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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Kg Buah Pala breaks deadline to accept offer

The Sun
Himanshu Bhatt and Bernard Cheah

GEORGE TOWN (Aug 7, 2009): The noon deadline for Kampung Buah Pala residents to submit their agreements for alternative housing passed today, with most villagers not responding due to anxiety and suspicions over conditions imposed.

Residents association chairman, M Sugumaran, told reporters the villagers were being put under pressure to agree to the proposal, and the state government and developer had given them an unrealistically short deadline.

He pointed out that the conditions imposed included a clause that the housing offer would be void if the project was disapproved by the authorities in the future, effectively leaving the villagers in a lurch.

"Would you buy a property with this kind of condition?" he asked at a press conference at the village here.

He also questioned a clause that required the residents to withdraw all legal actions they had taken regarding the land.

Villagers’ spokesperson A Thiruvenggadam said the offer of terrace housing as "ex gratia" for the villagers to move out was not legal.

He pointed out that the land title itself stipulated it "cannot be transferred, mortgaged, pawned, sub-let or used as a business instrument without written approval from the state authority."

The title was issued on March 27, 2008, about two weeks after the Pakatan Rakyat took power as the state government.

Thiru venggadam said it was therefore not legal for the new title-holder, the ‘Penang Government Officers’ Cooperative’ (Koperasi Pegawai Kerajaan Pulau Pinang), to have undertaken a commercial joint-venture agreement with developer Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd.

He also questioned Nusmetro’s move to sign sale and purchase agreements with buyers of yet-to-be-built units in the proposed condominium project there – even before the land title had been issued.

Thiruvenggadam also stressed that Section 320 of the National Land Code allows a land title to be cancelled by the state if fraud is proven in any land transaction.

He stressed that three reports had been lodged with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) by state personnel.

Thus far, nobody knew about any development from the MACC investigations, if any had been initiated at all, he added.

"If the outcome of the investigation confirms a fraud in the land transaction, then the state can cancel the land title issued to the Cooperative," he said.

"If the fraud is proven, and the state was to use the above section, the Kampung Buah Pala land would become state land again."

He noted that PR leaders, including Deputy Chief Minister (II) Prof Dr P Ramasamy, Bukit Gelugor MP Karpal Singh, Sri Delima assemblyman RSN Rayer, and PKR adviser and Permatang Pauh MP Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had promised that the land would be saved for the villagers.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng urged the residents to accept the offer so as to "move forward".

He called the offer "the best deal in Malaysian history", and said he felt the residents were losing public support.

"If they continue to make unreasonable demands, they will finally be a loser. There are (several quarters) who offer to demonstrate or file a court case everyday, but will these get you a house with legally bidding title?" he asked.

Lim added that there were people who were trying to take advantage of the situation, and keen to see the demolition of the village to undermine the Pakatan Rakyat.

He said the details of the offer can be discussed later once the villagers had agreed in principle.

"We want you to adopt in principal first, then we will work out the details later - including the time to move out. We can talk to the developer to give some time and leeway for the people before the eviction," he said.

Lim told reporters this after officiating the Pikom Regional Chapter Seminar at Traders Hotel today (7 Aug 2009).

Residents willing to renegotiate

(NST) GEORGE TOWN: Kampung Lorong Buah Pala residents are willing to sit down with the state government to fine tune the house-for-a-house offer made by developer Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd.

Residents association assistant secretary C. Tharmaraj yesterday said: "We are not objecting to the proposal, but we need more time to study the offer properly as it is very weak and lopsided. There must be some kind of guarantee that we will get our houses."

Tharmaraj said the residents were "reasonable people and ready to sit down and talk to the state government on good terms "to iron things out".

"There should be no rush to evict us. Also, please do not put pressure on us to accept the offer. We are willing to work out a better plan," he said, adding that the residents hoped to meet Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to sort things out.

It was reported yesterday that the developer had made a house-for-a-house offer to each of 24 house owners in the village.

Meanwhile, the residents association secretary J. Stephens said they had proposed the construction of 24 houses on a 0.89ha land adjacent to the village before the demolition takes place, but this had fallen on deaf ears.

Stephen said the residents would hold a forum on the issue at 6.30pm today.

Ku Li: BN power-sharing model broken, needs new one

MELBOURNE, Aug 9 — The ruling Barisan Nasional’s racial power-sharing model is broken with the races now polarised, veteran Umno politician Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah charged today, adding it needs to begin anew with “our common humanity”.

The Gua Musang MP also said race was just a constructed category and called for new ways of mediating conflicts among the races in the country, despite the recent shrill cries of Malay supremacy among his fellow Umno colleagues and Umno-held media.

“The racial power-sharing model now practised by Barisan is broken. It takes more honesty than we are used to in public life to observe that this is not a temporary but a terminal crisis. An old order is ending,” Tengku Razaleigh told the Kelab Umno Australia at the Melbourne University.

Umno stalwart Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has charged that BN’s racially-driven model can no longer work in today’s society. — Picture by Jack Ooi

He noted the major races remained polarised despite the country’s economic growth and progress towards multiracial politics although the government and opposition are still largely mobilised along racial lines.

“It is not yet time to herald a new dawn. Instead, we are in a transition full of perils and possibilities,” the Kelantan prince said in a copy of the speech sent to The Malaysian Insider.

He told his audience Barisan Nasional was put together to ensure that every community had a place at the table but it was not a permanent solution and the coalition has to wake up to the fact that it no longer worked.

