What were the roles played by the races during and after the Japanese occupation?

— K. Siladass
The Malay Mail Online
SEPTEMBER 16, 2014

SEPTEMBER 16 — Nowadays, it seems, race bashings, accusing, and abusing other races and religions, especially the Chinese and Indians and non-Islamic religions have become a norm; yet, the authorities seem not to be concerned at this blatant violation of the law, and lack of respect for constitutional safeguards.

In the midst of all the provocative allegations, some have started to add, as if fueling the flames of racial and religious hatred, that it is only the Malays who fought against the Malayan Union and that the non-Malays opposed it only when they realised benefit would accrue to them. We can understand if this suggestion had emanated from those whose knowledge in history is suspect.

But, what must irk us is that such allegations come from those who are supposed to be well-endowed with education. Unless, they, for some reasons of their own, which cannot be wise, have chosen to turn a blind eye to history; or have no inclination to recognise the avert and covert acts of non-Malays during the Japanese occupation; with the co-operation of our Malay brethren. Read the rest of this entry »

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How broadband prices can be lowered

Broadband Issues (5)

G. Sharmila
KiniBiz
September 12, 2014

A perennial problem is that relative to income, broadband prices are still high in Malaysia. With industry experts and analysts saying that prices are not going to come off anytime soon, can measures be taken to remedy the current situation?

“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”- Thomas Jefferson

Human beings like the idea of the future because it brings fresh starts and the possibility of righting past wrongs. In the context of broadband pricing, all Malaysians are doubtlessly looking forward to the day when broadband prices become more affordable. In an utopian world, this would mean broadband would become more affordable, as affordable as water and electricity is to us today.

While we’re in an utopian frame of mind, let’s think about what today’s broadband landscape would be like if our government had used Singapore or South Korea as benchmarks on how to rollout a national broadband initiative.

It is indisputable that the National Broadband Plan has resulted in higher broadband penetration in the country, compared to pre-HSBB (High Speed Broadband). And while Telekom Malaysia (TM – the company that owns and operates the HSBB infrastructure) has played a key role in this achievement, the fact remains that the burden of fulfilling the NBP goals rests on one company.

The result of having a single, dominant player as opposed to multiple players building and operating broadband infrastructure is that the market is not as competitive as it could have been. Read the rest of this entry »

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51st Malaysia Day – reaffirmation of a Malaysian Dream as an unifying vision for all Malaysians for a harmonious, democratic, competitive and prosperous Malaysia

51st Malaysia Day Message

Tomorrow September 16, 2014, the 51st Malaysia Day, should be an occasion for reaffirmation of a Malaysian Dream as an unifying vision for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region, for a harmonious, democratic, competitive and prosperous Malaysia.

There are gathering dark clouds on the national horizon, for instance:

• The blitz of sedition prosecutions of Pakatan Rakyat MPs and State Assemblymen as well as social activists, including members of the academia, the press and the legal profession, to create a new climate of fear which signal the end of a decade of very tentative and unsteady democratic flowerings after the end of the 22-year authoritarian Mahathir premiership. Read the rest of this entry »

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All Cabinet Ministers on Wednesday must decide whether they want a new Attorney-General who is committed to the goal of making Malaysia the “best democracy in the world” or they support the current sedition dragnet and “white terror” to turn Malaysia into the world’s worst democracy

The time has come for every Cabinet Minister to take a stand whether he or she supports the goal as promised by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, to make Malaysia the world’s best democracy or the reverse – supporting instead the sedition dragnet and “white terror” unleashed in the past month to turn Malaysia into the world’s worst democracy.

The country should be spared the farce of the Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail announcing last Tuesday that his Chambers will review the cases of several individuals who were recently charged with sedition, including academician Dr. Azmi Sharom, followed by the outrageous response by the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi that the police will not cease and desist from sedition investigations aimed at suppressing criticism and dissent.

In the first place, was Gani sincere and truthful when he said that his Chambers would review the blitz of sedition charges? Let the Attorney-General announce details of such review, who are the officers in his Chambers who are conducting the review, when the review started and the terms of reference including time-frame of such review.

In fact, Gani owes the Malaysian people a full explanation why he gave the green light for such a spree of sedition charges as well as full accountability as to why those responsible in openly inciting racial and religious hatred, ill-will and conflict have been spared from any prosecution, despite the lodging of many police reports against the culprits? Read the rest of this entry »

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How many more will be charged with sedition?

