Archive for category 1Malaysia

I am ashamed to be a Malaysian

Hafiz Noor Shams
Malay Mail Online
September 29, 2015

SEPTEMBER 29 — I think I am well-exposed to foreigners’ opinions about Malaysia beyond the editorial stance of various foreign newspapers. I have friends of diverse national origins and I work for a global organisation where many of my colleagues are not Malaysians. I keep in touch with them regularly and so I get to learn of their personal and professional views about the country.

Everybody has an opinion. But do they know Malaysia?

They might be able to tell you where it is on the map. They would know the Petronas Twin Towers. They might know who Mahathir Mohamad or Anwar Ibrahim is.

But if you dig a little deeper you will realise most of them usually do not track our news closely. Read the rest of this entry »

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Shrugging off ‘ketakutan Melayu’

Syerleena Abdul Rashid
The Malaysian Insider
25 September 2015

Soon after Datuk Seri Najib Razak took over the reins as prime minister from Tun Abdullah Badawi in 2009, for a fleeting moment in time, Malaysians felt somewhat hopeful that social transformations could finally happen in our country. With a new leader, came new promises and renewed hope.

When Najib launched the 1Malaysia campaign, the objectives were quite straightforward; the RM38 million (or at least the amount that was officially recorded) campaign sought to call for all government agencies and civil servants to embrace diversity and Malaysia’s multicultural society. Najib’s administration through the 1Malaysia campaign sought to heal the wounds of racial mistrust and turmoil by promoting “ethnic harmony, national unity, and efficient governance”.

Needless to say, the campaign has since met with heavy criticism from Malaysians due to the fact that ethnic relations in Malaysia have gotten worse in the last five years and the recent “red shirt” rally verified this. Of course, it doesn’t help that those from the ruling elite have since showed their true colours and forked tongues. Read the rest of this entry »

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First to take the “Bina Bangsa” module should be Mahdzir himself and Malay-supremacist UMNO Ministers and leaders who continue to be racially-minded instead of trying to be Malaysian first and race second

The Education Minister Datuk Mahdzir Khalid has admitted his earlier mistake and said that the new “Bina Bangsa” module, once implemented, would affect both national primary schools and vernacular schools.

DAP Parliamentary Spokesman for Education, MP for Bukit Bendera Zairil Khir Johari had yesterday questioned the need for the “Bina Bangsa” module to be introduced only in vernacular primary school when the non-Bumiputera enrolment at national schools were at an all-time low.

Zairil said that contrary to general perception, national schools are actually now more mono-ethnic in its make up as compared to vernacular schools, especially Chinese schools.

He also said it was very “mischievous” for Mahdzir to imply that vernacular schools were an obstacle to national unity as such an assertion was without basis.

Zairil stressed that what the ministry should do instead is to look into the values that are imparted as well as the quality of education available, especially in national schools.

I am glad that the new Education Minister has taken heed of Zairil’s criticisms but there is an even more fundamental question about Mahdzir’s proposal of a “Bina Bangsa” module. Read the rest of this entry »

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The failure of Vision 2020

Syerleena Abdul Rashid
The Malaysian Insider
5 June 2015

Sometime in 1991, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed envisioned “Malaysians of all colours and creeds are free to practice and profess their customs, cultures and religious beliefs and yet feeling that they belong to one nation”. This dream was the essence of Vision 2020, or Wawasan 2020, as it is known in the national language.

Vision 2020 called for a united Malaysian society; one that indicated a progressive society where all of its citizens were more than able to embody compassion, civility and ethnic labels were a thing of the past. Malaysia in the year 2020 boasted an economy that was sound and healthy; there was fair and equitable distribution of wealth and development was spread out evenly throughout the Federation.

Now with only five years left before this vision becomes a reality, many of us can see how far off we really are. With only five years left, the vision of a colourless society seems far beyond our reach. Five years of catching up to a vision that has become some sort of a utopian concept that has lead this nation into a bitter cycle of suspicion and passive aggressive hostility.

The saddest part of humankind is that most of us are unable to shake off the “us and them” mentality and the harm we inflict upon other fellow Malaysians – be it physically and verbally, this is due to our own insecurities, humiliation and pain. Such feelings stem from our inability to understand human diversity – we want them to be like “us” and if they aren’t, there is no way we can accept them into our fold. Read the rest of this entry »

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Best tribute to Karpal Singh is for all Malaysians regardless of race, religion or political affiliation to unite to Save Malaysia to defend constitutionalism, the rule of law and moderation as our national way of life and model for the world

Five months ago on Dec. 8, 2014, a group of 25 prominent Malays penned an open letter asking for a rational dialogue on the position of Islam in a constitutional democracy.

