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Friday, April 10, 2009

I feel for you: Nik Aziz to DAP leader

Amid police reports and stinging criticism for reciting verses from the Quran, Perak DAP leader Nga Kor Ming's action receives the blessing of PAS spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat.
MCPX

In a letter to the DAP leader dated April 9, the venerated Islamic figure and Kelantan menteri besar praised Nga for reciting the Quranic verses and sympathised with him over the backlash.

bukit gantang by election nga kor ming dap ceramah 310309 01Nga had courted controversy when he uttered the holy verses during a ceramah in the run-up to the April 7 Bukit Gantang parliamentary by-election.

Several groups later condemned him for belittling the religion by virtue of reciting the verses as a non-Muslim.

Nga shot back at his critics, saying that Umno was preventing non-Muslims, especially the Chinese, from learning about Islam.

Commenting on this, Nik Aziz penned: "I can understand the feeling of disappointment in your heart, particularly with 'Umno's unfriendly attitude' towards this healthy inclination (to learn about Islam) of the Chinese and Indian communities."

"This (Nga's action) will only heighten the awareness among non-Muslims to research, study and hold forums on Islam in a widespread manner," he added.

'I have a dream'

Citing the famous line from Dr Martin Luther King Jr, which was recently echoed by Barrack Obama, Nik Aziz said that he too 'has a dream'.

pas 2007 muktamar 020607 nik aziz finger"I have a dream. That in the not so distant future, there will be more individuals from the Chinese, Indian, Siamese, Bajau and Kadazan communities who will step forward to become Qari, Ustaz, Khatib and Imam (Islamic figureheads)," he said.

Delving into history, the spiritual leader said Genghis Khan had led the Moghul army to attack and destroy almost the entire Islamic civilization in Baghdad, but his grandson Aurangzeb had later created an Islamic empire in India.

"Therefore, I have strong faith that Islam's glory will be restored in this nation through such methods and similar incidents (the controversy surrounding Nga).

"Maybe YB (Nga) is the person who will lay the foundation stone (to achieve this end)," he added.

In view of this, Nik Aziz said steps must be undertaken to hold seminars and dialogues that dwell on topics such as 'Where has Islam gone wrong?' or 'What is the message of the al-Quran for non-Muslims'.

He said the panelists could be from PAS, Umno DAP, PKR, NGO leaders, lecturers and independent preachers.

The spiritual leader ended his letter by saying, "I thank Allah for your (Nga) strength and courage. Remain steadfast in facing these tests."

"God willing, I am witnessing the flicker of a candle in the distance. Let us proceed there together."

Resolve sensitive issues fast, PM urged - Malaysiakini

The new federal government leadership should act fast to resolve sensitive public issues to prevent them from blowing out of proportion and becoming a political dragger against Barisan Nasional.

Penang MIC youth chief M Suresh said the Putrajaya leadership under premier Najib Abdul Razak cannot afford to sweep major issues, especially those affecting the people's sensitivity, under the carpet anymore without addressing them effectively and decisively.

penang mic youth chief m suresh pc 100409 04"Otherwise BN cannot restore public confidence on the coalition," he told a press conference after chairing the movement meeting in George Town last night.

The youth leader said Najib's cabinet, which was sworn in today, must implement comprehensive long term policies and remedies to resolve such contentious issues.

"This would thwart untoward incidents and restore public confidence in BN federal government," he said, adding that government leaders can no longer turn a blind eye on such issues.

In welcoming the appointment of Najib as the country's sixth prime minister, Suresh said the new leadership should not waste anytime and should get to the ground immediately to address and resolve all persisting issues.

"BN component parties shall refrain from capitalising on contentious issues to outscore each other for political mileage like now.

"The parties should work together and demonstrate the coalition solidarity to resolve public issues involving any community in the country," he said.

penang mic youth chief m suresh pc 100409 02He also called on both the ruling BN and opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalitions to work together to assist all Malaysians to overcome the current global financial crisis.

He said parliamentary opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim could play a pivotal role in rallying his opposition troop to back the government's efforts to tackle the crisis.

"Besides giving constructive criticisms on government steps and policies, Anwar and other opposition leaders should give alternative ideas and views to the government," he said.

Change the campaigning methods

Touching on the recent BN by-election defeats in Bukit Selambau and Bukit Gantang, he claimed it was more a protest vote against the coalition for poor and indecisive performance over the past few years, rather than a pro-Pakatan Rakyat vote.

He claimed that MIC had actually made major inroads to regain the confidence of Indian electorates in Bukit Selambau in last Tuesday's poll, compared with the last general election.

"In last year's election, the Indian electorates were swayed away from BN because they were confused by Pakatan's campaign embarking on several sensitive issues.

"This time MIC managed to bring back some voters to its fold," he claimed, adding that the party national youth movement would soon carry out post mortem on Bukit Selambau electoral defeat.

bukit selambau election day 070409 02He said this when asked whether MIC had lost its relevance among the Indian community given that the poll results showed Pakatan candidate S Manikumar secured nearly two-third of the Indian votes compared with MIC candidate S Ganesan in Bukit Selambau.

Suresh said BN affiliates should conduct more aggressive election campaigns in future as a single coalition team, not on individual party basis like now.

"Currently each BN party is only keen to campaign and attend to respective community issues.

"This must change. BN partners must work as a single team tackling and resolving issues pertaining to all Malaysians, not just a particular community," the youth pointed out.

MAIKA HOLDINGS – THE SUFFERINGS OF THE POOR

Samy Vellu says MIC is the only entity that can help Malaysian Indians. He said he lives and breathes for Malaysian Indians. He says he spends every moment awake trying to help the community. He says he dedicated his life in the service of the community. When invited to Tamil schools, Samy Vellu and his stooges will say that Tamil education is more important than anything else in their life. They live to help the Tamil schools they say.

That is what they tell us!!!!! Reality however, is completely different and will hit you hard when you least expect it. The reality is; Samy Vellu and his MIC, has, swindled, cheated, robbed and slaughtered the future of the Malaysian Indian community for their personal benefit. The MIC has devoured every economic benefit the community gets just like a greedy pig devours all the swill it can get. All the sins they committed is finally getting to them. At 73 years old, Samy Vellu knows that he is living on borrowed time. He knows that he will die sooner rather than later. He also knows that for all the sins he has committed, there is no chance in hell that he’s going to heaven. His evil karma and the curse of all those suffering Indians will ensure that his afterlife will be HELL for sure.

What will a person who has thrived in bribery and corruption all his life try to do to escape punishment? He will most definitely try to bribe his way out. But in Samy Vellu’s case, to escape from hell, he cannot bribe the cops or the judges. In order to escape the punishment of HELL, Samy Vellu has to pray and bribe the GODS in order to clean his evil karma. Can anyone bribe GOD? Samy Vellu thinks so and that is surely what he is doing. Some of you will say there is no proof of this. Read on and you’ll get the proof you want:

I went on a 4 week vacation to Tamil Nadu, South India for a pilgrimage and vacation. I very much wanted to visit the famed Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple with 4 giant entrance gateways (Raja-Gopurams). I spent 5 days and 4 nights in the temple town of Madurai and used almost all the time I spent there from morning to evening to explore the temple. The huge 2 acre temple was undergoing extensive renovation in preparation for a huge once in 12 years “Kumbabhisegam” festival. Most of the visitors will go into the temple, pray, and spend little time in exploring the holy place. With time in my hand, I explored the temple and on the third day, I stumbled into the little used outer courtyard of the temple. Even though thousands of visitors were in the temple, I was the only one walking around the outer courtyard. While doing do, my sight fell on a huge banner that lists out the major donors for the temple renovation and it surprised me. The following pictures will tell you why:

madurai1

Image 1: Banner placed just inside South Tower Entrance of Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple

madurai2

Image 2: Close-up of banner shown in Image 1 [Please check donor No.3 - In red box]

madurai3

Image 3: Banner placed just inside North Tower Entrance of Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple

madurai4

Image 4: Close-up of banner shown in Image 1 [Please check donor No.3]

Check out donor No. 3 in both banners. It basically says:

The donor for South Nine Tier Gopuram (Rajagopuram) Dato Shree S. Samivelu, P.W.D. Minister, Malaysia.