– Ramon Navaratnam
The Malaysian Insider
15 September 2014

Most thinking Malaysians are getting increasingly concerned with the rapid pace of sedition charges levelled at well-known and well-meaning Malaysian personalities and intellectuals.

At the same time, there is considerable anxiety over the relative indifference and excessive tolerance shown to some obvious violators of the very open and loosely worded Sedition Act, which deeds urgent revision or replacement.

We therefore hope that the Attorney-General and the police will exercise more care to ensure that the growing public perception of practising double standards and selective justice will be addressed as a matter of high priority.

If honest opinions expressed in the interests of public debate and intellectual discussion on national policies and their proper implementation can be discouraged and even curtailed so harshly, then where and how is democracy to grow and mature in Malaysia? Read the rest of this entry »

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Why broadband access will continue to be pricey

Broadband Issues (4)
G. Sharmila
KiniBiz
September 11, 2014

Telekom Malaysia’s monopoly over the provision of basic broadband infrastructure and its drive for profit, is likely to keep broadband prices in Malaysia high. Only a drastic change in scenario, which is unlikely to happen, will make a difference.

While Telekom Malaysia (TM) has been lauded as the ‘national broadband champion’, particularly after the implementation of phase one of the HSBB (High-Speed Broadband) initiative, many will say that it is not.

TM itself argues, in an e-mailed response to KiniBiz, that there is little room to bring broadband rates down and maintains that there are special circumstances in Malaysia which makes broadband rates here higher than in other countries.

It is now four years since its fibred broadband service Unifi has been introduced, yet prices of the service are still high and so are prices of its Streamyx broadband service, which runs using ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) technology on copper lines. Read the rest of this entry »

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Cabinet on Wednesday should order a halt to the “white terror” intensified in the past month using the colonial law of sedition to create a new climate of fear after the Mahathir “Dark Age” as it is totally against Najib’s promise to make Malaysia “best democracy in the world”

I welcome the courageous stand taken by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Dato Sri Idris Jala who is the first Cabinet Minister to openly speak out against the sedition charge against Universiti Malaya law lecturer Dr. Azmi Sharom.

Idris said the charge against Azmi was wrong and that the law professor should not be charged for sedition.

In a series of Twitter postings yesterday, Idris said: “Academic freedom is required in pursuit of knowledge.”

Stressing that Malaysia must continue to pursue moderation, Idris twittered: “Constructive criticism and dissent should be allowed, as long as it does not create serious fault in the social fabric of our society.”

Although admirable and commendable for daring to speak out against Azmi’s sedition charge, it is a great pity that Idris did not have the full courage of conviction that constructive criticism and dissent are lifeblood of any meaningful transformation of Malaysia to take an equally forthright and courageous stand against the sedition blitz intensified in the past month to stifle criticism and dissent which saw the malicious prosecution and persecution of some 20 Pakatan Rakat Members of Parliament, State Assemblymen, a journalist, a lawyer, an academician and several social activists under the undemocratic and repressive colonial law of sedition. Read the rest of this entry »

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MCMC, Pemandu answer broadband criticisms

Broadband Issues (3)
G. Sharmila
KiniBiz
September 10, 2014

In today’s instalment, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) chairman Mohamed Sharil Mohamed Tarmizi and Fadhlullah Suhaimi Abdul Malek, director at the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu), reply to criticisms that broadband is expensive and slow in Malaysia.

So why aren’t Malaysians getting cheaper, faster Internet on par with our Asean neighbours? Industry regulator MCMC says the capability is actually there but lack of demand and the need for equitable access are factors accounting for this.

KiniBiz asked MCMC chairman Mohamed Sharil why the target is only 50Mbps by 2018 when Singapore is already able to offer 1Gps to home users. Industry experts say that Telekom Malaysia, the dominant broadband player is believed to be able to offer that capacity to users already and therefore this should be possible.

“While we’re looking at this, we want to be equitable and egalitarian. Even today there are some parts of KL that can be serviced with 100Mbps already. But when we announce 50Mbps it is for every household – any household that wants broadband by that time (2018) will have access to that minimum of 50 (mbps),” says Mohamed Sharil.

