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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Racial politics, Najib, ISA and Hindraf in focus

(Malaysiakini) Race-based politics, the growing divide between Umno and its Barisan Nasional partners, the ISA and scandal-hit deputy premier Najib Abdul Razak and the banned Hindraf are expected to dominate headlines in the week ahead.

Perhaps setting the tone will be the speech made by outgoing MCA president Ong Ka Ting during the party’s election over the weekend. Ka Ting shocked the nation with what was probably his most critical speech ever when he took Umno to task for its insistence on dominating over its BN peers.

mca agm 181008 abdullah ka ting walking“The power sharing slogan is often used but it is deemed lip service,” Ong said in his swan song speech to MCA members and guests that included Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Najib and other BN leaders.

Athough Abdullah later denied that Umno disregarded and bullied its partners, he also point-blankly rejected calls from Ka Ting that day and from Gerakan president Koh Tsu Koon the week before to review the oppressive Internal Security Act.

Originally intended to be used against terrorists, the ISA has been invoked by government leaders to imprison civilians including political foes without trial and for indefinite periods.

Last Friday, 26-year old Suaram activist Cheng Lee Whee was arrested under section 28 of the ISA for spreading false information after lodging a police report accusing the police of abuse of power in the controversial eviction of a squatter colony in Johor.

cheng lee wheeAlthough section 28 is regarded as less severe in that it does not empower the police to detain Cheng without trial, civil groups and political observers have condemned the move as intimidating and high-handed.

Cheng, who insists she did nothing wrong, was released late Saturday evening and ordered to report to court on Nov 1.

“It looks as though Prime Minister Abdullah and Umno are not learning lessons from the past,” political analyst Khoo Kay Peng told Malaysiakini. “They just don’t get it, not even after the March 8 general election.“

“Umno wants to be the ‘taikoh’ (big brother). They don’t want to be questioned. Each time, there is trouble, they will go back to their authoritarian, Malay supremacy ways of the past.”

Playing the racial card

Race-based or divide-and-rule communal politics has been practised by the Umno-led BN since the country’s independence from British rule in 1957.

Although, long diagnosed as the main cause for the increase in racial polarisation, Umno and its leaders - including Najib’s father Abdul Razak, Dr Mahathir Mohamad and even Abdullah - have variously persisted in its use to maintain favour with the Malay community.

This despite growing calls from the MCA, Gerakan and the MIC to adopt a more multi-racial approach in the face of rising voter disgust with the outdated strategy.

anwar mca and gerakanThe trio now blame race-based politics for their poor performance at national polls held earlier this year when Malaysians voted in their first meaningful opposition - giving the Pakatan Rakyat led by Anwar Ibrahim five of the country’s 13 states.

“The forces within the BN are contrary by nature. How can Umno share power with BN partners when such a move goes against the grain that Malay interests are paramount and must be consolidated,” said Khoo.

Yet despite the tougher stance taken by the MCA and Gerakan, political observers feared their new-found courage might be fleeting and predicted that chances were high they would go back into their shell once party polls were concluded.

isa internal security act vigil 050108“Let’s see how the MCA and Gerakan react this week, especially after the PM has made it clear that the ISA will not be reviewed. Will they stand up to him and push for concrete steps to get the Act abolished, or will just they hum-haw and pretend they didn’t hear as in they always have done in the past,” said a political observer.

A surprise special statement issued by the Conference of Rulers warning Malaysians not to question the special rights of the Malays, among other things, is also expected to be dissected by civil groups and think-tanks seeking clues on the socio-economic direction of the country and its implications for investors - both local and foreign.

“I respect the wise words from the Rulers. That should be our struggle - to defend the rights of all races,” said ex-MCA secretary general Ong Ka Chuan, who was defeated by ex-health minister Chua Soi Lek for party deputy presidency on Saturday.

Ka Chuan and his brother Ka Ting have been blamed for not standing up to Umno and losing party the respect of the community.

Scandal-hit Najib

Also high on the list of anticipated news is deputy premier Najib, who was hit by a double-whammy of scandals last week. While his supporters say the rumours will not impact his campaign to be Umno president and the country’s next prime minister, Malaysians are watching to see how he distances himself from the allegations.

