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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Blitzkrieg on Islamic issues backfires on MCA

ANALYSIS (Malaysiakini) Traditionally, keeping a low profile during a by-election campaign is believed to work in favour of the incumbent's party because of the notion that voters are likely to maintain the status quo.

In the Tenang by-election, the MCA is doing quite the opposite in its bid to help the BN coalition surpass the 5,500 majority secured in the 2004 general election.

chua soi lek tenang moral uplifting society 240111Under the direction of party president Dr Chua Soi Lek, MCA has launched a blitzkrieg on PAS' Islamic state agenda and candidate Normala Sudirman's refusal to shake hands with male voters.

This has received heavy coverage in the Chinese media over the past two days and is a hot topic in Tenang coffeeshops.

Chua first raised the 'hand shake' issue when visiting a Buddhist temple last Thursday, citing this as an example of how voting for PAS would lead to an Islamic state.

However, a random survey among Chinese voters revealed that most do not buy Chua's argument and instead criticised MCA for raising a “petty” issue.

Chua has also come in for criticism from several Muslim groups and Perak Mufti Harussani Zakaria who claimed that he had insulted Islam and must apologise publicly.

The impact of the 'hand shake' row is now spreading, judging from adverse comments about MCA on social networking website Facebook and micro-blogging website Twitter.

In view of the tenang by election day 1 230111 normala in cheongsam posterpotential problems, BN deputy head Muhyiddin Yassin has told MCA to stop “exploiting” the 'hand shake' decision, which is a personal one by Normala (left).

What may seem as a mere slap on the wrist by Muhyiddin will almost likely be harped on by the opposition as a major loss of face for Chua.

On the Islamic state agenda, MCA is riding on an issue that has been flogged to death over the past 10 years, so much so that many non-Muslims have grown desensitised to this issue.

NONEAfter all, many still remember then premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad declaring in September 2001 that Malaysia is already an Islamic state.

Despite the wide array of issues that can be exploited, MCA has limited its scope in the Tenang campaign. It is not making efficient use of its campaign machinery, which has been the most efficient among BN parties in previous by-elections.

Leaflets and newsletters are being published on a daily basis, complete with current newspaper clippings. Full-time canvassers, armed with iPad tablet computers, have also been deployed by the party headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.

Chua's reputation at stake

One possible explanation for MCA's aggressive campaign in Tenang is that Chua is a major personality.

He spent 14 years in the Johor cabinet and was the MP for the area, a post now assumed by his son. Losing Tenang, or even seeing a reduction in Chinese votes for BN, would be unacceptable.

The majority of Chinese voters approached by Malaysiakini gave high marks to Chua's leadership and ability to deliver, but this is not the main message being highlighted by MCA's campaign material.

The appearance of the tenang by election 23011 1malaysia group goodiesmysterious 1Malaysia 'NGO' with goodies in Labis may also be an indicator that reinforcement is needed to woo Chinese voters.

If MCA manages to woo back more Chinese voters with the help of 1Malaysia NGO, as happened in Galas, it would still be an embarrassment to the party and Chua because it shows that both have lost their charm in their own stronghold.

The 5,617 Chinese voters make up 38.6 percent of the Tenang electorate. All the Chinese-predominant polling districts - Bandar Labis Timur, Bandar Labis Tengah and Labis - were won by PAS in the last general election in 2008.

Krishnan's family cannot accept 2nd autopsy results

The preliminary report of the second autopsy on electrician M Krishnan, who died in police custody on Jan 7, has concurred with a previous autopsy result which said the deceased succumbed to stomach ulcer related illnesses.

Lawyer acting for Krishnan's family Gurmit Singh Hullon said that his clients did not accept the outcome of the second autopsy.

azlan“We are not happy with the result and we do not accept this findings because it is the opposite of the evidence. Krishnan was assaulted, beaten and left to die without medical attention for five days,” he said.

The second autopsy was performed at the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) by pathologist Dr K Mathiharen. This procedure was requested after the family because they did not accept the first autopsy result.

Krishnan's wife P Revathi, 37, told reporters that she does not accept the latest autopsy results and is adamant that her husband died due to police assault.

“I will fight this in court no matter how long it takes me. I will wait for the first and and second official post-mortem results,” she said, while fighting to hold back her tears.

“We had two eyewitnesses who saw everything and there are photographs of his bruises.”

Deadly blast at Moscow airport

At least 35 people have been killed and more than 150 injured in a blast at Moscow's busiest airport, health officials said.

The explosion at Domodedovo airport, in the southeast of the Russian capital, occured on Monday afternoon inside the airport's international arrivals hall near the baggage area.

"Today at 4.32 pm (13:32 GMT) an explosion went off in the international arrivals hall of Domodedovo airport," the Russian investigative committee said in a statement.

Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, said that the blast, according to preliminary information, "was an act of terror" and that those behind it would be tracked down and punished.

He also called for a new security regime to be introduced in all airport and transport hubs across the country in the wake of the attack.

World leaders have condemned the attack, with Barack Obama, the US president, calling it "an outrageous act of terrorism against the Russian people".

Scenes of carnage

Eyewitnesses told Russian radio of a scene of carnage after the blast ripped through the baggage claims section of the airport.

"Burned people are running about ... they are carrying pieces of flesh on stretchers," a man called Andrei, who was standing near the information stand at the airport, told City FM radio.

"You can't tell the living from the dead. I was meeting someone. We are not protected in this country," another witness, Alexei, told the station.

A traveller named Viktor told the Russkaya Sluzhba Novostei radio station he heard a loud bang outside the airport.

"There was an explosion, a bang. Then I saw a policeman covered in fragments of flesh and all bloody. He was shouting 'I've survived! I've survived!'''

Neave Barker, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Moscow, said that Domodedovo airport is the busiest of the Moscow's three commercial airports, serving 22 million people last year.

"It's usually very, very busy in there ... This is a deadly target for this attack," he said.

"Many officials and journalists would have been flying out of Moscow to the Davos forum around this time. It's not clear whether this was timed to have the biggest international impact."

The Kremlin said that Medvedev was delaying his own trip to Davos as a result of the attack.

Security increased

Moscow police have stepped up security across the city following the blast.

But Russian media reports suggested that security services had received warning of a possible attack ahead of Monday's blast.

"The special services had received information that an act of terror would be carried out at one of the Moscow airports," the RIA Novosti news agency reported an unnamed security source as saying.

"Agents were seeking three suspects but they managed to access the territory of the airport, witness the explosion which their accomplice carried out and then leave the airport," the source said.

Separately, an airport security source told the website: "A tip-off with a warning that something was being prepared appeared one week before the explosion."

Russia's Interfax news agency later reported that investigators had found a head of "Arab appearance" that they presumed to have belonged to a suicide bomber.

The Russian capital is no stranger to attacks. In March last year 40 people were killed and 100 wounded when two female suicide bombers attacked the Moscow metro system.

That and previous attacks have been blamed on fighters from the Northern Caucasus, where separatists are fighting for an autonomous state.

Some commentators have already pointed towards separatists in the Caucasus as being behind Monday's attack.

"There is a very, very strong suspicion that insurgent fighters operating in the likes of Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan are responsible for carrying out this latest bombing," Al Jazeera's correspondent said.

Source:Al Jazeera and agencies

Pakatan’s campaign hits a brick wall in prosperous Tenang

Razak (right) said most of the villagers in Tenang are comfortable. — Pictures by Choo Choy May
LABIS, Jan 25 — Profits from soaring commodity prices have made many of the villagers in Tenang unable to relate to Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) campaign message, which is raising the recent price hikes as an election issue.

The constituency’s rural Malay community, many of whom are smallholders, are seeing an unprecedented increase in income, largely attributed to the high palm oil and rubber prices.

Even rubber tappers are earning about RM2,000 a month after dividing with the land owners the proceeds from the sale of cup lump, or the unprocessed hardened latex.

Some of the locals told The Malaysian Insider that the prosperity has made PR’s public rallies unattractive.

Even a rally attended by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in Felda Tenang on nomination day attracted only a small crowd.