“We want access to be equitable. The national target for household access is 50Mbps. By the end of this year we’re looking at 10,000 homes in downtown KL with 100Mbps already . So it’s not that we’re not doing that, we are; but the bigger message is no Malaysian gets left behind,” he adds. Read the rest of this entry »

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DAP calls for Royal Commission of Inquiry into Education to investigate not only into frequent incidence of leaks of Malaysian examination papers in recent years but also all aspects of declining standards of primary, secondary and university education

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin must have been the most embarrassed Education Minister at the 8th ASEAN Education Ministers Meeting in Vientiane on Thursday when news broke of leaks in this year’s UPSR examination papers, causing the Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister to allege that the leaks could have been purposely done to sabotage him personally and the Education Ministry.

Muhyiddin’s allegation of sabotage is most surprising but nobody will give it much credence as Muhyiddin seems to be the only person in Malaysia not to know that leaks in examination papers conducted by the Malaysian examination authority are not unusual occurrences – just as Muhyddin seemed to be the only Malaysian not to know that English is not a compulsory pass subject for SPM when he became Education Minister five years ago.

Last November, the Education Ministry announced a special task force to conduct immediate investigation into the leak of Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) examination papers but nothing have been heard about these investigations.

So Muhyiddin’s talk about wanting to get to the bottom of the leaks in this year’s UPSR examination papers and to bring the culprits to justice must be taken with a pinch of salt for he has never been serious as Education Minister about leaks in examination papers except on this occasion, when he was made to look so foolish among his peers at the ASEAN conference of Education Ministers by this shameful episode. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call for immediate halt to the sedition dragnet against dissent and criticism and withdrawal of all sedition charges as Mahathir and many UMNO Ministers and leaders should be the first to be hauled to court for sedition if the current sedition blitz not afflicted by sins of discriminatory bias and malicious/selective prosecution

On the way to Mersing, I have learnt of two latest victims in the crackdown of the sedition dragnet against dissent and criticism, which have put Malaysia back on the radar of unfavourable international media attention, this time for high-handed, undemocratic and discriminatory use of repressive colonial laws against freedom of speech and expression.

The two latest victims are a lawyer and an Opposition political leader.

The first is Edmund Bon, currently overseas but who is being called up by the police for sedition for comments he made in a news article in The Malaysian Insider in January on whether non-Muslims should adhere to a fatwa and the second is another lawyer but who is also the Johor PKR vice chairman Hassan Karim, whose laptop and mobile phone were seized by the police in his Pontian home this afternoon in an ongoing sedition probe against him.

They join a lengthening list of Pakatan Rakyat Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen like Teresa Kok (DAP – Seputeh), Khalid Samad (PAS – Shah Alam), N. Surendran (PKR – Padang Serai), Tian Chua (PKR – Batu), RSN Rayer (DAP – Seri Delima, Penang), academician Azmi Sharom, journalist Susan Loone, activists Safwan Anang and Ali Abdul Jalil, preacher Wan Ji Wan Hussein and religious teacher Abu Bakar Baikalani Abu Hassan who have been hauled to court under the repressive colonial law of Sedition Act. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lessons from South Korea

G. Sharmila
KiniBiz
Sept 9, 2014

Malaysia has its broadband strategy all wrong with some of the lowest speeds in Asean and the highest charges. Perhaps it could learn something from South Korea which has been very successful in increasing broadband penetration.

When you think of the words “high-speed broadband” and are asked to associate an Asian country with it, there’s no doubt that South Korea will be at the top of your list.

It’s hardly surprising then that in its 1Q14 State of the Internet report, Akamai Technologies highlighted that at country/region level, South Korea continued to have the highest average connection speed at 23.6 megabits per second (Mbps) and maintained a broadband adoption rate of 94% in the first quarter.

According to BuddeComm, a global independent telecommunications research firm, South Korea has the world’s highest number of broadband services per capita. Into 2014 over 38% of the population and around 95% of households were broadband subscribers.

It also pointed out that since 2006, South Korea’s policy emphasis has been on completing a Broadband convergence Network (BcN) with wireline speeds of 50-100Mbps per household and 1-2Mbps on wireless connections.

It’s not just high broadband speeds that South Korea is famous for, but also the affordability of high-speed broadband. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bringing Malaysia back to the ‘middle’

― Ahmad Iskandar
The Malay Mail Online
September 10, 2014

SEPT 10 ― At the formation of Malaysia, its leaders charted a course for a nation where a multiracial society would live within a democratic framework that embodied the spirit of harmony and understanding. On 16 September 2014, Malaysia will be 51 years old. From recent developments, it seems that Malaysia is veering away from the ideals envisioned when it was first formed.

