Share |

Friday, October 24, 2008

Social contract must adapt to changed times

John Lee is a second-year student of economics at Dartmouth College in the United States. He has been thinking aloud since 2005 at
OCT 24 — The social contract is something people tell us never to question. If at all we mention it, we are supposed to be deferent towards it, as a measure of the infinite wisdom of our forefathers. But the social contract, however wise it may have been five decades ago, is irrelevant to us today, at least as it is completely understood. The notion that some people are more worthy of being Malaysian than others, or that some Malaysians are innately more loyal to the country is complete nonsense today.

In the first place, what is the social contract? For every politician who has threatened to exile uppity non-Malays and denounce their citizenship, I've got some news: that's violating your precious "social contract". It's in the Constitution. If you want your worship of the social contract taken seriously, you have to be consistent: either you take the whole deal, or you don't.

And quite frankly, I don't see why we ought to accept this whole deal. Let's think about real contracts for a moment. Let's use a common analogy people love to bring up: the tenants sharing a home. First, let's be realistic: if there is a landlord at all, it is God — or fate, if you're an atheist. God let out this country to the Orang Asli first, and later he brought in the Malays. Then with a twist, he let the colonial powers invade us and brought in other peoples to join the Malays. We're all sharing the land now, on a lease from God, and of course to make the sharing fair and equitable, we need an agreement — a contract.

But like any human room-mates will, we often end up arguing about the agreement. Who is supposed to take out the trash? Is it okay for one tenant to take the other's leftover nasi lemak from the fridge? Who should oversee the renovations? Even if we sort these matters out in the contract, no normal or even reasonable human being will let that be the end of the matter. Circumstances change, and the reasonable thing to do is to adapt to change.

Let's make this even more personal now — let's make this a family. Because really, that's what we are — whether I like them or not, my parents are my parents and my siblings are my siblings. I may hate some of them, I may disagree vehemently with some of their views, but I still have to love and respect them.

That doesn't mean I will do whatever they tell me to do — if my father tells me to jump into a lake I won't do it. But what it means is that when we disagree, we try to do respectfully, and we try to work something out that works for everyone in the family. And realistically, there is no way we will be able to ignore, let alone toss out, whole swathes of Malaysia: you are not going to be able to deport the non-Malays or let the rural farmers and estate workers wallow in poverty, just as you can't disown your flesh and blood.

Now, as a parent or a room-mate, maybe you work things out by bossing everyone else in the house around — I don't know. But that strikes me as a particularly bad way to be running a household. If I share a house with someone else, I don't scream at them until they clean the toilet, even if it's their turn and I pay more than half the rent.

If my father told my mother exactly how to run her life, she would be mad as hell at him, and for good reason — my father shouldn't be ordering her to massage his feet or yelling at her to shut up. That's not how adults talk to each other. As a Malaysian, I don't like it when one of us talks down to the other, whether it's a Chinese CEO denigrating the abilities of his Malay colleagues or a Malay politician insulting the integrity of his non-Malay constituents.

But at the same time, adults also know that we have to deal with reality. If my room-mate breaks his ankle, I can't expect him to mop the floor. If my sister has an examination, I don't expect her to help hang the laundry. Yet, whenever we insist that the social contract must remain perpetually unchanged, we are insisting that we can never adapt to changed circumstances.

The simple fact is, the Malaysia of 50 years ago is not the Malaysia of today. Fifty years ago, most non-Malays could not read or write in the national language, and felt closer to China or India than they did to their homeland. Try today to find a Malaysian who roots for China or India in the Olympics, or who cares more about the fate of the Chinese Communist Party or Congress Party in India than he does about the Umno party elections. Fifty years ago, it was not unreasonable to assume a non-Malay did not feel very keenly loyal to the country; today, it's perfectly preposterous.

To say that the social contract of 50 years ago remains completely applicable and is thus completely non-negotiable today is to deny that anything about Malaysia has ever changed and will ever change. If you do not see the insanity inherent in this position, that is like saying when I am 70, I should still be expecting my parents to be cooking my meals and paying my bills. People change; countries change. Our social contract, whether it is in the home or in the public sphere, must adjust accordingly.

