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Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Reformasi that never was

By Stanley Koh

COMMENT Malaysians generally have had enough of politicians. What they crave is real leadership. Over the last 20 years or so, their distrust of their representatives has been growing but their aspiration for true democracy has never waned.

The opposition gains in the 2008 general election – the so-called political tsunami – did sweep in a breath of fresh air, but it has since turned stale.

What went right in 2008? How did the Pakatan Rakyat coalition succeed so dramatically and why did Barisan Nasional receive the blunt end of the electoral sledgehammer?

Many have attributed the tsunami to the charm of the youngest Pakatan component, PKR. They say that the message it hammered out – “reform is my goal” – was in complete harmony with the Malaysian dream.

So what does “being PKR” entail?

Let us go back 12 years.

“It all began on a Sunday evening, Sept 20, when the authorities stationed baton-wielding riot police outside Anwar Ibrahim’s residence.

“Two police helicopters hovered overhead, bathing the area with powerful searchlights. Then, at around 9pm, balaclava-clad men with bulletproof vests and submachine guns broke down the front door and stormed into the house where Anwar, 51, was conducting a press conference.

“The raiders, who belonged to the elite Special Action Force, manhandled some of the journalists and confiscated their notebooks and tape recorders before throwing the hacks out of the house.

“The arresting officer told Anwar he was being detained under the charge of unnatural sexual acts. Anwar was taken to a maximum-security prison outside Kuala Lumpur.”

This report, filed for Asiaweek, summed up the dramatic events of the day of reckoning for Anwar, currently PKR’s de facto leader.

Any magic left?

Anwar’s arrest came a day before the Commonwealth Games closed and not before the sacked deputy prime minister was able to address thousands of people – 60,000, according to disgraced top cop Abdul Rahim Noor – from a roof of the National Mosque. After the speech, he led the crowd in a march to Merdeka Square, and the chant “reformasi” reverberated across Kuala Lumpur.

“Reformasi” became the rallying cry of pro-democracy activists throughout Anwar’s incarceration and beyond.

It continues to be the mantra of PKR.

But many in the public have begun to wonder whether the word – or Anwar himself – has any magic left.

Indeed, will PKR itself survive the next general election or fade away and be remembered only as a fairy tale or parable?

PKR’s ongoing internal elections have turned out to be a ruthless affair, according to many critics within and without the party. They are at a loss to explain why the elections do not reflect the qualities and standards for which the party claims to be fighting.

The leadership has made no serious attempt to counter allegations of fraud and other irregularities. All we get are unconvincing denials.

To many observers, PKR’s direct elections have turned into an absurd drama instead of a demonstration of true democracy in action. The protagonists in all the contesting sides have failed to show enough patience and imagination to resolve problems fairly and squarely.

The party’s top leaders say criticisms about the conduct of the elections are unwarranted, but there seems little attempt to civilly and considerately investigate the various allegations originating at ground level.

Some party insiders say PKR’s drawbacks lie in the horrible reality that a few upper crust leaders are like leopards that cannot change their spots. This is a reference to their old Umno mindset.

The public is asking whether PKR is genuinely seeking reform in public policy.

A manifestation of vanity

In a common manifesto with other opposition parties, entitled “Towards a Just Malaysia”, it criticised the ruling power for “not respecting the differing views of others; instead they are vilified including with fabricated accusations.”

It said that in Barisan Nasional “blind loyalty to the leadership is expected, even when the leadership is wrong, and the principles and practice of public accountability are ignored”. In the process, it added, public institutions are undermined.

In the public mind, most of those words can now be applied to PKR as well.

Indeed, evil comes in many guises in the political arena, regardless of the political divide.

Pretty much of party electioneering and power play are carried out away from the public eye.

The on-going PKR elections have done much to blur the lines between its promises and the realities on the ground.

The party, no doubt, can give the excuse that the election, being an experiment in the one-man-one-vote system, is massive and slow. But the public is less interested in the suspense than in transparency and fairness.

How this election process links to the reformasi mantra is critically important.

PKR is expected to keep its promise to be an institution that identifies with and belongs to all Malaysians sharing a will and determination to bring positive changes to the nation.

It should not be a personalised party. It should not be a property belonging to and controlled by a hierarchy of cronies loyal to any particular individual or individuals.

It is politically indecent for any leader to impose upon others his biases and prejudices and to practise favouritism so that his cronies can dominate the power play.

Bearing all these in mind, we can say that PKR’s direct elections are merely a manifestation of vanity. It wanted to the first party to use the system, but it has failed to do it justice.

Mad, bad and sad

Allegations of political point scoring, character assassination, irregular and unjust practices have marred the party’s image and undermined its call for reform.

As far as ordinary supporters are concerned, the only adjectives that can adequately describe the state of affairs in PKR are “mad, bad and sad”.

Many are indeed mad and sad that the leadership appears to have destroyed itself and become bad by throwing away the golden opportunity that voters handed to it in the 2008 tsunami.

In short, Malaysians are still crying out for effective leadership.

The conclusion:

Malaysians rallying to new causes may have to resort to a third force. With traditional models of political participation running out of steam, perhaps new forms of expression and political engagement can emerge, freed from shabby, sleazy and corrupt leaders.

Stanley Koh is a veteran political observer. He was the former chief of MCA's research unit.

A friend indeed to the helpless

By Stephanie Sta Maria

FMT FOCUS KUALA LUMPUR: The rotund middle-aged Malay woman shuffled as fast as she could to her corner foodstall without spilling the contents of the metal tray that she carried. As she neared her stall, she threw a quick glance at the two young men sitting beneath a tree across from her.

The duo were intently scanning the still empty food court in Dataran Merdeka. Beside them was a stuffed black backpack, a small yellow plastic bin marked “Danger” and sheaves of paraphernalia.

First-time patrons to the food court would have wrestled with unease but the stall owner was unperturbed. Nur Fadlan and Mohd Azaha were familiar faces after all.

Twice a week they would settle down across a corner of the food court in wait of their clients who would stream in by the dozen to exchange used needles for a pack of four sterile ones.

The two are outreach workers under the Needle and Syringe Exchange Programme (NSEP), jointly run by the Health Ministry and the Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC), in an effort to reduce HIV infections among intravenous drug users (IDUs).

The Dataran Merdeka outreach point is just one of 260 in the country and serves up to 40 clients at each time. Today, however, the usual stream is a mere trickle and both outreach workers are concerned.

It was almost noon and the lunchtime crowd was due anytime. Once they began arriving, Fadlan and Azaha would have to disappear as was their arrangement with the stall owners.

“Only four clients have turned up so far,” Azaha said. “This spot used to be a regular among our clients but the police carried out frequent raids during Ramadan and many clients have stopped coming. So we have to go looking for them.”

Precious insight

Both Fadlan and Azaha are former IDUs themselves which not only endears them to their clients but

also allows them precious insight into how their clients operate.

“They understand what we are trying to do and they appreciate it,” Fadlan said. “But visiting the outreach points is always a risk for them as they never know if the police are waiting to pounce.”

“So if we get wind of a possible raid we have to move our outreach point elsewhere and hope that word travels fast enough to all our clients.”

Azaha suddenly raised his hand in recognition at a gaunt man approaching them. They chatted easily as Fadlan checked his card and Azaha emptied the used needles into the yellow bin.

“How many packs do you need?” Azaha asked as he dipped his hand into the backpack. The man mumbled a reply and Azaha handed him four packs.

“Most of them collect on behalf of their friends,” he explained, watching the man amble away. “We don't mind because it means that they're helping us reach out to those who aren't our clients.”

