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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Egyptian woman protest ban on austere veil

CAIRO, Egypt (CNN) -- There's more to wearing the "niqab" -- the austere, all-covering veil favored by ultra-religious Muslim women -- than meets the eye.

Cairo University students wearing niqab stand outside a university dormitory on Oct. 7 unable to enter due to the new rules preventing admission to niqab wearers.

Cairo University students wearing niqab stand outside a university dormitory on Oct. 7 unable to enter due to the new rules preventing admission to niqab wearers.

A recent declaration by a leading Egyptian cleric that women will not be allowed to wear the niqab in university areas frequented only by women has sparked demonstrations by female students in Cairo determined to wear the all-encompassing veil wherever they go.

Egypt's Al-Azhar university, the highest seat of Sunni Islam, recently convened an all-male committee to rule on what women can wear at Egypt's public universities.

The Shaikh of Al-Azhar, Shaikh Tantawi, announced after the meeting that a ban on the niqab, also known as the burqa, would apply to such university areas as female dormitories and all-women classes.

Even though that was a step down from a statement he made earlier that the niqab would be banned in all public universities, his ruling sparked controversy with the growing number of women in the country who choose to stay covered.

The initiative from Al-Azhar is seen by many in Egypt as an attempt to counter the growing appeal of the strictest interpretations of Islam. An increasing number of young women in Egypt are turning to the niqab.

The niqab is worn by many Muslim women throughout the Arab world and beyond and is most common in the countries of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. It is also commonly worn in Pakistan.

"The niqab should be worn under two circumstances," a cleaning lady who works at Al-Azhar, told CNN recently. "A very beautiful woman should wear it to prevent men from fighting over her, and an ugly woman should wear it to hide her face."

There is no consensus among Muslim scholars regarding the wearing of the niqab, the piece of cloth that covers a Muslim woman's face. Women who wear it usually also cover their hands.

It is widely believed to be a tradition that comes from the Arabian peninsula, introduced to more liberal countries like Egypt by people who have lived and worked in ultra-conservative countries like Saudi Arabia.

There's not much about it in the Koran, Muslim's holy book.

The Koranic verse that applies to female head covering translates loosely as: "O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks all over their bodies."

And so consequently, there are plenty of interpretations. And all sorts of opinions in the Egyptian parliament.

The opposition-led Muslim Brotherhood opposes the niqab ban.

"It's unacceptable that the niqab is treated as something bad that needs to be suppressed," Brotherhood member of parliament Muhamed Baltagi told CNN. "It's unacceptable to violate private matters in this way." In Baltagi's opinion, it's a matter of personal choice and should not be dictated by the shaikh of Al-Azhar.

Appointed by the president of Egypt, the shaikh of Al-Azhar is viewed as little more than an appendage of the authoritarian Egyptian government, and thus scorned as a state puppet by both religious and secular critics of the regime. Since the 1960s the shaikh of Al-Azhar has been appointed by the Egyptian president.

In Europe, wearing the niqab has become a controversial issue too. Recently, French President Nicolas Sarkozy banned it from French classrooms. And British Justice Minister Jack Straw also recently asked women to remove them in his consituency office.

In Cairo's main shopping district, the message on the niqab is decidedly mixed. The few niqabs on display are vastly outnumbered by far more risque outfits, including no shortage of mannequins sporting evening dressings with plunging necklines and naked arms.

There are a few niqabs on display, but lots of less conservative clothing is on the shelves too.

Outside Cairo University, some women go without any head covering at all. Most wear headscarves -- usually quite colorful ones.

Those who choose to wear the niqab say the religious scholars should have asked a woman what she thought of the ban first.

"He should have taken at least one woman's opinion," said student Muna Abdel Fatah. "Because the decision will impact on her."

Umno amendments to wipe out money politics

By Sharon Tan,The Edge

KUALA LUMPUR: Amendments to Umno’s constitution will wipe out money politics in the party, said Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“The amendments could abolish money politics because the numbers that can vote will be too huge to be influenced by anyone. Even if there is an attempt to do so, it would be easily detected,” said the prime minister, adding that the huge numbers would make detection easy.

This was what he told the Umno delegates yesterday at a presidential briefing for the Umno delegates attending the party’s general assembly, in which he explained the philosophy behind the amendments.

Speaking to reporters later, Najib said through the amendments, the party could control the actions of the members.

According to him, the amendments would also be inclusive and emphasise the role of women and the youth.

“We make it easier for people to join Umno and participate in the decision-making process,” said Najib.

Asked if the amendments would lead to frequent changes in leadership, he said that would depend on the members.

“If the leadership is good and effective and is acceptable to the people, then the position surely can be defended. But we must realise that our accountability as a leader is more now with the amendments. If we don’t show good performance, then we open ourselves to be challenged,” said Najib.

It has been speculated that the amendments could include enlarging the number of delegates and those eligible to vote in the leadership selection process. Currently, only about 2,500 central delegates get to determine the party leadership.

The amendments may also abolish the quota system whereby potential candidates for top party posts must attain a certain number of nominations from the divisions before they are eligible to contest.

On whether he would be able to overcome the resistance from those who wanted to keep the old system, Najib said the delegates seemed to accept the explanation well.

Najib also touched on the current political landscape and the challenges faced by Umno.

“What is important is that Umno must be willing to change for the better whether it is in terms of unity, culture, attitude, thinking and actions,” he said, adding that the unity and cooperation could bring big successes such as in the Bagan Pinang by-election.

He said the work done in Bagan Pinang should be a example or an awakening for the members. He also urged them to work hard in implementing various programmes.

His other key messages include the party’s awareness of its critical stage after the general action last year. “But we have shown that if we are united and plan well, coupled with earnestness, Umno is still a brand that is accepted by the people as proven in the big win in Bagan Pinang.”

This was more than nine years ago


I wrote the piece below soon after the Sanggang by-election on 1 April 2000 (April Fool’s Day). The purpose of the piece, which was published in Harakah, the PAS party newspaper, was to bring to the opposition’s attention that all is not well and unless something is done about it the future would look very bleak for the opposition coalition.


Raja Petra Kamarudin


Raja Petra Kamarudin

I was so sure PAS would win the Sanggang by-election that I thought it unnecessary for my presence in a town I had never even heard of until the death of the incumbent State Assemblyman. Not that my presence would have made any difference, mind you. Pahang was, after all, next on the list of victories for the Barisan Alternatif opposition coalition.

The reports I received from the ground were that it was a sure victory for PAS. The support for PAS was overwhelming. The PAS supporters were everywhere that whatever little supporters Barisan Nasional had, if there were any at all, were swamped by the sheer number of PAS supporters. The Barisan Nasional supporters had probably all left town in a hurry realising that it was futile to resist the PAS onslaught.

When the results came in, not only did Barisan Nasional win, but they also managed to increase their majority from the last time around. And it was not that long ago since the last round (just four months since the 10th General Election to be exact).

I was told that PAS was actually ahead up until the night before Polling Day. On the morning of Polling Day it suddenly turned. Why?

No doubt the impression created was that the support for PAS was overwhelming. But what ‘support’ are we talking about? Support from the crowd or support from the voters? In this case the crowd did not represent the voters.

As what the Prime Minister (then), Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said: there were so many out-of-town PAS supporters that, for the first time in the history of the town, there were massive traffic jams four kilometres long. But these were not locals and they would not be voting in the by-election.

This has always been the mistake of the opposition; be it PAS, DAP, keADILan or PRM. Anything the opposition parties do seem to attract crowds. But the crowd comprises of out-of-towners, people who would not be voting in that constituency, fence-sitters, curious people who just want to see what the hell was going on, people who just love crowds; be it a traffic accident, a fun fair, or a political rally; UMNO supporters who also enjoy opposition ceramahs for its entertainment value, UMNO supporters who want to hear what the opposition has to say so that they can counter the statements later, and so on and so forth.

In short, the majority of the crowd would either not be voting or would not vote for the opposition. The actual voters who were there to be swayed were in the minority.

The opposition always experiences this and it always fools them. We have said this before and we will say it again, “crowds do not translate into votes” -- and it is time the opposition learnt this lesson.

