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A promise to insensitive politicians

Dear sirs,

At some point in the future, you will depart from this world, as I will.

It would be a time of intense grief and mourning for your loved ones. During that particular period, I promise not to gleefully gloat over your death. I further give you my word, that I will not claim, that my Maker, unique to my faith, had a hand in it. Although you may not realise it, to do so is despicably cruel and completely unbecoming of any human being. Only a beast or an imbecile would behave in such a manner.

I also promise not to splash your morbid or gory photos in death over the internet, to boost my twitter and facebook ratings. You may not be aware that such a move does not bring fame, only infamy.

In addition, I give you my word that if I can’t find a decent word or two to express my condolences, I shall keep mum. This is because, to condemn you in death would only bring shame to me. I sincerely believe that I am above such behaviour, as most Malaysians are, save for a lunatic fringe of the society. Read the rest of this entry »

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An earthly beginning

By Dyana Sofya | MalaysMailOnline
Apr 10, 2014

The Bakau program organised by Jaring NGO and Impian Malaysia took place at Pontian Johor, last Saturday. I managed to drag my anti-social younger brother to join in the fun planting mangrove seedlings in the muddy mangrove site.

We had 500 mangrove seedlings and close to 100 volunteers participating in the program. The program was video-recorded and I was asked whether I was disgusted being in a muddy mangrove site for the activity. I replied saying I had no problem being with nature and I was actually enjoying myself while doing good for the environment. Also, a thought that crossed my mind was, even, we human beings originated from earth.

We, Muslims believe that we are made of earth. It is stated in the Quran, Surah Al-Mu’imun (The Believers : 12, “And indeed We created man (Adam) out of an extract of clay (water and earth).”

The earth, the humble stuff beneath our feet. Whenever I am reminded of this fact, massive wave of humility rushes over me and the voice of my mother would rang in my ears, ‘Wherever you go and whatever you do, jangan sombong’, she always reminded me. Read the rest of this entry »

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On New Year’s Eve, thousands march to protest price hikes but Putrajaya still in BN’s hands

by Lee Shi-Ian & Muzliza Mustafa
The Malaysian Insider
December 31, 2013

Thousands defied Putrajaya and rallied at Dataran Merdeka tonight against the rising cost of goods and services, as police looked on after warning for days earlier it was a gathering to topple the ruling coalition.

The boisterous crowd which had streamed to the fringe of the square from Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Masjid India and Central Market was largely peaceful, but several lines of police officers stood between them and revellers who had gathered in the square for the national new year’s eve countdown celebration.

“Inside is for those who want to celebrate New Year’s Eve. If you want to protest, you may do so on the other side,” said Dang Wangi OCPD Zainulddin Ahmad.

However, police, just after 11pm, relented as the streaming crowd breached the police and City Hall barricades to join the revelers in the square.

Just before midnight the concert at the Dataran Merdeka was halted in view of the surge of protestors. City Hall personnel formed a line in front of the stage, and the lights were turned off. Read the rest of this entry »

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Gov’t’s history of silencing media on ‘technicalities’

Nigel Aw
Malaysiakini
Dec 28, 2013

Media activists have poured cold water on the Home Ministry’s explanation that news weekly The Heat’s suspension was due to its failure to comply with technical provisions under its publishing permit.

At a forum in Kuala Lumpur last night to show solidarity with The Heat, Malaysiakini chief editor Fathi Aris Omar bluntly called the explanation “bulls**t”.

Fathi pointed out that the government has had a history of indefinitely suspending publications on technical grounds when upset with their contents. Read the rest of this entry »

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After The Heat freeze, Malaysian Bar calls for PPPA repeal

By Boo Su-Lyn
The Malay Mail Online
December 28, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 28 — The Malaysian Bar urged Putrajaya today to abolish the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) 1984 and to establish a Media Council instead, amid an indefinite suspension of The Heat weekly.