The first was the revival of a spate of allegations linking him to a Mongolian woman murdered here in 2006. Although Najib has denied ever having a sexual relationship with the 28-year old Altantuya Shariibuu, a website posting of a series of SMS messages purportedly sent by him to a lawyer involved in the case has reminded the nation of the controversial episode.

najib and military helicopter purchase kazan and cougarThe second was a questionable, high-cost helicopter deal alleged to be sanctioned during his time in the defence ministry.

According to a whistleblower from a competing bidding firm, the government agreed to buy 12 units of Cougar EC-725 choppers worth about RM2.3 billion from Eurocopter, although there was a cheaper alternative from Canadian-based Kelowna Flightcraft. Kelowna had offered to supply 12 helicopters of similar specifications for only RM898 million.

The uproar has pressured Abdullah, who took over the defence ministry last month, to promise to look into the matter. Najib has said he will give the Dewan Rakyat a detailed explanation soon.

Umno and Hindraf

umno 2009The chase for Umno nominations will continue to take centre stage this month until Nov 9.

Najib has so far garnered 52 nominations to contest the Umno presidency due to be vacated by Abdullah.His only challenger Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has still to break the egg.

While the deputy premier looks set to romp home uncontested at party election slated for March next year, attention has swung to the Youth chief aspirant Khairy Jamaluddin.

MCA youth delegate Ting Tai Fook accused Khairy of fanning racial feelings and urged the government to arrest the 32-year old son-in-law of Abdullah under ISA.

pakatan rakyat leaders parliament support hindraf 161008The banning of Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) - while anticipated but nevetheless still shooked the Indian community - is expected to generate a fresh backlash of reaction as community leaders regroup to find their way forward this week.

“Hindraf was banned because it was a sore that wouldn’t go away. It was banned because it reflected the worst of the Barisan and Umno’s misguided policies that caused unfairness and corrupt practices that left one ethnic group far behind the rest,” said Ramon Navaratnam, president of Transparency International Malaysia.

HINDRAF P.Uthayakumar's advice to M'sian Indian to be united

Nostradamus :India is bound to be a Superpower

This article is written hereby not to bring into disregards the religion of Islam or its followers ..its just to prove on the matter that India indeed can become a Superpower if we strive for it ..and its bound to happen.
Everyone in the West, from statesman to crossing-sweeper, is aware of the fame of NOSTRADAMUS, the French-Jewish seer who died more than 400 years ago. The reason for his extraordinary popularity is quite simple. Many predictions published by Nostradamus in 1555 have been completely vindicated by the passage of time. Writing more than 400 years ago, he not only foresaw the two World Wars of the 20th century, but also came close to mentioning Hitler by name! Earlier on, the French Revolution reached elimination in 1792, as predicted by him.

Incredible? Well, it is almost unbelievable. But even the most strident critics have been silenced by the phenomenal accuracy of the French seer. Of the approximately 2,500 forecasts that he published in his poetic "Centuries", no less than 800 have been precisely fulfilled so far. The remainder covers the period up to the year 3797. The track record of Nostradamus is so perfect that there can be no doubt that the others too will be realized. His "Centuries" are absolutely amazing.

For Hindus especially, Nostradamus ought to be a hero of immense cheer. The Frenchman never visited India. In point of time, his forecasts were published well before Akbar became the Moghul ruler in Delhi. But, despite the great distance of time and space, Nostradamus clearly foresaw the rise of a mighty all-conquering Hindu nation. Its birth is close at hand. The seer predicts that a resurgent India will burst forth upon its former oppressors and destroy them completely. The beginning of this terrible revenge will be in the seventh month of 1999.

Meanwhile, he predicts, after seven years of furious warfare, the Moslems will be totally wiped out. There will be no trace left of either Mecca or Medina. Somanath will be avenged a billion times over. The creed of Muhammad will vanish forever.

The European countries who despoiled India will not be let off either. Flames will engulf Rome as Hindu soldiers advance on Paris overcoming the barrier of the Alps. The Pope will fly from his lair. Much of Europe will repudiate the false tenets of Christianity. The ancient sway of Hinduism will be restored. Vedic chants will again fill the air.

Does this all sound like a fairy-tale? To convince the skeptics it is best to quote the prophetic quatrains of the "Centuries". It must always be borne in mind that they were first published in 1555. Two copies of that edition are still preserved in the French National Library in Paris. Their genuineness cannot be disputed.

Moslem murderers and their Western patrons will find the following forecast particularly hard to stomach:
Quatrain 75, Century X
Long awaited, he will not take birth in Europe,
India will produce the immortal ruler,
Seeing wisdom and power of unlimited scope,
Asia will bow before this conquering scholar.

