Archive for September 24th, 2012

Scopene Submarines Purchase and Murder Scandal

A brief summary
by Koon Yew Yin
September 24, 2012

Pakatan Rakyat has invited Suaram to talk about the Scopene Submarines Purchase and the Murder scandal at 8PM at Hotel Excelsior , Ipoh on Sunday, 30th Sept 2012. My purpose of writing this summary is to help the attendees understand the talk better. As you know Suaram needs money to do the work for us in exposing the corruption and murder involved. We are expected to donate whatever we like at the admission.

In November of 2009, Suaram, the Kuala Lumpur-based human rights NGO, asked a French investigative law firm to look into what appeared to be huge bribes and kickbacks paid to Malaysian politicians by the French state-owned defence company DCN and its subsidiaries for the 2002 purchase of two submarines and the lease of a third.

The story was complicated by the sensational 2006 death of a Mongolian translator and party girl, Altantuya Shaariibuu, who was shot by two of then-Defense Minister Najib Tun Razak’s bodyguards and her body was blown up with military explosives. While the bodyguards were convicted of her killing, the court appeared to have actively suppressed any mention of who allegedly paid the two to kill her, raising Suaram’s concerns that there would be no justice delivered. Read the rest of this entry »


To free is to save

― May Chee Chook Ying
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 24, 2012

SEPT 24 ― Civil society is under siege in Malaysia. That does not augur well for a nation, touted by the powers-that-be, to be the best democracy in the world. How on earth can anyone even begin to espouse a democratic way of life if he doesn’t even recognise the role civil society plays? Is this so-called democratic government effective or legitimate, at all?

According to a mainstream newspaper, some RM20 million was poured into 11 organisations in a plot to destabilise the government. RM20 million from genuine benefactors can destabilise the government when hundreds of billions plundered by present and past leaders have gone unchecked?

If at all the present government can be destabilised, it can only come from its own undoing! Don’t go pointing fingers at others. “Sila tepuk dada, tanya selera!”

A large part of humanity lives in darkness, even now in the 21st century. We have seen how, in Tunisia, fruit-seller Mohamed Bouazizi immolated himself to draw attention to police corruption and ill treatment. Will history show that this selfless act of sacrifice as an exercise in vain? I’m no soothsayer but I think history will show, in time, how a solitary act of selflessness and sacrifice will liberate a huge chunk of humanity. It always begins with that solitary act. Always.

When I first started working almost three decades ago, I saw a copy of Aliran on a table in the staff room. What I read both shocked and mesmerised me. The founder himself wrote with such courage and tenacity. I was instantly converted and started to subscribe to Aliran soon after.

From his writings, I learnt about inequality in society. I learnt about how each of us can play our role in bringing about a more equitable Malaysia. I read about how we should demand good governance and how we should hold the government of the day to account.

Now, when I read what “he” has to say, I die a little inside. He was one of those in civil society who could have resurrected our ailing nation to a new life. He could have taught us how to rise up to a tyranny. Read the rest of this entry »


A call for a more constructive media

― Bridget Welsh
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 24, 2012

SEPT 24 ― Too much of the reporting on political events within Malaysia is based on fabrications, rather than analysis anchored in research and responsible journalism. There has been noticeable decay in the professionalism of journalists, either from selling out their principles to engage in partisanship, or through the lack of proper mentorship or training.

Some of this is a product of the growing competitive political environment, where formerly more reliable mainstream papers have compromised their integrity for their political masters, while in other cases, the drive to publish the story first and make it the most sensational has comprised the due diligence of proper reporting.

Simple things, such as checking facts and quotes, have gone by the wayside. Worse yet, it has become acceptable for some to publish shoddy work, and rather than be chided for this practice, it is openly encouraged and financially rewarded.

Readers sometimes take what is published at face value, rather than adopting a more discerning approach to what they are reading. Too much of the discussion of politics is tied to misrepresentation and misunderstanding.