Malaysian Bar president Christopher Leong criticised the recent suspension of The Heat that was ordered shortly after the paper reported on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s “big spending” nature in its November 23 to 29 issue, calling it an “unwarranted attack” on press freedom, as well as on freedom of speech and expression.

“Action against The Heat is merely the latest event in a long list of state actions to suppress the press,” Leong said in a statement today.

“Other instances include incidents during which the minister of home affairs harassed a Malaysiakini journalist who was asking him questions, and threatened to shut down newspapers that reported his speech in Malacca the following day; and the physical assault and abuse of media professionals by the police during the Bersih 3.0 public assembly in Kuala Lumpur on April 28, 2012,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malays: The oppressed ‘master race’

Zurairi AR
The Malay Mail Online
October 4, 2013

Oct 4 — Most Malays would like to think that their race is one that is proud and as old as time, and thus will remain pure and noble until the end of it all.

“Takkan Melayu hilang di dunia,” (Malays will never become extinct) they would repeat ad nauseam, parroting the words allegedly spoken by the icon of that noble Malay man: Hang Tuah.

Bereft of achievements that they can be immensely proud of as Malaysians, numerous Malays have retreated into a cocoon, where race and religion have become their defining marks.

I had the most interesting opportunity to immerse myself in this mentality last weekend as I sat in on a symposium called “Mendepani Agenda Asing” (Facing foreign agenda), or MEGA, co-organised by the Islamist NGO Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (ISMA). Read the rest of this entry »

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Let’s ban the purple dinosaur

A tongue-in-cheek piece
by Sheela R

It takes so little to offend these days. Be it a movie, a book, an artwork or even a rock concert, it has become almost fashionable to denounce slightest aberration to our perceived high moral standards.

I for one, am deeply offended by the sight of a particular purple dinosaur, making its appearance on pre-schoolers’ television programmes. Let me elucidate with well-thought-out points, one by one.

It is purple in colour. It is a well-known fact from Stephen Spielberg’s movies that dinosaurs are brown and perhaps yellow, but definitely not purple. (Well he is as good an authority as any other and, being Malaysian, you will surely excuse me for the shoddy and completely unsubstantiated research.) We are misleading pre-schoolers with this erroneous fact and worse, there lies a danger that they may grow up wanting to dress as gender-neutral purple dinosaurs. Do I detect a certain derision in you? Well I am merely following the example set by our well-meaning officials, who choose to ban performing artists on account of their dressing, for fear of corrupting our Malaysian youth with their sartorial tastes. Read the rest of this entry »

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Alvivi – a dignified response

by Sheela R.

As a young girl, growing up in multi-cultural Malaysia, I have had my fair share of challenges. Raised as a vegetarian long before it was recognised and accepted as a healthy lifestyle, I have had to constantly explain my dietary habits to people who are unaquainted with vegetarianism.

As a student at the primary and secondary levels, I had to frequently put up with comments such as,

“Oh! You don’t know what you are missing!”

“If you eat only vegetables you are going to grow up looking green!”

“If you don’t eat meat you won’t be strong!”

“Ikan tak boleh, ayam tak boleh, semua tak boleh, kesian!”

“A vegetarian? What’s that? Are you some sort of vegetable?”

Naturally, such comments riled me, but over the years, I grew to understand that they stemmed from silliness or ignorance rather than wilful malice. I learned not to react to such distasteful comments but to respond with dignity. I eventually found ways to explain to others, the socio-cultural reasons for my diet. Invariably, once they understood my reasons for abstaining from meat, they became highly respectful and sensitive towards my dietary requirements. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s deep divides

by John Berthelsen
Asia Sentinel
May 29, 2013 10:49AM UTC

National elections on May 5 haven’t cooled political and racial tensions, writes Asia Sentinel’s John Berthelsen

Any hope that May 5 national elections in Malaysia would cool the political atmosphere appears to have been misguided, leaving a country entangled in deepening racial problems and creating the risk of a real threat to the legitimacy of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s reign.