“It was designed as an interim work-around, an early stage on the way to ‘a more perfect union’ and not as the desired end-state. Over the years, however, we have put up barricades around our system as if it were a fore-ordained and permanent ideal.

“In doing so, we have turned a half-way house into our destination, as if we must forever remain a racially divided and racially governed society,” said the politician popularly known as Ku Li.

He said the ideal should be a free and united society in which individuals can express their ethnic and religious identities without being imprisoned in them, adding “We must aim for a society in which public reasoning and not backroom dealing determines our collective decisions.”

Tengku Razaleigh, who lost out again for a shot at the Umno presidency last year, said the power-sharing model in Malaysia was an elite style of government justified by the virtue and competence of natural leaders of the communities.

“It does not work when political parties are led by the ignorant and the corrupt who have no standing in the communities they claim to represent,” he said bluntly, saying the country now has top-down rule and power had become increasingly unaccountable with Umno beholden to the executive.

“Our decades under highly-centralised government undermined our power-sharing formula, just as it undermined key institutions such as the judiciary, the police and the rule of law.

“Our major institutions have survived in appearance while their substance has eroded. Seen in this light, the election results of March 8, which saw the Barisan Nasional handed its worst defeat since 1969, was just the beginning of the collapse of a structure which has long been hollowed out,” Ku Li said.

He told the Kelab Umno Australia that they are generation of transition and would play a key role in determining the country’s outcome.

“We need a new beginning to racial relations in Malaysia, and you must pioneer that beginning. We need to re-design race relations in Malaysia, and you must be the architects and builders of that design,” he told his audience.

He advised them to take advantage of the perspective of distance in overseas education to reformulate questions and come out with answers for the nation.

“Begin with our common humanity. Respect for our common humanity must override all lesser affiliations, including race,” he said, noting one of Islam’s most powerful contributions to human civilisation has been its insistence on the equality of all human beings.

“Islam tolerates no notions of racial superiority or inferiority. All human beings are equal before God. That same principle of equality is absolutely fundamental to democracy, and democracy is a foundational principle of our Constitution.

The veteran politician said democracy is part of the nation’s make-up and although the citizens can gravitate to racial groupings, it should not overshadow the allegiance to the constitution and the claims of equal dignity.

“Political parties based on race or religion must never be allowed to do or say anything contrary to justice and equality,” he added.

Bucking the trend in his party that espouses Malay supremacy, Tengku Razaleigh said Malaysians must anchor themselves in the constitution and restore its primacy as it establishes the equality of citizenship.

“It gives us the framework of law and order within which we become a nation. It establishes the primacy of the rule of law, the sovereignty of Parliament, the independence of the judiciary and civil service and of our law enforcement agencies. These are the institutions which guarantee the freedom and sovereignty of the people,” he added.

Ku Li has challenged the young generation, which he calls the “generation of transition”, to move beyond making race their sole identity. — Picture by Jack Ooi

Speaking on race, he noted that while it united people in a common feeling, it can also divide and said that Malaysians are not just diverse in race but diverse in different ways, including location, class, social status, occupation, language and politics.

“We would be terribly impoverished as persons if our identity was given ahead of time and once and for all, merely by our membership of a fixed racial category. I would be a very dull person if you could tell who I was simply by looking up my race,” he said, adding it was not the most importance category in the world.

He pointed out that race would retard growth as individuals and hence as a society, apart from turning people into stereotypes and maintain a view of the world bordering on racist.

“I want to urge you, as the makers of the new social landscape we need in Malaysia, to reject taking race to be a unique and fixed categorisation, to reject race as a central category of social and political life,” Tengku Razaleigh said, reiterating it was just an identity and a constructed category.

He railed against the politics of race saying it will always divide, “and the ultimate solution to intra-racial problems it leads us to is, in the end, violence.”

“It is easy to identify the practitioners of this kind of racial politics. They will rely on veiled threats of communal violence even as they take part in democratic politics,” he added.

The Umno veteran also called for new ways of mediating conflicting claims between the races, new ways of bringing people to the table, of including everyone in the decision-making process.

“These new ways must be based on more open conceptions of who we are. Malaysia’s major races have lived together not just for decades but for centuries. Their cultures have interacted for millennia. In that time there has been mutual influence, mixture and cross-pollination at a depth and on a scale that our politics, popular culture and educational curriculum have largely pretended does not exist.

“It is time to embrace this real diversity in our political and personal lives. Our racial identities are not silos in a cornfield, forever separate, encased in steel, but trees in our rainforest: standing distinct but inexplicable without each other and constantly co-evolving,” he said.

Tengku Razaleigh pointed out that he was not recommending anything novel to the audience as it was cardinal principles in the constitution and the faiths, including Islam.

“Let us have the sense of perspective to see our ethnic identities against these cornerstone principles of religion and ethics, and let us now educate our young, apprentice our youth, and conduct ourselves according to these principles.

“And then let us have a new beginning for Malaysia,” he said when ending his speech.

Najib wants Selangor back in BN’s clutches

Nothing would make Najib happier than to see Selangor back under the BN banner. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA SELANGOR, Aug 9 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today he wants Selangor back in Barisan Nasional’s (BN) fold.

Describing the state as the heartbeat of the country, he said, the BN has a bright chance of winning back the state provided that component parties, led by Umno, are prepared to change, he said when opening the Kuala Selangor Umno delegates’ meeting here today.

There is also a need for Umno and component parties to work together based on the spirit of consensus, he said.

