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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hindraf joins forces with indigenous group in London




Protest demo against GST put off

Pindaan enakmen Islam S'gor siap bulan depan

Anwar sends Mandore

Wild allegation by Aide to Anwar Ibrahim R.Suresh Kumar (cryingvoices)

R.Suresh Kumar the aide of Anwar Ibrahim, the opposition leader who is going through sodomy trials in Malaysia has called the Human Rights Party as an ” Illegal organisation and Maybe a worst scenario than a Terrorist” in a rather one sided video produced by Malaysiakini [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cOEAkxEhvE ]. Human Rights Party at the other hand produced another video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmaGLDQs-k8 to explain its intentions in organising the protest in front of the PKR Headquarters which was not explained or said in the video produced by Malaysiakini.

HRP Party Pro-Tem Sec.General Mr.P.Uthayakumar has stated his dissatisfaction towards the online news portal, accusing them for acting similar to the Mainstream Medias, which is biased and one sided with their own political agendas. Anwar aide R.Suresh Kumar agreed that he was part of the demonstrators in the Nov 25,2007 Hindraf Rally, and now giving a shocking statement that HRP is an illegal Organisation, despite knowing that Hindraf was the main subject and factor that lead the Pakatan Rakyat to win overwhelmingly in the past March 08 GE.

The sense of appreciation was not there in his interview to Malaysiakini, which can be clearing seen in his defensive statement against the protest by HRP. The Motive of HRP in organising the protest is to defend the poor and helpless Indians, and in the frustration over hope that has been shattered and promises that has not been fulfilled by Pakatan Rakyat since even before the 08 General Election. The issues that has been brought are Tamil School land issues, Temple issues, Graveyard Land issues and rights of the Indians as promised by the Pakatan Rakyat Government. In the same video by Malaysiakini,

Anwar aide R.Suresh Kumar said that HRP has to have a discussion with the BN ruled State Government Chief Ministers before meeting the PR ruled state Chief Ministers but one new information in the Video is, Chief Minister of Johor Bahru which never been heard before, I hope that R.Suresh Kumar will explain his statement regarding the Johor Bahru Chief Minister.

Why must HRP need to speak to the Chief Ministers of the BN ruled states? People voted them out and replace the Government to Pakatan Rakyat in the “HOPE” that they will bring changes to the normal 50years marginalization and unfair system by UMNO/Barisan Nasional. The system has not changed since Pakatan took over the 3 states, instead the pattern can be seen in the administration of the Pakatan Rakyat Government too. Ego,Unfair, Ignorant and not transparent.

Why must be the Aide of Anwar Ibrahim, talk about the Barisan MP’s and he is justifying the act of the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, what Anwar and his alliances has to do with the Barisan Nasional Government? Any Hidden agendas? Secret and unknown future collabration?

Pakatan Rakyat top leaders must have been at least present there to discuss and treat the protesters with more cautious with respect, since HRP the child born from Hindraf, was one of the main influence to the victory of Pakatan Rakyat and to make Anwar Ibrahim as the Oppositon leader from no where. I think appointing R.Suresh Kumar as the representative or on behalf of Anwar Ibrahim to accept the Memorandum is an old technique used by the UMNO regime and it is the disastrous decision made by Anwar Ibrahim.

We are unsure of the role of P.Vasanthakumar’s presence in the protest against the protest by HRP. Pakatan Rakyat has lost the trust of the supporters due to the ala UMNO way of handling protesters in a disrespectful manner. In the times of critical turmoil within the party and its coalition, Pakatan Rakyat could have handle this protest in a more fragile and cautious manner. This is a critical time where people are confused and unsure of the genuine intentions of political parties in which Pakatan has to make every move cautiously, sincerely and with their promises fulfilled.

Rwindraj www.cj.my/cryingvoices

UMNOs’ Last breed of Indian leaders

Also never promoted to headmasters an estimated 50% of the teachers in Malaysian schools nationwide in the 1960s’ and 1970s were Indians teaching mostly English, Science, Maths etc. Mrs Vaithalingam is one sample of this 50% (Sinar 11/3/10 at page S29).

However UMNO systematically and gradually in pursuit of their racist, religious extremist and supremacist policies reduced this to about a mere 1% today. This is ethnic cleansing in the education sector!

Also almost all these teachers were never promoted to become headmaster and headmistress of national schools, however qualified or capable they may have been. Today we no longer hear of Indian headmasters any more. The very last few have retired or are on the verge of retiring.

To the contrary even the President of the USA is now a black and “muslim”.

But in Prime Minister Najib Razak’s One malay-sia, an Indian cannot even become a headmaster however qualified or capable they are.

P. Uthayakumar.

PKR & DAP mandores’ peanut cash but not permanent land titles for Hindu temples

A Selangor mandore Exco member, MP and Councillor under the instructions of the “Tuan” Anwar Ibrahim and Towkay Kapitan Lim Guan Eng is still at it. Obviously they do not understand the needs of the Indian community.

Despite two years in power these tuan and towkay are still refusing to grant permanent land titles as a permanent solutions to the fifteen hindu temples in Klang, Selangor.

Instead PKR, DAP & PAS use these Indian mandores to dish out these peanuts to stay politically relevant and afloat.

Hindraf argues case at House of Commons (The Star)

HINDRAF has joined forces with a group representing the interests of indigenous groups from Sabah and Sarawak in London to lobby British legislators, reported Tamil Nesan.

Hindraf chairman P. Waythamoorthy and adviser N. Ganesan made the case for Hindraf at the House of Commons, while Sabah and Sarawak were represented by Common Interest Group Malaysia (Cigma) activists Daniel John Jambun and Nicholas Bawin Anggat.

Both groups insisted that Britain had a historical, legal and moral obligation towards former subjects in its ex-colonies.

Ganesan alleged that the Indian community, largely the descendants of indentured plantation labourers brought into Malaya by the British from Tamil Nadu, were being systematically marginalised by the Government.

Split in Indian vote likely with HRP (The Star)

The parting of ways between Hindraf and Pakatan Rakyat means that the opposition pact will not have an easy ride in the next general election

THE Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), which was Pakatan Rakyat’s best friend in the 2008 general election, has turned into its worst enemy, staging a demonstration against the coalition outside the PKR office of Pakatan leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

They chose the PKR office in Merchant Square because Pakatan, as a pact, does not yet have an office for its former supporters to vent their anger.

Human rights lawyer and Hindraf founder P. Uthayakumar led the protesters, numbering about 300 and carrying banners and placards, alleging that Indian woes were not being addressed in Pakatan-ruled states despite the promises made in the run-up to the March 8, 2008 general election.

“We wanted to submit a memorandum to Anwar personally but he did not turn up to meet us,” an infuriated Uthayakumar said.

“We don’t trust them (Pakatan) any more. We are charting our own course and will contest under our own banner in the next general election.”

Uthayakumar’s main grouse is that Pakatan has yet to alleviate Indian poverty with affirmative action programmes and failed to alienate land for Tamil schools and Hindu temples, two subjects close to the Indian community, as it had promised in the election campaign.

“If they issue land titles to Tamil schools in Pakatan-ruled states, then the schools become eligible to be classified as fully-aided and qualify for financial support from the federal government,” he said.

“They can do it with one stroke of the pen but they have not. We are very disappointed.” Uthayakumar has gathered all his former Hindraf supporters under the yet-to-be-registered Human Rights Party (HRP).

Their disappointment with Pakatan has grown in intensity ever since the coalition failed to successfully resolve the Kampung Buah Pala issue in Penang.

The Sunday demonstration was the final act in the parting of ways between Pakatan and Hindraf, which has splintered into numerous factions.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that Uthayakumar still has influence over what is left of the Hindraf movement, perhaps not directly, but at least emotionally.

“Our weakness is not lack of grassroots support but we are weak financially,” Hindraf’s diehard supporters said. Pakatan rode the Hindraf movement to victory and used the Tamil phase Makkal Sakthi or People Power as its rallying cry.

Ironically, two of Uthayakumar’s colleagues, P. Vasantha Kumar and V.S. Ganapathi Rao, who were in Kamunting under the Internal Security Act with the founder, have joined forces with Pakatan and strongly condemned the demonstration.

“He is out of his mind,” said Vasantha Kumar who is with PKR. “His actions will split the Indian vote and benefit Barisan Nasional.”

“If he continues like this, he will hurt Pakatan,” said Ganapathi Rao, who is with the DAP.