The amount donated: Rs 27.00 LAKHS. (2,700,000 Indian Rupees)

To the best of my knowledge, before the 12 th General Election in March 2008, The Public Works Minister (PWD) of Malaysia is Dato Seri Samy Velu. No? A picture speaks a thousand words and in this case, it really does isn’t it? In case any of you reading this are “blind” to see the obvious (MIC members especially). Let me summarize what the picture is telling us:

Samy Vellu donated Rp. 2,700,000 to renovate the South Tower of Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple.

Based on the current exchange rate, Rp. 2,700,000 is equivalent to RM 194,500.00

In other words, Samy Vellu offered bribe to Goddess Meenakshi to the tune of RM 194,500.00

The “donation/bribe” was an inducement to try to wash away some of his sins and evil karma to ensure that his soul will not have to face punishment of HELL FIRE in the afterlife.

Did he buy a peaceful life now with the bribe? I don’t think so. Could there be more such acts of trying to wash away his sins? I think so.

Note:

For anyone visiting the temple and want to verify what I said here, the banners can be seen just inside the North and South tower of the temple. As soon as you go through the main Rajagopuram of either the North or South Tower, stop and look up; directly on the next gopuram, you can see it. (Do not walk straight into the second gateway, or you will miss it). Many of those who visited will look straight into the temple as expected and walk through the next gateway. That is exactly what I did in the first three days even when I used the North entrance everyday. Only in the 3 rd day, did something prodded me to walk around the sandy outer corridor and made me notice the banner; and here I am writing this. For all I know, as soon as Samy Vellu or his stooges reads this article; he will request the temple committee to remove the banners. So you better hurry.

Some questions here:

Didn’t Samy Vellu say that he is doing everything in his power to help Tamil schools?

Didn’t Samy Vellu say that he even gives out his own money on occasions to help out Tamil schools?

Well, take a look at what some rural Tamil schools look like:

If Samy Vellu is sincerely concerned about the dilapidated condition of Tamil schools, he would most certainly use the RM 194,500.00 to build decent classroom block in a Tamil school. No? Go figure…. Why is Samy Vellu more concerned in trying to wash away his sins than helping to rebuild ramshackle Tamil school structures? The answer lies in the fact that he realized the magnitude of untold sufferings he inflicted on millions of Malaysian Indians in his greedy pursuit of wealth and obnoxious lifestyle. He has incurred their wrath and curse and are now trying desperately to neutralize the effects.

Samy Vellu did many things to get himself wealthy. The siphoning off of the Maika funds is his brainchild.

What happened to the investors of MAIKA Holdings? I would like to relate a personal encounter with a man whose whole family was dealt an extremely painful blow for the fatal mistake of investing in MAIKA holdings. “I met Uncle Raju a decade ago in a golf resort while attending a company event. He was the gardener in the resort. During my 4 day stay there I came to know him well through our nightly conversations and he seemed to me to be highly knowledgeable to be your average gardener. I had to prod him to talk about his life’s experience.

He told me that he was born in a plantation, a considerably huge estate with several divisions. He was the 4 th generation of his family to be born in that estate. His great-great grandfather came to the estate as a laborer while the estate was being developed out of virgin jungle he tells me. Subsequently, his great grand father, his grandfather, his father, he and his 4 children were born in that very estate. Needless to say, his family had a lot of emotional attachments to the place. He described some of the stories he heard from his grandfather and father, of all the joys of his childhood. Talking about his younger days brought a sparkle into his dull eyes; he talked about the estate temple and the many activities related to the main temple. His recollection of his younger days tells me the importance of temple activities in the plantations at a time when TV/Radio etc are almost nonexistent.

When I asked him what he liked most about the estate he lived in, he told me about the family shrine situated on a small mound not far from their line housing (For those who originated in the estates, we call this “layam”). The family shrine was put up by his great-great grandfather and over time, they had improved on it. The daily evening activities of following his father to the shrine are the moments he cherished the most. While his father cleans the shrine, he enjoyed playing in a small stream running alongside, catching the small fishes and releasing them back into the stream. His was an enjoyable childhood no doubt in spite of the poverty they lived in.

He studied in a Tamil school till he was 10 years old and had to stop his education because the secondary school is too far away from their division. Transportation was not available at the time, and neither could their family afford it even if transportation service is provided. The managers/clerks children were provided free transportation to the secondary schools but not the laborers children. With nothing else to do, he joined the estate workforce. His family worked hard to climb out of the prison of poverty. Overtime, his father managed to buy 4 cows from the family savings. Their families economic well being slowly improved, their meager wages from the plantations being supplemented by selling the milk from the cows.

His father passed away, when he was in his mid 20’s and he became the head of the family. He and his wife worked harder to ensure a better future for their children by sending them to secondary school and made them study hard. His eldest son, a bright one obtained good grades and teachers advised him that he ought to save some money and send his son for further studies. In those days, Australia provided free education. All the

parents had to do was save some money to pay for the air ticket and a couple of months lodging, the rest of their stay can be supported by working part time. Uncle Raju made up his mind that even if his son, could not go overseas to study, he will still go to a local university. For him, this chance was a golden opportunity to get their family out of the estate life; his whole family toiled on the idea. Overtime, their cattle herd grew to around 30+ and he had some money saved for his son’s studies.

One day, some people from MIC came to their estate with tales of a fabulous scheme initiated for the upliftment of Indian economic status. They regaled the simple estate folks with tales of extraordinary returns for their investments. It would be extremely foolish for anyone not to invest in MAIKA they said. They brought in speakers from outside to get people to invest whatever they had. They gave a rosy picture of a golden future for the Indian community through MIC initiated MAIKA Holdings. The scoundrels from MIC exhorted those who did not have any savings to take loans and invest the money. Even if the interest rate is high, the returns from MAIKA will be

more than enough to repay the loans and give them a substantial return. The simple minded estate folks swallowed it hook, line and sinker. Those who did not have any money took loans with exorbitant interest rates.

Often times, the same MIC linked people are the ones acting as money lenders. God knows how many was deceived like this. But the Raju family did not want to take a loan. They had a small amount saved for their children’s education. Although initially hesitant to invest, peer pressure and the prospect of getting more returns compared to the bank

interest, they made the decision to invest all their savings. It was not enough for the crooks from MIC, one day, a friend of his; an MIC man approached him and asked him to invest more. Even if he didn’t have anymore money, he was asked to sell his cattle and invest the money too. After all, the devil from MIC argued, his son has two

more years to finish his secondary school. In two years, their investment can almost double the amount and ensure an easier passage for his sons education. Although hesitant at first, the golden promises from the MIC had its effect. Even Samy Vellu, the president of MIC came to the estate and regaled the folks with golden promises; saying he lives and breathes for the Indian community and that MAIKA will be the best thing that ever

happened for the Indians in Malaysia. Samy Vellu made a personal guarantee that they will get more than double their money in a few years. The day after Samy Vellu’s visit, he made the fatal decision to sell off his cattle. That day, the fate of his family was sealed. Two weeks later lorries came to take their cows away, his whole family cried when the cows were loaded onto the lorries. His children pleaded with him not to sell the

cows; after all, the cows had become a part of their family for decades. He stood still, with tears in his eyes, but content that he made the right decision for the sake of his children’s future. He was convinced that his investment in MAIKA will return profits that his milk business could never do; hence the painful decision of selling off their cattle herd. All in, he invested around RM 19,000; a huge amount for a simple estate worker.

Everything went downhill from there for Uncle Raju and his family. He spoke about how people who borrowed money for high interest rates from the money lenders were hounded by their creditors. Unable to face the constant humiliation of the money lenders harassing them to pay up, most of them left the estate hastily overnight, without any idea of where they are going to go or what to do. One person he knew was driven to

commit suicide. He only spoke of his family’s suffering after much hesitation.

His family was devastated after it became evident to them that Samy Vellu and his MIC stooges have swindled all their hard earned money. Disillusioned with the complete annihilation of a lofty dream for his family, Uncle Raju went into depression. Only the love of his wife and the constant care of his children kept him going. His only

salvation at the time was spending time near his family shrine. He will climb the small mound to the shrine daily and spend most of his time there. He could no longer do his normal work; hence unable to put food on the table. As a result of this, his eldest son, had to quit school and take over his father’s job as tractor driver in the estate to keep the family going.

