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Monday, February 15, 2010

Nik Aziz: Zahrain should quit as MP - Malaysiakini

UPDATED 10PM with PAS Bayan Baru's comments Zahrain Mohamed Hashim should quit as MP for the Bayan Baru parliamentary constituency and pave the way for a by-election, said PAS spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat.

Zahrain - who left the Pakatan Rakyat coalition and declared himself an independent MP on Friday - had betrayed the trust of voters in Bayan Baru who had elected him as their MP, Nik Aziz was quoted as saying by Bernama.

NONEThe Kelantan Menteri Besar told this to reporters today when attending the Chinese New Year open house of business tycoon Tan Liang Chong in Panji, Kelantan.

Zahrain had cited dissatisfaction with the leadership of Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in exiting the Pakatan coalition.

Meanwhile, PAS Bayan Baru's youth division said its members would demonstrate against Zahrain unless the latter step down within 48 hours.

Its youth chief Dzul Fahmi Abu Bakar also said the wing's members would collect signatures from local residents to petition Zahrain into stepping down if he failed to do so voluntarily.

"Zahrain's victory in the Bayan Baru parliamentary seat in the 2008 general election with a majority of 11,209 is the result of the efforts and energy of the Pakatan machinery, particularly, the members of PAS Bayan Baru," said Dzul Fahmi in a faxed statement.

"His irresponsible action (in quitting PKR) is indirectly an act that belittles all the sacrifices of PAS members here, and an insult to the voters of this constituency," he added.

Dzul Fahmi said if Zahrain is convinced of his actions and stands by his statements about the leadership of Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng, he should prove it by taking the issue to the voters of Bayan Baru and stand as an independent candidate in a by-election.

Political secretary held for graft to resign

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 15 — A political secretary caught with RM2 million cash will be told to resign in a clear sign that the Najib Administration wants anti-graft authorities to investigate without pressure from politicians.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) yesterday confirmed detaining a political secretary to a senior minister in Penang last Thursday. The Umno man is also said to own properties worth millions of ringgit.

“Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is very firm about this. He wants MACC to investigate without fear or favour,” a government source told The Malaysian Insider.

It is understood the senior minister and his staff are disappointed with the political secretary as he has smeared the government’s name and fight against corruption.

“The minister feels betrayed as he trusted the man,” a source said.

The man was arrested after MACC officials from its Putrajaya headquarters raided an apartment in Teluk Air Tawar at 3.30pm on Thursday and seized the cash in bundles of RM5, RM10, RM50 and RM100 notes.

It was reported that a 4WD vehicle registered under the name of a Pulau Tikus-based company was also seized, along with a BMW registered in the name of a person from Sarawak.

The political secretary has been under investigation since late last year after allegations cropped up that he had secured properties by being the middleman in deals for approval of multi-million ringgit projects.

Several pro-Umno blogs have identified the political secretary but MACC have declined to name him.

The MACC then had his bank accounts were frozen. It is not know whether this is related to the large amount of cash found on him in the past week.

The MACC had then successfully seized several of his properties, including four luxury cars and four houses. The commission has launched an investigation into the purchased properties located in the Klang Valley.

Several other people linked to the case have also been hauled up to assist in investigations.

The MACC recently cleared several top politicians from both sides of the divide but said investigations were going on for other high-profile cases. It has also reported that 50 people have been hauled up for graft in Penang for the whole of 2009.

The Najib Administration has put fighting corruption as a key target in its National Key Results Areas (NKRAs) under the Government Transformation Plan (GTP) released late last month.

But the MACC has been fighting public perception that it only targets opposition politicians and not those from the ruling Barisan Nasional federal government.

MACC chief commissioner Datuk Abu Kassim Mohamed and his men have said that they conduct investigations without fear or favour and it’s up to the prosecutors to take their case to court when enough evidence is found.

The MACC probed a total of 939 cases last year of which 633 have been brought to the legal department for further action.

Asri urges review of Islamic laws on banned words

By G. Manimaran, Bahasa Malaysia Editor

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 15 — Influential cleric Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin (picture) has come out to ask all states to review their Islamic enactments that bar non-Muslims from using terms and words such as ‘Allah’, saying laws should be updated from time to time.

The former Perlis mufti defended Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad’s proposal for Selangor to review laws such as its Non-Islamic Religion Enactment 1988 (Control of Propagations Among Muslims) that has raised the ire of some Muslims.

“Yes, I feel the proposal should be considered as part of contemporary development. The requirements from the past and present are not the same at all,” Asri told The Malaysian Insider in an exclusive interview yesterday.

Khalid’s proposal came in the wake of the controversial High Court ruling last Dec 31 when the Catholic weekly Herald was given the constitutional right to use the word ‘Allah’ to describe the Christian God among the Catholic congregation to the consternation of Muslims who say its exclusive to them.

“If the Internal Security Act (ISA) can be reviewed, don’t tell me these others laws cannot be reviewed,” he said, pointing out there are many words and phrases that have been barred from usage by non-Muslims.

Ten of Malaysia’s 13 states have banned non-Muslims from using up to 35 Arabic terms including the word ‘Allah’, ‘solat’ or prayers and even ‘masjid’ or mosque.

“How can we propagate our religion to others if we stop them (non-Muslims) from using certain words,” he asked.

Asri said the government should issue clear guidelines on such usage rather than rely on enactments.

“For example, the words masjid and rasul (prophet) can be used in the proper context... so don’t tell me we will take action against them, or arrest them for using the word ‘Allah’.

“Let us have discussions and do studies, maybe we can come to a conclusion to review or keep the word exclusive,” said the cleric who is facing a charge by the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) for preaching without obtaining the necessary accreditation.

Asri, who was the country’s youngest mufti when he was appointed in 2006 in Perlis until he resigned two years later, lamented that such proposals have been dismissed without even a chance to be considered.

“I like this issue to be studied because I am worried that Islam will be seen as a tool that is used to pressure other people. I want Islam to be seen as a religion for all, a religion that practice moderation.

“In fact in states like Selangor and Johor, the state anthems use the word ‘Allah’, the police crest has the word ‘Allah’ just like the Royal Navy. They all have non-Muslim personnel so how does it work then.

“That is why we need to redefine the words that can be used or cannot be used by taking into account contemporary needs,” he added.

In Selangor, non-Muslims are barred from using 25 words either orally or in writing according to the Non-Islamic Religion Enactment 1988 (Control of Propagations Among Muslims). Among the words are Allah, Firman Allah (Allah’s decree), solat (daily prayers), Rasul (prophet), mubaligh (missionary), mufti, iman (faith), Kaabah (the Holy cubicle), Qiblat (direction in which the Muslims pray), and Haji (Muslims who have done his pilgrimage),

Selangor has also banned non-Muslims from using 10 other terms such as subhanallah, insya-Allah, astaghfirullahlah, masya-Allah and Allahuakbar orally or in writing. Those found guilty of using such terms can be fined up to RM3,000 or jailed for up to two years, or both.

Similar enactments are found in nine other states but not used in Sabah, Sarawak, Penang and the Federal Territory. Malacca, which does not have a sultan, has banned more words and phrases than most states.

The Selangor Islamic Affairs Council (Mais) deputy secretary Abdul Halem Hapiz Salihin had said the controversial ‘Allah’ ruling is against the Non-Islamic Religion Enactment 1988 (Control of Propagations Among Muslims).

But Khalid had recommended that all religious laws banning such words or terms should be reviewed as they are outdated, bringing him into open dispute with Kulim Bandar Baharu MP Zulkifli Noordin

Zulkifli, who is from PKR, lodged a police report against Khalid, saying the PAS Shah Alam division chief should be investigated under the Sedition Act for being seditious, insulting and affecting racial harmony.

Khalid sought an audience with the Sultan of Selangor, who is the head of religion, and was advised to offer his opinion through proper channels if he wanted a review of such laws.

Asri said the government should take the initiative to review the state laws. The federal government has no jurisdiction over religious laws which are under the purview of the states.

