Putrajaya’s sledgehammer strategy might blow up in its face

COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
1 September 2014

Somewhere in there, lurks a strategy to the Najib government’s decision to use the Sedition Act as a dragnet against citizens of this country.

Critics argue that it is to cower Malaysians into silence, to discourage dissent of any kind, to send a chilling message that thinking is not allowed.

Others say Putrajaya is borrowing out of the playbook of the PAP government in Singapore, a government famous for its sledgehammer approach. In fact, just recently, Umno’s main mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia even suggested that Malaysia look south. Read the rest of this entry »

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DAP launches three campaigns – Post-Malaysia Generation Movement, Batu Sumpah Awareness Campaign and Mass Signature Campaign to demand immediate publication of Royal Commission of Inquiry Report on Illegal Immigrants in Sabah

DAP launched three campaigns in Keningau yesterday, viz:

*Batu Sumpah Awareness campaign;

*Mass Signature Campaign to demand immediate publication of Royal Commission of Inquiry Report on Illegal Immigrants in Sabah; and

*Post-Malaysia Generation Movement.

Read the rest of this entry »

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IGP has single-handedly reduced to shambles in less than 24 hours Najib’s three 57th Merdeka Day messages on unity, confidence and prosperity

31st August 2014 should go down in history as the 57th Merdeka Anniversary for the nation’s independence in 1957 when the country rose from more than a year of drift and polarisation since the 13th general elections in May last year and the unprecedented twin air disasters of MH 370 and MH 17 which claimed a total of 527 lives from all over the world to forge greater national unity and purpose and build a model successful multi-racial and multi-religious nation which is united, harmonious, confident, progressive, competitive and prosperous.

But this was not the case. Instead, 31st August 2014 would go down in Malaysian history as one of its “black letter” days where one man, the Inspector-General of Police, single-handedly reduced to shambles in less than 24 hours the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s three 57th Merdeka Day messages on unity, confidence and prosperity.

Najib tried to create history this Merdeka Anniversary when he broke with the tradition of pre-recorded Merdeka speeches and spoke “live” on Merdeka Eve on Saturday night to make “eye-to-eye, heart-to-heart” connection with all Malaysians to show the spirit of patriotism. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Batu Sumpah Movement

Batu Sumpah Movement

(via tweet)

At the launching of Batu Sumpah movement Keningau this morning, I quoted: “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting”.

At this morning’s annual routine ceremony for Batu Sumpah, Keningau District Office locked up its compound to prevent public access to Batu Sumpah.

At first Keningau DO gave approval for the routine ceremony. Very flattered that permission was withdrawn/compound locked when they learned that I would be here.

But there’s more than a silver lining for every cloud. The ridiculous lock-up of Keningau Batu Sumpah has inspired a Batu Sumpah movement.

Orang Asal NGOs 1st responese was to produce a replica of Batu Sumpah with the inscriptions of 3 oaths for the ritual ceremony to be performed – outsmart the lockout.

This has led to the idea to place a replica of Keningau Batu Sumpah in every Kampung in Sabah – fantastic step to spread the Batu Sumpah awareness in Sabah.

If there is a Batu Sumpah in every kampung – hundreds, thousands? – come about, must thank person who locked up the Keningau DO compound to block access to the Batu Sumpah.

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Is Najib administration the most shambolic premiership in Malaysian history – with right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing?

Is the Najib administration not only on auto-pilot but the most shambolic premiership in Malaysian history, with the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing?

Malaysians are entitled to ask this question following the anonymous statement from the Prime Minister’s Office yesterday, insisting that the slew of sedition charges against Pakatan Rakyat leaders was a court matter and the government has nothing to do with it.

The anonymous Prime Minister’s Office statement said:

“Any charges under the Sedition Act are a matter for the courts. Malaysia’s judiciary is independent, as the verdicts of many cases prove.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia Reborn

Allan CF Goh

Malaysia Reborn is full of charms,
With white beaches and tall swaying palms.
The redolent air is fresh and cool,
Blowing with gentle, caressing balm.
Native animals are free to roam;
Forests grow in protected freedom.
Myriad flowers bloom in ecstasy,
Their habitats are saved by wisdom.