Now, inherent too in the social contract is the principle that the disadvantaged must be helped to stand on their own two feet. I don't think any person can be against that. But again, times change, and needs change. When I was three years old, I needed knee guards because I kept falling down. Should I still be wearing them now? Of course not — I don't need them now. Some members of our family need more help than others, and it is only fair that they be helped. But those who by now clearly do not need any more assistance — the Nazir Razaks and Ananda Krishnans — they shouldn't be counting on any help from the "social contract”.

The level of discourse when it comes to the social contract in our country is pathetic, because we refuse to talk like adults about the agreements we have made. We refuse to adjust to changing circumstances, we refuse to accept that reasonable adults can disagree respectfully about controversial things. A husband and wife can argue about their marriage without getting divorced. Why can't Malaysians talk about the founding basis of our nation without threatening to throw one another out of the country?

Police truly barbaric: 6 year old arrested

This is way TOO much and shocking. And there’s really no justification for this act by the government. Really shame on you, Mr Abdullah!

What kind of government arrests kids or takes them to police station? A barbaric one, is all I can say!

What kind of report you want from a six year old? All she wants is to see her daddy! Deepavali’s coming, remember?

Those who have kids or have a little heart should really know! But I guess the Malaysian police is heartless and hopeless.

Malaysia truly barbaric. Read her about Malaysia’s propaganda on Child Rights. And read inside how this child was arrested yesterday.


Task force to look into Indians without papers

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak©The Star (Used by permission)

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government will set up a task force to look into the problems faced by Indians born in Malaysia who have no birth certificates and identity cards, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The Deputy Prime Minister said there were 20,000 to 30,000 Malaysian Indians who had no documentation and that he had raised the issue at last week’s Cabinet meeting.

“Malaysians born in this country must be given ICs and birth certificates. We have decided that the Home Ministry will set up a special task force to provide genuine citizens with proper documents,” he said yesterday in his speech at the Bazaar Deepavali in Brickfields.

He stressed that this applied to only Malaysians of Indian origin born here, and not those who came from India for work or other purposes.

Najib said Malaysia was a unique country with its multi-religious and multi-racial nature and it was important to respect each other.

He, however, pointed out that of late, there had been some efforts to cause racial problems in the country.

“I invite all Malaysians, regardless of race and religion, to return to our basic principles of mutual respect. Do not make statements that would hurt another race. And do not act in a way disrespectful of other races or religions or others’ festivals and celebrations,” he said.

“We have to work together, all communities, all walks of life,” he said, adding that he felt very welcomed in Brickfields and thanked the Indians there for garlanding him more than 25 times.

“I smell sweet from all the garlands and when I go home my wife is going to ask me why. And I will say it’s because I went to Brickfields and not because of anything else!” he joked.

He said that as a Malaysian, he wanted to feel very much at home, regardless of whether he was in Brickfields, Kampung Baru or Petaling Jaya.

Najib also supported the proposal to develop Brickfields into a “Little India”.

“Brickfields is a unique place because it is a microcosm of the Indian community,” he said, adding that in the past the Government had acquired three pieces of land in the area from Tenaga Nasional Bhd to erect Hindu temples.

“We will continue to develop this area. It is important for us to be one,” he said.

Earlier, Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique said Brickfields had a 100-year history and suggested that it should be developed into a Little India like those in Vancouver, London and Paris.

Also present at the Bazaar Deepavali were MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu and Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk M. Saravanan.

Hindraf leader calls Syed Hamid a racist and extremist

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 24 — Hindraf chairman P. Waytha Moorthy has called Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar a “racist, extremist and liar”.

He said this in a press statement in response to Syed Hamid's justification for the ban on Hindraf which was that the group promoted extremism and named Malays and Muslims as its enemies.

“The allegation is absolutely ridiculous and a blatant lie,” Waytha Moorthy said and challenged the minister to prove these statements were ever made.

But he added that "we know he would not have the courage to do that but would continuously lie to enhance his ailing political career within Umno."

"There is no point asking for his resignation because this man does not have any moral dignity left in him. He would continuously lie and pretend as if he is the serving 'justice'," said Waytha Moorthy.