“I feel the government should remember that the issue should not be monopolised by the conservatives or traditionalists who want to maintain their position in society. Instead, they should get opinions from everybody if they want to encourage the 1Malaysia concept

“The government should invite moderate ulamas and not the conservatives. In this regard, I would like to commend Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who invited everyone to give their views,” Asri said, referring to a recent Institute of Islamic Understanding discussion on the ‘Allah’ issue which involved politicians from Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat.

PKR party polls delayed to end-2010

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 15 — Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s (PKR) direct supreme council election which was slated for the party’s May congress has been postponed to year-end.

This six-month delay is for the party to make adjustments after the constitutional amendment mandating the new method was approved by the Registrar of Society (RoS) a fortnight ago.

It is likelier to be held in November after Hari Raya Aidilfitri. The deferral has been passed by the supreme council and PKR’s political bureau.

Branch leaders have been briefed about this development.

Secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (picture) confirmed that the Congress proper will happen in May but without the direction election.

Speaking at Rantau Pannjang last night he explained that branch AGMs will be conducted throughout March as a prelude to the national congress

“There will be no election (in May). That will happen at the convention at the end of the year,” said Saifuddin

The amendment will not empower every member to elect the party leadership, which is unprecedented in the history of political parties in Malaysia.

“This will mean all 460,000 members will take part in choosing the national leadership, thanks to this new constitutional amendment.

“This restructuring empowers all members, and effectively makes PKR the first political party to do so.

“The direct vote to every member will lead to leadership which meets the aspirations of the people,” he said.

He took the opportunity to take a swipe at the Barisan Nasional (BN), saying they always speak of change, but only in cosmetic terms and still mirrored by racial politics.

“The administrations of Mahathir, Pak Lah (Tun Abdullah Badawi) and now Najib have always been influenced by the politics of race, rivalry and bickering. They are not built on principles of federalism.

“Denying states’ rights. Principles which undermine the people’s interest,” he stated.

Responding to the possibility Pakatan Rakyat may make a police report over the country’s first submarine — of suspect specification following its initial inoperability — Saifuddin said the matter was embarrassing.

He said any action will be discussed at Pakatan’s shadow cabinet ministry of defence committee.

“Parliament’s mid-march sitting will be our best platform to ask for a ministerial white paper to explain the situation,” he added.

On the road to reviving Perak

A quiet fishing village like this is not a common image that most Malaysians have of Perak, but the state government aims to change this with its efforts to revive the tourism industry in the state. - Picture by Choo Choy May

By Clara Chooi - The Malaysian Insider

IPOH, Feb 15 — Every Chinese New Year, the Plus tolled expressway records a 20 per cent increase in traffic volume entering the state capital of Ipoh from the south, or nearly 6,000 vehicles more than the daily 28,000.

The surge in volume in the south is also repeated in the northern entrance and the trunk roads, explaining the bumper-to-bumper crawl at the toll exits and in the city centre itself during the festive season.

It also means a lot more people are in Ipoh, returning to their hometown to celebrate the lunar new year with their family and to catch up with friends who have also returned or stayed back to make their fortune.

What about the other towns in Perak then? More importantly, what does this indicate?

The whopping figures show that Perak, once a vibrant tin-rich state where the first car in the country was registered, is still suffering from a major brain drain and has lost its human capital to other states in Malaysia.

Figures from the state Statistics Department show that among all 13 states in the country, Perak, despite being the second largest state in Peninsular Malaysia, suffers from the lowest population growth rate of just 1.8 percent from 2008 to last year.

It shares that position with Negeri Sembilan, which however has a population size of less than half of Perak’s 2.4 million people. Surprisingly, the states of Kedah and Terengganu have the highest growth rate at 2.4 per cent.

Perak state executive councillor Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon told The Malaysian Insider that the state government is aware of the difficult task to turn the bleak situation around.

“We know of all this, that we have been losing out to the other states. It is not easy to retain the people here – many of them leave in search of better opportunities elsewhere. The problem here is that the outside pull factor from other states are too strong so we need to tackle that,” the first-term assemblyman said.

Dr Mah expressed confidence that the Barisan Nasional administration is already on the right track and was capable enough to achieve its goals, saying it is just a matter of time before the people will begin to see the changes in Perak and reap the fruits of their labour.


“We have been working since we took on government in February last year and we have drawn up a comprehensive plan on how to revive the state,” he said.

Dr Mah pointed out that many acclaimed universities and colleges have set up campuses in Perak in recent years, including institutions like Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Universiti Teknologi Mara, Universiti Teknologi Petronas and others.

“We also have other universities to be set up soon, like the defence university in Segari and then we have the Perak Medical College and many others.

“Through these educational centres, we can generate the human capital and skilled labour. The next step is to retain these talents and convince them to stay,” he added.

To do that, Dr Mah said the state government needs to create more job opportunities and boost its service sector.

“Attracting more foreign investments is one way to go. Like we announced recently that Perak has managed to attract a total of RM11.6bil in investments for the whole of last year.

“However, we also need to look at the kind of job opportunities that these investments can create – we need to increase the demand for professionals and talented youths and not just for manual labour,” he added.

Dr Mah stressed that Perak’s strong points lies in its agricultural, manufacturing, foundry and tourism sectors and there was a need for people to capitalise on them.

“We have so many tourism products that I feel have yet to be tapped into so what we are doing now is to revive our state tourism council so that we can create better packages to attract more tourists into Perak.

“Many people do not even know about the kind of products that we have – the Lost World of Tambun, the Royal Belum State Park, white water rafting in Gopeng, the Rajah Brooke Birdwing butterfly sanctuary, the Sam Poh Tong temple... there are so many places,” he said.

Dr Mah also noted that food tourism iss one of Perak’s strong points that needs to be capitalised.

“Now, many tourists just stop over here to eat our good food and then leave. We need to package our tourism products in such a way that can make them to stay not only for the food,” he said.

In the agricultural sector, Dr Mah pointed out that Perak was the country’s biggest exporters of ducks and one of the largest pig breeders.

“This is a multimillion ringgit industry that we are talking about. The potential is great,” he said.

He revealed that the state government was now working to find ways to legalise all farmers in the state as well as those working in the cottage industries without permits.


“Why not legalise these people so they can help us to facilitate this development. Look at our shoemakers. We have over 500 of them in Menglembu and Lahat alone and these shoemakers make high-quality shoes for famous brands like Primavera and Bonia for example,” he said.

Dr Mah disclosed that the state government under Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir is looking to stimulate the economy further by improving its connectivity.

“We were talking about increasing our population density for the purpose of further development. However, to facilitate this density, we will need connectivity. To do this, we have to improve our public transportation system,” he said.

He said that apart from the new Meru Raya bus terminal, the state government also planned to redevelop the old and dilapidated Medan Kidd bus station to create “Ipoh Sentral”, similar to KL Sentral that will function as a seamless, integrated public transportation hub for Perak.

“All the transport services will merge in this hub – the double tracking railway line, the bus services for intercity and intracity travels and then the taxi services.”

Dr Mah added that to add even more value to the project, the state government could create a tourist square or plaza near the proposed hub.

“We have the Majestic Hotel at the old train station, the High Court complex and the town hall in the surrounding areas and these are all heritage sites.

“We could put up monuments depicting the history if Ipoh and allow vendors to set up stalls,” he said.

But Dr Mah admitted that Ipoh, once popularly known for its dodgy massage parlours and spa services that sprouted at the height of the tin boom, is lacking in entertainment outlets such as shopping malls, bars and clubs

“It is true that we need these outlets to draw in more youths and expand our expatriate population.

He however noted that the state government will not close its doors to entrepreneurs who are willing to open up such outlets in the city, provided that no hanky-panky is involved and all strict procedures were followed.

“Why not, if they are sincere and they can help the state government, I think it is good to encourage businessmen to open up these entertainment outlets,” he said.

He believed that the current and future proposals show that Perak is on the right path to development which has seen Ipoh expand to include new commercial area such as Greentown and Ipoh Garden East.

