Young Chinese in Malaysia ‘delusional’ to think Malay domination can change, says top Singapore diplomat

Malay Mail Online
October 6, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 — Malaysia’s ethnic Chinese youth are “delusional” if they believe that Malay dominance in politics can be replaced by a change in the system, Singapore’s ambassador-at-large Bilahari Kausikan has said.

Instead, the top Singaporean diplomat said this dominance will be defended by any means, including a possible political alliance between Malay nationalist ruling party Umno and opposition Islamist party PAS. Read the rest of this entry »

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Questions Galore for the Cabinet meeting tomorrow

There are questions and issues galore for the Cabinet meeting tomorrow.

Firstly, will the Cabinet seek clarification from the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak whether he is being probed by the United States Department of Justice under its Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative 2010; why despite his special relations with President Obama even playing golf with the American President, he has not been able to get a clear-cut “yes” or “no” from the United States authorities and whether the Prime Minister has sent an unmistakable signal to Obama that it is an intolerable stain on the good name of Malaysia for the Malaysian Prime Minister to be investigated as a kleptocrat by the US DOJ.

Secondly, will the Cabinet ask the Prime Minister why he has not yet instituted legal proceedings against Wall Street Journal for its report on July 2, 2015 about the RM2.6 billion “donation” in his personal banking accounts in AmBank in March 2013, although the Wall Street Journal report had been published for more than three months? Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib is sounding the death knell for Global Movement of Moderates if he is not prepared to uphold moderation as represented by Bersih 4 and marginalize extremism as represented by Sept. 16 Red Shirts Rally

The cat is out of the bag – the mission of irresponsible, dishonest and insidious propagandists in the UMNO/BN camp out to twist facts, distort the truth and even tell outright lies and falsehoods to influence public perceptions and events.

This comes from the admission by the UMNO Secretary-General Tengku Adnan yesterday blaming the UMNO-owned Utusan Malaysia for exacerbating the diplomatic flap involving the Chinese ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang who, to quote Adnan, went to Petaling Street with good intentions but Utusan Malaysia took Ronnie Liu and Teresa Kok’s blog and “twisted” them into the headlines, and it became a problem!

There would be no kid-glove treatment of Utusan Malaysia if it is not a UMNO-owned publication or the authorities would have descended on it like a ton of bricks, even suspending or cancelling its publication licence for activities prejudicial to racial harmony and national interests.

This highlights the UMNO/BN administration’s hypocrisy and double-standards especially as this is not the first time that Utusan had been guilty of journalistic excesses, abuses and anti-national activities prejudicial to social peace, racial harmony and national unity. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s woes illustrate emerging market malaise

by Gillian Terzis
Australian Business Review
5 OCT, 2015

Markets around the world have endured a wild ride in recent times, as global events conspire to spook investors into rash decision-making. Nowhere is this phenomenon more pronounced than in emerging economies.

Take, for instance, Malaysia’s economic struggles. The Malaysian ringgit has been one of the poorest performing currencies in the world, shedding 26 per cent against the US dollar this year and plumbing to a 17-year low of 3.9 ringgit against the greenback. An analyst note from Merrill Lynch illustrates that in some respects, Malaysia appears in weaker shape than it was in 1997 at the time of the Asian financial crisis. For instance, household debt as a share of GDP is now at 86 per cent, compared with 46 per cent in 1997; public debt as a percentage of GDP has climbed from 31 per cent in 1997 to 54 per cent today.

The steep correction in commodity markets hasn’t helped the country either. The commodities upon which Malaysia is heavily reliant (palm oil, petroleum, and rubber) have endured precipitous declines, with little reprieve in sight. The probable downward trajectory of crude oil prices in the short to medium term is certain to inflict even more pressure on the beleaguered currency.

Moreover, the rhetoric and actions undertaken by Malaysia’s federal government are likely to disabuse one of any optimism, no matter how cautious, for the country’s economic outlook. It has been alleged by the Wall Street Journal that RM2.6 billion ($840 million) had been transferred into the personal accounts of Prime Minister Najib Razak from companies connected to 1Malaysia Development Berhad, a heavily indebted state-owned strategic development company. Razak has since shut down an investigation into his administration’s alleged graft and mismanagement of state funds.

Unsurprisingly, these revelations have weighed on investor sentiment, with foreign investors withdrawing some RM11.7bn out of equities markets to date. The country’s bond markets are also a source of vulnerability, with big moves recorded in the lead up to the maturation of RM8.2bn of government debt on October 15. (Commentators have expressed concerns about the country’s rapidly waning currency reserves.) Read the rest of this entry »

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Why there is no academic freedom in Malaysia

– Murray Hunter
The Malaysian Insider
5 October 2015

The Malaysian government is trying to develop the country into an education hub.