This country is a peaceful nation,
Where people live in real maturity.
Each respects the other’s differences,
Celebrating our diversity.
Malaysians embrace creative life;
Citizens live with true harmony.
They pursue fruitful activities,
Undisturbed by vile cacophony. Read the rest of this entry »

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The idea of Merdeka, without the sentimental flashbacks

COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
31 August 2014

Selamat Hari Merdeka! Fifty-seven years ago, Tunku Abdul Rahman declared independence for Malaya and six years later, that nation formed Malaysia with Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore.

Most Malaysians probably know the history of Merdeka, and if not, there are a slew of television commercials and newspaper articles on the August 31 independence day and about Malaysia.

And if you don’t know, there are a number of government-linked corporations and public-listed companies to give you a truncated version of the country’s history through their annual commercials for Merdeka Day.

Here’s the thing. Why do we go back to history to explain what Malaysia is? Why do either have a walk through time as sponsored by national oil firm Petronas although the video idea first came from Indonesia tobacco giant Dji Sam Soe. Or even videos of how big the Malaysian family is? Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on Malaysians to turn the recent unprecedented twin air disasters into a new beginning to forge national unity although country never so divided and polarised since Independence

57th Merdeka Day Message

At every annual Merdeka Day celebrations we are reminded that the country is now free from the clutches of colonialism. No longer subject to powers except those elected by us from amongst our own.

57 years since Merdeka was announced, Malaysians have undergone a number of phases, trials and tribulations that have empowered, matured and given birth to a nationwide awareness of their rights as human beings in a plural country, with differences in race, religion and culture.

What is the meaning of the 57th Merdeka Day celebrations?

Are we truly free and independent Malaysians or are we swayed and blinded by the illusion of independence and freedom perpetuated by government-controlled propaganda of the traditional mainstream media? Read the rest of this entry »

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Rethinking the Malaysian community

– Prof Dr. Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi
The Malaysian Insider
30 August 2014

When I was invited by my colleagues to deliver a talk to a group of final year architecture students at UiTM on the subject of Community Center for Malaysia, I ended up talking about what being a Malaysian community means to me. From the reaction of the 80 strong students, no one had ever given a talk closest to the one I delivered ever since they set foot at UiTM. The following is an extraction of my power point presentation set in an essay format. I want to share these thoughts with all Malaysians, particularly with my Malay and Muslim friends, relatives and colleagues. I am sorry to say that I have the perception that of all the races in Malaysia, the Malays seem to be the least in understanding what being a Malaysian is all about.

I want to say that I can understand if a Malay says that they want to be Muslim first because God is greater than country but that does not give a blank check in being ill mannered and obnoxious and downright threatening to other religious adherents in order to get a certain point across. It also does not mean keeping in a lock-up two young teenagers just for wishing Muslims the breaking of fast by eating Bak-kut-teh. It also does not give any right for Muslims to threaten to ‘slap’ an elected female representative or threaten to burn the holy books of the Christians. Malays and Muslims may disagree with me and even despise me but from where I am standing the loudest and most common bigots and racists in this country are…the Malays, especially from Perkasa and Isma. Read the rest of this entry »

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Can Saudi Arabia help combat the Islamic State?

David Ignatius
Washington Post
August 28 2014

With Iraq and Syria ablaze, the oil-rich kingdom of Saudi Arabia seems almost an afterthought. But Riyadh will be a crucial, if quixotic, ally as the United States seeks to mobilize Sunni Muslims against the terrorist Islamic State.

The kingdom’s many critics argue that Saudi Arabia itself helped spread the toxic virus by bankrolling Islamist rebels and their extremist Salafist Muslim ideology. As if to insulate itself from such criticism, the kingdom recently donated $100 million to a new U.N. counterterrorism center, and its senior religious leader, the grand mufti, declared the Islamic State and its al-Qaeda forebear “enemy No. 1 of Islam.”

Complicating Saudi Arabia’s pivotal role in containing regional instability is the fact that generational change is slowly coming in the kingdom. The stakes for the United States in this leadership transition are large, and the outcome is hard to predict.