“I am proud to say that over the past few years, not a single hotel has shut down. In fact, more hotel outlets, inns and budget motels have been set up.

This tells you that people are coming back here these days. We just need to get them to stay,” he said.

For now, the traffic congestion in Ipoh and other towns only happens during the lunar new year but Dr Mah is confident proper planning will eliminate such congestion and attract more to return to Perak and Ipoh, the city that tin built.

Hanky-panky in PM's Dept ?

KUALA LUMPUR – Following the nabbing of a political secretary – with RM2mil stashed at an apartment he was staying at near Butterworth – the attention now would surely turn to the senior minister he is working for.

Several clues point to the suspect being Hasbie Sattar, the political secretary to Minister in Prime Minister’s Department, Nor Mohamed Yakcop, who is in charge of the Economic Planning Unit.

The fourth floor unit of the Sri Molek apartment was said to have been rented by the minister’s election team weeks before the March 8, 2008 general election and later used as a transit home for the minister’s staff.

nor-mohamad-yakcop-3The apartment is located at Teluk Air Tawar, on the fringes of the Tasek Gelugor parliamentary constituency, where Nor is the MP.

Besides the money – stacked in bundles of RM5, RM10, RM50 and RM100 – anti-graft officers who raided the place also seized a 4WD vehicle registered under the name of a Pulau Tikus-based company and a BMW registered in the name of a person from Sarawak.

Coincidentally, Hasbie is a Sarawakian.

Pol sec since Abdullah's tenure as PM

He was appointed Nor’s political secretary during Abdullah’s tenure as PM and followed him to the Prime Minister’s Department after Najib took over the helm of the country in April last year.

Two months ago, there were speculative reports that the political secretary was under the scrutiny of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission for corruption and abuse of power.

macccorruptionHe had reportedly a ‘substantial but unaccountable assets’ in his possession, which include luxury cars and homes.

The MACC, at that time, had reportedly obtained an order to freeze several of the properties as well as his bank accounts to facilitate investigations under the Anti Money Laundering Act.

It was also said to be focusing on alleged kickbacks received from the approval of several multi-million ringgit projects.

It is believed several of the properties seized were under the names of people believed to be proxies for the political secretary, and investigators are expected to question people whose names are registered as owners.

At this moment, there is neither talk nor reports that Nor too is being investigated. No doubt, however, there would be quarters also calling for a probe into the minister.

Prior to winning the Tasek Gelugor parliamentary seat, he was a Senator and the Finance Minister II under the administration of former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

In such position, one could imagine how close the minister was at the pulse point of approving projects and numerous fund allocations.

One can also imagine that current Finance Minister I and Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is in a precarious situation now about whether or not to retain Nor in the EPU or take some credible steps to clean any mess that could possibly surface arising from the arrest of the political secretary.

Pledge to wipe out graft

Abdullah, in his time, had said he wanted to wipe out corruption from among Malaysians and went on to give more ‘teeth’ to anti-corruption officers by setting up the MACC. This also paved the way for Najib to continue with the job – which has already borne some fruits and, along the way, some controversies.

teoh-beng-hockWhile most Malaysians want to see the MACC doing its job without fear, favour and prejudice, there had been question marks about its mode of investigations and Najib has ordered a royal commission of inquiry into the matter following the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock.

By now, most people already know that Teoh had been questioned by MACC officers before he was found dead on July 16 at the fifth floor of a Shah Alam building, The Plaza Masalam building houses the Selangor’s MACC’s office on the 14th floor.

In the Teluk Air Tawar case, it is learnt that the MACC officers had grilled the suspect, together with two service staff, for five hours into how the RM2mil had been accumulated and kept at the apartment.

If the probe provides strong evidence that there is ‘hanky panky ‘ within the PM’s Department and Najib shows his courage to throw the book at the culprits – no matter what their positions are – it would surely boost his image as being a prime minister earnestly intent to wipe out all shades of graft in his administration.

The tiger has struck

In the decades of being an independent nation, there had been consistent calls by the rakyat for corrupt leaders - political, corporate and others – to be weeded out so that integrity remains intact among Malaysians.

Ironically, the political secretary’s case had come at the start of the Year of the Tiger. The beast has struck and continues to prowl. How many victims will it maul and prey upon? – Malaysian Mirror

The Umno-Perkasa route to keep power

This team’s sole aim is not about keeping power in Malay hands, for that is guaranteed by the Federal Constitution, but keeping power in the hands of corrupt and self-serving elite. And to stay in power, this group is willing to pit the Malays against the non-Malays, the Muslims against the non-Muslims.

THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER

There is a dangerous tag team developing in Malaysia. One that involves some in Umno and the new kid on the block, Perkasa.

This team’s sole aim is not about keeping power in Malay hands, for that is guaranteed by the Federal Constitution, but keeping power in the hands of corrupt and self-serving elite. And to stay in power, this group is willing to pit the Malays against the non-Malays, the Muslims against the non-Muslims.

There is enough evidence of this in the past few weeks. The demolition of illegal food stalls in Georgetown, Penang, is turned into a racial issue. It will always be a case of oppression on racial grounds, never about the law being upheld.

The same with the civil service proposal for a gathering instead of the annual procession to mark Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) birthday in Penang. State Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng is labelled as an “anti-Malay’ for a proposal that never saw light of day except in a document.

It is always about them and us, if the few “champions” of the Malay community is to be believed. They need these causes to remain relevant to the community, otherwise they cease to exist, cease to have posts, cease to be important.

The key to pulling the rug under their feet might lie with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his 1Malaysia concept. He has opened up the economy, urged for unity and raised the spectre of competition and reducing subsidies to ensure the country moves forward to its Vision 2020.

The Umno president has spoken up about being Malaysian even when his aides continue harping on Malay rights. It reflects that he may be well meaning but appears powerless to stop the rise of the right wing.

Or maybe Najib believes that he needs them to keep the non-Malays in place. Who knows unless he opens his mouth further to keep his party in check.

After all, Datuk Nasir Safar paid the price for his derogatory terms that have no place in any society, let alone 1Malaysia. Yet, we have to thank Nasir because he showed that racism still exists in the country, if not just in Umno, despite 52 years of being independent as a nation of many peoples.

We have to battle this racism that is being used to prop up the corrupt.

The battle between Perkasa with its allies in Umno and the rest of the country is so critical because a defeat to right wingers will alter the tone of Malaysia forever. It will change what our forefathers had dreamed of Malaya and later Malaysia.

The likes of MCA, MIC, Gerakan, PPP, PBS, PBB, SUPP and other East Malaysian-based Barisan Nasional cannot be bystanders in this battle. Some of them have to overcome infighting to see the bigger picture and the war to keep Malaysia a home for all.

Not a place where the few can continue to lord over us, using racism to keep us at each others’ throats while they enjoy life under the Malaysian sun.

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/

Towards A Developed Malaysia (Part Two of Six)

It is “We, the people” who will drive Malaysia towards Montreal. We will get there by developing our people, not by building fancy freeways or driving Formula One cars. If we do not develop the skills of our people, those freeways will become nothing but killing alleys, and the cars lethal machines, literally and metaphorically.
M. Bakri Musa
[Presented at the Third Annual Alif Ba Ta Forum, “1Malaysia Towards Vision 2020,” Rochester Institute of Technology, NY, December 5, 2009, organized by Kelab UMNO NY-NJ. The presentation can be viewed at www.youtube.com (search under “Bakri Musa RIT”) or through this link: http://www.youtube.com/user/alchemistar ]

Next: Diamond of Development

In my book Towards A Competitive Malaysia, I relate how the four cardinal elements – leaders, people, culture, and geography – govern a society’s trajectory of development. Each element influences and in turn is being influenced by the other three, as illustrated by my “Diamond of Development” diagrammatic representation. When all four factors are favorable, we have a virtuous cycle propelling that society quickly towards progress. When one element is wanting, it quickly exerts its negative influence on the other three, and soon we would have a vicious cycle leading towards a quick downward spiral.
An important caveat to my diamond of development is that it presumes peace. When a nation is at war or in conflict, the only certainty is death and destruction, not development. This is a much-needed reminder for a plural society like Malaysia. Just look at Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka.