“This is my hope... my message is, if we want to win, let’s act in a way that allows us to win. Let’s not say we want to win but court defeats in our deeds,” said Najib, who is also Selangor Umno chief.

Najib, who is Pekan member of parliament, also spoke of what he called the “Pekan Formula” which saw him rising in the political arena to become the prime minister and party president.

Umno media paints DAP anti-Islam, Anwar a traitor

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 9 — The Umno-owned mass media continued its weekend attacks on the opposition, suggesting DAP is anti-Islam and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is willing to betray the Malays to be prime minister — both incendiary subjects in mainly Malay Muslim Malaysia.

Utusan Malaysia led the charge with articles and editorials on Saturday and Sunday that painted DAP being against the country’s official religion as a result of actions by two of its lawmakers.

“It’s the weekend so the Umno media knows that people have time to read, think and talk,” a media analyst told The Malaysian Insider.

Umno-controlled media have echoed their masters’ view that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is a traitor to the Malay cause. — Picture by Choo Choy May

Utusan’s Sunday edition Mingguan Malaysia slammed DAP MP Jeff Ooi for calling the missionary group Jemaah Islah Malaysia (JIM) an extremist organisation after an open dispute with one of its members, who sits on the Penang Municipal council.

Selangor local government exco Ronnie Liu was also attacked for overturning the seizure of beers from a 7-Eleven convenience store by council officers enforcing Islamic directives.

The Sunday newspaper then chastised Anwar, claiming the Malays are angry that he would threaten their rights in order to be prime minister.

Over at Berita Minggu, an op-ed article quoted academicians and Malay rights activists as saying the Anwar-led Pakatan Rakyat is just using the Malays to gain power.

DAP strongman Lim Kit Siang last week complained both newspapers were guilty of rank racism and have called Barisan Nasional ministers to castigate the Umno media.

However, none was forthcoming except deputy prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who called for calm and defended Utusan, saying it was a reaction to protests that threatened Malay institutions.

But Kit Siang has been adamant that the newspapers are racist.

“When Umno’s two newspaper groups, Utusan Malaysia and New Straits Times, openly flout Najib’s 1 Malaysia concept, how is the prime minister to convince all Malaysians that his Cabinet and administration are fully, sincerely and seriously committed to the 1 Malaysia concept and that it is not just an empty slogan like his predecessor Tun Abdullah’s slogan of ‘Cemerlang, Gemilang and Terbilang’ as the fifth prime minister of Malaysia?” he asked on August 4, referring to prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s slogan, meant to unite Malaysians.

But the Utusan group took a different tack this week, focussing on DAP leaders’ comments and actions that touched on Islam.

It echoed Umno leaders who say DAP have no respect for the faith when it protested moves to curb beer sales in Pakatan-held Selangor despite objections from ally PAS.

... and accusing Lim Kit Siang and the rest of DAP as being anti-Islam. — Picture by Choo Choy May

The Islamist party’s Selangor leader Datuk Hassan Ali has been at the forefront in policing what he called deviationist movements like the Ahmadiyah and stopping the sale of alcohol in Muslim-majority areas.

Selangor mentri besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has decided that convenience outlets can sell alcohol but must follow existing rules that prohibit sales to minors and Muslims.

In Penang, Ooi followed chief minister Lim Guan Eng’s directive to retract a statement calling JIM an extremist group. However, he did not apologise despite calls to do so by Muslim groups.

Mingguan Malaysia used the blogger-turned-politician’s statement as a sign that DAP is the biggest threat to the country, and not the Malays.

“In Western countries, the Muslim minority will rise against those who insult Islam, let alone those in Muslim majority nations in the Arab world and Indonesia who will riot. But due to the political chess in Malaysia, Muslims are cowards and can be insulted,” wrote Awang Selamat, a pseudonym for the paper’s editors.

“It is time for Muslims to unite and rise against this. Muslim leaders from all parties cannot be soft anymore.

“Will they be responsible when the country one day becomes like Palestine that is oppressed by the Jews,” Awang wrote today, touching on a subject close to the global Muslim community.

He added that he agreed with Pasir Mas MP Datuk Ibrahim that “insults against Islam must be contained to prevent racial and religious tensions.”

RACE: TIME FOR A NEW BEGINNING

by Tengku Razaleigh

(Speech at Kelab Umno Australia Seminar “Racial Integration and its Challenges” in Melbourne on Sunday 9th August 2009)

RACE: TIME FOR A NEW BEGINNING

Distance, home and reflection

1) The opportunity to study abroad is gift. I remember my days as a student in Belfast so long ago. Now as then, overseas study gives us the chance to be educated at some of the finest, best established institutions of higher learning anywhere, and to be exposed to the best that has been thought and done, and to measure ourselves against the highest standards. It is an opportunity to see the world.

2) Travel and living abroad takes us far away from home, but in doing so it also brings us closer to ourselves, and closer to home. Have you experienced this? Have you felt time and distance making you more conscious of how unique and precious the places, relationships, colours, smells and yes, tastes, of home are? Distance can help us see things more clearly. Home is such an immediate, dense and total experience that we often need to go away to see its contours. Home is such an emotional experience that we often understand it better in the coolness of distance. We sometimes need the elevation of distance to see the map of our own country.

3) I want to use this privileged distance that we now share, here in Melbourne, to speak frankly with you today about a matter that is usually so tightly wound up, so emotional, that at a national level we have not been able to have a rational discussion about it.