Most universities seek awards of excellence and to get their institutions into the rankings.

However, even with these aspirations, Malaysia’s overall rankings have been slipping over the last decade, while many other universities within the region have been rising dramatically. Read the rest of this entry »

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Can an UMNO/BN leader declare that Najib should step down as Prime Minister without being disciplined or sacked for breach of party discipline?

Two former top Barisan Nasional leaders have openly called for Datuk Seri Najib Razak to step down as Prime Minister – Tun Mahathir, former longest-serving Prime Minister and UMNO President for 22 years and Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik, MCA’s former longest-serving President for 17 years.

Although the incumbent MCA Ministers, Wee Ka Siong and Ong Ka Chuan have in double-quick time dissociated the MCA leadership from Ling’s stand, there is no doubt that Mahathir and Ling’s call on Najib to step down as Prime Minister has struck a great resonance among the ordinary UMNO and MCA membership.

This support for the call on Najib to step down as Prime Minister will increase when Najib continues to be incapable of coming clean on the two mega scandals of the RM50 billion 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” in Najib’s personal banking accounts – compounded by Najib being the first Prime Minister or President not only in Asia but the world to be probed as a kleptocrat by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) under its Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative 2010.

It is a matter of grave national concern that two weeks after the New York Times first reported about the Najib probe by US DOJ under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, neither the Prime Minister nor the Malaysian government could categorically come out with a denial. Read the rest of this entry »

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For some Muslims, life in Malaysia is like living under a microscope

by Boo Su-Lyn
Malay Mail Online
October 5, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 5 — Several Muslims say Islamic laws should not be used to regulate their personal lives in areas like sex, what they eat, or even what they read, after a publisher failed to challenge at the Federal Court a Shariah enactment used to seize a book on Islam.

Communications manager Ahmad Ariff Azmi, 27, who is currently living in Australia, noted that Muslims in Malaysia suffer from restrictions, such as identifying with alternative schools of thought as religious authorities only allow the practice of the Shafi’i school.

“I don’t think faith needs a regulatory authority,” Ahmad Ariff told Malay Mail Online, when asked if Shariah laws should not regulate areas like praying, drinking, dressing or having sex.

“There are too much politicking and corruption rife in Malaysian governance that can also be found with the individuals governing these religious institutions. It is Allah’s law; you as the individual have to self-regulate and interpret within yourself to what you think will please the Creator and ultimately gain your eternal salvation,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tajuddin should focus on his job, not make racist remarks

Syerleena Abdul Rashid
2 Oct 2015

“Nak kena lempang macam itu,” those were the words Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Tajuddin Abdul Rahman uttered recently. The Pasir Salak MP articulated such bigoted statements as a response to China’s Ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang visit to Petaling Street.

He warned further, “I want to warn the Chinese Malaysians, don’t think when you have a problem, you want to complain – just a little bit also complain – that there will be people to protect them.”

Two other BN component parties – MCA and Gerakan has since issued statements of their own; the former demanding an apology for singling out Malaysian Chinese and the latter threatening to deliver a “flying kick which is harder and longer than his hand”.

A politician of Tajuddin’s stature should have exuded some class in his response. No doubt, these are trying times but politics is about respecting the relationship between society and the government. Read the rest of this entry »

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Dear government in waiting

Praba Ganesan
Malay Mail Online
October 1, 2015

OCT 1 — This is when they say the abyss stares back at you.

The purgatory which politicians outside Barisan Nasional (BN) are residing in presently is fossilising. How else can those bequeathed with political gifts — a slipping economy, GST squeezing the humour out of lower income homes, misfiring ministers and a prime minister facing heat missile after missile often from a predecessor — struggle? They seem to be buried by the weight of zero-expectation when they should be readying for the parade.

It should be Hari Raya daily in the opposition camp, but instead doubts fill their days and nights. Read the rest of this entry »

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Has Najib lost confidence in Saifuddin as CEO of Global Movement of Moderates and looking for a new candidate?

The mounting pressure for action to be taken against Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, including open calls for his expulsion from UMNO, raises the question whether the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has lost confidence in Saifuddin as CEO of Global Movement of Moderates and is looking for a replacement for Saifuddin.

This is one of the items Najib should clarify today on his return from Expo Milano 2015.

At the beginning of his fourth speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, Najib recounted how five years ago he had stood before the same assembly and called for a Global Movement – of Moderates of all religions and all countries – to marginalize extremists, reclaim the centre, and shape the agenda towards peace and pragmatism.

He said Malaysia had followed up his call with both practical action and by building intellectual capacity.