Both were critical of Uthayakumar’s plan to field Hindraf/HRP candidates in about 30 parliamentary and state constituencies where Indians voters comprise about 30% – constituencies critical to Pakatan’s success in the 2008 general election.

Uthayakumar is also beefing up Indian voters in these targeted constituencies by organising voter registration exercises and persuading Indian voters from elsewhere to move to the selected constituencies.

For a start, he is focusing on parliament and state seats in “frontline” states like Selangor, Perak and Penang.

Uthayakumar has also chosen seats considered “critical” to Pakatan and held by senior Pakatan leaders, like the Prai state and Batu Kawan parliamentary seats, both now held by Penang Deputy Chief Minister Dr P. Ramasamy.

Another critical seat HRP is targeting, Uthayakumar said, is Ipoh Barat in Perak, held by DAP assistant secretary-general M. Kulasegaran.

Likewise in Selangor, the party is eyeing the Sri Andalas state seat held by PKR heavyweight Dr Xavier Jeyakumar and Kota Raja parliamentary seat held by PAS’ Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud.

While few political experts believe HRP/Hindraf, on their own, can win any of the seats they contest simply because of their Indian-only orientation, they fear HRP/Hindraf can split the Indian vote in a three-cornered contest that is more likely to take votes away from Pakatan than Barisan.

“Barisan stands to do better in a tight race in a three-cornered fight,” a DAP leader said. “Indian grievances are for real and remain unresolved despite the Pakatan rhetoric.”

Uthayakumar, however, is indifferent to the outcome, even if Barisan shines. “We are confident we can win where we contest and use the victories as leverage to get as much benefit as possible for the Indian community,” said Uthayakumar.

“We are ready to talk terms with either of the coalitions for the benefit of the Indian community,” he added.

“We have our Indian political empowerment strategy and we will march towards it, come what may.”

“We need to fight our own battles,” he said. “We cannot rely on Pakatan or Barisan.”

The big question is how much clout Hindraf still enjoys in the Indian community, where political leadership is deeply splintered between the traditional MIC on one side and on the other, the PKR, DAP and numerous other new actors.

Will Hindraf’s influence, which has waned since the famous Nov 25, 2007 protest, rise to tip the balance in the upcoming contest?

Whatever the outcome, one thing is sure, Pakatan will not have an easy ride as in 2008.

PKR denies 5,000 Indians in Rawang a community hall

At a function the PKR ADUN announced that some RM 23,000, peanuts, was given for the year 2009 and today she and the PKR MP gave out “help” (peanuts) to 50 poor Indian students (Sinar 11/3/2010 at page S14).

The community hall problem remains unsolved until the next general elections when PKR would make more promises.

Admin

UMNO abandons poor and sickly Indian family

(Sinar 11/3/2010 at page S6)

The RM 48 million allocation (The Star & NST Headlines 24/10/09) for providing welfare assistance and house rental payments does not reach this Indian family.

The sole bread winner who is also a heart patient earns RM 1,000.00 but has eight mouths to feed. This family even has difficulty in paying their electricity bills. Three of their children have been denied birth certificates as he could not even afford to pay the compound of RM 50.00 because of late registration.

This is the real height of poverty.

P. Uthayakumar

Najib asks Umno faithful to back his reforms

By G Manimaran - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 — Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak has appealed to his party’s grassroots leaders to support his reforms, amid signs that some of his administration’s moves to free up the economy and reverse the budget deficit have been bogged down by a lack of public support.

In an address to the party’s information chiefs in Janda Baik, Pahang on Friday night, the prime minister also urged Umno members to bring about “big changes” to restore public confidence and support for the party and the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.

As Najib prepares to enter his second year at the helm of government, his administration has been hit by a number of apparent policy U-turns, the latest being the delay in the introduction of the controversial but unpopular Goods and Services Tax (GST).

The government was also forced to call off a complicated two-tier fuel subsidy system and last December it retracted an unpopular five per cent real property gains tax (RPGT), proposed in Budget 2010, for properties sold after five years.

On Friday, Najib told party information chiefs at a special motivational get-together that Umno members must give him “solid” support to implement his administration’s policies.

The gathering in Janda Baik was the first this year and was notable for being held on the eve of the first anniversary of Najib taking over the unpopular Tun Abdullah Badawi as PM.

But Najib, whose popularity ratings remains above 60 per cent among Malaysian voters, has seen some of his push for reforms, in particular his proposed New Economic Model (NEM), hit by criticisms from even among party faithful who are concerned that freeing up the economy will not be in the interests of Malays.

“The prime minister emphasised that the government and party has implemented many reforms including the amendment to the party constitution where he was prepared to make changes to the way party leaders are elected.

“He also pointed out that he has introduced many policy changes since last April such as the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

“As such he wants Umno members to make big changes to ensure the fruits and effects are felt by the public...this is Datuk Seri Najib’s hope...to ensure big changes,” one party leader who attended the three day gathering told The Malaysian Insider.

Najib was formally elected party president on March 26, 2009 and appointed PM the next week.

Khalid unfazed as disgruntled PKR members walk out

By Neville Spykerman - The Malaysian Insider

JERAM, March 14 — Disgruntled PKR members today staged a walkout at the party’s Kuala Selangor division Annual General Meeting here, after calling the meeting unconstitutional, but failed to disrupt the meeting attended by Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, who heads the division.

On Friday, division deputy chief Arshad Abu Bakar told The Malaysian Insider that some members may try and disrupt the AGM while a motion of no-confidence may be tabled against Khalid.

He had said the grassroots were unhappy with Khalid’s performance as division chief while voters are unhappy with him as the Ijok state lawmaker.

While there was no no-confidence motion, some 20 members walked out after PKR member Mazli Saring failed to halt the meeting on the grounds that proper notice had not been given to members.

“According to the constitution, letters must be sent to members 14 days before the AGM but many did not get the letters.” he said, adding that the AGM should be postponed.

Mazli said many had learnt about the AGM after reading an announcement in Sinar Harian.

The AGM however was allowed to continue after the matter was put to a vote.

Yesterday it was reported that disgruntled members were scheming to embarrass Khalid Ibrahim at the AGM to vent their frustrations for not getting top jobs or contracts in what seems to be a growing grouse in PKR.

Eleven division committee members, including the Youth and Wanita chiefs, resigned last January claiming they have lost confidence in Khalid’s leadership.

However Khalid today seemed to have the support of majority of the over 300 PKR members who attended the AGM.

“I am satisfied with the support and the maturity of the members here,” he said.

But speaking to the press later, Mazli with about a dozen other PKR members including Arshad, slammed Khalid’s leadership.

They denied that they were disgruntled because of the lack of largesse from Khalid but because of his leadership.

“It’s not true,” they exclaimed, when asked if the lack of benefits were their motives in speaking out against Khalid.

Ibrahim Mahidin, who was formerly Kuala Selangor PKR information chief before he was dismissed by Khalid last year, said they were speaking out because of their love for the party.

The group also griped about the manner in which the AGM was carried out, which gave them no opportunity to speak and also claimed that an office bearer of the division was actually a bankrupt, contrary to the constitution.

“This division should be an example to others because he is mentri besar and the constitution should be followed.” said Ibrahim.

He also claimed the reason for their dissatisfaction was Khalid’s arrogance towards them.

“He never meets us.”

The allegations by the group however were dismissed by Khalid’s political Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, who told The Malaysian Insider that notices were in fact sent to all PKR members via post.

However he acknowledged that there could be some among the over 4,000 PKR members in Kuala Selangor who did not received it.

“This is not unusual because addresses in our database sometimes are not updated.”

He also said they were aware about stories that an office bearer was bankrupt.

“But we had asked him and were told he has discharged his bankruptcy.” he concluded.

Guan Eng wants to meet Najib to discuss ‘third vote’

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 14- Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng is prepared to meet with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to argue his case for restoring local government elections, following the Penang state government’s recent decision to reintroduce the third vote which has not been practiced since 1965.

Lim, in an official letter to the prime minister dated March 12, informed Najib that he would be “willing to meet the Prime Minister at any given time” to explain the stand adopted by the Penang state government.

“It is our pleasure to inform you that the Penang state government has decided that local government elections are held to select City Council members. Article 113 (4) of the Federal Constitution stipulates that state governments are empowered to allow the Elections Commission (EC) to conduct other elections besides the general elections,” said Lim in the letter.

Lim, who is also DAP secretary-general, argued that although Najib may disagree with local government elections, but democratically elected councils were more effective than the current system of appointments.