As if this were not a sufficient warning to fanatics, Nostradamus makes his meaning still more explicit in the following:
Quatrain 96, Century X
The religion of the name of the seas triumphs,
Against the fanatics of the Khalif's adalat,
The murderous creed of the false alefs,
Between the Hindus and Christians will be caught.

This prophecy need a little explication. In geography, one finds the Hindu Maha Sagar (the Indian Ocean in English). Hinduism is the only religion with a sea (an ocean, rather) named after it. The Moslem fanatics believe that the Shariat or Koranic law with its sexual licence is God-given or Khalif's adalat. The Koran itself opens with the letter alef (A) in Arabic. Both Hindus and Christians have suffered at the hands of Moslems and seek revenge. Lebanon is a foretaste of things to come. The Nostradamian quatrain spells the doom of the creed.

If this interpretation should sound far-fetched, consider yet another prophetic quatrain:

Quatrain 50, Century L
From the peninsula where three seas meet,
Comes the ruler to whom Thursday is holy,
His wisdom and might all nations will greet,
To oppose him in Asia will be folly.

South India is the only peninsula in the entire globe where three seas meet a point and stretch away. The great Hindu leader who will wipe out our enemies will hence be a south Indian who offers worship on Thursdays. It is easy to see why Nostradamus specifically mentions Thursday as the holy day. It is only Hindus who consider Thursday sacred. Moslems pray on Friday; Jews bow before God on Saturday; Christians bawl hymns on Sunday at church. Nostradamus is making it clear here that the conqueror will be a Hindu from South India. He will bind Asia together under his rule.

The Hindu leader, however, will not be a tyrant. He will be ruthless with the Moslem fanatics. But he will win over the communists by persuading them of the timeless varieties of Hinduism. Russia will become India's ally:
Quatrain 95, Century III
The creed of the Moor will perish,
Followed be another more popular still,
The Dnieper will be the first to relish,
The wisdom which imposes its will.

The Moslems are often called Moors by Europeans owing to the nearness of Morocco with its Moslem faith. Incidentally, the Dutch who landed in Ceylon also called the Lankan Moslems as Moors. Even today, the Lankan Moslems are officially designated as Moors.

The Dnieper is a great river in southern Russia. The seer's forecast seems to suggest that Russia will be the first among Communist countries to abandon Marxism in favor of Hinduism. The Red comrades in our midst will doubtless throw up their hands in horror at the mere idea. But Riencourt, the French writer, quotes a prophecy made by Ramakrishna Parmahamsa shortly before his death which strongly supports the French seer's prediction. Shri Ramakrishna declared that his next birth would be to the north-west of India. In other words, he will be reborn in Russia as a Hindu holy man! Communism is certainly a more popular creed than Islam. But both will be alike vanquished by resurgent Hinduism.

Russia will be greatly benefited by its alliance with the Hindu Rashtra. Nostradamus describes Russia's good fortune :
Quatrain 26, Century V
The Salvic folk will be on the winning side,
And rise to the highest point,
They cast off their paltry ideological guide,
The mountain-army crosess the sea in an expidition joint.

As the Hindu troops sweep through the Middle East avenging former wrongs, the Russian army in the Caucasus mountains will link up with them. The paltry ideological guide who will be abandoned is Karl Marx. The sea to be crossed is either the Mediterranean or the Black Sea.

Inevitably, the question crops up: Are such things possible? Here is a convincing reply to prove the seer's clairvoyance :
Quatrain 77, Century III
In October seventeen twenty-seven,
The Afghans and Turkey will score,
Areas lost by Iran, Christians beseech heaven,
Against Moslems shedding innocent gore.

This event took place exactly 172 years after the publication of the forecast by Nostradamus in 1555. Afghanistan and Turkey made an agreement in October 1727, dividing up Iran. Christian communities which came under Turkish misrule were brutally treated in Georgia and Armenia (both now in U.S.S.R). Nostradamus had never been out of France except for a brief visit to next-door Italy. Yet he foresaw what the Afghans and the Turks would do in Iran in October 1727! This is truly an amazing prediction by any reckoning. None of the parties concerned had ever heard of Nostradamus.

Let us now return to the Hindu holy war.
Quatrain 59, Century III
The empire of Islam by Hindus overthrown,
The majority of Moslems will succumb,
To radio-active fall-out by India blown,
Making Muhammad forever silent and numb.