What has Malaysia to show in terms of the “practical action” and the building of “intellectual capacity” for a home-grown Movement of Moderates? Read the rest of this entry »

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A Chinese puzzle at Petaling Street

by Azly Rahman
1 Oct 2015

We live in a world of puzzles and mysteries and will probably die still unable to answer questions that live in us. We tell tales and conjure conspiracy theories to comfort our souls and to make sense of life in this theatre of the absurd designed by a deux ex machina we call by different names.

A puzzle is better than a mystery, however. At least we will still have the complete picture. Everyone has a piece of a puzzle. A mystery, on the other hand is not fun, though philosophically exciting. There are puzzles and mysteries in life: the missing airplane MH370 is a mystery puzzling us till today. Someone has the answer.

The brutal and unimaginable murder of the Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu, shot and blown to pieces with a C4 bomb, is a sure puzzle mysteriously hidden as truth by those who plotted it. So, a puzzle can be a mystery and a mystery puzzling. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bad week for rule of law and credibility and professionalism of key national institutions like police and judiciary contributing to the “Perfect Storm” confronting Malaysia

This is a bad week for the rule of law and the credibility and professionalism of key national institutions like the police and the judiciary with multiple developments.

I will just cite three instances.

The first is mystery of the sudden and shocking sacking of the Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail some two months before his compulsory retirement age and his disappearance from the public domain in the wake of speculation that Gani was on the verge of filing charges against the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak for corruption in connection with the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal and that Najib had pre-empted Gani from prosecuting him by summarily sacking him as Attorney-General.

Gani’s sacking was followed by inter-departmental internecine warfare with police arrests of key officials in the Attorney-General’s Chambers, Bank Negara and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission which degenerated into an intra-departmental police tussle, involving the No. 2 man in the Police Special Branch, Abdul Hamid Bador.

What is truth and what is fiction? Read the rest of this entry »

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Whether Najib is ousted as PM or UMNO replaced, Malay political power is not threatened as a new PM will be a Malay and the new coalition will be Malay-dominated reflecting Malaysia’s demography

Former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir in his talk at the hi-tea organized by the Pusat Bandar Taman Cempaka UMNO Branch yesterday urged Malays to emulate their Chinese counterparts in making their case against Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak by transcending party lines when their interests are under threat.

Mahathir is mistaken in his interpretation of the motives and meaning of the results of the 13th General Elections in 2013 when he implied that the Chinese voters “forget their party interests” if the interests of their race are threatened.

For Mahathir’s information, national interests transcending communal interests were the primary consideration for the Malaysian Chinese who voted in the 13th General Election – not just for DAP, but for Pakatan Rakyat candidates including candidates from PKR and PAS.

This was why the Chinese voters elected Malay MPs from Pakatan Rakyat parties, rejecting Chinese candidates from MCA.

This is what a mature democracy and a Malaysian-centric electorate should do, placing national interests above personal, party and communal considerations. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia is for all Malaysians

— Tan Jin Huat
Malay Mail Online
October 3, 2015

OCTOBER 3 — The recent comments by Mohammed Yunos that have been reported in the press are uncalled for, offensive and not words from someone befitting the stature of a true leader. He was alleged to have said that Malaysia’s ethnic Chinese have the option of leaving for China if they are dissatisfied with their lives here. Further, he asserted that “They (the Chinese) have land or their country of origin China, and if anything were to happen to them they still have a place to rely on.”

I have often asked myself about the motivation behind such comments. What is there for him to gain from such comments? Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib will be Prime Minister for full term until 14GE in 2018? Don’t count chickens before they hatched

On his final day in New York just before his speech at the United Nations General Assembly, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak sent a very specific message back home to friends and foes alike that he would serve out in full his second term as Prime Minister of Malaysia and that the next 14th General Election would be held in 2018 and not earlier.

This is to pierce the balloon of the hottest topic in conversational circuits in the country – the possibility of a no-confidence motion against Najib as Prime Minister when Parliament reconvenes for the 2016 Budget on Oct. 19.

Najib was so satisfied with his nine-day visit to New York and the United Nations and the speech he was to deliver in the UN in the next few hours, that he allowed hubris to set in, telling US business leaders that “the government is here to stay”, that he was “not in a hurry to go back home for fear of losing my job or something like that” and that he will call for a general election when his mandate expires in 2018.

Has the danger passed that Najib might not survive this year as Prime Minister of Malaysia and the possibility of passage of a no confidence motion in the forthcoming Parliament?

It will be wise to fall back on the adage that one should not count the chickens until they are hatched, and the same applies to the possibility, for the first time in Malaysian history, of a no confidence motion against the Prime Minister. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sack both Tajuddin and Chong as message is long overdue that Malaysians deserve Ministers and Deputy Ministers of some standard and quality and not every Tom, Dick and Harry

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, should sack both Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman and Chong Sin Woon as deputy ministers as the message is long overdue that Malaysians deserve Ministers and Deputy Ministers of some standard and quality and not every Tom, Dick and Harry should be elevated to such positions.