“We realise that Datuk Seri may have differing views and are not agreeable to local government elections but allowing the practice of democracy at its roots has been proven to enable transparency, effectiveness and accountability as opposed to a system of appointment. This trend is currently being practiced overseas with 101 of of 192 countries in the United Nations practicing local government elections,” said the Penang Chief Minister.

Lim’s statement comes days after Najib said local government elections was not necessary as it created further politicking.

“We find that as the local government elections have been abolished a while ago, there is no need to restore it as it creates more politicking at the local level.”

“The candidates will use the campaigns as a key point and the local council services might not actually improve,” said Najib, who is also Barisan Nasional chairman.

In the letter, Lim also informed the PM that he had already written a letter regarding this matter to Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, the Election Commission chairman, on March 4 and is now awaiting the reply.

In the letter to Abdul Aziz, the Penang government had urged the commission to hold local government elections for the Penang Municipal Council and the Seberang Prai Municipal Council.

The state was invoking its powers under Article 113(4) of the Federal Constitution, which states that Federal or state law may authorise the EC to conduct elections other than parliamentary or state elections.

However, EC chairman Abdul Aziz had pointed out that the commission had no experience in conducting such polls and will make its decision after consulting their legal advisers.

The PKR-led Selangor government has also followed suit while other Pakatan Rakyat-ruled states of Kelantan and Kedah said they are serious considering following the footsteps of its counterparts in Penang.

Local government elections were first held in 1951 before Merdeka but abolished in 1965 during the Confrontation with Indonesia.

Then Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman promised it would be restored after the situation improved.

The Federal government under Tun Abdullah Badawi had in 2007 turned down a demand by DAP to restore local elections.

Since the suspension of local elections, council seats have been used as a political reward to loyalists of the ruling party.

And the race rhetoric continues

So, Umno, do what you must do. And if you want to start ‘May 13 Version 2’ then so be it. We are ready. The Chinese and Indians do not need to take to the streets. Stay indoors and lock your doors and windows. Let the Malays deal with this. We Malays will take on Umno in the ‘May 13 version 2’.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Below is a Bernama report with regards to an accident involving Tian Chua’s car, which resulted in the death of a Malay soldier. And below that Bernama report is a posting by a pro-Umno Blog, Malaysia Instinct.

The Bernama report said that Tian Chua’s car hit a motorcycle and the rider, a soldier, died. It seems the car went out of control. The driver of Tian Chua’s car is Malay while Tian Chua was sitting in the back seat of the car.

Malaysia Instinct’s posting, however, is titled: Tian Chua bunuh askar Melayu (Tian Chua killed a Malay soldier). Malaysia Instinct goes on to say: Manalah kita tahu kan kot-kot Tian Chua sengaja membunuh askar berkenaan. (Who knows, maybe Tian Chua killed the soldier on purpose). It also asks: Sengaja dilanggar atau sebaliknya? (Was it on purpose or otherwise?)

If this was a posting by a pro-opposition Blog, rest assured the police would take action immediately. But since this is a pro-Umno Blog, for sure nothing is going to be done about it.

Tian Chua was not driving the car. His Malay driver was. In fact, Tian Chua was sitting in the back seat of the car. How could Tian Chua have killed a Malay soldier when he was not driving? And how could Tian Chua, therefore, have killed the soldier on purpose when he was not even in control of the car?

I really do not wish to comment any more on what Malaysia Instinct posted. You can read the rest yourself. Suffice to say that this is yet another of the many racial rhetoric that the Umno people are embarking on to fan the sentiments of the Malays.

It looks like these Umno Malays really want to see another race riot the likes of 'May 13' explode. They hope that if it does then the Malays who support the opposition would return to Umno and unite under the banner of Umno.

Does Umno really want to see another 'May 13' happen? Do they think that if it does happen then Umno will regain Malay support? This time, if another race riot does explode, it is going to be bigger and worse than what happened on 13 May 1969. That, I can assure you!

'May 13' was, in a way, an ‘accident’. It was not planned to be what it turned out to be. It was a scheme that went out of control, much to the horror of the planners who thought they could start a fire and then control it. But they could not control it. After it had been started they could no longer control it and it burned beyond the expectations of even the planners.

But now the people are ready. They know that Umno is fanning the sentiments of the Malays and is playing the race card to meet this objective. Malaysians are not going to be caught sleeping like they were on 13 May 1969.

Umno is playing a dangerous game. The next ‘May 13’ is not going to be the same ‘May 13’ as in 1969. This next ‘May 13’, if Umno succeeds in its plan, is going to be a civil war.

And it is not going to be a civil war of Malays versus non-Malays. It is going to be a civil war of Malays, Chinese and Indians versus Umno Malays. Yes, the Umno Malays are going to be alone against a united force of opposition Malays, Chinese and Indians. The Chinese and Indians from MCA, Gerakan, MIC, PPP and so on will not come to Umno’s aid. Umno is going to be left all alone.

Take it from me that the Chinese and Indians from the non-Umno component parties in Barisan Nasional will ‘abstain’ and will not participate in the next ‘May 13’. They will lock their doors and windows and will stay indoors and will not take to the streets. Only the Umno Malays will be on the streets. And the Umno Malays will not be facing the Chinese and Indians. They will be facing a united force of Malays, Chinese and Indians.

Umno, make my day. Try it. Try it and see what happens. Since 1999, Umno has been threatening the Chinese and Indians with another ‘May 13’ if they support the opposition. And the threat was made ‘live’ on television during the launching of the Barisan Nasional election campaign in the Bukit Jalil Stadium in November 1999.

In 1999 it worked. The Malays voted opposition while the Chinese and Indians stayed with Barisan Nasional out of fear. The fact that Umno sent army trucks to ‘patrol’ the Chinese and Indian areas made it more worrying for the non-Malays to give their vote to the opposition.

But on 8 March 2008 that all changed. The Chinese and Indians no longer feared Umno. They did not worry about another ‘May 13’. They knew that if another ‘May 13’ does happen it would no longer be Malays versus Chinese and Indians. It would be Umno versus Malays, Chinese and Indians. That was why the non-Malays took that bold step to vote for the opposition.

So, Umno, do what you must do. And if you want to start ‘May 13 Version 2’ then so be it. We are ready. The Chinese and Indians do not need to take to the streets. Stay indoors and lock your doors and windows. Let the Malays deal with this. We Malays will take on Umno in the ‘May 13 version 2’.

But of course, if you want to join us you are most welcome. Then we will kick Umno’s arse and bury them in their graves once and for all. Then Malaysia will thereafter be a very peaceful country with no more threats of another ‘May 13’.

You stop the plague by killing the rats. So you need to stop the plague of racism by killing the Umno rats. There are no two ways about it.

Maybe we do need another ‘May 13’ after all. We need another ‘May 13’ to prevent any further May 13s from ever happening in future. As they said in Europe 100 years ago: a war to end all wars. Do we also need a ‘May 13’ to end all May 13s?

The ball is at Umno’s feet. It is their call. Sekiranya saudara jual, maka saya beli. Don’t keep talking about ‘May 13’. We are tired of your threats. Just do it. Do it and see what will happen. This time we are ready, not like last time in 1969.

*************************************************

An army private died when his motorcycle collided with a car with Batu parliamentarian Tian Chua in it at KM49 Jalan Johor Baru-Mersing near Hutan Lipur Panti, near Kota Tinggi, yesterday.

Kota Tinggi police district chief Supt Osman Mohammad Sebot said the incident happened at about 9pm when the private, Mohd Salleh Hamdan, 22, who was attached to the Iskandar Camp, Mersing was on his way to Kota Tinggi, while Tian Chua was headed towards Mersing after attending a get-together in Kota Tinggi.

"Tian Chua's driver, Zaharuddin Ayob, 45, who is also PKR Batu division information chief, is believed to have lost control of the Mercedes driven by him which went into the other lane and collided with the motorcycle," Osman said when contacted here today.

He said Zaharuddin and Tian Chua, who was in the back seat, were not injured.

He said police only detained Zaharuddin to help in investigation.

Osman said another motorcycle that was coming from the direction of Mersing also hit Mohd Salleh's motorcycle but the rider, Mohd Zairi Mansor, 29, only had light injuries. - Bernama

*************************************************

Tian Chua bunuh askar Melayu

Oleh: Satu Hala, Malaysia Instinct

Agak kasar bukan tajuk rencana di atas.