A youth came up the stairs and Fadlan called out: “Oy! Haven't seen you in a while!” The youth flashed a half-guilty smile. He had just “gotten out” (from prison), he confessed.

Fadlan shook his head and held out a new pack of needles but the youth sat close to him and murmured in his ear. Fadlan reached back into the bag and pulled out a bar of soap, a disposable razor and Panadol.

After collecting the items, the youth headed towards a closed foodstall. Outside it lay a bright red suitcase. He stuffed the items into the suitcase, zipped it up and walked away leaving it there.

“He probably lives under the bridge like the rest,” Fadlan observed. “We know what their lives are like so we also provide them basic necessities and medication. And we give them these pamphlets too.”

The pamphlets depicted diagrams indicating safe areas for injection. According to Fadlan, most IDUs have no idea how to locate the right vein for injection which has resulted in blood clots or serious infections.

And educating them on safe injection methods, he firmly said, does not constitute encouragement of drug use. As far as MAC is concerned, its focus is solely on reducing HIV infections and not drug prevention.

A safe haven

When they're not on the streets, Fadlan and Azaha are busy at the IKHLAS drop-in centre, another site for IDUs to exchange their needles. The centre is a safe space created by the Pink Triangle Foundation for drug users, sex workers and transsexuals in the Chow Kit area.

The centre runs two inter-related programmes – the NSEP and the Methadone Maintenance programme. The centre occupies an innocuous two-storey shoplot in Lorong Haji Taib. Even before its gates open at 9am, a small group has gathered to await entry into what they call their “haven”.

IKHLAS coordinator, Zulkiflee Zamri, explained that beyond the programmes the centre also catered to the group's basic needs. This included offering three daily meals (breakfast, lunch and tea), counselling, referrals to rehabilitation centres or hospitals, as well as bathing and laundry facilities.

The centre's two floors are divided into male and female areas. That morning only a couple of transvestites were hanging around the female floor and were nervous about granting interviews.

“No cannot!” one of them refused, his voiced muffled by the shawl that partially covered his face. “The last journalist also promised anonymity but showed my face on TV and my whole family saw me like this!”

The male floor was teeming with drug users who were either fast asleep or glued to the TV. Among them were Mohan, 49, and Farid, 22.

Mohan had his arm in a sling. He blamed his broken arm on a ratty pair of slippers which caused him to lose his footing while scurrying for shelter during a recent downpour.

“I started on marijuana at 18,” he shared openly. “I was 23 when I was first arrested. I discovered heroin while I was in prison. I continued injecting after I was released and was arrested a second time soon after. I've wasted most of my life behind bars. I'm tired of it.”

Turning around his life, however, was trickier than expected. Mohan initially landed a job as a security guard but was fired after he slipped back into his old drug habit. Then he secured employment as a parking attendant only to have the cycle repeat itself. Today he is a daily visitor to IKHLAS where he survives on the free food.

“I don't like the dependency but I have no choice,” he said, occasionally swiping at his nose which still runs from snorting drugs. “As it is, it was already so difficult to find work what more now when I have a broken arm? The only good thing that has come out of this is that I am more determined to quit heroin for good.”

Black sheep

Mohan is the self-professed black sheep of the family. After his father passed on, the welfare of his mother fell onto the shoulders of his siblings. Mohan visited his mother regularly but was banned from the house after he was caught stealing from her. Desperate to eke a “normal” life for himself, Mohan turned to the NSEP.

“It's a very good programme,” he said earnestly. “We always knew it was risky to share needles but it was too much of a hassle to get new ones. I've since introduced other friends to the programme as well. My aim is now to kick heroin and get onto methadone instead.”

According to him, methadone allows former heroin users to function normally in daily life without craving the next hit. Farid attested to this. He has been on methadone ever since he began volunteering at the centre.

After getting hooked on marijuana at 16, he experimented with ice and wound up in prison for six months.

“My father was polygamous and never at home,” he said. “I didn't get along with my mother so I left the house and lived on the streets in Kuala Lumpur. That's when I first encountered heroin.”

“I chased heroin for eight months until a friend offered me methadone. It made a huge difference. I was a petty criminal before because I obsessed over my next hit but with methadone, I felt like a regular person.”

Farid heard of the NSEP around the same time but was hesitant to get onto the programme because of a childhood fear of needles. So he opted for sheer willpower and methadone to help him kick the heroin habit.

Both men, however, lament the discrimination that their addiction has heaped upon them.

“When employers find out about our records, they refuse to contribute to the Employees Provident Fund or they hold back our salary,” Mohan claimed. “This happens a lot with security companies. We are open and honest about our past but our employers use it against us.”

Farid related a previous experience working as a security guard at a condominium. According to him, his employers assured him that they had no problems with his past but then held back his salary on payday.

“One night the police raided our hostel and arrested all of us. It turned out that our employers had tipped them off. After I got out of prison, I went back to claim my salary but the company said that I had forfeited it after I didn't turn up for work without prior notice. I heard that they hired a different set of security guards and repeated the same trick.”

The setbacks, however, haven't eroded Mohan's faith in the NSEP or himself. He is confident that he will lift himself out of his addiction in the near future.

“But we need help,” he admitted. “We fall easily and we need support or else we're not going to make it. You know the saying, how behind every successful man is a woman? It applies here. Behind every former addict is a friend and that friend is now the NSEP.”

Anwar's seven costly mistakes

Anwar was very bold before the 2008 general election and it was he who managed to put the three parties together to form the Pakatan Rakyat. But he has changed since the sodomy charges were filed against him, and the embarrassing failure of a purported regime change scheduled for 16 September 2008.

By LIM SUE GOAN, My Sinchew
Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE

I am not sure who is behind the "Oust Anwar” campaign" mentioned by PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

But. I do agree that Anwar is surely not truly qualified to lead the Pakatan Rakyat based on an assessment on his performance over the past two years.

Anwar has made at least seven costly mistakes.

First, he has not responded to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's transformation plans.

Najib has been going all out to conduct reforms since he took the office in April last year. He introduced the 1Malaysia concept, Key Performance Indicators (KPI), National Key Result Areas (NKRA), Government Transformation Plan (GTP) and Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

As the Pakatan Rakyat supremo, Anwar should have a counter-strategy to the Najib blueprint, but he has not responded at all so far, but just let swing voters gradually lured by the BN.

Secondly, he has allowed the Pakatan Rakyat morale to sink. Although the Pakatan Rakyat won eight of the 13 by-elections, it has been defeated in the recent ones, except in Sibu because of Chinese votes.

The Pakatan Rakyat has been facing both internal and external problems and its members have lost their high morale of the 2008 general election. Anwar has not come out with new strategies to boost morale.

Thirdly, Anwar has no plan to implement reforms. The Pakatan Rakyat was able to gain control of five states after the 2008 general election because it has promised to carry out reforms. Anwar has apparently taken the people's support for granted and does not fulfill his election commitments, making the promised reforms remaining as mere slogans.

Fourthly, the Pakatan Rakyat is still a loose organization, and there is no effort to consolidate and strengthen the coalition. Compared with the BN, the Pakatan Rakyat lacks an effective structure and organisation, and its discipline is in a mess.

The Pakatan Rakyat is also facing contradictions and conflicts in terms of political ideology and has failed to introduce new policies.

Fifthly, there is no no political resource intergration. Anwar should apply his administrative experience as the deputy prime minister in integrating the resources of the four Pakatan Rakyat state governments and introducing a plan to stimulate economy in the four states. The blank in this area has caused the Pakatan Rakyat state governments to lack performance to retain confidence of their supporters.