The opposition experienced this in 1982 and 1986, and before that in 1978. Their ceramahs never failed to attract the crowds but it did not attract the votes. The opposition needs to change its perspective of what ‘success’ is all about.

The opposition has proven it knows how to ceramah. But it has yet to prove it knows how to rule. The opposition has proven it knows what justice means. It has not yet shown it knows how to dish out justice. The opposition has proven it knows what a government should not do. It has not yet shown it can be a better government. The opposition has proven it is against corruption. It has not shown it has the formula for a better and corrupt-free government. The opposition has proven that the government’s economic policies do not work. It has not yet shown it can manage the economy better.

And the list goes on.

The opposition may feel it has all the answers. It may even actually have all the answers. But only the opposition knows this. The voters do not. The opposition may blame the mainstream media for this. They may accuse the mainstream media of being one-sided for not highlighting the good things the opposition has to say while playing up the negative issues. The opposition may even accuse the mainstream media of distorting the truth or of downright lying. But what has the opposition done to overcome this?

The opposition has plenty of opportunities to present its side of the story to the voters. There is Harakah, Suara PRM, Berita keADILan, the Rocket, and the many ceramahs conducted all year long the length and breadth of this country. But what ‘news’ does the opposition bring to the people? More of the same thing -- and this means more government-bashing, UMNO-bashing, and Mahathir-bashing.

The people know all about the excesses and transgressions of the government. They know about the corruption and abuse of power. They agree that there is no freedom of speech in this country. They agree that Malaysia is a dictatorship. In short, they know there are so many things wrong with this country. But what they do not know is how is the opposition going to put this right?

Parti Keadilan Nasional was received with great expectations the day it was launched on 4 April 1999. Finally there is a party that is genuinely multi-racial and multi-religious. But then, when they look closer, keADILan appears more and more like just another Malay party. Where are the non-Malays and non-Muslims? What they see is a handful of non-Malays or non-Muslims who could not legitimately claim to represent the other races and other religions.

That was when the non-Malays/non-Muslims decided that Malaysia was not yet ready for a fully-fledged multi-racial/multi-religious party and, until it is, they would continue to throw their support behind Barisan Nasional, which at least had the appearance of representing all the races and religions in this country.

Can you blame the voters for this? Barisan Nasional is a legally-registered party while Barisan Alternatif is but a mere ‘understanding’ that does not have a legal leg to stand on. Why, BA does not even have its own symbol and each party has to contest under its own symbol. How can you expect a non-Muslim Chinese to trust PAS overnight after distrusting the party for more than 50 years? How could a Malay now vote for DAP after considering that party an enemy of the Malays whose only mission in life is to ‘rob the Malays of their God-given rights and privileges’? And keADILan is perceived as nothing more than a party to free Anwar Ibrahim from jail. The question is: what would happen to the party after Anwar has been freed? Would the party then close down and all the members rejoin UMNO the way of Semangat 46?

There are too many old wounds and distrusts that cannot disappear overnight just because Lim Kit Siang and Fadzil Noor shook hands in public. More needs to be done before the ‘extreme’ Islamic party and ‘chauvinist’ Chinese party can be seen as united. And it will have to start with a legally registered party and common symbol.

But legally registered parties and symbols are just eyewashes. Parties can break up and parties can leave the coalition. This has happened before and it can easily happen again. How can Barisan Alternatif prove that it is a marriage of ‘till death do us part’? In today’s modern world, the divorce rate is extremely high and marriages that last seem to be an exception rather than the rule.

The main test in winning the voters’ confidence is in how the opposition can prove it can rule better than the present government. It is a sort of Catch 22. The opposition is not being allowed to rule because it has not proven it can do the job. But it cannot prove it can do the job until it is first given the chance to rule.

This is where Kelantan and Terengganu come in. Barisan Alternatif is already ruling in these two states. It, therefore, has to show that Barisan Alternatif, and not just PAS, is ruling these states. If it appears like PAS is in total control of Kelantan and Terengganu and the rest of the Barisan Alternatif members are not playing any significant role in government, this will not impress the voters. If only PAS is in power then, at best, Barisan Alternatif can just be a regional government -- never the federal government.

PAS needs to sacrifice some ground in Kelantan and Terengganu to show that keADILan, DAP and PRM are partners in these two state governments. PAS needs to present the governments of these two states as Barisan Alternatif governments and not just PAS governments. PAS needs to show that the success in governing these two states is Barisan Alternatif’s success and not just PAS’s success.

I know it’s not easy. PAS practically monopolises Kelantan and Terengganu. It also has 27 of the 42 Barisan Alternatif parliamentary seats. But PAS has to look at the bigger picture. It needs to downplay itself to play-up the role of Barisan Alternatif. It needs to show that keADILan, DAP and PRM are equally in the driver’s seat and not mere passengers. PAS needs to do this to ensure that the Barisan Alternatif has a better chance at forming the next federal government and not remain a mere regional government.

The Shadow Cabinet has already been set up and Barisan Alternatif has already formed many bureaus that will ‘shadow’ the government ministries. But the bureaus have yet to show their mettle. The bureaus have yet to show they can do the job they have been set up to do. The bureaus may sound good. But is this all they are going to be? Sounding good without producing results?

The bureaus will need to be developed and it will take time to bring them to maturity. They will actually have to function as a shadow government or government-in-waiting without the advantage of the government machinery. It is going to be a colossal job for Barisan Alternatif but it is something that needs to be done. Not doing so would mean that Barisan Alternatif would never progress beyond Terengganu and Kelantan. And that is if they do not end up losing the two states back to Barisan Nasional.

PAS has to decide what its political platform is. Is it to Islamise the nation or to form the next federal government? It cannot be both as there are not enough Muslims in the country to support an Islamic program. This may sound blasphemous but that is the reality of Malaysian politics. If the Malays-Muslims formed 80% or 90% of the population, then maybe it would be possible.

Take note though, many of the Malays-Muslims themselves do not support an Islamic program. Many Malay-Muslim women do not support the tudung ruling. If the Malays-Muslims themselves resist Islam, what would you expect from the non-Malays/non-Muslims?

The opposition needs an immediate image overhaul. It can no longer get support based on sympathy. People are immune to the issues of kezaliman, rasuah, penyelewengan, and so on. The opposition cannot hope to win by default. It needs to get support for what it is, not for what the Barisan Nasional is not. The opposition needs the voters to vote for it not because they hate the government, but because they love the opposition.

Sanggang was good for the opposition. It showed the opposition what the voters really thought of it. It was the opposition’s wake-up call. But will it wake up?

PS: After I wrote the above, PAS launched the ISD (Islamic State Document), DAP left the coalition in disgust, and BA got slaughtered in the 2004 general election.

Teoh was not allowed to leave, MACC man admits

By Neville Spykerman - The Malaysian Insider

SHAH ALAM, Oct 14 — Selangor MACC deputy director Hishamuddin Hashim told the coroner’s court here today that witnesses called for questioning, including Teoh Beng Hock, were not allowed to leave any interview without the investigating officer’s consent.

He said that while witnesses were not under arrest, they were also not free to leave the interviews.

Hishamuddin, who had been implicated in a “mystery letter” alleging political collusion in investigating the Pakatan Rakyat state government, also denied that he had been in his office the same day Teoh was found dead.

Teoh, the 30-year-old political secretary to state executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah, was mysteriously found dead on a 5th-floor landing outside the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s Selangor office at Plaza Masalam here on July 16, after being questioned overnight into claims his boss abused state money.

His family and employer claim foul play was involved.

Hishamuddin told the court today that he had worked until 2am the night Teoh was being questioned, and had decided to stay on until 5.45am when he left the office.

He denied testimony provided by another MACC officer earlier that he had been seen in the office on the morning of July 16, around the time Teoh is said to have died.

Senior assistant enforcer, Raymond Nion John Timban, said to be the last man to see Teoh alive, had testified that he had seen Hishamuddin and two other MACC officers on the morning of July 16.

Khairy urges Malays to end siege mentality

By Adib Zalkapli - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 14 — Khairy Jamaluddin urged Umno Youth members today to abandon its communal outlook and siege mentality, because constitutional provisions did not make Malays special.

