Thursday, November 6, 2008
Hegemoni budaya gerombolan United Malays National Organisation amat meluas. Hegemoni budaya yang selama 50 tahun ini telah meresapi ke dalam semua jalur falsafah dan cara pemikiran warga Malaysia.Hegemoni ini telah memaksa kita semua melihat diri kita bukan sebagai warga Malaysia – anak semua bangsa - tetapi melihat kewujudan kita sebagai orang berbangsa Melayu, Cina atau India atau bangsa-bangsa lain. Dalam identiti diri yang luas ini kita telah gagal untuk melihat diri kita sebagai warga negara bangsa dalam satu kesatuan. Jauh sekali untuk melihat diri kita sebagai warga dunia.
Tekanan hegemoni ini telah memaksa semua warga berfikir dengan menggunakan pendekatan, kayu ukur dan kaedah gerombolan United Malays National Organisation berfikir. Hegemoni ini memaksa kita melupakan meritokrasi.
Meritokrasi boleh kita hayati dengan memahami bahawa :
1 – berasas keupayaan individu bukan kerana kelas, derajat, seksualiti atau kekayaan
2 - individu di anugerah kerana keupayaan dan ketrampilan untuk mencapai anugerah itu
3 – memajukan individu berdasar ketrampilan individu
Konsep meritokrasi ini tidak ada memasukkan bangsa, kelas, agama, seksualiti atau gender. Konsep ini mengajukan keupayaan individu. Konsep meritokrasi ini mengajukan ketrampilan fikrah individu tanpa mengira bangsa, kelas, agama, seksualiti atau gender. Jika individu itu memiliki berkeupyaan terunggul maka individu itulah yang akan dipilih. Jika susuk itu bijak berilmu maka susuk itulah yang diangkat untuk dinobatkan sebagai Professor – bukan kerana dia Melayu atau kerana dia ketua cawangan atau kerana dia saudara kepada Menteri Pelajaran.
Meritokasi ini agak senang di hayati kerana ianya sedang diamalkan dengan terbaik dalam arena sukan.
Jika seorang Mamat pelari 100 meter itu deras berlari maka dia akan menjadi jaguh. Tidak ada huh tidak ada hah disini. Jika Minah Cun itu cekap berenang maka Minah Cun ini akan mendapat pingat emas di sukan Olympik. Yang terbaik adalah asas meritokrasi.
Terbukti jelas dalam arena sukan meritokrasi telah diamalkan. Justeru sukan dilihat sebagai satu aktiviti yang adil , telus dan jujur. Terlalu susah untuk rasuah masuk dalam budaya sukan yang mementingkan merit individu.
Jika ada percubaan untuk mengangkat seorang pelari 100 meter kelas kedua untuk ke kelas pertama kerana dia saudara Menteri Sukan atau kerana ayahnya dulu jaguh negara, lambat laun akan terlihat juga oleh orang ramai. Ahli sukan kelas kedua ini akan tetap di kelas ke dua apabila diduga. Yang bukan jaguh tetap bukan jaguh.
Justeru, konsep meritokrasi ini amat berguna untuk sesebuah tamadun mara maju ke hadapan. Apa yang menghalang meritokarsi dari dirayakan dan dinobatkan dalam sesebuah masyarakat ialah nilai feudal. Nilai feudal akan menghalang meritokrasi dari berkembang.
Dalam negara kita budaya feudal ini yang masih menebal terutama dalam masyarakat Melayu. Budaya ini telah digunakan sebaik mungkin oleh gerombolan United Malays National Organisation untuk dijadikan sebahagian dari proses politik mengaut penyokong.
Nilai budaya fuedal gagasan gerombolan United Malays National Organisation ini gagal melihat kejaguhan dan keupayaan individu tetapi melihat susuk berbangsa apa, kelas apa, ada-kah dia memiliki derajat atau harta kekayaan.
Disinilah lemahnya nilai budaya feudal. Kalau buah fikiran itu kurang baik tetapi ianya wajib diterima pakai kerana tuan empunya pandangan itu seorang yang berderajat tinggi, berharta atau berpangkat atau kerana bangsanya. Akhirnya kita sebagai warga dipaksa melakukan sesuatu yang bodoh kerana idea bodoh ini datangnya dari seorang yang berderajat tinggi.
Jika budaya feudal jadi amalan pasti tamadun itu tidak akan berkembang.
Gerombolan United Malays National Organisation telah mengamalkan konsep Ketuanan Melayu. Konsep dan falsafah Ketuanan Melayu ini melanggar dan menghancurkan nilai meritokrasi.
Contoh terbaik untuk melihat bagaimana nilai Ketuanan Melayu menghancurkan tamadun negara bangsa ialah dalam bidang keilmuan dan pembelajaran. Pada satu ketika dahulu Universiti Malaya adalah diantara gedung-gedung ilmu yang unggul dalam dunia. Hari ini ianya telah merosot kerana keilmuan itu bukan lagi berasaskan meritokrasi tetapi berasaskan Ketuanan Melayu.
Susuk-susuk yang berilmu tidak dapat mencari ruang untuk mengembang potensi keilmuan jika susuk-susuk ini bukan orang Melayu. Atau jika pakar keilmuan ini tidak menelan Ketuanan Melayu.
Masa demi masa budaya keilmuan semakin merosot maka akhirnya orang bodoh akan menjadi guru untuk mengajar orang yang lebih bodoh. Orang yang lebih bodoh ini akan juga menjadi tenaga pengajar untuk orang yang lagi banyak banyak bodoh. Ini terjadi di semua gedung keilmuan dalam negara ini. Hasilnya universiti dan gedung keilmuan kita hanya sanggup mengeluar graduan-graduan yang bodoh-bodoh dan tidak memiliki pemikiran kritikal tetapi mereka Melayu.
Inilah satu contoh teragung betapa bodohnya konsep Ketuanan Melayu yang menjadi paksi budaya gerombolan United Malays National Organisation.
Sayugia disedari gerombolan United Malays National Organisation telah berkuasa 50 tahun lebih, maka hegemoni budaya feudaal yang anti meritokrasi telah menyerap dalam mempengaruhi semua jalur pemikiran warga.
Akhir-akhir ini kita telah melihat bagaimana hegemoni budaya ini tanpa disedari telah juga digunakan dalam hujah yang diguna pakai oleh ahli-ahli dan simpatisan Pakatan Rakyat. Contoh terbaik apabila kedengaran tuntutan agar di wujudkan Timbalan Perdana Menteri Kedua dari yang Bukan Melayu.
Pesoalan timbul - Apakah jika Yang Bukan Melayu ini akan menjamin seorang yang itu hebat pimpinannya, hebat jiwa juangnya, berhati rakyat atau hebat pemikiranya? Susuk Bukan Melayu tidak menjamin apa-apa.