I do not wish to discuss geography as there is nothing we can do to alter it. As for leaders, we are fortunate to live in a democracy and can choose and reject our leaders freely. As for culture, Dr. Azly will discuss that, specifically the role of education in changing it.

In this presentation I will discuss “us,” the people, and how we could mobilize ourselves so we could influence our leaders and culture, as well as take full advantage of our geographical attributes. It is “We, the people” who will drive Malaysia towards Montreal. We will get there by developing our people, not by building fancy freeways or driving Formula One cars. If we do not develop the skills of our people, those freeways will become nothing but killing alleys, and the cars lethal machines, literally and metaphorically.

The challenge then is in enhancing the skills of our people and making them more productive.

If we were to measure any human attribute, we would find that its distribution in the population would follow a normal curve. At one end would be the fortunate few blessed with super ability; at the other, those less fortunate. The vast majority would, as expected, have average ability.

For illustrative purposes, I will choose an attribute that has minimal emotive association: The ability to fish. At one end would be those who have the uncanny knack of finding the best fishing holes and hauling in the trophy catches. At the other, those who would not even know which end of the fishing pole to stick in the water. The vast majority would be average, able to catch a pound or two, enough to feed the family but not to win fishing derbies.

If I were to do a similar survey of another group, for example the Polynesians, the curve would be also bell-shaped, but it would be shifted to the right, to use the language of the statistician. Meaning, the average Polynesian would catch more, and their star fishermen would haul in even bigger trophies than ours. This is not surprising; surrounded as they are by the ocean, they learn to fish soon after taking their first breath.

On the other hand if I were to do a similar survey of sub-Saharan tribesmen, I would still get a normal curve, but this time it would be shifted to the left. Meaning, more of them would not know which end of the pole to stick in the water. This is not surprising as the only water they see is at the occasional oasis.

This is all mildly interesting, a reflection of the diversity of humankind, of divine design. Not so to the nationalists and chauvinists. To them this is a serious matter of tribal pride. The nationalists differ from the chauvinists only in degree, not in kind.

Forgetting about tribal pride, if as a penghulu (village head) I wish to increase the amount of fish caught by my people, what strategy should I adopt? Should I focus on the super-achievers, the average villagers, or the underachievers?

Focusing on the super-achievers would be the easiest and most rewarding. They are already highly motivated; they love what they do. With the slightest support and encouragement they would take off and haul in the biggest fish. Then the rest of society would bask in the reflected glory and share the bragging rights. Because of the immediate and visible results, it would also be easier to secure even greater funding for them in the next budget. Their success would also inspire the rest to strive harder so they too could reap the rewards and adulations.

However, teaching these super achievers is no easy task, especially in finding the teachers. These superb fishermen would be more interested in fishing, not lecturing; the adage of those who can, do; those who can’t, teach. The other point is that even if you do not give them any extra attention, these super achievers will do well anyway; all society has to do is not stand in their way.

Supporting these super achievers would also send a clear statement of society’s values: the recognition and rewarding of excellence. With the message percolating down, that society would be inspired towards excellence.

There are also good grounds for focusing on the underachievers. For one, it would be easy to teach them. Improving their results would also be easy as they start from a very low base. There would be challenges of course; for example, their commitment and motivation would be low.

There is another –and moral – reason for helping them. It is the right thing to do. They too are a part of our community, and being a part of a community means just that: we are in it together. Even if they could only catch the occasional fish, that would be achievement enough; you would see that in their faces. It would also mean their being less dependent on society.

The more pragmatic reason for teaching them is that when they are busy fishing, even if they were not to catch anything, they would be occupied and not have time to bother the other fishermen or create mischief, like swimming in the water and scaring the fish away.

As for the middle group, teaching them should also be easy; merely provide them with better rods, stronger lines, and bigger hooks. In large volumes those things are also fairly cheap.

Now consider the aggregate results of the different strategies. Even if we were to double the yield of the superb fishermen (a major challenge as they are already at their best), their combined contributions to the total catch would still not be much because of their small number. The same holds with the underachievers, and even more so.

The greatest aggregate yield would be if we were to focus on the huge middle group. If we were to improve their individual production by only 10 percent, their total contribution would be tremendous. Sure, they would not haul in the trophy catches and we would not have the opportunity to brag about their achievements, but where it counts – the total poundage of catch – you could not beat their contributions. This gain would also be the most sustainable and enduring as it is broad based.

Nehru’s India Versus Tunku’s Malaysia

My fish story is not mere fanciful imagination. Consider the approaches to education in India under Nehru and Malaysia under Tunku Abdul Rahman during the late 1950s.

The Cambridge-educated Nehru believed that smart Indians should be given the opportunities he had. Since they all could not go to Cambridge, Nehru established a string of elite colleges, The Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), modeled after Imperial College and MIT, the best. In short, he focused on the super-achievers.

Tunku was also Cambridge-educated, but he was a humble man and his goals more modest. More critically, he knew the limitations of his country, especially its resources. Equally important, he sensed the acute needs of his people; he therefore emphasized schools over colleges.

Soon after taking over, Tunku’s Minister of Education Tun Razak embarked on the massive Operation Torch (Gerakan Lampu Suloh), training thousands of teachers and building hundreds of new schools, especially in the villages. In my youth, within a ten-mile radius of my kampong there were no fewer than seven new schools being built. It was a remarkable civil and social engineering initiative. It truly brought light to the countryside hitherto dark because of illiteracy.

Childhood illiteracy has long ago been wiped out in Malaysia but remains a severe blight in India, afflicting far too many. As economists now acknowledge the major role of education in development, it is not a surprise that Malaysia outstrips India. From 1970 to 2000, India’s per capita GDP merely doubled while Malaysia’s nearly quadrupled. There are of course other contributing factors. For one, Malaysia embraces free enterprise; India is enamored with socialism, but there is no denying the importance of providing basic education to citizens.

A more practical test of the wisdom of the two strategies would be this. Today, if there were no immigration rules, millions of Indians would grab the opportunity to migrate to Malaysia, but few Malaysians would opt to move to India.

This did not mean that Nehru’s worthy efforts were wasted. Many of those IIT graduates went on to great western universities and later became CEOs of Citibank and Coca Cola, or professors at leading universities. A few went on to win the Nobel Prize. Fellow Indians back home rightly bask in the reflected glory; alas back in their villages, things remains pitiable and pathetic.

Even if those successful Indians had wanted to return, their motherland had minimal capacity to use their talent. Perhaps in the long run the average Indian would benefit from Nehru’s bold vision, but then in the long run, as Keynes famously noted, we are all dead.

Next: Part Three of Six: Encouraging Malays Entrepreneurs and Scientists

MALAYSIAKINI...


1. I can understand Malaysiakini not wanting to be labelled as anti-Semitic but I don't think it is necessary to omit certain words which give a totally different interpretation of what I said in my speech at the General Conference for the support of Al-Quds.

2. What I said was "Jews had always been a problem in European countries".

3. You omitted "in European countries" thus implying that what I said was not just the Europeans but Jews were a problem for everyone including the Muslims.

4. I would like to point out that in the past when Europeans confined (the Jews) to ghettos, and periodically massacred (them), they used to seek refuge in Muslim countries (of North Africa and the Ottoman empire). They couldn't have gone there if Muslim countries were less hospitable than the Europeans. Even today Jews live in Muslim countries including in Iran. It was only after the United States welcome the Jews that they ceased to migrate to Muslim countries.

5. For the hospitality of the Muslim countries they were repaid by the Zionist by seizing Palestine to create the State of Israel. Not content with seizing Arab land they went on to expel the largely Muslim Palestinian.

6. All that I say here can be verified by the history books of Europe. If Muslims are antagonistic towards the Jews today, it is because of the way the Jews repaid them for their hospitality.

New land policy for Orang Asli: boon or bane?

