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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How long will Hisham let Ibrahim run amok?

'It appears Ibrahim Ali has now been mandated by Najib to set in motion the events to realise the counting of 'crushed bodies' in their defence of Putrajaya.'

Bar Council: Use Sedition Act against Ibrahim Ali

Rubystar_4037: Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, if you are doing your job, then you should know that Ibrahim Ali is a clear and present danger to the harmony and peaceful existence of all rakyat in Malaysia.

Ibrahim knows that the Home Ministry will not touch him, Utusan Malaysia will fan his fiery brimstone speeches, Dr Mahathir Mohamad is behind him, that he has tremendous value to Umno, the RMP (Royal Malaysian Police) will not arrest him, he will not be put under the ISA and that he is above the law.

Everything Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali says and plays to the gallery are all disgusting and go against the norm of civil and moral values of our society, in which the fabric that holds it together is now so fragile that all it needs is a small spark to lit up a conflagration of racial and civil unrest.

How long is the home minister going to let him run amok before it is too late? Do not discount the fact that he may be the agent provocateur in the run-up to the Bersih march.

Anonymous: If no action is taken against Ibrahim Ali this time - he has already made many other baseless and wild and seditious allegations on other occasions this year alone - it obviously shows that the government is blatantly bias and will never walk its talk on '1 Malaysia'.

TehTarik: Ibrahim Ali is a threat to national security and must be arrested under the Internal Security Act and interned in Kamunting. It is shocking to see the home minister and the police trying to appease Perkasa and its leader.

Umno appears to be playing a double game with Perkasa. This is similar to what is happening in Pakistan where the religious fundamentalists that were once courted by the government are today literally destroying it.

Perkasa and Ibrahim are slowly but surely pushing us into another racial conflagration.

Kyw: Why must Perkasa choose to rally on July 9? They can choose to rally on the 10th and nobody will condemn him.

But he purposely choose to coincide its rally with another's. He is out to create trouble by intimidating others. Democracy means we are free to talk or act anyhow we please so long as it does not deprive, infringe or endanger others from enjoying their rights.

Ibrahim Ali is a busybody. He is out to obstruct and deny others their right of expression. He should be behind bars, not in Parliament.
Bozo: Hello, Mr PM. Why are you so quiet? Your call for a transparent government in the Langkawi International Dialogue amounts to nothing in Malaysia. Look at yourself first before you talk of good governance.

The country is going down the road of chaos while you are happily entertaining Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe.

Anonymous_3e86: The BN government won't anything to Ibrahim Ali as they are in favour of him starting another May 13. This is what BN wants and is hoping for.

BN is afraid to face the rakyat in the general elections for fear of losing. But the rakyat isn't stupid enough to fall for that ploy. The rakyat are smart enough to avoid a confrontation with Perkasa.

The Bersih rally is for electoral reforms for fair and just elections. Is that not the way the electoral system should be? Is asking for a fair and just electoral system too much to ask? The fact is that the system is now manipulated by BN to their advantage.

Umno Youth's claim to defend the present electoral system is ridiculous - it merely suggest that they are supporting an unfair system. So is Perkasa's.

With or without the rally, BN will lose another chunk of the votes in the coming GE.

Wira: The Bersih walk, with a pledged 100,000 supporters from PAS, will be mainly Malay led. Umno and Perkasa are Malay parties too.

The Chinese will provide the electoral support during the general elections for their favourite parties and are not regarded as active participants in this protest. I don't see why the Chinese should worry.

Anonymous_40a7: "We condemn the racist remark by Ibrahim Ali, it is wholly irresponsible and uncalled for, if not seditious," said the Bar Council.

Next thing you know, Ibrahim the rambling madman will call for jihad against the Bar Council, and the police shrugs their shoulders, saying "What can we do?"

Multi Racial: Gerakan's Mah Siew Keong is supporting Ibrahim Ali and Perkasa to get Bersih to call off the demonstration on July 9. Like Ibrahim Ali, Mah said if the demonstration was to go ahead, it will create political instability.

Is Mah implying cheating in election will not create political instability? These days, it is best for these politicians to keep their mouth shut if they do not have the courage to do what is right.

If Mah follow what Malaysians want, he should join Bersih in the demonstration.

Michael Celo: I can only suspect that Ibrahim Ali has now been mandated by PM Najib Razak to light the fires and set in motion the events to realise the counting of "crushed bodies" in their defence of Putrajaya. I wonder if Ibrahim Ali's own body will be in that number.

TKC: Sometimes when I look at these guys making war cries, I wonder what would happen if trouble really breaks out. A man like Ibrahim Ali could probably run 20 steps at most before he gets a heart seizure - giving a literal meaning to "over my dead body".

Docs: I'm a bit confused here. Could Umno please clarify who is running the Malaysia government - BN or Perkasa?

'Nepal's Stolen Children'

'Nepal's Stolen Children'

Actress Demi Moore partners with CNN Freedom Project for a compelling documentary. A passionate advocate for victims of human trafficking herself, Moore travels to Nepal to meet 2010 CNN Hero of the Year Anuradha Koirala and some of the thousands of women and girls Koirala’s organization has rescued from forced prostitution. How were they taken and where were they sent? Hear the emotional, first-hand experiences of these young survivors. And follow along with Moore as she searches for answers in the fight to end this form of modern-day slavery.
Sunday, June 26
 Hong Kong 20:00
London 20:00
Berlin/Johannesburg 20:00
Abu Dhabi 22:00
New York/Miami 8 PM
Mexico City 7 PM
Los Angeles 8 PM

Join in Facebook :
Here's the first clip from "Nepal's Stolen Children: A CNN Freedom Project Documentary." In this clip, actress and activist Demi Moore gives an overview of Nepal. The documentary premieres around the world on Sunday night. Make sure to RSVP to our Facebook event for the documentary -
Actress Demi Moore travels to Nepal to shine a light on the forced prostitution of young girls and women. Airs June 26.

UK mosques, Muslim leaders on high alert

LONDON - Mosques and Muslim leaders across United Kingdom are on high alert after fake anthrax was posted to five mosques by suspected far-right extremists. Detectives from Scotland Yard's Counter Terrorism Command are investigating after imams at the mosques received bags of white powder.

One package, sent to the London’s Finsbury Park mosque, also contained blasphemous caricatures similar to cartoons published in Denmark. TheNation has learnt that up to five other mosques in pockets of extremism outside London - thought to be Luton and Birmingham - were targeted in the past 10 days. Scotland Yard is so concerned about the threat to community cohesion that it has sent a warning to more than 200 mosques in the capital. An email from the Association of Muslim Police warns staff to avoid touching any mail they deem suspicious.