Hujah ini tidak ada bezanya dengan tuntutan agar Perdana Menteri itu mesti seorang Islam. Menjadi Islam sahaja tidak akan menjamin ketrampilan fikrah seseorang itu. Menjadi Islam sahaja tidak menjamin kualiti pimpinan. Terbukti dengan jelas dan tidak perlu bersuluh bahawa yang Islam juga amat bijak berasuah. Yang Islam juga cukup hebat dan bijak melakukan kezaliman dan keganasan. Kezaliman bukan sahaja kepada yang tidak seagama malah yang seagama pun di libas sama.
Apakah kita lupa bahawa ahli-ahli dan pucuk pimpinan gerombolan United Malays National Organisation semuanya penganut Islam. Ramai diantara gerombolan ini telah berpuluh kali berumrah. Berbelas kali naik haji. Tetapi lihat hasinya- taraaak.
Kita wajib menobatkan yang berilmu. Kita wajib menobatkan yang jaguh. Dalam semua bidang yang bijak fikrahnya wajib dihadapan. Anak semua bangsa kita wajib merayakan meritokrasi.
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 — Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin today invited Pas Youth chief Salahuddin Ayub to meet and address the Internal Security Act in a bipartisan approach.
Salahuddin, the Kubang Kerian MP, made the call in Parliament for the ISA to be repealed and replaced during the Budget 2009 debate.
Khairy (BN-Rembau) then invited Salahuddin to discuss the matter with him outside the Dewan Rakyat if it could be agreed that preventive detention was still relevant.
Salahuddin welcomed it "on the condition that the ISA is abolished”.
Met outside the House later, Khairy said he would write a formal letter to Salahuddin "from one MP to another" so they could reach a consensus and bring back the suggestion to their respective coalitions.
Khairy added that he felt this was possible as "Kubang Kerian never said that preventive detention was out of the question”.
"He wants it to be repealed and replaced with a new law whereas I believe we only need to amend the ISA to ensure it will not be abused for political purposes," he added.
Khairy, who is seeking to be Umno Youth chief in the party's elections in March, said that such a meeting could depoliticise the issue.
"A caucus is political and nobody wants to cross the aisle because it appears to be organised by a particular party," he said, referring to the anti-ISA parliamentary caucus headed by the opposition which has not seen any participation from Barisan Nasional MPs.
The legislator felt that the reason the ISA had become such an issue was that the law was not transparent.
He also called the recent ISA arrests of Seputeh MP Teresa Kok, blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin and journalist Tan Hoon Cheng "dubious”.
"Nobody should be detained for political purposes and the ISA is not acceptable because people believe it is used that way. The legislation does not allow for transparency," he explained.
He also said another issue that needed to be addressed was the right for a detainee to a habeas corpus trial as legal recourse to end such a detention.
Khairy also stated that in light of current economic and political challenges, bipartisan solutions should be pursued when possible as "it is ridiculous to claim, as some of my colleagues do, that we won the elections and therefore the public supports us”.
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 - Malaysians impressed by US President-elect Barack Obama's groundbreaking victory debated today whether someone who is not from the Malay Muslim majority could ever lead their ethnically diverse country.
Malaysia's Constitution does not impose racial or religious restrictions on the prime minister's post, but the country has always been run by Malay Muslim leaders of its biggest political party since independence from Britain in 1957.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told reporters yesterday that it was possible Malaysia could have a non-Malay leader, saying "it is up to the people to decide."
Abdullah's comment sparked a flurry of reactions from politicians and ordinary Malaysians. Many from the large ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities welcomed his comments but voiced scepticism that such a breakthrough could occur anytime soon.
Abdullah's United Malays National Organization is the linchpin of a 13-party multi-ethnic governing coalition. The prime minister is supposed to be the head of the coalition or party that holds a majority in Parliament.
Muslim Malays account for nearly two-thirds of Malaysia's 27 million people while ethnic Chinese and Indians, who are mainly Buddhist, Christian and Hindu, are the main minorities.
Malaysia prides itself on its multi-ethnic stability, but the minorities have increasingly complained about affirmative action policies that they say unfairly favour Malays. Some also allege their religious rights are being ignored.
"Can a Chinese, Indian (or a member of another minority) become prime minister?" senior opposition figure Lim Kit Siang, an ethnic Chinese, wrote on his blog. "There will be strong voices ... who would rise up to say 'no.'"
Lim's statement received more than 100 comments within 12 hours. One ethnic Malay reader who identified himself as Kasim Amat criticised Lim for raising "a very sensitive issue in Malaysia which can lead to chaos," adding that minorities should respect the leadership of Malays.
Nevertheless, Jaymee Goh, a 24-year-old ethnic Chinese, who said her childhood ambition had been to become prime minister, said Obama's triumph made it easier for her to imagine having a non-Malay leader eventually.
"If America can get a black man in that high a leadership position ... then there is no reason left for Malaysia to hold" to any racial discrimination, Goh said. "The chant has been 'Yes We Can' for the Obama campaign, and if they can, Malaysia can too." - AP
Putrajaya police today recorded statements from lawyer
Surendran, however, said the police did not get much out of him as he had refused to answer more than one question until they informed him of the offence he was being investigated for.
"According to the police report (shown to me), investigations were in relation to what I told the Kajang Magistrate. But when we asked what was the specific offense, the investigating officer could not tell us.
"Police can’t randomly call up people for questioning without notifying them of the offense," he said when contacted today.
Surendran was among a team of lawyers representing 10 individuals in a remand hearing on Oct 24 after they were arrested outside the prime minister’s office the day before.
The 10 were accompanying 6-year-old W Vwaishhnnavi, daughter of Hindraf chairperson-in-exile P Waytha Moorthy and her mother K Shanti in handing a letter to the prime minister.
During the remand hearing, one detainee NV Lourdes Mary, 44, fainted. Lourdes Mary is a diabetic and did not have access to insulin while in detention.
After she fainted, Surendran allegedly told Kajang Magistrate Nurdiana Mohd Nazari that the police were negligent in ensuring Lourdes Mary’s well-being.
Surendran said based on the police report against him, it appeared that the police were solely examining his statement about Lourdes Mary.
"The only conclusion we can come to is that this is an attempt to harass lawyers who are trying to perform their duties," he said.
Lawyers slam 'dangerous trend'
Surendran was accompanied by his lawyer Sulaiman Abdullah. Among the lawyers who turned up in a show of support for Surendran today included Bar Council president Ambiga Sreevenasan and her deputy K Ragunath.
Contacted for comments later, Ambiga said the Bar Council was concerned over the latest trend of lawyers being called in for questioning in relation to the performance of their duties.
"This is a dangerous trend because it affects the independence of lawyers in protecting the interest of their clients," she said.