“Most of us are comfortable. I can say more than 80 per cent of villagers here are not facing difficulties,” said Razak Ahmad, who owns a rubber and palm oil smallholding in his village of Kampung Tenang.

The 50 year old, who admitted to being a staunch Umno supporter, said it was very unlikely for the Malay party’s Azahar Ibrahim to lose in the January 30 by-election.

“The opposition only talks about price hikes. But we can understand the price hikes, when I was a kid sugar was 15 sen a kati, cup lump was 8 sen,” Razak told The Malaysian Insider.

“Now cup lump is about RM6 per kilogram and sugar is RM2, so things are actually getting better,” he added.

Another villager, Mohsin Amir, said he no longer needs his siblings’ financial assistance.

“I used to borrow money from my siblings who are all in the civil service. Now I don’t need to do so, I can even save some money at the end of the month,” said Mohsin.

Mohsin manages a five-acre rubber smallholding owned by a fellow villager. He works for an average of 10 days every month and takes home about RM500 every week after dividing the proceeds equally with the land owner.

“The trees are young so I can’t tap every day. Those who work with mature trees are earning more,” said Mohsin.

The PAS campaign has been harping on the increase in the prices of fuel and sugar announced last December, when price of RON95 was increased to RM1.90 per litre, diesel to RM1.80 and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to RM1.90 per kilogram. Sugar now costs RM2.10 per kilogram.

The party even prepared campaign leaflets on the price hike, deploying almost similar tactics used in Election 2008 when the petrol price was increased from RM1.60 to RM1.90 months before the dissolution of Parliament.

“During Pak Lah’s time, the increase was very sharp. We were shocked and many shops took advantage of the hike, maybe that caused the opposition to increase their votes,” said local resident Mazlan Ibrahim.

Mazlan inherited a palm oil smallholding from his father but also runs his own business providing electrical services in Labis town.

“We have never seen palm oil prices this high. My father never expected this,” said Mazlan.

“I don’t really feel the pinch from the price hike, palm oil has helped in supplementing my income,” he added.

Similar stories could also be heard in Felda settlements in the constituency despite settlers having to share their income with the land authority; some settlers in Tenang also manage their own smallholding, providing addition income and job opportunities for tappers like Mohsin.

The Malays form about 48 per cent of the more than 14,000 Tenang voters. Half of the voters from the community live in the three Felda settlements while the rest either reside in the traditional villages across the constituency or civil servants who live near Labis town centre.

About 39 per cent of the voters are Chinese, while Indians form about 12 per cent of the electorate.

Barisan Nasional’s (BN) incumbency in the seat is expected to help the ruling coalition win the state seat but Umno officials are worried about the Chinese vote particularly as some voters return home to celebrate Chinese New Year next week.

“The Malay vote is safe but the Chinese vote is still not there. MCA has to work hard to bring them back,” a Johor Umno warlord told The Malaysian Insider, saying that price hikes affected the mainly urban Chinese.

“We’ll win but it is now about the majority. The high commodity prices and lack of local issues will help us,” he added.

In bid to repair race relations, a map

Azman is rushing to set up the system before he retires in May. — Pictures by Jack Ooi

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 25 — A soon-to-be-completed electronic mapping (e-mapping) system will make it easier to spot, monitor and manage the recent rapid rise in race conflict hotspots nationwide.

According to National Unity and Integration Department (NUID) director-general Datuk Azman Amin Hassan, his outfit has already identified four such areas so far, most of which are concentrated in Selangor. They are Kampung Medan in Petaling Jaya; Kampung Sungai Terentak in Hulu Selangor, near Rawang; Bukit Botak, Selayang Baru; and Kampung Pokok Asam in Jelutong, Penang.

Race relations in multicultural Malaysia have been steadily declining in recent years and reached an all-time low in January last year when some 10 houses of worship were attacked following a controversial court ruling allowing Catholics the right to also use the word “Allah” beyond the Muslim context

Race and religion are tightly linked in this country of 28 million people, where some 60 per cent are Malay and Muslim.

The attacks, together with increased reports of racially-tinged remarks by high-ranking civil servants, have dented the global country’s image as a tolerant nation.

The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government has been scrambling to reverse the damage that its political rivals say have caused investors to shy away.

Once completed, the 12-layer e-mapping system developed by the NUID with the expert help of University Utara Malaysia (UUM) will show the geographical, social and political lay of the land at a glance in an easy-to-read colour code.

“I call it the traffic light system,” Azman told The Malaysian Insider in an exclusive interview this week.

Conflict-free zones will show up green, he said.

Less dangerous tension spots to be marked in yellow will warn the authorities to get ready; and dangerous racial hotspots will show up red on the digital map, he said.

“We want to be proactive,” said the 57-year-old who had mooted the idea five years ago, and roped in help from the Inspector-General of Police who had agreed to send one of his men from Bukit Aman to help set it up.

Azman said the map’s purpose was to enable enforcement authorities, including trained mediators, to move into the conflict areas and diffuse the situation quickly and efficiently.

An initial group of 300 people comprising NUID officers and Rukun Tetangga volunteers were trained last year.

Another 300 people, which will include community leaders, will undergo mediation training this year.

“How to feel the pulse of the nation? This is how we do it,” he said, his voice swelling with satisfaction at the accomplishment.

“My dream is to have a team [of mediators] in each state,” said the civil servant who will be retiring in May.

A “hotspot” is an area where domestic or community disputes have spiralled out of control and turned racial, Azman explained.

It is marked red if more than five fights have broken out in a month, he added.

No area has yet been designated red. The four hotspots identified earlier were also not classified as such.

According to Azman, Kampung Medan — where an inter-racial clash between Malays and ethnic Indians were reported to have caused six deaths in 2001 — still ranks as the No. 1 hotspot in the country.

He described the Petaling Jaya slum as a hotbed of racial tension, and said that three fights had broken out between Malay and Indian groups there last October.

Azman noted that temperatures in Kampung Sungai Teratak had risen when the majority Chinese residents, worried for their safety and health, opposed Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) over the national power utility company’s plan to build high-tension power cables through their village.

The other two conflicts started out as land disputes, he said.

In Bukit Botak, a decades-long dispute came to a head in 2009 when the villagers cried foul over the state’s takeover of their land, claiming the titles had been given to outsiders instead of settlers.

In Kampung Pokok Asam in Jelutong, the Malay-majority residents had complained of racial bias by the Pakatan Rakyat-ruled state in a redevelopment project.

Azman added that the e-map’s use was not limited to efficiently combat conflict and foster unity but could be used for election work.

However, the system now could only show the situation on the ground in each state separately.

Once fully integrated, the system will be able to display what current issues are on the ground nationwide at a glance.

Asked if the e-mapping could be accessed publicly, Azman signalled that it was unlikely as the information was “sensitive”.

“If we mention the places, the property prices will drop because no one wants to live in a conflict zone,” he said, giving an example to illustrate what he meant by “sensitive”.

Activist and dentist latest MLCM candidates

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) has named former Awam president Haslinah Yacob and dentist Dr Nedunchelian Vengu as its third and fourth candidates for the next general election.

Hajjah, 49, has been involved in grassroots and advocacy work on women’s rights and empowerment for the past decade. She is also MCLM’s first woman candidate.

“I’ve been doing social work for a long while now and it’s only the tip of the iceberg,” she said during a press conference today. “I no longer want to stay on the sidelines but roll up my sleeves and do something.”

“The two issues closest to my heart at ethnicity – because my husband is Chinese – and women empowerment. So I will push for substantive equality and a safe space for all,” she added.

Nedunchelian, a 42-year-old private practitioner, has served on a Health Ministry committee and is well-known for his social work as well as his efforts to raise industry standards.

“I’m not anti-establishment,” he clarified. “I just see things that are not done correctly. And I told myself that the change I want has to start with me.”

“There is a Tamil saying that those who are educated will be seen everywhere,” he added. “This will be the crux of my message. I grew up in the middle income group and understand the challenges they face.”

On Dec 12, MCLM unveiled prominent lawyer and National Human Rights Society president Malik Imtiaz Sarwar as its first candidate.

Its second candidate, human rights lawyer Sreekant Pillai, was announced at the movement’s first public forum on Dec 21.