He said instead that “it is the performance and achievements of Malays that will determine if we are” special or extraordinary.

“My dream is to one day see local institutions of higher education filled with Malays not because of quotas, but because Malays are there based on merit.

“Whilst we protect the quotas now, let us not forget that they are only supposed to aid us, and not be a lifeline for the Malays unto perpetuity. The Malay vision is not about defending quotas indefinitely, but to stand proud seeing Malays succeed on their own strengths.”

In his first policy speech as Umno Youth Chief, Khairy said Umno should move beyond the comfort zones of a communal party perspective.

He also appeared to be stopping the wing’s practice of pushing the party to the far right, adding that the Malay nationalist party cannot afford to be ideologically inconsistent.

“We are now at a crossroads of our cause, where we can choose to remain on the same path with the same style and methods.

“We can continue with the chest-thumping rhetoric, warning other races never to challenge this or that,” said Khairy to some 800 Umno Youth delegates.

“This option is easy, and may promise a measure of popularity within the party. But, we must ask ourselves, is this what Malaysians — Malays included — really want from Umno,” he added.

Khairy who won the Youth chief contest despite facing two opponents who were campaigning for Umno to be more exclusive, also told the wing’s delegates to embrace Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s message of unity.

“In this new context, do we want the President to speak about a transformation — removing barriers between races and communities — whilst Umno Youth stubbornly refuses to change, and instead, continues to voice something different from the President?” asked Khairy.

However Khairy said that Umno Youth will not abandon the Malay agenda but at the same time will assume the responsibility of leading other races too.

“Some may wonder if we should fight for other communities if they question our position as Malays. It is here that our leadership credentials will be tested,” he said.

“As the group of people given the responsibility and privilege to lead, Malays cannot simply follow the common beat — that would not be leadership. Instead, as leaders, Malays must rise above and go the extra mile,” he said.

He also called on Umno Youth leaders to get rid of their siege mentality and to look beyond Article 153 of the Federal Constitution that guarantees the special position of the Malays, adding that it is almost impossible to remove the constitutional provision.

“I speak of a generational challenge because for too long, Malays and Umno have been caught in a mindset that is negative and overly defensive,” said Khairy.

“We feel as though we are constantly under siege, and all our efforts appear to be channelled towards protecting the Malay special position. I urge Malays, beginning with the youth, to get out of this siege mentality,” he said.

on the proposed amendments to the Umno Constitution*

By Tengku Razaleigh,

Here are five proposals for the reform of the Umno Constitution that I have advocated for some time now:

  1. The president, deputy president, vice presidents and members of the supreme council to be elected directly. This ends the delegate system.
  2. State party chiefs to be elected by the membership at state level, not appointed by the president.
  3. The nominations quotas to be abolished
  4. Parliamentary candidates to be nominated by their Divisions, not by the party president.
  5. Top office holders in the party to refrain from holding top government positions.
    (This is to separate party politics from the public responsibilities of government)

I explained in a blog posting in February this year that the above amendments were necessary if the party were serious about tackling internal corruption. These proposals also aimed to:

  1. decentralize power in Umno, and make it a grassroots driven party again
  2. restore democracy to Umno, and thereby its legitimacy
  3. make Umno accountable, and thereby more responsive to its members and the rakyat
  4. separate Umno’s internal political processes from the service we perform to the nation in government
  5. open the doors to young people of talent and energy, thereby revitalizing the party and giving it a future

*Below are my answers to a set of questions posed to me last week by The Nut Graph. The interview is written up here.

Tengku, Umno President Datuk Seri Najib has already said the next party election would involve all 191 Umno divisions, with around 60,000 individuals voting. There are proposals to stretch this number to 650,000. What do you think about these proposed changes?

I don’t see why we are working ourselves into a sweat over this. There is a very basic principle at stake here: each and every member of Umno who has paid his RM1 subscription has the right to have a direct say in who represents him as President. Either we accept this principle, or we don’t. Are we afraid of our own members?

Among the amendments talked about of course, is also changing the nomination quota for the party’s top posts. Najib secured the presidency uncontested because you, his only declared opponent, had been unable to secure the 58 necessary nominations. Your feelings on this?

They shouldn’t just talk about it. They should do it. The nomination quota is an undemocratic and unconstitutional restriction. It is against the founding spirit of the party, which was open and grassroots driven.

What about the talk on restrictions for those vying for top posts – i.e. having to serve a minimum number of years at a certain level before contesting a higher post. Do you think this delay the rise of new talent within the party?

Every member of the party has a right to vote for his leaders. Every member of the party has the right to contest any position in the party. These are rights guaranteed by the Federal Constitution. Every society (and a political party is a society) is bound by the Federal Constitution through the Societies Act to apply these principles. It’s not just a matter of delaying talent, which of course it does. It’s about doing the right thing.

Tengku, do you think these proposed amendments will only be cosmetic or will they truly be able to bring about meaningful reform in Umno? Will it make a difference?

I proposed these amendments because I believe they will open the way to reform. Of course there are attempts to restrict their scope by imposing arcane restrictions on who can contest, etc. To ordinary party members these just look like self-serving attempts by the incumbents to block renewal. Umno needs a renewal of leadership, and that change must be driven once again by its ordinary members. Everybody knows this.

What else do you think needs to be done or looked into to bring about change within the party with regards to the constitutional changes?

Let’s just see if the Party leadership will allow these elementary reforms. Either we comply with the Federal Constitution and behave like a lawful, democratic party or we continue to waffle about reform. There is no other way to recover the trust of the people, and indeed of our own members.

My question on RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal for first day of Parliament on Monday has been kicked off to seven weeks later to Dec 3

By Lim Kit Siang,

My question on the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal for the first day of the budget session of Parliament on Monday, 19th October 2009 has been kicked off to seven weeks later to December 3 at the tail-end of the meeting, as if the PKFZ scandal is a trivial and inconsequential matter.

DAP MP for Segambut, Lim Lip Eng, had also submitted a question on the PKFZ scandal for the first day of Parliament on Monday, and his question had also be knocked off to Dec. 1, 2009.

I had slated to ask the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak in Parliament on Monday “the outcome of 2007 Cabinet decision commissioning the Chief Secretary, Economic Planning Unit, Prime Minister’s Department to look into various aspects of irregularities in the Port Klang Free Zone scandal, including unlawful issue of four Letters of Support”.

Why is the Prime Minister not ready to answer this question on Monday?

This has reinforced my reservations about the Super Task Force into the PKFZ scandal set up by Cabinet in early September, headed by the Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan.

The question that needs answer is what had happened to the Cabinet decision two years ago that the Chief Secretary head an investigation into the PKFZ scandal, including “determining the type of misconduct or criminal element on the part of individuals or entities involved in the project and recommend actions to be taken against them”?

If the Cabinet decision in 2007 could have ended in a blank, what guarantees are there that the Super Task Force set up in September this year would be any different?

I do not want to get involved in the intensifying MCA power struggle but many are seeing any departure of MCA President and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat as the effective end for any full accountability and transparency of the “mother-of-all-scandals”.

Are all the Cabinet Ministers, whether Umno, MCA or the Gerakan Minister in charge of KPI, prepared to give a categorical commitment that there will be no compromise in the full disclosure of the PKFZ scandal – whatever happens to the MCA power struggle?

The displacement of the two questions Lip Eng and I had submitted on the PKFZ sandal for the first day of Parliament on Monday to some five weeks later in December does not inspire confidence whatsoever that we will head in this direction.

Khairy: Ditch Malay dominance

By Shanon Shah

KUALA LUMPUR, 14 Oct 2009: In a bold and surprising move, Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin has called for his party to ditch "Malay dominance" and replace it with "Malay leadership" in order to reframe its nationalist agenda.

"We can continue with the chest-thumping rhetoric, warning other races never to challenge this or that ... But, we must ask ourselves, is this what Malaysians — Malays included — really want from Umno?" he said in his maiden policy speech as Youth chief today.

Speaking at the Youth meeting at the party's 60th general assembly, Khairy also urged Malay Malaysians to defend the rights of all Malaysians, saying this would only encourage mutual respect.