In July, a total of four lawyers were questioned in relation to the controversial statutory declaration made by private investigator P Balasubramaniam who is now ‘missing’. Bala later retracted his first declaration, saying he made it under duress.
Back then, the Bar Council had expressed concern that police tactics would undermine lawyer-client privileges.
Meanwhile, Police Watch and Human Rights Committee co-ordinator S Jayathas (right) told Malaysiakini that the probe against Surendran was "ridiculous".
"First they arrested us for illegal assembly. Then, they said we violated the Societies Act. Now, they want to investigate our lawyer. It sounds like victimisation to us," he said.
Jayathas was among the 10 detainees Surendran had represented. He and Lourdes Mary were present at the Putrajaya district police headquarters today to show support for their lawyer.
(Malaysiakini)DAP parliamentarians Fong Po Kuan (Batu Gajah) and Chong Chieng Jen (Bandar Kuching) were suspended from the Dewan Rakyat for the rest of the day for disobeying Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia.
At a press conference later, Fong said she was suspended because she questioned Pandikar on why she was not allowed to speak.
"The only reason the speaker gave me for disallowing me from speaking was because he didn't see me. This reply is not good enough to disallow a MP from speaking.
"I then questioned what was the yardstick used by the speaker to decide on which MP gets to debate first," she added.
Fong said she waited since yesterday to ask what happened to the RM2.4 million spent in purchasing the indelible ink which was not used during the March general election.
The last thing she heard on the issue is that a certain party has expressed interest to purchase the ink from the Election Commission.
"I have tried my best to get the speaker to allow me to raise these matters but time and time again I was not allowed to do so," she lamented.
Chong - who came to Fong's defence when Pandikar slapped her with the suspension - was also barred from the rest of the proceedings without warning or given a reason.
"I felt that it was unnecessary for the speaker to suspend Fong and I do not believe it is wrong to query the decision of the speaker if it is an unjust one," the Bandar Kuching MP told the same press conference.
He said the decision of the speaker was unjust if compared to an incident yesterday where a Barisan Nasional MP had used a highly offensive word against an opposition MP.
Yesterday, Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (BN-Pasir Salak) during a heated exchange with M Kulasegaran (DAP-Ipoh Barat) had called the latter a "bloody bastard."
The Pasir Salak MP however escaped punishment when he was asked to retract his statement by deputy speaker Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar which the former did.
Chong believes that the deputy speaker would have acted differently if an opposition MP had uttered those words.
"He (Tajuddin) was not even given a warning and we are sent out for making (valid) queries to the speaker," he said.
This morning, Karpal Singh (DAP-Batu Gelugor) urged the speaker to take stern action against Tajuddin.
He said the BN politician should not be let off the hook simply because the he had retracted his statement.
"Pasir Salak should be made to apologise or be referred to the House privileges committee," said Karpal at the conclusion of the question-and-answer session.
Delivering a speech titled ‘Malaysia - a lost democracy?’ at the Law Asia 2008 conference in Kuala Lumpur on Oct 31, Zaid recounted how “a shining example of a working democracy” founded half a century ago on the principles of democracy and egalitarianism has degenerated into an authoritarian racist state, characterised by incessant racial and religious dissension and economic malaise.
At independence in 1957, Malaya was a model of parliamentary democracy, governed under a written constitution “that accorded full respect and dignity for each and every Malayan”.
If at all there was a social contract, which should mean the pre-independence consensus reached among the founding fathers representing the various communities, it must be one “that guaranteed equality and the rule of law”, as subsequently reflected in the federal constitution.
The racial riots in 1969 changed the balance of political power and Umno, through the enlarged coalition of Barisan Nasional (BN), eventually assumed absolute control.
With its coalition partners unable to put up any resistance, Umno became increasingly racist and the master affirmative action plan known as the New Economic Policy (NEP), which was intended to eliminate poverty and redress economic imbalance, became synonymous with Malay privileges.
By the 1980s, Umno’s supremacist ideology became entrenched and found expression in ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy) and it was then that the term ‘social contract’ started to be flashed around to justify its racist conduct.
In parallel with the growth of racism was the steep rise in authoritarianism through amendments to the constitution and tightening a host of repressive laws. The rule of law became so subverted that democracy in Malaysia became history.
Zaid said: “the ketuanan Melayu model has failed...because it has resulted in waste of crucial resources, energy and time and has distracted from the real issues confronting the country”.
To cope with globalisation, Zaid calls for Malays to discard ketuanan Melayu and re-embrace democracy and rule of law to spur an economic renaissance of reviving innovation and creativity through co-operation and competition.
Predictably, Umno’s reaction to Zaid’s speech was a chorus of abusive language from its leaders, ranging from “traitor to his race” to “apologise and repent, or get out of rumpun Melayu (the Malay stock)”.
And characteristically, none of these vocal critics engaged Zaid on any substance of his wide-ranging speech that also touched on religion, judiciary and the economy. This was reflective of Umno’s traditional role as ‘big bully’ who is good at telling people to shut up but unable to articulate why.
Umno has not only told Zaid to shut up, but his speech has also been largely blacked out by the local press, which is another manifestation of how tightly the press is controlled to shield the incumbent power from unfavourable exposure.
Umno does not have the slightest intention to carry out any reform that may alter the status quo of entrenched racism and corruption. This is evident not only from its angry rejection of Zaid’s speech, but also from the thumping support given to ultras in the nominations for leadership posts ahead of party elections.
BN component parties, which have cherished false hope of political survival through a reformed Umno, would be well advised to take note of this development.
Umno’s rejection aside, the speech must be studied by all Malaysians, for it touches the bottom line of race relations.
At the heart of the issue is racial equality. This may be a non-issue in most countries, where racial equality is taken for granted, but not in Malaysia.
Due to historical factors, and due to the intertwining of race and religion, and economic disparity among the races, racial equality is a sensitive subject in Malaysia.
Suffice to say that all races have recognised the need for some kind of affirmative action in favour of the Malays and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak, as they have been conspicuously lagging in education and economics.
The problem lies mainly in the fact that Umno/BN have became too powerful and have ruled without any checks and balances. This has bred unbridled racism and corruption in Umno.
The NEP, in addition to being used to uplift educational and economic level of Malays, was hijacked to enrich party leaders and cronies, who used it abundantly as master key to open up all kinds of channels to state wealth.
As Umno’s hegemony grew, and through mass indoctrination, many came to regard NEP privileges as birthrights of Malays, though this belief is fallacious.
The line between constitutional rights and the privileges derived from a political agenda such as the NEP has thus become blurred.
It has deteriorated to the point that even a cabinet minister (Amirsham Aziz) was unable to answer a question from Lim Kit Siang (right) in Parliament on Oct 29 as to whether NEP could be equated with Article 153 of the constitution, which provides for the special position of Malays and natives of Sabah and Sarawak. (The answer is: no.)