Malaysiakini

A new land policy purported to be a boon for the 150,000-strong Orang Asli community has all but been received as good news, given the many questions surrounding the announcement, said activists.

Unless further details are forthcoming from the government, the policy announced by Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin last December may even undermine the rights and interests of the Orang Asli, they alleged.

On Dec 4 last year, Muhyiddin announced that some 20,000 Orang Asli families will be given by state governments freehold land titles for residential use and for oil palm, rubber and other crop cultivation under an agreement between the government and developers.

The number made up 72 per cent of the total of 27,841 Orang Asli families and involve 50,563.51 hectares of land in Peninsular Malaysia, said Muhyiddin according to reports.

The size of the land for each family would range between two to six hectares for farming and 5,000 sq feet to one tenth of a hectare for housing, depending on what the state governments can afford, Muhyiddin said further.

At a press conference in Kuala Lumpur organised by the Bar Council recently, Orang Asli activists said the policy raised more questions than answers.

For one thing, asked the council’s Orang Asli Affairs Committee head Augustine Anthony, how is the plan expected to improve the lot of Orang Aslis when it envisages them to be paying for the costs – such as surveying costs, premiums, registration, and “other payments advanced by the developers” – of the land ‘granted’ to them?

The reception of the freehold land titles, said Anthony, may result in the Orang Asli families concerned incurring debts of up to thousands of ringgit as a result of the developers’ initial outlays on the land.

“The methods of financing have not been discussed and revealed in depth,” said Anthony, and these must be ironed out and explained to the Orang Asli in detail before any deals are cut.

Another question raised by Muhyiddin’s announcement is the effect of the policy on the Orang Aslis’ communal traditions of land ownership, given the plan to give individual titles to the heads of Orang Asli families.

Social activist Tijah Yok Chopil, meanwhile, expressed concern that the varying availability of land in the different states may lead to confusion as to which families qualified for how much land, or what is to be done when the size of the land grants differ from one family to another.

Compounding the problem even further is Muhyiddin’s statement that the land policy plan bars those awarded the land grants from filing any claims in court.

“This is a restriction that is against the Federal Constitution,” said Tijah, citing the right of every citizen to access to legal justice.

Former Bar Council president Ambiga Sreenevasan, similarly, lamented the restriction recourse to the court, and described the land policy as a “terrible bargain to the Orang Asli”.

Ezam Praises Zahrain's Difficult Decision To Quit Party

JASIN, Feb 15 (Bernama) -- Former Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) youth chief Mohamad Ezam Mohd Nor praised Bayan Baru member of parliament Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohamed Hashim for his courage in making the decision to quit Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

He said it must have been a difficult decision for Zahrain to leave the party as he was close to PKR advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim but said that there must be a strong reason for him to do so.

"Zahrain is no ordinary politician. I was involved in setting up the PKR and I know all PKR leaders and I can say that Zahrain is a mature political leader, a man of principle and has sharp observation of the political scenario," he told reporters after giving a ceramah here last night.

He said Zahrain's departure from PKR would greatly affect the party.

Zahrain, who is former Penang PKR chairman, quit the party on Friday.

Anwar Ibrahim: Najib, Rosmah, This Country Is Not Yours



LGE urges Zahrain to resign fm IGP

No heritage for hindu temples.

Whilst at least a few Christian churches, and almost all mosques can be of historical and heritage and in fact even the ruins of a non functioning church can be made a heritage site (refer The Star 23/1/10 at page N33).

But the last Indian Railway settlement in Sentul KL, the Kg Pandan Indian settlement both settlement in Penang Island – Kg Buah Pala, the thousands of hindu temples in the plantations which was the economic backbone of Malaysia, hundreds of Tamil schools hundreds of hindu crematoriums etc are not preserved as the history and heritage of Malaysia.

one-malaysia9In fact on a day to day basis these Indian structures as reported in the Tamil press are either demolished to be demolished or relocated just because it sits on prime land and big monies to be made by both UMNO and also PKR, DAP and PAS as the Indians are the soft targets without much political or economical clout.

heritage1

MRSM 817 Bright Indian UPSR students excluded also from fully residential schools

one-malaysia8On the 1st Februari 5,900 students only would be taken into the 39 Mara Junior Science Colleges throughout the country. Another 6,600 places in fully residential schools for high achieving malay muslim UPSR students.

But at least the 817 Indian students from the 523 Tamil schools who all scored 7As’ should be given places at MRSM, as these Indian students might be negatively influenced and converted to Islam in residential schools is a valid fear that parents have. So we ask for one Tamil MRSM like the MSRM, PDRM, MRSM, ATM and MRSM Felda that the malays have. (Note : Malay muslim students can only get a maximum of 5As whereas the tamil students have obtained 7As).

P. Uthayakumar

mrsm-817

Malaysian Indian minority and human rights violations annual report 2009 to 150 countries (NST 8/1/2010 page 12)

PKR Selangor State land denied, 45% of Selangor Tamil Schools pupils fare poorly in UPSR

By the stroke of the pen of the PKR Selangor Menteri Besar, (MB) all 98 Tamil schools in Selangor could be given state government land by government land by virtue of Section 76 of the National Land Code (refer The Sun 6/1/2010 page 6). But this PKR M.B would not do it. But he has the cheek to pretend that he is concerned that 45% of Selangor Tamil School pupils fared poorly in UPSR. But he blames the parents and hands out some peanuts to these Tamil schools. This MB uses his Indian mandores like the previous UMNO regime (ref Sinar 6/1/2010 page S3). How then is PKR, DAP any different from the previous UMNO regime?

P. Uthayakumar

45-145-245-445-3

Kg.Medan: UMNO hide’s truth of “ethnic cleansing”

Court rejects bid to quash ban on Kg Medan book (Malaysiakini)

511

The Kuala Lumpur High Court today rejected an author’s application to quash the government’s decision to ban his book on the Kampung Medan riots, almost nine years ago.

NONEIn his decision, Justice Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof ruled that the then-deputy home minister’s decision to ban the Tamil language book, titled ‘March 8′, was valid as he (deputy minister) considered that the circulation of the book would be prejudicial to internal security and public order.

He said, the deputy minister in this case, had absolute discretion to exercise the powers of the minister in prohibiting the publication and the printing of the book, after considering views from the police and the ministry that the book would be prejudicial to internal security, and “poison the minds of the readers, especially the Indian community”.

In dismissing the judicial review application, he, however did not order for costs because the case involved public interest.

Mohamed Ariff is the same judge who overturned the banning of the book, ‘Muslim Women and the Challenge of Extremism’ by the home ministry on Jan 25.

He said, each case had different facts of the case, and to arrive at a decision, he had to consider all factors.

Mohamed Ariff said, there was a need for balancing, in exercising the judicial function, and that he also took into account, cultural and sensitivity factors before making the decision.

On Feb 23, 2007, engineer-turned-lawyer K Arumugam filed an application for a judicial review, seeking to declare null and void the order made by the government on Nov 21, 2006, prohibiting the publication, sale and distribution of the book on grounds that it was a threat to national security.

In his application, Arumugam, 51, named the internal security minister and the deputy internal security minister at that time, as well as the Malaysian government, as respondents.

Earlier, Arumugam’s counsel Edward Saw argued that the decision to ban the book was irrational and unreasonable to the right of freedom of expression.

He also said the deputy minister failed to adduce evidence that the circulation of the book could be prejucial to internal security as the book was in circulation with 3,000 copies before it was banned on Nov 21, 2006.

Senior federal counsel Azizah Nawawi had submitted that the deputy minister at that time (Fu Ah Kiaw) had considered all views and information before prohibiting the book’s circulation.

Arumugam, when met by reporters, said he respected the court’s decision and would consult his lawyer on whether to appeal or otherwise.

- Bernama

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Political conspiracy? Politically democracy! — Soon Chuan Yean

FEB 14 — I am not a fan of political conspiracy theory. Trained as a political scientist, I feel such an approach does not provide comprehensive and analytical tools to observe a political scenario rationally if not objectively.