Khairy's is a departure from his predecessor Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein's speeches. Hishammuddin invited public wrath by unsheathing the keris at two consecutive Umno Youth assemblies and defending "ketuanan Melayu".

Hishammuddin later apologised to non-Malay Malaysians for making them uncomfortable with this gesture following the Barisan Nasional's bruising defeat at the March 2008 general election.

Khairy this morning, instead, called for Malay Malaysians to abandon the perception that Malay rights and privileges were constantly being challenged.

"Undeniably, we consider Article 153 [of the Federal Constitution], which guarantees the special position of Malay [Malaysians] and [bumiputera] as sacrosanct. However, if we scratch beneath the surface, we would find that it is almost impossible for Article 153 to be stripped from the [constitution], as it would require the approval of two-thirds of Parliament," he said.

Khairy went on to say that Article 153 alone could not determine the well-being and development of the Malay race. He said instead the abilities and achievements of Malay Malaysians would cement their race's prestige.

The notion of "kepimpinan Melayu", rather than "ketuanan Melayu", was previously publicly mooted by former and respected Utusan Melayu editor Said Zahari.

The idea was also taken up by Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek in November 2008 but Hishammuddin vilified him for it, saying Chua should just join the opposition instead. A Malay rights group also demanded that Chua apologise for "inciting" Malay Malaysians, and Chua came under fire in the Malay-language press.

Some of the same

Khairy presented this unexpected departure from the usual ultra-Malay nationalist script expected of Umno Youth in the second half of his speech. The first half was spent praising Prime Minister and party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak's 1Malaysia concept.

He also spent some time attacking the component parties of the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition.

"PAS steered away from its original core when the Islamic state ceased to be a key party agenda," he said, to raucous cheers from the more than 500-strong Youth delegation.

He accused the DAP of being mono-racial in character with "the chimera of a multi-racial platform — when it truth, DAP's priorities are unmistakably racial".

He also criticised Parti Keadilan Rakyat for being a party without an ideology, which was focused more on the personality of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

"Anwar tries to position himself as many things: the voice of the marginalised, a champion of Islam, the Malay [Malaysians] and human rights. But is this truly Anwar Ibrahim, or is his political struggle motivated solely by personal ambitions?" he said, to thunderous applause and jeers of "pungkok (backside)" and "dia cucuk dari belakang".

The crowd went silent during the second half of Khairy's speech, which called for a more inclusive Umno Youth, but greeted his conclusion with a standing ovation and shouts of "Hidup Umno!".

The Enigma of Democracy: MCA and UMNO

by Richard Wee

This post is reproduced from here

13 Oct 2009

The last 48 hours in Malaysia saw the power of democracy. At MCA’s EGM on October 10, 2009, Ong Tee Keat was knocked out by a no-confidence motion; but Chua Soi Lek was not reinstated as Deputy (though re-admitted as member). Just a few hours ago, Mr money-politic Mohd Isa Samad won the Bagan Pinang (BP) by-election by a landslide.

The people of BP have spoken. The people at BP want development (ie, money in their pockets) without bothering the fact that the man they elected has been proven to be corrupt. I must now say (and I don’t say it with venom or anger; but with gentle assertion) - that unfortunately the people of BP have lost the moral authority to question corrupt practices prevalent in Malaysia, particularly at that constituency. They have lost the moral right to question the police officer who demands “coffee-money”. They have lost the moral right to demand a non-corrupt land office.

I suppose we deserve the Government we get. Despite the clear corrupt conduct of Isa Samad, he won. Pakatan Rakyat would have to study the situation and understand why they lost so badly. But in fairness, this was an UMNO seat to lose, though the higher majority won by UMNO raised eyebrows.

If we look at the UMNO machinery, Najib announced that Port Dickson located at BP as an “Army City” with incentives etc. Muhyiddin announced a new land for an Indian school. Najib attended the Makkal Sakti Party inaugural assembly. There was the usual promises of development etc, but the combination of Isa’s selection and Najib’s movement with the Indian community swung the votes to UMNO.

Pakatan’s perceived in-fighting is not helping. PAS Selangor’s antics in recent weeks have fueled talks that all is not well in Pakatan.

As for MCA, they are in deep waters. The members have ripped apart the party, and in my view, it will take many years for MCA to recover. Perhaps MCA should just leave BN and join Pakatan, that would give them a little more credence with the Chinese community. But one must respect the courage of the MCA members to take this step and rid the party of 2-fighting men. They now have the chance to start again, though (as mentioned earlier), I think, it will take some time before it gets back on its feet again.

We can’t really complain about BP’s decision to revive a corrupt man’s political career, as even the Americans were dumb enough to vote in George Bush for the 2nd term despite him clearly lying to the Americans. Whilst I don’t think the Americans are any better than us; but if the self-proclaimed world’s-best-democracy would vote a man in who lied, I suppose it’s alright to vote in a corrupt person.

Wanita, Youth, Puteri UMNO General Assemblies Begin

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 14 (Bernama) -- The three wings of Umno -- Wanita, Youth and Puteri -- began their respective general assemblies this morning, with discussions centred on the amendment to party constitution which would be tabled at the party's special general assembly on Thursday.

The amendment is part of the effort by Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak to transform the party so that it will remain relevant to the Malays and Malaysians.

The assemblies started with speeches by movement heads -- Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin and Puteri Umno chief Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin.

The Wanita and Youth each has 795 delegates while Puteri has 789.

The three general assemblies were simultaneously opened by Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin last night during which he outlined four principles, which he said, should be understood by party members in creating One Umno.

They are unity of mind, unity of heart, unity of deed and unity of objective.

The party's amendment would be fine-tuned further tonight by the Umno Supreme Council.

There are 2,539 delegates attending this year's assembly.

Liow keeps mum on rendevous with Kong

Khairy: Fail to change, we close shop - Malaysiakini

Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin today stressed that reformation for Barisan Nasional parties was no longer a choice but a matter of political survival.

new america one malaysia khairy jamaluddin tony puah forum 040609 07"We don't have a choice, this is survival. If we don't change... we are out of business," he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur after the opening of the Umno Youth, Wanita and Puteri wings' general assemblies.

He said all BN component parties must shoulder the responsibility of reforming the ruling coalition and making it relevant in accordance with the current political climate.

Therefore, he added that the task of transformation should be one of teamwork and the burden should not be borne by Umno alone.

"I think that when we talk about change and being relevant in this political age, we cannot take Umno in isolation.

"BN is a family and a team. So if we talk about change and becoming relevant it is importnat for all of BN to be relevant," he added.

Shahrizat: Hear the people's voice

In view of this, Khairy said it is not only Umno which must change but other component parties must follow suit.

Following the March 8 general election last year, all BN component parties, except for those in Sabah and Sarawak, suffered a setback and are struggling to regain lost ground.

Leadership tussles and credibility crisis have made it an even more daunting task.

shahrizat wanita umno victory 250309 3Meanwhile, Wanita Umno chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil also offered a similar view, saying: "All BN component parties must be in line with Umno in changing and hearing the voice of the people."

Umno information chief Ahmad Maslan pointed out that if the other BN parties are not prepared to embrace change, then "we won't see real success."

During his opening speech earlier, Umno deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin also underscored the importance of change for all BN parties.

High Chaparral: DCM denies demanding apology - Malaysiakini

Penang Deputy Chief Minister (2) P Ramasamy has denied demanding a public apology from the 10 Kampung Buah Pala residents who have not accepted an offer of compensation for their demolished homes.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has not made any such demand either, he told a press conference at his office today.

"I have been sympathetic to the residents from the beginning and have tried to help them in every way I could. They can always see me to settle the compensation issue," he said.

Ramasamy said the state government could not be demanding an apology from members of the public for criticism levelled at it.

"The state government is bound to be criticised for its administrative policies and actions," he said.

NONEKampung Buah Pala Residents Association chairperson M Sugumaran (left) had told reporters on Sunday that the 10 residents, including himself, had been directed to sign and read out a letter of apology.

He claimed that the apology, to be prepared by the administration, was to be addressed to Lim and others for what the villagers had said and done at the height of the Kampung Buah Pala issue.