One may thus ask: is there racial equality under our constitution? The answer is yes, as this is clearly and unambiguously guaranteed under Article 8 and other articles.
The existence of Article 153 does not detract from this guarantee. The racial privileges granted under Article 153 are limited to the provision of quotas.
And these quotas, which fall in the fields of public service, education and commerce are meant as protective measures, and are to be applied to the extent deemed necessary and reasonable by the Agong.
One must also understand that Article 153 mandates the Agong to safeguard not only the special position of Malays and natives of Sabah and Sarawak, but also the legitimate interests of other communities.
It will be seen from a study of the constitution that many racial privileges and racial discriminations couched under the umbrella of the NEP. Particularly those accorded to party leaders and cronies are extra-constitutional.
What should change?
Should Malays worry when NEP is removed as suggested by Pakatan Rakyat? Certainly not, affirmative action programmes will continue to be implemented, except that these will be needs-based instead of race-based.
This should engender more equitable distribution, promote justice, enhance national unity and eliminate abuses.
The anticipated result should see ordinary Malays enjoying more benefits as the money would otherwise have been leaked through massive corruption and cronyism.
Umno’s recalcitrant leaders who are hell-bent on clinging to this racial supremacist ideology for political survival should realise that such thinking has become extinct since South Africa abandoned its apartheid policy two decades ago. It has no place in a globalised world.
It is an affront to universal values, besides conflicting with fundamental values of all religions including Islam.
Finally, it is detrimental to common Malays whose interests these leaders profess to champion. Continued racial hegemony will require increased repression which, in turn, will cause more political unrest and further economic retardation.
In such a downward spiral, no community will be spared.
KIM QUEK is a retired accountant and a member of PKR. He is author of 'Where to, Malaysia?'.
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 — Political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, recently acquitted of abetting in the murder of a Mongolian woman, failed to turn up this morning for a scheduled press conference, initially sparking speculation as to his whereabouts.
He was seen later at his house in the leafy Damansara Heights neighbourhood, but he did not come out to the gate to speak to reporters gathered there.
Members of the press who turned up at the swanky boutique Maya Hotel earlier today were told by reception that the press conference had been cancelled. No reasons were given.
Earlier this week, Abdul Razak had told reporters camped outside his residence that he would meet them at the hotel this morning for an extensive question-and-answer session.
His acquittal last week in the murder trial of his former lover Altantuya Shaariibuu has given rise to a host of questions because of the sensational nature of the case.
The affable political analyst's close ties as a confidant of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak also sparked wild rumours and speculation.
Najib was even forced to swear that he had never met Altantuya and was not involved in the case.
If Abdul Razak does not make a public appearance soon to answer many lingering questions about the case, it will probably add grist to the rumour mill.
So far he has remained in the country, unlike his private investigator P. Balasubramaniam.
Balasubramaniam, the private investigator hired by Abdul Razak to help him deal with an alleged bid by Altantuya to blackmail him for money over their love affair, fled Malaysia after making a series of statutory declarations which first appeared to implicate Najib, and then clear the DPM subsequently.
The no-show by Abdul Razak today will certainly add to the intrigue, twist and turns and sensational nature of the trial.
Rowena Razak, 21, the daughter of Abdul Razak, spoke to reporters briefly outside their house and apologised for her father's absence.
"There is much re-adjustment that my father has to do. He is still adjusting to life as a free man after being in prison for close to two years.
"He is also concerned with his health and as such he will be staying on in Malaysia for the coming weeks," she said.
Rowena appeared to suggest her father was planning an overseas trip soon but she did not give any direct explanation as to why he did not turn up for the press conference which he had called himself.
After she spoke to reporters, Abdul Razak and his wife Mazlinda Makhzan were seen driving out of the house in a silver Mercedes car.
They were followed behind by their daughter and her grandmother who left in a Volvo SUV.
Through the gates, reporters could see that a tent had been set up with tables and chairs brought in. Rowena told reporters that a kenduri would be held tonight to mark her father's acquittal.
Malaysians were shocked by the gruesome discovery in late 2006 of what remained of Altantuya in a remote forest area just outside the city.
She was found to have been blown into pieces with military grade C4 explosives strapped to her body.
Abdul Razak was arrested subsequently and later charged with abetting in her murder.
Two policemen, Chief Insp Azilah Hadri and Cpl Sirul Azhar Umar, remain on trial for her murder.
Abdul Aziz had been found guilty of abetment in cheating and criminal breach of trust by a sessions court in 2005. Today, the High Court here overturned that decision.
Dr Abdul Aziz had been charged with abetting Ketengah general manager Datuk Alwi Said, 57, in cheating RM9mil from the Terengganu Tengah Development Authority (Ketengah) funds. The offences took place in 1999.
(Lim Kit Siang)Yesterday, the Speaker, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia made the ruling that Parliament was debating the Abdullah budget presented on August 29, 2008 and not the Najib Budget of an additional RM7 billion economic stimulus package announced during the 2009 Budget winding-up debate on Tuesday, as no changes to the Abdullah Budget had been tabled in the House.
The Speaker is right as MPs could not possibly be debating a revised 2009 Budget incorporating an additional RM7 billion economic stimulus package, when neither the details of the supplementary RM7 billion package have been tabled in the House nor an amendment to the 2009 Budget proposed in Parliament.
The trouble with such an interpretation is that MPs would have to live the fiction of pretending that the RM7 billion economic stimulus package announced by Deputy Prime Minister and the new Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in his speech winding-up the2009 Budget policy debate had disappeared into thin air within 24 hours and does not exist!
In fact, the nation and Malaysians are being asked to join in his fiction, if Najib persists with this unprecedented solution to the parliamentary faux pax he had committed in failing to follow the correct parliamentary procedure of submitting a proper parliamentary amendment to the 2009 Budget incorporating the new RM7 billion economic stimulus package.
This was why I had likened Najib to the illusionist David Copperfield yesterday when the Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, responded to my query in Parliament and explained that the RM7 billion economic stimulus package announced by Najib on Tuesday was a hypothetical one, as it depended on savings made from the downturn in global fuel prices, and what the government will do with RM7 billion when the situation arises.
I agree with Najib when he announced the RM7 billion package on Tuesday that “extraordinary times require extraordinary measures”, like amending the 2009 Budget with an additional RM7 billion economic package in the face of the worst world economic crisis in 80 years because of the global financial meltdown – but this is no justification in breaking all parliamentary rules and procedures by one day presenting a RM7 billion economic stimulus package and claiming in the next 24 hours that it is just a hypothetical proposal!
Isn’t the entire 2009 Budget of RM207 billion, made up of RM154 billion operating estimates and RM53.7 billion development estimates equally “hypothetical” as being based on on a whole architecture of assumptions about revenues and expenditures which only time can tell whether they will come true?
