Archive for category 1Malaysia

Call on Najib and Cabinet to endorse the Open Letter of 25 Eminents to send a clear message to the nation and the world that Malaysian government fully committed to moderation against intolerance, extremism and bigotry

The Open Letter by 25 Malay former top civil servants and personalities on December 8 asking the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to show leadership against festering extremism and intolerance is undoubtedly the No. 1 News Event of the Year.

Never before has an Open Letter by the citizenry struck such a resounding chord in our multiracial, multi-cultural and multi-religious nation, as evidenced by the enthusiastic support from all groups of Malaysian society, not confined to Malays and Muslims, like ‘I am #26’ online petition with over 5,000 supporters; “KamiJuga25″ (We, too, are 25),signed by over 1,600 supporters; 95 NGOs in Malaysia, 22 Muslim activists and a multitude of support demonstrated by diverse groups and strata of Malaysian society in the past fortnight.

But the reaction has started, and the assaults on the 25 Eminents will escalate in personal attacks, character-assassination and viciousness employing the full resources of the intolerant and extremist media and social as we witnessed in the past two days.

This is the time for all moderates, crossing race, religious, gender, age and even political party lines to take a stand for moderation and marginalize, isolate and defeat intolerance, extremism and bigotry which are the greatest threats and enemies of a plural society like Malaysia.

This is the time for the positive politics of inclusion to replace the negative politics of exclusion! Read the rest of this entry »

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The politics of inequality

COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
20 December 2014

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad does not mince his words. Not since he started in politics and definitely not now, more than a decade after stepping down as Malaysia’s fourth prime minister.

But there are days where you wonder where is he coming from. Today, he said the Malays’ grip on politics was weak due to disunity and them having to beg from other races for support to remain in power.

“Now Umno, PKR, and PAS have to beg for support from DAP Chinese to win the general election. When we become beggars, we no longer have power,” he said in his keynote address at a youth leadership programme in Kuala Lumpur.

He added that even if the country achieved developed-nation status, the Malays might be left behind. Read the rest of this entry »

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95 NGOs back the 25 ‘Eminent Malays’

NGOs CALLING FOR RATIONAL DISCOURSE IN SUPPORT OF 25 CONCERNED CITIZENS

We, a group of Malaysian NGOs fully support the recent open letter from a group of 25 personalities that identified themselves as “a group of concerned citizens of Malaysia” to urge the government to hold a public discourse on Islamic law vis a vis the Federal Constitution. The 25 individuals, who identified themselves as “moderate Muslims”, comprised of, among others, retired civil servants, judges and ambassadors.

We applaud the courageous action of these towering figures to stand up and publicly address sensitive yet critical issues plaguing our nation. Too often in the history of nations, the extremists have triumphed not because they enjoyed majority support, but because the majority were silent and idle. Like similar minded NGOs working for the love of our nation, these 25 senior citizens chose not to be passive and have voiced their dismay and abhorrence at the current state of the nation.

We share their sentiment that “there is a real need for a consultative process that will bring together experts in various fields, including Islamic and Constitutional laws, and those affected by the application of Islamic laws in adverse ways”. We would further add that a similar process of consulting relevant experts and stakeholders, be applied to matters related to the process of legislation of other laws too. These should be undertaken in an ambience of transparency, best practises , mutual respect and permeative consultation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Another 25 Malaysians Petition Prime Minister

#KamiJuga25

Petitioning The Prime Minister of MALAYSIA

Azrul Mohd Khalib

Yang Amat Berhormat Dato’ Seri,

We, the undersigned Malaysians, wish to express our admiration, faith and support to the call recently stated so eloquently by 25 courageous and respected individuals. Their words have inspired us all and electrified the nation. As many other Malaysians, we stand together with them.

And like everyone else who support their concerns, we too have a stake in building this country.

We call upon the leadership of this country to stand with other fellow Malaysians in delivering on the belief and promise of a common vision and a shared destiny: a just, free and caring nation of ideas, of dreams and of promises which promote inclusiveness and celebrates the unity of its people through diversity.