The 19-paragraph statement was signed by prominent people, including former secretaries-general, directors-general, ambassadors and prominent individuals, as they felt that it was high time moderate Malays and Muslims speak out as extremist, immoderate and intolerant voices do not speak in their name.

They called on the Prime Minister to exercise his leadership and political will to establish an inclusive consultative committee to find solutions to issues which have become more “difficult to address” because of the extreme politicisation of race and religion in this country by bringing together experts in various fields, including Islamic and constitutional laws, and those affected by the application of Islamic laws in adverse ways.

They also urged more moderate Malaysians to speak up and contribute to a better informed and rational public discussion on the place of Islamic laws within a constitutional democracy and the urgency to address the breakdown of federal-state division of powers and finding solutions to the heart-wrenching stories of lives and relationships damaged and put in limbo because of battles over turf and identity.

Although the open letter of G25 which has expanded to G44, drew widespread support from many quarters, including petitions online as well on twitter and FaceBook, it is most regrettable that after close to five months, the Prime Minister, who had travelled the world with his initiative of a Global Movement of Moderates calling for a “coalition of moderates” to reclaim their religion from extremists appears to be either indifferent or impotent about rising extremism at home. Read the rest of this entry »

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Five key issues in the Permatang Pauh by-election on May 7

The Permatang Pauh parliamentary by-election has five key issues, not only for the voters in the constituency, but for all Malaysians, viz:

1. As a clear and unmistakable vote, not only behalf of the people of Permatang Pauh, but of 30 million Malaysians, against the continued victimisation and persecution of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, with his second jail sentence and disqualification as an elected MP, and an unequivocal and categorical call for Anwar’s immediate release from jail.

2. Rejection of GST imposed on April 1 as imposing hardships on the people at large, demanding that the 6 per cent tax be abolished. Read the rest of this entry »

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Freeing Anwar Ibrahim from Sungai Buloh prison must be top agenda of the “Save Malaysia” Grand Coalition post-BN and post-PR

Seven weeks ago, at the Bukit Bintang DAP anniversary dinner, I threw up the idea of a new coalition government post-BN and post-PR to “Save Malaysia” as Malaysia seemed suddenly in “no man’s land” in over half-a-century of independent nation after Merdeka in 1957 and formation of Malaysia in 1963.

The events of the past 26 days have fortified the need for new thinking, even thinking the unthinkable, about the unprecedented political landscape evolving in the country, for not only are the two political coalition in the country, the ruling Barisan Nasional and the Federal Opposition Pakatan Rakyat, in serious trouble, the very existence of the Malaysian federation has been called into question for the first time since the formation of Malaysia in 1963.

The past seven weeks have seen the premiership of Datuk Seri Najib Razak coming under even greater challenge, with the former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad leading the attack, raising issues which Pakatan Rakyat leaders have kept in the national forefront all this while, in particular the RM42 billion 1MDB financial scandal, the unanswered question of motive in the Altantunya Shaariibuu murder trial, amidst a host of questions about nation-building, good governance, the rule of law; the independence and professionalism of the judiciary, Police and the Anti-Corruption Commission; respect for democracy, human rights and freedom of expression and the press in Malaysia.

Never before has the ruling coalition in Malaysia come under such intense attack – at a time when the Opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition, which had created history in winning the majority of the electorate in the 13th General Elections but denied the majority of the parliamentary seats and therefore the Putrajaya seat of Federal power because of unfair and undemocratic gerrymandering of electoral constituencies, is itself facing an unprecedented crisis!

It is no exaggeration to say that both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat are facing a ‘life-and-death crisis, which has mushroomed into a life-and-death crisis for the Malaysian Federation formed in 1963. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia facing not only crisis of identity but crisis of survival for first time since formation of federation in 1963

Malaysia is facing not only a crisis of identity but a crisis of survival for the first time since the formation of the Malaysian federation in 1963.

The month of April has not been a good month for Malaysia, starting with the GST implementation on April 1, which has caused hardships all-round to Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region; followed by a week of infamy when Parliament “stopped the clock” twice in four days to rush through the passage of the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the Sedition Amendment Act, both of which attracted universal international condemnation for Malaysia becoming the human rights “black hole” as well as opening the Pandora’s Box of undemocratic, arbitrary and repressive powers and laws.

But looming in the background, there was an even bigger crisis – the crisis of survival for Malaysia as it is intimately concerned with the question as to whether the Malaysian federation, as conceived by the Malaysia Agreement 1963, could survive and flourish or whether it would perish and fail. Read the rest of this entry »

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After G25, prominent Sabahans tell Putrajaya to fight extremism

The Malaysian Insider
9 April 2015

Following in the footsteps of the 25 prominent Malays dubbed G25, a group of 47 Sabahans have sent an open letter to Putrajaya urging an end to extremism in the country, The Star reported today.