If so, why then is Parliament debating and passing a “hypothetical” 2009 Budget but is not required to debate and pass a “hypothetical” supplement to the 2009 Budget in the form of the additional RM7 billion economic stimulus package?
This is not a good start for Najib as the new Finance Minister and five-month Prime Minister-in-waiting, as this is not the way a responsible Finance Minister should conducted himself – telling Parliament and nation one thing and saying a completely different thing 24 hours later.
Najib never qualified his announcement on Tuesday that his RM7 billion economic stimulus package was a hypothetical one.
Instead, he wanted Parliament and the nation to take his RM7 billion economic stimulus package seriously, and this was why there was a two-week build-up of an important announcement he would be making in Parliament on Nov. 4.
All the media, whether television, radio or newspapers, treated his RM7 billion package as his important first test as the new Finance Minister and not just as a flight of imagination, with all front-page newspaper headlines yesterday like “RM7b KICK-START – Government responds to global financial crisis” (New Straits Times), “RM7 bil spending – Najib unveils plans to ensure continued growth of economy” (Star), “$PEND, $PEND, $PEND” (Sun), “RM7b rangsang ekonomi” (Utusan Malaysia) and “Dana RM7b rangsang ekonomi – Penjimatan subsidi minyak jana pertumbuhan negara” (Berita Harian).
Are all these just mirages in the desert?
Najib came to Parliament on Tuesday like Santa Claus before Christmas announcing a whole litany of goodies from the RM7 billion economic stimulus package, including
· RM1.2 billion allocations for the construction of 15,000 low-cost and medium-cost houses.
· RM500 million to refurbish police stations and police quarters, as well as army camps and their living quarters.
· RM600 million for small projects under the Public Infrastructure Maintenance (PIAS) for repairing village roads, building of community halls and small bridges.
RM500 million for the preservation and repair of public amenities such as schools, hospitals and roads.
RM500 million for upgrading and construction of rural roads and village roads.
RM200 million to four groups of schools. RM50 million each for fully-aided religious schools, mission schools, Chinese schools and Tamil schools.
· RM300 million for creation of funds and to implement skills training programmes in the Development Corridors.
· RM500 million to strengthen the public transport especially the LRT, Komuter and bus systems in urban areas.
RM1.5 billion ringgit as investment funds to attract more private sector investors.
· RM400 million to expedite the high-speed broadband project implementation.
· RM200 million to build human capital through various training programmes by various ministries.
· RM100 million for Rakan Muda projects.
RM200 million to revitalise abandoned housing projects.
· RM200 million for early education for kids.
After raising high hopes from the beneficiaries of the RM7 billion economic stimulus package, is Najib now pouring “cold water” by suggesting that the various allocations announced by him in Parliament on Tuesday are tentative, hypothetical and not meant to be taken seriously?
Parliament and the Barisan Nasional would forfeit all public respect if this be the case.
Najib had committed a grave parliamentary faux pax in not following the proper parliamentary procedure in his first parliamentary outing. He should be man enough to admit his mistake and rectify it and not compound it by claiming that his RM7 billion economic stimulus package is a mere fiction and need not be debated and approved in Parliament.
Then why announce it in Parliament in the first place?
DAP and Pakatan Rakyat MPs are prepared to co-operate with the Barisan Nasional government in the interests of the people and country and we are ready to work with Najib to rectify his parliamentary faux pax.
But he must have the humility and decency to admit his parliamentary faux pas or there will be no way to rectify it.
One solution is for Najib to introduce a motion to amend the 2009 Budget to incorporate the RM7 billion economic stimulus package he announced on Tuesday, so that MPs could debate on both the Abdullah Budget presented on August 29 as well as the RM7 billion supplementary Najib Budget announced on Tuesday.
It is a great disservice to Parliament as well as a most adverse reflection on him if Najib persists in wanting MPs to live a fiction that the RM7 billion economic stimulus package does not exist and need not be debated.
This is the first test of Najib’s quality of leadership five months before he becomes the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia next March.
When Singapore’s newest reservoir was opened this weekend, it was billed as the garden city’s latest leisure hub, designed to attract boaters and picnickers keen to escape the hectic pace of urban life.
But the Marina Reservoir, the 15th to be built in Singapore and the first to be located in the city center, has a much more important role to play. It is the latest advance in the city-state’s drive to wean itself away from imported water from Malaysia and its concomitant political entanglements. In the process, Singapore has emerged as an unlikely world leader in water conservation, reclamation and desalination.
Singapore still sources around half of its water from Malaysia and frequent disputes over the water supply have dogged relations between the two neighbors virtually since the two became independent countries. But after billions of dollars of investment into transforming its water supply, Singapore is getting ever closer to the day when it will become totally self-sufficient, finally kicking one of the most poisonous bilateral issues into the long grass.
With no proper rivers of its own and a land area too small to collect enough rain water, Singapore has been dependent on water brought across the Strait of Johor ever since it gained its independence from the British. But despite the two long-term supply deals signed in 1961 and 1962, once Singapore was unceremoniously booted out of the nascent Federation of Malaysia in 1965, the water issue began to drive a wedge between the two.
It wasn't long before Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia's first post-independence prime minister, was threatening to turn off the taps if Singapore pursued a foreign policy that was "prejudicial" to Malaysia's interests. Singapore's first post-independence leader and current Minister Mentor, Lee Kuan Yew, also said that he would have been prepared to send the troops in, if Malaysia had carried out an "act of madness" like cutting off the water.
As the imposing figures of Lee Kuan Yew and his long-time sparring partner, former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, begun to fade – neither is there yet – the tensions over water have dissipated somewhat. However, with the first water agreement set to expire in 2011 and no replacement deal in sight, the Singaporean government has moved ahead at a fearsome pace with its push to reduce its dependence on imported water.
"Singapore seems to be doing quite well and I think it will be self-sufficient within the next five-10 years," explained Chan Ngai Weng, a geography professor at Universiti Sains Malaysia who specializes in water supply issues. "If Singapore is able to do this, then there will be no problem between the two countries. Malaysia will lose some money but there will not be any issue any more."
"I think it’s unlikely that there will be more problems between Malaysia and Singapore over water," added Kog Yue Choong, a Singaporean engineer and academic who has written on water security in Southeast Asia. "Many of the problems happened when Mahathir was in control but now the game has changed because the additional water sources Singapore has developed will reduce its vulnerability."
Singapore's Public Utilities Board has spearheaded the campaign, investing S$4.9bn (US$3.3 billion) over the last five years alone in its four-pronged approach: increasing the area used to catch and store rainwater, recycling sewage to produce 'NEWater', building new desalination plants and working to reduce water usage. In 2005, the government opened the biggest desalination plant in Asia, delivering 110,000 cubic meters of desalinated seawater a day, enough to meet 10 percent of the country’s national water demand.