The letter by the 25 distinguished Malaysians brings into perspective the need for us to put an end to our petty differences and false promises, the racism and the bigotry, the intimidation and the blind hatred. For far too long, these unfortunate attributes and the sins of our fathers and those before, have strangled our politics and each other.

Those who speak in arrogance, bigotry, ignorance and prejudice do not speak for us.

After all, the Malaysian story has been shaped by every language and enriched by every culture. We are a nation of Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, and many other faiths and non-believers. This diversity is our strength.

We have chosen to hope and be together over fear and bigotry, the unity of purpose over conflict and disunity. To those who seek to sow conflict and discord, know that we reject the idea that we need to dominate and discriminate in order to progress as a people and a country. We believe in a shared destiny as Malaysians. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Everyday Malaysians’ lend support to prominent Malays with #KamiJuga25

By Zurairi AR
The Malay Mail Online
December 18, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 18 — Another group of Malaysians have come up with an open letter in support of reasonable, rational and informed dialogue today, adding to the lively discourse following a similar message by 25 former high-ranking civil servants last week.

Calling itself #KamiJuga25, Malay for “We are 25 too”, the group aims to get “everyday Malaysians” to chip in the conversation in support of the original 25 signatories, not just from the Malay-Muslim community.

“In almost every letter we have seen distinguished recognisable names listed in as signatories. This letter is intended to allow for the everyday Malaysian to also say ‘kami juga 25’,” co-creator Azrul Mohd Khalib told Malay Mail Online.

“It is intended to complement existing efforts and to strengthen the voices which are getting louder by the day,” added Azrul, who is part of social movement called Malaysians for Malaysia.

In the letter addressed to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the group urged Malaysian leaders to deliver a country that “promotes inclusiveness and celebrates the unity of its people through diversity”.

“We also believe that it is not only Malay Muslims who have a voice and stake in this country, it is every Malaysian who believes in a common vision and shared destiny, ideals which are no different to when Malaya became independent and Malaysia was born,” the 38-year-old said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Like Don Quixote, Perkasa officials have their imaginary enemies too

COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
13 December 2014

Perhaps the sedentary life of a civil servant or seeing too many ballot boxes finally got to retired Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman.

Yesterday, as the Perkasa vice-president, he warned that the Malay rights group would defend Islam against anyone that attacks the religion.

Today. he described Malays who criticised Perkasa as either idiotic or blind, and to the extent of taking potshots at Umno Youth leader Khairy Jamaluddin – who is no fan of the rights group.

Now why does a man like Rashid, who rose from the ranks to be the EC chief, believe there are Malaysians who are enemies of Islam. Or that critics are just idiots or blind?

In short, why does he behave like the famous literary character Don Quixote, who believed windmills were giants that he had to fight to death? Read the rest of this entry »

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Seeking moderation in a troubled Malaysia

— Mustafa K Anuar
Malay Mail Online
December 13, 2014

DECEMBER 13 — In recent years, as many of us are aware, ethnic bigotry and religious extremism have permeated various strata of our society to the point that ethno-religious relations have reached an all-time low.

This is bad news as it is something that our founding fathers (and mothers) did not plan for or foresee when Malaya achieved its independence from colonial rule in 1957.

Nerves were frayed as tension escalated over the years — from the cow-head incident in Shah Alam to pig heads left in the premises or near mosques to Molotov cocktails thrown into church grounds to body snatches to the seizure of Bibles in Selangor. Differences and diversity have been frowned upon while what we have in common is given less prominence or appreciation.

As if the above incidents are not enough to drive a wedge between the ethnic and religious communities in the country, the Malay community often have been warned about the purported threat from the Other, the primary objective being to create a siege mentality among them. Read the rest of this entry »

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25 Moderate Malays: A One Hit Wonder or The Tip of the Iceberg?