Launched on Oct 30, MCLM is headed by blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin as its chairman and lawyer Haris Ibrahim as its president. The movement aims to pick 30 candidates to be fielded in the 13th general election.

‘Longer it takes, stronger we get’

MCLM was meant to deploy its candidates during the last week of this month but the Tenang by-election threw it off schedule. However, Haris assured that full deployment would take place by early March.

“We plan to hold a roundtable session with non-Barisan Nasional parties at the end of February,” he said, but declined to disclose the parties that were expected to be present.

“The MCLM agenda is to push for the eradication of marginalisation of all human beings by the taking of federal power in the 13th general election,” he continued.

“There is marginalisation in all communities including that of the migrant community. We mustn’t forget them,” he said.

While Haris predicted that the general election would be held in the third quarter, he added that it would not affect MCLM.

“BN and Pakatan Rakyat have a practice of only deploying their candidates a few weeks before the election. We are deploying our candidates in March.

“So the longer that (Prime Minister) Najib (Tun Razak) takes to announce a date, the stronger our candidates will be because they will have time to work the ground,” he said.

Haris also clarified that while the purpose MCLM was to help political parties field better candidates, it was not necessary for the independents to belong to any party in order to contest.

He reasoned that if they had already become household names then association to a particular political party would not be a priority.

MCLM would announce three more candidates after Chinese New Year.

It was also in the final stages of setting up its Citizen Empowerment School which would offer training programmes in collaboration with the NGO, Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia.

Interlok: Thousand ready to sue government

GEORGE TOWN: At least 1,000 people will file a joint civil action against the federal government if the controversial Interlok novel is not withdrawn from the Form Five syllabus by this week.

Breaking his silence over the issue, Hindraf Makkal Sakti supremo P Waythamoorthy issued the stern ultimatum to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

“Withdraw the fictitious and seditious Interlok from the education curriculum immediately or face a people’s civil action,” he said.

Waythamoorthy said Hindraf had some 1,000 people ready to file the suit to seek the withdrawal of the novel written by national laureate Abdullah Hussain.

He said the civil action would also seek a court declaration condemning the novel for allegedly sowing the seeds of racial hatred.

In view of this, Waythamoorthy said the Cabinet must make a decision, during its weekly meeting tomorrow, to revoke the book.

He warned that Hindraf would carry out a cohesive campaign to mobilise thousands of its supporters, both here and abroad, to force the issue if the Cabinet decided against the withdrawal.

He also claimed that the government’s sanction of a flawed, fictional and racially slanted novel as a compulsory study material underlined Umno’s “racist” agenda.

Why is Pakatan silent?

Waythamoorthy pointed out that no rational government would sanction a novel containing demeaning and degrading elements about a certain community for study in schools.

“The novel will only create disunity and misunderstanding among students but will also plant seeds of hatred, contempt, mistrust, ill will and hostility among students,” he said.

He also chided the government for dragging its feet even though there had been an uproar against the novel.

“Yet all the Umno government does is hold endless dialogue sessions with its Indian mandores and suggest various assuaging formulas, instead of making a straightforward decision to withdraw the novel. It’s a typical Umno delay tactic,” he said.

In the interim, he said, students would be compelled to read this racially tainted book for exam while Umno hoped to ultimately sweep the issue under the carpet.

He reminded the government that a curriculum philosophy was to contribute to an individual’s holistic development of mental, emotional, physical and spiritual growth by imparting knowledge and skills, fostering healthy attitudes and instilling accepted moral values.

“But, in contrary, this fictitious and seditious Interlok novel will contribute to producing bigoted attitudes among the young,” added the London-based activist.

Waythamoorthy also took a swipe at Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and other Pakatan Rakyat leaders over the issue.

He said Hindraf was equally disappointed and upset with Anwar for claiming that Interlok did not contain any racial elements.

He also questioned other “multiracial” Pakatan leaders for being absolutely mute over the issue.

“Their deafening silence over such an important issue does not augur well for our multiracial nation and ethnic Indian community,” he said.

Devamany: Solve ammo depot issue fast

PETALING JAYA: Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department SK Devamany has called on the government to solve the ammunition depot issue in Sungai Petani, Kedah, as soon as possible.

“I feel that the government must look at this issue seriously. And I wish there is a fast solution. The relevant ministry (defence ministry) must ensure the safety of the people, which is of paramount importance to us,” he told FMT.

Devamany said he hoped that an amicable solution could be reached so that the main complainant, M Annamalai, could end his struggle concerning a plot of land near the ammunition depot.

“I wish him all the best and I think he has some valid grounds for his case. We can’t just let him sit there and have no solution to this,” he said.

Annamalai is asking the government to acquire a plot of his family’s land that is deemed dangerously close to the depot.

He had previously sought Devamany’s help, and the latter had last year written letters to Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and the National Security Council director appealing to them to assist Annamalai in acquiring the plot of land.

However, there had been no response thus far.

On Jan 4, FMT reported that residents living close to the depot located within the Sungai Layar army camp in the Kuala Muda district could be in danger of a possible explosion.

High risks

Annamalai, a 37-year-old interior designer, had warned that a disaster was waiting to happen based on government documents he obtained when he tried in vain to both develop and sell the plot of land, located some 300m from the depot, since 1995.

There were also several residential areas and two schools near the depot.

When FMT visited the area, residents wanted the government and the defence ministry to provide an assurance that the place was safe.

For years, documents and letters from government departments stated that the risks of “loss of life and damage to property” in the area were extremely high.

However, after Annamalai’s plight was reported in the media, the government last year told him that the land was “safe”.

Recently, Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Abdul Aziz had agreed to meet with Annamalai and vowed to do his best to help him.

Missing keris ‘rotting inside’

KOTA KINABALU: The iconic 30m-tall keris in the city, which “mysteriously” disappeared, was removed by the state government for safety reasons.

According to Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Masidi Manjun, the monument was found “rotting inside”.

“The inside was rotting and so the Public Works Department (PWD) decided to remove it for safety reasons,” he told reporters here after questions were raised over the missing monument, one of the state’s earliest “Malaysia Day” monuments erected in the late 1960s.

“Many people thought it was made of metal. No, it is not… I think it is probably made of carbon or a different type of biodegradable material.

“So PWD needs to repair it or build a new one,” said Masidi.

He, however, was unable to say whether the keris would be repaired and placed on the same spot.
He said that PWD would decide in due course.

The keris was taken down without any announcement. City dwellers who noticed it went missing from the busy junction leading to the airport and the city were puzzled: some believed it was removed while others thought it was stolen.

The monument was erected by former chief minister Mustapha Harun to mark the formation of Malaysia and also to commemorate the name change (from Jesselton to Kota Kinabalu).

The giant dagger that has been standing at the same spot for over 40 years has always been a subject of discussion among Sabahans. Some believe the keris would bring bad luck to the state as the blade was pointing skyward.

Standing next to the keris is a statue of the country’s first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman.

The state government recently put up another keris on the ground of the Sabah State Legislative Assembly.