Sugumaran also said the state government had barred him and four other office bearers of the association from entering Level 28 of Komtar (where Lim's office is located) and Level 52 (Ramasamy's office) since last week.

He named secretary Joseph Stephen Draviam, assistant secretary C Tharmaraj, assistant treasurer I Pasunagi, committee member O Selvaraj, as the others who were affected.

In addition, the 10 were told to first see Seri Delima assemblyperson RSN Rayer to facilitate negotiations, he alleged.

Ramasamy said, however, that he is not aware of either the ban or the 'see Rayer first' directive.

"I have not given such directives to anyone. I don't think my staff would have done it either ... (any) such directive was surely not from my office," he said.

Committee created

Ramasamy reiterated his eagerness to resolve the compensation matter, in order to bring the issue to a close.

On some residents facing problems in securing alternative homes, he said they could always seek his help. He said the state housing department could accommodate them in vacant public housing units, pending completion of the double-storey houses offered.

p ramasamy and dap 080905 looking onRamasamy (right) also announced the formation of a pro-tem committee for the 15 former villagers who have accepted the offer of houses. The committee is headed by R Karunakaran, a DAP member.

Asked why this is necessary when there is a registered association to represent the villagers' interests, Ramasamy said the committee is only for those who have accepted the compensation offer.

He also disclosed that the state executive council had rejected his proposal to set aside state land to rebuild Kampung Buah Pala, on grounds that it does not want to set a precedent.

Rayer, who was at the press conference, said the 10 villagers should retract their police reports and allegations against the state government.

"There must be retraction to show that what is past is past," he said.

Kampung Buah Pala, a 200-year-old Indian settlement, was demolished last month to make way for the Oasis condominium project, undertaken jointly by landowner Koperasi Pegawai Kanan Kerajaan Pulau Pinang Bhd and developer Nusmetro Venture (P) Sdn Bhd.

Samy: We won't take victory for granted - Malaysiakini

IC will not be over confident of the Indian community's support to Barisan Nasional in the Bagan Pinang by-election, said party president S Samy Vellu today.

According to the veteran politician, there is still much room for improvement.

NONE"We should not take for granted that this winning streak would continue. We must really look after the needs of the Indians.

"Only then can we be assured of continued support for BN from the Indians," he said in a statement.

In view of this, Samy Vellu said after helping BN to secure 70 percent of the Indian votes in Sunday's by-election, MIC will now concentrate on fulfilling its pledges to the voters.

"It is time to carry out the work so that we (BN) will continue to have the trust of the Indian community," he added.

He convened a meeting of party leaders at the MIC headquarters here yesterday and gave them individual tasks to complete.

"We have identified several problems affecting the Indian community in Bagan Pinang and we must be able to resolve them with government intervention.

"Otherwise, we will be blamed for only seeking their votes and not doing anything for them," he said.

Different strategy deployed

Samy Vellu said MIC deployed a different strategy in wooing the Indian voters in Bagan Pinang and it proved to be successful.

"We had dealt with the Indian voters directly, communicating with them in their language and understanding their problems as they see it," he said.

The MIC supremo said the same strategy would be adopted in the next general election, "and hopefully, we can see a repeat of Bagan Pinang".

NONEMeanwhile, MIC vice-president and Human Resources Minister Dr S Subramaniam said the party would re-mobilise its 3,600 branch chairpersons to ensure the needs of the Indians are taken care.

"We will do more and win back the Indian voters just as we did in Bagan Pinang," he said.

Subramaniam said that, hard work aside by MIC leaders and members in Bagan Pinang, Indian voters were captivated by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's 1Malaysia concept.

High Chaparral chief livid over apology request (Malaysiakini)

Athi Shankar Residents of the demolished Kampung Buah Pala today blasted the Penang government of ignoring their plight and neglecting its duties to help them.

Residents association chairperson M Sugumaran said the government is playing games even while negotiating an amicable solution for remaining the 10 households, who have yet to take up any form of compensation.

He said the state government has demanded the 10 to sign and read out an apology letter to the state government at a press conference.

dap 2010 budget rocket cafe 071009 lim guan eng 01He said the apology to be prepared by the administration was meant for the Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng (left) and others for what the villagers had said and done during the height of the Kampung Buah Pala fiasco.

He said the government had barred him and four other principal office bearers of the association from entering Level 28 (Lim’s office) and Level 52 (Deputy Chief Minister 2 P Ramasamy’s office) in Komtar since last week.

Sugumaran said the other banned were association secretary Joseph Stephen Draviam, assistant secretary C Tharmaraj, assistant treasurer I Pasunagi, committee member O Selvaraj.

He said the 10 remaining householders had been told to first see Seri Delima assemblyperson RSN Rayer, not Ramasamy as told to the press, to facilitate negotiations.

“This state government is inhumane. It destroyed our homes while we were still living in them and flattened our 200-year-old village.

“Now it wants us to apologise for its wrongdoing,” Sugumaran told a press conference at the now uprooted village.Family squatting under a tree

Kampung Buah Pala was once famously known as Penang’s Tamil High Chaparral for its population of Indians, cowherds, cattle, goats, other livestock, unique and lively Indian cultural features and festivities.

NONEIt was demolished last month to pave for a lucrative Oasis condominium project undertaken jointly by land owner Koperasi Pegawai Kanan Kerajaan Pulau Pinang Bhd and developer Nusmetro Venture (P) Sdn Bhd.

Sugumaran (right, in blue shirt) accused the current DAP-led Pakatan Rakyat state government of allowing the demolishment of their houses, leaving them homeless and stranded.

He claimed that a family was now squatting under a tree nearby the village, another taking shelter in an Umno-owned community hall and one more residing in a vacant motor workshop, while the majority of those evicted are now staying in rented homes.

Sugumaran criticised the state government of neglecting its duties in handling the relocation and resettlement issues of the villagers.

NONEHe said the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), not the state government, had been helping the villagers in rental payments and search for alternate decent homes.

He pointed out that under the land sales and purchase agreement between the state government and the cooperative society, all issues pertaining to the villagers, including compensation, relocation and resettlement, have to be settled first before the land title could be transferred.

However, he said Chief Minister Lim transferred the land title to the cooperative society within 19 days after coming to power without settling outstanding villagers issue, even until today.

“This is how the DAP government had rewarded us for voting for Pakatan Rakyat in the last general election,’ said Sugumaran.

‘Who the rightful trustee?’

Pointing to an Oasis project signboard outside the site, he noted that the developer had not stipulated anything about the double-storey houses promised by Lim for the villagers.

The signboard, he said had also stated that the project development plan was approved by the Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) when legally it should have been approved by the island council MPPP.

He said the villagers would still pursue their case to determine who the rightful trustee of their land is - if it is the federal or state government, and claim damages for criminal demolition of their properties and broken promises by Pakatan leaders.

NONEHe said in its decision on Nov 10 2007, the High Court stated that the state government had failed to disclose any documents or other evidence to show that the federal government had alienated the land to the state’s care.

“Thus, if it is under the federal government’s trust, how could the state government sell the land to a cooperative and allow a joint venture private development project?” he said.

He called the former Chief Minister Koh Tsu Koon (left) and Lim to hold the much-anticipated live televised debate to enable the public to know the truth behind the scam.

He said a document issued by the state land office revealed that the village land title had contained several restrictions on any future development plan.

“Who gave approval to by-pass these restrictions? A Koh v Lim open debate will reveal all these,” he said.


Bagan Pinang – Isa Menang Pertempuran, Siapa yang Bakal Menang Peperangan?

Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.

Benar, Tan Sri Isa Samad menang besar di Bagan Pinang. Semua pihak akur yang Isa memang sukar digugat di Bagan Pinang, bahkan di seluruh kawasan parlimen Telok Kemang, yang beliau adalah Ketua Bahagiannya. Menawan kerusi ini dari Isa, semacam hendak merampas Permatang Pauh dari DS Anwar.

Bukan sahaja pihak lawan, bahkan MB Mohd Hassan dan tidak keterlaluan kalau dikatakan DS Najib, Presiden Umno itu pun tak boleh cabar Isa di situ. Sebab itu hanya dituruti saja kehendak penyokong tegar Isa.