While not calling for Najib’s removal, the prime minister’s most potent critic, former Premier Mahathir Mohamad, damned him with faint praise, telling Bloomberg News in an interview in Tokyo last week that the United Malays National Organization will continue to support him “because of a lack of an alternative.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Where is the Malaysian Dream?

by Erna Mahyuni
The Malaysian Insider
MAY 29, 2013

“To boldly go where no man has gone before.” I still get the shivers when I hear that old Star Trek line.

Looking back, things we take for granted now like telepresence conferences, virtual reality and touch screens were mere fantasy, fancies of the imagination.

Dreams matter. But what has happened to our own abilities to dream? The problem, I think, with Malaysians and their leaders is that we set our sights too low.

An educationist told me our English syllabus is so infantile as we must “follow the standards of Malaysian students.”

We want our children to fly and yet assume that all they can do is crawl. Read the rest of this entry »

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The brilliance of Zahid Hamidi

by Aerie Rahman
The Malaysian Insider
MAY 20, 2013

Move aside Khairy Jamaluddin and Saifuddin Abdullah — we have a new poster boy for change within the Barisan National power structure. Not used to flamboyance and only recently baring the fangs of radicalism, Zahid Hamidi has sparked a debate on a new form of politics: migratory politics.

With his decree demanding that those who are unhappy with the current political system migrate to republican states, this man is a maverick. He is braving the tide by countering Najib Razak’s efforts to stem the pernicious brain drain beleaguering this nation. We need more mavericks within BN! Not mere “yes men” whose servitude are repulsive, but men with independent minds. Zahid fits the bill. This is a man to watch, Malaysia! Read the rest of this entry »

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With ‘enemies’ like this…

by Goh Keat Peng

There is a saying which is often at the tip of our tongue: “With friends like these, who needs enemies?” Which is to say there are times when friends do seem to behave like our worst enemies.

But at times, the reverse could be equally true: with enemies like these who needs friends!

Let me hasten to say that I don’t consider those with whom I may disagree politically as my enemies. If there are no two teams, you won’t have a football match. If there are not at least two sides, we won’t have an elections. Read the rest of this entry »

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What betrayal?

by P Ramakrishnan
Aliran

Was there an agreement before the general election? Did Chinese Malaysians actually promise the BN their votes ahead of time, asks P Ramakrishnan.

Discredited politicians are trying to denigrate the Chinese by accusing them of betrayal. What betrayal are they talking about? Do they indeed know what they are talking about?

When you talk of betrayal, it means going back on one’s word. It means dishonouring a solemn pledge.

For this to take place there must have been a clear understanding and undertaking between two parties. In this case it would be the Barisan Nasional and the Chinese community reaching an understanding and pledging to vote in a mutually acceptable manner with regard to GE13. Read the rest of this entry »

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The myth about vernacular schools being obstacles to unity

by Ravinder Singh
The Malaysian Insider
MAY 16, 2013

The myth about multi-stream schools being obstacles to unity keeps on being bandied about by racists who cannot see, or rather refuse to see, the wood for the trees.

The latest call for the banning of vernacular schools was by no less a personality than the pro-chancellor of Universiti Technology Mara (UiTM), Tan Sri Dr Abdul Rahman Arshad, at a GE13 post-mortem forum “Muslim Leadership and Survival” organised by the Federation of Peninsula Malay Students (GPMS) and the UiTM Alumni Association. This imagined, simplistic solution to improving race relations has been shot out by many people — politicians, academicians, administrators, etc — over the years.

It’s amazing how people in important positions try to shove their perceptions, or even falsehoods, on the masses by making them appear like facts. If there are listeners who believe these people, it is simply because the listeners have no knowledge of the issue at hand and so they think these important people surely know best. But do they? Read the rest of this entry »

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What Happens Now to the Opposition and Change?

by Kee Thuan Chye
Yahoo! Malaysia

Now that the 13th general election (GE13) is over and Najib Razak has been sworn in as prime minister and his Cabinet has been formed, what happens to the Opposition Pakatan Rakyat and the massive numbers of people who wanted change, as reflected in the popular vote?
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has done the right thing in not accepting the result of GE13 on grounds of fraud, and he has been going around rallying support for his cause, but where this will lead is highly uncertain.