Koon Yew Yin
13th December 2014

Just before UMNO held its recent general assembly, I had written the following lines:

But I, and many other Malaysians, have not lost hope entirely. There must be individuals and groups in the party that know of the cancer and culture of corruption, authoritarianism, greed, self enrichment and opportunism within the party which many of the top leaders are bent on spreading to the rest of the country.

Surely, in a party with millions of members, there must be many of integrity, decency and sensibility who know that the party – in its present condition – is the Malay community’s worst enemy. Surely realistic platforms for real reform and change can be put up for discussion instead of the bashing of vernacular schools and self concocted enemies of Islam, royalty and the Malays. .

The main aim of this UMNO meeting should be to formulate policies to make Malaysia a developed nation; and to make the Malays a respected community that can stand on its own feet and without the need for crutches, keris-wielding or name-calling.

This group of moderate and honorable members must change the policies that have not worked. They must push out the leaders who have not performed and replace them with new blood that does not seek to make the non-Bumiputra the scapegoat for everything wrong or bad that happens in the Malay community.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Ex-envoy urges moderate Malays to take stand

By Zakiah Koya
Malaysiakini
8:36AM Dec 12, 2014

Former Wisma Putra head honcho Ahmad Kamil Jaafar has vowed that the ‘Eminent Malays statement’ signed by him and 24 others will not be a flash in the pan.

“We will continue to speak up and this (statement) will not be the end of us,” Ahmad Kamil told Malaysiakini.

He said he signed the statement, despite having served in the civil service for many decades, as he felt something must be done to get moderate Malays to stand up to the extremists who are destroying the country’s multiethnic and multireligious make-up.

Ahmad Kamil, 77, was a diplomat for 34 years before his retirement as secretary-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Until recently, he was special envoy to the prime minister.

“All the issues (mentioned in the statement) have been welling up in the society and I was feeling concerned…

“Some of them (in the government) are going overboard and they are talking of arresting the lot (those who questioned the extremists).

“We (the 25 of us) talked to one another and we wanted to take some kind of action that may influence other moderate Malays… I also want to see everyone come back to the country,” Ahmad Kamil said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rise of the moderate Malays

By Stephen Ng
Malaysiakini
Dec 11, 2014

COMMENT The open letter by 25 top former civil servants urging Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to show leadership in handling the intolerant right wing groups is a clear sign that the moderate Malays are finally speaking up.

It marks the rise of the voice of moderation – something that we have been waiting for in the past six years, or longer. These 25 eminent retirees have broken their silence and spoken up for the sake of preserving our decaying social fabrics.

They are like salt to decaying meat. Without such salt, the meat will continue to decay until it is no longer safe for consumption. We certainly do not want this nation to get to the extent of becoming another South Africa during the apartheid era. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fear of Malaysia turning into another Afghanistan prompted open letter

by Eileen Ng
The Malaysian Insider
11 December 2014

A deep fear that her country would become another Pakistan and Afghanistan, where religious extremism is on the rise, prompted Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin to seek other like-minded Malays to sign an open letter asking for a rational dialogue on the position of Islam in Malaysia.

But she is also hopeful that the positive response the letter has garnered will be the start of “something big” to help restore moderation and rationality in Malaysia.

In an interview to explain her reasons for signing and disseminating the letter, the former ambassador said she was worried that groups politicising Islam would lead Malaysia down the path of violence if left unchecked.

“I do not want to see what happened in Pakistan and Afghanistan happen to us, where professionals and talented people are so scared of their own future and their families’ future because extremist religion is on the rise and they leave the country taking their money and skills with them.

“If this happens in Malaysia, it is going to affect adversely our economy and we will be left with non-talented people who will lead the country to ruins,” she told The Malaysian Insider. Read the rest of this entry »

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Feted abroad, but Ambiga gets banned from Sabah

by Anisah Shukry
The Malaysian Insider
15 November 2014

Just a day after receiving an international award in Hong Kong, prominent lawyer Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan has been banned from entering Sabah ahead of her planned visit to Malaysia’s eastern-most state.