In recent years and months,Malaysians have been relentlessly bombarded with hateful statements from the likes of Perkasa, Isma and other Malay ethnocentric groups. They have questioned the loyalty of their fellow Malaysians and suggested that the majority of non-Malays are a threat to Malays and national unity. Hiding behind the mask of race and religion, they claim to represent the voice of the majority of Malaysians particularly Malays.

Much more worrying are government ministers who pander to these groups. In efforts to gain political mileage and consolidate their waning support, they have made irresponsible statements and sowed seeds of discord among the communities, and behaving in ways unbecoming of those appointed to public office.

Blatant racism such as this has upset Malaysians at home and abroad. Many took to social media to express their disappointment at the current state of affairs. While some have blamed the media for sensationalising racial and religious issues; a portion of the responsibility should also fall on the shoulders of Malaysians for failing to take a united stand and voicing the strongest possible condemnation to these acts of blatant racism. Read the rest of this entry »

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Testy times call for soul searching of the Fourth Estate

Terence Fernandez
The Malaysian Insider
10 September 2014

It has been a testy time for the media with the powers that be. In just two weeks, we have had a reporter from an online portal detained for sedition in Penang, Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi demanding an English daily retract and apologise for a news report which depicted him as being a chauvinist (which the paper duly did and apologised) and attempts by a lawyer representing a well-connected firm to compel yours truly and a colleague to reveal sources who were quoted in a front page report last month.

On a separate note, there is also the ongoing repartee between the Malaysian Press Photographers Association (MPPA) and the family of a MH17 victim following a fracas at the Nirvana Memorial Park on September 2 when a grieving family member punched a photographer and broke his camera for allegedly invading their privacy.

Meanwhile, colleague Azril Annuar has been preoccupied entertaining the continuous requests from Kajang Police for statements on an article quoting Rafizi Ramli on the reason for the “Kajang Move” that saw PKR leader Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail contest a vacated Kajang state seat to enable her to throw her hat into the menteri besar ring.

As we now know, Rafizi was charged for sedition on August 28. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why broadband is slower and costlier in Malaysia

G Sharmila
KiniBiz
Sept 8, 2014

Malaysia has ambitions of becoming a developed nation in six years’ time, yet broadband speed and affordability remains a critical, unresolved issue. In fact, research shows that even Thailand is ahead of us in terms of broadband speed and affordability. Where did we go wrong?

Although Malaysia is targeting developed nation status by 2020, our broadband speeds are still lagging behind our closest neighbour Singapore, and even that of Vietnam and Thailand, as shown by a study in April this year by Asean DNA.

The study was highlighted in an article by Asean Briefing, which said that within Asean, Singapore and Thailand have the fastest average Internet speeds at 61 megabits per second (mbps) and 17.7 mbps. Vietnam has an average speed of 13.1 mbps while Cambodia has 5.7 mbps. Malaysia on the other hand, has an average speed of 5.5 mbps. The average Asean Internet speed is 12.4 mbps, which puts our broadband speed well below average.

What’s more disturbing is that while Malaysia lags behind in Internet speeds, it’s service comes at a much higher price – more than triple that of services in countries such as Singapore and Thailand on a comparable basis .

A Comparison of Broadband Speeds and Charges 090914 02For instance, Telekom Malaysia Bhd’s UniFi charges RM199 (US$62.40) a month for its 10mbps fibred Internet service, while as the article by Asean Briefing points out Singapore’s largest telco offers 15 mbps Internet for US$30 a month and Thailand charges around US$25 a month for 12 mbps speeds. Read the rest of this entry »

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How far back do we go before being seditious becomes ridiculous?

COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
10 September 2014

Today, a Malaysian preacher was charged with sedition for something he wrote in his Facebook account in November 2012. That is about 22 months ago.

How far will the authorities go back to decide what is seditious and what is not?

Would what Tunku Abdul Rahman say about seeking independence or what Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said in the constitutional crisis of 1983 and 1993 be considered seditious under the Sedition Act 1948? Read the rest of this entry »

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Teoh Beng Hock appeal verdict a turning point?

