Archive for category 1Malaysia

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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Bringing Malaysia back to the ‘middle’

― Ahmad Iskandar
The Malay Mail Online
September 10, 2014

SEPT 10 ― At the formation of Malaysia, its leaders charted a course for a nation where a multiracial society would live within a democratic framework that embodied the spirit of harmony and understanding. On 16 September 2014, Malaysia will be 51 years old. From recent developments, it seems that Malaysia is veering away from the ideals envisioned when it was first formed.

In recent years and months,Malaysians have been relentlessly bombarded with hateful statements from the likes of Perkasa, Isma and other Malay ethnocentric groups. They have questioned the loyalty of their fellow Malaysians and suggested that the majority of non-Malays are a threat to Malays and national unity. Hiding behind the mask of race and religion, they claim to represent the voice of the majority of Malaysians particularly Malays.

Much more worrying are government ministers who pander to these groups. In efforts to gain political mileage and consolidate their waning support, they have made irresponsible statements and sowed seeds of discord among the communities, and behaving in ways unbecoming of those appointed to public office.

Blatant racism such as this has upset Malaysians at home and abroad. Many took to social media to express their disappointment at the current state of affairs. While some have blamed the media for sensationalising racial and religious issues; a portion of the responsibility should also fall on the shoulders of Malaysians for failing to take a united stand and voicing the strongest possible condemnation to these acts of blatant racism. Read the rest of this entry »

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The idea of Merdeka, without the sentimental flashbacks

COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
31 August 2014

Selamat Hari Merdeka! Fifty-seven years ago, Tunku Abdul Rahman declared independence for Malaya and six years later, that nation formed Malaysia with Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore.

Most Malaysians probably know the history of Merdeka, and if not, there are a slew of television commercials and newspaper articles on the August 31 independence day and about Malaysia.

And if you don’t know, there are a number of government-linked corporations and public-listed companies to give you a truncated version of the country’s history through their annual commercials for Merdeka Day.

Here’s the thing. Why do we go back to history to explain what Malaysia is? Why do either have a walk through time as sponsored by national oil firm Petronas although the video idea first came from Indonesia tobacco giant Dji Sam Soe. Or even videos of how big the Malaysian family is? Read the rest of this entry »

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Rethinking the Malaysian community

– Prof Dr. Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi
The Malaysian Insider
30 August 2014

When I was invited by my colleagues to deliver a talk to a group of final year architecture students at UiTM on the subject of Community Center for Malaysia, I ended up talking about what being a Malaysian community means to me. From the reaction of the 80 strong students, no one had ever given a talk closest to the one I delivered ever since they set foot at UiTM. The following is an extraction of my power point presentation set in an essay format. I want to share these thoughts with all Malaysians, particularly with my Malay and Muslim friends, relatives and colleagues. I am sorry to say that I have the perception that of all the races in Malaysia, the Malays seem to be the least in understanding what being a Malaysian is all about.

I want to say that I can understand if a Malay says that they want to be Muslim first because God is greater than country but that does not give a blank check in being ill mannered and obnoxious and downright threatening to other religious adherents in order to get a certain point across. It also does not mean keeping in a lock-up two young teenagers just for wishing Muslims the breaking of fast by eating Bak-kut-teh. It also does not give any right for Muslims to threaten to ‘slap’ an elected female representative or threaten to burn the holy books of the Christians. Malays and Muslims may disagree with me and even despise me but from where I am standing the loudest and most common bigots and racists in this country are…the Malays, especially from Perkasa and Isma. Read the rest of this entry »

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Raising a family of true Malaysians

– Prof Dr. Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi
The Malaysian Insider
27 August 2014

In many senses, it seems funny that Malaysians, particularly the Malays, find great difficulty in the idea of a united, harmonious and happy Malaysia. I am a Malay. All my Malay friends at UTM and other universities and all my relatives and that of my wife are… racist. If I were to invite all of them to a marriage ceremony, the number would easily reach 3,000. Based on a simple sampling of 5% of this population that I engage in socialising, I have established that they know nothing about the idea of “Malaysia”. All they know is the condition of “we just have to tolerate those immigrants and make sure they don’t make us like Singapore” mind set. I have always thought that some of my friends and relatives whom I respect as very pious Muslims would be different, but they too turn out to be racist when political issues are discussed. It came as a shock to me. I thought that Islam would be one of the answers to eliminate racism, but apparently, the “Malay-view” interpretation of Islam always take precedence. Islam is NOT the problem but its racist interpretation is. I know this for a fact because of my vast reading of Islam, thousands of hadiths and many versions of Qur’anic Tafsir.

In this Merdeka celebration, the “idea” of Malaysia seems only in a dream or in a Petronas or a DiGi commercial. The idea of Malaysia does not exist in our schools, in our public universities, at our housing and our cities. But I still remain optimistic. Why? Because my family is NOT racist. My wife who is a retired teacher is not racist. My 28-year-old lecturer daughter educated at IIUM is not racist. My 26-year-old journalist daughter educated at TAR College and Taylors University is not racist. My 23-year-old son in his third year at UCSI University is not racist. My 20-year-old SEGi University daughter is not racist. And my 18-year-old Inti University son is also not racist. How did I manage to form my own small country of “Malaysia”? There are a few simple strategies that I had developed. I will save the most important one for last. Read the rest of this entry »

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Zam, are you “Malaysian first, Malay second” or “Malay first, Malaysian second”?

Former information minister Datuk Zainuddin Maidin wondered in his blog what if the roles were reversed in the case of a Malay woman threatening an elderly Chinese man with a steering wheel lock following an accident, how would the “Chinese press, Chinese social media, Chinese parties and Chinese NGOs reacted if the person punished was a Chinese”.

He asked: “Wouldn’t they have considered the punishment to be racist since it was a small case?” he asked in his blog posting.

Zainuddin was commenting on the Kuantan Magistrate’s Court decision to fine Siti Fairah Asyikin Kamaruddin, also known as Kiki, RM5,000 and ordering her to engage in 240 hours of community service.

Kiki landed in trouble after a video of her threatening the senior citizen Sim Siak Heong went viral online.

It is shocking and the height of irresponsibility for a former Cabinet Minister to frame an issue on law-breaking through such racial and even racist lens.

Even more reprehensible and deplorable is his dismissal of “Chinese press, Chinese social media, Chinese parties and Chinese NGOs” as communal organisations utterly bereft of Malaysian nationalism or patriotism.

Zainuddin should first answer whether he is “Malaysian first, Malay second” or “Malay first, Malaysian second”, for it is only when he regards himself as in the former category that it is worthwhile, useful and productive to engage in any discussion with him pertaining to any subject whether concerning nation-building or fostering harmonious and congenial inter-racial and inter-religious relations in our plural nation. Read the rest of this entry »

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