A letter informing the former Bar Council president of the ban was waiting for her when she returned to Malaysia yesterday, after she was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award at the fourth Euromoney Legal Media Group Asia Women in Business Law Awards 2014 ceremony in Hong Kong on Thursday.

The letter, from the Sabah Immigration Department, was in response to Ambiga’s own letter to them on Tuesday, informing them of her intention to visit Sabah on November 25 for a programme with the new people’s movement, Negara-Ku.

“I had written to them because I don’t want to fly all the way there just to be told I’m not allowed in. It was just a formality, to confirm there was no restriction.

“But then they wrote back and said they had rejected my application – even though I wasn’t even applying for their permission to enter Sabah,” the Negara-Ku patron told The Malaysian Insider. Read the rest of this entry »

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Let the amicable resolution to the Selangor issue of the seizure of Malay language Bibles and Malaysia’s assumption of ASEAN Chair usher in a virtuous cycle of moderation and establish Malaysia as a regional and international model of moderation

Congratulations are in order to the Selangor Mentri Besar Azmin Ali in resolving the nearly year-long Selangor controversy over the seizure of the Malay language Bible with the return of the seized copies of the Bible to the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM).

The amicable resolution to the issue of the seizure of Malay language Bibles and Malaysia’s assumption of the annual rotating ASEAN Chairmanship for 2015 are two welcome developments which should be the basis to usher in a virtuous cycle of moderation and establish Malaysia as a regional and international model of moderation.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in the handing-over ceremony of the annual rotating ASEAN Chair in Naypyitaw, Myanmar yesterday that Malaysia, as chairman of ASEAN, would promote moderation as a shared value in order to address conflict and find solutions to issues concerning regional peace and security.

He also called on ASEAN to avoid narrow nationalism which could go against the spirit of an ASEAN community. Read the rest of this entry »

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Negara-Ku starts roadshow to reclaim Malaysia from extremism

by Jennifer Gomez
The Malaysian Insider
12 November 2014

New people’s movement Negara-Ku is set to carry out its “reclaim Malaysia” agenda nationwide with a roadshow beginning in Malacca tonight to return rationality, open and civil discussion, moderation and harmony to Malaysia.

“Kembalikan Negaraku” or “Return My Country” aims to take back Malaysia from racism and extremism, and provide a platform for safe debates, even on controversial issues such as the court’s recent decision on Negri Sembilan’s Islamic enactments on transgenders.

More than just focusing on issues themselves, the movement’s founder and chairperson Zaid Kamaruddin said they wanted to promote a climate where Malaysians could discuss matters without getting emotional.

Their aim was to also put forward the fact that all differences could be discussed with the Federal Constitution as a reference.

Zaid also said the roadshow was not just about promoting the movement but to draw all other civil society groups that wanted to promote healthy relationships among communities. Years before Negara-Ku, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak launched his 1Malaysia concept when he took office in 2009 but the slogan has since petered out.

“We support all other efforts that promote the coming together of Malaysians, to be able to express what they want,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »

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Are the majority of UMNO Ministers, MPs and leaders like Noh Omar, not prepared publicly to endorse Najib’s Global Movement of Moderates initiative and yet deny being an extremist?

The “ruckus” by the Selangor UMNO/Barisan Nasional chief, Datuk Noh Omar, the UMNO/BN MP for Tanjung Karang in Parliament yesterday has thrown up a teaser – are the majority of UMNO Ministers, MPs and leaders like Noh Omar, not prepared publicly to endorse Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) initiative and yet deny being an extremist.

It would be interesting for a such a vote to be taken.

That this question has to be asked four years after Najib has launched his GMM campaign with very uncertain answers is a sad reflection of the failure of another signature policy of the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Najib’s first signature policy failure was the infamous case in early 2010 when his Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, in response to my challenge, declared that he was “Malay first, Malaysian second” in a unqualified repudiation of the Prime Minister’s 1Malaysia Policy! Read the rest of this entry »

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The ‘pendatang’ label and Gerakan’s ‘wayang’

– Koon Yew Yin
The Malaysian Insider
23 October 2014

At Gerakan’s recently concluded national conference, the public was treated to a lone voice from the party who stated his view with regard to the birth place of the various racial groups in the country.