Uncle Raju’s family was on the verge of escaping from the dungeon of poverty. Uncle Raju’s great-great grandfather started life in the estate, his great-grandfather built the foundation, his grandfather and father built on it heavily and developed the family’s economic strength and finally Uncle Raju worked extremely hard to ensure his son will get the education he deserves and that education would have been the passport for their escape from poverty. In a year, his son would be going to university. After completing his studies, his son needs no longer work in the estate. That will be the final severance of their family from the estate life that has kept 5 generations of his family in bondage of poverty. Then came in Samy Vellu, MIC and Maika Holdings with their golden promises. The trust that Uncle Raju put in the scoundrels was paid with betrayal. Their trust was paid with the complete destruction of the cumulated efforts of 5 generations of Uncle Raju’s family to break out from the bondage of poverty.

The very son, that Uncle Raju had so much hope for; the very son he wanted to send overseas to study; the very intelligent young boy who could have gone to Australia to study accountancy, engineering, law or other professional studies; had to sacrifice his dreams, quit school and become a tractor driver.

ALL THIS HAPPENED BECAUSE THEY TRUSTED SAMY VELLU AND HIS MIC.

But things did not end there, a few years later; the plantation was gazetted for development. For the families that lived there for generations, it was a mortal blow to their spirits. For most of them, the estate was all they knew. Each family was promised a flats house, not for free, but with low monthly payments, and nothing else. Then after the union made some noise, a token amount of goodwill money was given to them. Everything that Uncle Raju knew of the estate where he was born, grew, and spent decades of his life in, was about to be destroyed. Lands were cleared for bungalow houses and a golf resort. Yes! Its the same golf resort in which I met Uncle Raju in. The area of their line houses became the club house and the area of the family shrine, dotted with streams, brooks and a small lake became part of an idyllic golf course. The son got a job as an excavator operator in the same development project.

Uncle Raju’s family had no other choice but to go to their new flats and continued on with their life. While their estate housing was small, the areas surrounding the houses are a wide open environment. Their new flats housing was not much bigger that their estate house, this is compounded by the confined spaces of the flat units. They only have the corridors outside the house to compare with the wide open field in front of their estate house. Having lived all her life in the estates, Uncle Raju’s wife, could not adjust to life in the cramped environment of the flats houses. She frequently fell sick and her health, slowly deteriorated. The whole family was overwhelmed by a sense of guilt. They wanted to move out of the flats house, but they have nowhere else to go. Uncle Raju, approached his friend, (the MIC man who brainwashed him to sell off his cattle) for help in getting a unit of rumah perumahan rakyat (rumah murah) terrace house. The man said such houses was available, but Uncle Raju must come up with RM 10,000 as a special fee in getting the unit. The special fee is actually a bribe. This shows how cruel some friends can become.

The government built the “rumah murah” to be sold to the poor with low down-payment and minimal monthly payments. The quota for the Indian poor was given to MIC to be allocated to the poor. The bastards used even this to make money. They demanded thousands of ringgit just to allocate houses to the poor people. On top of this, the poor must also pay the down-payment and the monthly payments. In short, a RM25,000 house, will easily cost around RM 38,000 with the middle men (MIC crooks in this case), getting richer by RM8,000 to RM 10,000 per unit.

Unable to come up with the amount, the family had no choice but to continue staying in the flats. Finally, after nearly two years living in the flats, his wife passed away. After the passing of his wife, Uncle Raju could not bear to live in the same place in which he saw her suffering so much. A feeling of intense guilt overwhelmed him every time he looked at the place where his wife spent the last few months of her life resting on the bed. Unable to take the torment any longer, Uncle Raju, implored his son, to try to get him a job in the golf resort. He argued, at least he will be nearer to the place he loved so much and being away from the house will also help him overcome the painful memory of his wife’s suffering.

Through a friend, the son managed to get Uncle Raju a job as a gardener with an accommodation in the workers quarter; where an old acquaintance also from the estate worked as a gardener. I met Uncle Raju about a year after he started working in the golf resort. I had a chance to meet his son the next day when he brought dinner

for his dad. I felt sad thinking of how cruel fate had been for the young man.

On the 3 rd evening, Uncle Raju showed me around the golf course. He pointed out to me some areas of the golf course and what stood there when the whole place was an estate. He showed the place where the estate temple stood. The place where their cow shed once stood is now a landscaped garden, etc. Finally he brought me to a mound and said this is the place where he spends during the evenings after work. I understood that this was where their family shrine once stood. We climbed the mound and he pointed out the exact spot where their shrine was built. I noticed that while pointing to the spot, he touched it very gently; almost caressing the ground with utmost reverence. He told me how at times; some golfers will tee-off from the mound and trample all over the ground he loves the most, and how hurting it will be for him to see all that. He took all that hurt in a painful

silence. Once again he narrated his happy moments at the place, of the times gone by, the times of happiness; tears welled in his eyes and he quickly wiped them away. I turned the other way, pretending not to see him crying. His dignity is the last shred of possession he has and I did not want him to realize that I saw him cry. We went to a nearby “pasar malam” that night and the fine old man flatly refused my offer to pay for his meals. Before leaving the next afternoon, I went to see Uncle Raju, talked to him a few minutes and said my goodbye.

That was the last time I ever saw him. Around a year later, I happened to drive by the golf resort and decided to drop in to see Uncle Raju. I was informed by a worker that Uncle Raju had passed away 4 months earlier. When I asked how, the young man directed me to another elderly man who must have been close to Uncle Raju. He told me that one night, Uncle Raju complained of feeling very uncomfortable. When urged to go to clinic, he refused and said he will be fine and told him that he is going to take a walk to his favorite mound. He never returned; the next morning, while searching for him, they found Uncle Raju at the foot of the small mound. The doctors said he died of a heart attack. Uncle Raju must have realized that his time was nearing, and he must have wanted to end the last moments of his life at the place which have given him so many cherished moments.

He must have suffered the heart-attack and became too weak to climb the mound. Finally he must have made the effort to get as close as he can to his “shrine”, and he must have used the last of his strength to make it to the foot of the mound. Uncle Raju knew only poverty all his life. He made a spirited fight against the oppression of poverty and was on the verge of succeeding; only to be pushed back into the darkness by Samy Vellu and his Maika Holdings.

What you just read is the suffering of only one of Maika’s investors. There were 66,400 people who were duped to invest in Maika and then betrayed. Of the investors, some may have suffered less that Uncle Raju and some may have suffered more. One thing is certain though, every investor would have suffered a lot. The collateral damage to the investor’s families would have been more. Samy Vellu and his cohort of greedy scoundrels who swindled the money are the ones left happy while 66,000+ Indians cried in silence.

After all that happened, it amazes me to still see some people tell everyone within earshot that MIC leaders have nothing but compassion and concern for the Indian community. As far as I am concerned, MIC is no more different than a pig sty. If any of you still want to remain in MIC and cause more destruction to the community, then, surely you are also turning into the occupants of the pig sty called MIC.

article received by email , may not reflect the personal view of MP Kapar .

Despair up as crisis ripples through economy

KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 — Even as new Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announces the formation of his new Cabinet, he must also worry about the weakened state of the economy, which has been hit by the global crisis. The Straits Times looks at the issues, including its fallout on the two major economic sectors: manufacturing and commodities.

Sipping black coffee at a noodle stall along Penang's famous clan jetties, Ooi Hock Tik laments how jobs are becoming scarce on the island, which has long been Malaysia's most established hub for multinational manufacturing companies.

“Even before the crisis struck, jobs for our children were going to foreign workers ready to accept cheap wages. Now, the islanders and foreigners are fighting for the same jobs,” says the 58-year-old former tugboat operator. He has lived on this collection of villages built on stilts within the city limits for the past five decades.

Penang, like the rest of Malaysia, has been hit hard by the global recession.

Job losses are common and retail operators — including joss-stick sellers and fresh-noodle makers — dotting the maze of narrow streets in the island's capital of Georgetown complain of sharp drops in business.

The economic despair is not going away any time soon and stretches beyond Penang to the rural towns of Peninsular Malaysia.

Mohd Noh Baki, who owns a 4ha oil palm plantation on the fringes of the increasingly quiet Kuala Lumpur International Airport, says plunging commodity prices have forced smallholders like himself to supplement their incomes by planting other crops like yam and sweet potatoes.

“It is too difficult for us village folk to bear,” says the 64-year-old farmer.

Najib has unveiled a RM60 billion stimulus package to inject vigour into an economy that many private economists say will slip into a recession this year.

A large chunk of the stimulus package is in the form of subsidies and government guarantees, and just over RM20 billion will flow directly into the economy.

“The contraction that Malaysia will face this year won't be as severe as Singapore's as a result of the stimulus package,” says Manu Bhaskaran, the senior partner of global consultancy firm Centennial Group, who has tracked regional economies for more than two decades.