Sebab itu, Umno tidak ada pilihan kecuali untuk meletakkan Isa juga, meskipun disanggah kedua-dua mantan Presiden, Tun dan Timbalannya, Ku Li. Mentelahan, setelah kalah 7-0 dalam p/raya kecil di Semenanjung dan 4-0 di tangan PAS, Umno tekad dan desperat untuk menang, walau dengan apa jua cara pun. Persetankan pengkritik.

Formula mereka mengena. Bahkan mereka untung besar. Pimpinan Umno bersorak dan berkokok sekeliling kampung. Lama mana media akan mainkan belum pasti.

Umno akan berhenti bersorak ketika mereka sedar dari lamunan dodoian bahawa Bagan Pinang, bukan Malaysia. Aduh! Yang menang pun, mengikut ramai pundit politik bukan Umno/BN tetapi Isa Samad!

Justeru pemimpin Umno sedar bahawa Isa tidak boleh dijadikan ikon membaik pulih imej rasuah mereka. Isa juga tidak dapat memenuhi hasrat Najib untuk menjadikan Port Dickson Bandar Tentera Darat. Sebabnya? Orang tempatan lebih mahu menggelarkan PD sebagai Bandar Lalat mengikut satu rencana dalam Kosmo (10 Okt). Sah seperti kempen PR.

Sememang Isa adalah peribadi yang rata-ratanya disenangi banyak pihak. Orangnya mudah bicaranya tidak canggih seperti juga pemikiranya. Namun Umno sendiri tahu bahawa Isa bukanlah tokoh yang hendak di’ikonisekan’ Umno. Isa adalah sebaliknya dari cita-cita pembaharuan mereka. 22 tahun menjadi MB bukan masa yang singkat. Tapi Isa gagal menjadi mercu-tanda atau lambang kemegahan Umno.

Tidak banyak yang mampu dibariskan Umno bagi memperagakan pencapaiannya. Sebaliknya setiap hari kempen menyaksikan jentera penerangan PAS/PR menyenaraikan kepincangan, ketimpangan dan ketidaksudahan kerja tangan Isa. Masih banyak yang berbaki yang tidak sempat didedahkan kempen Pakatan.

Samada kegagalan itu akibat rasuah, kronisme atau pendeknya ketidakcekapan kepemimpinannya atau ’Plain Incompetency’ dalam bahasa inggerisnya, dengan izin, pengundi Bagan Pinang tidak peduli samasekali.

Nah, sekarang Najib berdepan dengan dilema besar. Umno dikatakan akan kembali releven kerana kemenangan Isa Samad. Semacam mendapat talian hayat dengan Isa. Umno yang mengambil tindakan disiplin menghukum Isa kerana politik wang atau rasuah, kini terpaksa bersandarkan Isa untuk membenteras imej Rasuah parti Melayu terbesar itu. Ini menyeksa Najib.

Bahkan mungkinkah Najib terpaksa mengintai-ngintai peribadi-peribadi seperti Isa. Mungkin mantan Ketua Menteri Melaka, mantan MB Pahang dll, andainya berlaku pulak pilihanraya kecil lagi di negeri-negeri Umno/BN ini. Apakah golongan dari regim lama ini yang akan diharapkan menghidupkan Umno kembali seperti yang ditunjukkan di Bagan Pinang?

Masih banyak kerusi-kerusi seumpama Bagan Pinang yang Umno masih boleh menaruh harap untuk menang besar di Negeri Sembilan, Melaka atau Johor. Kemudian berkokok kuat-kuat bahawa orang Melayu dan India telah kembali kepangkuan Umno/BN. Najib silap dan partinya pun silap membuat ektrapolasi atau rumusan borong seperti itu untuk seluruh negara. Hati kecil mereka tahu bahawa itu tidak benar.

Kemenangan Umno di Bagan Pinang ialah kedudukan ’status-quo.’ PAS turun sebagai ’underdog’ dan Umno sebagai ’juara menanti’ atau ’incumbent’. Macamlah PAS menang di Bukit Gantang, Penanti dan Manik Urai, atau PKR memenangi kerusi Permatang Pauh. Kelainan hanyalah terdapat pada kerusi Kuala Terengganu yang ditawan oleh PAS dari Umno. Itu boleh berkokok kuat-kuat. Itu lonjakan dan luarbiasa namanya.

Sebaliknya, Najib dan media BN terlalu ghirah untuk meyakinkan bahawa slogan 1-Malaysianya telah diterima rakyat dengan kemenangan Isa. Maka Isa itu 1-Malaysia ke?

Inilah akibat kepemimpinan populis seorang Perdana Menteri yang takut mengambil risiko. Beliau gagal menampilkan orang muda, profesional dan mungkin juga bersih untuk proses penambahbaikan atau ’reengineering’ Umno.

Kini Najib terperangkap dengan kelemahan kepimpinannya sendiri. Umno terlepas peluang di Bagan Pinang untuk memerdekakan ahli, pengundi dan rakyat. Umno mahu terus mencandukan rakyat dengan imbuhan, sogokan dan gula-gula yang mampu ditaja oleh seorang ’taiko’ yang mewah setelah 22 tahun menjadi MB negeri terbanyak itu.

Umno tidak bersedia bermain di pentas ’Politik Baru’ –politik berteraskan pengundi yang dibekalkan maklumat, lantas keberanian memilih sesiapa pun yang mereka tanggap mewakili cita-rasa dan harapan mereka.

Justeru, Najib gagal meyakinkan rakyat seluruhnya bahawa dia komited untuk memerangi rasuah dan politik wang. Mereka tahu bahawa Isa bukan ikon ”pembenteras rasuah” bahkan sebaliknya. Di satu sisi, nampaknya MCA jauh lebih berani membuat tekad perubahan dalam pergolakan dalaman parti itu mutakhir ini. Umno tidak akan berlajar, selagi belum kalah di peringkat Pusat atau Persekutuan.

Apa kurangnya dilema PAS dan Pakatan Rakyat?

Bagan Pinang, penulis ingin tegaskan bukan ukuran terbaik dari banyak sisi. Namun ada petunjuk penting yang perlu diambil iktibar. PAS/Pakatan kalah besar di kerusi ini. Lebih besar dari kekalahan PRUke-11, 2004.

Sememangnya terdapat banyak faktor yang mengekang pencapaian PAS/PR.

Antaranya ialah Undi Pos yang berkenaan pihak keselamatan, Tentera dan Polis. Kekalahan hampir 3000 undi pos bukan satu jumlah yang kecil. Lebih parah lagi ialah

Pengurusan undi pos itu, paling tidaknya mencurigakan dan paling buruk, jelas ada unsur-unsur penipuan.

Terdapat 250 nama dalam daftar pemilih tentera yang masih juga mengundi sebagai pihak awam. Terdapat juga tentera yang sudah bersara yang masih mengundi sebagai undi pos. Selain dari 1200 yang tinggal dalam kawasan kem di DUN Bagan Pinang, selainnya sukar untuk ditentukan samada tentera atau pihak lain yang mengundi seperti zaman zaman awal dulu.

Tegasnya undi pos terus menjadikan persaingan pilihanraya di negara ini masih belum dapat dikatakan di padang yang sama-rata. Daftar Pemilih wajar dan wajib dibersihkan seluruhnya.

Pun begitu, PAS dan parti-parti komponen Pakatan, wajar menjadikan prk Bagan Pinang sebagai satu ’peringatan tegas’ bahawa ’Road-Map’ ke Putrajaya tidak semudah dan seenak yang dituturkan.

Kalau benar-benar Agenda Perubahan Besar PRU ke-13 mahu digapai dan direalisasikan, maka tahap kesiapsagaan dan keserasian bekerja sebagai sebuah Koalisi Politik yang bakal menjadi Kerajaan Pusat, semestinya diperbaikki segera.

Percakaran dan perbalahan di antara pimpinan komponen Pakatan khususnya yang menerajui kerajaan negeri disaran dihentikan segera. Mekanisme mengatasi perbezaan dan pertikaian polisi khususnya yang berunsur ras, kaum dan agama mesti diurus dengan bijak, cermat dan berkesan. Sikap berdolak-dalik atau flip-flop tidak wajar diraikan.