However, I am slowly contemplating this sort of political analysis, thanks to recent events in our political history.

The proper political theories and approaches that I have learned thus far are not helpful in making sense of what exactly is happening now in Malaysian Bolehland politics.

So I am tempted to resort to the conspiracy theory and then it starts to make some political (joke) sense.

First was the Perak fiasco, followed by the recent Federal Court decision declaring Zambry Abd Kadir as the rightful Perak Menteri Besar.

Second, the constant attacks and incidences of sabotage by the federal government against opposition-controlled states especially Selangor and Penang. This is then followed by the media hoo-ha on the possibility of Pakatan Rakyat’s MPs hopping parties.

Third, the second sodomy charge against Anwar.

Last but not least are the religious incidents such as the cow-head incident, the Allah issue, and the attacks on churches and mosques.

These provided a ‘platform’ for the political party-backed Malay-Muslim NGOs to protest and make racially charged remarks in an attempt to stir not only religious but ethnic tensions such as the recent protest against Guan Eng on the issue of hawkers’ licences in Penang.

How do these events fit into a conspiracy theory?

The Perak incident was the first attempt by Umno/BN to consolidate its power under Najib’s grip after losing their two thirds majority and five states to the opposition.

Power grabbing extends to the government, institutional or bureaucratic level. The constant campaigns to attack the PR are meant to weaken the PR’s image and reputation in the eyes of the rakyat and to thwart the day-to-day work functioning of state-level administration.

After creating a weak and incapable PR, which will also prove that the rakyat had made the wrong choice, the next step is to put the leader of the PR in prison. This is reminiscent of a Chinese saying “cut off the head of the dragon and the body of the dragon will be dismantled”.

Finally, to push the campaign further ahead, there is the attempt to create a platform of instability by stoking religious and ethnic tensions in order to allow the state to intervene and become the “pacifier.”

After a rethinking on my formal political science trainings and a glance at the democratisation processes around the region, I am beginning to become unconvinced about the possibility of conspiracy politics taking place in Malaysia.

The period of Ferdinand Marcos’ authoritarian rule in the Philippines has long gone after 1986 due to ‘People’s Power’. Likewise in Indonesia and Thailand, the New Order regime of Suharto and military rule in Thailand are things of the past due to the political pressure of the incremental demands of society for wider political participation and further democratisation.

In Malaysia, 308 was the cornerstone of our political change. The rakyat have showcased their political desire for change and reform.

The rakyat have experienced the ebbs and flows of political upheavals and deceit by the wielders of power.

Will the conspiracy theory work again? My political science case studies tell me that the rakyat’s political maturity has risen beyond conspiracy theories: a politically mature rakyat is on the move demanding deeper democracy. Watch out! — www.aliran.net

* Soon Chuan Yean is an Aliran exco member.

* This article is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.

PKR dares party quitters to vacate seats

By G. Manimaran - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 14 — PKR has dared five renegade lawmakers, including Bayan Baru MP Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohd Hashim, to resign from their seats to prove that they are upset with the party leadership and its struggles.

PKR election director Fuziah Salleh said the five should allow the electorate decide on their representatives to the state assemblies or parliament. Under current election laws, those who resign their seat cannot stand for re-election.

“I dare Zahrain and all PKR state assemblymen who had left to resign for by-elections to be held,” she told The Malaysian Insider via text message from the United States.

She is there with PAS Parit Buntar MP Mujahid Yusof Rawa and Umno Pulai MP Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed for a study trip.

“It is fair for the people to choose a representative that represents the party chosen by the people,” the Kuantan MP said.

Zahrain is the first MP to quit PKR while the assemblymen who have walked out of the party to be Independents are Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi (Behrang), Mohd Osman Jailu (Changkat Jering), Badrul Hisham Abdullah (Pelabuhan Klang) and Mohd. Radzhi Salleh (Lunas).

The Malaysian Insider understands that there is a possibility that five more MPs and a few other assemblymen will announce their resignation from the party within the next two weeks.

Zahrain announced his immediate resignation from PKR on Friday, citing disappointment with the party and a loss of faith with de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The former Penang PKR chief was facing a party disciplinary board inquiry for his harsh criticism of Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng when he decided to turn Independent in Parliament, reducing the Pakatan Rakyat to just 81 in the 222-seat parliament.

Fuziah said Zahrain should realise that he wasn’t elected in Election 2008 because of himself but definitely because he represented PKR.

“Now he is disappointed with the party’s leaders and struggles, so is he willing to quit the seat and not just the party,” Fuziah asked.

She said Zahrain and the four state reps could contest again if the law allowed it to happen.

“If the people want them and they have been doing service well, then they can win if they are Independents.

“Otherwise, if the people choose the party, the only party representatives will win,” she added.

Fuziah also said as party elections director, she will take the responsibility to ensure future candidates have the integrity to vacate their seats if they resign from the party, in a reference to Zahrain’s vow to keep his parliamentary seat until the next general election.

Ibrahim says ‘liberals’ jealous, threatened by Perkasa

Ibrahim (right) at Parliament with Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. - Picture by Jack Ooi

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 14 — Datuk Ibrahim Ali today laughed off criticisms by those he called “liberals”, saying they are threatened and jealous of his Malay rights group Perkasa’s growing popularity.

The Pasir Mas MP claimed these critics feared the group’s rapid growth and surging popularity “as a brand Malays can rely on”.

“Perkasa is now a brand every Malays talk about but many have attacked us, calling us a racist group and conservative hardliners because of what we fight for,” the outspoken Malay leader said when launching the group’s Wira, Wiranita and Wirawati wings here.

“But I say this to them, every time they say that, whatever they call us, we are confident that we are fighting for the right and just cause,” he said to a thunderous applause from some 300 of Perkasa supporters.

The outspoken Independent MP claimed some of Perkasa’s critics are from political parties and they envy Perkasa’s freer position to champion Malay rights without having to fear repelling non-Malay support.

Ibrahim’s Perkasa has been seen by the Malay grassroots as the substitute platform to champion what they feel as eroding Malay rights despite being the dominant race in the country.

Many of Perkasa’s supporters appear to be “disillusioned” Umno frustrated by

the open economic policies of its new president and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and feel that the nationalist party has failed to safeguard Malay interests.

Its growing support has also unleashed tirades from the more liberal elements within Umno and the opposition parties who label the group as “ultras” and “racists”.

But Ibrahim said such critiques are mere jealousy and denied being racist.

He also blasted its non-Malay critics as the racists saying that while Perkasa is fighting for what belongs to them, the “others” are “fighting for what is not theirs”.

“Almost 60 per cent of the country’s businesses are controlled by the Chinese. Even when there was the New Economic Policy, the private companies, which are dominated by them, had profited from the policy’s infrastructural projects,” he said, adding that Malays are still poor compared to other races despite forming the majority.

“So how are we racists? What we fight for is enshrined in the Federal Constitution but what they fight for is not,” he added.

Ibrahim then turned his attacks on the “liberal” Malays, saying that there is no such term and said Malays, in its essence, are a “traditional race” which should strive to protect Malay institutions like the monarchy.

These liberals, he added, have been the traitors to the “real Malay” cause and Perkasa will not allow them to halt its struggle to “restore” Malay dominancy.

“Persetankan mereka! (To hell with them),” he said to a thunderous applause.

The Kelantanese politican disclosed that Perkasa was growing rapidly and the formation. of the group’s three wings is testament to its rising popularity.

He announced the group will hold its first congress on March 27 and has sought to have the Selangor ruler to open the meeting.

Perkasa is targeting between 8,000 to 10,000 supporters to attend the inaugural congress, Ibrahim added.

Najib: We’ll help Australian reps better understand Anwar’s trial

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 14 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak (pic) said Wisma Putra had been tasked to explain the facts pertaining to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy case to Australian lawmakers for them to get a clearer of the case.

Najib said the Australian lawmakers probably did not know the real situation.

“We will explain and engage with the Autralian MPs. Wisma Putra will handle that,” he said when asked on steps taken by Malaysia on the matter.