4) I want to invite you to look across this distance at the map of the life in common that we call our country. I want to look across the distance of fifty two years of independence, across changes over my own lifetime, to understand where we have come from as a nation and where we are going. My topic is race and racial consciousness in Malaysian life, and especially in our politics.

Race in the political life of Malaysia

5) Our social and political life is racialised to a degree seen in few other countries in the world. There are historical reasons for this. Malaysia was, at its birth, a country deeply divided along communal lines. We negotiated and attained independence with a power-sharing arrangement between the leaders of the three major racial communities as represented by the Alliance coalition. The agreement and cooperation of these leaders ensured peace and stability while we modernised our economy. The skill and integrity of these leaders, and their clear authority among their own communities was key to the success of this model, which is sometimes described by political scientists as consociational democracy.

6) This arrangement lasted only twelve years. After the traumatic riots of May 1969, we underwent a period of rule under the National Operations Council before Parliament was restored. The New Economic Policy was drafted and put into action. A new coalition, the Barisan Nasional, was put together to ensure that every community had a place at the table. Once more, the idea was to resolve conflict within a consociational power-sharing arrangement. Each community was to have a place at the table. Conflicts were to be solved between the leaders of these communities, behind closed doors. This arrangement was useful and effective for its time, but we have to wake up to the fact that it no longer works.
It is important to understand why:

7) It was never meant to be a permanent solution. Our method of racial power-sharing is primarily a system for resolving conflict in a deeply divided society. It was designed as an interim work-around, an early stage on the way to “a more perfect union” and not as the desired end-state. Over the years, however, we have put up barricades around our system as if it were a fore-ordained and permanent ideal. In doing so, we have turned a half-way house into our destination, as if we must forever remain a racially divided and racially governed society.

8) Instead, our ideal must be to become a free and united society in which individuals can express their ethnic and religious identities without being imprisoned in them. We must aim for a society in which public reasoning and not backroom dealing determines our collective decisions.

9) The power-sharing model that we started life with is an elite style of government justified by the virtue and competence of natural leaders of their communities. It needs special conditions. It does not work when political parties are led by the ignorant and the corrupt who have no standing in the communities they claim to represent.

10) It needs genuine agreement and cooperation between leaders who command support in their own communities and are universally respected. It will not work if the power-sharing coalition is overly dominated by one person and the others are there as token representatives. Our founding fathers negotiated, cooperated and shared responsibility as equals and as friends within a power-sharing framework. The communal interests they represented were articulated within the overarching vision of a united Malaysia. In the intervening years, as power came to be concentrated in the Executive, we preserved only the outward appearance of power-sharing. In reality we have had top-down rule and power has become increasingly unaccountable. Each of our political parties has also become more top-down, ruled by eternal incumbents who protect their position with elaborate restrictions on contests. Umno itself has become beholden to the Executive.

11) Our decades under highly-centralised government undermined our power-sharing formula, just as it undermined key institutions such as the judiciary, the police and the rule of law. Our major institutions have survived in appearance while their substance has eroded. Seen in this light, the election results of March 8, which saw the Barisan Nasional handed its worst defeat since 1969, was just the beginning of the collapse of a structure which has long been hollowed out.

The end of the old, but not quite the new

12) The racial power-sharing model now practiced by Barisan is broken. It takes more honesty than we are used to in public life to observe that this is not a temporary but a terminal crisis. An old order is ending. Our problem is that while this past winds down, smoothly or otherwise, the future is not yet here. We are caught in between. Despite our having become a more economically advanced society, with many opportunities for our citizens to express richly plural identities, our races have become increasingly polarised. Large numbers of our electorate still vote along ethnic and religious lines. Much of our political ground is still racially demarcated. Although we have made some progress towards truly multiracial politics, both the Government and the Opposition are largely mobilised along racial lines. It is not yet time to herald a new dawn. Instead, we are in a transition full of perils and possibilities.

13) You are this generation caught between. You are the generation of transition. You will play a key role in determining its outcome. However well a certain kind of politics of racial identity may have served to reduce conflict in the past, it has come to the end of its useful life. We need a new beginning to racial relations in Malaysia, and you must pioneer that beginning. We need to re-design race relations in Malaysia, and you must be the architects and builders of that design.

14) In coming to that new design I hope you take advantage of the perspective of distance that your overseas education has given you to not take as your starting point the tired answers that are passed on as conventional wisdom. You must reformulate the questions and come up with your own answers. When it is clear that one generation may have run out of steam, it is time to generate your own. Where do you begin? May I suggest some perspectives and principles. Whatever the answers we come up with, I think the following elements are important:

I. Begin with our common humanity. Respect our common humanity must override all lesser affiliations, including race. One of Islam’s most powerful contributions to human civilisation has been its insistence on the equality of all human beings. Islam tolerates no notions of racial superiority or inferiority. All human beings are equal before God. That same principle of equality is absolutely fundamental to democracy, and democracy is a foundational principle of our Constitution. Democracy is part of what makes us who we are as a nation. Even if we might still gravitate towards racial groupings, our allegiance to these groups must never overshadow our allegiance to the Constitution, and to the claims of equal dignity that it establishes firmly and permanently. Political parties based on race or religion must never be allowed to do or say anything contrary to justice and equality.

II. We must anchor ourselves in the Constitution and restore its primacy. This founding document of our country establishes definitively the equality of citizenship that is the bedrock of democracy. It gives us the framework of law and order within which we become a nation. It establishes the primacy of the rule of law, the sovereignty of Parliament, the independence of the judiciary and civil service and of our law enforcement agencies. These are the institutions which guarantee the freedom and sovereignty of the people.