The Marina Reservoir, which was first suggested by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew back in 1987, is a vital part of the plan. It will supply another 10 percent of Singapore's water needs and, together with two further reservoirs that are currently being built, it will expand the catchment area used to collect rainwater from half to two-thirds of the island’s land area.
Yet despite the apparent easing of tensions between Malaysia and Singapore over recent years, Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore’s current prime minister and Lee Kuan Yew's son, hinted at the importance of continuing to reduce the country’s reliance on Malaysian imports at the opening ceremony of the reservoir last Friday.
"Through the concerted efforts and ingenuity of government agencies, and the full support and cooperation of the population, we have become more self-sufficient in water, and can become completely self-sufficient should we need to," he said. "We have also turned our vulnerability into a capability."
While disputes over water have done much to harm Singapore-Malaysia relations over the last 50 years, the silver lining for Singapore at least has been that the tensions have spurred the development of a world-leading water technology industry.
With industrialization, urbanization and climate change all threatening to put ever greater pressure on water supplies in Asia and around the world, Singapore has positioned itself to capitalize on the demand for technological solutions to the growing water shortages.
“More and more countries want to industrialize and the West is exporting pollutive industries to developing countries that don’t have the same capacity to deal with the problem,” noted Dr Kog. “Water supplies are increasingly being polluted and with global warning, it will be a big problem that may develop to an extent that it rivals the issue of oil.”
Australia, where farmers have been hit by severe droughts over recent years, is already looking at Singapore’s NEWater as a possible solution to its woes. More importantly, India and China, which have been developing at a lightning pace, are facing serious water crises in the coming years. The growing water shortages are a massive threat to China, where the World Bank estimates that more than half of the 660 cities are already facing supply issues, but a big opportunity for Singapore. Companies that honed their expertise in water technology while working on Singapore’s own water problems, such as Hyflux and Keppel, have expanded into China, where the World Bank has argued that billions of dollars more must be invested to head off a major water crisis.
But while Singapore has seemingly defused the potential for further disputes over water with Malaysia, it remains to be seen if relations between the two countries will continue to improve. Although the global financial storm ought to push these neighbors closer together, there is the very real danger that a deepening economic slowdown pushes both countries to take a more protectionist and antagonistic approach to each other.
Much will depend on the extent of the economic slowdown and the eventual outcome of Malaysia’s continuing political crisis. But, for the first time in many years, some Singaporeans and Malaysians are starting to believe that their bilateral problems could be water under the bridge.
'O people! Your God is one and your forefather (Adam) is one. An Arab is not better than a non-Arab and a non-Arab is not better than an Arab, and a red (i.e. white tinged with red) person is not better than a black person and a black person is not better than a red person, except in piety. Indeed the noblest among you is the one who is deeply conscious of God.' - a saying of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him)
Malaysia - to whom does it belong? To Malaysians. But who are Malaysians? I hope I am, Mr Speaker, Sir. But sometimes, sitting in this chamber, I doubt whether I am allowed to be a Malaysian. This is the doubt that hangs over many minds, and ... [once] emotions are set in motion, and men pitted against men along these unspoken lines, you will have the kind of warfare that will split the nation from top to bottom and undo Malaysia.' - Lee Kuan Yew, now Senior Minister, Republic of Singapore
Instead of defining Ketuanan Melayu as 'Malay superiority' which is quite meaningless, philologically inaccurate, and philosophically arrogant, I think the word 'dictatorship' is closer in meaning. As you read this piece, please refrain from value judgment and from bring trapped in the prison-house of language pertaining to the word 'dictatorship'.
To dictate connotes to tell, which connotes to narrate. To narrate means to weave a story based on an ideology. To ideologise means to encapsulate. To encapsulate means to be trap. Dictatorship, here might also mean an entrapment. Instead of acknowledging one's freedom to rule, one is acknowledging being in an entrapment - and to rule out of that condition. This is a form of false consciousness.
Words, as a literary theorist Raymond Williams might say, must also be contextualised/situated within the economic condition they emerge in. Marx's famous dictum that human beings' existence is defined by the economic condition they are in and that this condition is already predetermined. This is a deterministic view of human history.
I first read heard the phrase "Tuntutan Melayu" in the mid-1980s from a book by one Malik Munip. I was reading his work, at the same time reading Lim Kit Siang's 'Malaysia in the dangerous 80s', to get a sense of the argument. I was an undergraduate reading Literature, Education and International Politics.
I also heard that Malay students were discouraged from reading Kit Siang's work and encouraged to read 'Ketuanan Melayu'. I love banned books and books that others tell me not to read. There is a sense of intellectual challenge to be able to read banned books.
I read Mahathir Mohamad's 'The Malay Dilemma' and Syed Husin Ali's 'Malays: Their Problems and their Future' and Syed Hussein Alatas' 'The Myth of the Lazy Native' at the same time. Again, to get a sense of balance.
I read Malaysian official publications on economic outlook, juxtaposing them with a close reading of analyses on the political-economy of the Malaysian capitalist state.
I read the work of Freud and Marx to see where some of the major authors of the Frankfurt School of Social Research are going with their arguments on totalitarianism. I read the Quran and the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana, and the Mahabharata to see where the arguments on race superiority lie and what the fate of humankind will be.
The idea of social dominance and racial superiority might all be primarily about economics, if we are to read the history of the development of ideologies of superiority. But my question is - who has the right to claim that this or that land belongs to this or that group of people. At what point does culture and citizenship meet and negotiate the issue of egalitarianism? When does 'the truth of one's culture' reach its limit and the question of 'the truth of citizenship' dominate?
This is a very complex question Malaysians must answer after 50 years of Independence. We must open up the dialogue on this issue.
Let us look at how the idea of ketuanan Melayu is disseminated to the young. One way is through indoctrination camps in which songs are used.
Over the decades, perhaps millions of Malay students like me were taught the dangerous propaganda song, 'Anak Kecil Main Api'(A Child Plays with Fire). One verse concerns the power of the Malays::
… kini kita cuma tinggal kuasa
yang akan menentukan bangsa
hasil mengalir, ke tangan yang lain
pribumi merintih sendiri…
My loose translation of this 1980s propaganda song by the Biro Tata Negara reads:
… political power is what we are only left with
one that will determine the fate of our nation
wealth of this nation flows into the hands of others
sons and daughters of the soil suffer in solace...
I do not think we have a clear understanding of what the lyrics mean. I doubt if the songwriter even understand what a 'people's history of Malaya' means. It is a song based on racist intents; its lyrics penned by one who does not have a good grasp of the political-economy of Malaysian history, let alone the latest advances in the field of psychology of consciousness.