Namun, kalau pegawai-pegawai SPRM Melayu cuba diwarnakan dengan perkauman dalam kematian Teoh Beng Hock dahulu, apa salahnya jika kita memberikan label yang sama ke atas Tian Chua?

Siapa tahu, mungkin pada malam kejadian itu pada Jumaat lalu apa yang terdetik di hati Tian Chua?

Kejadian yang mengorbankan askar Melayu itu, Mohd. Salleh Hamdan, 22, berlaku di Jalan Johor Bahru-Mersing berhampiran Hutan Lipur Panti berhampiran Kota Tinggi, Johor.

Mungkin askar itu menunggang motosikalnya di tengah jalan sedikit menyebabkan Tian Chua yang ingin sampai cepat ke ceramah Anwar Ibrahim tidak mahu mengelak.

Manalah kita tahu kan kot-kot Tian Chua sengaja membunuh askar berkenaan.

Disebabkan kita semua tidak berada di tempat kejadian, maka kita tidak boleh ambil kejadian itu atas face value semata-mata bahawa ia adalah kemalangan yang tidak disengajakan seperti yang nyatakan Tian Chua.

Mungkin juga ada misteri lain di sebalik apa yang berlaku itu.

Macam juga kononnya ada misteri di sebalik kematian Beng Hock, mungkin askar Melayu yang dilanggar mati Tian Chua juga ada punca lain.

Sengaja dilanggar atau sebaliknya?

Mungkin dakwaan di atas melampau, merepek dan sukar dibuktikan, namun persoalannya sekarang apa agaknya perasaan Tian Chua jika dituduh membunuh askar itu?

Apakah dia buat selamba aje selepas membunuh satu nyawa yang tidak berdosa?

Pembangkang kalau hendak mewujudkan persoalan dan kononnya misteri, maka mereka ini memang pakar.

Kalau kena batang hidung sendiri pandai pulak mengelak.

Sama macam ADUN DAP Sekinchan yang langgar pelajar Melayu sampai koma baru-baru ini.

Apa pun, bagi penulis, satu yang pasti ialah Tian Chua paling kurang perlu didakwa memandu dalam keadaan merbahaya dan kematian tanpa niat.

Persoalan pendakwaan itu memang tidak boleh dinafikan kerana nyawa seorang askar Melayu sudah pun melayang dan pihak yang menyebabkan kematiannya secara tidak sengaja harus diambil tindakan.

Untuk penyokong PKR, jangan kerana yang melanggar itu Tian Chua maka dia tidak boleh diambil tindakan.

Jangan cakap itu konspirasi kerajaan pulak.

Undang-undang menetapkan kalau langgar orang lain sampai mati, maka orang yang melanggar itu perlu didakwa dan diambil tindakan.

Tidak guna bertekak lagi.

The long and winding road called the NEP

This is a longer article than usual but it is still a short piece for what I need to say. I actually could write a whole book on this issue but instead I have summarised what we had to go through over 40 years since 1970 with regards to the New Economic Policy or NEP. There are many things that Malays may not be aware of and which they should know.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin

There are a few good pieces about the New Economic Policy written by Suflan Shamsuddin, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim and Khoo Kay Peng, which have been posted on Malaysia Today. These are very good pieces and I really do not need to add anything more to those points raised by these writers. Nevertheless, you know me. I just can’t leave things alone without also giving my two cents worth.

I do not wish to contradict or rebut what these writers say. Instead, I wish to reiterate their points and add a bit more on what they had probably missed. You see, being much older than these writers (I will be 60 this September), and the fact that I was involved with the Malay Chamber of Commerce and was a central committee member for a number of years, I am privy to some information that they may not have.

I was already involved with what I would call ‘the struggle’, for want of a better word, since way back in the 1970s, when some of these writers were still in school. Much was done in the ‘backrooms’ and hidden from the public eye. So not all of what transpired is public knowledge. Maybe I can reveal some of these things so that the picture becomes clearer.

I read what those 20-year old and 30-year old Umno ‘activists’ have to say about me -- in that I am a traitor to the Malay race because I uphold the concept of a multi-racial Malaysia and am opposed to Malay rights and privileges plus the NEP. These people were born in the late 1970s (some only in the 1980s) and did not ‘enter the market’ until the late 1990s or thereabouts. By then the NEP was supposed to have been officially over. It was supposed to have ended in 1970.

So what do they know about ‘our struggle’? They were not even born yet then. And even if they were they were mere toddlers or primary school children. We were already on the battleground and fighting in the trenches long before they even realised that such a thing called the NEP existed, or what it meant. And let me tell you that we fought tooth and nail against the powers-that-be, resulting in many of us falling victim to government retaliation. Many of us lost our businesses because the government was determined to bring us down as punishment for being too outspoken and too ‘militant’.

Those of my generation would probably remember the Umno Youth convention in Kemaman, Terengganu, back in early 1990. In this convention my name was mentioned and the Menteri Besar, Wan Mokhtar Ahmad, told Umno Youth that I must be brought down. Eventually, Umno Youth infiltrated the Terengganu branch of the Malay Chamber of Commerce and ousted me, and those they considered my ‘cronies’, from the Chamber. (Anwar Ibrahim can confirm this because Wan Mokhtar spoke to him about it).

During one Chamber committee meeting in Kuala Terengganu, some Umno Youth members gate-crashed the meeting with the aim of starting a fight. It did end up in a fight when I chased three Umno Youth members out of the meeting room and we came to blows. (Yeap, me alone chasing three Umno Youth chaps who ran away in fear). This incident was reported by the Malay mainstream newspapers -- and it was also brought to the attention of the Menteri Besar.

I was then confronted by an Umno Terengganu Member of Parliament who told me to get out of Terengganu. I am not welcome in Terengganu, he told me. Go back to where you came from! I faced so many problems with Umno Terengganu so in 1994 I left the state after spending 20 years of my life there. And that ended my ‘career’ as a ‘fighter’ for Malay interests. I then decided to look at the bigger picture, the fight for a better Malaysia.

Anyway, I am digressing too much so allow me to come back to the issue of the day, the fight to improve the implementation of the NEP.

Yes, you read it right: the fight to improve the implementation of the NEP. That was what our fight was all about -- to correct the implementation of the NEP that had gone wrong.

The NEP was an ill-conceived idea that was conjured in a hurry and out of desperation to appease the Malays in the aftermath of the 13 May 1969 race riots. It was an idea agreed by Umno, MCA and MIC, basically the members of the Alliance Party. So it was something that was agreed by the Chinese and Indians as well.

But the NEP was just an aspiration (hasrat). It was not a law. And it was never passed by Parliament. For that matter, it even violated the Federal Constitution of Malaysia. So in that sense it was illegal. But it was done anyway. And MCA and MIC agreed to go along with this ‘illegal’ aspiration for the sake of appeasing the very disturbed Malays and to prevent further race riots. It was a sort of necessary evil that the Chinese and Indians tolerated for the sake of racial stability.

But the NEP was supposed to run for only 20 years. By 1990 the NEP would end. It was not an open-ended policy that would run forever. And even the Prime Minister then, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad, agreed with this and he reminded the Malays so.

Soon after Dr Mahathir took over as Prime Minister, he invited the members of the Malay and Chinese Chambers of Commerce for dinner at the Equatorial Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. In his speech Dr Mahathir told the Malays that the NEP has less than ten years more to run. Dr Mahathir made it clear that the NEP would end in 1990 as agreed. It will not be extended beyond 1990.

So the Malays had better get their act together, warned Dr Mahathir. Don’t grumble and complain when the government terminates the NEP in 1990. The government is giving the Malays ample warning. Get ready. The NEP will end in 1990. So prepare yourselves for it.

It was agreed that the NEP would run for just 20 years, reminded Dr Mahathir. The Chinese and Indians agreed to the NEP because it was not going to be a never-ending policy but something that would be in force for just 20 years. So in 1990 it must end, as agreed. It would be unfair to the Chinese and Indians if it was extended beyond 1990.

The Chinese, in turn, were told that they should work with the Malays and help them in their businesses. Don’t just leave it to the government, said Dr Mahathir. It is better that the Chinese and Malays work together rather than the government is forced to introduce measures like the NEP.

It is to the interest of the Chinese that the Malays are successful, argued Dr Mahathir. If the Malays were successful then they would not be jealous of the Chinese. But if the Chinese grab all the wealth of this country while the Malays were left behind then the Malays would become militant and would try to grab what belongs to the Chinese.