III. We should acknowledge that while race is a category that unites people in common feeling, it can also divide, and divide disastrously. While it unites people who possess a set of social markers it often divides the same people from other communities. We should appreciate not just the fact that we are diverse but diverse in different ways. What I mean by this is that we are not diverse in the sense of being merely Malay, a Chinese, an Indian, a Kadazan, Iban and so forth. Each of us inhabits these particular identities in different ways. Each of us is not just a member of a race. There are other classifications which matter to us, such as location, class, social status, occupation, language, politics and others.

We would be terribly impoverished as persons if our identity was given ahead of time and once and for all merely by our membership of a fixed racial category. I would be a very dull person if you could tell who I was simply by looking up my race. We would never have unity if that is primarily how we regard one another. If you reflect on yourselves, you might find that all kinds of identity matter to you: that you are a graduate of such and such a university, that you speak these languages, support this football team, enjoy certain food or music, love to travel, can write computer code, have read such and such books, and have so-and-so as friends. Just reflect on how you identify yourselves in your facebook profiles. Is race the only thing you regard as important about yourselves? Is it the most important thing???

To expect our politics to be given by our race is to make cardboard images of ourselves, it is to retard our growth as individuals and hence as a society. Similarly to see no more of others than their race is to turn them into stereotypes and maintain a view of the world bordering on racist. I want to urge you, as the makers of the new social landscape we need in Malaysia, to reject taking race to be a unique and fixed categorisation, to reject race as a central category of social and political life.

a) Race is a constructed category, in the sense that people shape what they count as a “race” according to time, place and purpose. There is no unique and rigid concept of it the way there is a rigid concept of buoyancy, double-entry book-keeping, equilateral triangles and photosynthesis. I would be offended if you tried to measure and determine my racial identity, and it would tell me that there was something deeply wrong with your worldview. I am not Malay in the sense in which water is H2O.

b) Race is merely one among many identities we take up in life. We may not have much choice over how others categorise us, but we certainly have a choice about the relative importance to place on our own and therefore on the others’ racial identity. We have a choice in how much weight we put on it, and in how high in our scheme of values we put it. The contrast I want to draw is between the view that makes race out to be a unique and fundamental category, and a view that sees race as one out of many kinds of identification we could prioritise. If we see race as a watertight category, then you are either of race X or not, and everything else: your habits, thought-patterns, loyalties and politics must all follow from that. Then race becomes destiny. The politics of this kind of conception of race will always divide, and the ultimate solution to intra-racial problems it leads us to is, in the end, violence. It is easy to identify the practitioners of this kind of racial politics. They will rely on veiled threats of communal violence even as they take part in democratic politics.

However, if we understand that racial identity is just one of many identities we have to balance, then it becomes our duty as thinking persons to set relative priorities on all these identifications. We need to ask ourselves whether we want to draw our moral values and perspective from our common humanity or from our racial identity. As educated, reasoning people, we cannot but find our common humanity the more fundamental value. We cannot but find rationally chosen universal values more important than inherited tribal affiliations.

c) The ability to root ourselves in our common humanity first and foremost is the prerequisite for the development of a democratic society in which policies are decided by public reasoning rather than determined by violence and manipulation. This is because open public reasoning can only be carried out where there is equal respect for the dignity and rights of all citizens, and such respect must be firmly rooted in an understanding that despite sometimes clashing interests and identities, we are united by a more fundamental common identity: that of a shared humanity created by God. Our common humanity gives us moral obligations to one another, regardless of our lesser affiliations in a way that racial identity does not.?

IV. We need to arrive at new ways of mediating conflicting claims between the races, new ways of bringing people to the table, of including everyone in the decisionmaking process.

V. These new ways must be based on more open conceptions of who we are. Malaysia’s major races have lived together not just for decades but for centuries. Their cultures have interacted for millenia. In that time there has been mutual influence, admixture and cross-pollination at a depth and on a scale that our politics, popular culture and educational curriculum has largely pretended does not exist.

In my own parliamentary constituency, jungle covered, far inland and one of the most remote in the peninsula (it used to be known as Ulu Kelantan and covered half the state, and when I started there I had to travel to it by boat), is a six hundred year old Chinese community, perhaps the oldest in the peninsula, living in peace with their Malay and Orang Asli neighbours. Why pretend that we do not owe so much to each other that we would not be ourselves without each other? At the level at which people actually live we are already inextricably linked to each other.

It is time to embrace this real diversity in our political and personal lives. Our racial identities are not silos in a cornfield, forever separate, encased in steel, but trees in our rainforest: standing distinct but inexplicable without each other and constantly co-evolving.

16) While giving room to whoever wants to organise and advocate political interests according to our ethnic and religious affinities, we must now, very firmly, assert that such affinities must always recognise the priority and primacy of our common citizenship, our equal dignity, and above all, our common humanity before each other and before God. First we are human beings who are open to one another.

17) My young friends, I am not recommending anything novel. These are cardinal principle of our Constitution and the faiths we profess, most especially of Islam, and of reason itself. Let us have the sense of perspective to see our ethnic identities against these cornerstone principles of religion and ethics, and let us now educate our young, apprentice our youth, and conduct ourselves according to these principles. And then let us have a new beginning for Malaysia.

Language switch: Gov't bars parents-teachers meet

Guan Eng washes his hands off Buah Pala after residents reject homes

GEORGETOWN, Aug 8 – Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today he would have no further meetings with the residents of Kampung Buah Pala after they rejected an offer of a double-storey terrace house for each family.