King Abdullah remains in power, a generally popular and respected monarch. But at 90, his energy and attention span are limited. Tensions have surfaced at several Saudi ministries over the last year, suggesting a jockeying for power. Read the rest of this entry »

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AG should resign or be replaced if he cannot discharge his duty of public accountability to explain whether he has been guilty of selective and malicious prosecution in recent slew of charges against PR MPs and Assemblymen

Although the Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail is vested with the sole discretion under Article 145 of the Malaysian Constitution “to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings for an offence” , he owes the Malaysian people a duty of public accountability to explain whether he has been guilty of selective and malicious prosecution in the recent slew of arrests and charges against Pakatan Rakyat Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen.

The new-fangled charge against the PKR Vice President Rafizi Ramli yesterday, for example, was just incredulous and most extraordinary.

Rafizi is charged under Section 504 of the Penal Code on “Intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of the peace” which states: “Whoever intentionally insults, and thereby gives provocation to any person, intending or knowing it to be likely that such provocation will cause him to break the public peace, or to commit any offence, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both”.

Rafizi was accused of issuing “defamatory and provocative statements” against Umno members through a statement he made in February, linking Umno with an incident where a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a church.

There have been legion cases of DAP, PKR and PAS members being “defamed” and “provoked” by UMNO/BN leaders and spokespersons, particularly since the 12th General Elections in 2008, but have anyone been arrested and prosecuted in the past six years under Section 504 of the Penal Code, which could lead to the disqualification of a sitting Member of Parliament or State Assemblyperson, resulting in by-elections?

Absolutely none. Why then has this new-fangled charge been trotted out against Rafizi which could lead to his disqualification as MP for Pandan followed by a parliamentary by-election? Read the rest of this entry »

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DAP lawmaker accuses A-G of selective prosecution in sedition charge

BY V. ANBALAGAN, ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR
The Malaysian Insider
29 August 2014

Seputeh MP Teresa Kok wants to transfer her sedition charge from the Sessions Court to the High Court in a bid to expose what she says is selective prosecution by Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail.

The DAP national vice-chairman said in an application to transfer her case that Gani refused to frame charges against racists and extremists who threatened public order, ridiculed other races and those from minority religions to create disharmony and riots.

She said the High Court was the appropriate forum to investigate that the charge against her amounted to selective prosecution.

She also said the matter could only be brought to the Federal Court if her trial started in the High Court.

“There are many delicate legal questions that will be raised because the A-G’s discretionary powers superseded a citizen’s right to equal protection under the law,” said Kok in the affidavit sighted by The Malaysian Insider.

Sessions judge Norsharidah Awang will hear the application to transfer the case on September 18. Read the rest of this entry »

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Terrorism experts see long, tough battle to contain Islamic State

By Carol J. Williams
Los Angeles Times
Aug 28, 2014

Unilateral airstrikes against Islamic State targets not enough to contain the extremists, experts say
Islamic State radicals seen building momentum with atrocities, territorial conquests
‘Counter-messaging’ needed to break Islamic State’s appeal to disaffected young Muslims, terrorism experts say

While the world has recoiled in horror at the atrocities committed by Islamic State radicals, the violence has helped the militant group recruit a global force of extremists and furthered its pursuit of a fundamentalist Muslim caliphate in the heart of the Middle East, terrorism experts say.

The United States and its Western allies have responded with airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq and relief operations for the victims of the Al Qaeda splinter group’s campaign of violence.

But the air attacks on Islamic State fighters in Iraq and contemplation of similar action in war-torn Syria will do little more than temporarily curb the militants’ momentum as the international community struggles to find a long-term solution to their destabilizing threat, analysts say.

“There is no short-term fix that will completely defeat this threat, so it’s important to differentiate between stopping ISIS’ momentum and ending or defeating them as an organization,” said Janine Davidson, senior fellow for defense policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. She was referring to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, as the group called itself before proclaiming its caliphate two months ago. Read the rest of this entry »

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Australia: MH370 may have turned south earlier than previously thought

By Jethro Mullen, CNN
August 28, 2014

(CNN) — It’s another small sliver of information in the expanse of mystery surrounding Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

A failed satellite phone call suggests the missing passenger jet may have turned south slightly earlier than previously thought during its enigmatic journey, Australian authorities said Thursday.