It is a time of political transition in Malaysia. The incumbent party that has held onto power since 1957 ― 55 years ― is facing the most competitive polls in history. At a public forum on Monday September 17th in Kuala Lumpur, I explained why based on polling trajectories and fieldwork, the Barisan Nasional (BN) has not regained significant ground since March 2008. Read the rest of this entry »


Umno provoking state conflict to destroy opposition

― Koon Yew Yin
The Malaysian Insider
September 24, 2012

SEPT 24 ― The latest dirty trick in Umno’s attempt to destroy the present Pakatan Rakyat government in Selangor has just been unveiled by the Pahang Mentri Besar Adnan Yaakob, after he opened the mini Maha programme at Dataran Bentong recently. This comes in the form of the threat to review its planned sale of raw water to Selangor if the Pakatan Rakyat continues to rule that state.

“We want a review and may even opt to cancel the agreement as the Selangor government appears not to be interested in proceeding with the deal,” said Adnan.

“Initially, we agreed to sell raw water to Selangor at 10 sen per cubic metre but if Pakatan retains the state in the next elections, we would need to review the price. The agreed price with Selangor earlier was at the time it was under the Barisan Nasional.”

According to the Pahang MB, “if Pakatan is taking charge, we may increase it to RM1 per cubic metre.”

To most Malaysians and me, this is the worst type of blatant political blackmail. How can a political leader with any integrity engage in such threats? How dare the mentri besar use the basic necessity of water as a political football? Read the rest of this entry »


Speaker Pandikar Amin should overrule Nazri’s interference with parliamentary affairs and order that the Auditor-General’s 2011 Reports should be tabled in Parliament immediately without any delay

The Speaker, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, should overrule the blatant interference in in-house parliamentary matters by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of parliamentary affairs, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz and order that the Auditor-General’s national audit reports for 2011 be tabled in Parliament immediately without any delay.

The reason given by Nazri that the government will only table the Auditor-General’s 2011 audit reports about a week or two after the 2013 budget is presented by the Prime Minister-cum-Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak on Friday is utterly ridiculous, unacceptable and an outrageous affront to the concept and principle of parliamentary independence and autonomy, even in its most attenuated and diluted form after 55 years of encroachments by the UMNO/Barisan Nasional government!

Nazri said the tabling of the Auditor-General’s Reports are being held up so that “it won’t steal the limelight from (debate on) the budget” is totally misconceived, misguided and a blatant abuse of executive power, especially as the annual audit reports by the Auditor-General are an integral and essential part of the annual budget debate by MPs.

Has Najib given Nazri the “green light” or the directive to hold back the Auditor-General’s 2011 Reports a week or two after his Budget 2013 presentation on Friday? Read the rest of this entry »


The Havoc Education Reform Inflicts: Education Blueprint 2013-2025 (Part 2)

by M. Bakri Musa

Second of Five Parts: Quality Schools Begin With Quality Teachers

[In Part One, I discussed the Blueprint’s failure to recognize the diversity within our school system and the need to have different solutions for different constituents. In this Part Two, I discuss the particular challenge of having competent teachers especially in science, English, and mathematics that is not adequately addressed in the report.]

In the 1950s, the headmaster of my Tuanku Muhammad School, Kuala Pilah, lived in a palatial bungalow up on the hill, next to the residence of the District Officer. Two decades later, his successor was renting a modest house from my father, a retired Malay primary school teacher. As for that hilltop house, it is now occupied by a civil servant.

In the 1960s when the Minister of Education visited Malay College he was noticeably deferential to its headmaster. Today, the threat of a visit by a lowly ministry functionary would throw the headmaster and his senior staff into a tizzy.

Those are the realities of the teaching profession in Malaysia today. The folks that produced Education Blueprint 2013-2025 see the world of Malaysian teachers differently. They brag about having 38 applicants for every teaching slot, way over the eight in Finland, acknowledged as having the best schools and teachers.

What gives? Just a few lines away and easily missed by careless readers, the Blueprint reveals that over a third of those applicants lacked even the minimal (and very low) current qualifications. Imagine! The perception students have of the teaching profession is this: If you are not qualified for anything else, apply to be a teacher. Read the rest of this entry »