It says: "The inquiry relates to suspicious but non-hazardous packages sent to mosques. Inquires are ongoing and no arrests have been made at this stage. We recognise the distress and disruption caused by such incidents and will continue to investigate them, and any others which come to light, robustly.

"Anyone receiving an item they think is suspicious should treat it seriously and follow the following advice: Call 999; 1. Do not touch or handle it any further; 2. Remain calm; 3. Move everyone away to a safe distance; 4. Safely communicate instructions to staff and public; 5. Ensure that whoever found the item or witnessed the incident remains on hand to brief the police."

Detectives are studying hours of CCTV footage as many of the packages did not have stamps and are thought to have been hand-delivered to the mosques. Some of the mosques were evacuated while specialist officers in protective suits checked the suspect material. When a package arrived at the Finsbury Park mosque last Thursday, police closed the building and surrounding roads for four hours.

Militants force young girl to wear suicide vest

The Taliban have been blamed for many of the suicide bombings across Pakistan. — Photo by Reuters
ISLAMABAD: An eight-year-old Pakistani girl was kidnapped by militants who forced her to wear a suicide vest to attack security forces, police said on Monday. 

Police produced the girl, identified as Sohana Javaid, before a news conference broadcast on Pakistani television channels.

The girl recalled how she was kidnapped in her hometown of Peshawar by two women and a man who pulled up in a car.

“They put a handkerchief on my mouth and I fell unconscious. They took me to some place. They gave me some biscuits to eat and I again fell unconscious,” Sohana said in a video, according to a voice over translation on the tape.

Forced to wear a suicide vest, she was transported to a security check post in a small town in the Lower Dir district in the northwest.

“I moved towards the check post but I started shouting and was taken into custody,” said Sohana.
There was no way to independently verify the story.

Pakistani authorities, who are facing a stubborn Taliban insurgency, have in the past produced would-be suicide bombers in front of television cameras. But they have been men or boys.

The Taliban have been blamed for many of the suicide bombings across Pakistan.

Semua dijemput sertai himpunan aman Bersih 2.0

EC offers to meet Bersih if rally called off

EC chairman Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said that Bersih’s protest would only prove fruitless as their demands could only be met through amendments to the relevant laws. — file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, June 20 — The Election Commission (EC) offered today to meet election watchdog Bersih 2.0 to discuss its eight demands, including having free and fair elections, but on condition the group calls off a planned demonstration this July 9.

But EC chairman Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof also said that Bersih’s protest would only prove fruitless as their demands could only be met through amendments to the relevant laws.

“We can discuss on that condition (that the rally is called off), but if they (Bersih) want to hold the illegal street demonstration and meet us just as a rubber stamp or an excuse, it is meaningless.

“To me, a street demonstration will not solve any problem. Amendments to the law will not happen or their demands accepted by staging a street demonstration. No way,” he told reporters at his office in Putrajaya today, according to Bernama Online.

Abdul Aziz admitted that he had to turn down a meeting with Bersih members earlier this year as he had been busy handling by-elections and the just-concluded Sarawak state polls on April 16 at the time.

But he also noted that he had held a meeting with Bersih chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenavasan late last year to discuss the coalition’s demands, during which the former bar council president and other Bersih members purportedly accepted his explanation.

Abdul Aziz also alleged that Bersih’s motives were politically driven and that without opposition support, the coalition would be “nothing”. He complained that the EC was being used as a scapegoat in the opposition’s ploy to gain popularity.

“This group is not behaving like other non-governmental organisations. I think they have been influenced by certain political parties. They are no more neutral, (and) no more independent. Without the support of these political parties, Bersih is nothing,” he said.

He insisted on the EC’s impartiality, claiming that the previous general election and several by-elections had proven this.

PR component parties and activists are gearing up to march on July 9 in the second such rally by election watchdog Bersih.

The first rally in 2007 saw up to 50,000 people take to the capital’s streets, before they were dispersed by police armed with tear gas and water cannons. The 2007 rally has also been credited for the PR’s record gains in Election 2008, where the opposition pact was swept to power in five states and won 82 parliamentary seats.

Among others, Bersih is demanding that the government ensure a clean and fair general election, reform the postal voting system and extend the campaign period to at least 21 days.

Umno Youth and Malay rights group Perkasa have also vowed to hold demonstrations against Bersih on the same day if the elections watchdog group carries out its promise to protest.

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said he would ask Bersih to stop their plans if the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government agreed to reforms. But Bersih officials said it was not up to politicians to decide the rally’s fate.

PSM lancar kempen ‘Udahlah tu… Bersaralah’

PSM juga turut meminta rakyat menyertai Perhimpunan Bersih 2.0 pada 9 Julai 2011 menuntut pilihanraya bersih dan demokratik.

PETALING JAYA: Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) akan melancarkan kempen “Udahlah tu…Bersaralah” iaitu satu kempen kesedaran peringkat nasional untuk meminta rakyat membuat perubahan berani untuk membawa perubahan dalam pilihanraya umum (PRU) nanti.

Selain itu, PSM akan turut meminta rakyat menyertai Perhimpunan Bersih 2.0 pada 9 Julai 2011 menuntut pilihanraya bersih dan demokratik.

Menurut Setiausaha Agung PSM, S Arutchelvan; kempen “Udahlah tu…Bersaralah” akan dimulakan pada 24 sehingga Jun ini di bawah fasa pertama dan bertujuan mendedahkan kepada rakyat tentang amalan rasuah semakin parah, jurang kaya dan miskin semakin besar, ketegangan kaum semakin parah  dan demokrasi di Malaysia semakin tenat.

“Jika Barisan Nasional (BN) menang PRU ke-13 nanti, cukai perkhidmatan kerajaan (GST) akan dilaksanakan, hak-milik awam akan hancur, hak-milik persendirian akan terus makmur!

“Sementara itu polisi perkauman akan bermaharalela dan kaum marhaen dan rakyat akan  pula akan terus merana”, kata Arutchelvan.

Arutchelvan menjelaskan bahawa di bawah fasa 1 kempen “Udahlah tu…Bersaralah”, akan melihat kempen bermula di dua puncak berbeza iaitu di Perlis dan juga di Johor.

“ Kempen dari utara akan menjelajahi beberapa kawasan luar bandar dan pekan menuju ke negeri Kedah, Pulau Pinang dan berakhir di Sungai Siput. Perak manakala pada masa yang sama satu lagi kempen jelajah dari selatan akan bermula dari Johor dan seterusnya melalui Melaka, Negeri Sembilan dan berakhir di Kota Damansara, Selangor.