As the economic adviser for Selangor, Anwar has shown no achievement so far.

Sixth, Anwar seems helpless to quell the PKR infighting. Internal problems of the PKR had been started since the 2008 general election, including choosing inappropriate election candidates and resolving problems by creating by-election through resignations. The people will not be cheated again and again.

The withdrawal of Perak state assembly members from the party has caused the collapse of the Perak Pakatan Rakyat state government. A few MPs and state assembly members have also quit the party after that. Anwar claimed it as a plot by Umno, but he has never seriously put any effort in resolving the factional, personnel and power struggle problems in the party.

Eventually, it leads to the outbreak of a major crisis in the party. Again, Anwar puts the blame on a conspiracy outside the party. He is too lazy even to find a more decent reason.

Finally, Anwar lacks the ability to lead and judge: A leader should be responsible, fair and unbiased. Anwar's stand in the party election is ambiguous.

For the direct election mechanism, even outsiders have expected problems, but why did an experienced leaders like Anwar fail to anticipate them? Isn't the situation not serious enough to cause concern when 165 complaints about unfairness of the party election had been received?

Anwar was very bold before the 2008 general election and it was he who managed to put the three parties together to form the Pakatan Rakyat. But he has changed since the sodomy charges were filed against him, and the embarrassing failure of a purported regime change scheduled for 16 September 2008.

Leaders can always be replaced and the most important thing is achieving the main goals. Replacing the leaders might bring an opportunity to change. However, the plight of the Pakatan Rakyat is that there is at present no visible suitable candidate to replace Anwar.

Rosmah Mansor’s son-in-law with links to University of Wales resigns

The university suspended its links to the college – one of three Malaysian institutions with links to the Welsh body – after a BBC investigation revealed Mr Yaakob claimed to have a masters and a doctorate in business administration, but both came from a bogus university.
By Graham Henry, WalesOnline

VIDEO: Rosmah Mansor’s relative talks about Fazley Yaakob

The principal of a Malaysian-based college with links to the University of Wales has resigned amid a probe into his bogus qualifications.

Executive director of Fazley International College (FIC) in Kuala Lumpur, Fazley Yaakob – a pop star in Malaysia – stood aside and apologised for “embarrassment” the university had suffered, after he drew attention to allegations over his credentials.

The university suspended its links to the college – one of three Malaysian institutions with links to the Welsh body – after a BBC investigation revealed Mr Yaakob claimed to have a masters and a doctorate in business administration, but both came from a bogus university.

In his letter to the institution, Mr Yaakob wrote: “Though I hold a director’s position, I have never been a part of the academic team nor have I sat at any of the academic meetings.

“As such you can be assured that at no stage was the academic standards or the reputation of the university put at a compromise.

“Upon further reflection, I consider that to continue as a director could be damaging to the college, its student community and the dedicated staff who have worked hard to uphold the academic standards and integrity.”

Mr Yaakob – who has had four hit albums in Malaysia – said that he had decided to resign as it was clear that the controversy was “undermining the reputation and good relations between the college and university,” but that he would continue to fight to clear his name.

“I sincerely apologise for having caused the university and its officials embarrassment. I do hope that the matter will be laid to rest and that the link between the University and FIC can be restored,” he added.

The university stopped its admissions process for its validated business administration and MBA courses last week as a “precaution”, even though Mr Yaakob did not teach on courses supported by the university. The 35 students already enrolled will be unaffected.

More than 13,000 students study on the university’s validated courses around the world and the university receives around £15m a year from the programme, 80% of which is abroad.

Vice chancellor Marc Clement defended the university’s overseas academic programme in a YouTube video released by the institution yesterday in response to the row.

He said: “We as a university are conscious that there are risks associated with international collaborative provision of education.

“We recognise that risk and on balance our judgement is that the opportunity far outweighs the risk.”

Mr Clement added that the university had to respond to higher education demand from the Far East, which he said would top 62% by 2025 compared to just 8% from Europe, meaning that the global market was “critically important.”

He said: “The University of Wales is one of the few national universities one can identify. Wales has a unique advantage here and the international agenda is critical to the mission of the university.”

He said that the university had created a dedicated faculty that was to act as an anchor for all international education activity within the University of Wales.

The institution also pointed to a team of 30 validation staff that ensured qualifications met the university’s standards.

Suraus and mosques is okay, but not other houses of worship?

UPDATE : Just got off the phone with YB Theresa Kok, who exclaimed surprise at the matter reported in FMT.
She has promised to check and revert to me tomorrow.
FreeMalaysiaToday reports that the Selangor government has decided that, henceforth, non-Muslim houses of worship cannot be built near residential areas.
The reason?
To avert racial tension, according to the report.
The report also connects this decision with the relocation of the 150-year old Hindu temple in section 19, Shah Alam that was the subject of the cow-head protest last year, to section 23 Shah Alam.
Two things I want to say about this.
Firstly, lets be very clear about one fact that is so often glossed over.
That 150-year old temple stood on its original site long before PKNS built houses in its vicinity.
Secondly, is the Selangor government now coming up with a discriminatory policy?
One law for the Muslims and another for the non-Muslim?
If so, why?
Is the state government giving in to the bully tactics of the cow-head demonstrators with this latest decision?
Why not then just ban all forms of non-Islamic worship in the state of Selangor?

Calling May 13, 1969 ‘sacred’ is sacrilegious

The Malaysian Insider

I read with disgust Zaini Hassan describing in the Utusan Malaysia the tragic May 13, 1969 incident as “sacred”. The Oxford Dictionary defines sacred as either “connected with God or a god; considered to be holy” or “very important and treated with great respect.”

From general reading, the incident involved carnage, destruction of private and public property, ruining of families, instilling of fear, the destruction of years of trust between the races built by our forefathers and the maligning of our nation in the eyes of the world, setting us back years in the terms of our economic potential.

I need take only carnage to exemplify that it is prohibited by all religions and hence cannot sit comfortably within the first definition of “sacred” by the Oxford Dictionary.

Let us then consider the second definition given by the same dictionary which I fervently hope that Zaini was referring to. Was May 13 an important event? It certainly was! Is it to be treated with great respect? In my humble view, the answer to this question would depend on the perspective one takes on the incident.

My personal view of the incident is this — a small group of individuals, claiming to be representatives of their entire race, feigning concern for their welfare and ignoring the precept that “the means we use should be as pure as the ends we seek”, resorted to violence as Cain did Abel, to advance their personal agendas. These same individuals would today shamelessly tell us not to take to the streets in peaceful demonstrations of our grievances, though constitutionally guaranteed, but to resort to the ballot box!

Forty-one years later, having held the reins of government in the intervening period, they have all but admitted their failure to truly address the woes of our Malay sisters and brothers. Whilst on this point, it is imperative to note that not every Malay took to the street on the day of the incident, neither did they endorse the conduct of those claiming to be their representatives, whom I prefer to remember as agent provocateurs.

The main lessons I would take from the incident are that as a nation we must never resort to violence to address our grievances, preferring peaceful discourse only, and that we must never allow any Malaysian to languish in poverty unless it be a personal choice. Regardless of whence or whom the call for violence may come, we must resolutely oppose it. Save for these lessons, I call for the complete exorcism of the ghosts of May 13, 1969!

I would like to end this article by contrasting Zaini’s view with that of our beloved first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, who said this of the incident — “…. it really pains me as the Father of Merdeka to have to relive those terrible moments. I have often wondered why God made me live long enough to have witnessed my beloved Malays and Chinese citizens killing each other.” The late Tunku, I reckon, would have died a second death after reading Zaini’s view.