Interestingly, in his prose-introduction to the "Centuries", the seer dwells at some length on the destruction of Islam and Mecca. The city will be smashed up in such a way that all those who enter it will sicken and die. The only interpretation of this forecast is that there will be radioactive fall-out in the area. Nostradamus declares that the Hindus will be engaged in the task of revenge for seven years from the seventh month of 1999. Interestingly, even Islamic texts predict doom in the 15th century of their religion.

After the destruction (annihilation would be the exact word) of Islamic power, the Hindu leader will march on the Europe. Both Egypt and Israel will rally to his standard.
The Hindu leader with Hebrew leaning,
Marches on Rome and its allies,
His ships sail from Libyan mooring,
The Bible-chanting clergy dies.

This tremendous onslaught will be bloody. In yet another forecast Nostradamus remarks that the Hindu army will lose 2,50,000 men. But victory will be attained. It will be decisive.
Pressage 40
Rome of seven hills hit by calamities quick,
Storm, deluge, epidemic and consuming fire,
The Hindus give Europe a colossal kick,
And conquer it with revengeful ire.

The atrocities and fraudulent conversions by Christian missionaries will thus be avenged in the total destruction of Rome.

The Pope and his canting clergy will seek refuge in Paris. They will be assisted by a Scottish leader who is called Hadrian in the "Centuries". This is a reference to Hadrian's Wall to isolate Scotland built by the Roman emperor Hadrian, 1,800 years ago.

Hitherto there has been no mention of America in this narrative. Nostradamus mentions it by name only once. It is time to consider the implications of his incredible forecast :

Quatrain 66, Century X
The British leader by America sent,
Red Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London - "Roi Reb (Red)"?Will ruin Scotland by a clever plan,
Boss Reb's foes will be sorely rem,
And damn him as unchristian man.

It has been already noted that the Scottish leader nick-named Hadrian will join hands with the Pope against the Hindus. Amazingly, the United States will side with India in the war! The Americans will nominate a leader in London who is intriguingly called Boss Reb. He will be a veritable fox in cunning. He will defeat to Scots thoroughly and bring down the Christian alliance around the Pope.

Judging by the "Centuries", the climateric war of 1999 will find India, Russia and America ranged on one side as allies. Is this at all likely? For answer, let us turn to the famous American seeress Jeane Dixon, whose forecasts have been collated in a best-selling book. Its title is "The Gift of Prophecy", authored by Ruth Montgomery.

Jeane Dixon correctly foresaw the Partition of India in 1947, and the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi shortly afterwards. She was frequently consulted by American presidents. She told President Roosevelt in 1944 that America and Russia would be in alliance in 1999 against China. At that time (1944) Communists had not yet seized power in Peking. But in 1949 they were victorious. Incidentally, Jeane Dixon forecast Sanjay Gandhi's death in 1980.

At present, America and Russia seem set on a collision course. Can they ever make up heir differences? Recent history proves that such about-turns are not impossible. Only 15 years ago, China and America were enemies. Today, they are allies. It would be utterly unwise to pooh pooh even bizarre possibilities. Truth is often stronger than fiction.

While the America take over the government of Britain through their nominee Boss Reb, the Hindu leader will advance upon Paris, where the Pope is holed up.

Quatrain 29, Century II
The Hindu hero will march from his base,
Nuclear destruction of ParisCrossing the Apennines to enter France,
Conquering the clouds and seas ice,
All enemies will fall before his lance.

Paris will be taken after a fierce siege. Hadrian will be killed in a vain defiance. At this juncture, Nostradamus makes a curious observation. He predicts that a tree in the center of Paris will crash down. What tree? Could it be the Eiffel Tower, built more than 300 years after his death? From a distance the Eiffel Tower rather resembles a giant oak-tree.

What of the date of the beginning of the titanic fight which will send India on a holy war? Nostradamus provides a precise answer
Quatrain 72, Century X
Bearing upon him the Mongol-sign,
The great king of terror jumps from heaven,
In July nineteen ninenty-nine,
Mars to a just war will be driven.