This outburst from the group's leader, who is currently exiled in the UK, comes on the back of yesterday's arrest of his six-year-old daughter Vwaishhnnavi along with 11 other Hindraf leaders who attempted to submit a letter to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi demanding the release of the five Hindraf leaders currently held under the Internal Security Act.

They, however, claimed they were just ordinary citizens and not representing the banned group.

Waytha Moorthy also accused Umno of using "tactics to raise racial and religious feelings whenever there are problems within Umno. The history of Malaysia and the history of Umno have proven this."

Najib ready to end special privileges for Malays

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 24 — Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is ready to end the special privileges for the Malays, but stressed that this must be done gradually.

In an interview with Bloomberg Television, the Prime Minister-designate said "if we do not change, the people will change us".

"In the not-too-distant future, we will see all the elements of the New Economic Policy being replaced." He didn't say when that might occur.

"It's a huge challenge," Najib said in the interview yesterday. "There must be this political will and desire to change within Umno. I don't think we can expect people to look at us in more favourable terms unless we change, unless we rectify our weaknesses."

The Pakatan Rakyat opposition coalition used the scrapping of the NEP as a campaign pledge to inflict record losses on the ruling Barisan Nasional in the March general election.

The NEP was devised by Najib's father, Tun Abdul Razak, when he was Malaysia's second prime minister to boost the Malays' economic status — through job allocations, cheaper homes and other benefits — in a country where ethnic Chinese had long been more prosperous and remain so. About 65 per cent of country's 27 million people are Malay.

According to Bloomberg, by offering to scrap the NEP, at an unspecified time, and replace it with a needs-based system, Najib is moving closer to the stance of opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who also supports a system based on economic need.

Anwar is trying to seize power but said on Wednesday he is finding it difficult to woo ruling coalition lawmakers to his side.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi plans to step down in March and has named Najib, his deputy, as his successor. Abdullah sped up his planned 2010 exit from the political stage as racial tension increased.

Some analysts Bloomberg spoke to expressed doubt that Umno, the leading party in the ruling coalition, is ready to give up a programme that helps its members. Political consultant Karim Raslan said Umno hasn't fully accepted how much it needs to change.

"I don't see enough frankness in terms of challenges facing the party," Karim said. "Many of the party leaders feel that by replacing Abdullah they will overcome these weaknesses. I have to disagree with them. I don't see many signs of revival," Bloomberg quoted him as saying.

Najib's family has held top positions in politics and business for generations. His father led Malaysia from 1970 to 1976. Najib's cousin is the current education minister. His younger brother Nazir Razak runs the country's second-biggest bank CIMB Group Bhd.

Abdullah picked Najib to succeed him despite misgivings by some over controversies surrounding the deputy prime minister.

Najib has denied suggestions that he is linked to the murder of a Mongolian woman in 2006, and that he had an affair with the victim. A political analyst who worked for Najib is on trial for abetting two police officers in the murder.

Anwar also has accused Najib of profiting from defence contracts and of being behind criminal charges that the opposition leader had sex with a man. Anwar denies the sex charge, and Najib denies both being involved in bringing the case against his opponent and making money from defence contracts.

Bloomberg also quoted former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as saying that Najib has to explain all things that are said about him. "Unfortunately, we don't have any other candidate. We have no choice but to choose Najib," Dr Mahathir said.'

In the interview, Najib called the allegations against him baseless.

"I'm telling you, I wouldn't stay in office a day longer if I knew I am involved in these allegations," he said. "There's no proof, no basis. I can sue people, but it's going to be a tedious process in court."

Vwaishhnnavi and mum freed, 10 in court

P Vwaishhnnavi, the six-year-old niece of detained Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar, and her mother K Shanti were released today after spending a night at the Putrajaya police district headquarters.

Mother and daughter were with 10 others arrested yesterday when they attempted to submit a letter at the Prime Minister Department's office in Putrajaya, appealing for ISA detainees to be freed.

The duo were released late last night but they refused to leave the police station and stayed with the rest.

The remaining 10 were taken to the Kajang Magistrate's Court this morning where the police are expected to apply for further remand to facilitate their investigation.