Interlok: Hujah penggulungan

Yang Arif,
Kavyan sudah bersedia untuk melakukan penggulungan hujah berhubung kontroversi novel Interlok edisi murid (2010) yang dijadikan teks Komponen Sastera Dalam Mata Pelajaran Bahasa Malaysia (Komsas).
Berdasarkan segala hujah dan bukti yang dibentangkan sejak hari pertama perbicaraan, berikut ringkasan pendirian tegas Kumpulan Sasterawan Kavyan (Kavyan) berhubung kes ini.
Pertama, Kavyan tetap teguh dengan pendirian bahawa Interlok edisi murid (2010) wajib dan wajar ‘dimurnikan’ seperti disarankan Kavyan, sebelum dimasukkan semula ke dalam sistem pendidikan negara sebagai teks Komsas bagi pelajar Tingkatan Lima di Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya dan Negeri Sembilan.
Kedua, novel Interlok ‘edisi dimurnikan’ seperti disarankan Kavyan perlu mengandungi Prakata, Kata Pengantar dan Sepatah Kata seperti yang terdapat dalam edisi 2003 kerana kehadirannya membantu ‘menjernihkan’ keadaan, sekali gus mengangkat martabat dan maruah Interlok dan Sasterawan Negara Datuk Abdullah Hussain (Pak Lah). Malah, boleh juga disertakan sedikit kata-kata (tulisan) berupa pengakuan bahawa segala ‘fakta’ mengenai budaya kaum India di dalam novel ini diperoleh oleh Pak Lah daripada seorang rakan kaum India serta dinyatakan namanya.
Ketiga, novel Interlok ‘edisi dimurnikan’ seperti disarankan Kavyan perlu mengandungi Glosari yang ‘bermaruah’ dan benar-benar membantu pemahaman pelajar.
Keempat, novel Interlok ‘edisi dimurnikan’ seperti disarankan Kavyan perlu menyebut dengan jelas pada Halaman Hak Cipta bahawa karya ini pertama kali terbit pada tahun 1971.
Kelima, Kavyan membantah sekeras-kerasnya tindakan mana-mana pihak yang didapati menghina khazanah ilmu negara (khususnya karya sastera) dan martabat Sasterawan Negara dalam apa keadaan sekali pun dan dengan apa cara sekali pun.
Keenam, Kavyan menuntut supaya semua pihak yang terlibat dalam kontroversi ini tidak lari daripada isu sebenar yang dibicarakan, iaitu penggunaan novel Interlok edisi murid (2010) sebagai teks Komsas.
Ketujuh, Pak Lah tidak boleh diheret masuk ke dalam kontroversi ini dalam apa jua keadaan. Tindakan memanipulasi situasi Pak Lah demi kepentingan peribadi atau organisasi tertentu juga mesti dihentikan segera. Sebarang usaha berbuat demikian perlulah ditakrifkan sebagai ‘berniat jahat’ secara langsung atau tidak langsung.
Kelapan, Kavyan membantah sebarang usaha mempolitikkan isu Interlok edisi murid (2010). Untuk rekod, kerja-kerja ‘mempolitikkan’ tidak hanya terhad kepada individu yang terlibat dalam ‘parti politik’, sebaliknya termasuk juga penglibatan badan bukan kerajaan (NGO); khususnya apabila kontroversi berhubung Interlok edisi murid dijadikan isu perkauman yang mampu menggugat keamanan negara.
Kesembilan, Kavyan tidak menjadi proksi mahu pun proletar kepada mana-mana pihak. Segala hujah yang dibentangkan sejak hari pertama adalah pendirian Kavyan tanpa dipengaruhi sesiapa. Sejak diasaskan pada 22 Ogos 1999, Kavyan tidak pernah – dan tidak akan, dengan izin Tuhan – bernaung di bawah mana-mana badan politik atau pertubuhan lain.
Kesepuluh, perlu direkodkan dan didokumentasikan sebagai catatan sejarah kesusasteraan negara bahawa Gapena dan sekutunya meluluskan lapan resolusi pada 15 Januari 2011, di mana salah satu resolusi itu adalah ‘membantah sekeras-kerasnya sebarang cadangan untuk meminda mana-mana teks dalam novel tersebut’ di mana ‘novel tersebut’ merujuk kepada novel Interlok karya Pak Lah.
Kesebelas, perlu direkodkan dan didokumentasikan sebagai catatan sejarah kesusasteraan negara bahawa Kavyan sudah pun mengemukakan bukti secara ringkas dan padat untuk menunjukkan bahawa Interlok edisi murid (2010) yang cuba dipertahankan Gapena dan sekutunya, secara ironi, sudah pun melalui proses asas ‘pemurnian’ berbanding karya asli Pak Lah (Hak Cipta 1971). Bagi mewakili ‘karya asli’ yang dimaksudkan, Kavyan berpegang pada edisi 2003 kerana Hak Cipta edisi berkenaan masih dipegang oleh Pak Lah, berbanding Hak Cipta edisi murid (2010) dipegang oleh DBP.
Kemenangan besar?
Yang Arif,
Kavyan sudah membuktikan tanpa sebarang keraguan munasabah bahawa Interlok edisi murid (2010) sudah pun melalui proses awal ‘pemurnian’ (termasuk tetapi tidak terhad kepada penyuntingan, penambahan, pembuangan, pembetulan) sebelum diterbitkan.
Bagaimanapun, Interlok edisi murid ini masih mempunyai terlalu banyak kelemahan, sebagaimana dihujahkan sejak hari pertama.
Sekiranya Yang Arif tetap memutuskan bahawa novel Interlok edisi murid (2010) perlu kekal dalam sistem pendidikan negara tanpa sebarang perubahan, maka keputusan itu nanti tidak pula bermakna Gapena dan sekutunya berjaya ‘menang besar’ dalam kes ini.
Saya katakan demikian kerana Gapena dan sekutunya ‘berjuang bermati-matian’ mempertahankan karya agung seorang Sasterawan Negara (Pak Lah) serta berpendirian tegas ‘membantah sekeras-kerasnya sebarang cadangan untuk meminda mana-mana teks dalam novel tersebut’.
Untuk rekod, Gapena dan sekutunya mempertahankan Interlok (Hak Cipta 1971) sebagaimana ditulis oleh Pak Lah.
Untuk rekod juga, Kavyan sudah pun mengemukakan bukti kukuh untuk menunjukkan bahawa Interlok edisi murid (2010) tidak lagi memenuhi kriteria ‘karya asli sebagaimana ditulis oleh Pak Lah’; tanpa sedikit pun menafikan hak moral dan hak royalti Pak Lah ke atas edisi murid ini.
Maka, sekiranya Interlok edisi murid (2010) dikekalkan dalam sistem pendidikan negara tanpa sebarang perubahan, bermakna Gapena dan sekutunya gagal dalam usaha besar-besaran mereka ‘membantah sekeras-kerasnya sebarang cadangan untuk meminda mana-mana teks dalam novel tersebut’ kerana mereka secara terang-terang sudah ‘mengizinkan’ karya asli Pak Lah (Hak Cipta 1971) dipinda (termasuk tetapi tidak terhad kepada penyuntingan, penambahan, pembuangan, pembetulan) dalam Interlok edisi murid (Hak Cipta DBP 2010).
Manakala di sisi Kavyan pula, walau apa pun keputusan pada akhir perbicaraan ini, kami tetap mendapat kemenangan moral (moral victory).
Seperti yang pernah ditegaskan Mahatma Gandhi, ‘jadilah perubahan yang mahu anda saksikan di dunia ini’ dan ‘tidak akan tercapai kebaikan sekiranya tidak ada sesiapa yang berani mengetengahkan kebenaran’. Kami ikut Mahatma Gandhi.
Yang Arif, I rest my case and let the Rakyat decide.
Catatan akhir: ‘Yang Arif’ yang dimaksudkan dalam perbicaraan ini sejak hari pertama adalah ‘Rakyat’ iaitu warganegara Malaysia (termasuk Semenanjung Malaysia) yang berhak menentukan hala tuju negara.

Publisher and analyst can now challenge unlawful book seizure

By M. Mageswari, The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: A political analyst and a book publisher succeeded in their bid to get a court order to challenge the Home Minister, police and Government over the unlawful seizure of 33 books last year.

High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Rohana Yusuf granted the leave application on grounds there was an arguable case.

Justice Rohana also dismissed a preliminary objection raised by the Attorney-General’s Chambers against the leave application after hearing submissions by parties in chambers yesterday.

The applicants’ were represented by K. Shanmuga while Senior Federal Counsel Noor Hisham Ismail acted for the respondents.

Speaking to reporters later, Shanmuga said the A-G’s Chambers has raised a preliminary objection against the leave application on grounds that it was frivolous and vexatious.

Shanmuga said the court has set Feb 24 for mention of substantive application of the judicial review.

Yong Thye Chong, also known by his pen name Kim Quek, was the author of the 361-page book The March to Putrajaya: Malaysia’s New Era Is At Hand which was banned on Sept 27 last year as being prejudicial to public order.

Yong, 73, claimed that the reasons for the ban implied that the book contained falsehoods, could arouse anxiety and anger among Malaysians, jeopardise the image of the Government and would incite hatred for the Federal Constitution.