The classical name for the Chinese emperor was "Son of Heaven". A Chinese leader will therefore, launch a terrible war in July (Nostradamus says seventh month) of 1999 in imitation of Genghis Khan, the great Mongol conqueror. Mars is the seer's nick-name for a French statesman who will resist China in 1999. He will be exiled from Paris till the Hindu army rescues him and restores him

Abdullah's outburst - Too little, too late


OCT 19 - Too little too late – this sums up Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s outburst of anger at Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for trying to assume the mantle of kingmaker in the ongoing Umno elections.

“Who is he? He has left Umno but he still issues orders to members of Umno. The party does not need to take orders from anyone who is no longer a member of the party. He is trying to create a rift and incite anger and hatred. What is wrong with people who work with me? He is trying to teach people to hate one another, ‘’ said Abdullah in Kota Kinabalu last night.

He was referring to a recent posting by Dr Mahathir on his blog, where the former prime minister called on Umno members to reject its politicians who had supported Abdullah, describing them as toadies.

This was not the first time that Dr Mahathir has trained his guns on ministers or other Umno politicians who have stood by Abdullah, but this was the first time that he is doing so from a position of strength.

When he began attacking Abdullah, his advisors and supporters in the Cabinet such as Datuk Nazri Aziz, Datuk Azalina Othman Said, Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in 2006 the PM was firmly entrenched in power and Dr Mahathir was the political has been.

But since October 8 – the day Abdullah announced his decision not to contest the party presidency their roles have been reversed. He may have left Umno, but within the ruling party Dr Mahathir is viewed as the strongman; the kingmaker, the soon-to-installed power behind the throne.

This party only understands power and the scent of power is leading them to Dr Mahathir.

Once again, he is getting more space in newspaper and Umno politicians – who treated him like a political leper before – are scrambling to kiss his hand.

In contrast, Abdullah sealed his fate and that of his supporters in the party the day he told the world that he was retiring in March. The swing away from those associated with him has been tremendous, forcing a few of them to borrow a play from the book of Judas just to stay alive.

Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin has been huffing and puffing to secure enough nominations to contest the top position in the youth wing.

He needs eight more nominations to sneak past the 39 mark but his nemesis Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir is in a different league, having already obtained 60 nominations.

Datuk Ahmad Zaki Zahid, Abdullah’s special officer, retained his position as the head of Umno Youth in Putrajaya by an eyelash, a far cry from the party election in 2004.

A member of the infamous Fourth Floor, he faced the difficult task of convincing division members that the retirement of his boss would not impact on his effectiveness.

His challenger mounted a strong campaign anchored on the simple but unmistakable fact that with the umbrella of support from the Prime Minister’s Office, Ahmad Zaki was yesterday’s news.

In a deeper hole is Tourism Minister Datuk Azalina Othman Said. Dr Mahathir has singled her out for special mention, labeling her as one of Abdullah’s staunch defenders, a kiss of death in these times.

The former prime minister in his blog predicted that Azalina would be rejected by party members in her bid to climb up the political ladder in Umno, noting that the current mood in the party was to reward those who were strident in their criticism of Abdullah.

That was why Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Datuk Rafidah Aziz and Datuk Shafie Apdal were snaring nominations easily, he explained. He is only partially correct.

There is little doubt that Muhyiddin – a certainty for the deputy president’s position – is benefitting from the perception that he forced Abdullah out of office.

Rafidah will be unchallenged as Wanita Umno chief as part of a transition plan with Datuk Shahrizat Jalil while Shafie is securing nominations for one of the three vice-president’s slots because of the perception that he has been endorsed by his close friend, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Having said that, anecdotal evidence shows that the tide is moving strongly against Abdullah’s supporters in the party.

The PM’s last night attempted to hold the line against this sentiment.

He also attacked Muhyiddin for calling for party elections to be held earlier than March 2009. “Is he so impatient to become the deputy prime minister? That is, if he gets the support. What is the meaning of all of this? I am not happy with this, ‘’ he said, adding that he was troubled by attempts to get Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Ali Rustam to withdraw from contesting the deputy president’s position.

Abdullah said that he would not be pushed out of office before his completed his reforms.

“I will be ready to go when my work is done, ‘’ he said.

Brave words but one can’t help feeling that the last word on this episode will still go to Dr Mahathir.

Not your business, Pak Lah tells Dr M

KOTA KINABALU, Oct 18 – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi lashed out at Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, whom he described as behaving like the party elections director who decides “the leaders in the Umno party and whom should be removed”.

He said Umno had never needed instructions from leaders who were not in the party.

“Who is Tun (Dr Mahathir) who has left Umno and trying to issue orders to Umno people which should be followed?