According to Johor delegate Tan Lai Soon, the Chinese and Indians were not the only pendatang (immigrants), but the Malays were also not natives of Malaysia as they had emigrated from Indonesia.

Tan said he wanted to explain the position of Malaysians in the country, as the original Bumiputeras were the Orang Asli and natives of Sabah and Sarawak.

“Except for the natives of Sabah and Sarawak and the Orang Asli, everyone else in Malaysia is a pendatang.”

Tan noted that “when Umno members say that the Chinese are pendatang, they obviously forgot that they were also pendatang from Indonesia,” he said.

This view is one which many Malaysians hold – whether in public or privately. But it is one which Umno, Perkasa, BTN and “ketuanan Melayu” supporters do not like to hear about and are trying to suppress as it delegitimises the special privileges that they are addicted to. Read the rest of this entry »

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Recent “pendatang” furore not only proof of failure of Najib’s 1Malaysia policy but 57 years of UMNO/BN Malaysian nation-building

The recent “pendatang” furore is not only proof of failure of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia policy, but the 57 years of UMNO/BN Malaysian nation-building.

Apart from Sabah, which is a special case by itself, the overwhelming majority of Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, are local-born and 100% Malaysians – a figure which can be as high as over 95 per cent for Malaysians in Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak.

Whether the ancestors of Malays, Chinese or Indians are immigrants, there can be no cause or justification for any Malaysian to describe another Malaysians from different ethnicity as “pendatang”, especially when the term is loaded in a very derogatory, pejorative and even abusive sense.

This is in fact questioning the citizenship rights of Malaysians, which is entrenched as one of the four “sensitive” rights in the Malaysian Constitution in 197i, whereby it becomes an automatic sedition offence to call for the withdrawal of a Malaysian’s citizenship. Read the rest of this entry »

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1Malaysia does not need Tongkat Ali or Viagra

M. Kulasegaran
Malaysiakini
18th Oct 2014

At the 60th MCA annual general assembly held last December, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak said MCA has the numbers and potential to champion the Chinese community, but lacks the spirit to succeed.

“We need political Viagra. Our spirit on the ground is weak,” Najib told the assembly. His comments made MCA the butt of joke, especially in the social media.

It is therefore most ironic that yesterday, Gerakan president Mah Siew Keong said the 1Malaysia campaign, which appears to have run out of steam since the last general election, needed a lift similar to the aphrodisiac root Tongkat Ali, so that the campaign could be “long lasting”.

MCA leaders were laughed at for not being brave enough to rebut the prime minister for his insulting analogy.

Will Najib tell Mah off for making him the new butt of joke? Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib’s latest “You help me, I help you” variation at MCA General Assembly offensive and obnoxious for four reasons: run afoul of his pledge to be PM for all, 1Malaysia policy, Global Movement of Moderates initiative and pledge to make Malaysia world’s best democracy

Instead of dissociating or at least distancing itself from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s latest “You help me, I help you” variation first infamously used in the Sibu parliamentary by-election in May 2010 in the MCA annual general assembly yesterday, the MCA President Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai has accused online news portals of “twisting” Najib’s speech to give it a negative image of the government.

It would appear that MCA leaders have a totally different grasp and comprehension of ordinary language when they are made by top UMNO leaders – where arm-twisting language could be understood as friendly advice.

What Najib said at the MCA’s 61st annual general assembly is straightforward and crystal clear – that the Chinese could not make demands from the government and then support Pakatan Rakyat.

Najib had said: “You can’t demand and then support DAP. You can’t demand and then support PR. You demand, you support BN, we will be fair to the Chinese community.”

Najib’s implicit message is obvious – that the Chinese community cannot expect the government to be fair if they do not support the BN. 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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