Security was tight at the court complex, where six riot police FRU trucks as well as a water-cannon truck have been deployed. About 50 supporters and family members of those arrested have gathered outside the courthouse.

Journalists have also been barred from entering the court complex.

Police showed a document signed by Kajang magistrate Nurdiana Mohd Nazari stating that only the lawyer representing those arrested and their family members are allowed into the court.

Lawyer Amer Hamzah from the Bar Council's Human Rights Committee, who is acting on behalf of the 10, is currently in court arguing over the remand proceedings.

Police: Vwaishhnnavi not arrested

wahthamoorthy daughter memo 220108 w vwaishhnnavi

Vwaishhnnavi (left) is the daughter of Hindraf chairperson P Waythamoorthy, who is currently in self-imposed exile in London.

Kuala Lumpur police chief Muhammad Sabtu Osman told Malaysiakini yesterday that eight men and three women were arrested during the incident.

He clarified that Vwaishhnnavi had not been arrested and was with her mother.

According to the police, those held are being investigated under the Societies Act following the Home Ministry's imposition of a ban on Hindraf on Oct 15, declaring it an illegal organisation.

Police Watch Malaysia coordinator S Jayathas, who was also held, claimed that they had been told that they were part of an illegal assembly for having gathered near the entrance of the building.

"We were trying to obtain permission from the security guards for Vwaishhnnavi to submit her letter. They said that we were from Hindraf, but we insisted that we were 'concerned Indians' who were accompanying Vwaishnnavi," Jayathas had said yesterday.-Malaysiakini

Uthaya's niece, 11 others held

The six-year-old niece of detained Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar was with 11 people arrested when they attempted to submit a letter at Prime Minister Department’s office in Putrajaya today.


wahthamoorthy daughter memo 220108 w vwaishhnnaviP Vwaishhnnavi (right) is the daughter of Hindraf chairperson P Waythamoorthy who is currently in self-imposed exile in London. Her mother K Shanti was among those arrested.

Police Watch Malaysia coordinator S Jayathas, who was also held, claimed that they had been told that they were part of an illegal assembly for having gathered near the entrance of the building.

“We were trying to obtain permission from the security guards for Vwaishhnnavi to submit her letter. They said that we were from Hindraf, but we insisted that we were 'concerned Indians' who were accompanying Vwaishnnavi,” Jayathas when contacted.

They are currently at the Putrajaya district police headquarters, but police chief Abd Razak Abd Majid declined comment when contacted.

Kuala Lumpur police chief Muhammad Sabtu Osman confirmed the arrest of eight men and three women during the incident. He clarified that Vwaishhnnavi has not been arrested and is in her mother’s care.

He also said the 11 are being investigated under the Societies Act. (The Home Ministry had imposed a ban on Hindraf on Oct 15, declaring it an illegal grouping.)

Waythamoorthy furious

Contacted on her handphone while waiting for police to record her statement, Shanti said the group had attempted to submit a handwritten letter calling on Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to release all those detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) .

“The appeal letter (in Vwaishhnnavi’s handwriting) asked the prime minister to release her uncle, (and other Hindraf leaders as well as) RPK (blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin), among other ISA detainees,” said Shanti.

“She said that Deepavali would not mean anything to her and all Malaysians, if they are not released.”

hindraf isa detainees 141207 updatedShanti said the letter also included an invitation for Abdullah to attend the family’s ‘open house’ in conjunction with Deepavali.

“(Vwaishhnnavi) wrote that she would be waiting with flowers and cakes,” she added.

Contacted in London by phone, Waythamoorthy expressed outrage that his daughter, wife and supporters had been picked up by police.

“It’s ridiculous to arrest [sic] a child who has come to deliver a Deepavali card and a letter to the PM asking him to release all ISA detainees,” said an obviously incensed Waythamoorthy.

“This only shows that the PM is not telling the truth when he said he is a PM for everyone. He is not!”

On Dec 13 last year, five Hindraf leaders - Uthayakumar, M Manoharan, R Kenghadharan, V Ganabatirau and T Vasantha Kumar - were slapped with a two-year detention order under the ISA. They are being held at the Kamunting detention camp in Perak.