He said the demand by residents for compensation of RM3.5 million each instead of the double-storey house negotiated by the states was unacceptable.

“Perhaps the residents should ask around to see if Penangites would support their demand.

“We understand their predicament but there is only so much the government can do to help them,” he said today.

The Kampung Buah Pala issue has dogged Lim’s administration in recent weeks after the issue was turned into a racial dispute with Hindraf leaders accusing the state of helping to destroy what they claim was an Indian heritage area.

The controversy took a farcical turn with Hindraf recently saying it had made an appeal to Unesco to revoke Georgetown’s heritage city status for allowing Kampung Buah Pala – a settlement of cowherds – to be destroyed.

Kampong Buah Pala sits on former plantation land which the former colonial owners had given in trust to its former workers to live on when they left the state.

The British colonial government acted as trustees, but the land was signed away back to the state during independence, and the descendents of the original settlers had been allowed to stay on what had become temporary occupational license (TOL) land.

During the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration, the land was sold, and the current owners won a court decision recently to evict the villagers in order to develop high-rise apartments.

Lim said today that he believed the Penang public was angry at the latest development in the controversy since the villagers had rejected the offer from the developer.

“Don’t forget we’re trying to offer you a house.

“Now we even have people from Selangor speaking on behalf of the residents. Maybe they can fight for them and demand for a RM3.5mil house.

“Those outsiders, they have their own houses to go back to. Even some of the residents’ association members have other houses,” he said.

Commenting on the residents’ reasons for not accepting the offer, he explained that they appeared to be unhappy with a clause inserted in the proposed agreement which was meant to protect the rights of the developer.

The clause in question states that the agreement would be null and void if it could not obtain the state government’s approval to build the houses.

“If they want to build and the state government does not allow, they will then be sued by the residents.

“Do you think we will reject or revoke building plans for the 24 houses when we are the ones who found the formula to resolve the issue?” he said.

The racist Malaysian exposed

Image

Do not hope for the Malays to even start discussing the termination of the NEP when the Chinese maintain their very pompous and arrogant attitude: The Malays are not good enough to succeed and if they do then it can only be because of the NEP and for no other reason.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

written by sydput, August 08, 2009 10:16:42
You still need to be a bumi to participate in government tenders, or have a Ministry of finance bumi company license.
In RPK's case, ISUZU Malaysia distributor does not have one, and needed RPK to act as a broker/agent for this particular case.
So RPK still benefit from having NEP, NO?
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written by The dragonheart, August 08, 2009 08:17:50
If YM RPK is not a Malay, I don't think he will be shortlisted on the first place. And I don't think the short ABIM man would stand up to divide the cake if YM RPK is not a Malay and a Muslim. Suppose if all the fishermen were not Malays, I don't think YM RPK would won the dirty game. This is my two cent thinking... sorry to offend anyone.
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written by KotaDamansara73, August 08, 2009 01:41:46
I don't see any justice in the tender at all. I still see NEP at work because ABIM guy decide that it should be shared. Instead of evaluating the engines, they just blindly let you play dirty and bribe the fisherman to sabotage UMW.

IN my perception, you have cooperated with ABIM to sabotage UMW. If it is trully justified, the more reliable and better engine should be used. And it should be evaluated properly. Not just let the fisherman support one engine over the other because the fisherman are Malays who sided with RPK who is also a Malay. So the fisherman is more than willing to sabotage UMW engines.

If the Chinese were to ask the Malay fisherman to sabotage a Malay company engine, then I think they would reluctant to do it, unless they hate the Malay company so much.

Telling the Stupid Malaysians, that sabotaging your rival business is a justified way to do business is a sign of a very unprogressive mindset which is typical among the Malays.
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written by chebella, August 08, 2009 01:12:07
i think that abim guy insist that u get 50% of the contract because u r a Malay la
giving 100% to UMW who is owned by a chinese fella is not acceptable to him
i thot that is NEP in action
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written by anban, August 07, 2009 21:24:43
Hi pete, i beg to differ...if there is not NEP, you may not have been shortlisted for the 15million contract at the first place right. there may be a good chance it might have gone to a chinese company.

i am not saying i am a pro NEP as NEP today just provides the Malays with fish but it doesnt teach them how to catch the fishes. a new NEP should be targeted to the poor of all races and should be designed in such a way to train them to be competitive
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Above are some of the comments to my article, Why I don’t need the NEP. I assume from the way these comments were made the person/persons involved are non-Malays. These responses show that the non-Malays look down on the Malays and do not believe that there could probably be at least one Malay who can take on the Chinese businessmen and beat them at their own dirty game, sabotage included.

You can also see that these comments are made based on prejudices and assumptions without really understanding how the system works.

“Of course you succeeded. That is because you are Malay.”

“If you are not Malay they would not have given you the job.”

“I don’t believe you could have done it if not for the fact that you are Malay.”

I suppose I could rephrase all these comments and put it in another way.

“No way Malays can be as clever as Chinese. If a Malay beats a Chinese in business then it can only be because he was given priority and not because he was sharper than that Chinese businessman.”

As much as the Chinese may lament about the unfair treatment they receive at the hands of the Malays, as much as the Chinese may feel that the New Economic Policy is discriminatory, the Chinese themselves are not able to demonstrate that they can accept Malays as equals in the field of business.

