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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Malaysia

Malaysia boasts one of south-east Asia's most vibrant economies, the fruit of decades of industrial growth and political stability.


Its multi-ethnic, multi-religious society encompasses a majority Muslim population in most of its states and an economically-powerful Chinese community.


Consisting of two regions separated by some 640 miles of the South China Sea, Malaysia is a federation of 13 states and three federal territories.


It is one of the region's key tourist destinations, offering excellent beaches and brilliant scenery. Dense rainforests in the eastern states of Sarawak and Sabah, on the island of Borneo, are a refuge for wildlife and tribal traditions.


Malaysia made the transformationfrom a farm-based economy
Ethnic Malays comprise some 60% of the population. Chinese constitute around 26%; Indians and indigenous peoples make up the rest. The communities coexist in relative harmony, although there is little racial interaction - and the overturning of a ban on the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims in December 2009 highlighted the religious divide in the country.


Although since 1971 Malays have benefited from positive discrimination in business, education and the civil service, ethnic Chinese continue to hold economic power and are the wealthiest community. The Malays remain the dominant group in politics while the Indians are among the poorest.


The country is among the world's biggest producers of computer disk drives, palm oil, rubber and timber. It has a state-controlled car maker, Proton, and tourism has considerable room for expansion.


Malaysia's economic prospects have been dented by the global economic downturn, which has hit export markets hard. In March 2009 the government unveiled a $16bn economic stimulus plan as it sought to stave off a deep recession.


The country also faces other serious challenges - politically, in the form of sustaining stability in the face of religious differences and the ethnic wealth gap, and, environmentally, in preserving its valuable forests.


Malaysia's human rights record has come in for international criticism. Internal security laws allow suspects to be detained without charge or trial.

Perkasa spewing new venom

Birds of a feather flocked together at the right wing group’s assembly on Deepavali

Perkasa, the ultra right wing movement, desecrated Deepavali day by spewing more than its usual venom at its second annual general assembly. Obviously, Perkasa activists had no Hindu friends to visit on that auspicious day.

It is a wonder that these toxic Perkasa people are not locked up on national security grounds and the keys thrown away for good. That is the only way to prevent them from infecting all good people in the country with their poisonous brew of half-baked theories, lies, politicised history, pseudo-science and racism.

Birds of a feather flocked together as Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali was joined by former IGP Abdul Rahim Noor and an assortment of various unsavoury characters with dubious pasts. These included Shazryl Eskay Abdullah, a masseur associated with the production of a pornographic tape, Kulim-Bandar Bharu MP Zulkifli Noordin, who got the boot from PKR for making racist outbursts too frequently, and former information minister Zainuddin Maidin, an Indian Muslim who was sacked as Utusan Malaysia editor.

Rahim distinguished himself more by giving de facto PKR chief Anwar Ibrahim a black eye about 10 years ago. He got off with a light two-month jail sentence. Thereafter, he laid low until he made his Perkasa debut yesterday.

Beware the human rights wave

Rahim took centre stage with a keynote address that warned against a “human rights wave” in the country, confirming that he needs to have his head examined for mental defects. He advocated the theory, offering no proof, that the human rights wave would threaten the principles on which the country was founded. He seemed to be suggesting that these principles of his, which he obviously cherished so much but could not spell out at all, were against the concept of human rights, enshrined in international law and the United Nations Charter, of which Malaysia is a signatory.

Why these so-called principles mattered, when the Federal Constitution is the supreme law of the land, did not figure at all in Rahim’s raving, ranting, foaming and frothing. It is a wonder that such a rabid racist wore a police uniform and made it all the way to the top as the inspector-general of police. Rahim, backed by emergency laws, had the dubious distinction of running a police state during his time at the top.

It is a great mystery why he never hinted even once at what these principles of his were, but perhaps this indicates more the coward in him.

Instead, he likened the human rights wave — he also described it as a new religion to alarm the more simple-minded Muslims — to the communist wave of the 1930s and 1940s, which according to him killed many Malays, “obviously for being Malays”.

He failed to distinguish between Malays and Japanese collaborators, glossed over key details, and went on to suggest that May 13 was payback time for the number of Malays killed by the communists — he singled them out as Chinese— at the end of World War II.

Rahim and his kind bring up the dire need for a national movement to defend the Federal Constitution in all its purity against any attempts to deviate and distort or observe it more often in the breach.

‘Political David Copperfield’

If Rahim was coy on his principles, Ibrahim left no one in doubt with his version principles, i.e. various articles in the constitution in deviated and distorted forms.

During Ibrahim’s raving and ranting, foaming and frothing, the special position of the natives of Sabah and Sarawak, Orang Asli and Malays, suddenly became special privileges. He was trying to do a political David Copperfield.

He did not mention that the special position had a shelf life of 15 years and was confined by the constitution under Article 153 to four areas known as CISO — intake into the civil service, intake into government-owned institutions of higher learning and training privileges, government scholarships, and opportunities from the government to do business.

He did not mention that CISO is not a “sapu bersih” (clean sweep) clause, as being advocated by Perkasa, but instead only reserves an unspecified reasonable proportion of the seats and positions for the natives of Sabah and Sarawak, the Orang Asli and the Malays.

Again, Ibrahim did not mention that only the King had power over Article 153 and that the same constitutional provision recognises the legitimate aspirations of other citizens in the country.
He made reference to the position of the Malay rulers, which he inferred was under attack, and therefore in danger of being eroded.

In fact, this is the mother of all lies manufactured by Ibrahim and Perkasa in order to scare the Malays into circling the wagons and gathering under one platform — Umno — so that a tiny minority of people like him could continue to live it up at the expense of the nation.

If the Malay rulers are really under attack, the Conference of Rulers would be the first to notice it and respond as the constitution provides. The Malay rulers do not need an embarrassment like Ibrahim to defend their position.

The Malay Rulers have nothing to fear from the non-Malays and non-Muslims.

However, if the Malays themselves want to do away with the Malay rulers, no force on earth can stop them, Ibrahim and Perkasa notwithstanding. All this seems to suggest that Ibrahim and Perkasa are self-servingly trying to project the opposition alliance as being anti-Malay rulers.

Islam, the sole purview of the Malay rulers, got an Ibrahim mention as well, as did Bahasa Melayu, the national language. He seemed unaware that Bahasa Melayu has fallen into disuse and replaced by Bahasa Malaysia.

The bottom line is that Ibrahim and Perkasa want the Federal Government to continue to give a free ride to blood suckers like him. He would like a licence to continue to be a parasite, leeching off the rest of the nation. Otherwise, he would create endless trouble and there would be hell to pay.