Archive for September 19th, 2011

Foreign sell-off, economy top concerns despite reforms push

by Lee Wei Lian
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 19, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 — Despite the Najib administration’s political reforms, a Bloomberg report today said foreign funds may continue paring down local share stakes in an indication that the world economy will remain the government’s biggest headache ahead of an expected general election.

Terence Wong, head of research at Kuala Lumpur-based CIMB, was reported as saying that worsening global economic turmoil may cause investors to keep unloading the nation’s equities.

Wong also said that promises made last week by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to burnish Malaysia’s democratic credentials and abolish the controversial security and media laws will not be enough to boost confidence.

The Bloomberg report said that KLSE data showed that foreign funds sold RM3.8 billion worth of Malaysian shares last month, the most since at least October 2009 after four consecutive months of inflows. Read the rest of this entry »


Human Rights and Transparency in Malaysia

by Lim Guan Eng
Speech at Monash Asia Institute in Melbourne
19th September 2011

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for inviting me to speak at the Monash Asia Institute, an important research center at my alma mater. I would like to especially thank Professor Greg Barton and my dear friend Dr Wendy Smith as well as send my thanks to the Monash University’s leadership. As you know, Monash University has a sister campus in Kuala Lumpur and although it is sadly not in my state, the university plays an important role in educating future leaders of our country.

As a Malaysian, I am very grateful for this collaboration and hope we can strengthen ties between Monash and Malaysia further. On a personal level, as many of your know I received my economics and accounting degree here and was quite active in student politics. I was never an outstanding student but what little I gleaned has helped me to formulate new economic and industrial policies in Penang that is now acknowledged as the best run state in Malaysia with strong growth, record budget surpluses and record FDIs coupled with a labour shortage.

In short, Monash helped me to evolve as a leader and politician and this university will always have a special place in my heart for which I am eternally grateful. Not only did I learn the importance of studying and working hard, but the need to forge relationships and centrality of principles. I am sure Monash will train future Malaysian leaders and I look forward to many of you helping to chart our future and being the change you want to see. Read the rest of this entry »


Najib should present a full blueprint of how he proposes to make Malaysia the “best democracy in the world” when Parliament reconvenes on October 3

Malaysians should take seriously what the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in Pekan yesterday about making Malaysia the “best democracy in the world” and put him to the test.

At present, Malaysia is among the “worst democracy in the world” where citizens could be arrested for wearing yellow T-shirts and attract the full might of the law for supporting a peaceful rally in pursuit of a perfectly legitimate and democratic campaign for free and fair elections, including mass arrests and the firing of teargas and chemically-laced water cannons at unarmed and defenceless Malaysians.

A government seriously committed to the goal of becoming the “best democracy in the world” would not have arbitrarily and undemocratically banned Bersih 2.0 as an illegal organisation but would have engaged with all political parties and the civil society as to how Malaysia can transform itself from a “flawed democracy” into a “full-fledged democracy”. Read the rest of this entry »


Pak Lah warns Najib of internal resistance to reforms

By Shannon Teoh
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 19, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 — Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said today that Datuk Seri Najib Razak should expect hardliners in Barisan Nasional (BN) to resist his plans to repeal the Internal Security Act (ISA) and other security laws because they want to maintain the old ways to silence critics.

The former prime minister, who was conferred Universiti Malaysia Kelantan’s first honorary doctorate today, said in his acceptance speech that his own efforts to implement reforms were “opposed not just by those outside but also those from within.”

“There are hardliners who want to maintain the old system, controlling the flow of information and using laws to silence the public. Najib may face the same challenges I did before. The job of a reformist is not easy.

“I hope there will not be those that oppose silently, ‘seperti gunting dalam lipatan’, as the policy that (Najib) wants to create with the repeal of the ISA will benefit the public and the nation in the long term,” Abdullah said, using the Malay idiom that refers to internal saboteurs. Read the rest of this entry »


From the people behind Tony Blair, a ‘cool’ Najib

By Leslie Lau
Executive Editor
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 19, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 — In the last few weeks, a group of political strategists that includes members of the team behind Tony Blair’s “New Labour” have started work to reinvent Datuk Seri Najib Razak as a moderate reformist to appeal to voters as he prepares to lead his Barisan Nasional (BN) for the first time into elections.

The Malaysian Insider understands that besides the former Blair operatives, the Najib team is also seeking the counsel of a familiar face — Paul Stadlen, the former boss of APCO Malaysia, the team that met an ignominious end a few months ago for alleged links to Israel.

As part of the Najib team’s big push, it is also understood that multi-million ringgit funding has also been worked out for a new website and to hire hundreds of people to promote “Brand Najib” and “Brand BN” on social media and other websites.

A new Najib — one who attends concerts and speaks of being “cool” — has already emerged despite the short time the “Blair team” has been working here.

Last week, the prime minister pushed aside the hawks that had been dominating space in his administration by announcing plans for a raft of reforms including the repeal of the Internal Security Act (ISA). Read the rest of this entry »


A Whiff of His Father’s Leadership

by M. Bakri Musa

In announcing the repeal of the Internal Security Act and other repressive laws, Prime Minister Najib Razak secures for himself an enshrined spot in Malaysian history.

Of the many thoughtful comments on Najib’s historic announcement, the one that struck at the heart of the issue was that by former Mufti of Perlis, Dr. Asri Zainul Abidin. He declared, “The ISA is an un-Islamic law. It infringes [upon] individual rights and can be easily misused by leaders, so repealing it was a very Islamic move.” Amen!

“Najib’s announcement,” Asri continued, “is more valuable than any bonus payment or salary increase because repealing the ISA means the restoration of human rights … which is more valuable than money.” That is putting things in their proper perspective.

I disagree however, with the Mufti’s characterization of Najib’s move as a “gift” to the people. When someone robs you of something and then returns it, that is no gift, merely restoring what is rightly yours. The ISA and other restrictive laws rob us of our precious possession, our freedom. That is Allah’s gift to us, as enshrined in the Koran. It is not for mere mortals, no matter how exalted their earthly positions, to tamper.

Nonetheless I do hear the Mufti. Good Muslims ought to be grateful for their blessings, however small. I want to be a good Muslim, and Najib’s announcement is a huge blessing, so I am very grateful. Alham dulillah! Praise be to Allah! Read the rest of this entry »