He and the book’s publisher Oriengroup Sdn Bhd filed a judicial review application to quash the order in relation to the seizure.

The applicants said they were not given an opportunity to be heard before the minister banned the book.

They named the Home Minister, Inspector-General of Police, Asst Supt Zul Azhar Mokhtar, Chief Inspector Nahar Yamen, Asst Supt Mohd Fahmi Daraman Sah and the Government as respondents.

The applicants are seeking a declaration that the seizure of the books on Aug 19 last year at four locations was invalid and contravened various provisions of the Federal Constitution.

Explain why Malaysia topped the world in per capita illicit capital outflows, losing RM888 billion as a result of corruption and misgovernance, instead of campaign of lies and falsehoods in Tenang by-election

UMNO and MCA leaders should be explaining why Malaysia topped the world in per capita illicit capital outflows, losing RM888 billion in nine years from 2000 – 2008 as a result of corruption and misgovernance, instead of disseminating lies and falsehoods in the Tenang by-election in Johore.

It is five days since the Washington-based financial watchdog, Global Financial Integrity (GFI), reported that Malaysia is among the countries which registered the highest illicit financial outflows over a period of nine years in the last decade.

The five countries with the highest illicit financial outlays between 2000 and 2008 were:

1. China $2.18 trillion
2. Russia $427 billion
3. Mexico $416 billion
4. Saudi Arabia $302 billion
5. Malaysia $291 billion.

Capital outflows from Malaysia more than tripled from US$22.2 billion in 2000 to US$68.2 billion in 2008, totaling US$291 billion (or RM888 billion) in nine years between 2000 and 2008.

GFI warned that the massive and sharp increase of capital flight in Malaysia is “at a scale seen in few Asian countries”.

In per capita illicit outflows, Malaysia has the dubious distinction of topping the world – as seen from the following table (population figures for the other four countries based on CIA World Factbook 2010):

Illicit capital outflows per head 2000-2008

China (pop 1.3b) — US$1,677
Russia (pop 140m) — US$3,007
Mexico (pop 111m) — US$3,749
Saudi Arabia (pop 28.6 m) — US$10,559
Malaysia (pop 27m) — US$10,780 (RM33,000 approx)

It is more than five days since the publication of the GFI report but there has been conspicuous silence from the government, apart from the lame excuse by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is also Finance Minister, passing the buck to the Bank Negara on Friday when he said that Bank Negara would provide “specific comments” on the GFI report on the RM888 billion illicit capital outflows in nine years from 2000 to 2008 because of corruption and misgovernance.

Instead of resorting to irresponsible politicking and “scare-and-fear” campaign in the Tenang by-election, Umno and MCA leaders should explain the loss of such astronomical sums which cripple national development by depriving the public coffer of tax revenues crucial for providing public goods like public security and high educational standards and drain capital needed for various investment projects, poverty alleviation and economic growth.

new blog

Follow this new blog track  UMNO's ethnic cleansing of Indians in Malaysia. Ethnic cleansing does not have to be only when the army comes in and shoots to kill mercilessly as we are all led to believe. There are many ways of doing it..
UMNO is trying to put away Uthaykumar on charges of sedition now for uttering the words ethnic cleansing - I say now that all these extrajudicial killings of the Indian young is ethnic cleansing and let UMNO charge me with sedition also. The string of police killing of wayward Indian youth is nothing short of ethnic cleansing. It is UMNO's way of trying to reduce this country of the Indian menace.So, come charge me with sedition too.
This is systematic and is only part of an overall scheme of doing away with us. UMNO's intrigues are many - they demean us psychologically, in attempts to reduce our self image, as they are now doing with school literature texts so they can continue to maintain moral high ground for all their atrocities, they render  a large section of our people stateless so they will continue to languish in poverty and crime and eventually get shot to death, to the most vulnerable amongst us, they cut off living opportunities,so they can drink themselves to death or commit suicide out of desperation .
God! When is all this going to stop!!!!!!!!!

One year after extinction of Bo, Andaman tribe in danger

Boa Sr was the last member of the Bo tribe.
© Alok Das

Boa Sr was the last member of the Bo tribe. One year after the death of the last member of the Bo tribe of the Andaman Islands (January 26), Survival has warned that the neighbouring Jarawa tribe is also in danger.
Boa Sr, the last of the Bo, died last January aged around 85. The Jarawa tribe number 365 people, and fiercely resisted contact with outsiders until 1998.
Now an illegal road cuts through the Jarawa’s rainforest, and poachers and tourists invade their land. Poachers steal the animalsthe Jarawa need to survive and, like the tourists, risk introducing diseases to which the tribe have no immunity. Survival is urging the Indian government to close the road and to keep outsiders out of the tribe’s forest.
The MP for the Andaman Islands, who wants to keep the road open, called last month for India to ‘civilize’ the Jarawa.
The Bo, the Jarawa and other tribes are thought to have lived on the Andaman Islands for about 55,000 years, making them the descendants of some of the oldest human cultures on Earth.
The Bo were one of ten tribes now collectively known as the Great Andamanese. Most of the Great Andamanese were killed or died of diseases brought by the British, who colonized the islands in 1858. The British tried to ‘civilize’ them by capturing them and keeping them in an ‘Andaman Home’, where many died.
Survival’s Sophie Grig said today, ‘The Jarawa are perfectly capable of deciding their own future, as long as the forest they rely on is protected and they are not forced to live in the way someone else thinks best. History has shown that attempts to impose development on tribal people and remove them from their land are disastrous.’
Survival researchers who have visited the Andaman Islands are available for interview.

God will protect me, says Normala

Russian authorities: Terrorist bombing at Moscow airport kills 31

Moscow (CNN) -- The explosion that killed at least 31 people Monday at Moscow's busiest airport appears to be an act of terrorism, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on state TV.
Medvedev ordered additional security at Moscow's other airports and transportation hubs, and Moscow police went on high alert in case of additional bombs.
The explosion occurred about 4:30 p.m. at the entrance of the international arrivals section of Domodedovo Airport, Itar-Tass said, citing a spokeswoman for the Russian Investigative Committee, Tatyana Morozova.
State TV aired video of the smoke-filled terminal, including what act of a suicide bomber who stuffed a homemade bomb with small metal objects to make it more deadly, then activated it in a crowded area where many people were preparing for their flights. CNN could not independently verify those claims.
Incoming flights scheduled to land at Domodedovo were being diverted to Moscow's other airports, Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo, Russian TV said.
Lufthansa spkeswoman Claudia Lange said the airline has suspended all flights to Domodedovo until further notice.
Domodedovo is 22 kilometers (14 miles) southeast of Moscow. According to the airport's website, it is the largest of Moscow's three airports, as well as the busiest in terms of passenger traffic.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen condemned the attack and urged greater cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said British officials are "in urgent contact with Russian authorities to establish the facts and to provide consular support to any British nationals who may have been affected."
Russia has a long history of dealing with terror attacks.
Most recently, female suicide bombers struck the Moscow metro during rush hour in March, setting off two explosions that killed at least 38 people and wounded more than 60 others. Chechen rebels claimed responsibility for that attack.
In November 2009, an explosive device derailed an express train, killing at least 26 people.

Selangor fails to change state law

SHAH ALAM, Jan 24 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) failed to amend the Selangor constitution over the appointment of top civil servants when it did not garner the required two-thirds majority in the state assembly today.

All 34 PR assemblymen voted in favour of the amendment to Article 52(1) of the state constitution while the 20 Barisan Nasional (BN) representatives present opposed it. The coalition needed 38 votes to pass the amendments.

Speaker Datuk Teng Chang Khim did not exercise his vote while Umno’s Port Klang assemblyman Badrul Hisham Abdullah was not allowed in the assembly hall as his seat had been declared vacant by Teng earlier this week.

“There will be no second and third reading of the bill because two-thirds of [votes] was not obtained,” Tend said outside the assembly today.

If passed, the amendment would have allowed the Sultan — under the mentri besar's counsel — to appoint the state secretary, legal advisor and financial officer instead of the federally-controlled Public Services Commission.