After Flight 370 dropped off radar on March 8, Malaysia Airlines ground staff tried to make contact with the plane using a satellite phone, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said at a news conference in the Australian capital, Canberra.

The attempt was unsuccessful, he said, but subsequent analysis of the failed call has given experts a better idea of the aircraft’s position and where it was traveling. Read the rest of this entry »

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You Can’t Understand ISIS If You Don’t Know the History of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia

Alastair Crooke
Huffington Post

08/27/2014

BEIRUT — The dramatic arrival of Da’ish (ISIS) on the stage of Iraq has shocked many in the West. Many have been perplexed — and horrified — by its violence and its evident magnetism for Sunni youth. But more than this, they find Saudi Arabia’s ambivalence in the face of this manifestation both troubling and inexplicable, wondering, “Don’t the Saudis understand that ISIS threatens them, too?”

It appears — even now — that Saudi Arabia’s ruling elite is divided. Some applaud that ISIS is fighting Iranian Shiite “fire” with Sunni “fire”; that a new Sunni state is taking shape at the very heart of what they regard as a historical Sunni patrimony; and they are drawn by Da’ish’s strict Salafist ideology.

Other Saudis are more fearful, and recall the history of the revolt against Abd-al Aziz by the Wahhabist Ikhwan (Disclaimer: this Ikhwan has nothing to do with the Muslim Brotherhood Ikhwan — please note, all further references hereafter are to the Wahhabist Ikhwan, and not to the Muslim Brotherhood Ikhwan), but which nearly imploded Wahhabism and the al-Saud in the late 1920s.

Many Saudis are deeply disturbed by the radical doctrines of Da’ish (ISIS) — and are beginning to question some aspects of Saudi Arabia’s direction and discourse. Read the rest of this entry »

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The advent of Najib’s New Despotism

The flurry of arbitrary arrests and selective prosecution of Pakatan Rakyat leaders, including Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen, in the run-up to the 57th Merdeka celebrations on August 31, mark the advent of a new despotism in the Malaysian political landscape.

Today alone, PKR vice president and MP for Pandan Rafizi Ramli and PKR MP for Padang Serai N. Surendran were in court to face criminal charges, the former for the new-fangled accusation of “defamatory and provocative” statements against Umno members under Section 504 of the Penal Code and the latter a second charge of sedition within 10 days in connection with the Court of Appeal’s ruling that reversed Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s acquittal in his second sodomy trial.

The last ten days have seen another PR MP and two State Assemblymen hauled to court with PAS MP for Shah Alam Khalid Samad and DAP Penang State Assemblyman for Seri Delima R.S.N. Rayer charged for sedition and the PAS Perak State Assemblyman for Changkat Jering Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin charged with criminal defamation of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Other PR MPs who are facing trial for sedition include DAP MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok and PKR MP for Batu Tian Chua.

If the Barisan Nasional government gets it ways to secure not only conviction but also a disqualifying sentence of either fine of over RM2,000 or one year’s jail, it would mean five parliamentary by-elections, namely Seputeh, Batu, Pandan, Padang Serai and Shah Alam and two State Assembly by-elections, viz Seri Delima in Penang and Changkat Jering in Perak.

If we include the possibility of a by-election in Permatang Pauh if Anwar fails in his appeal at the Federal Court on October 28 and 29, then we are looking at the likelihood of six parliamentary and two state assembly by-elections as a result of the recent spate of arrests and prosecution of PR leaders. Read the rest of this entry »

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IMF chief Christine Lagarde placed under investigation in €400m fraud and corruption case

By Henry Samuel, Paris, and AFP
Telegraph
27 Aug 2014

Christine Lagarde, the International Monetary Fund chief, has announced that she is under formal investigation in France for negligence in a multimillion-euro fraud and corruption case, but has ruled out stepping down from IMF post.

The shock announcement came after the world’s 5th most powerful woman according to Forbes was quizzed over her handling of a €405 million (£322m) state payout made to Bernard Tapie, a disgraced tycoon, in 2008 when she was France’s finance minister.