– Koon Yew Yin
The Malaysian Insider
10 September 2014

In the last few years, the reputation of Malaysia’s judiciary for fairness and adherence to do justice strictly according to the law has taken a severe beating.

Notorious cases such as the Linda Joy, Anwar Ibrahim, Nizar vs Zambry, and other less politically visible cases have raised public doubts as to whether our judges, especially in cases with politically sensitive outcomes, are able to arrive at fair and just decisions.

Or whether in fact the opposite has taken place with judges more concerned with career advancement and playing ball with the powers that be. Read the rest of this entry »

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Datuk Seri, please do the right thing

By Azrul Mohd Khalib | MMO
September 9, 2014

Datuk Seri Najib Razak, I, like many Malaysians around the country, support your call to repeal the Sedition Act of 1948.

There are periods in history when we are at the right place, at the right time and are called upon to act. To do what our conscience tells us as necessary because only we can. Times like these are few and far in between, when we are called to action to make right that which is wrong, heal that which has been hurt and practise that which we speak of. This is one such opportunity.

The 1948 Sedition Act is a piece of colonial era legislation which was born during a time when our penjajah, the English, intended to suppress dissent, maintain power and continue the oppression and subjugation of the people of Malaya.

It was intended to extinguish the flame of democracy which burned brightly amongst those who yearned for freedom and a better future for everyone in this country. It is an instrument born of fear, insecurity, is against democratic principles and aimed to tyrannise the ruled and to see and treat the rakyat as the enemy. It was used on the people who fought for this country’s independence. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib desperate to be relevant

By M Bakri Musa | TMI
9 September 2014

Last Saturday, September 6, 2014, marked a milestone of sorts for Prime Minister Najib Razak. On that day he exceeded the tenure of his predecessor, Abdullah Badawi. Abdullah served for five years, five months, and three days, the extra day thrown in with the 2008 leap year. Najib had his too in 2012. The traditional time lines for a new leader are the first hundred and first thousand days. For Najib that was July 12, 2009 and December 18, 2011.

The “First 100 Days” is President Roosevelt’s (FDR) phrase. To him that was the best or most opportune period for a new leader to reshape the course of a nation. Did he ever? The “First One Thousand Days” also referred to FDR, the title of a book by his senior aide. The expression now is associated more with Kennedy’s Camelot days in the White House. In my profession, thousand days refer to the period before a child’s second birthday when good health and nutrition, as well as parental involvement and a stimulating home environment, are critical.

Najib had little to show by all three time lines. Today he struggles and is in fact desperate to be relevant. He is less criticised, more ignored – a much worse fate for a leader. Read the rest of this entry »

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RM5,900 a month income is simply not true

By Steven Sim | TMI
9 September 2014

People say politicians often tell lies. But really, more often than not, they actually give us statistics. What is the difference? I’ll let Mark Twain tell you: “There are three kinds of lies; lies, damned lies and statistics”.

The latest statistics our government proudly brandish at us is the report that household income in Malaysia has surpassed RM5,900 a month. This was presented by Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar, the former Maybank boss roped into the Cabinet as “economy minister”.

Intuitively, most Malaysians know it’s a farce. Why?

Because many families we know, maybe including our own, earn much lesser than RM5,900 a month.

Because even the government itself proudly claimed that its cash transfer programme BR1M has benefited 80% of Malaysian households. The only condition for BR1M is that a recipient household must earn less than RM3,000 a month. Read the rest of this entry »

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Most Selangor voters believe water shortage due to politics, survey shows

BY ANISAH SHUKRY | TMI
8 September 2014

The number one issue that Selangor voters want resolved soon is the state’s water shortage, with the majority of them believing that politics is behind the constant disruption in water supply, according to a recent survey.

The joint survey by The Malaysian Insider and Merdeka Center found that water supply topped Selangor voters’ list of concerns at 43%, followed closely by crime (40%), cost of living (20%), affordable housing (19%) and traffic congestion (11%).

Asked whether they believed the water crisis was due to politics, 63% of the 808 respondents said “yes”. They were polled from August 11 to August 17.

However, voters were split over who was responsible, with 24% blaming the state government, 22% blaming Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas), and 22% blaming the weather.

Voters were also almost equally divided on whether or not the state’s water resources were well-managed, with 40% saying yes and another 48% saying no. Read the rest of this entry »

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