The training programes that encapsulate the theme of this song are meant to instill fear of the Malays, not of others but of themselves, and to project hatred onto other ethnic groups without realising who the enemy of the Malays really are.
Using relaxation techniques to bring the brain waves in the alpha and state (conducive for suggestive and subliminal messages), trainees were put under 'half-asleep' conditions to get the ketuanan Melayu message to colonise the consciousness. The technique pioneered by Russian brain scientists Barzakov and Lozanov in the1970s, called 'suggestopedia', is used to instill the deep sense of fear for oneself and hatred of others.
History is a complex syntagmatic pattern of interplay between technology, ideology, culture, inscription and institutionalisation not easily reduced to simplistic lyrics as such sung to the tune of pre-war German-nationalistic-sounding compositions.
History is about the complex evolution of the ruling class which owns the technologies of control. As Marx would say, at every epoch it is the history of those who own the means of production that will be written and rewritten. The winners write history, the losers write poetry or study anthropology, some would lament.
Back to the lyrics. After 50 years of independence, who is suffering in Malaysia? Who has become wealthy? Who has evolved into robber barons? What has become of our judiciary system, our universities, our city streets, our sense of public safety and security, our schools, our youth, and our entire socio-economic arrangements at the eve of the 12th general election. How has the idea of ketuanan Melayu contributed to this state of affairs?
Language of power and ideology is at play in those lyrics. The definition of 'bumiputera' is at play. It has become a problematic word in this age of deconstructionism; an age wherein as the poet WB Yeats said, "the centre cannot hold".
Rock musicians will recall the Scorpions' famous song 'Winds of Change' to serenade the fall of the Berlin Wall and the beginning of the breakdown of the Soviet Empire. We have to face the 'wrath' of the word.
Put an end to Ketuanan Melayu
For Muslims in Malaysia, this saying by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is familiar: 'Your descent is nothing to be proud of. Nor does it bring you superiority. O people! All of you are the children of Adam. You are like equal wheat grains in a bowl ... No one has any superiority over anyone else, except in religion and heedfulness. In order to consider someone a wicked person, it suffices that he humiliates other people, is mean with money, bad-tempered and exceeds the limits…'
I would say that ketuanan Melayu is a dangerous concept that is threatening race relations. It is an arrogant interpretation of selective history; of a history that is largely benefiting those who profits from the ideology.
Those promoting this concept are not well-versed in the matters of philosophy of history. I do not think thinking Malays these days subscribe to the idea of 'Malay dominance and dictatorship'. If there is a ketuanan of one race, then the rest are 'slaves' and 'serfs' and 'sub-citizens', if we are to analyse it from the point of view of 'Master-Slave' narrative?
As a Malay wishing to see the withering of and an end to the concept of "ketuanan Melayu" and the birth of a new consciousness that will respect the dignity of all races and the humility of all ethnic groups, I call upon Malaysians to continue to be critical of any attempt by any race to project their own sense of false superiority that would only breed dangerous ethnocentrism bordering on xenophobia.
We should work together to deconstruct all forms of race-based political arrangement and work towards establishing a new order based on a more egalitarian economic design that takes into consideration the basic needs and dignity of all races.
We should teach our schoolchildren how to deconstruct such sense of racial superiority, through the teaching of not only tolerance but social egalitarianism - via peace education strategies. We will have a lot to gain for generations to come.
Let us learn from the message of multiculturalism, peace, and reconciliation
crafted in the victory speech of Barack Obama and work towards the kind of
Malaysia all Malaysians want.
For -- is not Malaysia too a land of immigrants?
You have been entrusted with immense power to lead us and guide Malaysians to higher level. You have all the resources at your disposal to do all the necessary things to make Malaysia a better place to live. You have all the advisors that one can get to help Malaysians achieve higher goals.
But take a look at us. The people of Malaysia. Do you think that we ever feel safe in Malaysia? Don't just see the circle around you, they have nothing to worry. They have all the police to run around for them. Please look at everyday people who work, live and pay taxes. It is the same people, who come from different background, different races, different colors but forms a colourful society known as Malaysians. Please take a moment to think about us.Please do take a moment and ask yourself, are you doing all your best for the Malaysians?
NO! Look at the crimes around us. Look at the kind of crimes that Malaysians have to endure to live in Malaysia as responsible citizen. Look at the newspaper and you will see how snatch theft victims dies from injuries, a youth was killed by snatch thieves when he tried to chase them, a mother of two died during robbery, and the list is very long. In that list, you can find my father's name Datuk S.Krishnasamy. 42 weeks ago, my father was gunned down in Johor Bahru MIC building.
Lives are taken away without any mercy. Is the life of a Malaysian is so valueless that it is not worth protecting? Remember, all this lives put you in the office, and now that you have all the power, you have failed to safeguard the safety of these people. You have failed all these people. You have failed their families. You have failed their loved ones. You have failed to uphold the trust given to you.
Take a look at it in the interest of the nation. Working, responsible Malaysians are killed by useless, dangerous criminals. If this goes on, Malaysia will lose its good citizens and instead will be filled up with useless scumbags. Who is going to work to improve the country, who is going to school to teach the students, who is going to pay taxes to build the nation, who is going to bring Malaysia to the next step? These murderers, these snatch thieves or these criminals? What is the hope that we have for our country? Malaysia is losing her shine because of these criminals.
Dear leaders of the country, you still don't get it, do you? If good Malaysians are killed by bad Malaysians, then what do you have at the end? ONLY BAD MALAYSIANS! Is that what you want? Is that the legacy that you want to leave for your children? Is that the kind of dream that you have for Malaysians? Remember Malaysians, the people that voted for you, the same people that have to move aside every time your car drives by with a 'thousand' police bikers?
The journey of a million miles start with a single step. You too can take the first step. You have been trusted by Malaysians. Our future depends on the steps that you take.
Give us back our rights to feel safe in Malaysia.
Give us back the future that these criminals are snatching away from us.
Put a stop to all these criminals. Gone are the days when the police would tell us lame reasons and expect us to believe them. We want firm actions from the police. We want to see justice.
Dear leaders of Malaysia, be proactive when dealing with the problems that Malaysians face. Don't give us lip service that you yourself would not accept. Don't just tell us that the police are looking into the matter, find out what are the police doing, are they actually doing something or are they just beating around the bush? Do the police actually help to solve the crimes or just close the cases without proper investigations? How come the crime rate is so high and how come the cases solved are very less compare to the crime rate?
How come the number of criminals are growing at an alarming rate? Look at some of the criminals, some of them are quite young but they have been in prison several times. Yet they don't make an effort to change and worst still, many other youths are following their footsteps. The crooks become a role model for other youths and very soon, it will become a cool thing to be an ex-inmate like some of the rappers.