“ Kempen fasa ke 2 pula akan meliputi kawasan Pantai Timur Semenanjung Malaysia.Kempen ini juga akan melibatkan kerjasama dengan parti-parti Pakatan Rakyat, kumpulan masyarakat dan Jawatankuasa NGO”, ulas Arutchelvan lagi.

Butir dan konsep

Arutchelvan juga turut mendedahkan butiran dan konsep kempen tersebut seperti berikut:
  • Konsep Whistle-Stop dengan menggunakan bas kempen dan peserta yang akan melalui beberapa destinasi penting selama tiga hari.
  • Risalah akan diedarkan di setiap lokasi sepanjang perjalanan bas tersebut. Risalah akan memfokus pemerintahan 53 tahun BN dan mengapa rakyat perlu meminta BN bersara dalam PRU ke-13 dan apakah malapetaka yang akan melanda rakyat sekiranya BN menang lagi dalam PRU 13 nanti.
  • Dua bas akan bergerak serentak.Satu meliputi kawasan utara Semenanjung dan satu kawasan Selatan Semenanjung.
  • Ceramah kelompok dan umum akan diadakan pada waktu malam setiap hari sepanjang program tersebut.
  • Sidang akhbar juga akan diadakan untuk memberikan perkembangan terbaru dari masa kesemasa
Justeru itu Arutchelvan meminta rakyat marhaen agar tidak mengadaikan harapan anak cucu ditangan rejim yang korup dan tidak demokratik, sebaliknya melakukan perubahan politik dan inilah masanya untuk melakukan perubahan.

Khairy: Ibrahim Ali a dangerous racist

The Umno Youth chief censured the Perkasa supremo for warning the Chinese against supporting Bersih on July 9.

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin today accused Malay rightwing group Perkasa’s chief Ibrahim Ali of being a “dangerous racist” for his threats against Malaysia’s ethnic Chinese.

The Rembau MP attacked Ibrahim for warning the Chinese against joining in the Bersih 2.0 (Coalition for Free and Fair Elections) rally on July 9.

“I want to let the Chinese know that this is an MP that does not represent the Malays (as a whole). We are (a) noble (people).”

“This is a very real and clear threat to a single community in Malaysia,” the Rembau MP told reporters in Parliament.

Ibrahim yesterday warned ethnic Chinese “that anything could happen” if they were to support Bersih.
Telling the Chinese to stay at home, he allegedly said: “Try to imagine if there is chaos (…) if the Bersih demonstration isn’t cancelled, I believe the Chinese will have to keep provisions.”

Ibrahim was believed to have been referring to the May 13 racial riots in 1969, where martial law was declared following violence in Kuala Lumpur.

Ibrahim had said this when he launched his own rally aimed at opposing the Bersih rally. Umno Youth too will be holding its own gathering on the day to protest against the Bersih rally.

Bersih aims to gather thousands of people on the streets of Kuala Lumpur to highlight its concerns over unfair electoral process in the country.

This has drawn criticisms from various quarters, including Perkasa and Umno Youth. Several police reports too have been lodged against Bersih over its planned rally. Bersih organisers however have stressed that their gathering would be peaceful.

Investigate under Sedition Act

Khairy said that the Perkasa chief’s comments warranted an investigation under the Sedition Act.
“This is a racist, seditious and dangerous statement. Action should be taken against him (Ibrahim),” Khairy said.

He said that Umno Youth too did not agree with Bersih’s stance, but it did not have any intention of causing chaos in its July 9 protest.

“We do not do this with the intention of creating chaos or clashing with Bersih. Even though we don’t agree with Bersih, but we do this with good intentions.”

“But what Ibrahim Ali said, I feel is something very dangerous. (…) There’s nothing brave about what he said. There’s no other case that’s more clear than this, where the Sedition Act should be used,” Khairy said.

Speaking in support of the right to public assembly, Khairy thought that Ibrahim’s words went too far.
In a related matter, the Umno Youth chief said that his Barisan Nasional comrades did not have to show up at the July 9 demonstrations if they did not want to.

“It’s up to MCA and MIC. I can’t order them (to come). It’s up to them,” he said. MCA had previously said it would not participate in any July 9 gathering.

Bar Council: Use Sedition Act against Ibrahim Ali

Give me one reason why I should march on 9th July 2011

Actually I can give you more than one reason. But knowing that many Malaysia Today readers tend to focus on the ‘wrong’ part of the article rather than what they should be focusing on (just read the comments to see what I mean) maybe I should focus on just one reason. That is easier for most of the smaller brains.

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Now, look at the chart above and tell me what you see. Yes, that’s right, Malaysian elections are won through gerrymandering.

Okay, in case you are not sure what you should be looking at, look at the figures under the column ‘GOVERNMENT’ and compare the % seats and % votes columns.

Can you see that in terms of votes the Alliance Party of 1959, 1964 and 1969 and Barisan Nasional since 1974 till 2008 never really did that well? The best was in fact during Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s rule in 2004 when Barisan Nasional garnered 63.9% of the votes and again in 1995 (65.2%) just before the 1997 financial crisis and the 1998 political crisis that followed.

Nevertheless, even this did not give them two-thirds of the votes (66.67%).
The rest of the time, Barisan Nasional (or the Alliance Party) won only 50% to 60% of the votes (except in 1969 when they won less than 50%).

However, as you can see, it is seats and not votes which has been giving them the government time and time again. And, as I said, this is because of gerrymandering.

The Parliament seats vary from a mere 5,000 voters to over 100,000 voters. Invariably, all those ‘smaller’ seats are Barisan Nasional seats, in particular Umno, while the ‘bigger’ seats are those which Barisan Nasional has no hope of winning and which will certainly fall to the opposition.

Okay, to make you understand the issue better, it works like this. The opposition can win 100,000 votes and it will be just one seat. Barisan Nasional, on the other hand, also wins 100,000 votes but it will be two or three seats.

Now, that is why the opposition wins 50% of the votes but only 40% of the seats while Barisan Nasional’s 50% of the votes gives them 60% of the seats.

In short, dear readers, this means, based on the present system, the opposition will NEVER form the federal government because it will NEVER win more than 50% of the seats in Parliament (unless it can win more than 60% of the votes, which is quite impossible with that many phantom and postal votes floating around).

And this also means we need electoral reforms. We need a law passed that says the variance in Parliament seats should be plus-minus 20%. This means, if the benchmark for Parliament seats is, say, 50,000 voters, then the variance of 20% translates to 40,000-60,000 voters per seat (not 5,000-120,000 like now).

Only when this happens would the opposition have a fair shot at forming the next federal government. If not it will never happen (unless the opposition can garner more than 60% of the votes).