Meanwhile, PKR strategist Rafizi Ramli has announced that Pakatan is investigating the results of 27 parliament seats which were won by the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) narrowly. If he and his team are able to prove fraud or wrong tabulation of the votes, there might be a case made for them. But where? In the courts? Would they get the justice they seek? Read the rest of this entry »

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M’sians must reconcile, seek better future for all

by Johan S Abdullah & SY
Malaysiakini
4:34PM May 16, 2013

I totally agree with the remarks of Lim Kit Siang in Malaysiakini on May 11, 2013. His message clearly propagated unity. Gone are the days of May 13.

Words that are spoken to cause disunity and the fear of that date should be regarded as sedition, as that in itself, is not in line with the Rukunegara or the creed of the nation.

We must from today affix our minds and hearts on the vision of our founding fathers. Malaysia should be for Malaysians and not just any race.

We must be a country which will give and grant justice and fairness to all regardless of skin colour or creed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Stop the Racist Politics of Suspicion and Hate in the Country

by Koon Yew Yin

Even before the elections took place, various UMNO leaders led by Dr. Mahathir and Utusan Malaysia have led the onslaught against the Chinese in the country. Now the results are in, they are taking to a new level the politics of suspicion, hatred and revenge in the Malay masses for what they say as a betrayal by the Chinese voters.

There are several undeniable contrary facts to their thinking. Firstly, as others have pointed out, the so-called Chinese tsunami was actually a Malaysian tsunami which accounted for the largest ever proportion of total votes – in fact the majority – going to the opposition. Simple arithmetic explains why Chinese who comprise less than 30% of the total population can barely account for at most half the total votes cast against the BN even if all Chinese had voted against the BN. Read the rest of this entry »

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After 56 years, will Malaysia finally get a new government?

by HARI RAJ
Former journalist for The Star in Malaysia
Crikey

Every four or five years since they won independence from British rule in 1957, Malaysians have shuffled off to the polls. Every four or five years, they have woken up the next morning with the status quo intact. The country’s ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional, has been in power for every one of the past 56 years.

Malaysia goes to the polls again on Sunday. But many of the country’s citizens are buoyed by an unfamiliar sentiment: hope for change. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysian government-linked corporations crowd out private investment

by Jayant Menon, ADB and ANU, and Thiam Hee Ng, ADB
East Asia Forum
April 25th, 2013

Private investment in Malaysia never fully recovered from the impact of the Asian financial crisis.

Foreigners have continued to shun Malaysia, but it now seems that even domestic investors are fleeing, with Malaysia becoming a net exporter of capital since 2005. One explanation for the sluggish performance of domestic private investment relates to the crowding-out effect of the growing dominance of government-linked corporations (GLCs) in many sectors. The influence of GLCs, however measured, is both widespread and pervasive.

The GLC share of operating revenue is approximately one-third in the aggregate, and they control more than half the industry share in utilities, transportation, warehousing, agriculture, banking, information communications and retail trade. GLCs employ around 5 per cent of the national workforce and account for approximately 36 per cent and 54 per cent, respectively, of the market capitalisation of Bursa Malaysia and the benchmark Kuala Lumpur Composite Index. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hail the Comrades for Change!

by Kee Thuan Chye
Yahoo! Malaysia

The purest and most heartwarming feature of this upcoming general election, predicted to be the dirtiest ever in Malaysian history, is the solidarity of the Malaysians who are calling for ubah (change) and proclaiming, “Ini kalilah!” (This is the time to do it!)

In the course of a year, it has swelled into a movement. Partly from the Bersih rallies that brought people closer together because they went through adverse circumstances together. Partly from the rallies organised by the Opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat, that gave hope of a viable alternative to Malaysians disenchanted by 55 years of Barisan Nasional (BN) rule. Read the rest of this entry »

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