Comments such as the above only serve to prove to the Malays that they need the NEP even more so now that before. It appears like the Chinese feel that Malays do not deserve to succeed. Do not hope for fair treatment and respect from the Chinese. Even if you can prove that you are equal in skill to the Chinese and can match them on a level playing field they will still dig up the turf to look for evidence that the playing field just can’t be level if the Malay managed to beat the Chinese at their own game.

Malays would like to look for comfort in the possibility that it may not be dangerous to remove the NEP after all and try their hand at doing business without any handicaps thrown in. But most Malays do not feel that this is possible. If the NEP were ever to be removed the Chinese would walk all over the Malays and bury them alive. It is just that the Chinese feel the Malays do not deserve to succeed. So the only way the Malays are going to succeed would be if they got government assistance through the NEP.

Actually, the NEP is still there only partly because of Umno’s manipulation. The other reason it is still there is because the Chinese have demonstrated that they look down on the Malays and without the NEP the Chinese would have smashed the Malays to smithereens.

If the Chinese want to see the end of the NEP then some effort needs to come from the Chinese as well. Do not hope for the Malays to even start discussing the termination of the NEP when the Chinese maintain their very pompous and arrogant attitude: The Malays are not good enough to succeed and if they do then it can only be because of the NEP and for no other reason.

The Chinese want to see equality in Malaysia so long as they do not have to also take the Malays as equals. It is something the Chinese want to receive without having to reciprocate. I just do not know how such a thing is going to work.

Gunasegaran ‘death in police custody’ case : 2nd post mortem fund in place

By Haris Ibrahim

To those of you who sent in contributions, thank you.

The sum of RM3,000 required has been attained, with some to spare.

Those who said they would be sending in but have not done so, please do not send in your contributions as I do not want to carry the excess funds.

Once the post mortem has been carried out, I will revert to you on the exact amount of excess in hand and seek your permission to hand over the same to the family of Gunasegaran.

Again, thank you.

MIC Elections 2009: For MIC, a no-holds-barred campaign for party’s future

By Baradan Kuppusamy, themalaysianinsider.com

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 8 — An open, bitter and desperate battle has erupted between supporters of MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu and his arch rival Datuk S. Subramaniam, who is contesting the deputy presidency in the Sept 12 party elections against Samy Vellu's nominee, incumbent deputy president Datuk G. Palanivel.

The war is being fought between supporters of Samy Vellu led by his son Vel Paari and supporters of Subramaniam led by millionaire businessman and philanthropist Oms Thiagarajan and others in Subramaniam's camp.

The battle, which started last week, is being waged in the pages of the rival Tamil dailies — Samy Vellu’s Tamil Nesan and Subramanian’s Makkal Osai.

The circulation of both dailies has jumped dramatically and readers are having a field day enjoying the juicy revelations of one side against the other.

A lot is being revealed — secret meetings at the PJ Hilton, the death of a young woman lawyer who was a close friend of K. Sujatha, the woman romantically linked with Paari who died after drinking weedkiller.

Plots, sex, murder and mayhem — everything is being freely alleged without caution to legal suits by the rivals camps against each other.

Yesterday, Subramaniam broke his silence by saying that if the mud slinging continued he “would be forced to retaliate”.

Palanivel is keeping a stony silence

At the core of the muckraking is political desperation, MIC insiders said.

For the first time in his 30-year hold on the MIC, Samy Vellu is unsure whether the MIC election results will play out the way he has written it.

“His grip on the party has weakened after March 8, after he lost Sungei Siput and after he lost the Works Ministry he lost the golden pot,” said a former MIC vice-president. “They (Samy and his camp) are desperate… they feel they are losing control and that the election is slipping away.

“You can see their desperation in the way the MIC campaign has turned out — people who criticise Samy Vellu or go against the written script are disciplined, threatened and issued with show-cause letters of expulsion,” the MIC leader said.

“Sometimes disciplinary letters are hand delivered within 24 hours of the alleged offence,” the MIC leader said, citing the case of Kelana Jaya MIC division vice-chairman P. Subramaniam who announced he was contesting as vice-president on Thursday.

He was issued a show-cause letter for alleged tarnishing the party image for saying “we need wise men, not yes-men” in the MIC.

The newspaper war first started when Paari fired the first salvo in the Tamil Nesan on Aug 28 by accusing Subramaniam of being a liar and traitor for taking an injunction (in 2006) to stop Maika Holdings from selling its profitable insurance arm to pay off shareholders.

Paari gave a lengthy full-page explanation arguing that he had a buyer and was able to pay RM1.75 per share until Subramaniam, out of personal avarice, scuttled the whole affair.

While Subramaniam maintained a studied silence over the accusation, his people and others retaliated by saying that Maika was ruined by Samy Vellu and his son and not by Subramaniam or the Subra-controlled Nesa Cooperative that applied for the injunction, which is still in force.

In fact they saved Maika Holdings, they claim.

In another article, Paari fingered Oms Thiagarajan, alleging the Klang-based millionaire had secretly met him at the PJ Hilton and begged him to intervene with his father to "save" Subramaniam and "ditch" Palanivel.

Paari also alleged that Thiagarajan had paid the wages of about RM5,000 a month for P. Selvarani, the lawyer who before her death was working at the legal firm owned by Hindraf founder P. Uthayakumar.

Paari alleged that Thiagarajan "cried "uncontrollably on hearing Selvarani had died and in the process dragged Kapar MP S. Manikavasagam into the controversy, alleging that the PKR MP had begged him to settle "some matters" he had with the police.