In some countries this is the law. Some countries make it law that the seats must be plus-minus 15%. In others it is plus-minus 20%. (In fact, in some countries the law says that not less than 30% of the candidates must be women). Only in Malaysia it is plus-minus 95% (gila babi sungguh).

So now you know why we need electoral reforms. And now you know why we need to march on 9th July 2011. And this is not about the opposition. It is not about Anwar Ibrahim either. It is about the rights of the people of one-man-one-vote.

If Malaysia had direct elections (like in the United States) to elect our Prime Minister, then Najib Tun Razak would never become the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Then, like in America, a non-white (in Malaysia’s case a non-Bumiputera) could become the Prime Minister.

Alas, in Malaysia we have a system that ensures the Prime Minister will always be someone from Umno and the government will always be an Umno-led coalition.

The next question would be: why bother to vote then?

Good question. I would urge you to vote so that we can see a strong opposition in Parliament and the emergence of a two-party system in Malaysia. That in itself is reason enough to vote. However, if we can see electoral reforms, then that is another matter. Then we can vote to see a change in federal government.
And that is why we need BERSIH and also why we need to support Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan. Electoral reforms will never happen unless the people make it happen.

And ‘the people’ are you and I. We can’t depend on just the politicians.

Don’t forget, at one point of time many now in the opposition were once in the government (and many now in the government were once in the opposition). And when they were in the government did they push for electoral reforms? Or did they take advantage of the unfair system to hold on to power and only now that they are in the opposition they make so much noise about electoral reforms?

Trust me, if the opposition takes over the federal government they too would not want to change the system. They will maintain the present system to ensure they remain in power. Why change the present system to one that allows an easy change of government? And many in the opposition who were once in the government exploited the present system and did not utter a word of protest until they found themselves in the opposition.

Then only they bising tak habis-habis.

Perkasa bakar gambar Ambiga, amaran kepada kaum Cina, pembunuhan beramai ramai

Penyokong Perkasa membakar poster Pengerusi Bersih 2.0 Datuk Ambiga di pekarangan Kelab Sultan Sulaiman, Kuala Lumpur petang tadi. — Foto oleh Jack Ooi
(The Malaysian Insider) — Perkasa bersama 164 badan bukan kerajaan (NGO) hari ini melancarkan “perang” terhadap Himpunan Bersih 2.0 dengan membakar gambar Pengerusi Gabungan Pilihan Raya Bersih dan Adil (Bersih) Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan dan memberi amaran kepada kaum Cina agar jangan keluar pada 9 Julai ini kerana “apa sahaja boleh berlaku.” 
Presiden Perkasa Datuk Ibrahim Ali menegaskan perhimpunan anti-Bersih 2.0 yang bakal diadakan serentak akan diteruskan dan beliau tidak akan bertanggungjawab atas sebarang insiden tidak diingini.
“Cuba bayangkan jika berlaku huru-hara... jika himpunan Bersih 2.0 tidak dibatalkan, saya percaya kaum Cina perlu simpan bekalan makanan.

“Ya, apa sahaja boleh berlaku. Dan saya minta agar polis mengambil apa sahaja tindakan dan gunakan kuasa mereka untuk bertindak,” katanya pada pelancaran perhimpunan Gerak Aman di Kelab Sultan Sulaiman, Kampung Baru di sini.

Bersih bersama Pakatan Rakyat dan aktivis parti bersedia menggerakan Himpunan Bersih 2.0 menuntut pilihan raya adil dan bebas sebagai kesinambungan himpunan yang kali pertama diadakan pada November 2007.

PAS telah berjanji akan menggerakkan 300,000 peserta untuk menyokong perhimpunan itu untuk mendesak Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (SPR) mengadakan pilihan raya adil dan bebas pada pilihan raya umum ke-13 tidak lama lagi.

Dalam ucapan di hadapan penyokongnya termasuk kalangan Cina dan India, Ibrahim berkata Himpunan Bersih 2.0 diadakan kerana gerakan itu mempunyai agenda untuk menumbangkan kerajaan sedia ada dengan mengambil inspirasi daripada apa yang berlaku di Timur Tengah. 
“Kita tahu tujuan mereka turun ke jalanan, kumpulan ini mahu menimbulkan huru-hara dalam negara, kalau dulu peristiwa 13 Mei (1969) negara diisytiharkan darurat dan Tun Abdul Razak (Hussein) dilantik sebagai ketua negara sementara dan jika ia berlaku nanti adakah perkara sama akan berlaku?

“Sebab itu kita tidak boleh berdiam diri, kita tahu orang Cina mengutamakan perniagaan... kita tidak mahu himpunan 9 Julai yang mereka buat ini menunjukkan mereka dapat restu daripada rakyat, kita bertegas dalam perkara ini dan kita bukan mahu melakukan provokasi,” katanya.

Malah dalam ucapan pelancaran, Ibrahim yang juga Ahli Parlimen Pasir Mas mendakwa Ambiga sebagai ejen Yahudi.

“Kita tentang Ambiga bukan sebab dia India tapi sebab dia jahat, Melayu jahat pun ada... Melayu yang jahat juga kita marah.

“Siapa Ambiga? Saya percaya dia adalah ejen Yahudi... siapa dia puan guru Ambiga ini,” katanya.
Selain mengecam penganjuran himpunan Bersih 2.0, turut diedarkan risalah yang berbentuk serangan peribadi terhadap Ambiga dengan perkataan “Awas!!! Ambiga, wanita Hindu yang merbahaya.

“Kita sedang berhadapan dengan seorang wanita Hindu bernama Datuk Ambiga Sreevanesan (cehh... anti Islam ini pun boleh dapat Datuk) yang sangat anti kepada Melayu dan Islam yang akan mengetuai perhimpunan Bersih yang kotor sebenarnya.

Penyokong Perkasa mengambil bahagian dalam majlis pelancaran Gerakan Aman 9 Julai di Kuala Lumpur hari ini. — Foto oleh Jack Ooi
“Wanita Hindu ini adalah pembela kepada kes Lina Joy yang ingin murtad. Beliau selalu membabitkan diri dalam isu-isu murtad kalangan orang Islam, malah beliau semasa menjadi presiden Majlis Peguam sangat agresif menyerang kerajaan BN (Barisan Nasional) kerana diterajui oleh orang Melayu,” kata risalah itu. 
Kata Ibrahim, pihaknya akan menggerakkan 20 bas dari setiap negeri pada 9 Julai ini untuk membantah Himpunan Bersih 2.0.
“Percayalah hanya segelintir orang Cina dan India akan sertai Himpunan Bersih 2.0 itu nanti, yang ramai ialah orang-orang Melayu... agenda himpunan ini bukan hendak menuntut satu pilihan raya yang bersih tapi agenda utama untuk menghuru-harakan negara seperti mana yang berlaku di Mesir, Tunisia, Libya dan beberapa negara lain.