“He is behaving like the director for the party elections, determining so and so should hold such a position ... this person should hold this position, who needs to be in the party, who needs to be removed. What right has he to do this?,” he said at a press conference at Kota Kinabalu International Airport, here tonight.

Abdullah said this when commenting on Dr Mahathir’s statement wanting Umno delegates to “remove Abdullah’s men” in the party elections in March.

“Actually he wants to create changes, anger and hatred.

“Is it really wrong for people to work with me. Should those people who don’t speak and don’t make noise be considered as bad people...people who have never done good for Umno and the government.

“Who is he to make such decisions. This will create hatred among Umno members, teaching Umno members to quarrel among themselves,” he said.

Abdullah said he had decided not to defend his Umno presidency to avoid quarrels among party members.

“Because of the contests which normally happen especially at the top level, there will be splits. We should learn from what had happened in the past.

“Such talks will raise anger among those who are considered unacceptable, (those who) must be sidelined. I consider what Tun had done had actually led to quarrels within Umno,” he said.

According to the Prime Minister, what Dr Mahathir had called for would not bring any good.

“Is this the reform that we want...We have freedom, every Umno member has the freedom to contest.

“I hear that there was an attempt by someone to ask Ali Rustam (Malacca Chief Minister), who wants to contest the deputy president’s post, to withdraw ... why ask Ali to withdraw? What is bad about Ali?

“Let him contest and let Umno people decide whether they want Ali or otherwise,” he said.

In this matter, Umno members did not need outsiders to give orders.

“It’s better for Tun not to speak at all today,” he said. – Bernama

Heed the calls for reforms

Wong Chun Wai
The new Umno and MCA leaders must realise they can bring freshness to Barisan but this could well be their last chance.

A NEW MCA line-up has been formed with Datuk Ong Tee Keat as president and Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek as his deputy.

Along with them are four first-time vice-presidents: Datuk Kong Cho Ha, Datuk Liow Tiong Lai, Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen and Datuk Tan Kok Hong.

When the celebrations are over, their task will begin and it certainly won’t be an easy one with the massive changes in the country’s political landscape.

As his parting shot, outgoing party president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting did not mince his words. He devoted almost his entire speech to express how resentful the people were of the Government.

He said Malaysians had negative perception of Barisan Nasional and were angry with the arrogance of racist politicians, the increasing crime rate and unfair treatment by government agencies towards non-Malays.

It would not be wrong to regard it as the pent-up frustrations of a political leader whose party had suffered massively in the polls.

There was more from Ka Ting: he also said the people’s perception was that Barisan had yet to carry out any reform and that Barisan must change before it was changed.

This is where the Herculean task begins for the new line-up who have campaigned with the pledge to be bold in speaking up for Malay­sians, not just the Chinese community.

Obviously, from the thrashing that the MCA has been receiving at the hands of the Pakatan Rakyat, it is not good enough resolving issues within the confines of the Cabinet meeting and the so-called proper channels.

Meeting expectations

No doubt the expectations of Malaysians are high but the fundamental concern for the new line-up must be how they can be effective in government.

It is one thing to speak up openly but quite another to resolve the grievances, or at least some of them, before the next general election. It would be a tough one. We recognise the frustrations but the question is: Can you solve them or at least some of them?

Announcing relocation of Chinese schools, raising funds for Chinese schools and Datuk Michael Chong helping the people don’t seem to be enough any more. The people see these as the duties of a political party now, that’s all.

Unlike Gerakan, where some of its leaders mulled about leaving the Barisan, the MCA has consistently stuck to the decision to stay firmly with the coalition.

Still, it is no secret that within the MCA, there is frustration at Umno for its refusal to acknowledge the need to carry out serious reforms.

Despite open unhappiness at the arrogance of some Umno leaders, the MCA also realises the reality of this country is that the Chinese must work with the Malays and Indians, and vice-versa.

The choice is Umno or PAS’ Islamic State objective. PKR has remained largely a personality-driven party based on the popularity of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

If Anwar isn’t there, leadership of the Pakatan Rakyat, which would certainly be Malay for all purposes and intentions, could be from PAS.

Early this year we saw how some PAS leaders flirted with the idea of working with Umno because of their uneasiness with Anwar and the liberal policies of PKR, displaying their discomfort with the many non-Malay leaders in PKR.