For some time, the caliber of Ministers and Deputy Ministers has been on a relentless downward decline like our football world ranking, which plunged to the worst-ever 171st placing in the Fifa rankings in October 2015 when we were still ranked No. 154 at the beginning of the year in January 2015.

Malaysia was positioned in the Fifa rankings at No. 79 in 1993, 96 in 1996, 107 in 2,000, 123 in 2005, 154 in January 2015 and 171 in October 2015 – embarrassing chart of a nation’s trajectory of relentless decline, also reflected in other sectors of our national endeavor.

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had dismissed Cabinets formed after he retired in 2003 as Prime Minister for 22 years as “half-past six” while former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin had shown utter contempt of what he described as “deadwood” Ministers.

Early this year, I had written an Open Letter to all Ministers asking them not to be “half-past six” or “deadwood” Ministers, and for heaven’s sake, “don’t be moral pygmies and political dwarfs” but to take a stand on critical issues of the nation on behalf of present and future, particularly on the great questions of right and wrong in Malaysia.

But my Open Letter elicited no response or change, and Najib post-13GE Cabinet was a great failure and disappointment. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ringgit Retreats as Malaysian Budget Woes Add to China Concern

by Y-Sing Liau
October 2, 2015

The ringgit fell and stocks retreated as concern Malaysia may miss its target of balancing the budget by 2020 hurt a currency already reeling from a worsening slowdown in China and allegations of corruption against Prime Minister Najib Razak.

The fiscal shortfall may be “in the region” of 1 percent of gross domestic product at the end of the decade, compared with a current deficit of 3.2 percent, the New Straits Times reported Thursday, citing comments by Najib to fund managers and investors in New York. Malaysia derives 22 percent of government revenue from oil-related sources and its finances have been sapped by a 49 percent drop in Brent crude over the past 12 months.

The ringgit fell as much as 1.2 percent before closing 0.3 percent down at 4.4152 a dollar in Kuala Lumpur, according to prices from local banks compiled by Bloomberg. It’s dropped 21 percent so far in 2015, trailing only the Brazilian real, Turkish lira and Colombian peso among 24 emerging markets tracked by Bloomberg amid a deepening slowdown in China and the prospect of higher U.S. interest rates. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ringgit rout fails to revive Malaysia exports

Steve Johnson
Financial Times
1st October 2015

Amid vigorous debate as to whether slumping currencies still have the ability to stimulate significant emerging market export growth, the recent example of Malaysia is fascinating.

During the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98, the collapse of the ringgit led to a sharp and almost instantaneous rise in exports.

Export growth accelerated from zero in mid-1997 to more than 40 per cent by early 1998, according to analysis by Hak Bin Chua, Asean economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

As a result, Malaysia’s current account balance swung from a deficit of 12.4 per cent of gross domestic product in the second quarter of 1997 to a surplus of 18.7 per cent of GDP by the end of 1998.

“The J-curve effect, the temporary worsening [of the trade balance] following the depreciation, was short or even negligible in 1997,” says Mr Chua.

Since September 2014 the ringgit has plunged once again, tumbling to its lowest level against the dollar since the 1997 episode.

Yet, as Mr Chua observes, “the depreciation has not strengthened exports or improved the trade balance at all. There is no ‘J’ so far, only a flat ‘U’.” Read the rest of this entry »

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The Malay agenda

– Nungsari Radhi
The Malaysian Insider
2 October 2015

The subject of Malay angst is a popular one lately. Not everyone is upset, of course, but there is a segment among the Malays, perhaps driven by a sense of insecurity, who have created mental models that put themselves under siege.

They feel disunited, threatened, and their honour besmirched. This, despite the Malays controlling almost all parts of officialdom in the country and constituting more than 60% of the population.

Many commentators have pointed out the unreasonableness of these sentiments. That this is an imagined reality, propagated for less than honourable intentions – to develop a political constituency among the Malays based on their fears and, perhaps, on their prejudices. Read the rest of this entry »

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When sermons become hate speeches

Syerleena Abdul Rashid
The Malaysian Insider
2 October 2015

During the recent Aidil Adha celebrations, it was reported that the Pahang Mufti Department allowed some very detestable things to be broadcasted.

The sermon aimed at the opposition, in particularly; Malay Muslims who joined DAP by insinuating that they had gone against Islam by joining the political party.

The script stated, “The separation is because they priorities political parties, such as Umno, PAS, PKR and even the new Gerakan Harapan Baru more than Islam.”

“Furthermore, there are Muslims who joined DAP, which is clearly against Islam.”

Therein lays a problem most Malaysians are too afraid to admit: the contentious issue where sermons are being misused as political propaganda and have seemingly swayed from the authenticity of religious teachings. Read the rest of this entry »

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