“Mereka kata pilihan raya tidak adil tapi pada 2008 mereka tawan empat negeri, menang 82 kerusi Parlimen, kalau mereka kata ini tidak adil saya cabar mereka letak jawatan masing-masing dan kita adakan semula pilihan raya,” katanya.

Selain Perkasa dan Bersih, Pemuda Umno turut akan mengadakan perhimpunan pada hari tersebut.
Tegas Ibrahim, himpunan anti-Bersih tidak akan bergabung dengan Pemuda Umno sambil berkata “tidak mahu digelar sebagai himpunan parti politik.”

“Kita tidak akan bergabung dengan Pemuda Umno, kita ini adalah NGO bukan parti politik dan kita mahu bergerak atas tiket NGO.

“Ini keputusan kita, kita hanya bergerak atas NGO bukan parti politik,” katanya sambil menambah tindakan Bersih turun ke jalanan bukan kebebasan bersuara yang sebenar.

Turut hadir dalam pelancaran itu Ahli Parlimen Kulim-Bandar Baru Datuk Zulkefli Noordin dan bekas timbalan menteri penerangan Datuk Khalid Yunus.

Ditanya soal permit, Ibrahim menegaskan jika Himpunan Bersih 2.0 diadakan tanpa permit, maka pihaknya juga akan berhimpun tanpa permit.

“Jika Bersih tidak memohon permit kita juga akan lakukan perkara sama, kalau Bersih mempunyai permit kita juga akan mohon permit,” katanya.

Amaran pada Perkasa, Pemuda PAS jadi perisai

(Harakah Daily) - Dewan Pemuda PAS Pusat (DPPP) memberi amaran kepada Presiden Perkasa, Datuk Ibrahim Ali dan ahli-ahli pertubuhan itu agar menghentikan tindakan samseng mereka dan ugutan kepada rakyat Malaysia khususnya kalangan bukan Melayu yang mahu menyertai Himpunan Bersih 2.0.

Ketua penerangannya, Riduan Mohd Nor menegaskan, Pemuda PAS bersedia menjadi perisai kepada rakyat pelbagai kaum yang hadir dalam perhimpunan Bersih 2.0 sekaligus menolak sebarang tindakan provokatif yang cuba diadakan oleh Perkasa untuk menimbulkan suasana tegang dan huru-hara.

DPPP, katanya kesal dengan risalah perkauman yang diedarkan Perkasa yang menyebut "Awas!!! Ambiga Wanita Hindu yang Merbahaya".

“Ini sudah melampau dan jelas satu penghinaan kepada Pengerusi Bersih, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan dan kaum lain,” tegasnya dalam kenyataan kepada Harakahdaily.

DPPP juga, ujarnya kesal kerana Ibrahim dalam ucapannya di Kelab Sultan Sulaiman turut memberikan amaran kepada Kaum Tionghua supaya membeli makanan tambahan untuk disimpan di rumah jika Himpunan Bersih 2.0 tidak dihentikan kerana Perkasa akan lakukan apa sahaja bagi menghentikannya.
“Mereka mahu lakukan apa? Pukul orang India, pecah rumah dan kedai orang Cina? Bakar rumah ibadat? Atau pijak kepala babi dan lembu di Dataran Merdeka?” soalnya.

Soalnya lagi, siapa Perkasa yang mahu melawan kebangkitan rakyat.

Tambahnya, apa tujuan mereka membuat ugutan kepada kaum bukan Melayu kerana negara ini milik semua dan rakyat berhak turun ke jalan raya untuk menyatakan tuntutan mereka secara aman.

Katanya, DPPP yakin bahawa Perkasa bekerja untuk Umno yang kini terdesak untuk menahan asakan Bersih 2.0.

Mereka, ujarnya memperkudakan Ibrahim dan ahli mereka dalam Perkasa untuk mewujudkan suasana huru hara.

Menurutnya, Perkasa cuba mengumpan supaya pihak polis membuat tangkap awal termasuk mengunakan akta ISA, malah mereka cuba mencabar polis untuk menangkap pemimpin mereka sendiri sebagai korban untuk menunjukkan keadilan polis dalam bertindak, walhal yang mahu membuat huru hara adalah pelampau Perkasa sendiri.

Beliau berkata, DPPP melihat Perkasa cuba untuk mewujudkan 13 Mei kedua, mereka mahu Operasi Lalang berulang.

Tambahnya, ugutan-ugutan ekstrim mereka menunjukan bahawa mereka memang kumpulan pelampau yang wajar diambil tindakan oleh pihak polis.

“Kenapa pihak polis berdiam bila Perkasa membuat ugutan?” tanya beliau.

Beliau mengharapkan polis tidak menutup mata dan telinga hanya kerana Perkasa melaungkan slogan yang kononnya mahu membantu Menteri Dalam Negeri di dalam menghadapi Bersih 2.0.

Pemuda PAS, katanya memberikan jaminan kepada orang-orang Melayu dan bukan Melayu bahawa Himpunan Bersih 2.0 akan berjalan dengan aman dan selamat.

Beliau mengingatkan semua peserta dilarang membawa sebarang senjata atau melakukan kerosakan dan provokasi.

Menurutnya, peserta Bersih 2.0 yang akan hadir diminta menghormati peniaga dan penduduk Kuala Lumpur serta menjaga kebersihan sepanjang himpunan berlangsung.

“Ayuh semua rakyat, semua anak muda. Jangan hirau, jangan takut pada pelampau Perkasa.

“Tunjukan kuasa rakyat, bersama kita perkukuhkan desakan rakyat untuk memastikan Pilihanraya Bersih dan Adil dilaksanakan di negara ini,” katanya.

Power in Malaysia Should be Duty, Not a Prize

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah
We are pleased to reprint this speech by former Malaysian Finance Minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah,  one of the country’s architects of its economic framework. Razaleigh, still a member of the United Malays National Organization, has increasingly issued calls to clean up the party.

(Asia Sentinel) Malaysia’s post-colonial history began with optimism and a grand hope in 1957. When Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first prime minister of Malaysia, proclaimed Independence at the Merdeka Stadium in Kuala Lumpur in the unforgettable words that “Malaysia is a parliamentary democracy with an independent judiciary,” he had a vision of a happy people in spite of the formidable economic problems we needed to solve.

After that dawn of independence, there was a search of how we could achieve this happy society, fulfilling the needs and aspirations of all Malaysians which was to continue for the generations to come. He symbolized the concept and conviction of generational responsibility in his vision.