PKR's Crisis Boils Over, Wan Azizah Keeps Silent

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 (Bernama) -- The crisis in Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) following Datuk Zaid Ibrahim calling PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and vice president Mohamed Azmin Ali to step aside, still shows no signs of subsiding.

Party members are waiting for the next move from PKR president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail in resolving the crisis, which reached a boiling point when Zaid, the Federal Territory PKR chief, pulled out from contesting the deputy presidency of the party on Monday, claiming the election process lacked transparency.

He also quit as Federal Territory PKR chief and all other posts he held in the party.

Things then took a turn for the worse when another deputy president aspirant, vice president Mustafffa Kamil Ayub, the Perak PKR chief, gave the party a 48-hour ultimatum the next day to call off PKR's national polls, which began on Oct 29 and will end on Nov 21.

However, PKR's election committee chairman Dr Molly Cheah, in a press conference at the party's headquarters in Petaling Jaya Thursday, said the polls would go ahead despite there being numerous complaints on the conduct of the election.

"The polls cannot be simply called off just because of complaints by some members of irregularities. Members must understand, to make a decision takes time, each complaint has to be evaluated individually," she said.

A political analyst was of the view that Wan Azizah was torn between loyalty to her husband (Anwar) and the party.

"By right, as the legitimate president of the party, she should state her stand so as not to been seen as being subservient to her husband.

"Without any statements from Wan Azizah, the party will be seen as depending on a puppet president, and if that is the case, perhaps Wan Azizah should hand over the post to Anwar rather than Anwar having to be the de facto leader," said Dr Sivamurugan Pandian to Bernama here Thursday.

The political science lecturer at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) said:"The question now is whether Wan Azizah is willing to deny Anwar and Mohamed Azmin and give priority to the party?."

Zaid, a former Minister in the Prime Minister's Department and a former Umno member, claimed he had made a mistake when offering himself for the Number Two post because he had thought PKR was a party that could bring about progressive politics, expand democracy and improve transparency.

Instead, he claimed, despite all the cheating going on in the polls, the leadership did not lift a finger to do anything about it.

At a press conference at his home on Tuesday, Zaid said Anwar and Mohamed Azmin should go, claiming they were the source of all the problems in the party. Mustaffa who was also present, issued his 48-hour ultimatum at it.

Sivamurugan also said keeping silent would also cause people to ask if Wan Azizah, who won the president's post uncontested, concurred with the calls for Anwar and Mohamed Azmin to step aside.

Other questions that arise are whether the PKR's polls will give the party a new lease of life to make it a truly effective Opposition party.

PKR's polls are using the direct election method and so far polling has been completed in 87 of the party's 218 divisions with Mohamed Azmin leading the race for the deputy president's post with 6,467 votes while Zaid has 3,988 votes and Mustaffa Kamil 1,215 votes.

Love does not hurt nor hate

The Star 

When we discriminate against any member of a group or community, we act against the Constitution, against the Government’s latest calling: 1Malaysia.

“If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view ... until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” – Atticus Finch, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

TRY this. Take the person next to you right now. Now, try to imagine that you are him or her. Perhaps, you do not know enough about that person? OK, even if you did, would he or she actually act or feel like that?

Slowly, you may just realise this: he or she is not you. But, what if that person were you?

Think about this: the words “transsexual, transgender, homosexual, intersex (person born with female and male genitals)” are just names. Like your name is James or Sarah. However, these words specify the identity of a particular group or community in our society.

Let’s have a look at our Federal Constitution (“the Constitution”); see the design created that appears to include and binds every group and community of Malaysian people. Simply put, the Constitution serves everyone.

For example:

> All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law. – Article 8.

> No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty save in accordance with the law. – Article 5

> This Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation and any law passed after Merdeka Day which is inconsistent with this Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void. – Article 4.

Clearly, the words “all persons”, “no person” alone shows that the Constitution does not discriminate against transgenders, transsexuals, non-heterosexuals, intersex and such people. Because if that were the case, why imprint these words onto the Constitution?

Meaning, Ah Boon with his noodles in the hawker stall is just as protected by the Constitution as Nanie, a mak nyah having her teh tarik at the mamak shop.

Ironically, when we discriminate against any member in these groups or communities, we act against the Constitution. Similarly, we act against the Government’s latest calling: 1Malaysia.

There has never been “1Malaysia, but ...”

But if you saw a mak pondan next to you right now, would you see her as a non-Malaysian?

Strangely, it would not be the first thing on your mind, would it? How would you feel if someone hurt you for being who you are? In fact, have you ever been hurt like that in your life?

Research also shows that in Malaysia, the transgendered community faces a daily living of rejection, marginalisation, hate, abuse, discrimination and brutality because they are what they are.

In addition, out of 16 countries around the East and Asia Pacific, only five, including Malaysia, deem male-to-male sex as illegal. One of the biggest nations in the world, China, does not decree male-to-male sex as illegal. Even Timor Leste considers it legal.

Are they actually dirty ... evil … wrong, or is it just what people have been telling you to think about them? Do you actually know of one, properly and personally? What if that very person they spoke so cruelly of … were you?

If one tries to analyse the words of 1Malaysia and the Constitution, this common thread may be seen: Malaysia is about peace, unity and equality.

Which makes a lot of sense, since it ties in with our Malaysian nature: “relak … chill la”. As a matter of fact, such spirit guide the law and the people therein, every day, to ensure that justice is served.

For example, the High Court, in the case of Re JG v Pengarah Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara, permitted a male-to-female to have her registration and identity card altered to suit her new gender.

James Foong J held: “She felt like a woman, lived like one, behaved as one, had her physical body attuned to one and, most important of all, her psychological thinking was that of a woman.

“In this case, the first prayer was for a declaration which the court had power under the Specific Relief Act 1950 to grant. As for the second prayer, it concerned only an administrative exercise and the defendant was empowered by law under S 6(2)(o) of the National Registration Act 1959 to make correction and alteration in the register and identity card.

“All these would give full effect to art 5(1) of the Federal Constitution which states that ‘no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty save in accordance with the law’.”

Change happens and we almost always move with change. One man’s meat may be another man’s poison. Interestingly, not everything right makes another thing right: Would you protect your best friend in trouble despite knowing that she or he was wrong?

Why? Because the best thing within us is not a matter that is black or white. And we try our best to strike that balance.

In whole, our humanity lies in love. Just looking at the concept of 1Malaysia and the Constitution, it appears that we, the Malaysian people want to be guided by love.

Love does not discriminate, condemn, hurt or hate. It does not divide nor speak the worst of another. Love is real and fair.

The law looks like a scary piece of paper. However, it is real and, where outdated, change should occur to suit the ever-changing times and our ever-changing needs. After all, the laws were made for all of us.

Transgenders, transsexuals, non-heterosexuals and intersex are a part of us: can we put our sticks down?

> The writer is a young lawyer. Putik Lada, or pepper buds in Malay, captures the spirit and intention of this column – a platform for young lawyers to articulate their views and aspirations about the law, justice and a civil society. For more information about the young lawyers, please visit

Meet Rulers on conversion issues, groups told

The Star

NON-Muslim groups should meet Rulers to find solutions for issues arising from conversion matters, said Datuk Seri Nazri Abd Aziz.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department made the suggestion while replying to MPs who raised these issues in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Nazri, who answered questions raised at the committee stage of Budget 2011, said he could not guarantee that the controversial issue could be resolved.