But PAS spiritual leader Datuk Seri Nik Aziz Nik Mat put a stop to the attempt and those involved in the plan are now keeping a low profile.

MCA has chosen to stick with Umno not only because of their historic ties but also because the MCA is not a fair-weather partner. They have gone through the high and low points in the country’s 51 years of history together.

Facing up to reality

The point is this — as a loyal partner of Umno, the MCA has every right to bring up its grievances because it is a time-tested relationship.

It was easier when the Alliance was just Umno, MCA and MIC but now the Barisan has 13 component parties.

Yes, party leaders meet at Cabinet meetings but how well do Barisan leaders know each other at the personal level like our founding fathers did?

The time has come for Barisan to form a Barisan presidential council that meets every month and not just at the supreme council level.

The new Umno and MCA leaders must realise they can bring freshness to Barisan but this could well be their last chance.

They cannot put their head, like ostriches, in the sand: the risk of losing to Pakatan in the next election is very real.

Umno can choose to regard the March 8 election result as a fluke and continue playing the communal heroes or take the calls, if not cries, for quick reforms from the MCA seriously, and sincerely too.

It is human nature — but more so among politicians — to only want to hear praises and not the bad news. But the fact is that among large sections of Malaysians, Umno is not just unpopular, it is resented.

Why DAP blamed for Ka Ting’s “Umno is bully in BN” speech?

Why is the DAP blamed for the outgoing MCA President, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting’s “Umno is bully in Barisan Nasional” speech at the MCA General Assembly opening ceremony yesterday?

Ong’s speech led to denials by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi resulting in newspaper frontpage headlines like “UMNO IS NO BULLY” (New Sunday Times) and “Umno bukan pembuli: PM” (Berita Minggu), who instead blamed the DAP for “stirring up the issue to see the split of the MCA or Gerakan” as well as Hindraf for targetting the MIC.

Abdullah caught everyone by surprise by his bald denial.

He said Umno “is not a ‘bully’ party” or many component parties would have left BN by now, and asked:

“Do you think Ka Ting allows himself to be bullied? You think (MIC president) Samy (Vellu) can be bullied? You think (Gerakan president Dr. Koh) Tsu Koon wants to be bullied?”

Abdullah has forgotten an elementary rule of life – “don’t ask if you don’t want the answer”!

Does he really want the answer to that loaded question of his? Don’t have to ask the Malaysian public. Just ask the MCA, Gerakan and MIC delegates or members through secret ballot whether they think their leaders have been bullied by Umno in Barisan Nasional, and I have no doubt that the answer would be a resounding and thundering “yes’!

In fact, one of the saddest political episodes of Barisan Nasional post-March 8 “political tsunami” is the response of the leaders of the BN component parties when asked by the press for their response to Abdullah’s “Umno is no bully” response.

Neither Tsu Koon nor Samy Vellu dared to fully back up Ka Ting, who himself backed off subsequently by saying that he never said Umno is a bully!

What I find most disturbing is Abdullah’s statement: “People say that Umno is a party that likes to bully. I actually have no idea how to bully. There is no such thing as bullying.”

I believe Abdullah was speaking the truth that there is not a bone of a bully in him.

That is what is frightening. After half-a-century of Umno political hegemony, Umno bullying in BN has become so institutionalized to perpetuate and increasingly aggravate such travesty of “power sharing”, even though the top No. 1 UMNO leader like Abdullah does not know how to be a bully!

There is no need for the top No. 1 or No. 2 Umno leader to be a bully, when the UMNO bullies at the various hierarchies of the party are allowed a field day!

Abdullah’s denial about Umno bullying in BN does not bear scrutiny – as there is a long catalogue from the recent past, whether the keris-wielding by Umno Youth leader and Education Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein or the offensive and insensitive statements by the Deputy Umno Youth leader Khairy Jamaluddin or to the most recent times, such as Umno Bukit Bendera division chairman, Ahmad Ismail’s “Chinese are penumpang” outburst or the tearing up of Tsu Koon’s photograph by Penang Umno leaders.

In fact, Abdullah gave an illustration of the irrelevance of the views of top leaders of MCA and other BN leaders yesterday when he summarily dismissed the MCA President’s call for a review of the Internal Security Act, as it is “obsolete and should be replaced with one that is not subject to abuse or cause people to feel insecure”.

Last week, the 37th Gerakan national delegates conference also adopted a resolution calling for a review of the ISA.