Tunku Abdul Rahman and his generation were dedicated leaders, not for power but a sense of duty to the present and the future. They were not in politics for the money or for themselves. Indeed, even after they had assumed power, they never used their position to benefit themselves or their families, nor did they build loyal cronies who would act as their financiers or hold any wealth unlawfully earned at the expense of the people.

The guiding philosophy was responsibility of public office, seen as a duty, not as an opportunity. Public office was also part of their sense of political commitment to create a Malaysia that was fair, just, cohesive, and balanced. This was combined by a deep conviction of generational responsibility for those who would come after them.

Our three lost decades

One of the greatest losses in public life and in politics today in Malaysia is that loss of generational responsibility. Everything seems to be surrounded by greed and the desire to be billionaires.

This has led to a pyramid of cronies within the incumbent political parties and their associates in business. It is this combination of the hierarchy of political cronies and business cronies that led to the centralization of power in the incumbent political leadership and in the Office of the Prime Minister.

This power in one individual allowed the manipulation of the political system; I mean by this the institutions of power including the media. In exchange for the centralization of power, greed and self-interest were encouraged by example and in the guise of racial loyalty deserving rewards.

This is the case in all the parties within the power structure. This state of affairs is one of the most dangerous and difficult to dismantle because there has been three decades of centralised power.

The political style that has dominated in these lost three decades has been “double-think” and “double-talk”. One of the features which is alarming in this plan to maintain status quo is the encouragement covertly of racial and religious obscurantism.

The underlying theme was a policy of using a balance of racialism and religion on the one hand and talks of unity on the other hand in order to make the people hostage to the status quo of power.

As a result, racialism and racial concerns seem to have a grip on all aspects of our lives, in politics, economics, education and employment, irrespective of the present reality which has got nothing to do with race or religion. We are deliberately made to feel that we are hostage to these forces.

Freedom of speech and expression of our political concerns to change the atmosphere are restrained by how it will be interpreted by those who want to deny us the right to differ.

Article 10 of the Constitution which guarantees this freedom is almost non-existent or subject to fear of retaliation or defamation. Legal suits intended to silence legitimate concerns of public responsibility are increasingly used.

Unfortunately, our judicial system has forgotten the fundamental importance of Article 10 to the democratic life of Malaysia. Common sense seems to have been taken out of the law.

Obscene income inequality gap

On the economic front, income inequality in Malaysia has widened. Some studies suggest that Malaysia’s inequality is wider than Thailand’s or Indonesia’s.  Historically, the concern was about ownership and control of the economy. It was the view of some that if ownership was de-racialised or balanced at the top, economic justice would follow. It is no longer a valid premise for the future.

Income inequality is no longer a problem between races; it crosses the racial divide and it is a problem of the majority of Malaysians who feel the pressure of inflation in almost every essential aspect of their lives, challenging their well-being of themselves, their families, and their future.

Today and in the near future, this is the most serious challenge we face. It is not an easy challenge to overcome. It is a time when Malaysia needs leadership of the highest quality and of those who have the moral courage to change and re-think our economic policies.

It is in these circumstances that we face the serious problem of rising food prices, inflation in price of houses compounded by shortage in housing for the vast majority of young Malaysians.

Lack of economic expansion is the threat of the future to give all levels an opportunity to use their talents to seek work that is commensurate with their contribution, their needs of daily life, and to narrow the inequality gap. Therefore, we should be concerned about the justification of the removal of subsidies that affect the low income because that will further widen the inequality and open the society to social disorder and disintegration, and increase social incohesion.

It is in this context that I raise the issue about independent power production companies (IPPs). The privatization contracts are today protected by the Official Secrets Act, and therefore we are unable to really know whether or not the public and Petronas, as trustees of the public, are directly or indirectly subsidizing these companies and the tycoons who are benefitting at the expense of the public.

Related to the question of the withdrawal of subsidies is the deficit that the government suffers from in managing the economy. This question cannot be separated from the way that the government has managed the nation’s finances.
If the deficit is as a result of wastage, corruption and extravagance in the use of public funds, then the solution to the problem should not be passed on to the public. What is needed is a reexamination of the management of the country’s finances before taking any drastic steps that would affect the well-being of the people.

We need to know the reality behind the apparent subsidies that are given to the public and its relationship in the totality of the management of the public finance. Only after we know the truth – and the whole truth – should any change in the policy of subsidies be implemented, as the consequences would have life-changing impact on the livelihood of the people.

In the circumstances of rising food inflation, stagnation of the economy and income, we should not do anything that would widen the disparity of income which would cause social instability.

Rule of law, not of men

The challenge today is for the return to generational responsibility in politics and public office. This can only be achieved if we have democracy and parliamentary power which is responsible.

Democracy was the basis of the founding of the state of Malaysia by the Constitution in 1957. When it was briefly suspended in 1969, the leaders of that generation were uneasy, and they restored democracy as soon as possible.
That is because they realized that democracy has an intrinsic value in creating a citizenship that is not made up of sheep but of responsible citizens. Only responsible citizenship that understands democracy can bring about stability, cohesion and economic prosperity.

During those days, it was ingrained in that generation of leaders that democracy was not only a form but a value system that respected the essential institutions of democracy like the independence of judiciary, the supremacy of parliament subject to the Constitution, the respect for fundamental rights, and free speech.

They also understood the meaning and primacy of the rule of law and not of men. They also knew that democracy is the common heritage of humanity that we inherited and have a duty to continue. The law that they understood was also from the common heritage of all civilized nations.

And one of our inheritances is the common law system of the rule of law which is enshrined in our constitution. They knew that the phrase “common law” meant the wisdom that is passed to us in the progress of law and the values that are encapsulated in the law governing public office and responsibility to society. That laws are meant to enhance democracy and freedom but not to maintain and continue political power that is inconsistent with the rule of law and the constitution.

Independence did not come with peace but with very difficult problems, particularly the management of the economy and transforming it to bring about a balance between all the racial groups.

They realize that some of their problems had roots in the history of Malaysia. There was a serious imbalance between the countryside and the urban sector with racial dimensions which were too sharp. Indeed, poverty was also quite prevalent. There were open discussions and experiments.

Some of you may remember that one of the highlights of public debate was organized at the University of Malaya under the title, ‘The Great Economic Debate’ every year. That disappeared with the changes in the Universities and University Colleges Act and the decline of universities’ autonomy.

The search was to eradicate a sense of inequality between the various peoples of Malaysia, whether because of one’s identity and social origins, or for other reasons. It was as part of this search that during Tun Abdul Razak’s time, the Second Malaysia Plan was launched in 1971.