This, basically, was Dr Mahathir’s message to the Malays and Chinese. To the Malays it was get ready to see the end of the NEP in 1990. To the Chinese it was work with the Malays and take them as your partners. If not they would become your enemies.

It was a good message. Whether it was workable or not is another matter and I do not wish to analyse Dr Mahathir’s logic. Sometimes, some things look good in theory but may be hell to put into practice.

A couple of years later, around 1985, the Malay Chamber organised a two-day seminar at the Shangrila Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. Dr Mahathir officiated the opening and the Deputy Prime Minister, Tun Gafar Baba, officiated the closing. The purpose of this seminar was to discuss the failure of the NEP and the reasons for its failure -- government inefficiency, corruption, unfair competition from GLCs and Umnoputeras, etc.

At the end of the NEP in 1990, the Third Bumiputera Economic Convention was organised in the PWTC, also in Kuala Lumpur. This Convention was organised together with the government and with the participation of the non-Malays and all the political parties. The purpose of this Convention was to explore what to do now that the NEP had ended. What should replace the NEP? Where do we go from here (1990)?

If I were to go into detail as to what transpired from 1985 to 1990 I would need to write a book. Suffice to say I was involved in the Malay Chamber of Commerce since the 1970s, not long after the implementation of the NEP and even before Dr Mahathir became Prime Minister. Then, soon after Dr Mahathir became Prime Minister and when he warned us that the NEP was going to end in 1990, we sat down to look at what to do. Then, in 1990, after the NEP had officially ended, we again sat down, but this time in a bigger forum over many days, and in ‘joint-venture’ with the government, the non-Malays and the political parties, to seek a solution to the problems of the Malays.

To summarise what we concluded over those many years, the NEP is not just about the Malays. It is a multi-prong attack (serampang dua mata) to reduce the gap between the haves and the haves-not (regardless of race), to make the distribution of wealth more equitable, and to reduce the disparity between the different races. This was what the NEP was all about. However, along the way, the Malays forgot about this multi-prong attack and thought that the NEP was just about the Malays.

Furthermore, the NEP is not just about business, tenders, contracts and permits. It is also about the racial quotas in the civil service. And it is also about education. Banks were created to help the Malays. But banks were also created to help those who needed help but could not get it from the foreign owned banks whether they are Malays or otherwise. Various funds were also set up to assist businessmen who needed start-up or venture capital, research and development grants, and whatnot. They could even be given marketing grants and grants to travel overseas to open up new markets or participate in trade fairs and what have you. And this was, again, not just for the Malays but for all those who needed help.

So, in short, the NEP was an entire program. It was not just about business. And it was not about just the Malays. It was a total restructuring of society and to help businessmen become more competitive against the onslaught of the global market.

In theory, the NEP is good. Everyone agreed with that. But in practice, it failed. And the Malays became confused and thought that the NEP was just about them. So where did we go wrong?

Many issues were identified. One was the change of direction that was introduced by Dr Mahathir that worked outside of and opposite to the NEP. In short, the NEP was derailed and hijacked.

Dr Mahathir realised that it was impossible to help 15 million (at that time) Malays to become rich. So abandon that idea, which was partly, and I repeat partly, what the NEP was about. Instead, make a few Malays rich. Create a handful of, say, 100 Malay billionaires. Then get these billionaire Malays to hep the rest of the Malays.

That was a noble plan indeed. So Dr Mahathir went and created the super-rich Daim, Tajuddin Ramli, Halim Saad, Shamsuddin Abu Hassan, Ahmad Sebi Abu Bakar, Wan Azmi, and many, many more. These people would be turned into billionaires so that they could then help the other Malays.

That did happen, of course. We did see these new billionaires emerge. But they did not help the other Malays. Instead, they worked with the Chinese and new Chinese billionaires were created because of it. Many Chinese became rich because of their partnership with the Umno cronies or Umnoputeras.

Then there were the GLCs or government-linked companies. What happened was that these GLCs competed with the Malays and it was unfair competition. The GLCs ‘stole’ all the businesses meant for the Malays. It was not the Chinese and Indians who were the problem. The Chinese and Indians were not killing the Malay businessmen. It was the GLCs that were killing off the Malays.

We in the Malay Chamber coined that new word, Umnoputeras. The Chinese and Indians were not the enemy. The Umnoputeras were. And so were the GLCs. And we told the government this.

In fact, in one seminar in the Ministry of Trade, hosted by the then Minister, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, we in the Malay Chamber told the government that we do not need the NEP. We do not need so-called government help. What we need is for the government to stop the Umnoputeras and GLCs from competing with the Malays and from killing off the Malays.

In 1970, when the NEP was first launched, the Malay share of the economic 'pie' was just 1.5%. By 1985, 15 years later, it was still just 3%. The target was 30% by 1990. How can the Malays catch up in a mere five years when in 15 years it grew from just 1.5% to 3%?

This was the concern we expressed. And we knew it would remain at 3% till 1990 and beyond. There was no way it could reach the target of 30%.

But who is to be blamed? Is it the Chinese and Indians? No! It is the government with their GLCs and Umno with their Umnoputeras. And we told the government this.

Today, it is still 3% as what we predicted 25 years ago in 1985. Of course, if you include the GLCs and ‘trust agencies’ it will be about 19%. But GLCs and trust agencies do not belong to the Malays. They belong to the nation. They belong to the taxpayers. What belongs to the Malays is what is in their pockets. And that is only 3%.

The Minister of Trade, Rafidah Aziz, blamed the Malays for this. We gave the Malays so much, Rafidah said, but they sold everything and spent all the money. If the Malays had kept what the government gave them then we could have achieved the target of 30%, maybe even exceed it.

You Malays waste what the government gave you, lamented Rafidah. Then you complain when you have finished the money and then you accuse the government of not helping you. How can the government keep giving you forever? The government has done what it is supposed to do. But the Malays are not doing what they are supposed to do. The Malays prefer to buy expensive cars and marry many wives when they get rich. And when they become poor again they go running to the government and expect more help from the government.

Undeniably, the NEP has failed. We in the Malay Chamber of Commerce already said it has failed 25 years ago back in 1985. And the government too said it has failed and that it has failed not because of the Chinese and Indians but because of the Malays themselves. The Malays, however, blame the GLCs and Unmoputeras for that failure. Whatever it may be, both the government and the Malays admit the failure of the NEP though each points to the other as the reason for the failure.

Okay, that may be as far as the corporate scene is concerned. That is only part of what the NEP is about. What about the other sectors?

Malays are not denied an education. If the Malays are capable and qualified they can get to go to university, many to overseas universities on top of that. The heads of the government departments are mostly Malays. The heads of the government agencies, the various branches of the armed forces, police, etc., are all Malays. The Ministers in key ministries are all Malays (finance, trade, etc.). The majority of civil servants are Malays (97%-98% of the voters in Putrajaya are Malays). And so on and so forth.

Malay fishermen and farmers are given aid. They were given free fishing boats, marine engines, fishing nets, fertilizers, tractors, etc. Their fuel is subsidised. In fact, even Chinese fishermen in Penang, Perak, Selangor, Johor, etc., received aid. So it is across the board and not only for the Malays although the majority were Malays -- since there are more Malays than non-Malays in the agriculture and fisheries sector.

The land settlers are all Malays. And many have become millionaires when they sold their land decades later. There are no land settlements for Chinese and Indians.

So where is it that the Malays are left out? Is it because the Malay share of the economic ‘pie’ is just 3% instead of 30% that you say the Malays are left out?

You must understand, the 30% was calculated in 1970, 40 years ago. Going by 1970 standards the Malays have reached the target of 30%, in fact, even more. But the ‘pie’ did not remain static. The pie was only 1KG in 1970 and the Malay target was to get 30% of 1KG. But the ‘pie’ grew over 40 years. Today, the ‘pie’ is 50KG. So, today, the 3% Malay share of 50KG is much bigger than the target of 30% of 1KG, 40 years ago.

It is a moving target. It is not a static target. So, as the target grows bigger your share in percentage may be small but in absolute terms is so much larger.

The Malays did take one step forward as what was planned in 1970. In that sense the NEP has succeeded. But the world took 50 steps forward since 1970. And the Malays are just not able to keep up with the pace that the world is moving. So the Malays are behind not because they stepped backwards or they stopped moving but because everyone is moving at a much more rapid pace, which the Malays just can’t keep up with.