Tindakan disiplin terhadap sesiapa pun pimpinan yang tidak mengikut peraturan-peraturan yang disepakati oleh Muafakat Politik di peringkat Majlis Presiden mesti dikuatkuasakan tanpa diskriminasi.

Wakil-wakil rakyat samada Ahli Parlimen atau Adun yang tidak menunjukkan prestasi baik memberi khidmat kepada rakyat mesti segera ditangani pihak Pakatan. Jangan tunggu musim pilihanraya kecil seperti yang didakwa berlaku di prk N31 Bagan Pinang. Setiap kehilangan sokongan mesti dipertanggungjawabkan kepada Ahli Parlimen dan Adun serta jentera Pakatan setempat. Keseriasan bekerja mesti di pantau pimpinan tertinggi dan ini tidak wajar dikompromi, kalau benar kita punya agenda besar.

Bagan Pinang akan terus menjadi pertikaian dari pelbagai sudut. Umno/BN dan khususnya PAS/Pakatan berdepan dengan pelbagai ”Wake-Up Call” .

Hanya yang mampu belajar dan terus belajar serta berubah ke arah yang lebih baik akan berjaya memimpin negara ini.

Pakatan atau BN kah yang memilikki ciri keunggulan ini?

1Malaysia: Ori resipi asal Indonesia

Written by Faisal Mustaffa

Konsep 1Malaysia juga diciplak dari negara jiran, yang 1bangsa Indonesianya diperkenalkan 85 tahun dahulu

Sumpah Pemuda
(versi ejaan disempurnakan)

  • Pertama: Kami putra dan putri Indonesia, mengaku bertumpah darah yang satu, tanah air Indonesia.
  • Kedua: Kami putra dan putri Indonesia, mengaku berbangsa yang satu, bangsa Indonesia.
  • Ketiga: Kami putra dan putri Indonesia, menjunjung tinggi bahasa persatuan, bahasa Indonesia.

Sebelum ini saya sering mempertikaikan konsep nasionalisme yang dibawa oleh pemimpin kerajaan Barisan Nasional kepada rakyat Malaysia. Baru-baru ini Perdana Menteri Najib Razak memperkenalkan 1Malaysia yang membawa erti semua kaum di Malaysia berdiri di bawah satu konsep Bangsa Malaysia yang tidak mengira kaum.

Sebelum ini lagu kebangsaan Malaysia juga dibuktikan bahawa ianya bukan lagu asli Malaysia. Ianya diciplak dari lagu keroncong Terang Bulan di Indonesia yang asalnya diambil dari lagu Memula Moon, suatu karya gubahan seorang Peranchis.

Konsep 1Malaysia mirip Sumpah Pemuda yang dibacakan pada 28 Oktober 1928 yang mana berikrar berbangsa satu, Bangsa Indonesia. Sumpah Pemuda Indonesia juga berikrar bahawa mereka bertumpah darah yang satu, tanahair Indonesia dan menjunjung Bahasa Indonesia sebagai bahasa mereka bagi memperkuatkan kesatuan bangsa-bangsa di Indonesia.

Para peserta dari kongres sumpah pemuda ini terdiri dari pelbagai organisasi pemuda seperti Jong Java, Jong Ambon, Jong Celebes, Jong Batak, Jong Sumatranen Bond, Jong Islamieten Bond, Perhimpunan Pelajar-pelajar Indonesia (PPPI), Pemuda Kaum Betawi. Bahkan ada juga keturunan Tionghua yang bertindak sebagai pemerhati dalam kongres tersebut.

Signifikannya konsep yang dibawa oleh Pemuda Indonesia pada ketika itu apabila ianya diusulkan di dalam kongres yang dihadiri oleh wakil-wakil mahasiswa Indonesia dari pelbagai etnik di Indonesia.

Mereka bergabung di Indonesische Vereeninging yang akhirnya diubah menjadi Perhimpunan Indonesia.

Kewujudan gabungan ini adalah hasil daripada kecewaan dengan perkembangan kekuatan-kekuatan perjuangan di Indonesia, dan melihat situasi politik yang dihadapi, akhirnya membuat keputusan untuk membentuk kelompok pemikir dari kalangan mahasiswa berpengaruh atas keaktifan mereka pada ketika itu.

Intipatinya keadilan sosial

Peserta Kongres Pemuda II, Okt 28, 1928. Picture source: Wikipedia

Antara kelompok pemikir terdiri daripada Kelompok Studi Indonesia (Indonesische Studie-club) yang dibentuk di Surabaya pada tanggal Okt 29, 1924 oleh Soetomo.

Kedua, Kelompok Studi Umum (Algemeene Studie-club) yang direalisasikan oleh para nasionalis dan mahasiswa Sekolah Tinggi Teknik di Bandung yang dimotori oleh Soekarno pada tanggal Julai 11, 1925.

Mereka berpendapat, bagi memperkuatkan kesatuan di kalangan bangsa-bangsa di negara itu ialah dengan melalui sejarah, bahasa, hukum adat, pendidikan dan kemahuan.

Pada perhimpunan mereka kedua pada Okt 28, 1928 di Gedung Oost-Java Bioscoop, mereka membahaskan masalah pendidikan. Di akhir perbahasan, mereka bersependapat bahawa kanak-kanak harus mendapat pendidikan kebangsaaan, harus pula ada keseimbangan antara pendidikan di sekolah dan di rumah. Mereka juga bersetuju bahawa anak-anak perlu didik secara demokratik.

Di akhir kongres juga diperdengarkan lagu ‘Indonesia’ karya Wage Rudolf Supratman.

Kini hari Sumpah Pemuda menjadi hari bagi memperingati konsep yang diperkenalkan pada tahun 1928 itu. Setiap kali tiba tanggal 28 Oktober, mereka akan memainkan semula rakaman ikrar Sumpah Pemuda 1928 yang bertujuan untuk membangkitkan kesedaran segenap pemuda Indonesia dalam meningkatkan semangat kebangsaan serta daya saing pemuda Indonesia pada waktu tertentu.

Dan harapan pelapis-pelapis kepimpinan yang menyanjung sejarah konsep ‘satu bangsa’ mereka ialah menimbulkan kesedaran bahawa kemajuan bangsa yang berkeadilan social dan bermartabat akan mudah dicapai apabila bangsa Indonesia tetap mempertahankan rasa persatuan dan kesatuan. Justeru, para pemuda harus memiliki kesedaran posisi untuk terus mengasah jiwa kepeloporan mereka dalam memperbaiki kualiti kehidupan bangsa mereka.

Dulu kan Dr M ‘bersih’ dan ‘amanah’?

Menurut blog 1Malaysia yang aku rasa bukan ditulis oleh Najib sendiri, 1Malaysia mengandungi lapan nilai iaitu perseverance (tekad), acceptance (penerimaan), pendidikan, integriti, meritokrasi, ciri kemanusiaan, kesetiaan dan kecemerlangan sebagai satu budaya.

Menurut Najib di dalam salah satu ucapan di dalam blognya, matlamat 1Malaysia adalah untuk mengekalkan dan meningkatkan perpaduan di dalam kepelbagaian negara ini yang selama ini menjadi kekuatan supaya kekal sebagai bekalan sebaik kita untuk masa hadapan. Ia juga kononnya sebagai tempat untuk berkongsi impian, untuk satu masa hadapan yang lebih baik.

Memang menakjubkan dan semememangnya nilai-nilai ini diperlukan. Tetapi apakah nilai-nilai ini diterapkan? Kita lihat konsep Bersih, Cekap, Amanah yang diterapkan oleh bekas Perdana Menteri Dr Mahathir Mohamad dan kemudiannya diubah kepada Bersih, Cekap, Adil yang mana nilai-nilai itu cuba diterapkan kepada kakitangan-kakitangan kerajaan. Adakah tahap kecemerlangan kakitangan awam berjaya dipertingkatkan?

Kita lihat pula konsep Islam Hadhari yang diperkenalkan oleh bekas Perdana Menteri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi bagi menerapkan cara hidup Islam. Ianya dikecam dengan cuba memanipulasi konsep kesyumulan Islam itu sendiri.