We need to be reminded of the objective of that plan:
“National unity is the over-riding objective of the country. A stage has been reached in the nation’s economic and social development where greater emphasis must be placed on social integration and more equitable distribution of income and opportunities for national unity.”

Erosion of the Malaysian Dream

That dream was slowly eroded from the mid-1980. The hope that we had at that time is now challenged in the most serious way.

Recently, Petronas announced that it had made a RM90.5 billion pre-tax profit. If we accumulate the profit of Petronas over the years, it would come to a mind-boggling figure of billions and billions.

Yet, the greatest poverty is found in the petroleum producing states of Kelantan, Terengganu, Sarawak and Sabah. This moral inconsistency in a way exemplifies how the nation’s economy is mismanaged and how the institutions set up in the 1970s have lost their objective and commitment to solving the immediate and pressing problems of the nation.

Petronas was set up with the objective of serving the nation’s interest as a priority. It was never intended to give Petronas a life of its own as an incorporated company for selected individuals to profit at the expense of the national interest, nor was it the objective to allow Petronas a cooperate existence independent of the national interest.

What is needed is for institutions like Petronas is to have a national focus rather than maintain a multinational status. The aim of making Petronas a multinational cooperation at the expense of national interest is contrary to the Petroleum Development Act.

Petronas should have a Petroleum Advisory Council to advise the prime minister on the operation of the law as well as the management and utilization of its resources as spelt out in the Petroleum Development Act.

Another example of the abuse of power is the privatization of certain government institutions which were set up as a public service to serve the people.

Bernas, the rice monopoly, is one example of a privatization of an essential commodity as a monopoly for a group of people and owned partially by two companies in Hong Kong. An essential commodity such as rice should not have been privatized for business purposes. We are the only rice producing country that has privatized and given as a monopoly to one company the importation and distribution of all rice products.

The reality today is Thailand and Indonesia are self-sufficient in rice and we are dependent on 30 percent of imported rice. But because it is a monopoly, imported rice is cheaper in Singapore than Malaysia.

Privatization for the benefit of private individuals to profit from such an essential commodity is a clear abuse of power. It would not have happened in those days. But with the centralization of power in the office of the prime minister who had the party under his absolute control, anything was possible.

I will suggest to you that there was a deliberate plan to centralize power in the leadership in a surreptitious manner. Unfortunately the nature of racial politics blinded us of the reality behind certain policies and conduct of leaders at that time.

RM880 billion in capital flight

The decline of democracy, the abuse of power, and the mismanagement of our economy and the nation’s finances, the economic waste, the lack of national cohesion in our economic policies led to the flight of capital in the region of RM880 billion over the years from the 1980s.

That was the beginning the lost decades and the full impact of the consequences of the economic policies which has continued since then, is yet to have its full impact on our national lives. And when it does the consequences are unpredictable.

The centralization of power in the Office of the Prime Minister and the attorney-general had a major role in this state of affairs. The challenge today is to reverse the centralization of power and restore the checks and balances of a genuine democracy.

We need to reclaim as citizens of Malaysia our rights in a democracy; that power and authority are positions of trust and responsibility, not to serve personal interest or as an opportunity for personal enrichment. We need to reassert as politically active and responsible citizens the concept of social obligation and public service in those who seek political office. Power is duty, not a prize.

We need to rethink our economic policies. Particularly in the focusing on the national objectives that are urgent; economic policies are not only about wealth creation but need to have a moral dimension which takes into account the well-being of all citizens as the ultimate priority over profits.

I have given you a broad sweep of the past and a bird’s eye view of the looming problems of managing our economy as it is today. I hope this will open a dialogue which benefits all of us.

Khairy: 'Chinese stay home' warning is seditious

Overcoming our phobia over sexuality

The Star

The May 29 launch to mark the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia aims to mobilise more Malaysians, whether lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, questioning or straight, to stand up for their rights.

IT is a fact that some people have a phobia, be it a fear of cockroaches, heights, and closed-off spaces, among others. Some are known to even fear clowns, and this is called coulrophobia.

And then there is another type of phobia, that of acting and feeling negatively towards those who are seen to have a different sexual orientation or, basically, those who are non-heterosexual. The common terms for this are homophobia and transphobia.

While homophobia refers to negative attitudes and feelings towards the lesbian and gay communities, the latter is the term for phobia towards transgender people.

Efforts to get pockets of people in the community to overcome this particular phobia is perhaps a daily challenge. And so, like other major global issues where a day has been dedicated to reminding people “Hey, we need to solve this problem”, May 17 was chosen for homophobia and transphobia.

Around the world since 2006, countries and communities have commemorated International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) on May 17 in conjunction with the World Health Organisation's action to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders since 1990.

The IDAHO committee notes that about 50 million people in 50 countries were exposed to campaign messages that called for an end to discrimination and violence against people on grounds of their sexual orientation and or gender identity.

Organisations in countries including China, Iraq, and Indonesia, and individuals like pop star Lady Gaga and United States secretary of state Hillary Clinton took part in commemorations of IDAHO this year.

In nearby Singapore, the Pink Dot campaign by Community Focus was launched in 2009 “to show support and love for same-sex attracted and gender diverse community members”.

For Malaysia, Seksualiti Merdeka (SM) together with their allies recently launched “29 Ways: Towards a LGBTIQ-friendly Malaysia” to commemorate IDAHO on May 29.

SM co-founder Pang Khee Teik says the time for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning (LGBTIQ) rights has arrived. “Even Asian NGOs are realising that they cannot claim to support democracy and human rights yet alienate LGBTIQ rights. We are all part of humanity and deserving of the same dignity,” he says.

The May 29 launch also aims to mobilise more Malaysians to stand up against homophobia and transphobia, he adds.

Associate Prof Dr Alvin Ng Lai Oon, head of the Health Psychology Unit at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, observes that there are men “who are even afraid of being touched by other men by accident in a public place”.

“It is an irrational fear that stems from ignorance and lack of knowledge,” he says, adding that one step towards overcoming the phobia is to not see the communities as a threat.

“There are more things to fear, such as crazy drivers on the road or robbers who can actually harm you,” he points out.

“Being transsexual, gay or lesbian is not infectious.”

“What is worse is the distorted and destructive view of morality, which is to hate them. That seems to go against any religion, which professes kindness, compassion and peace,” he says.

Amnesty International (AI) Malaysia director Nora Murat says lack of understanding and awareness has led to the phobia against the LGBTIQ communities.

“They also see the LGBTIQ itself as a Western influence,” she says.

Nora feels that creating awareness on sexuality and gender needs to be carried out at the grassroots level to address the problem. “The call to reduce the phobia has to be made by the communities themselves. The international community cannot do anything if it is not supported by the locals,” she explains.