The group from Sabah raised concerns about Islamisation, attempts to convert natives of the state, polarisation, growing intolerance and federal government bodies asserting authority beyond their powers.

They said in their letter that “extreme and misguided actions in the name of Islamisation and religious intolerance is nothing but a threat to our national peace and stability”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why do we still need the Sedition Act?

by Boo Su-Lyn
Malay Mail Online
April 9, 2015

APRIL 9 — We are just five years away from our goal of becoming a developed nation by 2020.

Yet,in this day and age, we still have a law dating back from the colonial times guarding our speech and worse, the government is attempting to enhance punishments under the Sedition Act 1948.

People convicted of seditious speech can be imprisoned for up to 20 years under the proposed Sedition Act amendments, with a minimum jail term set at three years. No bail is allowed either.

Speech deemed to be seditious under the Sedition (Amendment) Bill 2015 involve issues of race and religion, secession, the rulers, and Bumiputera privileges, among others.

These are matters crucial to our democracy that Malaysians are prohibited from discussing freely.

The revised Sedition Act outlaws exciting “ill will, hostility or hatred” on grounds of race and religion, but such terms are extremely vague. Read the rest of this entry »

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Renegotiate Federal Constitution if Kelantan must have hudud

— Civil Society Organisations of Sabah and Sarawak
The Malay Mail Online
April 8, 2015

APRIL 8 — We — Civil Society Organisations of Sabah and Sarawak — hereby call for a thorough renegotiation of the Federal Constitution if Kelantan insists to enforce its Shariah Criminal Code II (1993) 2015.

We solemnly hold the following positions:

1. In forming Malaysia with Malaya and Singapore in 1963, Sabah and Sarawak signed up for a secular federation, not a theocratic one where any religious criminal justice system may be in force in any part of the Federation.

2. Religious freedom was amongst the top demands of Sabah and Sarawak in the Malaysia negotiations which produced the Inter-Governmental Committee Report and eventually the 1963 Malaysia Agreement. Sabah and Sarawak would not have been part of Malaysia if Shariah criminal law was an item in the negotiation.

3. Secular justice system on crimes as a federal jurisdiction is part of the entire constitutional package embodied in the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution. Any fundamental change to this packaged deal requires a thorough renegotiation of the Federal Constitution. Read the rest of this entry »

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When the success of one nation casts shadows on the failures of another

Julia Yeow
The Malaysian Insider
31 March 2015

Not many were shocked at the news that Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew died on March 23, weeks after being in intensive care. But I believe most were taken aback by the overwhelming outpouring of grief that followed. The unending crowds who queued for hours to pay their last respects and the thousands of honest, poignant outpourings of grief and tributes gave those of us who were mere observers a glimpse into the mark Kuan Yew made, not just on Singapore, but on the world.

Almost every accolade given to Kuan Yew has acknowledged his role in driving a tiny nation from obscurity into one of the world’s most successful economies. Article after article, and in every obituary and compliment, the success of Kuan Yew and that of Singapore – the absolute object of his passion – have been laid out for all the world to behold and, for some of us, to envy.

As Singapore’s closest neighbours, both geographically and sociopolitically, it’s hard not to notice the stark contrast between our two nations, especially in the glowing light of Kuan Yew’s tributes. Our two countries share a unique relationship in that we were once one nation that was ultimately separated by the politics of different ambitions. We had a common goal once, and our founding fathers shared the same vision for a unified, successful Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »

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An open letter to Lim Kit Siang

Dave Anthony
28 March 2015

If enough like-minded people agree to associate, you can create a nation where we all have a stake to safeguard, says Dave Anthony.

Dear saudara Kit Siang,

I salute you as the elder statesman of Malaysia who has raised a consistent voice over the years. Today we are in the cusp of a political crisis and yours is the only lonely voice calling for a Malaysian solution.

Pakatan Rakyat, whichever way we look at it, is no longer a viable reality. Anwar had tried to glue the legs of the tripod together but it still stood lopsided with no spirit to level it. We can try ropes and masking tape and splints to hold it together but it will still not stand.

Why are we even trying to keep it together? Is it only for the sake of capturing Putrajaya? The DAP and Pas are quite clear where they stand on the hudud issue.

We are not certain where PKR stands. They appear to stand as an observer outside – like a fourth party rather than a third party. They should state their stand unequivocally rather than offer to mediate between the DAP and Pas.

Let me explain why Pakatan seems no longer relevant. Read the rest of this entry »

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Something? No, some things are rotten in Malaysia

11 February 2015

The inimitable Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad didn’t quite hit the nail on the head when he paraphrased Shakespeare to say something is rotten in Malaysia.