Are our prison system a failure? Or are the police not doing their best to eradicate crime? Youths are seeing crime as the best vehicle to immense wealth. They have nothing to fear as the police are very lackadaisical in their actions. Moreover, crime in Malaysia pays faster and better. They get to drive big cars, carry guns and shoot anyone they do not like. Why study for 5 years for a degree, work for a living and pay taxes that goes to the police? And the dear leaders of Malaysia do not care much about what happens to Malaysians, as long their family and friends are not disturbed. Why even bother to be a responsible Malaysian? Lets all be BAD Malaysians, that would really make Malaysia 'stand out' in the eyes of the world.
Dear leaders of Malaysia, we want to be able to trust you over the promises that you give us. We want to feel proud of our leaders. I have met and written to many leaders over my father's case. Many leaders from many political parties and from different races. But most of them would give me the same answer that police are looking into it. If police are looking into it, why is it after 42 weeks no one has been charged? Have you ever thought about it? Dr.Joe's case was closed even without anyone being charged. Is that what you mean by police are looking into it? There were several people arrested under remand for my father's murder but they were immediately released. One person, who is a politician himself and is a son to a senior politician, even got arrested under EO but was released a few hours later in the middle of the night. There are no more suspects and the case has gone cold. Now, tell me dear leaders of Malaysia, do you think police are looking into my father's case? Next time, please think twice before giving out such answers. The murder has hurt us so much, empty promises hurt us even more.
Dear leaders of Malaysia, when I write to you, when I come to see you, I do it because I am in great pain. I did not ask anything else from you. I just want justice for my father. I lost my father to violence. Half baked answers would not cure my pain. It would not bring justice to a cruel murder. I am sure all the families affected are feeling great amount of pain to lose someone to violence. Nobody wants to see their family members die this way.
Dear leaders of Malaysia, you must be smart, else it would be very hard to convince people to vote for you. Please don't be fooled by the excuses that the police give and don't try to fool us by giving us lies. Take the first step to make Malaysia a better place. Please let good Malaysians live and throw bad Malaysians into the prison so that Malaysia would prosper and grow to a nation that we can be proud of.
- Raj Kumar Krishnasamy.
This is the question I posed in Parliament at the beginning of the 16-day committee stage debate of the “wayang kulit” 2009 Budget debate in Parliament today.
I started by congratulating Barack Obama for his historic win as United States President as it was unthinkable even until very recently for anyone to believe that it is possible for a black, who were slaves until some 150 years ago, to be able to become President of US.
I said Parliament should also send its congratulations to Obama.
However, Obama’s historic breakthrough make many Malaysians ask whether it is possible for a Chinese, Indian, Kadazan to become the Prime Minister of Malaysia although the Constitution is very clear that any Malaysian citizen, regardless of race or religion can become Prime Minister.
If such a question is asked 50 years ago, the nation’s founders like Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, Tun Dr. Ismail, Tun Hussein Onn, Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Tun Tan Siew Sin and Tun V.T. Sambanthan would unhesitatingly answered in the positive as there is no constitutional bar - separate from the question of whether it was likely to happen.
But if the same question is asked now, there will be strong voices (as heard in Parliament today when this question was posed) who would rise up to say no.
Who is going against the Merdeka Constitution and the social contract reached by the forefathers of the major communities to achieve national independence half a century ago?
Why is Malaysian race relations and nation-building going backwards in the past 50 years as compared to the historic breakthrough in race relations in the United States with Obama’s historic victory in the US presidential elections?
A witness for the plaintiffs in the Apcet II hearing conceded in the Kuala Lumpur High Court today that she had edited a video recording of the incident, but denied tampering with the footage.
The 12th witness, Anna Har, 39, (far left in photo) said this while being cross-examined by federal counsel Khairul Fazly Kamarudin who was attempting to challenge the integrity of the video recording.
The 50-minute clip, showing how a 400-strong mob led by the Umno Youth had stormed into an international conference on East Timor in 1996, was re-screened in court today.
The government’s legal team tried to discredit the contents of the clip on grounds that it had been edited before being tendered in court.
Har - a television producer - explained that she had to edit the clip as it had been recorded with two video cameras. She was one of the videographers.
“I compiled (the two recordings) and edited it. There were two cameras, one inside (the conference hall) and one outside. My job (in the organising committee) was to take the first tape and second tape, compile them and edit them,” she told the court.
To a question from Khairul Fazly, she denied the possibility that she had tampered with, removed or altered the content during the editing process.
However, he did not let up and continue to quiz Har on the chronological order of events as shown in the edited video clip.
Since the clip was recorded with two different cameras, Khairul Fazly asked Har how she could be sure of the sequence of events in the edited clip.
“It (the editing) was done simultaneously [...] I most probably have compiled it to the best of my knowledge and logical (sense),” she replied.
Khairy Fazly also questioned Har as to whether the tape containing her video recording would have been tampered with, as she had passed it to a foreign press journalist before she was held in the police lock-up for a night after the Apcet II incident.
Har dismissed the suggestion. She said that, after her release, she had checked the tape and found that it was in the same condition.
The day-long hearing focused on clarifying technical questions over the video clip, including its transfer from the original tape format to the current VCD format.
This came after the government’s legal team challenged the admissibility of the recording at the start of the hearing. Among other aspects, it questioned the original source of the recording.
Justice Wan Adnan Muhamad, however, was of the view that the admissibility has no huge bearing in a civil case, as the credibility of the contents can be challenged through cross-examination and submissions.
In the afternoon, the plaintiffs’ 13th witness, Colin Nicholas, 53, was called to the stand over a set of photographs that he had taken during the conference.
Hearing continues tomorrow.
Out-of-court deal off
At the outset of today’s hearing, the government’s legal team also informed the court that it has rejected a formal offer from the plaintiffs for an out-of-court settlement. The sum was not disclosed.
The RM83 million Apcet II civil suit was filed by 36 local activists and journalists, seeking damages from the government over wrongful detention and police negligence.
On Nov 9, 1996, over 100 people - including 10 journalists - were arrested on the opening day of the Second Asia Pacific Conference on East Timor (Apcet II), held to discuss human rights abuses in East Timor and its struggle for independence from Indonesia.
As the conference was about to begin, 400 members from the Umno Youth-led Malaysia’s People’s Action Front, broke down the doors of the conference hall, threw chairs and verbally and physically abused the participants.
Police then moved in to arrest the participants, claiming they had refused to disperse. The participants were detained between one and six days, while 40 foreign participants were deported.
A star witness testified previously that the Umno Youth-led mob was acting on the instructions of then deputy home minister Megat Junid Megat Ayob to stop the conference.
Malaysiakini chief executive officer Premesh Chandran and editor-in-chief Steven Gan, both journalists at TheSun then, are among the plaintiffs.