However, she says, it is more difficult to do this in Malaysia as there is a dual legal system that treats the community differently depending on their religion.

“It makes things complicated because the law sometimes comes down so hard on them,” she says, citing the Minor Offences Act 1955, which can charge a person with indecent behaviour for cross-dressing.

In the two years of AI Malaysia's existence, it has received four reports relating to homophobia, Nora reveals, citing the tendency to “correct” those deemed to be lelaki lembut (effeminate men) or tomboys and discriminatory acts against transsexuals as examples of the phobia.

Bar Council human rights committee chairperson Andrew Khoo agrees that there are certain laws that criminalise the conduct of those in the sexual minority.

“That, in some sense, creates a stigma and to criminalise their conduct suggests that something they are doing is unacceptable. There is also moral policing that adds to the stigma,” he says.

“It is saying that being different is punishable. You are denying a person their right to live his or her life in the way they want to. People have a right to live their lives in the way they want to, so long as it doesn't harm others.”

Malaysian criminal law, he adds, was inherited from the British and reflects that country's Victorian values of the 19th century.

Britain has amended its laws, leading to the decriminalisation of sexual activity between males and subsequently laws that provide greater support and protection of their rights.

Dr Julian C. H. Lee, an anthropologist, says the pre-colonial society in Malaysia was more tolerant of the community.

“Historical and anthropological research shows that there was greater openness to sexual diversity in the past, which is a contradiction to what currently prevails. We have regressed.”

As an example, he cites Malaysia and Indonesia as having a past where transsexuals were highly regarded by society and had a ritually important place. This social standing can still be seen in the form of the mak andam (an individual who assists the bride on her wedding day).

“Far from not being part of the culture of our region as it is sometimes asserted, sexual diversity has a historical legacy here, especially when it comes to important social rituals including weddings,” says Dr Lee.

Another example can be seen in wayang kulit (shadow play), where the masculine character may be easily defeated by one that was portrayed as being effeminate, he adds.

“My Penang friend told me how, when he was a boy, he was taken to and from school by a transsexual hired by his parents. No one batted an eyelid.”

He observes that while the roots of homophobia are complex, the current scenario was influenced by the British when they sought to create an image that their men were masculine and heterosexual.

Dr Lee, a lecturer in international studies at Monash University Malaysia and author of the soon-to-be released book, Policing Sexuality, adds that in the 1980s, there was another shift in defining what was considered Asian values. This subsequently caused areas such as sexual promiscuity and homosexuality to be associated with the West.

“Instead of thinking of ways to overcome various problems, those in the religious or sexual minority are often made the scapegoats despite having nothing to do with the problem,” he says.

If the trend continues, it could result in society losing out on the richness of diversity and its capacity for creativity, he cautions.

There is also the possibility that investors could shy away from the country if they perceive Malaysia to be a homophobic and transphobic nation, he says.

Najib Suggests Short-term Courses For African Civil Servants

By M. Saraswathi, Massita Ahmad & Muin Abdul Majid

CYBERJAYA, June 20 (Bernama) -- Civil servants from African countries and beyond may soon be able to follow short-term courses focusing on the transformation agenda being implemented in Malaysia at the Razak School of Government in Putrajaya, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He said this followed strong interest shown by African leaders at the ongoing Langkawi International Dialogue (LID) 2011 here.

Speaking to reporters at the end of day two of the three-day LID, Najib said the leaders were excited about the Malaysian government's transformation programme outlined in the Government Transformation Plan (GTP) and the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

"They are keen to send their officers over to learn about the programme indepth. They even want (Minister in the PM's Department) Datuk Seri Idris Jala to visit their countries," he said, adding that this proved that the government's transformation agenda was being recognised by both developed and developing countries.

Earlier, the delegates were given a two-hour briefing on the transformation programme by Idris, who is also the chief executive officer of the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU).

The closed-door session was attended by Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Pakalitha Bethuel Mosisili of Lesotho, Swaziland Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso and Kenyan Vice-President Stephen Kalonzo, among others.

Established in 2009, PEMANDU's main objective is to oversee implementation, assess the progress, facilitate and support the delivery system, and drive forward the GTP and ETP.

The day also saw Najib and the African leaders attending a retreat session themed "Future Direction of Smart Partnership/LID" where their discussions centred on topics such as food and energy security, social media for transformation and global movement of the moderates.

Najib said the leaders identified several issues that had contributed to low food production in the African continent.

They include the use of low-yielding seeds, lack of technology, low-skilled workers, irrigation problems and lack of access to credit, he said.

He said the Commonwealth Partnership for Technology Management (CPTM) may be able to look into this matter via the "Smart Partnership" concept.

On energy, Najib said a similar approach may be applied to boost energy production in Africa by attracting the participation of the Malaysian Independent Power Producers (IPPs) by way of a viable business model.

He said the leaders were also keen on having Malaysian education institution representation in the African continent.

"They would like to see more Malaysian education institutions set up branch campuses in their countries. There have been specific requests from Kenya and Tanzania," he said.

Najib said he also briefed the leaders on the "Global Movement of the Moderates" towards achieving peace and tolerance, which had been well received by the leaders.

"The president of Tanzania even said that the concept may be useful in efforts to end the conflict in neighbouring Burundi," he added.

Unemployed graduates have doubled since 2008

While our universities and colleges are churning out graduates by the tens of thousands, we are saddled with a serious problem: the number of unemployed graduates has doubled since 2008.
Graphic credit: The Edge Daily
How about teaching our students more useful living skills and showing them how to start their own small businesses. Why are we training so many graduates to meet the needs of industry when clearly industry can’t absorb them fast enough? According to an analysis in the Edge Daily, 12 per cent of graduates are unemployed as of 2009. And 60 per cent of the unemployed are graduates.
That’s 98000 unemployed graduates and 76000 unemployed diploma holders. Clearly the government has a problem here in meeting the expectations of graduates who expect to find white-collar or well-paying blue-collar jobs.
Now we hear that the duration of non-technical polytechnic diploma courses in commerce and hospitality will be shortened to two and half years from the current three to save time and cost. The government wants to create 1.5m skilled workers. And it is aiming to churn out 680000 diploma holders by 2020. (See NST report: ‘Polytechnic courses to be shortened by up to a year‘)
Or is the problem related to the quality of these graduates – a sad reflection of the state of our institutions of higher learning today?
Why not teach our young people more useful skills that will enable them to survive in today’s world? How about more college and training institutes that will teach relevant skills to enable diploma holders and graduates to be self-reliant and self-employed? - Anil Netto