The issue first came to light when the state opposed Datuk Mohd Khusrin Munawi’s appointment as state secretary, arguing that Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim was not informed of the appointment and it was thus invalid.

Khalid said today that his administration would work harder in obtaining a two-thirds majority in the next state-level elections, and would continue to push for the same amendment in the near future.

Teng denied that today’s sitting was an exercise in futility, maintaining that the session was called to address a matter of great public importance.

Earlier, Khalid also said the state was considering allowing Khusrin to carry out his official duties as state secretary.

In response, state opposition leader Datuk Satim Diman said that Khalid’s decision was a “U-turn” and that the MB was “caught in his own political game.”

“Khalid knew we (Barisan Nasional) would not support these amendments, so now he is U-turning.

“If you are sincere, work hard and fast and get Khusrin to take the oath of secrecy,” Satim told reporters shortly after the sitting ended.

Muhyiddin to unlock Interlok

LABIS: Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has a formula to resolve the Interlok controversy and will discuss it with MIC leaders.

He said he would meet with MIC deputy president Dr S Subramaniam tonight and later with MIC president G Palanivel.

“In the BN (Barisan Nasional) spirit, we want to discuss (the matter) with MIC, and I believe the formula will be delved into in a day or two.

“I hope that once a decision has been made, the issue will not be raised again because of more importance is the spirit of cooperation in the context of BN,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama.

Muhyiddin, who is also education minister, said all matters pertaining to the novel had been raised and the government was considering the best approach to resolve the issue.

He also said that certain quarters had twisted his statement on the matter and politicised the issue.

Many quarters had not read the novel but there had been many reactions because they could be easily influenced by such matters, he said.

Opposition getting desperate

Muhyiddin, who was in Labis ahead of the Tenang by-election, also accused the opposition of becoming more desperate and beginning to adopt various dirty tactics such as distributing slanderous pamphlets.

He, however, expressed confidence that the electorate would not be easily deceived by the slanders and lies spread by the opposition.

“We are aware that they (opposition) will not stop making up stories to scare the voters. That’s a normal tactic, but in most cases, the voters know the truth and are not deceived,” he said.

In the by-election, the BN is fielding Mohd Azahar Ibrahim as its candidate while PAS is fielding the Labis Wanita PAS head, Normala Sudirman.

Muhyiddin urged voters who had evidence on the dirty tactics adopted by the opposition that violated the law to report the matter directly to the uthorities such as the Election Commission (EC).

Besides the dissemination of slanderous pamphlets, there were also allegations that certain groups were taking the identity cards of the voters aimed at preventing them from casting their votes, he said.

Muhyiddin said there were also allegations made that Wanita Umno for the division was not supporting the BN candidate and this was being spread through pamphlets and banners.

He said issues concerning the BN candidate did not arise at all because everyone had given their full commitment to support Mohd Azahar.

“We have no problem, there is no personal issue on the candidate. Our candidate (Mohd Azahar) is the best. We have vetted our candidate 100%, otherwise we would not have fielded him,” said the deputy prime minister.

The opposition tried to discredit the BN candidate’s personal character although Mohd Azahar was clean and a good person, he said.

Asked on the chances of the BN candidate, Muhyiddin said the voters whom he had met had expressed confidence in Mohd Azahar who was widely known as the son of a former Tenang State Assemblyman, the late Ibrahim Daud.

On claims that Normala refused to shake hands with male voters, Muhyiddin said BN did not want to exploit the issue because it was a personal matter and left it to the voters to decide.

On another development, Muhyiddin questioned the motive of the special sitting of the Selangor State Legislative Assembly aimed at amending the Selangor state constitution.

Std One pupil slapped for not lining up

KUALA LUMPUR : A parent of a seven-year-old pupil in SRK Sri Delima in Jalan Ipoh has lodged a report against a teacher who beat her daughter for not lining up in the correct row after recess.

L Savatharaja, a journalist from Tamil daily, Malaysian Nanban, said his daughter Shanya had come home last Wednesday crying after a teacher known as Virda, hit her on the head, pinched her ears and slapped her hands.

“The incident frightened my daughter. Now she is too scared to go to school and is crying everyday,” he said, adding that he decided to lodge a police report against the teacher and the school authorties after failing to get a proper explanation from the school.

Recalling his visit to the school to inquire about what happened, Sarvantharaja said: “On Friday, I went to school to find out what had happened. But when I approached the teacher, I was shocked by her action.

“She told me off with ‘kalau encik tidak suka anak belajar disini, tukar sahajalah! Encik hendak pergi polis atau media, tiada masalah. Lebih baik tukar sahaja ke sekolah lain!’ (If you don’t like your child studying here then change lah! You can go to the police or the media, no problem. Better you change school.”)

“It was a irresponsible response to my question which was why she hit my daughter.

“I was angry and tried to take her photograph. But she covered her face and ran a few steps before stopping to turn back and say ‘janganlah ambil gambar saya belum solek lagi! bawa cermin dulu.(do not take my picture yet. I have no make-up. Bring me a mirror first!)

“I then went to see the afternoon session supervisor Rohizan Ibrahim. She promised to look into the matter. But there has been no reply from the school,” he said.

He pointed out that teachers handling Standard One pupils should be more understanding of the situation as the children were barely out of kindergarden.

“This is not a racial issue… it is not about a Malay teacher hitting an Indian student. This is about a teacher’s lack of patience and understanding of the situation. How can you beat a child who is just two weeks into her first school year? What kind of training are these teachers getting?” he asked.

As for his daughter, Sarvantharaj said the family had decided to find her another school with hopefully better teachers.

BN to win bigger in 13th GE, predicts MCA chief

(Bernama) - The Barisan Nasional (BN) is expected to win the 13th general election (GE) with a bigger majority, but it is difficult to predict whether it would be a simple or a "two-third" majority, said MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.

He said Malaysian voters were also predicted to vote for BN again after having tried out the opposition in 2008.

These were among the projections that politicians had made for the 13th GE, based on the latest political developments in the country, Chua said in his lecture entitled "Barisan Nasional and the 13th General Election in Malaysia" at S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) Distinguished Lecture Series in Singapore, today.

The text of his lecture was faxed to Bernama today.

Chua said Malaysian voters were now more discerning in their choices. After trying the 'Pakatan' or opposition pact in 2008, many were now set to bet on Barisan in a redefined political landscape.

"I am confident that Barisan's consistent majorities will remain consistent for the 13th general election and after. A "new" Prime Minister (Datuk Seri) Najib (Tun Razak) is seeking his first general election victory, but all the signs suggest that BN will remain in power after the 13th General Election," he said.

However, he said that talks that the GE would be called this year was merely speculative as the current term was only due in 2013.

He also predicted that in the upcoming GE, the opposition might retain Kelantan and Penang but would struggle in Kedah, Perak and Selangor while Johor Sabah and Sarawak would continue to be the ruling coalition's "fixed deposit", which accounted for nearly 35 per cent of parliamentary seats in total.

"Barisan will win more parliamentary seats and a larger percentage of the popular vote. Meanwhile, more squabbling is expected within and between Pakatan parties.

"Even in states where Pakatan retains control, its state assembly strength may drop," he said.

Chua said there would also be increasing moves towards issues of public concern transcending race and religion, while political campaigns would be more issue-based, rather than posturing with one communal identity over another.

"The quality of governance is critical. The choice between BN and Pakatan Rakyat centres on delivery systems, growth prospects and public security," he added.

Pakatan Rakyat Menyokong Pindaan Mengembalikan Kuasa Sultan, BN Menolak

24 JANUARI 2011

Saya ingin menekankan di sini bahawa sidang Dewan Negeri Selangor yang diadakan hari ini bukan sidang tergempar. Mesyuarat ini diadakan di bawah Peraturan 10(3) Peraturan-peraturan Tetap Undang-undang Tubuh Negeri Selangor untuk membincangkan perkara-perkara spesifik, mendesak dan berkepentingan awam. Hari ini Dewan membincangkan pelantikan Setiausaha Kerajaan Negeri yang melibatkan kepentingan awam.