Let’s not just talk about percentages. If one person was unemployed last year and, today, it is two people who are unemployed, can we say that unemployment has increased 100%? Two Malaysians unemployed from just one last year is not bad. But in percentage it looks bad. It is an increase of 100%.

How many Malays lived in middle-class homes in 1969? How many Malays lived in upmarket homes in 1969? How many Malays went to university in 1969? How many Malays received an overseas education in 1969? How many Malays were employed by the government in 1969? How many Malays drove Mercedes Benzes, BMWs, Ferraris and Porches in 1969? How many Malays could afford RM100,000 motorcycles in 1969? And so on and so forth.

Don’t just look at the 3% (or 19% if GLCs and trust agencies are included). Look at what your grandfather was doing in 1969. And look at where you are now 40 years later. That is what the NEP has done for you.

So, yes, in some ways the NEP has failed (although the government blames the Malays themselves for this failure). But in many more ways the NEP has succeeded. And you Malays reading this piece is proof it has succeeded. If not you will be back in the kampong planting padi or following your father to catch fish instead of reading Malaysia Today.

To the Malays, this is my message. Malays are Muslims. So use your ‘Islamic head’ to think. Islam asks us to shukur (show gratitude to God) for the nikmat (blessings) we receive from Allah. If we do not shukur then we are considered kufur nikmat. And kufur comes for the word kafir or infidel. Yes, Islam asks us to not question what we do not have but to shukur for what we do have. And doing otherwise makes us kufur nikmat.

To say that the Malays still need the NEP is an admission that the Malays are weak. Where is your Malay pride and dignity? You look at what the Chinese and Indians have and complain because you too do not have the same. But you forgot that the Indians and Chinese agreed to give the Malays 20 years to catch up. Is it their fault if you did not?

And we did catch up. The only problem is the Chinese are Indians did not stand still to wait for the Malays to catch up. They too increased their wealth. And the Malays also increased their wealth. But now we are comparing what the Chinese and Indians have to what we have and we are not happy. We used to take a bus to go to town 40 years ago. Today, we are driving expensive cars. But we have only three cars while the Chinese and Indians have ten. And that is why we are not happy.

Tak malu ke Melayu sungut macam ini?

Malaysia delays sales tax plan

MALAYSIA'S government put off a politically risky plan to enforce a 4 per cent goods and service tax, cheering opposition critics on Sunday who claimed it would burden the poor.

Prime Minister Najib Razak's administration had previously planned to debate legislation in Parliament later this month to impose the tax by 2011 in an effort to boost revenue by about 1 billion ringgit (S$418 million) annually.

The plan stirred fierce criticism from social activists, who insisted the tax would cause inflation to rise and unnecessarily trouble poor and middle-class earners.

Second Finance Minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said on Saturday the government will indefinitely delay plans to debate the legislation until it can convince people that the tax would aid the country's economic well-being. 'It will depend on our engagement with the public and acceptance of the people on its implementation,' Mr Ahmad Husni was quoted as saying by the national news agency, Bernama. 'We do not want to put a time frame on that.'

Opposition activists, who had threatened to stage a protest against the sales tax outside Parliament on Monday, urged the government to completely scrap the plan. 'Perhaps the tax is not being imposed now because (the government) does not have a solid hold in Parliament,' said Mahfuz Omar, vice president of the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party.

Analysts have said the sales tax might spur public dissatisfaction against Najib's ruling National Front coalition, which is expected to call for elections in a large state on Borneo island sometime over the next year. The broad-based consumption tax is supposed to replace a narrowly applied 10 per cent sales tax and five percent services tax. It is meant to be levied on transactions at all stages of production of goods and services. -- AP

Islam should not be imposed on people - Khalid Samad

Malaysian Digest - Member of Parliament (MP) for Shah Alam Khalid Samad said today that one of the main challenges of PAS is in the convincing of the way Islam without imposing it on societies.

In his talk on PAS: Rising to New Challenges organised by Malaysian Digest, Khalid also stressed on the importance of PAS to be more sensitive to other races and religions.

“To convince people of Islam is an ongoing process. Islam cannot be imposed on societies,” Khalid said during the event held at Killiney Sooka Sentral here last Friday.

“PAS should not force the society to do what we want. Instead, we have to convince the people first,” he added.

He also talked about the challenges in overcoming the overwhelming control UMNO / BN has over the mainstream media.

“We have outperformed UMNO in Selangor but all our achievements in Selangor have been completely blacked out by the mainstream media. We just need to get the message across in other ways,” he said.

Khalid added that PAS / Pakatan Rakyat’s achievements must be conveyed in an old-fashioned manner and they are willing to go to the extent of going door to door.

On Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s trial, Khalid said that having the Pakatan Rakyat leader sentenced to prison would actually be an advantage to the Opposition.

“If Anwar is put in jail, even though we don't want it, it will make our job easier because people can see for themselves that injustice is being committed (by the government),” Khalid said.

Khalid added that the government’s effort on stamping out corruption and having an independent judiciary is all talk and no actual action is being taken.

During the question and answer session after his speech, when asked about the difficulties faced by Pakatan Rakyat coalition with its component parties having differing stands and ideologies, Khalid said that developing a working coalition will always be an ongoing process.

“PAS, DAP and PKR have similar objectives in that we are against race politics, corruption, injustices... When we got to work together there are many things that we find similar in terms of objectives. From then on we don't look at who the members of the parties are, instead we look at the parties' objectives,” Khalid said.

However, the charismatic MP said that it’s an unfortunate fact that there are still a small group of members within PAS who don't completely trust DAP and the same inclination exists within all Pakatan Rakyat component parties towards each other.

The former ISA detainee also said that to undertake change for the better the rakyat plays a major role.

“I think the rakyat understands that to change, everyone needs to chip in. We need everybody to chip in to ensure that the rakyat's voice is heard,” he said.

He added that he’s confident that through a proper and dedicated leadership change can be achieved.

The casual and open forum is the first of a series of monthly event called the Teh Tarik Session. Guests and participants of the inaugural event include Rahmat Harun, Adman Salleh, Nurul Izzah, Nam Ron, Thian Chua and Kee Thuan Chye.

'Malay' - a construction of an illusion?

In governmental and non-governmental organisations championing the special rights of the Malays, there are members whose parents are not even called 'Malays'. Their parents are perhaps Chinese, Malabaris, Tamils, Pakistani, Javanese, Ambonese, Communists, Socialists, Capitalists, Scientologists, Turkish, Siamese, Bugis, Melanau, Batak, Bajau, Iban, Portuguese, and a hybrid upon hybrid of all these.
A REPUBLIC OF VIRTUE
Azly Rahman
“Man has no nature, what he has is history”
- Ortega y Gasset, Spanish philosopher

“The strategic adversary is fascism... the fascism in us all, in our heads and in our everyday behavior, the fascism that causes us to love power, to desire the very thing that dominates and exploits us.”
- Michel Foucault, French philosopher

Is it not time, like an ideological excavator of ideas and a keen student of race and social dominance, an educator for peace and transcultural philosophies, and an initiator of multicultural revolutions – is it not time for all these that we deconstruct the meaning of “Malayness”?

From the standpoint of philosophy of culture, or ethno-philosophy, I propose that there is no real ethnic group called 'Malay'. We have hybrids and border-crossers. 'Malay' is a historical construction of an "imagined community".

Race is merely a 'construct'. It many have been the most powerful ideological perspective to construct nations and build base and super-structural foundations of the modern state, but in the eyes of an evolutionary biologist, or a bio-semiotician, race does not carry much weight.

The problem plaguing Malaysians, hindering approaches to distributive and regulative justice that are 'race-blind' is this false consciousness of what a Malay is. The question of what a Malay is and what it is not has become a most contentious issue in the discussions of nation-building circa post-Mahathir era.

The lack of understanding of how one should view the New Economic Policy (NEP) and now the New Economic Model (NEM) - itself based on false premises on ethnicity and citizenship and Natural Rights - also makes the argument daunting, and of late dangerous.

Special rights

In governmental and non-governmental organisations championing the special rights of the Malays, there are members whose parents are not even called 'Malays'. Their parents are perhaps Chinese, Malabaris, Tamils, Pakistani, Javanese, Ambonese, Communists, Socialists, Capitalists, Scientologists, Turkish, Siamese, Bugis, Melanau, Batak, Bajau, Iban, Portuguese, and a hybrid upon hybrid of all these.

The word 'Malay' as conceived and perceived these days, has become a political tool to destroy economic and social foundation of this nation, in fact. immigrant groups coming into Malaysia will reconstruct themselves to become a 'Malay'.