Replying to Chong Eng (DAP–Bukit Mertajam) and M. Kulasegaran (DAP–Ipoh Barat), he said: “Non-Muslim groups like Hindu Sangam and the Roman Catholic Church should meet the Rulers to find a solution.”

“There is no decision on the amendment of family laws at the moment. It is under the Rulers’ conference,” he said.

It was reported in April last year that the Cabinet had decided that the children of divorced parents, with one of them having converted to another religion, would have to be raised in the common religion at the time of marriage.

Christians targeted in Iraq attacks

A series of bomb and mortar attacks targeting Christians have killed three people and injured 24 others in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, according to police sources.

Attackers detonated at least 14 roadside bombs in predominantly Christians areas within a two-hour period on Wednesday morning and a mortar round struck in the southern Doura district.

"These operations, which targeted Christians, came as a continuation of the [October 31] attack that targeted the Salvation church," an Iraqi interior ministry source said.

The official referred to the October 31 attack that killed more than 50 people at a Catholic cathedral in the capital.

Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for that attack and has threatened more violence against the Christian community.

'Christians fleeing'

Al Jazeera's Rawya Rageh, reporting from Baghdad, said Christians in Iraq have been a typical target of al-Qaeda fighters following the US-led invasion in March 2003.

"We have seen Christians fleeing Iraq between 2004 and 2006. Their numbers now are down to a third," she said.

"This is a stepped-up attack to revive the chaos that has affected the Christian community in the past."

Younadem Kana, a Christian parliamentarian, condemned the violence and blamed police and military for failing to protect Christians despite boosting security measures at churches around the capital.

"These attacks are not targeting only Christians, but also the government that has promised to protect the Christians," Kana said.

He said Wednesday's bombings exposed "grave flaws in the structure and the work of Iraq's security forces," and that attacks will continue as long as the country remains without a government that represents all Iraqis.

Tensions have been running high since the inconclusive parliamentary elections in March left Shia, Sunni and Kurdish political factions rallying support for a new government and raising fears of renewed violence.

Source:Al Jazeera and agencies

Pakatan MPs visit self-immolation patient

Jakim to probe religious status of caned boy's father

(Malaysiakini) Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) will investigate the religious status of the father of the boy who was caned for bringing fried rice with pork sausages to school.

Minister in Prime Minister Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday evening that Jakim's probe into the matter will resolve the queries brought up by Zulkifli Noordin (IND-Kulim Bandar Baru) during the committee stage debate of the Supply Bill 2011.

Zulkifli caused a stir yesterday morning when he accused Islamist party PAS of endorsing Muslims to eat pork which is forbidden in Islam.

The parliamentarian asserted that the boy's father is a Muslim who goes by the name of Norazman Abdullah @ Beginda anak Minda, and that it was "not proper" for a Muslim's son to have taken pork to school.

But before Mohd Nazri (BN-Padang Rengas) could proceed further Chong Chieng Jen (DAP-Bandar Kuching) interjected and informed that he has in his possession the birth certificate of the boy in question which showed that the father had “no religion”.

“I contact the boy's mother and she scanned the birth certificate and emailed it over to me but that is not the issue in concern,” said Chong.

“The issue is a 10-year-old boy being punished for taking a meal prepared by his mother to school... imagine how would the boy feel and is now wondering what went wrong?” he added.
Zulkifli: So is the father an apostate?
He also said that Zulkifli should be referred to the parliamentary rights and privileges committee for misleading and confusing the House under Standing Orders 36(12) with incorrect information.

Zulkifli stood up to rebut Chong's charge, which led to Deputy Speaker Ronald Kiandee announcing that his officers are checking through the Hansard for the exact transcript of what transpired during the verbal tiff yesterday morning.

Following this, Zulkifli said that if the father is now an “apostate” there is a bigger problem at hand and it must be thoroughly investigated.

Nazri also conceded that the boy should not have been meted a harsh punishment for bringing the food item school but adds Jakim will still probe into the religion of the father.

“We don't point fingers at anyone for what happened in Sarawak. Let's leave it to relevant authorities to investigate it. I assure you that it will be done properly."

Non-Muslim groups can consult Rulers

On another matter, relation to a question posed by Chong Eng (DAP-Bukit Mertajam) Mohd Nazri said that there are occasion when people who become Muslim converts to win custody battles and other purposes.

In these cases the authorities has to refer the matter to the Conference of Rulers, said Nazri, as it is under their purview.

“Discussing will continue to proceed until we can convince the Conference of Rulers that Islam is sometimes being misused.

“This aggravates the sentiments among non-Muslim who are unable to proceed anywhere until the matter is solve as some convert (do so) just to escape responsibility,” Mohd Nazri.

As it is a sensitive matter it cannot be solved easily but Mohd Nazri mooted an idea for other religious groups such Hindu Sangam and the Catholic Church groups approach the Conference of Rulers to talk over the issue of conversion.

“There is no harm there. Although they are non-Muslims, they are also subjects of the crown. I think these (groups) will also be able to help us if (they) meet with the Conference of Rulers and the Sultans in the respective states.

“This issue must be solved. It cannot be swept under the carpet. There moderates must seize the opportunity and do our part,” he conceded.
Why Special Court is special
Meanwhile Bernama reported that in answering a question by Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor) as to why Special Court proceedings were held behind closed doors, Nazri said that this was to uphold the dignity of the royalty institution.

He said this was provided for under Section 4(A) of the rules of the Special Court.

"Members of the royalty had asked for this before the laws on the Special Court were promulgated. Parliament agreed but on condition the decisions are made public," he said when winding debate on the Supply Bill 2011 for the Prime Minister's Department in the Dewan Rakyat today.

According to Nazri, only the judges, lawyers, witnesses and authorised persons could be present at Special Court proceedings.

To another question from Karpal Singh, Nazri said the laws on the Special Court clearly stated that its decisions were final and non-appealable.

Dei!!! Anwar Ibrahim do you know what courtesy is about? (MalaysiaToday

By Jakun Malaysia

I was just watching the clip:

You should look at the end of it where Anwar’s kuncu picked it up and squashed the memorandum that was left at his gate in his residence and threw it away.

I don’t think even UMNO imperialist had treated those HINDRAF/HRP supporters with such ignorance save for the incident in Perak where the police officer pushed down the memorandum to the Sultan that was placed on the police car.

Sure, Anwar goes around Malaysia shouting, ”Anak Melayu, anak kita, anak Cina anak kita, anak India, pun anak kita. Mengapa harus kita bezakan?”

So, how does this equate to the hypocrisy that you had shown to the memorandum that was brought to you? This was a grievance that was brought forward and I can understand if it was UMNO. But you as the De facto leader of the opposition, never did I imagine this.

Isn’t it a fact that most PKR supporters are Malaysian Indians? And to wonder that these Indians will stand hand in hand with you when you can treat their fellow Malaysian with such disregard. The least is to have the courtesy to accept the memorandum as opposed to throwing it away.

Do you seriously think that Malaysian Indians are lacking in pride and dignity that they would just accept anything that is thrown to them? You saw the action with HINDRAF, that every one of you opposition politicians rode on to gain your mileage. Now when you are in power in your respective states, the concerns for the Malaysian Indians are through your irrelevant mandores for the similar hegemony that you practice like UMNO.

Mistake, Anwar. You did jackshit in your Reformasi drive in 1999. It is we the minority who put up with everything for the betterment of the majority that provided the impetus to create the change that emancipated us in 2008.

This incident clearly depicts the immaturity, lack of humanity and courtesy on the part of PKR politicians besides its typical rhetoric than we have seen in UMNO.