Meanwhile, about a small crowd of about 30 people had gathered outside the Putrajaya police headquarters from 7pm to find out the latest on the plight of those detained.

As of 11pm, all 11 and Vwaishhnnavi are still being held at the Putrajaya police station.

Zulkifli Nordin attacks everyone over Islam

Zulkifli Nordin accused several parties including his own party members of disrespecting or insulting Islam in Dewan Rakyat today.

By Shannon Teoh

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 - Pakatan Rakyat MP Zulkifli Nordin accused several parties including his own of disrespecting or insulting Islam in Dewan Rakyat today.

"This pillar is being challenged from left, right, above, below, behind or in front, whether from the ruling party or from this side," he said, referring to the opposition benches.

His statements are set to reignite speculation that he is ready to crossover to Umno as PKR have constantly been criticised for not punishing Zulkifli despite the party's principles of multicultural tolerance.

The Bar Council bore the brunt of his outburst as he accused it of insulting Islam by supporting apostates in Dewan Rakyat today and called for a separate Bar Council for Syariah laywers to be established which will protect those who practise Syariah law.

"In the case of Azalina Jailani, the Bar Council sent a representative to be present in court to ensure she became an apostate," he added while debating the 2009 Budget.

Azalina, also known as Lina Joy, however, had failed in her attempt to have the Federal Court rule that her religion be changed from Islam to Christian in May last year.

The Kulim Badar Baharu MP also said that a recent forum by the Bar Council to discuss Islamic matters openly, caused racial and religious tensions.

Zulkifli had led a protest against the "Conversion to Islam" forum in August but insisted that he was there in his capacity as a Lawyers in Defence of Islam (Pembela) exco member, not an MP for PKR.

He reiterated his stand today, saying "There are those that speak as if I am supporting another party but I am actually fighting for Islam. I do not care about what other people think of me because I will have to answer to Allah."

Zulkifli proceeded to attack the suggestion that surfaced during the MCA General Assembly last weekend where delegates had called for the appointnment of a second Deputy Prime Minister who would be a non-Malay, calling it another challenge to Islam's position.

"It insults Islam when parties go to court insisting they have the right to use the world Allah like Muslims do," he said in reference to the ongoing case where local Catholic weekly The Herald is attempting to get a court order to allow it to use the word Allah.

Zulkifli also said that certain groups did not respect Muslims by disrupting Hari Raya celebrations by making unsuitable requests, an apparent reference to Hindraf's presence at the Cabinet open house where they lobbied Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi to release the Hindraf 5 detained under the Internal Security Act.

He further claimed that the undermining of Islam had occurred since the time of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

"This man had tried to expel a mufti who wanted to defend Islam. He soiled the institution of the Malay rulers with his deeds. He should be the last person to defend the Malays, after what he did. His hands are soiled," he said.

Zulkifli then asked for a mosque to be built specifically for the Chinese Muslim community in Kuala Lumpur as more Chinese were converting to the faith.

"I suggest the Pudu prison site be used for this purpose," he told Dewan Rakyat.

He suggested also for certain articles in the Federal Constitution be amended "so that Islam is not challenged by irresponsible parties."

Article 11(4) allows for state law and federal law in respect of the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan, to restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam.

Zulkifli called for this clause to be passed into all state constitutions.

Article 3 protects freedom of religion which Zulkifli wants amended so that Muslims specifically be subject to the regulations of Islam.-themalaysianinsider

Letter by vwaishnavi to PM- This deserves arrest as we are deemed criminals

Dear readers please send the above letter to all your contacts. Let everyone see how cruel and demon is the Malaysian Umno led Government.  It is enough and enough for all Indians, We have to make our stand now and it is very urgent that all those who reading NEM please make way to Putrajaya Police Station and tomorrow (24/10/2008) morning at Putrajaya court too. We have to get rid of the demon UMNO. PM if you are brave enough face Hindraf directly don't hide behind the police force. 

Syed Hamid there is no one as stupid as you in this UMNO led government. All those sin  you are doing will come back to your family. We are simply asking for our rights. If the scenario is bothering you and your UMNO brothers, then meet all the HIndraf leaders and have dialogue. Dont be coward. Your way is simply showing that your are very much like a female.

Admin NEM