Constitutionally a Malay is one who speaks the language, practices the religion of Islam, and performs the rights and rituals of this or that culture.

Psychologically and culturally one may not be so. NGOs fighting for this or that 'already-enshrined-in-the-Constitution-Malay-rights' are fighting for the dominance of the wealthy class and of robber barons financing the rise of this or that 'new Malay consciousness'.

A Malay community is an imagined community. It exists primarily as a reason to exert social dominance. It rests upon myth, legends, and massaged cultural artifacts and scriptures, to propel that dominance.

The writing of Sejarah Melayu, designated as a 'world heritage' is a political act that is meant to consciously promulgate and propagate a myth of a nation that arises out of a bourgeoisie culture whose origin is drawn from myth, legends, and the supernatural.

What are all of us Malaysians - cross-culturally? Where are our ancestors from? Is a history of Malaya based on class rather than race or caste possible for Malaysians to co-construct?

Can we begin to have a dialogue on the economic, social, and technological history of the peoples of Malaysia conceived from the perspective of re-humanisation?

The essential question is: what are all of you ancestrally?

The potentials within

This brings us to how we view education as a process of “drawing out the potentials within”; as what educare from the Latin means.

We are excavating knowledge and reconstructing our realities, so that we can ask the right questions, rather than living with incorrect answers based on false premises. Since Merdeka, we have been learning a lot from the issues we raise -- self, religion, spirituality, politics, economics, culture.

Ultimately we are analysing ideology and trying to identify what is ailing this nation. Dialogue can be painful - but critical conversation is the bedrock of social progress, and academia.

In order to look at what's wrong with the present, we must excavate the past - like an archaeologist of knowledge and power. If we must destroy heroes, villains, myths, legends, rulers, despots, and inscriptions and installations or even ancient scriptures that oppresses and mystifies, destroy we must.

Aren't we human beings not Preserver, Cherisher, Destroyer, and Sustainer - all at once? We live in an illusionary word - a 'maya' yet we are forced to find the truth in all these. How do we do this? Maybe by rebelling against all conventions and questioning the producer of those truths. That is the beginning of liberation.

Critical questions

Our history classes and courses in Citizenship/Malaysian/Ethnic Studies in our public universities love the strategy of “rote-learning”. Critical questions are rarely entertained nor asked, especially those that will deconstruct information that has been filter-funneled into the mind of students.

Rote-learning does not bring progress to the educational system. Rote-learning is a pedagogy borne out of the Industrial Age of the beginning of mass schooling and an ideology to train children to become merely good workers and obedient citizens. This style of learning and teaching will not create the most conducive environment to nurture brains to create new knowledge.

It is a good environment to breed followers, not leaders - let alone frontier thinkers. It is not a Constructivist approach to education. The teaching of race and ethnicity vis-a-viz Malaysian national development has been based on the Essentialist perspective of the 'Malay-centric' domineering ideology.

Rote-learning destroys the culture of critical consciousness in viewing 'Malay-ness' as a reality and not an illusion.

Perhaps critical/philosophical questions on this explosive issue of race and ethnicity for Malaysia are as follow:

How has race been falsely conceived and skillfully utilised as a tool of power and hegemony in an age of deconstructionism?

What economic, political, and cultural conditions and system create cases of massive corruption in all spheres of life and how might a total and radical restructuring of the system not only heal the system but also curb enthusiasm for crypto-crony-corporate capitalism and ultimately bring human beings back to their Natural Self and to Nature - by also destroying all signs, symbols, and semiotics of elitism and the insatiable urge to be greedy and corrupt?

How can Malaysian history be conceived from a technological, social, and humanistic point of view - as a history of classes of people rebelling against human bondage and servitude?

Malaysia's Pussycats in the Year of the Tiger

ImageThe country's women need some empowering

While around the world women's achievements in fields such as medicine, the arts, politics and film are celebrated, in Malaysia women are apparently a problem for men. The secretary-general of the Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Service (Cuepacs), Ahmad Shah Mohd Zin, complained recently that too many women were in decision-making roles in the administrative and diplomatic service. Is Ahmad Shah afraid his own job might be taken over by the fairer sex?

Incredibly, the National Population and Family Development Board's message, reported in mainstream papers on March 11, was to make more babies and not put off marriage. Apparently, fertility rates had dropped from 3.4 in 1995 to 2.2 in 2007. Why is Malaysia obsessed with quantity and not quality? Or rather, why are men fascinated with size? Has it to do with what's in their pants? Are women only good for procreating? If those in senior civil-service positions perform well, then does it matter if they wear a skirt or wear trousers? If smaller families enjoy a good standard of living, are happier, can communicate better, have children with access to education, then are these of little or no consequence? If a woman delays marriage to grab opportunities that will eventually benefit her family, is that wrong? Maybe men have greater difficulty in appreciating women's capabilities and determination? Stories of the abuse of women -- sexual assaults, low pay and abandoned wives, feature in the news daily.

Women may have made their presence felt in the public sector, but contrary to what the Cuepacs secretary-general says, they do not dominate it. Statistics on Women, Family and Social Welfare 2009 show that there are only two female secretaries-general out of 24 ministries (8.3 percent), 12 female director-generals out of 70 departments (17.1 percent) and 11 female chief-executives out of 71 federal statutory bodies (15.5 percent).

In politics, males have been acting with increasing incompetence and immaturity. Men like Zulkifli Nordin and Ibrahim Ali, the leaders of Malay nationalist organizations, feel the need to inflame, incite and instigate with their racist rhetoric. One hopes a capable woman in a similar situation would have appealed to a person's innate good qualities, to inform, improve and inspire.

Where women are concerned, a dichotomy exists. They are told of the need to breed more, and yet more babies are abandoned. In reported cases of illicit sex, the women are whipped and humiliated in the national press, but the men's role is diminished and hardly mentioned. In high profile divorce cases, the women are portrayed as gold-diggers but the thousands of men who fail to pay maintenance to their ex-wives and children escape justice.

A Women's Aid Organization survey revealed in 1989 that 1.8 million or 39 percent of women over 15 were beaten by their husbands or boyfriends. Yet, only 909 women made a police report.

Modern Malaysia has more educated women who are also major or sole breadwinners. Although it ranks 77th in terms of gender gap in educational attainment, there exists a wide chasm in economic participation and political empowerment. Cultural upbringing digs deep into women's psyche and they have difficulty extricating themselves from outdated beliefs. They cling to the notion that husbands or boyfriends automatically qualify as the head of the household, to bully, dominate and control them.

Gender-equality is rarely practiced in Malaysia. When Manohara Odelia Pinot, the royal Indonesian teenage bride, sought refuge in Singapore, alleging abuse at the hands of her husband, her pleas for help were ignored. The Deputy Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, said that the Malaysian government "did not want to get involved." or "be dragged into this", and "to leave it as it is".

Any allegation of violence has to be investigated. No one is above the law. Nor should there be two sets of rules to cover royalty and the masses. The DPM's conflicting messages only encourage discrimination against women. His statements contradict the Government of Malaysia's stand on women's equality. (National Policy on Women 1989, UN Fourth World Conference on Women 1995, Action Plan for Women in Development 1997, formation of Women's Affairs Ministry 2001).

Both palace and politicians have devalued the role of women in the home and in politics. Violence against women is a crime and laws do exist to protect the rights of vulnerable women. But the laws that promote gender equality are few and the ones that guarantee protection against discrimination are weak.

Women's representation in parliament falls short of the 30 percent target in the 1995 Global Platform for Action, although women comprise half the total population and 40 percent of the workforce. When it comes to formulating laws pertaining to women (eg divorce, property, and tax), men neither want to accommodate women's views nor relinquish power. They possibly fear working with women. Instead of striving for the common good of women and society as a whole, men demand that decision-making be left to them.

Malaysian female politicians are allowed to debate a proposed bill in parliament, but are banned from voting for what they feel is the right decision, or what their conscience dictates. They are forced to toe the party line and act subservient. Incredibly, politicians like Bung Radin who insult them in parliament, are not censured.

Malaysia's current female politicians are disappointingly of the wrong calibre and range from timid to tainted. The Perak BN senior exco member, Hamidah Osman said that females could not become chief ministers because the minister, in the course of her duties, would have to meet religious officers and the Sultan. Hamidah's other claim to fame is her derogatory comparison of Indians and snakes that earned her the pseudonym ‘snake woman'. But women can just as easily betray their party. When Hee Yit Foong defected from the Pakatan Rakyat party, her action helped precipitate the downfall of the Perak government. She remains one of the most reviled women in Malaysia today and is also known as ‘frog' or ‘traitor'.