Najib was met by reporters at a Chinese New Year open house organised by Gerakan at Dewan Wawasan, Menara PGRM in Cheras, here, today.

It was reported that more than 50 Australian lawmakers had lodged a formal protest, urging Malaysia to drop Anwar’s sodomy trial.

Member of governing Labor party Michael Danby handed the protest note to Malaysian High Commissioner Salman Ahmad in Canberra on Friday.

Also present at the open house were Najib’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his wife Puan Sri Norainee Abdul Rahman.

Najib and Muhyiddin spent more than an hour at the function which was attended by more than 3,000 people. — Bernama

Perception versus perception

Let me close by giving you a hint. The ‘secret weapon’ Umno is deploying is called JASA and is headed by Fuad Hassan, IGP Musa Hassan’s brother. Now, can the opposition please do some work for a change and look into this. Surely you do not expect Malaysia Today to do all your work for you?

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

In case many of you do not quite understand what is presently going on in Malaysia, allow me to enlighten you. Malaysia is going through a civil war. Yes, a civil war. But while other countries fight their civil wars with guns, we fight ours in the sphere of perception. But it is still a civil war of sorts, only without blood spilled on the streets.

Say what you like but there is a revolution going on. And the populace are revolting against their government. But the populace have wisely chosen the ballot to the bullet. “Pilihan raya dan bukan pilihan jalan raya,” as Hishamuddin Rais would say -- meaning elections to the choice of the streets.

The British, in their wisdom, taught us how to fight this kind of war. Bullets will not defeat the Communists, said our British colonial master. We need to win against the Communists by winning the hearts and minds of the people. We have to make the people reject Communism. And the British succeeded. It was a brilliant strategy. Communism was defeated because the people rejected it, not because the British had more guns than the Communist Terrorists.

And this is the civil war currently being fought in Malaysia, just like the civil war during the Malayan Emergency.

By the way, it was called the Malayan Emergency and not the Malayan Civil War because if they had called it a war instead of an emergency then the insurance companies would not pay for the damages suffered by the British companies. The Communist Terrorists were bombing government installations and British properties. But if these were losses suffered in a war then the insurance would not cover these loses. So they called it an emergency instead.

So Malaysia is actually now on war footing. But there are no guns being fired or properties being bombed. It is a war of perception. It is perception versus perception. And it is a war being fought between the ruling coalition called Barisan Nasional and the opposition coalition called Pakatan Rakyat.

Wars comprise of many battles. It is not just one big battle. Even the invasion of Normandy was many battles being fought all over the place. You may win some battles and you may lose some. But, in the end, the accumulation of the many battles that you win decides on the victor.

In a war of perception you must trigger many issues at the same time. This is like engaging in many battles simultaneously. And you attack each target and continue to attack until your target falls.

Now, let us translate this to what is currently going on.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is of course the first target (like Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Dr Mahathir Mohamad were before him). The perception about Najib is that he is linked to the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu, one way or another, directly or indirectly. And that has already been achieved. Very few Malaysians, even those in Umno, would say he is not somehow linked to Altantuya’s murder, or at least had some relationship with her.

Many believe he not only personally knew Altantuya but actually had a sexual relationship with her as well. They also believe that the photograph of Najib, Altantuya and Razak Baginda does exist and that the Honorary Mongolian Consul to Malaysia, Syed Abdul Rahman Alhabshi, gave the photograph to the police.

We must remember that in the early days of the incident Syed Rahman gave press conferences and whacked the police and accused them of not conducting a proper investigation. Syed Rahman told many people many things about the case, which he probably regrets doing now.

The fact that Syed Rahman has been given a RM500 million project just strengthens the belief that he has been bought off. That is the perception and this perception is not going to change whatever he might do or say.

Razak Baginda’s Statutory Declaration, that was accepted by the court, and which resulted in him being acquitted of murder, clearly says that he never knew Sirul or Azilah until Najib’s ADC, Musa Safri, arranged for them to meet. The court has accepted this statement. And that was why the court acquitted Razak of murder.

So Najib’s ADC, Musa Safri, set the whole thing up and that resulted in Altantuya being murdered.

Then we have Najib’s Special Officer, Nasir Safar, who was there when Sirul and Azilah picked up Altantuya in front of Razak’s house. Private investigator Bala has confirmed this and he told the police about it. But the police immediately brushed it aside and said it was just a resident from around there without further investigating the matter.

So Najib’s Special Officer, Nasir Safar, was also involved. And that makes two very close aides of Najib who are directly linked to the murder.

As far as perception goes, Najib’s has lost the war. Go and do an independent survey if you wish. Just poll Malaysians at random and the majority would tell you that they believe Najib either knew Altantuya, had sex with her, or is directly or indirectly involved in her murder.

In the perception war Najib has been defeated. And there is nothing he can do or say to restore his fallen image.

Okay, next target is Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor. In the sphere of perception, Rosmah is seen a bitch. However, ironically enough, this is her own doing rather than because the opposition attacked her.

There are so many stories floating around about her. One story concerns four retired generals going to her house to meet Najib. She came out and asked them whether they want to meet Najib about politics or business. They asked what difference would it make and she replied that if they want to meet Najib about politics then he will be out in a short while but if it is about business then they are to talk to her and not to Najib.

This story is well known amongst the military personnel.

The next story is about her shopping spree in Paris where she spent RM200,000 in just one day. Now, the icing on the cake is that Altantuya was with her that day and she was helping Rosmah carry all her things including her credit cards and whatnot.

Quite a number of Malaysian Embassy staff members were also there to help Rosmah carry her stuff (RM200,000 in shopping is a lot of stuff) so this story has spread amongst the diplomatic community.

In 2008 she was in Indonesia to attend to bank function. As she strutted to the main table like a queen, walking behind her was her lady-in-waiting holding a cushion. The lady-in-waiting then placed the cushion on the chair before Rosmah sat down. Even the Raja Permaisuri Agong does not get this kind of treatment.

Invariably, since it was a Malaysian bank function, the place was crowded with Malaysians and they all felt like throwing up. They not only felt so embarrassed but nauseous as well.

Then remember her trip to China, which she gave an interview about? In her interview she grumbled that Najib left her all alone in her room while he attended to matters of state. She got so pissed off that she told Najib to send her back to Malaysia. Since he is so busy and has no time for her then send her home.

This was what she admitted in her newspaper interview.

And recently she went to India with Najib. They had planned all sorts of programs for her in Chennai but she stayed in her room and refused to come out. Chennai is so filthy, she said, so she refuses to leave her room. “Why are Indians so dirty?” she exasperatingly told her aides.

This latest foot-in-the-mouth is currently being much talked about amongst diplomatic circles. So, as I said, most damage to Rosmah is being done by her herself. The opposition does not need to raise any issues. She volunteers all the ammunition needed to win the perception war.

As far as Najib and Rosmah are concerned, they have absolutely lost the perception war. Then we come to Umno and Barisan Nasional. The things that Umno and Barisan Nasional have done, and are continuing to do, are hurting them bad. The opposition does not need to be clever in defeating Umno and Barisan Nasional. All the opposition needs to do is to not make any mistakes. Umno and Barisan Nasional are on self-destruct mode and are shooting themselves in their own feet. They can never win the perception war.

What about the perception regarding Anwar Ibrahim and the opposition? Now that is a problem as well. The government is trying to give the perception that Anwar is guilty of sodomy. That has failed miserably. Very few believe Anwar is guilty. In fact, they believe that Anwar is a victim of a frame up. It does not matter what the court says. To most Malaysians Anwar is innocent.

Nevertheless, many believe that Anwar is not a good manager and they blame many of the problems in the opposition, in particular in PKR, on Anwar’s lack of action. They feel that had Anwar been firmer then many problems could have been nipped in the bud. So, in a way, Anwar is the cause of all these problems mainly because he did nothing to prevent them from happening.

As for the rest of the opposition they are divided about what the real problem is. Some accept the fact that the opposition never thought it would do that well on 8 March 2008. So the opposition did not choose its candidates carefully. And now these low quality candidates, in particular those ex-Umno people and candidates who put personal interests above the interests of the voters, have shown their true colours.