Saya mengambil kesempatan ini untuk mengucapkan terima kasih kepada Tuan Speaker, Dato Teng Chang Kim dan kakitangan Dewan Negeri kerana berjaya menganjurkan mesyuarat hari ini. Kebijaksanaan dan pendekatan profesional Tuan Speaker telah membimbing satu pembentangan usul yang sihat dan bermanfaat.

Hari ini Kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat Negeri Selangor telah mencipta sejarah apabila semua wakil rakyat Pakatan Rakyat bersatu menyokong cadangan pindaan Undang-undang Tubuh Kerajaan Selangor bagi mengembalikan kuasa DYMM Sultan dan Menteri Besar dalam pelantikan tiga pegawai ex-officio yang telah dimansuhkan selepas pindaan Perlembagaan 1993.

Dalam pada itu, semua wakil Kerajaan memberi perbahasan baik dan bernas berkenaan satu isu begitu penting kepada rakyat yang gagal disentuh oleh pentadbiran sebelum ini. Perbahasan Pakatan Rakyat hari telah berjaya memartabatkan kesucian Dewan Negeri Selangor dan Eksekutif.

Ini selari dengan keinginan rakyat Negeri Selangor yang mahukan satu pentadbiran professional bagi dua institusi tertinggi – Dewan dan Eksekutif – yang tidak diamalkan di peringkat Persekutuan.

Dari asas ini, usul hari ini adalah untuk meminda Fasal 52(1) Undang-Undang Tubuh Negeri Selangor supaya satu prosedur dibuat bagi pelantikan tiga pegawai ex-officio demi memastikan dasar-dasar kerajaan negeri dapat dilaksanakan dengan cekap dan sempurna.

Kami kesal dengan keputusan wakil-wakil Umno/Barisan Nasional untuk menolak usul ini. Lebih kesal lagi, Barisan Nasional gagal memberikan hujah-hujah yang konkrit dan berkualiti untuk menolak cadangan pindaan ini. Tiada satu pun soalan atau hujah yang kami kemukakan dijawab dengan baik dan professional.

Jelas, penolakan ini dibuat atas nama politik dan kesetiaan mereka kepada pihak-pihak yang berkuasa di Putrajaya. Sepatutnya sebagai wakil rakyat, keputusan mereka perlulah berdasarkan kepentingan rakyat.

Penolakan usul juga membuktikan bahawa Umno yang sebenarnya tidak menghormati sama sekali institusi Raja-raja Melayu dan tetap menghalang Raja-raja Melayu daripada memainkan peranan yang sepatutnya dalam institusi Raja Berperlembagaan.

Sikap hipokrit pihak Umno kini jelas ternampak dalam rekod mereka yang secara konsisten menafikan kuasa Raja-raja Melayu, terutamanya pada tahun 1983, 1993 dan kini, 2011.

Sidang Dewan hari ini membuktikan pemimpin Umno sebenarnya tidak layak untuk menyentuh soal kedaulatan Raja-Raja kerana belang mereka telah terbongkar. Mereka menuduh Pakatan Rakyat tidak menghormati peranan Raja-raja tetapi sebenarnya Umno yang menghakis kuasa Raja-raja melalui pindaan-pindaan Perlembagaan yang telah dilakukan.

Walaupun kita mungkin tidak berjaya untuk membuat pindaan, majoriti ahli Dewan telah menyokong. Ini tidak akan mematahkan semangat Pakatan Rakyat. Malah, isu ini telah menguatkan lagi tekad Pakatan Rakyat untuk membuktikan kewibawaan kami dan memperolehi majoriti dua pertiga dalam pilihan raya kelak supaya pindaan ini dapat dibangkitkan semula.

Kami masih berpendirian bahawa DYMM Sultan Selangor dan Kerajaan Negeri berhak untuk memainkan peranan dalam pemilihan 3 pegawai ex-officio demi memastikan dasar-dasar kerajaan negeri dapat dilaksanakan dengan sempurna.

Walaupun pihak Persekutuan nampaknya terus mengenepikan suara rakyat Selangor dan enggan menghormati semangat federalisme atau bertemu setengah jalan, Kerajaan Negeri akan berusaha untuk memastikan pentadbiran negeri akan terus dijalankan dengan baik dan selancar mungkin demi kebajikan rakyat Selangor.

Bersama menjunjung amanah yang diberi oleh rakyat, Kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat akan terus menggandakan usaha untuk melaksanakan tugas dan meneruskan agenda “Merakyatkan Ekonomi Selangor” yang memperjuangkan kebajikan dan kesejahteraan rakyat.


Nazir Razak: Diversity is our strength

The Nut Graph
by Jacqueline Ann Surin
This post is reproduced from here

“WHEN the word ‘Malaysian’ comes to me, I always think of diversity,” Datuk Seri  Nazir Razak says at the CIMB  headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, where he is the bank’s group chief executive. It is our diversity, he adds, that has allowed us to build what we have today.

Yet, Nazir, the youngest son of Malaysia’s second prime minister and the youngest sibling of the current prime minister, expresses disappointment that not enough is being done to harness this diversity. He suggests that what the nation needs is another national consultative council on national unity.

In a 30 Dec 2010 interview, this award-winning banker, who is currently on a Chevening Fellowship at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, talks about his Bugis ancestry and what it means to him to be Malaysian. He also recounts his memories of 13 May 1969, and the need for a revised affirmative action policy.

TNG: When and where were you born, and where did you grow up?

Nazir Razak: KL (Kuala Lumpur). 1966.

At 13, you went off to England to boarding school, right?

[I was there] for the whole of the 1980s. From 13 to [when I was] 21.

You know, apart from the indigenous peoples in Malaysia, we’re all from “pendatang” stock. Can you trace your ancestry?

Oh, yeah, of course. We were from Sulawesi. [Editor’s note: The Razak family are direct descendants of one of the rulers of the ancient kingdom of Gowa, who left Sulawesi, also known as Makassar, and ended up in Pahang.]

So, that’s your father’s side of your ancestry…

I think my mother’s side is also Bugis, but through the Johor lineage. My father’s side, there were a few stories of how they got [to Kampung Makassar in Pahang] … and I’m not sure what the true story is. One [story] says [my ancestor] was actually the daughter of the sultan [who] married an admiral or something. Then they just sailed off like most Bugis do.

The earlier story was that they were just a bunch of pirates (laughs) along the east coast of Malaysia until they stopped at Pahang.

(Laughs) And which is the accurate version?

I think the latter one is what I heard from [Indonesian] Des Alwi. He was a good friend of my father’s. He says it was the princess story. I prefer that one anyway.

(Chuckles) Well, it’s a whole lot more appealing. What generation Malaysian are you?

I have no idea. I’m sure if you go to the [Tun Abdul Razak] museum [in KL], you can add it up.

So, where did you grow up for the most part?

KL. I left at 13. [I was at] St John’s [Institution] until I was [in] Standard 5. Then I went to  Alice Smith [School].

What is the strongest memory of the place where you grew up?

KL those days was about being in St John’s … I think it was a really different place then. I mean, it was the school. It was a national school but it was very Malaysian, very multiracial … And from the poorest to the richest Malays, Malaysians, [they] would be there at St John’s.

Were you aware of the notion of race at that point? Were your classmates aware?

Well, yes! And I think one will always be. And I’ve always maintained that there is nothing wrong with racial awareness. But at the forefront must be a Malaysian consciousness.

And you know, I’ve written a piece about strengthening diversity from a corporate perspective, and I do believe actually that the success of Malaysian companies abroad exceeds those of other Asean countries, and it’s primarily because we’re very comfortable with managing diversity.

When you say that there’s nothing wrong with identifying with race but that we should have a Malaysian consciousness upfront, does that translate into arguing that people should actually say, “I’m  Malaysian first”, rather than saying, “I’m Malay, Indian or Chinese first”?

I don’t like to answer that question because it’s become politicised. People get categorised because they say they’re “Malaysian first” or that they’re “Malay first”. And that’s completely unnecessary. I’m a Malay. I’m a Malaysian.

What kind of stories did you grow up with from your family?

I come from a political family. I guess a lot of conversations those days among the elders and the parents centred around politics.

And I remember [in] the early days being very conscious about May 1969. About what happened.

How old were you when 13 May happened?