Thiagarajan shot back in Subramaniam's Makkal Osai by admitting he had paid Selvarani's wages but denied other allegations like he was the man behind a campaign by Manikavasagam to discredit Paari over Sujatha’s death.

Manikavasagam also waded into the controversy by rubbishing Paari’s claim that he had begged him for help. He also lodged a police report.

Selvarani fell to her death in June 2008 from her 17th-floor apartment in Bukit OUG. She was only 29 and was due the next week to take up a posting with the UN.

Police classified the case as sudden death but in his articles Paari speculated whether somebody could have pushed her down.

The upshot of the week-long muckraking, MIC insiders said, is the fact that Samy Vellu’s campaign is not going as smoothly this time as before.

Samy Vellu has put up his line-up called the “president’s team” and is touring the country to drum up support. Numerous candidates left out are entering the field to oppose his team, including his blue-eyed boy Datuk S. Sothinathan who is contesting for deputy president.

“The rank-and-file mood is ugly against the president’s team,” MIC insiders said, adding various different strands in the MIC have come together to support Subramaniam’s candidature and his upcoming line-up.

The mudslinging, they said, is to be seen in this context.

Thiagarajan was openly using his money, influence and nationwide network to drum up support for Subramaniam, party insiders said, adding this was the reason why he was attacked by Paari in the Tamil Nesan.

“He is a credible person because he financially supports numerous charities, Tamil schools and Tamil organisations,” said Klang businessman and MIC branch chairman K.P. Samy.

“I think his campaign for Subra was effective and that’s why they picked on him… they want to damage his credibility,” Samy told The Malaysian Insider.

The heated campaign and muckraking have just started and are set to get worst ahead of nomination on Aug 22.

Both sides are planning a huge gathering of their respective supporters on that day to show their clout.

Convenience stores to practice self regulation on alcoholic drinks

SHAH ALAM: Convenience stores in Shah Alam will practice self-regulation in the sale of alcoholic drinks to respect the sensitivities of the Muslim community on the issue.

The self-regulation approach was reached in a meeting between Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) officials and Shah Alam convenience store operators at the state secretary building here today.

The self-regulation approach includes no display of alcoholic drinks while the purchase of the drinks will only be made upon request at the cashier counters. The self-regulation approach is in addition to the existing regulations which bar the sale of alcoholic drink to Muslims and those under the age of 18.

This approach will be closely monitored and studied in the next month before a standard formula is drafted for the rest of the state.

“This is the best solution for the state in addressing the issue at hand. We believe this approach can curb social ills caused by abuse of alcohol and will deter students and young people from purchasing alcoholic drinks,” said Tan Sri Abdul Khalid.

He called all parties to respect the solution reached today and urged those who politicize the issue to stop creating confusions among the multi-racial society in Selangor.

“The state government understands the fear of the abuse of alcohol and social ills caused by the abuse and addiction of alcohol. We believe that it can be curbed by proper education and this can be effectively done if all stakeholders – the residents, State Governments and its agencies, the business community and civil society – play their respective roles and responsibilities effectively. These bodies could also take on the role of the rehabilitation of alcoholics, and to curb the effects of alcohol abuse on domestic violence, the real victims of alcoholism.”

This is why, he added, the state favours the self-regulation approach instead of imposing more rules and regulations that may not be effective and counter-productive.

The Menteri Besar also thanked the convenience store operators – including 7-Eleven, KK Supermart and 99 Speedmart – who attended the meeting today for their commitment in carrying out the approach.

In the meeting, all store operators said that they have been sensitive to the plight of the locals on the issue. To date, 7-Eleven has stopped the sale of alcoholic drinks in 10 out of their 17 outlets in Shah Alam beginning August 5, 2009.

PRESS SECRETARIAT
OFFICE OF DATO’ MENTERI BESAR SELANGOR

BetterMalaysia.com!! August 16th!!

by Nathaniel Tan

It’s finally (about) done!!

A team of people have worked *really* hard to put this entire project together. Please visit bettermalaysia.com and show up, August 16th!!! Also: our Facebook Page :)

Best Teachers To Teach English From 2012, Says Muhyiddin

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 8 (Bernama) -- Starting 2012, not only will the English language hours in schools be extended but the best teachers will be teaching the subject, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Saturday.

"Our students will then have experience to communicate with English native teachers and we hope that this will further improve their command of the language," Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, said in his speech at the RHB-New Straits Times Spell-it-Right National Challenge competition here.

His speech was delivered by Deputy Education Minister Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi.

"We can no longer ignore the importance of English as a factor in lending quality to our education system.

"Proficiency in English will give us a greater competitive advantage in our quest to become a major trading nation, and the time has now come to make the difference," he said.

Touching on the competition, he said it complemented the effort to promote the English language and he hoped that the teachers would incorporate spelling contests into their academic and extra-curricular calendars, which would raise the bar on language acquisition and set higher proficiency standards across the country.

"Our students will then have experience to communicate with English native teachers and we hope that this will further improve their command of the language," Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, said in his speech at the RHB-New Straits Times Spell-it-Right National Challenge competition here.

His speech was delivered by Deputy Education Minister Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi.

"We can no longer ignore the importance of English as a factor in lending quality to our education system.

"Proficiency in English will give us a greater competitive advantage in our quest to become a major trading nation, and the time has now come to make the difference," he said.

Touching on the competition, he said it complemented the effort to promote the English language and he hoped that the teachers would incorporate spelling contests into their academic and extra-curricular calendars, which would raise the bar on language acquisition and set higher proficiency standards across the country.