Cakra Guna’s self immolation: HRP Demo at Anwar Ibrahim’s house demanding land for all Hindu temples and cemetaries, Tamil schools and Indian villages in Selangor Penang and Kedah.

anwar ibrahim
(See Malaysia Nanban 10/11/2010 front page)
Cakra Guna’s Self Immolation 1
Cakra Guna’s Self Immolation  2

IMG_0416 IMG_0430 IMG_0433 P1000717

Utusan ‘May 13’ piece could spark unrest, says Pakatan

Khalid labelled the claims made by Zaini as “a load of rubbish”. — file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 10 — Utusan Malaysia’s editorial describing the May 13, 1969 riots as a “blessing in disguise” could set off another wave of racial riots in the country, said Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers today.

Labelling the article as “seditious”, several PR MPs are also considering lodging police reports against the Umno-owned daily.

The Utusan Malaysia editorial today described the May 13 racial clash as a sacred day for Malaysia and warned DAP to recognise its significance.

“Utusan Malaysia, which is a racist mouthpiece for Umno, has put in a framework to put some sort of meaning and interpretation to May 13. I would like to remind Utusan Malaysia that May 13 was paid in blood, and as much as there was Malay blood there was also Chinese and Indian blood being spread over those many days of chaos,” said DAP MP Jeff Ooi.

Ooi also questioned the juxtaposition of the Utusan Malaysia piece today with the Malay daily’s assertion of non-Malay dominance in the Malaysian economy currently.

“Are they then setting a stage, staging a second round of May 13? This is very seditious, very provocative,” he said.

Today, the newspaper’s deputy editor-in-chief Datuk Zaini Hassan wrote in his weekly column that the riots were a blessing in disguise, otherwise “wealthy businesses and the professional classes would be controlled by one race only.”

Ooi said Utusan should not insinuate that it took “bloody racial fights” to justify the introduction and implementation of pro-Bumiputera policies like the New Economic Policy (NEP).

“I disagree strongly with what Utusan is saying. In order to justify the existence of NEP it took bloodshed? I am very upset that we should now perhaps be prepared for another round of May 13,” Ooi told The Malaysian Insider.

In the Utusan article, Zaini claimed that the PR Penang state government had acted unjustly against state Opposition Leader Datuk Azhar Ibrahim, suspending him from the state assembly for citing the May 13 incident in his speech.

Early this month, Azhar was suspended for six months from the state assembly after he refused to retract allegedly seditious remarks made at an assembly sitting earlier this year.

Azhar, who is Penaga assemblyman, was accused of uttering apparently seditious words and issuing May 13 threats during a speech in the assembly by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng on May 7.

He had warned of May 13-style racial riots and suggested the army take over the functions of the police if the latter had lost the confidence of the people.

The Umno man was referred to the assembly’s Rights and Privileges Committee after a motion tabled by Jagdeep Singh Deo (DAP-Datuk Keramat).

Zaini had also called for the May 13 incident to be incorporated into History lessons for students.

In response, Ooi said that the teaching of history should not be “politicised” and “fabricated” for the benefit of Barisan Nasional (BN).

“Are we now going to teach our young to think that May 13 is a blessing? I detest this,” said Ooi.

Another DAP MP, Lim Lip Eng said that he was considering of lodging a police report against Utusan Malaysia over the contents of the editorial.

“I’m considering of lodging a police report against Utusan for sedition. This is seditious. Who would imagine Malaysia be ruled by Chinese, with or without May 13? To us the riots were a tragedy, it should not have happened. Logically thinking, look at the population, 60 percent is ruled by Malays, how the Chinese can rule the majority, this is nonsense,” the Segambut MP told The Malaysian Insider.

The May 13 riots that took place after the 1969 general election resulted in a declaration of a state of Emergency and the suspension of Parliament.

It remains the country’s bloodiest race clash with hundreds reportedly killed in rioting mainly between Malay and Chinese groups.

In the general election that year, the Umno-led Alliance lost its two-thirds majority in Parliament. It was later replaced by the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition with many opposition parties joining the three original Alliance members of Umno, MCA and MIC.

Two years after the riots, the government introduced the New Economic Policy (NEP) to address the economic divisions that had been blamed for the clashes.

PAS lawmaker Khalid Samad echoed his DAP colleagues’ viewpoints, saying that only “extremists” would endorse the May 13 incident.

“Obviously we must acknowledge that May 13 was a tragic day in our history, and people who say that we must go through May 13 in order to solve problems are people who are extremist in nature, who believe in violence and who believe that might is right and [whoever] is strong can perpetuate their leadership through violence.

“From a totally different perspective, I believe that May 13 could and should have been avoided if the leaders of the country were sufficiently responsible and had addressed the problems of poverty irrespective of race,” Khalid told The Malaysian Insider.

He said that if the NEP was a “reaction” towards May 13, it had failed solve the problems of the “unequal distribution of wealth.”

“To say that we had to go through it in order for the NEP to come out is a load of rubbish; to make it into a special day is ridiculous. We have to consider the incident as something very tragic and it was an incident that was sparked off more so due to political than economic factors, but this is being denied to cover up.

“It occurred not in Kelantan or Kedah, it occurred in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur where Umno lost power,” said the Shah Alam MP.

Keep PKR posts, supporters tell Zaid

By Zefry Dahalan - Free Malaysia Today

SEREMBAN: PKR division leaders who are supporters of Zaid Ibrahim have urged him to reconsider his decision to quit his party posts.

A division leader from Negri Sembilan told FMT he was sad that Zaid made his decision without consulting his supporters.

"It’s okay with us that he withdrew from the contest for deputy president as that would send a strong message to the leadership that the election process needs to be overhauled,” he said.

"But he should not just abandon us like that. Leaders of several divisions, like me, put in a lot of effort to convince the grassroots to vote for him.”

He said he supported Zaid’s allegation of fraud in the party polls. “But,” he added, “the fight for reform within the party must go on, and this cannot be done without holding an important position in the party.

"How do division leaders who are not in the supreme council fight for reform if people like Zaid are also outside the council?”

With Zaid out of the council, he added, the road would be open for Azmin Ali’s camp to go on a witch hunt for division leaders who have openly supported his rival.

He said he could assure Zaid that he and other sympathetic division leaders would gather more grassroots support for him for the next party election, due three years from now.

'Tremendous pressure'

A division leader in another state said Zaid’s resignation had raised the hurdle against efforts to improve democracy in the party.

"How we going to do it here at division level when our captain has left us?” he said.

He said he was facing "tremendous pressure” from the grassroots, with many asking him to explain Zaid’s decision and most making “harsh and sharp criticisms” against the former deputy presidential contender.

He declined to quote the critics, but said, “They feel that Zaid should keep his supreme council post to keep the fire burning. His decision gives a message to the grassroots that he is not a true fighter.”

A division Youth leader in Kedah said the fight was not over as far as he was concerned.

"I appeal to Zaid to reconsider his decision because the real fight has just started and it is not proper to back off without having struggled to the maximum,” he said.

"There are three years before the next party election. A lot of homework and networking can be done in this period.”

Judge spends an hour to check shot-up car

SHAH ALAM: Shah Alam Sessions Court Judge Latifah Mohd Tahar today spent about an hour to see the effects of gunshots and damage on the white Proton Iswara car driven by Aminulrasyid Amzah on the night the teenager was shot dead in April.

Shaari Desa, the head of the firearms and tool marks unit, Criminalistic Section of the Chemistry Department's Forensic Division, resumed his testimony today by showing all the effects of the gunshots, collision marks and other damaging effects found on the car, with registration number BET 5023, to the judge, the prosecution and defence.