The voters understand that it was very difficult for the opposition to attract good candidates, especially when no one thought it would do that well in the elections. So the voters are prepared to give the opposition a second chance. In the next general election, if the opposition fields better candidates, the voters will again vote for the opposition. But this time they will vote against Barisan Nasional not because they hate the ruling party but because they have confidence that the opposition can do better.

This second chance is actually the last chance for the opposition. Either they make it this time around or they will never make it in this generation. If the opposition fails to win the hearts and minds of the people come the next election then it would be lost for good. There is no third chance. We would have to wait 30 years or so for the next generation of voters before the people would dare another experiment in changing the government.

As I said, Umno and Barisan Nasional are contributing to the opposition cause by making so many mistakes. And they are continuing to make these mistakes even as you read this. So the opposition need not try too hard. The opposition is already winning the perception war. All the opposition needs to do is to not also make so many mistakes.

What mistakes are the opposition making and what should they do about it? Well, I have already written about that at length so I do not wish to repeat myself. Anwar knows what they are. All the opposition leaders know what they are. You and I also know what they are. Just stop making these mistakes is all we ask of the opposition. And if you do that then we shall be marching into Putrajaya come the next general election.

Oh, and by the way, do not think that Umno is not doing anything about their defeat in the perception war. They are aware that they have lost the perception war and they are putting into place certain plans to regain lost territory. I know what they are but it is still too early for me to reveal all.

Let me close by giving you a hint. The ‘secret weapon’ Umno is deploying is called JASA and is headed by Fuad Hassan, IGP Musa Hassan’s brother. Now, can the opposition please do some work for a change and look into this. Surely you do not expect Malaysia Today to do all your work for you?

Till we talk again, let’s keep bashing until we see the destruction of Umno and Barisan Nasional.

Terbukti Melayu Boleh

Umno and its pariah NGOs have been accusing the Penang Pakatan government of sidelining the Malays. There are facts and figures to prove Umno is full of shit. As usual. You can download the "Terbukti Melayu Boleh" pdf file from http://www.mediafire.com/?okzhrni55w0 , and please let your friends know about the download location.

By Sun Line

PAKATAN RAKYAT

Kerajaan Berjiwa Rakyat, Adil kepada Semua

MARTABATKAN ORANG MELAYU

Pulau Pinang adalah negeri pertama yang mengamalkan sistem tender terbuka di dalam semua kontrak dan pembelian kerajaan melalui internet (e-tender).

Melalui pengalaman prinsip CAT (Cekap, Akauntabel dan Telus), Pulau Pinang adalah kerajaan negeri pertama yang menerima pujian daripada 'Transparency International' dengan lebihan Belanjawan RM88 juta pada 2008.

Semenjak kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat mengambil alih pemerintahan:

- Perbadanan Pembangunan Pulau Pinang (PDC) telah melaksanakan 23 tender terbuka yang mana 7 (30%) telah dimenangi oleh kontraktor bukan Melayu manakala baki 16 (70%) tender dimenangi oleh kontraktor Melayu;

- Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang (PBAPP) yang telah melaksanakan 66 tender terbuka memperlihatkan 22 tender (33%) dimenangi oleh kontraktor bukan Melayu dan 44(67%) dimenangi oleh kontraktor Melayu.

Download pdf at: http://www.mediafire.com/?okzhrni55w0

Karpal to govt: ‘Be compassionate, host Dr Shaariibuu’

Malaysiakini

A tenth of the remains of the murdered Altantuya Shaariibuu were taken on Nov 17, 2006, back to her native Mongolia by her father Dr Shaariibuu Setev for purposes of her burial rites.

It is time, said lawyer Karpal Singh, that the government – on compassionate grounds – host Dr Shaariibuu once more so that he can collect the remaining 90 percent of Altantuya’s remains and complete the last rites in Mongolia to appease her soul.

In a statement, the DAP leader said the Honorary Consul-General of Mongolia in Malaysia Syed Abdul Rahman Al Habshi was informed by the Attorney-General’s Chambers that Altantuya’s remains could be released for the purpose of burial in Mongolia.

Following an enquiry from the Mongolian government, Syed Abdul Rahman had written to Inspector General of Police Musa Hassan asking for the Malaysian government and the Royal Malaysian Police Force to foot the bill for Shaariibuu and a representative’s journey to Malaysia for that purpose.

This enquiry by the foreign and justice ministries of Mongolia arose out of the conviction and sentence to death of chief inspector Azilah Hadri and corporal Sirul Azhar Umar in April, 2009, said Karpal, who said a copy of the request relayed through Syed Abdul Rahman was extended to Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail .

Since Syed Abdul Rahman’s letter dated Nov 26, 2009, however, there has been no reply from either Musa or Abdul Gani, said Karpal.
Appeasing her spirit

Reiterating the request, Karpal said: The expenses incurred by Dr Shaaribuu and the representative for the purpose of coming to Malaysia to collect Altantuya’s bone fragments will not exceed RM20,000.

I cannot understand why, on compassionate grounds, the request made by the foreign and justice ministries of Mongolia cannot be favourably considered.

The government should not forget that Altantuya met her horrendous death by being blown up by C4 explosives by police personnel while she was in Malaysia. The least that the government can do is to bear the expenses requested, said Karpal.

In the event that the government is unwilling to bear the expenses, Karpal said he would be forced to seek public funds on compassionate grounds to bring and accommodate Dr Shaaribuu in Malaysia to collect his daughters remains.

Until her burial has been completed with the last fragments of her bones, said Karpal, her spirit will not be appeased.

Public interest demands that Malaysia show compassion, he added.

Justice delayed

On a related matter, Karpal criticised the judiciary’s delay in expediting the appeals of Azilah and Sirul Azhar against the death sentence ruled on them by the Shah Alam High court in April last year.

Given chief justice Zaki Azmi’s crusade against delays in the finalisation of trials and appeals in other matters, Karpal said there appears to be an exemption in the Altantuya murder appeal.

Having regard to the international spotlight on the issue, I wold have thought every effort would be made to speed up the appeal (of Azilah and Sirul Azhar) so that the adverse impact on the country could be minimised, and with the spirit of Altantuya being appeased.

The murder trial received overwhelming attention after a close aide of Prime Minister Abdul Razak – Abdul Razak Baginda – was charged with abetting Azilah and Sirul Azhar.

He was, however, later acquitted, and walk out a free man after the court found that the prosecution had failed to furnish adequate proof of conspiracy.

The court’s failure to address the issue of motive, among others, has sparked speculation that greater powers were involved in the case.

Najib has repeatedly denied having any links with the matter.

Have Strong Resolve In Nurturing Unity - Najib

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 14 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who joined millions of Malaysians in celebrating the Chinese New Year on Sunday, wants the people of all races to strengthen their resolve in nurturing national unity.

Speaking to reporters at the MCA open house at Wisma MCA in Jalan Ampang here, Najib said with this year being the Year of the Tiger in the Chinese calendar, the people should also be strong-willed like a tiger in defending racial unity.

He added that tiger was a symbol of strength and resilience -- a reflection of Malaysia's own image.

"I hope that the 1Malaysia spirit, the spirit of the Malaysian tiger, will be the basis for us in nurturing national unity and in developing the country," he said.

This is Najib's first Chinese New Year open house attendance since becoming the Prime Minister on April 3 last year.

Meanwhile, in his live cross-over Chinese New Year message on TV3, Najib urged the people to celebrate the Chinese New Year in the spirit of 1Malaysia and in full confidence of the country's future.

He said that if all Malaysians internalised the 1Malaysia concept which he mooted, they would march on as one race.

"I wish everyone, in particular the Chinese, a happy Chinese New Year. Let us celebrate the merriment in the 1Malaysia spirit and in full confidence of the country's future," he said.

Najib said the 1Malaysia concept was not a slogan but a philosophy underlying the policies and programmes implemented by all ministries and government agencies.