But like many other private analysts, Bhaskaran says that Najib's first policy initiative is bereft of any clues about how the country's planners intend to tackle the serious structural issues that plague its export-dependent economy.

Even before the crisis, private economists have argued that Malaysia was fast losing its competitive edge in the battle to attract foreign portfolio capital and direct investments, both key components of its economic development.

Once a key rival of Singapore's, Malaysia has over the past decade dropped several notches on the list of the region's top destinations for foreign capital.

One reason is the rise of other investment centres, such as Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, which offer investors cheaper labour and a bigger domestic market.

Economists also say that the government has failed to remodel the economy.

“You can't move up the value chain by clinging on to a weak currency and cheap imported labour. It is not sustainable in the long term,” says Bhaskaran.

But for workers such as technician Lee Li Lin, who had her pay cut recently, the long term is the furthest thing on her mind right now.

Her employer, a large electronics manufacturer in Penang, implemented a four-day work week last December. The cost-cutting move slashed Lee's pay by RM200 each month to RM1,500.

More than half of the money goes towards car loan repayments and her home mortgage. Together with the RM2,000 that her repairman husband takes home, she says their situation is “still okay”. But she fears she may lose her job.

“It's last-in, first-out at the company — and I've been there less than a year,” says the mother of a four-year-old girl who has just started pre-school classes.

“We try to cut back on our expenses and buy only what we need,” she says. “But the most important thing is that my salary doesn't go down any more.”

But some bosses say pay cuts and layoffs appear inevitable.

Rameli Musa, who owns auto-component manufacturing concern Ingress, which has factories in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, says that difficulty in raising new financing makes it tough for companies like his to keep their employees.

“Banks are reluctant to lend and that is hurting our plans to put in place new equipment to handle orders,” he says.

Still, there are a few bright spots.

Zouk KL, one of the hottest nightspots in town, reopened after more than three months of renovation late last year and has seen the number of weekend clubbers double from 3,000 to 6,000.

“I believe that people always need something to look forward to. They need some relief even during these bad times,” Zouk KL's executive director Cher Ng said, while not discounting the possibility that the numbers may dip in future.

The bigger picture for some economists and analysts is that Malaysia's economic despair could further stoke disenchantment with the ruling Barisan Nasional government, which suffered its worst election setback in March last year.

Malaysians were relatively unscathed by the recession in the mid-1980s because their economy recovered swiftly on the back of a sharp rebound in foreign investment.

When the Asian financial crisis swept the region in the late 1990s, the people were again spared major economic hardship because of the government's decision to impose capital controls.

Many believe Malaysians may not be so lucky this time.

Says a chief executive of a large state-controlled commercial bank: “This crisis is going to be more severe and the tools available to the government are limited.” — The Straits Times

Dr M unwanted, says Zaid

By Shannon Teoh - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had no effect on the April 7 by-elections and this shows that people do not want him anymore, says Datuk Zaid Ibrahim.

The former law minister, who has had a running feud with the former prime minister since his move last year to compensate judges sacked by Dr Mahathir in the 1987 judicial crisis, said this in an interview on the “Fairly Current Show”, a short programme that aired on the Internet yesterday.

Zaid, who is widely expected to join Pakatan Rakyat — most likely PKR — soon, also added that his former party, Umno, was too weak to stand up to Dr Mahathir and members were afraid of being ousted like Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who stepped down as prime minister last week after years of criticism by his predecessor Dr Mahathir.

"There were thousands of people in Sungai Petani they say, but clearly there was no effect," he said of Dr Mahathir's stop in Bukit Selambau in a two-stop blitz that included Bukit Gantang on the last day of campaigning in the by-elections.

PR, in fact, increased its majority in the two seats which, Zaid said, was an indicator of Dr Mahathir's unpopularity.

"He feels that people still want him. This is the problem with strongmen who some call dictators. Sometimes, they don't know they are surrounded by people who tell them their leadership is still needed," he said.

He added that it was the same throughout history, citing Suharto, the former president of Indonesia, and Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, who also "do not know when they are unwanted".

However, in a recent blog posting, Dr Mahathir continued to insist that Abdullah was still "entirely responsible for all the ills" in Barisan Nasional which led to the electoral defeats as "a leader plays a big role especially in Malaysia and the quality of his leadership affects the behaviour and performance of his subordinates."

Zaid also mocked the idea that Umno wanted its longest-serving president back.

"It is not that Umno wants to take him back but he wants to rejoin. But nobody is brave enough to stop him. This shows Umno is very weak and its leaders are not brave enough to stand up to him because they are afraid of ending up like Pak Lah," he said of Abdullah, who was handpicked by Dr Mahathir but then suffered years of harsh criticism from him.

Zaid cited, as an example, the fact that Khairy Jamaluddin, Abdullah's son-in-law, won comfortably ahead of Dr Mahathir's son Datuk Mukhriz in the Umno Youth chief contest because "he interfered. If not it would be a tougher fight".

Zaid and Dr Mahathir most recently clashed in a war of words over the appointment of Datuk Seri Najib Razak as prime minister, with Dr Mahathir calling Zaid's plea to the King not to appoint Najib "very stupid".

Sensational case keeps Net abuzz

(The Straits Times) SHAH ALAM, April 10 — She was a pretty part-time model and interpreter from Mongolia. He was a respected political analyst and a close friend of the deputy prime minister.

Altantuya Shaaribuu, 28, and a single mother of two boys, met Abdul Razak Baginda, now 48 and a married father of one daughter.

A torrid affair ensued. The couple carried on in Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, Paris and Singapore.

The romance soon ended in horror in a Malaysian jungle. Altantuya was shot twice in the head by two police commandos, who then blew up her body with explosives and left the pieces to rot.

In a sensational development, her lover was charged with abetting the murder. But after an even more sensational trial, the High Court cleared him of all charges.

Today, Razak is a free man studying in London, far from home. Back in Malaysia, two special police officers were convicted of the murder yesterday and sentenced to death.

That in a nutshell ends the story that riveted the country for years as the details of the case came out in the High Court. Or does it?

On the Internet and in gossip circles, seamy tales continue to be told, most probably untrue.

People have even drawn a tenuous link between the murdered woman and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, due to the friendship between the political analyst and Najib.

Razak's private investigator P. Balasubramaniam also linked the premier to the woman.

The victim was a part-time interpreter who was born in Mongolia, grew up in St Petersburg and studied in Beijing. She was also a model who spoke Russian, English, Mandarin and Japanese, according to a civil suit filed by her family against the government on June 6 last year.

Najib, who was deputy premier and defence minister when the case broke, has repeatedly denied any link to the case — but the political opposition will not let the issue rest.

His opponents keep pointing out that too many questions have been left unanswered. One of those involved Najib's aide-de-camp Musa Safri. His name came up during the trial but he was never called to testify.

Razak may have escaped a conviction but he could not deny his connection to Altantuya. In a court document he signed in 2007, he confessed that he did have an affair with the woman. The affidavit said they met in Hong Kong at the end of 2004.

Their friendship soon turned intimate in 2005, he admitted. Altantuya identified herself as Aminah, a student who became a “part-timer” to earn a living. Razak did not explain what part-timer meant.

He said he gave her US$10,000 (RM37,000) three or four times, taking pity on her because she said her mother had cancer. But the affair quickly turned bitter: Within eight months, her requests for financial help apparently turned to blackmail.

Razak then started to ask Musa for help. Musa in turn assigned two special force policemen to protect Razak on Oct 17, 2006.

Then Altantuya disappeared around the evening of Oct 19. It was several weeks later that what was left of her body was found in the jungle.

Yesterday, the two special force policemen — Azilah Hadri, 33, and Sirul Azhar Umar, 37 — were found guilty of her murder and sentenced to hang by the Shah Alam High Court.

But the sensational case continues to keep the Internet abuzz. Many bloggers launched personal attacks against Najib. Altantuya's brutal death and the tenuous links to Najib were also used by the opposition during the elections and by-elections.

The editor of website Malaysia Today, Raja Petra Kamarudin, even claimed that Najib's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor was personally involved in the murder. He accused Rosmah of being present when Altantuya's body was blown up.

Malaysia Today also revealed a long exchange of SMSes which it claimed were between Najib and lawyer Datuk Shafie Abdullah, who initially represented Razak in the trial.

Najib did not deny the SMSes were sent by him, but said they did not indicate he was interfering in the case. There has been no concrete evidence to connect the victim or the murder to Najib and his wife.

