party’s ideology which had to be compromised for the sake of unity within BN.

“We need to return to the right path and base our decision-making on our ideology which is still the best for a multiracial society,” he said.

“We can be very relevant now in BN. Now, it must really become multiracial and not just have a token Malay, Chinese and Indian to represent it,” Selangor chairman Senator A. Kohilan Pillay told The Malaysian Insider.

“If not today, one day all parties must be multiracial. This is the time for Gerakan to play a bigger role and become more relevant. Our multiracial ideology is the best for the future,” he added.

While the party has a 20 per cent non-Chinese membership, it has seen very few step up as leaders until now. But at this weekend’s polls, the race for vice-president will see a surprise four non-Chinese out of 10 candidates.

On top of that, on Sept 7 Kohilan became the party’s first ever non-Chinese state chairman. The Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister said the win reflected the party’s “colourless principle”.

But at last weekend’s nomination, even he must have been surprised to see a Malay candidate for vice-president.

Dr Asharuddin hopes his candidacy will open the eyes of people.

Dr Asharuddin Ahmad created history but even party officials are unclear as to what the exact milestone is. President Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said he must be the first Malay vice-presidential candidate since “the ‘70s” while the chief operating officer of a medical college himself only claimed “15 years since a Malay contested a national-level post”.

That the party itself could not remember its own historical trivia concerning Malays was a telling sign of how far the party has wandered from the multiracial ideology set in place from its 1968 co-founding by its first president Prof Syed Husin Alatas.

“In a way it is true,” Dr Asharuddin told The Malaysian Insider when asked if the party had lost its way in recent times.

“Umno became so dominant that Malays believed it was the only party they should join. Very few considered Gerakan mainly due to our own weak positioning and marketing,” said the 10-year party member.

The Kuala Selangor division secretary hopes that his candidacy will “open the eyes of those outside to our multiracial outlook and at the same time to show Malays in the party that they can climb up the ladder.”

“To bring in more non-Chinese, we need to go out and participate in society and educate and bring awareness of our ideology,” the 49-year-old said.

Kohilan also agreed that many times, it was because of a lack of candidates that members could not choose non-Chinese leaders.

Meanwhile, he himself has decided to return as a central working committee member instead of contesting for a higher post.

“It’s not necessary for me to go for vice-president. I am already wearing so many hats,” he said, although he admitted that he had received support to do so.

He said that his role as Selangor chief was an important one as it was time for the party to go back to basics.

“We need to be more active on the ground. In Selangor, there are three divisions that are not yet formed. We need our branches to participate in community.

“When we say we want to be more vocal, it also has to be at a local level. Selangor is under Pakatan Rakyat but they are not perfect so we can voice out the concerns of the people.”

Sivaraj-Financial Crisis

Good day to whom it may concern. I'm Sivaraj a/l Konjoramah,18, an undergraduate of Aimst University. I'm currently studying in Term1 Year1 for MBBS. My MBBS programme commenced on 16th September 2008. Before coming into MBBS, I did my Foundation of Science and Pre-Medicine in Aimst using my own money. Even so, I have an outstanding fees of RM500.00 for Pre-Medicine. I got 11As in SPM and 7As in PMR. I'm a PTS leaper too. I'm facing financial crisis in paying up my fees for MBBS. My dad is permanently disabled and unable to work.

His left leg has been amputated. My dad is having problem to support my higher education. I want to be a renowned doctor. I don't have much time to pay up my Term 1 Year 1 fees.

My first term fees is RM19,850. I need your help. Can u give any suggestion to overcome this financial problem of mine, please?Thanking you in anticipation.

Contact: Sivaraj K. Ramah <sivaraj_punisher@hotmail.com>

Police should stop harassing Hindraft/RPK supporters over PM’s Hari Raya Open House


Police are taking things too far in initiating investigations against two groups over their presence at the Prime Minister-cum-Cabinet Hari Raya Open House last Wednesday – the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) members and “I’m with RPK” supporters who had turned up at the Open House with T-shirts bearing the theme of their cause.

Four Hindraf members, K Shanti, wife of Hindraf leader-in-exile P Waythamoorthy, Hindraf information chief S Jayathas, Selangor coordinator K Tamilselvam and national events coordinator R Kannan have been served with written notice under Section 111 of the Criminal Procedure Code to report to the Dang Wangi district police headquarters on Tuesday to give their statements for illegal assembly under Section 27 (5) of the Police Act, as well as trespass under Section 447 of the Penal Code.

Three persons, lawyer-blogger Haris Ibrahim, lawyer Amarjit Sidhu and blogger P. Surind Raj are required to report to the police in connection with their “I’m with RPK” demonstration at the PWTC Hari Raya Open House.

Are the Umno leaders and Police seriously suggesting that the allegedly 200,000 people who visited the Prime Minister-cum-Cabinet Open House, particularly who went with more than five in number, could be investigated by the police for illegal assembly and trespass?

If so, Malaysians should think twice before they go to future Open Houses whether of the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister or Cabinet Ministers – as they risk criminal sanctions!