Wawasan 2020, Hadhari, sekarang ni

Sememangnya, konsep-konsep nasionalisme yang dibawa oleh pemimpin kerajaan Malaysia (sebut, Barisan Nasional) hanya cuba memberi kepentingan yang boleh membawa kepopularitian indidividu dan tidak melihatkan kesan kepada pembangunan insan.

Inilah akibatnya apabila kita mempunyai konsep yang tidak mempunyai nilai demokratik yang betul-betul melihat kepada pemasalahan dan keperluan rakyat dalam membentuk satu bangsa.

Saya cuba menanya pendapat teman-teman mengenai kefahaman mereka secara rambang mengenai konsep 1Malaysia. Mereka sering merujuk 1Malaysia kepada Najib.

Pendapat melampau daripada teman-teman ialah retorik politik biasa pemimpin Malaysia. Mungkin sedih apabila mendengar pendapat sedemikian tetapi bukankah pendapat-pendapat mereka itu ada kebenarannya?

A picture is worth a thousand words

Sometimes I do not need to write my normal cheong hei article. Sometimes all I need to do is post a picture. After all, a picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words. So let this picture explain the difference between 'Islamic' Malaysia and 'Kafir' China. Should I shout and scream about how proud I am of Malaysia's version of Islam? Or should I instead hide my face in shame and hope no one notices that I too am a Muslim?


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Muhyiddin wants all BN parties to reform, too

umno-logo.jpgBy Adib Zalkapli - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 – In urging all Umno leaders to support the party’s reform efforts, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin tonight asked all Barisan Nasional (BN) parties to change as well.

“Let me state here that not only Umno must change. Barisan Nasional component parties must also change,” said Muhyiddin when opening the Youth, Wanita and Puteri assembly tonight.

His remarks underline Umno’s growing unhappiness with its partners in the 13-party coalition.

The Umno deputy president’s call was made amid uncertainties in MCA, the second biggest BN party, after its two top leaders were voted out at its EGM last weekend.

MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, however, has yet to make any decision on his future despite the defeat.

MIC, too, has been weakened since Election 2008, resulting in Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak seeking a new ally when he officiated the launch of a new Indian political party, the Makkal Sakti Party, led by former Hindraf leader RS Thanenthiran.

MIC president Datuk Seri Samy Vellu had also vowed to stay on until his deputy Datuk G Palanivel is ready to take over.

Today, Muhyiddin said Umno must re-examine its association with other BN parties.

“We must be ready to do a thorough transformation, including reaching a new consensus in our relationship with other BN parties,” he told party delegates.

He said the new form of cooperation must be based on racial acceptance and accepting diversity as the nation’s strength.

This year’s Umno assembly will see the party amending its constitution to expand its voting delegates size from some 2,500 to more than 100,000 members.

The amendment will also scrap the nomination quota to contest party posts, a move designed to allow more party members to take part in the elections.

Najib makes last-minute appeal to reform Umno

Najib ... ‘if we put unity above everything else, we will succeed just like how we succeeded in Bagan Pinang.’

umno-logo.jpgBy Adib Zalkapli - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 – Datuk Seri Najib Razak today asked Umno central delegates to support the party constitutional amendments scheduled to be tabled this Thursday that will do away with nomination quotas and increase the voting base to more than 100,000.

In his first presidential briefing since assuming the party presidency last March, the prime minister also said that the amendments would make Umno’s top leaders more accountable, as contest for senior posts would be made easier.

“I have explained the current scenario, the political landscape and the challenges faced by Umno,” Najib told reporters after meeting some 2,500 party delegates at its headquarters in the Putra World Trade Centre.

The presidential briefing or pre-council is always held before the start of the annual assembly, and is traditionally used by the party president to set the direction for the meeting.

“I pointed out how important it is for Umno to change for the better, in terms unity, culture and behaviour,” said Najib.

“I gave an example, if we put unity above everything else, we will succeed just like how we succeeded in Bagan Pinang,” added the chairman of the Barisan Nasional about the win that snapped its losing streak in the peninsula since Election 2008.

He explained the reason for the proposed amendment which includes, among others, increasing the number of delegates eligible to vote from some 2,500 to more than 100,000, noting, “so that we can control the behaviour of the members, so we can do better.”

“The amendment can eradicate money politics, because the number of voters is much bigger,” he said adding that it will be easier to detect the practice of vote buying with the higher number of delegates.

Najib said with the amendments, top leaders who don’t perform will also be open to challenges.

The main amendment is abolishing the quota system for aspiring candidates in the party elections, which has been a major obstacle in contesting party posts.

When asked whether the amendments will face opposition from the delegates, Najib said they responded well to him during the briefing.

“God willing, the response was warm, we’ll see in a day or two,” he said.

His reform effort was earlier opposed by Bukit Mertajam division and most divisions in Johor, as it was said to have been done in haste and not seen to be empowering the party grassroots.

The plan to reform the party through constitutional amendment was first unveiled by Najib at its general assembly last March in an attempt to curb money politics.

This year’s Umno general assembly starts tonight with the opening of the Wanita, Youth and Puteri assemblies by deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Your attendance means I am Speaker, Ganesan taunts PR reps

By Clara Chooi - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 – Perak Speaker Datuk R. Ganesan has issued a direct challenge to Pakatan Rakyat (PR) assemblymen, saying that if they chose to attend the Oct 28 sitting, they were endorsing him as Speaker.

Meanwhile, the PR parties are convening a meeting at the Perak PAS headquarters tonight, to decide whether to attend the sitting. They are expected to reach a decision by tonight.

It is widely speculated that ousted Speaker V. Sivakumar would issue his own notices on the assembly, citing the same date and time as the notices sent out by Ganesan on Monday.

This would give them the opportunity to attend the Oct 28 sitting without recognising the notice sent by Ganesan, whom they do not recognise as the state’s legal Speaker.

Ganesan however, has an entirely different take on the matter.

“If they attend, that means they are abiding by my notice and that they are endorsing me as Speaker.

“And if they endorse me as Speaker, they must follow my orders,” he told The Malaysian Insider today.

He refused to acknowledge the possibility that Sivakumar may distribute notices of his own to convene an assembly sitting at the same date and time.

Sivakumar has until tomorrow to issue his own circulars on the assembly if he wants to convene a sitting on Oct 28. This is because 14-days’ notice is required to be given to assemblymen prior to a state assembly sitting.

“Don’t refer to him as Speaker. To me, he is Tronoh assemblyman. He is not the Speaker,” said Ganesan.

He added that the notice that he had sent out to all the state’s 59 assemblymen had received the consent of the Sultan last Friday, and was legitimate.

The assemblymen were also asked to submit, by today, their questions to the state government for the question-and-answer session during the sitting.

The Malaysian Insider understands, however, that not one PR assemblyman has submitted questions.

Ganesan also issued a stern threat to all assemblymen, especially those from the PR – “follow my orders or face the music.”

He said that he would not hesitate to take any action, as enshrined in the Standing Orders, against those who misbehaved in the state assembly hall.

“If their behaviours warrant punishment, I will not hesitate to take action. I will use whatever powers I have within the Standing Orders,” he said.

Ganesan also chided PR assemblymen for the possibility of them going back on their word and attend the sitting in October.

“They already publicly said that they would not be attending. What kind of politicians are they? Leaders are not supposed to say one thing one day and then do something else the next,” he said.

Ganesan also told The Malaysian Insider to inform PR assemblymen to accept the reality that they no longer had the majority of the House.

“You tell them this. They only have 28 (assemblymen) and Barisan (Nasional) has 31. That is the reality and I know they understand this democratic principle well.

“This (former mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohammad) Nizar (Jamaluddin), (former senior state executive councillor Datuk) Ngeh (Koo Ham), (former executive councillor) Nga (Kor Ming), they all understand this.

“Why is it when the BN had 28 assemblymen, they never kicked up a fuss?” he said.

Ganesan also firmly stated that, “by hook or by crook”, he would not allow PR assemblymen to interfere with the tabling of the Budget.

“They cannot interfere. We will pass the Budget. They only have 28 assemblymen to BN’s 31,” he said.