In a recent interview with Chinese newspaper Sin Chew Daily, Rosmah defended herself and her husband. She said the rumours were politically motivated and amounted to slander.

“I really don't care how people misunderstand me,” she said.

“The important thing is that my conscience is clear.”

HINDRAF – NAJIB’S 100 days performance benchmark

By P. Waytha Moorthy

HINDRAF welcomes Dato Seri Najib Razak and new incoming team of cabinet ministers for the remaining term of the current administration.

The previous administration had acted unilateral, with arrogance in the form of fascism against HINDRAF although our cause was a genuine grievance that is faced by Malaysian Indians.

HINDRAF sincerely hopes that the new administration, in contrast, will reach out and engage with us to address and solve the perpetual systematic marginalization and discrimination of Malaysian Indians in Malaysian society.

As a gesture of goodwill and in anticipation of positive and actual reformation in addressing the plight of Malaysian Indians, HINDRAF shall, for the first 100 days of the current administration, restrain from activities such as street protests, or memorandums.

HINDRAF wishes that the new administration will govern every segment of its people fairly and justly for a better Malaysia.


Thank you.
P.Waythamoorthy
Chairman

Najib is now the Caliph

Image

You must be really ignorant about religion, or just downright stupid, to covet that job of community leader. If you just knew the curse that comes with the job you would never accept that responsibility for all the gold in the land.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

When Prophet Muhammad died, the Medina community was embroiled in a heated debate as to who should succeed him as the community leader. For three days they argued and finally it was agreed that Abu Bakar would be the successor. The Arabic word for successor is caliph. Abu Bakar was now the new Caliph of the Medina community, although there were some from amongst the community who did not agree it should have been him.

One member of the community questioned Abu Bakar whether he should be the Caliph. “How would we know you would be a just community leader?” asked this man. Abu Bakar took out his sword and placed it on the floor in front of him. If I were to deviate from the true path and commit an unjust act, then take this sword and cut off my head, said Abu Bakar.

That was the standard by which a community leader should rule. He should be beheaded, and by his own sword, if he does not rule in a just manner. In those days communities were small. Today, communities are larger and a country like Malaysia no longer has a small committee of a dozen or so community leaders entrusted with the task of choosing a successor from amongst them. The community leader is chosen through an election system and, in Malaysia, that community leader is called a prime minister.

Nevertheless, whether he is called a caliph, a prime minister, a chairman, a secretary-general, a president, or whatever, the concept remains the same. That community leader is chosen, by whatever means, by the community from amongst the community, and he must rule by certain standards or else face punishment from the community.

Today, Malaysia has a new successor, a new Caliph, and that successor is called Najib Razak. And he must rule this community called Malaysia by the same standards set by the first successor to Prophet Muhammad, Abu Bakar.

Najib is not King. Neither is he Emperor. He is a mere successor, successor to Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. And he must rule this community called Malaysia as any successor or caliph since the time of Abu Bakar should.

A religious person would certainly believe, and would never dare deny, that a community leader, by whatever name you wish to call him or her, is chosen by God. God decides everything. In Islam this belief is even stronger. Innalillah hainaillahi raajiun. From God we came, and to God we shall return.

What does this mean? It means, basically, that we are God’s creation and God decides what happens to us. That is how the Muslim mind works. Therefore, whether we become the community leader or not would be determined by God and would be part of God’s grand design. To think otherwise would be considered blasphemous because we would be suggesting that we and not God has the power to determine what becomes of us.

The responsibility of the community leader is a very heavy responsibility indeed. Those who know their religion would never want to carry that responsibility. The job of a community leader is not about glamour. It is not about the excitement of power. It is about representing God and in ensuring that you fulfil the amanah from God. Amanah means trust. And God has amanah or trusted you to lead the community in a just manner. You, in short, are God’s trustee.

Would you dare become God’s trustee? Are you so sure you would never violate that trust and commit breach of trust? Would you be aware you are committing breach of trust even as you are committing breach of trust? In the first place, do you even know what constitutes breach of trust?

Thus far, all the community leaders since 1957 have demonstrated that the concept totally escapes them. They regard the position of community leader as a right. It is not a right. It is a privilege. And with this privilege comes attached the heavy responsibility of fulfilling the task of God’s trustee.

I would never in a million years want to undertake the task of community leader even for all the gold in Malaysia. That same gold will be used as fuel to burn me in hell when my time comes to meet my Maker. Why do they covet so much that job of prime minister? Don’t they know there will hardly be any community leader who will not face punishment in the afterlife?

I don’t know whether I can escape all my own sins when I face trial in God’s court. I will need to balance my books very carefully to ensure that my credits outweigh my debits. Even then I am not confident I will have a black bottom line. I suspect my bottom line will be red and I will be made to account for my sins and face a most terrible punishment for the shortfall of credits to offset my debits. And you want me to add to those already excess debits the sins of this nation? Why in heaven’s name would I want to do that?

The job of the leader of the community is not a blessing. It is a curse, a most terrible curse. If you are not yet sure whether you are destined for hell, the liability that you suffer for taking up the job of community leader will help assure you that you are certainly going to hell.

No, keep the job of caliph, president, prime minister, chairman, or whatever. I would never want that job. I have enough problems as it is. I do not need to tie an albatross around my neck and sink into the lowest pit of hell just so that people can idolise me and polish my apple and call me YAB for a couple of years.

You must be really ignorant about religion, or just downright stupid, to covet that job of community leader. If you just knew the curse that comes with the job you would never accept that responsibility for all the gold in the land. And here we have people falling over each other and scheming and plotting to outdo each other just so that they could become the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

May God have mercy on their soul. They would need it because they have just made a pact with the devil and the devil now owns their soul.

Najib Cabinet – dominated by old faces, old ideas and old approach rejected by Malaysians in the March 8 political tsunami and two Bukit by-elections

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak claims that his cabinet announced yesterday is not only a new team with a new face, but also a new approach to administer the country better in a more responsible and transparent manner that focuses on the people.

This is not the perception and reaction of the Malaysian public who find the Najib Cabinet dominated by old faces, old ideas and old approach rejected by Malaysians in the March 8 political tsunami last year and the Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau by-elections on Tuesday.

Most of the media headlines screamed “28 Ministers, 40 Deputy Ministers” when actually it should be “29 Ministers, 40 Deputy Ministers”.

How could Najib, with his new slogan of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now” make such a small yet colossal mistake?

Has Malaysian educational standards fallen so low after five years of Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein as Education Minister, that the government is incapable of the most simple calculations?

What “Performance Now” when the Najib premiership cannot even count whether there are 28 or 29 Ministers in the Cabinet?

Malaysians were promised a “lean” Cabinet but Najib has 29 Ministers, only two less than the 31 Ministers of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi when the fifth Malaysian Prime Minister submitted his resignation to the Yang di Pertuan Agong last Thursday and two more than the last Cabinet appointed by the fourth Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad after the 1999 general elections!

If Najib is serious about a lean and smart Cabinet, he should have trimmed the Cabinet by one third to have not more than 20 Ministers when in contrast, the United Kingdom has a Cabinet of 23 full-rank Ministers, Australia a Cabinet of 20 Ministers and France 17 Ministers.

The eight ministers dropped by Najib are Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar (Home); Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said (Tourism), Senator Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib (Rural and Regional Development), Senator Datuk Amirsham Abdul Aziz (Prime Minister’s Department), Datuk Ong Ka Chuan (Housing and Local Government), Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamed (Works), Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique (Federal Territories) and Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad (Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs).

Instead, Najib appointed seven new Ministers, viz: Gerakan President Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon(Prime Minister’s Department), Maj-Gen Datuk Jamil Khir Baharom (Prime Minister’s Department), Datuk Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah (Second Finance Minister), Umno Wanita chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil (Women, Family and Community Development), Datuk Anifah Aman (Foreign), Lembah Pantai Umno division chief Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin (Federal Territories) and MCA Vice President Datuk Kong Cho Ha (Housing and Local Government).

The Najib Cabinet makes history as the first Malaysian Cabinet with the most number of “political rejects”, who had been defeated in the general election last year and have to be brought back to Parliament through the “back door” of the Senate - – namely Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil as Ministers Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun and Datuk Dr. Awang Adek Hussin as Deputy Ministers.

This does not speak well for the government’s commitment to accountability and democracy.