If the Barisan Nasional is a coalition of equals, and Umno is not a bully, will the considered views of leaders of BN component parties and the resolutions of their party conferences be dismissed so derisively and summarily, like the call for the review of the ISA?

What happened yesterday at the MCA General Assembly was doubly pathetic:

+firstly, no leader of the BN component parties dared to stand up to admit boldly about Umno being a bully which should end it “bully” ways in BN; and

+secondly, none of them dared to correct Abdullah by pointing out that was most unfair to use the DAP as a “scapegoat” for the public perception that MCA, Gerakan and the other BN component parties were being bullied by Umno when it represented the true situation.

Maybe the MCA delegates in their debate in the 55th MCA General Assembly would dare to speak up what their leaders have failed to do about the truth of Umno being a bully in BN and the need to end such lop-sided power relationship in the BN coalition.

Be that as it may, it is quite obvious from the MCA party election results that Ong Ka Ting was well-advised to withdraw from the MCA presidential contest, for he would have been defeated – and quite decisively - had he decided to defend his post as MCA President.

Why is the BN government sidelining the courts?

Aliran is alarmed that the BN government is totally ignoring the courts and resorting to the obnoxious ISA to terrorise concerned citizens. We have recently witnessed this worrying trend in the detention of Raja Petra, Tan Hoon Cheng and MP Teresa Kok under the indefensible ISA.

While there are various laws to charge a person for any alleged criminal offence, there is absolutely no reason to resort to the ISA. Why can’t existing laws be applied to charge citizens for any perceived criminal offence? Is it because the BN government is afraid that whatever charge that is preferred against these citizens will not stand up to the scrutiny of the court?

The latest citizen to fall victim to this continuing trend of ousting the courts through the use of the ISA is 26-year-old activist Cheng Lee Whee. She had apparently lodged a police report accusing the police of abuse of power in the forced eviction of squatters in Kampung Baru Plentong Tengah, Johor. In this episode, 27 individuals were arrested for attempting to stop the demolition of the predominantly Malay squatter colony.

If it was true, as claimed by the police, that she was "spreading false information", then she should have been charged under the Sedition Act and taken to court to prove her claim, failing which she would have been convicted as charged and sentenced accordingly. This is what Rule of Law means as we understand it. This is what natural justice is all about. The police must act within acceptable norms. They must be seen as respecters of the law to win the respect of the public.

According to some legal circles, Section 28 of the ISA does not allow a person to be detained without a trial. That being the case, why then was Lee Whee taken in under the ISA? Can the police clarify why the Sedition Act could not have been used to charge Lee Whee? Why is the ISA preferred over the Sedition Act? The Home Minister owes us an explanation and we hope that he will be forthcoming.

The ISA is not only giving the country an ugly image, it is also denigrating the police and destroying their credibility.

To save their tattered image and restore their integrity, the police must charge Lee Whee under the existing law failing which she should be released immediately.

P Ramakrishnan


18 October 2008

Beer ad irks MIC Youth

MIC Youth, Culture and Religion Bureau chief K. Sathasivam (left) and MIC Youth secretary C. Shivarraj showing the controversial advertisement.
MIC Youth, Culture and Religion Bureau chief K. Sathasivam (left) and MIC Youth secretary C. Shivarraj showing the controversial advertisement.

NST, October 18 2008

KUALA LUMPUR: MIC Youth demands an apology from Indian daily Tamil Nanban and a beer company for an insensitive Deepavali advertisement that appeared in the newspaper yesterday.

They also lodged a police report against the newspaper and the Skol beer company claiming it was insulting to the Indian community.

Its secretary, C. Shivarraj, said the advertisement by Skol printed on page 5 could lead to misperception on the Indian community as well as convey a wrong message to Indian youth.

"They are insulting the Hindus' Rangoli kolam by putting the beer bottles in the middle and stating that the Deepavali celebration will be more enjoyable with Skol beer," said Shivarraj at the Sentul police station here yesterday.

He said members of the public who saw the advertisement might get the wrong idea that Indians were fond of drinking.
Shivarraj added that Indian youth might also get the wrong idea that it was a norm to get drunk when they were adults.

"This misperception and wrong message of the Indian community must stop," said Shivarraj.

He called for an apology from the newspaper and the beer company before Deepavali on Oct 27.

The report was lodged by MIC Youth, Culture and Religion Bureau chief, K. Sathasivam, who was accompanied by Shivarraj