The car was towed to the court's car park to allow the judge, the prosecution and defence teams to see for themselves the effects as described by Shaari in the trial proceedings yesterday.

Shaari, who is the prosecution's 24th witness, also showed Latifah, deputy public prosecutors Dusuki Mohd Mokhtar and Idham Abd Ghani and lawyers, M Athimulan and Salim Bashir, the size of bullet holes on the rear mirror and the headrest of the driver's seat, using a measuring device.

The court's proceedings then adjourned at 11am before resuming half-hour later.

In his testimony yesterday, Shaari had told the court that there were 32 bullet holes and dents found on the car, which also suffered some other damage besides damage from a collision.

Shaari was testifying at the trial of Corporal Jenain Subi, 48, who is charged with causing the death of Aminulrasyid, 15, at Jalan Tarian 11/2, Section 11 here between 1.10am and 2am, on April 26 this year.

The charge under Section 304 (a) of the Penal Code carries a maximum imprisonment of 30 years and a fine, if convicted.

Aminulrasyid died of gunshot wounds in his head.

- Bernama

BN leaders help themselves to free laptops in 1Malaysia program

Ng Suee Lin- cronyism and favoritism
A Selangor state assembly backbencher has accused BN grassroots leaders of abusing the 1Malaysia Computer programme by eating into the quota set aside for secondary school students and the needy.

Sekinchan assemblyperson Ng Suee Lim  said he has received numerous complaints of favouritism and cronyism in the approval of the free laptops under the programme, launched earlier this year under the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

Waving a list of names of people who have allegedly received the free laptops, Ng claimed that many on the list include division leaders and of the various BN component parties including Umno, MCA and Gerakan.

"All these names do not fulfil the set criteria," he said when debating the Selangor state budget 2011.

Ng pointed out that free laptop recipients under the programme need to fulfill four criteria which include household income must be under RM3,000, the family does not have a computer, the family must have children in Forms One to Five, and each family is entitled to only one laptop.

"After going through the list, it turns out that the main condition is that as far as possible it must go to Umno, MCA, Gerakan and BN members.

"I am shocked with the way in which such contributions are distributed, which does not reflect transparency, instead using the programme solely to fulfil the agenda and political interests of Umno and BN," he said.

Dubious approval of land

Ng also accused the previous BN-led state administration of abusing its position in the approval of four acres of land in Taman Sri Muda in Kota Kemuning for the Umno Kota Raja division.

He said the Klang district land committee, which was chaired by the Klang district officer at the time and made up of 10 BN state assemblypersons, had decided on May 25, 2006 to give four acres in the area to the Shah Alam city council and another three acres to the Umno Kota Raja division.

But after the state government consultative council met on Jan 31, 2007, it was decided that the Umno Kota Raja division would instead get four acres at a nominal land premium of RM1,000, while the Shah Alam city council would only get three acres, Ng claimed.

"Why is it that Umno Kota Raja was given land and given special treatment with a nominal premium of RM1,000? This case clearly exposes to us how state land was shamelessly given to political parties, especially Umno," he said.

- Malaysiakini

India and the UN Security Council

Image(Asia Sentinel) Despite Obama's help, India probably won't get a seat any time soon

US President Barack Obama's US call this week for India to be made a permanent member of the Security Council was not a difficult one to make. It was not new but drives another wedge between India and China yet at the same time stands little chance of success in the near future, at least unless there is a much bigger expansion of the Council permanent membership.

But Obama's raising of the issue has served as a reminder of the fact that China has a very privileged position as the only non-western and non-European permanent member – members who are not only always on the council but have veto rights.

Indeed China is a major beneficiary of the global system, established in 1946, which it frequently criticizes. Back then the likes of India and Indonesia and much of the rest of Asia and almost all of Africa were under colonial rule. Latin America was not taken seriously by either the west or the Soviets. China may have been wracked by civil war and highly dependent on US support but it was given a seat to provide the Council with a more global look and in recognition of its fight against Japan

That benefit was denied to Beijing between 1949 and 1971 when the Republic of China (Taiwan) was replaced by the Peoples Republic. And even since then China has been careful not to make waves in the Council and show a cooperative face to the world. It has very rarely used its veto power.

But its privileged position looks more and more anomalous as reform of the 1945 institutions – including the IMF and World Bank – to reflect current realities is more and more in demand. So China looks on the defensive in criticizing suggestions that India be given a status equal to its own.

Suspicions of China's big power ambitions have been rising without this reminder that it already has that status in one major respect. Although China is willing to see expansion of Security Council membership, including of permanent ones, it is opposed to the newcomers having veto powers.

There is scant likelihood of India getting its way and either becoming the sixth permanent member or Britain and France making way for it by agreeing to amalgamate their seats into a single one for the European Union. The EU's premier country, Germany, is hankering after changes in a system which derived from its 1945 defeat .But lacking global clout in other ways, Britain and France will not surrender their prestigious position.

The issue of Security Council enlargement has been on the table for nearly 20 years, led by Germany and Japan, the UN's largest contributors, and in agreement with India and Brazil.
Any prospect of India being allowed to join but no one else is also viewed with hostility by other aspirants. As for Japan, China has a veto on its hopes of joining unless there is a big expansion.

Obama's call has had the desired effect of adding to US diplomatic gains with India and its people. But achieving any changes in the Security Council system face so many conflicting interests – and the veto powers of the existing members – that India is likely to remain frustrated.

In recent years various reform proposals have been put forward. All involve expansion of the Council but there is disagreement on which countries should be chosen and which, if any, should be permanent members and whether any more should have veto powers.

For instance, Spanish-speaking Latin America wants one of their own – not Brazil which is the obvious candidate on the basis of size and power. In Europe, Italy wants a bigger expansion which would include itself rather than just five permanent newcomers. Africa needs a member but who? South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt? Some want a Muslim majority country but the Middle Eastern ideological centers of Islam have little in common with Islam's population centers in Asia, Indonesia and Bangladesh.

Any expansion of veto powers would likely make the Council even less an effective authority than now. Indeed, with the world now more complex than in 1946 the veto power should probably regarded as an outdated relic. But holders will not give it up. The US has been a particularly frequent user, mainly in defense of Israel and its occupation and colonization of Palestinian territory.

The net result of all of these cross-currents is that although reform and enlargement of the Council is deemed necessary by almost everyone, there has been no progress towards a consensus. Till there is India's hopes will remain just that.

Best Bloated Bureaucracy to Bleed Bolehland to Bankruptcy!

by Martin Jalleh

Deputy PM Muhyiddin Yassin believes that the BN is “back in business”. The buoyant “Malaysian-second” in Bolehland, said that BN’s future is bright and the Opposition better not underestimate them!

Bolstered by two big by-election victories he even boldly declares that the bureaucrats in Bolehland are “the best civil servants in the world”! The civil servant “have done a lot, but the people want better”.

The Deputy PM was at his ironic best: “The people do not want rhetoric. The era for rhetoric has long gone. The era where the government knows all, like what the prime minister has said, has long gone.”

[Strange, but it is APCO (the international communications firm which Najib is paying a bomb to spruce up his image and lobby for support in Washington) which feels that Malaysia is just another backward hole where Government knows best and press freedom is a figment of the imagination (Malaysian Chronicle)!]

Yes, the rakyat knows best Muhyiddin and we fully agree with you that the civil service in Bolehland is the “best in the world” in the following ways:

Best Bloated Civil Service

· With 1.3 million civil servants to a population of 26 million, Malaysia has one of the highest civil servants-to-population ratio in the world by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development standards.