The Najib Cabinet is not a forward-looking and visionary Cabinet which inspires Malaysians with hope and confidence that it could rally Malaysians to face the worst global economic risis in a century or unite Malaysians with a common national purpose with Umno leaders increasingly resorting to the divisive and irresponsible politics of 3Rs - race, religion and royalty – as demonstrated by the recent Umno by-election campaigning in Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau.

What can Tsu Koon do as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Unity and Performance Management to rein in the Umno ultras, like Ahmad Ismail of “Chinese are squatters” infamy?

Can he really check the “Little Napoleons” and “Big Napoleons” in the civil service, apart from the “half-past six” Ministers, when his record as an effective Penang Chief Minister in the past 18 years had been so dismal as to result in Gerakan’s total rejection in last year’s general elections?

Najib talked about introducing key performance indicators (PKI) as a six-monthly requirement for the Cabinet Ministers. Will there be a six-monthly PKI for the Prime Minister and dare Tsu Koon conduct it?

Is Tsu Koon prepared to publicly admit that Najib had chalked up several failures in his first week alone as Prime Minister to measure up to Najib’s new slogan of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now”?

Kerajaan baru, satu Malaysia

Utusan Malaysia

NAJIB Tun Razak ketika mengumumkan barisan Kabinet barunya di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Putrajaya, semalam.

Terlebih dahulu saya mengucapkan rasa syukur dan sukacita kerana dapat bersama saudara dan saudari pada petang yang bersejarah ini bagi mengumumkan keputusan pembentukan Kabinet baru.

KABINET BARU, KEUTAMAAN BARU
Mutakhir ini, saya telah banyak bertukar pendapat dengan pelbagai lapisan masyarakat dan rakyat di pelbagai kedudukan untuk mendengar keluh kesah, pandangan serta kehendak mereka yang mendambakan pembaharuan juga perubahan. Mesej yang jelas, adalah mereka inginkan sebuah kerajaan yang responsif terhadap keperluan rakyat hari ini, dalam masa yang sama bersiap siaga menumpah khidmat kepada generasi mendatang.

Alhamdulillah, saya berasa gembira kerana telah memilih 28 orang pemimpin bagi membentuk Kabinet baru. Mereka telah menyatakan semangat dan kesungguhan untuk berbakti. Justeru, saya yakin kesemua mereka berkongsi iltizam yang padu bagi memacu negara ke arah kecemerlangan. Inilah saf dan pasukan yang kita harapkan menjadi cerminan kekuatan serta wajah kemajmukan Malaysia melalui Barisan Nasional, yang mewakili semua rakyat dari setiap penjuru dan pelosok … Satu Malaysia.

Selanjutnya, apa yang paling mustahak berkaitan Kabinet baru ini adalah prinsip-prinsip dikongsi bersama yang akan dipamerkan melalui:

I. Nilai integriti dan piawai/standard yang tinggi untuk mengekalkan kepercayaan rakyat.

II. Bakat dan kebolehan yang sangat diperlukan dalam menempuh saat-saat yang amat mencabar kontemporari ini.

III. Ketaatsetiaan dan kepatuhan kepada parti, kerajaan terutamanya kepada tanah air.

IV. Kebersungguhan dan bersemangat tinggi demi membina sebuah negara yang berdaya saing menempuh abad baru.

Sehubungan yang demikian, kita akan terus berusaha membina sebuah kerajaan untuk semua rakyat. Kerajaan yang akan berbakti untuk memenuhi keperluan rakyat dengan jalan:

I. Memperbaharui ekonomi negara untuk menangani kesan kemelesetan ekonomi global serta mencipta penyelesaian apabila mendepani cabaran perubahan struktur yang akhirnya berupaya menonjolkan potensi sebenar kita.

II. Membangunkan sebuah masyarakat yang bersatu padu dan diperkukuhkan atas dasar kepercayaan serta sikap saling hormat menghormati.

III. Membasmi kemiskinan dan meningkatkan pendapatan sebenar untuk semua.

IV. Memperkasakan sistem pendidikan nasional.

V. Melibatkan setiap rakyat Malaysia dalam proses politik negara dan melebarkan wacana nasional.

PENDEKATAN BARU DALAM

PENTADBIRAN KERAJAAN

Sesungguhnya, Kabinet baru ini bukan sahaja merupakan satu pasukan baru dengan wajah baru, malah ia sebenarnya satu penyusunan semula peranan dan portfolio. Kabinet ini turut menjadi tanda kepada satu pendekatan baru pentadbiran kerajaan yang lebih telus, bertanggungjawab serta berfokus mendahulukan rakyat.

Untuk maksud tersebut, saya akan memulakan usaha ini dengan memperkenalkan satu paradigma yang akan memacu prestasi dan pencapaian. Kita akan menggunakan pendekatan Petunjuk Prestasi Utama (Key Performance Indicators) secara menyeluruh.

Petunjuk tersebut akan menekankan impak, bukannya input; hasil, bukannya output dan akan memastikan penyampaian perkhidmatan awam yang berbaloi (value for money). Petunjuk tersebut akan mencerminkan keutamaan strategik negara dan akan dipantau oleh sebuah unit baru yang akan dipimpin oleh seorang Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri.

Bagi merealisasikan hal ini, saya mahukan agar para Menteri serta pegawai-pegawai kanan perkhidmatan awam dipertanggungjawabkan terhadap pencapaian masing-masing bersandarkan petunjuk prestasi tersebut. Manakala setiap Timbalan Menteri berjumlah 40 orang semuanya akan diberi ruang tugas yang khusus.

Saya akan mengarahkan setiap Menteri untuk menyediakan KPI yang jelas merangkumi perincian tanggungjawab berkaitan tugas mereka serta timbalan masing-masing dalam masa 30 hari dari sekarang. Inilah hasrat besar saya meletakkan matlamat sedemikian supaya Kabinet baru ini benar-benar menggalas tanggungjawab seperti yang diamanahkan oleh rakyat.

Dengan dibantu oleh Menteri yang berkaitan, saya akan memantau pengurusan petunjuk prestasi agar ia berjalan dengan lancar. Seterusnya untuk makluman semua, saya akan terlibat secara peribadi dan langsung untuk mengkaji prestasi semua Menteri pada setiap enam bulan. Maka, bila mana prestasi didapati tidak memenuhi piawai, saya dan Menteri berkenaan serta penjawat awam yang berkaitan akan merungkaikan sebarang halangan yang menyekat prestasi mereka itu. Sememangnya pun inilah pendekatan saya sejak dulu lagi dalam mencapai transformasi melalui kepimpinan yang berasaskan prestasi.

Apa yang paling mustahak ialah saya mahu memastikan agar struktur kerajaan akan memenuhi keperluan rakyat sebaik-baik mungkin. Ia juga sebagai sebuah kerajaan yang diperkemas kini khusus bagi memastikan penyampaian khidmat awam yang lebih berkesan seiring dengan tuntutan zaman baru serba mencabar ini.

Oleh itu, saya telah memutuskan untuk mengurangkan bilangan kementerian dalam Kabinet baru ini. Dua kementerian telah dibubarkan dan fungsi mereka diserap oleh kementerian lain yang sedia ada.

Sebuah kementerian yang dinamakan Kementerian Tenaga, Teknologi Hijau dan Air telah ditubuhkan dengan mandat memajukan konsep pembangunan mapan serta pengamalan teknologi hijau.

Saya juga telah melantik seorang Menteri yang bertanggungjawab bagi perpaduan di Jabatan Perdana Menteri sekali gus turut bertanggungjawab bagi pengurusan prestasi. Portfolio baru ini akan mengamalkan pendekatan yang kreatif ke arah pembentukan perpaduan nasional bersesuaian dengan konsep Satu Malaysia, Rakyat Didahulukan, Prestasi Diutamakan.

Di atas segalanya, pemulihan ekonomi serta pembinaan kemakmuran jangka panjang menjadi keutamaan tertinggi bagi kerajaan baru ini. Oleh itu saya akan menerajui usaha mulia ini demi memperbaharui ekonomi negara dengan bantuan sebuah pasukan yang terbukti berpengalaman untuk bekerja demi Malaysia.

Usaha pembaharuan ekonomi ini akan melibatkan penubuhan sebuah Majlis Penasihat Ekonomi yang akan melaporkan terus kepada saya. Majlis ini akan memberikan khidmat nasihat pakar yang bersifat bebas dan objektif mengharungi suasana ekonomi yang cukup mencabar dan berusaha membina asas sebuah ekonomi berpaksikan inovasi. Jawatan kepada Pengerusi Majlis Penasihat Ekonomi ini adalah bertaraf Menteri.