The list is not limited to peninsular Malaysia either. In Sarawak, Fatimah Abdullah, Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister's Department, failed to speak up for Penan girls who were raped and sexually exploited by the timber loggers. Nor is the list exclusive to politicians. Wives of senior politicians have also been known further their husbands' careers using creative methods.

While it is the responsibility of all politicians to advance the rights of women, the female representatives themselves need to be prickly to promote equality and justice for their sex. They need to demonstrate commitment and passion. And women in Malaysia, regardless of their race or religion, must show their determination to save this nation by making a stand. Sometimes it is not the other sex that we have to worry about but one's own. Women's contribution can have tremendous impact on progress and growth. But then, where are the women of note in Malaysia?

Might Malaysia's problems be solved by a woman's long-term vision? If a mother is the glue that holds a family together, why can't a woman be the person that cements communities together? A mother usually considers all her children, with their different foibles, equally deserving of her love. So why can't a woman lead Malaysia out of its depressing state?

It won't be an overnight transition as the resistance to the leadership of women would be fierce. But few people realize that the windscreen wiper was invented by a woman named Mary Anderson in 1905. It was probably her predilection for clear vision through glass, or her fastidiousness with clean windows, that made her invent them.

Open debate on New Economic Model (NEM)

By Dr Chen Man Hin, DAP life adviser

CALL FOR AN OPEN DEBATE ON THE NEW ECONOMIC MODEL AS IT IS A POLICY THAT WILL IMPACT ON THE ECONOMIC WELL BEING OF THE PEOPLE, AND AS SUCH THEY SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO DISCUSS AND DEBATE ON THE NEW ECONOMIC MODEL BEFORE IT COULD BE IMPLEMENTED.

This is absolutely necessary as the New Economic Policy was pushed through parliament in 1971 without a full discussion by the people. Only the cabinet and government under the then prime minister were privy to the details, and it was rushed through parliament.

Implemented from 1971 until today, the aim was to restructure society, to rescue the Malays from poverty and to give them access to all strata of the economy.

Today, admittedly there are more middle class Malays, but the vast majority of them still live in grinding poverty, and many others still live below the poverty line where families subsist on RM1,500 a month.

The wealth which was supposed to be transferred to the Malay poor was hijacked midway by Umno cronies. They have become rich beyond their wildest dreams.

THE NEP OBSTRUCTED AND DESTROYED THE ENTREPRENEUR SPIRIT OF THE PEOPLE. FOREIGNERS AVOIDED INVESTING IN MALAYSIA. MANY SKILLED AND TALENTED MALAYSIANS MIGRATED TO GREENER PASTURES LIKE SINGAPORE, AUSTRALIA, CANADA AND THE STATES. THE GOVERNMENT HAS MADE THE PUBLIC ADMISSION THAT 300,000 MALAYSIANS LEFT THE SHORES OF THE COUNTRY IN 2008. THE GOVERNMENT ALSO ADMITTED THAT ONE DECADE OF ECONOMIC PROGRESS WAS LOST AFTER THE ASIA FINANCIAL CRISIS OF 1998.

PAKATAN RAKYAT HAS OPENLY CALLED FOR THE NEP TO BE SCRAPPED AND IN ITS PLACE IMPLEMENT THEIR MALAYSIAN ECONOMIC POLICY WHICH WILL PROVIDE THE PUSH FOR THE ECONOMY TO PROGRESS AND PROSPER.

Unfortunately there are signs that PM Najib Razak is weakening and submitting to pressure by UMNO and PERKASA (extreme Malay pressure group) to retain the racial concepts of the NEP. PM Najib is vacillating and hence he is postponing the launch of the New Economic Model.

Pakatan Rakyat urges the prime minister to stand firm and scrap the NEP policies, which has been shown with facts and figures to have caused the Malaysian economy to fall behind that of S Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore

At independence, Malaya had the second highest per capita income in Asia, after Japan. After 1971, with the NEP, the GDP of Malaysia began falling behind that of the four Asian tigers Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore). In 2009, while GDP of Malaysia stood at US$8,000, S Korea and Taiwan rose to US$19,000, Hong Kong to $32,000 while Singapore to US$34,000.

The NEP caused Malaysia to lose four decades of economic progress and inflicted economic pain and loss on two generations of young Malaysians.

Prime Minister Najib Razak must wake up to the dangerous and retrogressive policies of Umno and Perkasa. Which will condemn Malaysians to a life of hardship due to low income and poverty.

PRIME MINISTER NAJIB SHOULD CALL FOR A NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF ECONOMISTS, ENTREPRENEURS, BUSINNESSMEN, BANKERS, SMALL AND MEDICUM ENTREPRENEURS, NGOS AND POLITICAL PARTIES TO DISCUSS AND AGREE ON A NEW BLUEPRINT FOR THE NEW ECONOMIC MODEL FOR MALAYSIA.

PKR Members Walk Out Of AGM

KUALA SELANGOR, March 14 (Bernama) -- Some 50 disgruntled Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) members Sunday walked out of the Kuala Selangor PKR division annual general meeting (AGM) citing dissatisfaction with the way the meeting was conducted.

They also felt that the AGM was "invalid" and not conducted in accordance to the party constitution, as no proper notices were given prior to it being held.

The former Information chief of the division, Ibrahim Mahidin, said the secretary of the AGM had not given out proper meeting notices to the party members informing the date, venue and time of the meeting, which should have been done 14 days prior to the AGM.

"The meeting notices and agenda were also not attached to the meeting minutes meant for the AGM which is in contravention of Article 24.6 of the party constitution.

"I was informed that the meeting notice for the AGM today was published in a Malay daily on March 9, 2010, which is five days before the AGM and this was something improper," he told reporters here today.

Ibrahim said the AGM, which was opened by Selangor Menteri Besar and Kuala Selangor PKR chief, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, was only attended by 241 members out of a total of more than 4,000 members in the division.

He also said that PKR members were not given the opportunity at the AGM to debate on issues affecting the party lately.

"Kuala Selangor PKR division led by Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim should take note of this problem and have a face-to-face talk with the disgruntled members as soon as possible," he said.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim also claimed that an office bearer in the Kuala Selangor PKR division committee was declared bankrupt by the Department of the Insolvency in a letter dated Oct 8, 2009.

"Under the constitutions of all political parties, a person who is declared a bankrupt should not contest or hold any positions in the party," he said.

Oil Royalty: A Constitution Right? Forum

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Govt puts off GST Bill - for now - Anil Netto

It’s not surprising that the government has decided to put off the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for now.

While the NGOs might claim preliminary victory (they had planned a protest for Monday, when Parliament resumes) and some might think that the government has listened to the people’s concern, I believe it was the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturer’s objection that probably saved the day.

Five days ago on Tuesday, the FMM’s task force on GST recommended that the tax be deferred until Malaysia was ready (when average income was higher and income disparity lower).

We shouldn’t be too thankful to the FMM though. They very “kindly” suggested that the government consider a Retail Sales Tax instead of a GST – while the corporations continue to enjoy ever-lower tax rates. Gee, thanks!

As this government often puts business interests ahead of people’s, we shoudn’t be surprised that the government is now listening to the FMM. After all, if the government really had the people’s interest at heart, it would not have even contemplated GST – not when the vast majority of Malaysians do not earn enough to be eligible to pay income tax.

Why was the FMM against the idea? For one thing, it would have required a great deal of education, work and expense to prepare their member firms for the new tax regime.

Just last week, I was telling an accountant friend of mine that I don’t think that the government has the machinery and the qualified human resources in place to implement the GST. Neither had it done much ground work. If it had gone full steam ahead with the GST, then there was a great danger that 1Malaysia would be reduced to 1Big Mess with leakages galore.

Moreover, the GST was not going to be politically popular with Umno’s rural base, many of whom would be low-income workers (such as farmers) who would be heaviest hit by the GST.

Most people instinctively know the GST is a regressive tax, especially in the Malaysian context. (Some have dubbed it “Go Squeeze Them”.) This is especially true when you consider that the majority of Malaysians do not currently pay income tax – in which case, the standard methods of mitigating the effect of the GST on the low-income group (i.e. income tax credits and slashing income tax rates for the bottom bands of income) are not available.