The Police should stop harassing Hindraf and RPK supporters for visiting the Prime Minister-cum-Cabinet Hari Raya Open House as if they are common criminals and end their ridiculous investigations to concentrate on reducing crime.

Umno leaders and others are entitled to their view whether the peaceful and orderly presence of the two groups at the PWTC Hari Raya Open House should take the opportunity plead their cause for the release of the Hindraf Five and Raja Petra Kamaruddin, and they have done so – in many cases, gone to extremes in inciting racial and religious hatred – but it is completely unwarranted for the police to be dragooned into the intimidation process to create a culture of fear.

It is also utterly baseless for the Prime-Minister-in-waiting, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to go overboard in his remarks in Kuala Terengganu yesterday in suggesting that both groups were guilty of “unruly and indecent behaviour” which could even “undermine the country’s unity and security”.

It is such making a mountain out of a molehill which characterizes a tendency to abuse powers – which becomes very dangerous to the people and country if such a person is vested with huge powers as in the case of a Prime Minister-in-waiting.

Indian Medical Student Financial Woes


I find it hard to start to write on this topic, its majorly due to exhaustion. I am getting tired. Just reading those emails, enough to drain all the energy you have. Lately I got close to 50 emails on a girl called Sathiah, a 5th year medical student. Perhaps you have got the same email I have got, some just forwarded, some pleaded me to help, not forgetting the begging and cryings. Being just another soul in the road ( I aint a community leader with wealthy funds) , sometimes the hope put on us by the society is much bigger than we could cope. I could understand, you perhaps only get one specific case of this type (in this context Sathiah's case), and you wanted to push to assist this. What would you do when you get cases every other day? It just drains you, as it involves huge amount of money to save a person and many of us are not from those wealthy circle, able to lift the problem. For Scholarships, your sad story might not help as you would need to swin with the sharks and be the best in the pool to win the limited opportunity. That too if you enrolled in recognized universities. Frankly, I just can wish you luck as I am just another student.

Case 1 - Sathiah Devi 

Sathiah Devi is in her 5th year of Medical Degree and from Sitiawan.She have two other sisters, one of which in UNISEL (have PTPTN loan) and another in secondary school.She have lost her father in a road accident way some time back and the only source of monetary and moral support was the mother.Apparently, the mother goes through a tough life in supporting them and having deep financial constraints. The mother goes under severe depression due to financially unable to support these bright girls and committed suicide by hanging herself. 

She and her sisters is now left on their own. She have another one and half years to go.She is doing her medical degree in Lugansk State Medical University, Ukraine.For a while I thought she went to unrecognised university, but upon check with my friends in Malaysian Medical Council, it was certified it is unrecognized but luckily the same university which falls under thier unrecognized schedule are allowing her to practise in Malaysia after she have taken Malaysian Qualifying Examination (MQE) under the Section 12 (1) (aa) of the Medical Act, 1971. She can have as much as 3 tries for the examination. 

Refer - http://mmc.gov.my/v1/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=70&Itemid=109 

They didnt know it wasn't recognize until she was already there to do her studies. The cost of being naive are huge here. These 3 gals are now gonna have to live on their own as it seems no relative came forward to help them out. Sathiah is unsure now on her future as she dont have the money for her studies. Do see if you could help. 

The sister's bank account is as below,

Sathiah Devi Subramaniam - 0880029000063724 (BSN)

Uma Devi Subramaniam - 158293614865 (Maybank)

MUHYIDDIN FOR DEPUTY PRESIDENT

It has been reported that Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, International Trade and Industry Minister will officially contest for the Deputy UMNO President's position in the March 2009 UMNO elections. This was announced at a packed press conference in a Putrajaya hotel this morning.

It is also learned Tan Sri Muhyiddin has received the blessing and support of aspiring UMNO President Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, and it is believed that Tan Sri Muhyiddin is his team-mate.

So, its official that Tan Sri Muhyiddin will contest the Deputy Presidents post and vying to be the next Deputy Prime Minister.

WILL UTUSAN MALAYSIA PUBLISHING PERMIT BE REVOKED


Of late, there are many quarters demanding that the Home Ministry to take stern action against the Utusan Malaysia for creating racial sentiments among the Malaysian society by suspending or revoking their printing permit.

Most are very spectacle about this since UMNO, the 'leader' of the ruling Barisan Nasional government owns this company.

The newspaper had been giving distorted news about the Prime Minister's and Muslim Cabinet members Hari Raya Open House at Putra World Trade Centre, where the HINDRAF supporters had appeared and handed Prime Minister with a card and teddy bear. The paper had quoted that this group had been unruly and noisy, making it to seem that they are trouble causes. The group had totally disagreed with this reporting.

What seem to appear is that Utusan Malaysia another UMNOputra company, feels it is above the law and could say and do anything and they are confident that no action will be taken against them.

Its time for the Home Ministry to take immediate action since various other non-UMNO papers have been punished previously for much smaller offences.

The rakyat, the stakeholders are watch whether the government will take any action and time will tell how the rakyat will react for their 'one-sided' actions.