· In 2009, Malaysia’s civil servants-to-population ratio was highest in Asia Pacific. Her ratio was 4.68%, compared to Indonesia’s 1.79%, Korea’s 1.85% and Thailand’s 2.06% all of which have less than half our ratio.

· In 2009, Singapore had a total of 60,000 civil servants, i.e., 1.5% of the total population. Hong Kong had 160,000 out of a population of 7 million (2.3%). Taiwan (population of 23 million) was served by only 528,000 (2.3%).

Best way to bleed a budget dry

· “…much of the budget (2011) continues to go into operating a bloated civil service. As much as three quarters of the national budget is spent on paying salaries and other benefits to over 1.3 million civil servants.

· “This means that of every dollar spent in the budget, 75 sen goes towards manning the civil service, leaving little left to carry out development work that can benefit the country’s population.

· “There is clearly something fundamentally wrong in the way the country’s budget is being spent when so much of the allocation goes to paying for a sector that is generally regarded as unproductive and standing in the way of efficiency.” – Dr Lim Teck Ghee, Director of the Centre for Public Policy Studies

· A post-2011 Budget dialogue highlighted the massive amount (35% of the total RM162.8 billion operating expenditure) to be spent on emoluments, pensions and gratuities of civil servants. A panelist, Ministry of Finance budget division director Datuk Dr Rahamat Bivi Yusuff admitted that there is a need to trim the civil service to reduce the budget deficit.

· In a public forum held in Sept this year Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin admitted that there is an over-inflated civil service and that the government will need to make tough but necessary changes in the next five or 10 years to reduce the numbers.

· “We are now spending more than RM41 bil a year – that’s a billion more than the market capitalisations of Khazanah Nasional and Telekom Nasional – to upkeep our 1.15 million civil servants. It’s a whopping cost, especially so when juxtaposed against the 1.14mil Malaysians who pay income tax. (There are 10.5 million employed citizens in the country, of whom 6.4 million are registered taxpayers, but actual contributions come from only 1.14 mil). – The Star, 7 May 2009

Best way to bankrupt this nation

· Whilst it is the growing trend of many countries to reduce their civil service, Malaysia, the PM’s Department in particular, has done the opposite. It more than doubled its number of civil servants from 21,000 to 43,554 this year. In stark contrast, the White House employs only 1,888 staff.

· The White House’s budget is US$394 million for 2011. The PM’s Department has been allocated a whopping RM18.14 billion for the year 2011, almost double the RM10.2 billion this year.

· “Pemandu, which stands for Performance, Management and Delivery Unit, was set up last year under the Najib administration as one of the pillars in his Government Transformation Plan… is a massive drain on resources. In a span of two months, just to pay 50 consultants, the government spent RM20 million.”

· “If the civil service is consuming a big budget under the Prime Minister’s Department, it is because the other agencies of the civil service are not functioning. That’s why Najib consolidates everything under his department.” – Ong Kian Ming, political analyst

Best contradiction of 1Malaysia

· As at 31 December 2009, the racial breakdown of the Malaysian civil service comprising 1,247,894 employees was as follows: Malay (78.2%); Other Bumiputras (7.7%); Chinese (5.8%), Indian (4.0%); and Others (4.2%).

· “This is the worst multi-racial composition of the government service, with the lowest Chinese and Indian representation in the public service in Malaysia’s 53-year history. This is clearly seen from the three sets of comparative figures of the racial breakdown of the civil service before the NEP 1971 and as at December 2009 – Malays (60.80% and 78.2%); Chinese (20.2% and 5.8%); Indians (17.4% and 4.0%); and Others (1.6% and 4.2%).

· “It is clear that the Government is setting the worst example of a 1Malaysia Government.” –Vivian Kuan, in Loyar Burok’s Blog (8 Nov 2010).

Best in corruption

· Last year two out of five civil servants were deemed corrupt by Cuepacs. It was described as a worrying trend that needed to be tackled urgently.

· Cuepacs President Omar Osman revealed that a total of 418,200 or 41% of the 1.2 million civil servants in the country were suspected to be involved in corruption last year (Bernama, 02.06.10). It caused Lim Kit Siang to remark that “the MACC is a big flop as it did not even arrest 0.1% of the corrupt civil servants last year”.

· Malaysians generally consider political parties and civil service to be the most corrupt groups, and the government’s anti-corruption drive to be ineffective, the 2009 Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) report revealed (The Sun, 03.06.09)

Best “dumping ground”

Finally, Muyhiddin should ponder on the wisdom of Sakmongkol AK47, the pen-name of Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz, a former state assemblyman of Pahang who is a member of Umno.

“Government service shouldn’t be treated as a dumping ground for academic rejects and mediocre material. Let’s demand a certain high standard and ensure we bring in talent that supports that demand for high standards.

“What has the government done to improve the efficiency and competence of government servants? There isn’t really competition there if the service is dominated by one race. There isn’t sufficient quality if the entry-level qualifications are so-so.

“Yet each year, to placate civil servants, the PM will appear on TV to say, we honour our civil servants because they have done a good job, blah blah. Which is not entirely true. The service is slow, the quality of officers is questionable.

“Those people talking about the GTP have not talked openly about the issue of talent in the civil service and in government. If we don’t open up our civil service, it will atrophy. It is a simple observation of experience. If we don’t open up and cultivate competition to get into government service, we get what ails our service now – little Napoleonism – the imposition of pettiness by mediocre talent that fouls up the delivery service.”

So there you have it Muhyiddin — the world’s best bureaucratic behemoth and blunder to burden the people of Bolehland and bleed the country dry! And believe it or not its by a government who boasts about ” People First, Performance Now”. Little wonder that we are the world’s best example of a country with growing similarities with Greece where 10% of its population are government servants and is reputed to be the most corrupt nation in the Eurozone!

But Umno likes Muhyiddin’s make-believe. It will guarantee them votes in the next General Elections, which must be close at hand. Civil servants are made to believe that Umno is their (political) paymaster and they owe Umno. The party’s leaders would do or say anything to convince the government servant of this, even praising them as “the best civil servants in the world”!

Former PKR Members Say Anwar Should Quit Party

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 10 (Bernama) -- Several people have called on Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to leave the party, emulating Datuk Zaid Ibrahim's call for Anwar and vice-president Mohamed Azmin Ali to do so.

Former PKR members Zulkifli Noordin and Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohamed Hashim have asked Anwar to quit the party, claiming that he was a liability to PKR.

Zulkifli, the independent MP for Kulim-Bandar Baharu, said "my advice to Anwar is to repent and improve himself".

"That is the best thing to do in one's twilight years," he told reporters at the Parliament lobby.

Zulkifli said PKR would not act against Zaid, who had pulled out of the race for deputy president alleged election fraud, but would create a situation where he would have no choice but to leave the party.

"That was what happened to Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohamed Hashim (IND-Bayan Baru), Tan Tee Beng (IND-Nibong Tebal) and Mohsin Fadzli Samsuri (IND-Bagan Serai)," he said.

Zulkifli advised Zaid to leave PKR and join PAS if he really wanted to bring about a reformation because he (Zulkifli) knew that Zaid could do it.

Zahrain said Anwar should leave PKR because he had failed to play the role of opposition leader as he was too busy with his personal problems.

"We are not trying to take sides, but political reality calls for a strong and healthy opposition," he said.

PKR Negeri Sembilan Chairman and Teluk Kemang MP Datuk Kamarul Baharin Abbas said he feared that Zaid's statements could undermine the party's stability.

As such, he called on the party leadership to take action against Zaid.