Selain itu, bagi memastikan agar aset terpenting negara iaitu modal insan terus dimanfaatkan sebaik-baiknya, Timbalan Perdana Menteri diamanahkan memimpin sebuah pasukan yang akan menumpukan usaha ke arah menggilap potensi dan menyerlahkan bakat yang ada di negara kita.

Saya amat yakin dan percaya bahawa usaha pembaharuan negara perlu bermula dengan pembaharuan kerajaan; sebuah Jemaah Menteri yang baru, dengan tanggungjawab yang baru serta struktur yang baru.

Pesanan saya kepada Jemaah Menteri yang baru dilantik; beringatlah bahawa rakyat mengharapkan agar kita bekerja tanpa jemu, sentiasa mendengar rintihan mereka dan terus bekerja tanpa henti demi komitmen kita terhadap Satu Malaysia. Begitulah juga bahawa kita telah diberi penghormatan untuk berkhidmat kepada rakyat dan negara, lantas kita seharusnya menerima penghormatan tersebut dengan penuh rasa rendah diri dan dedikasi.

Kepada para pegawai perkhidmatan awam Malaysia yang cemerlang, nyatanya khidmat saudara/saudari sangat dihargai dan amat penting bagi kemakmuran jangka panjang negara. Kerajaan baru ini akan meletakkan keperluan yang bertuntutan tinggi dan penuh komitmen terhadap jawatan yang disandang. Lantaran kami meminta saudara dan saudari semua bersama kami; melengkapi komitmen kami untuk bekerja dan berganding mencurahkan sepenuh tenaga kepada rakyat.

Kepada rakyat Malaysia, terimalah cabaran saya… terutamanya golongan muda... untuk bersama-sama memadu tenaga ke arah pembaharuan negara.

Kita harus memahami bahawa era kerajaan yang bertindak mengawal secara keterlaluan dan mengamalkan sikap ‘kerajaan lebih mengetahui’ (government knows best) sudah berlalu. Kita akan hanya mampu mencapai cita-cita untuk Malaysia apabila kerajaan serta rakyat bersama-sama bersatu tenaga membina sebuah negara yang aman makmur.

Hakikatnya, kita masih berhadapan dengan banyak halangan. Akan tetapi saya sentiasa percaya bahawa tiada masalah yang wujud di negara ini yang tidak dapat ditangani dengan kehebatan, keupayaan, kemahiran dan bakat yang dimiliki oleh rakyat kita.

Oleh itu, marilah bersama kami. Marilah bersama pasukan bersemangat ini. Bersama kita terokai perjalanan hebat untuk memperbaharui negara tercinta ini hingga menjadi kisah pencapaian yang membanggakan buat kita suatu hari nanti. Insya-Allah.

Surat Tuan Guru Nik Aziz kepada YB Nga Kor Ming

From Blog Tok Guru

13 Rabiul Akhir 1430
9 April 2009

YB Encik Nga Kor Ming
EXCO Kerajaan Negeri Perak
Pejabat EXCO Negeri Perak
30000 Ipoh
PERAK DARUL RIDZUAN.

Menemui YB Encik Nga dengan ucapan salam sejahtera

Yang Berhormat,

Alhamdulillah, dengan izin Allah, saya telah mengikuti isu di sekitar percubaan YB untuk mengenali Islam melalui pembacaan Ayat-Ayat Al-Quran dengan tekun. Saya juga terharu mendengar keluhan YB yang berbunyi “saya berasa amat kesal apabila masyarakat Tionghua yang cuba mengenali Islam dan Al-Quran melalui kitab berkenaan, tiba-tiba dihalang.”

Saya boleh memahami dan menyelami perasaan kecewa yang sedang melanda hati YB. Mudah-mudahan dengan sikap “tidak mesra Umno” dan pemimpin-pemimpin Umno tentang kecenderungan masyarakat Tionghua dan India yang sihat ini, ia akan meningkatkan lagi kesedaran Non-Islam untuk lebih mengkaji, mendalami dan mengadakan forum serta wacana mengenai Islam dengan cara yang lebih meluas.

Saya mempunyai sebuah impian. Dalam tempoh tidak berapa lama lagi mudah-mudahan akan muncul lebih ramai orang dari kalangan masyarakat Tionghua, India, Siam, Bajau dan Kadazan yang tampil menjadi Qari, Ustaz, Khatib dan Imam di seluruh negara. Kalau Jenghiz Khan yang mengetuai tentera Moghul menyerang dan memusnahkan hampir seluruh Kerajaan dan tamadun Islam di Kota Baghdad, tetapi sempat ditebus semula keagungan Islam melalui cucunya yang bernama Aurangzeb yang menegakkan empayar Islam di India kemudiannya. Maka saya mempunyai keyakinan yang kuat bahawa Islam akan kembali gemilang di negara kita melalui kaedah dan insiden yang hampir sama. Mudah-mudahan YB lah orangnya yang akan meletakkan batu asas pertama ke arah menyusun batu bata yang kukuh ini untuk terus bertumpang tindih.

Mari kita bina asas ini dengan mengatur langkah-langkah permulaan melalui seminar, muzakarah, muqabalah, dialog dan wacana. Tajuk-tajuk seperti “dimana tak kenanya Islam” atau “apa mesej al-Quran kepada orang bukan Islam” bolehlah difikirkan. Anggota panel boleh terdiri daripada tokoh-tokoh PAS, Umno, DAP, PKR dan pemimpin-pemimpin NGO, pensyarah serta pendakwah bebas. Ia boleh dijadikan sesi kuliah bersiri yang boleh dianjurkan di PWTC, di masjid-masjid, surau-surau, kuil-kuil dewan-dewan perhimpunan, di universiti-universiti, baik di IPTS atau IPTA.

Sekali lagi saya mengucapkan syukur kepada Allah S.W.T di atas kekuatan dan keberanian yang ada pada YB. Terus tekun dan beristiqamahlah dalam mengharungi ujian-ujian ini. Insya Allah saya seakan-akan sedang melihat sekerdip lilin yang bercahaya di hujung sana. Marilah kita sama-sama ke sana.

* MEMBANGUN BERSAMA ISLAM *

TUAN GURU DATO’ HAJI NIK ABDUL AZIZ BIN NIK MAT
Menteri Besar Kelantan
Merangkap
Mursyidul Am PAS

Essay: Playing Smart Against Najib

So, here’s an article I was paid RM 10 million to write, ahaha :P it’s the one I’ve been talking about for so long, and it’s already a little outdated. But let’s start from here, and take it from there :)

Najib is an easy man to hate.

Truth be told, I don’t trust him any more than the next Malaysiakini reader.

Our job as commentators however, should always involve scrutinising the big picture, identifying where the truly important pivots of change are, and mapping out the road ahead. We must constantly seek the best strategy for long term success, and work for change in the ways that will make the most difference.

I feel that in the first week of his reign, too many of us have taken the easy way out as far as criticising our new prime minister goes.

This is understandable; many are angry today as we continue to see justice falling short in the Altantuya case, continuous governmental interference in the quest for truth in the Kugan murder, Disneyland and submarine corruption scandals not dealt with, and so on.

These and a history of bad reputations have made many of us view Najib’s first few actions will extreme cynicism, and dismissed his tactics as disingenuous.

I don’t actually think such cynicism or dismissals are misplaced, but I do fear Najib’s opponents are underestimating his recent tactics a little.


Najib’s first victories

Najib’s relatively easy ride to assuming the highest office of the land was his first coup. While the nation was distracted by the three by-elections, Najib sailed through easily to his swearing-in ceremony, finally achieving what he as yearned for for decades.

Had this been done at a time where Pakatan and their supporters did not have their attention and energies fully distracted by three elections, the protest at Najib’s impending appointment as PM could have involved nation-wide outcries to the point of street demonstrations - quite justifiable given the unprecedented amount of scandal which taints Najib in the eyes of the whole world.

Yet, there he successfully sits now - having outmanouvered his opponents and evaded all serious opposition to his appointment to arguably the only political post that really matters in the land. A post from which so very much can be controlled.

Many speculated on a return to heavy handed Mahathirism, complete with clampdowns and the iron first.

Najib surprised many by going in the complete opposite direction. In what Nik Nazmi termed triangulation, Najib took more than a few pages from Pakatan’s book when he released ISA detainees, and placed unexpected emphasis on national unity, free media, and all of those other good things.