One, it is not about people not being paid for so-called work done. Or their permits pulled. Or their proposals copied. Or local white knights having their bids to take over companies rejected without even a look.

Two. It isn’t something. It is a lot of things.

here do we begin? Read the rest of this entry »

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Tunku and Pak Samad are quintessential Malaysians who must be the models for Malaysians to emulate if we want Malaysia to succeed as a truly developed nation by 2020

This is a “double honour” gathering, to remember a statesman Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia and to celebrate a national laureate, Pak Samad, not just because they share the same birthday on February 8, but because they are quintessential Malaysians, the embodiment of what a Malaysian should be, transcending race, religion and region, representing what is best for decent and civilized human beings, espousing the causes of truth, freedom, justice and dignity for all.

Tunku and Pak Samad should be models for all Malaysians to emulate if we want Malaysia to succeed as a truly developed nation by 2020, as envisaged by Vision 2020.

A quintessential Malaysian is a rare commodity in Malaysia today, although we are in the fifth decade of nationhood – 57 years after Merdeka in 1957 and 51 years after the formation of Malaysia in 1963.

I am reminded of Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities (my Form Four textbook – and it is another sign of worsening times in Malaysia that our students today do not have such textbooks anymore) and how the novel started, which seemed also to describe the national situation in Malaysia today, viz:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Instead of rage and rant over the racism and hypocrisy of the Ismail Sabri episode, scorn and mockery will be more powerful weapons which can even bring down the entire edifice of Najib premiership

Three serious political disasters afflicted the Najib premiership in the past two months:

· * firstly the botch-up in all the three phases of response, relief and reconstruction of the disaster management plan and preparedness of the Federal Government in the Floods 2014, the worst floods catastrophe in living memory, as the damages in terms of 25 dead, a million flood victims with a quarter million in the various flood relief centres and billions of ringgit losses could have been minimised;

· * secondly, the shameful episode of the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi’s infamous letter to the US Federal Bureau of Investigationhs (FBI) vouching for the character of alleged gambling kingpin Paul Phua, standing trial in Las Vegas, Nevada for illegal gambling, in contradiction of previous earlier police report to FBI and even more serious, without the knowledge or approval of the Police, the Foreign Ministry or the Prime Minister, and being caught red-handed with lie after lie like the denials by previous Home Ministers that they had written similar letters and with the Cabinet kept completely in the dark and dare not do what is right on the matter; and

· *Thirdly, the craven and dishonest stand of the 35 Ministers in the Najib Cabinet 2015 on the racist call by the Minister for Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Datuk Ismail Sabri, to Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses was not targeting Chinese traders alone, but aimed at all traders – which reminds one immediately of Hans Christian Andersens immortal tale of The Emperor’s New Clothes.

Of the three political disasters afflicting Prime Minister Najib and his Cabinet, it is the third episode which is capable of bringing down the entire edifice of the Najib premiership down in ruins. Read the rest of this entry »

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Same old racial mindset in 1Malaysia

2 February 2015

We have celebrated 51 years as Malaysians but to some people, we are still in the racial silos of Malay, Chinese, Indian and Others. And with that come all the stereotypes of each race.

Mind you, this racial mindset still persists despite Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia campaign to bring all Malaysians together after the fractious 2008 polls where Barisan Nasional (BN) saw its majority evaporate to less than the customary two-thirds in the federal parliament.

1Malaysia has been hardly heard of since BN’s further losses in 2013 and there is a good reason for that: Najib’s colleagues in his hand-picked Cabinet have not much regard for it.

Take the latest volley from Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who wrote in his Facebook account that the Malays should boycott Chinese businesses, singling out the Old Town White Coffee franchise because of its alleged DAP links. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why silence from IGP on Minister Ismail when Khalid would have tweeted directive to police to investigate DAP or PR leaders under Sedition Act if they had expressed similar racist sentiments?

If a PAS or PKR leader had called on Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses to lower prices or a DAP leader had called on non-Malay customers to boycott Malay businesses to lower prices, the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar would have immediately tweeted directive to his police officers to investigate the DAP or PR leaders
under Sedition Act or a whole host of other laws.

Why then the unusual silence from the Inspector-General of Police when the Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industries, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob called on Malays to boycott Chinese businesses to lower prices?

Has Khalid’s twitter account broken down or is Bukit Aman suffering from a breakdown of internet access?

This itself highlights the double-standards which the IGP had been conducting himself, doing a great disservice to the professionalism and integrity of the overwhelming majority of dedicated men and women in blue who had conscientiously and diligently carried out their duties to uphold the law without fear or favour.

I hope that within minutes of this statement going out, we will see Khalid in twitter action! Read the rest of this entry »

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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

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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