Judges at France’s Court of Justice of the Republic, a special court that probes cases of ministerial misconduct, suspect that Mr Tapie received favourable treatment in return for supporting Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2007 presidential election that he ended up winning.

Until now they had given Miss Lagarde a more neutral “special witness” status, which obliged her to return for questioning when asked by the court.

After questioning Miss Lagarde this week for a fourth time, they opted to place her under official investigation – one step short of being charged – suggesting they believe there could be sufficient evidence to send her to trial. Read the rest of this entry »

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Our medical colleges – for better or for worse?

By Dr. Ng Swee Choon
Malaysiakini
Aug 27, 2014

COMMENT Medical colleges in the country have been hogging the headlines of late. Certain medical colleges have shamed us publicly and internationally for allegedly not paying staff salaries and not settling their contractual dues.

If the medical colleges involved do not feel ashamed, we Malaysians and Malaysian doctors feel the shame. It is certainly not our Malaysian culture to be known across the world for this.

Recently, there was also the irresponsible statement by Deputy Education Minister P Kamalanathan to cut down on places in public medical colleges when the problem is with private medical colleges. Private medical education is now big business.

I am writing to highlight this very important issue that medical education has now become a business, important only for the bottom line of the company owning the licence. Read the rest of this entry »

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Time To Sell or Liquidate Malaysia Airlines

M. Bakri Musa
28.8.2014

When I think of the many needed functions of government, owning or running an airline is not one of them. Instead, taking care of the health, welfare and security of its citizens should rank way up there.

Once you have done an excellent job in those essential areas and still have extra time, talent or resources, then you could consider running an airline. A humble and conscientious leader would never be satisfied when it comes to serving the public, for no matter how excellent a job he may be doing there will always be room for improvement. The Finns have the finest schools yet their leaders are consumed with improving the system. That is what progress means.

Malaysia once again contemplates pouring billions to rescue Malaysia Airlines (MAS). Apart from consuming a never-ending amount of scarce and expensive government resources, the company receives an inordinate degree of attention at the highest level of the Najib Administration. I would have preferred that those leaders be concerned with our deteriorating schools and universities, or the awful delivery of our public services. On the day of the news of the proposed MAS bailout, there was another headline on a fire at the waste dump in Klang Valley. Read the rest of this entry »

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Raising a family of true Malaysians

– Prof Dr. Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi
The Malaysian Insider
27 August 2014

In many senses, it seems funny that Malaysians, particularly the Malays, find great difficulty in the idea of a united, harmonious and happy Malaysia. I am a Malay. All my Malay friends at UTM and other universities and all my relatives and that of my wife are… racist. If I were to invite all of them to a marriage ceremony, the number would easily reach 3,000. Based on a simple sampling of 5% of this population that I engage in socialising, I have established that they know nothing about the idea of “Malaysia”. All they know is the condition of “we just have to tolerate those immigrants and make sure they don’t make us like Singapore” mind set. I have always thought that some of my friends and relatives whom I respect as very pious Muslims would be different, but they too turn out to be racist when political issues are discussed. It came as a shock to me. I thought that Islam would be one of the answers to eliminate racism, but apparently, the “Malay-view” interpretation of Islam always take precedence. Islam is NOT the problem but its racist interpretation is. I know this for a fact because of my vast reading of Islam, thousands of hadiths and many versions of Qur’anic Tafsir.

In this Merdeka celebration, the “idea” of Malaysia seems only in a dream or in a Petronas or a DiGi commercial. The idea of Malaysia does not exist in our schools, in our public universities, at our housing and our cities. But I still remain optimistic. Why? Because my family is NOT racist. My wife who is a retired teacher is not racist. My 28-year-old lecturer daughter educated at IIUM is not racist. My 26-year-old journalist daughter educated at TAR College and Taylors University is not racist. My 23-year-old son in his third year at UCSI University is not racist. My 20-year-old SEGi University daughter is not racist. And my 18-year-old Inti University son is also not racist. How did I manage to form my own small country of “Malaysia”? There are a few simple strategies that I had developed. I will save the most important one for last. Read the rest of this entry »

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