I was [three years old]. But it wasn’t so much memories of the day itself. It was more the anniversaries of May 1969. And the early days were like, “Whoa!” As if it would happen on the same day again, you know. The anniversary would trigger something off. So, I was quite conscious about that growing up.

I remember May 1969 disturbed my late father tremendously. And strangely, if you look at the whole era, there was a cadre of nation builders around him. Malaysians – Malays, Chinese – who really believed in their responsibility of nation building within those [who] spearheaded the social re-engineering of the country.

Basically, all Malaysians at that point pulled their weight?

Yes. Well, you know, as I keep saying, [my father’s] main comment about the NEP (New Economic Policy) was that [it was] a blueprint for unity.

Do you sometimes feel that the fear [that 13 May would happen again] still exists today?

Yes, I think it remains something that we must be very conscious of and make sure that we manage the tensions such that it doesn’t repeat. It was tragic.

Do you think Malaysia could benefit from a kind of reconciliation process in the same way that South Africa did, for example?

(Pauses) No, I think there is probably a need to (pauses) … I don’t like the word “social contract”, but I think there probably is a need to reaffirm some of those values of nation building that came with the rebuilding of the nation post 1969. Many of the younger generation don’t remember that era, and many of the older generation don’t accept that things have changed. And therefore, some of the thinking and approaches need to be modernised for the present.

What does it mean to you to be Malaysian?

(Pauses) When the word “Malaysian” comes to me, I always think of diversity. Maybe it’s because of the political education that I had. And it’s about being a diverse, multiracial, multicultural country. At the same time, being proud of having this diversity and making a success of it.

You know, those days I remember. It was Malaysia [and] Sri Lanka in terms of this ethnic consciousness. And I remember [Prime Minister SWRD] Bandaranaike telling us, “You guys are just a few years behind us.” And of course, this was in the 60s. Sure enough, a few years after, they started imploding because of racial tensions. And we had 1969.

But there was a difference. We basically called on national unity, drew our leaders together, drew our people together, introduced the various policies to bring the nation together, whereas they didn’t. Thereafter, we went through a period of strong economic growth and stability whereas they continued to struggle.

So that’s what makes me proud. We, as Malaysians, have been able to build what we have today despite the diversity but also because of the diversity.

Do you think that enough is being done to tap into that diversity?


What else do you think can be done to tap into this diversity?

I think the present PM (pauses), I think, acknowledges this in many respects in the various transformation plans that he has embarked on. The whole 1Malaysia concept is about unity in diversity.

And I think we don’t do enough [to tap into our diversity] because unfortunately over the years, positions have hardened, if you like. You know, just like with any policy, we need to acknowledge where mistakes were made as a first step towards improving them.

When you say “policy”, you’re referring to the NEP? Mistakes were made with the NEP?

NEP and various development policies where mistakes were made or execution has had its shortcomings, then you address them and make them  better.

And you think your brother as prime minister is slowly trying to address this?

Yes, he’s doing it at a pace that may be necessary, which, for some, may not be fast enough. But for others, it may be too fast. So, in a way, you got to get that balance. I think, you know, the NEP was right for its time, and we continue to need some form of affirmative action. But what form that should take and gaining national acceptance of a new version of the NEP is a process that we need to go through.

If you could, what kind of affirmative action would you put in place for Malaysia?

If we look at the two pillars of the New Economic Policy, which is ethnic rebalancing and also poverty eradication, I would advocate a third leg, which is the creation of a competitive bumiputera race. And I think if you bring that to the forefront, then that would mean creating NEP execution policies that acknowledge the need for introducing competition in everything we do.

My biggest grouse with the implementation of the NEP is the lack of competition among [the] bumiputera. And that, I think, is a flaw because it then creates [an] easy-come-easy-go [mentality]. It creates the kind of rent-seeking behaviour that I think is not helpful to the race in the long-term.

And of course, you know, in talking about needs-based affirmative action, [the] PM is making it very clear that there are many, many people who need support, economic support. And they are Malay, Chinese and Indian [Malaysians]. So, there should be a [policy] shift in bias towards [being] more needs-based.

You’ve come under attack though by the likes of (Datuk) Ibrahim Ali for just making these views known. How do you respond to these kinds of public criticisms?

Everyone is entitled to their views … But to be fair to Ibrahim Ali, I think (pauses) he misinterpreted my views inasmuch as others did as well. Some people think that I want the abandonment of affirmative action. Some people want me to believe that, so they twist my words as well. So, people on both sides took that opportunity. But the truth is, that is not my position.

What do you think of 1Malaysia as a campaign?

Well, I think it is something that is extremely powerful, and when [Najib] first introduced it, there were some, the extremists again, who said, “That’s Malaysian Malaysia”, “That’s abandonment of the New Economic Policy”, etc.

But I think over time, it is bedding down rather well. It is a call for unity in diversity. And you know it’s a powerful reminder that we’re all Malaysians.

Over the past several years, there’s been a trumpeting of this notion of “ketuanan Melayu” and a tendency to label non-Malay Malaysians as “pendatang” or “penumpang”. Do you think that is what it’ll take for Malay Malaysians to succeed and gain what is rightfully theirs? If not that, then what do you think it would take for Malays in this country to really be successful and not feel as if they’re being shortchanged in some way?

Well, you mustn’t (pauses) give too much credence to the views of extremists. That’s certainly not the majority view. So, I think at the end of the day, the PM is pushing forward with, first and foremost, the concept of 1Malaysia. I don’t think this discussion of “ketuanan Melayu” etc. is really something that’s necessary.

I think at the end of the day, if you go back to what I said earlier, we do need affirmative action. We do need to refine the way the NEP is being implemented, and I think that should be the basis of helping to achieve the initial objectives of the NEP in the first place.

And you know, (former Prime Minister Tun Dr) Mahathir (Mohamad) not so long ago was talking about Bangsa Malaysia as an eventuality.

Do you think we have the political will to do what is necessary to move in that direction?

(Pauses) Well, I think you have to have the right political environment to do that. And unfortunately, (pauses) the hard truth is, these kinds of big changes need to be made when the government is very strong. And with the new political landscape here, it makes it a lot tougher.

But you could take the other view – if the government is very strong, they might not be pressed to make these changes.

… When I look at what the PM is trying to do, I take my hat off. I think he’s right, but again, we go back to [the fact that] even a strong Mahathir struggled with some of the things that he wanted to do. Today, unfortunately, the government is not as strong as it used to be. And there’s a huge task of transforming the country that [Najib is] embarking on.

… One thing we have to remember is that there’s a lot of pushback … There’s also the lag time for implementation. And sometimes, more is being implemented than you think, which may not be said.

Sometimes, you know, we keep harping on these kinds of things. It’s not as if these issues are unknown. A lot of them are known. But the reality of implementation is very different – it is a challenge. So, the public needs to have more patience. And as I said, this voice of the moderates needs to be a bit louder.

What kind of Malaysia would you like for yourself and future generations?

(Pauses) Well, I think for the children, I want a Malaysia where more children can be what they aspire to be. And I want (pauses), I guess, for them to live in peace and harmony. And that’s about it.

I want Malaysia to be economically successful. And I think that obviously, there are concerns which have been well articulated about that.

They’re not big ones. I don’t think anyone really has big ones. And yet, one wonders whether we will get there.

Are you worried for Malaysia as a citizen, as a banker?

Ya, I have said it before. And today, I am less worried because I’m clear that the government knows of all these problems, and that’s a start. If you ask me what I’m worried about, it’s the implementation.

Let’s flip it around. What do you think Malaysian citizens can do to help turn this country around?

I think Malaysians have to be more patient. Be more supportive of the good things that have been done. Spend more time on the good things and less time on the bad things. But people are so skeptical.

I’m not saying don’t make noise. I’m saying, we should not always be negative about policies and things that are being done.

So, you’re convinced that your brother has the right ideas and vision for this country, but what’s holding him back is the implementation.

Yes, and that starts with execution.

The book Found in Malaysia , featuring 50 of our best interviews plus four previously unpublished ones with Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir and Ramli Ibrahim, is now available at all good bookstores for RM45.