The hardcore pro-Pakatan and anti-BN elements immediately crucified him, bending over backwards to accuse him of all manner of insincerity and opportunism.

Again, I do not necessarily disagree with such views, but are such attacks the right strategy to employ at this juncture, when some may perhaps see him as offering olive branches?

It may seem easy to do so, and surely there is a temptation to go on the offensive after convincing victories in the peninsular by-elections.

Without any statistical data, I cannot say for sure how the general, middle ground public truly views Najib’s “reforms.” I’m sure some buy it, and some don’t. The majority may lean to the latter, but I truly do not know.

I have seen enough from Najib however, within his first week, to feel that it would be foolhardy for Pakatan and its supporters to casually dismiss Najib’s moves, and expect that the public will never fall for them. Voting electorates are traditionally fickle.

I think a better precautionary tack for Pakatan to take is to prepare seriously for the possibility - no matter how remote - that Najib may be willing to initiate some manner of reforms in order to survive politically, and that these tactics may pay off at the ballot box some day.

Pirating political products

The first reason for this is that we must never, ever underestimate the instinct for survival, and the degree to which it may influence one’s actions.

Whoever is advising Najib has thus far provided a very accurate, in my view, reading of the Malaysian political landscape.

Najib is singing Pakatan’s tune precisely because his circle has (finally) seen, much as we have a long time ago, that the rakyat truly hates the ISA; that we disagree with the Perak usurption of power; that we expect a media that exercises the function it is supposed to; and so on. In other words, he is not completely blind as to what issues voters care about.

While we do not expect any BN animal to change its spots too drastically, we must be prepared for the possibility that under a new PM, they might - as a contingency, if nothing else.

While it is good to have a successful product to sell, piracy by competitors can cause serious damage to one’s business, and this is what Pakatan should be wary of. Constant improvement and refinement of the products we market must be the norm.

We have spoken at length, and I think accurately, of the increase in voter sophistication. This may be, however, a sword that cuts both ways.

It is unwise for Pakatan to rely on anti-BN sentiment alone to carry it all the way to Putrajaya. If this were the case, the unlikely but ultimately still possible reform of BN will cut the legs from under Pakatan and deflate its momentum considerably.

I feel that middle ground voters, the kind of which have swung so violently back and forth in areas such as Bukit Gantang (evidenced by the great variation in voting patterns over the last few elections), will not appreciate purely negative campaigning.

This means that non-stop character assassinations against Najib regardless of whether he is saying positive or negative things is likely to grow old and stale after a while.

This is not to say that we must not chide and criticise the PM when he does or says something wrong. All mistakes and rakyat-unfriendly statements must be torn apart mercilessly.

That said, we must not end up the boy who cried wolf. Our harshest criticism will carry the most weight with middle ground voters when we reserve it only for the times when our leaders truly act and talk particularly badly.

To lash out blindly with vicious attacks even when the PM makes gestures, no matter how small, in the right direction, runs the risk of making his opponents look petty, and commentators prejudiced. Such a situation would see us experience a deficit of credibility.

Give peace a chance?

Does this mean we should give Najib ‘a chance?’

I have no high hopes for the man and his premiereship. Nonetheless, I cannot pretend to see in the heart of any man. We only have his actions to judge him by.

For someone who has spent hours upon hours persuading others that Anwar Ibrahim has the capacity to change, that time can transform a man, I find hard to readily dismiss out of hand that another person - no matter what my personal dislike for him may be - is incapable of the same.

Similarly, I ask myself how I would hope Najib supporters might react (in an ideal world) should it have been Anwar instead who was sworn in as Prime Minister last week (an even more ideal world).

The answers to such questions should perhaps guide our current attitudes and actions with regards to Najib, Prime Minister of Malaysia.

And what of his personal scandals?

I think there should be no let up on the pressing questions with regards to kickbacks on arms deals, and corruption cases of the like. Irregularities remain unanswered, and so much of the rakyat’s money remains unaccounted for.

As for the Altantuya case?

Deep in my heart, as in so many other Malaysian hearts I suspect, I find it hard to absolve Najib or those close to him from some involvement in the murder. The facts of the matter simply do not make sense otherwise.

Sadly however, there remains no solid evidence as of yet to connect him to the case. Like many, I hoped to see that infamous photograph. I hoped that Musa Safri would be called to testify, as he should. These are things we should continue to pursue in the name of justice; but if we haven’t seen them yet, we must concurrently prepare for the possibility that we may never.

What energy we can spend on this should be spent on finding what further evidence exists that can shed light on what truly happened in the vicious murder of Altantuya, and perhaps less on making accusations that look increasingly difficult to substantiate, true though they may or may not be.

For without such evidence, we can sadly no more convict Najib that we could convict any man who is innocent until proven guilty.


What Pakatan needs to do

What are the best options available to Pakatan now?

While I did not fully agree with them at the time, I find myself having more sympathy now with some of the positions taken by people who were pro-Pakatan, but against the planned September 16th takeover.

They reasoned then that Pakatan should instead concentrate on governing the states they controlled, and look forward to the next general elections.

In my view, this now seems wise - in light of practical considerations, if not of moral or ethical ones.

Najib’s ascension was soon followed by consolidation. Umno members are far too exhausted from the infighting seen over the last year or so, and are desperate for strong leadership, which Najib - formerly renowned more for being eminently insipid more than anything else - is now in a position to provide.

His current standing is not fully unassailable, but the present dynamics of power probably make any attempt at takeover by defection highly unfeasible; certainly much more so now than in the lead up to September of last year.

I have written before as well on how expecting politicians not to politick, merely out of goodwill and sense of national responsibility (think Anas Zubedy), may be just a little naive.

I stand by such views, but also admit that we find ourselves in a different position today than we did a few months ago.

If we accept the assumption that Najib will be difficult to remove short of a dissolution of parliament, we must thus adjust our strategies accordingly.

As such, it would be timely for Pakatan to postpone any immediate takeover plans, and refocus their energy on the administration of their states, as well as on on playing the role of an effective opposition at the federal level (that oft mentioned shadow cabinet couldn’t possibly come at a better time).

At the end of the day, what will really matter is who the public perceives to govern better - it’s as simple as that.

Today, I believe a member of the public will still be hard pressed to answer convincingly the question: “What is different or better under your new Pakatan state government? What have their major achievements been?”

While I do believe Pakatan-held states have done a better job than their predecessors, it is imperative for them to overcome the honeymoon phase, and work harder in ensuring that by this time next year latest, any resident of their state can shoot of at least three to five answers to the question above convincingly and without hesitation.

Crime, improvement of infrastructure, and other basic, daily life things would be a great place to start.

On the national level, it is right that Pakatan continue to press the government at every turn. 13 released? Demand the closure of Kamunting. Gestures towards press freedom? Protest the ridiculous banning of Merdeka Review at the PM’s press conference.

Push every issue for the betterment of the rakyat, and demand more and more accountability at every opportunity. Do this well, and the rakyat will see the benefits of checks and balances as well as healthy political competition.

The Pakatan-BN competition should continue as vigorously as possible, as they try to outdo each other in terms of integrity and service to the rakyat. That is how a democracy is supposed to work, and that is how we go about creating a better Malaysia.


Only one opportunity for Najib

As for Najib? Well, you can talk the talk (as can anyone with a professional public relations team), now comes time to see you walk the walk.

We will not be content with 13 releases or mere lip service. Unless we see the repeal of the ISA, the Printing Presses and Publication Act, the Emergency Ordinance and so on very soon indeed, we will be forced to conclude that you are jerking us around, and have no serious intention to reform. No excuses will be tolerated.

I don’t really see how you will reconcile 1Malaysia with your party’s Ketuanan Melayu, but you are welcome to try. If you fail to go beyond rhetoric, I reckon your political future will be short.

You will continue to be hounded on your corruption scandals, as will all those under you. You have a unique opportunity to come clean and clean house, failing which, you will again likely be shown the door. Don’t try to go quiet for a while, and then sneak in some sketchy deals when you think no one will still be watching.

We will always be watching.

Lastly, if you’re anywhere near serious about turning over a new leaf, give us back Perak. Bukit Gantang is the last nail in that particular coffin - no one outside your party (and plenty within) can possibly justify this ridiculous usurpation of power.

We’ll accept some of your rhetoric with an open heart Mr. Prime Minister, out of basic human decency; but make deed match word, or see your party meet extinction very, very soon.