Archive for category Mahathir
– Wenger Khairy
The Malaysian Insider
October 30, 2013
In 1995, I remember that Malaysia was a land of hope, and the envy of many. Even the great Lee Kuan Yew was casting glances at the great hope that lay ahead – an international port which would suck up the entrepôt trade that had made Singapore so successful and the great Multimedia Super Corridor that would propel Malaysia as the premier hub for Information, Communication Technology.
Alas, almost 20 years later, this is now a pipe dream. Singapore has forged miles ahead whilst Malaysia is still languishing behind, their people divided on the most irrelevant of issues such as whether cows can be slaughtered in public schools and whether non-Muslims can profess belief in Allah.
That is the issues that seem to be on the lips of everybody. Some take one position, others take another. Read the rest of this entry »
NEWS ANALYSIS BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
OCTOBER 28, 2013
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today spoke of the lunatic fringe holding sway in the country, saying that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was acceding to demands from extremists in the opposition.
However, he did not name the extremists or say what their demands were.
“We have a government that is weak because of weak support from the people, and with a tendency to accede to the demands of extremists in the opposition,” Dr Mahathir said in his Perdana Foundation office, across a lake from the prime minister’s office in Putrajaya.
“The worst part is that they make extreme demands to unseat the government who can’t get rid of whatever they don’t like. But if you think that they will then say ‘thanks, we will support you now’, you are mistaken,” said the country’s longest-serving prime minister.
In the past decade since Dr Mahathir stepped down, and even before that, the opposition had been asking for greater democracy, the rule of law, good governance, equity for all citizens and cutting down excesses.
Perhaps only the lunatics dream of such things in Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »
The Malaysian Insider
October 21, 2013
OCT 21 — The Malaysia that I know of, which has forever been under the Barisan Nasional power structure, is akin to a poorly written play.
Those in power are actors onstage while the rakyat are members of the audience.
Lights out, please!
The play would begin with members of parliament squabbling and haranguing each other. Grandstanding is the game here, gents.
Suddenly, things would come to a halt with the Auditor-General bursting into Parliament. The mood is intense. He subsequently submits his annual report. Read the rest of this entry »
Oct 20, 2013
COMMENT The results are in. Despite the last-minute swing to Mukhriz Mahathir due to the sympathy factor associated with the false reporting of vote-buying and buoyed by his father’s support, the count clearly shows that Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s personal influence in Umno has waned.
In fact, when one looks at the election of the 25 spots for the Supreme Council, Mahathir loyalists have lost badly. The question arises whether this party election indeed spells the end of an era, a changing of the guard of sorts within Umno.
While personal loyalties may have moved on and Mahathir’s influence has been checked, his legacy persists within the party and given the competitiveness of the results, Mahathir’s own role will continue to shadow Najib’s premiership. Read the rest of this entry »
By Stuart Grudgings and Niluksi Koswanage
Oct 20 2013
KUALA LUMPUR- Internal voting for top posts in Malaysia’s ruling party at the weekend has proved Prime Minister Najib Razak to be a canny survivor – five months after a poor showing at national elections – but at a cost to his reform agenda.
In May, Najib seemed dead in the water to some observers after presiding over the long-ruling Barisan National (BN) coalition’s worst election result.
The internal United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) elections, however, confirmed Najib had seen off challenges from rival factions – including the son of influential former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Mukhriz Mahathir, 48, fell just short of snaring one of three vice president positions, all of which went to incumbents backed by Najib. Najib’s allies also retained their dominance of the 25-member UMNO Supreme Council. Read the rest of this entry »
Malaysia should move forward to end the half-year of drift and even regression to forge national reconciliation to build a united, inclusive, competitive and prosperous Malaysia for all Malaysians
All eyes were on the Umno party elections yesterday for indications whether the government and country will continue to be haunted, as in the half-year since the General Elections, by the politics of hate and lies projecting the completely false image that Malays and Islam are under siege or whether the government and country will be able to set off on a new trajectory of nation building and development.
Former Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam played the race card to the hilt in the Umno party elections, continuing to indulge in Chinese-bashing for his defeat in the Malay-majority Bukit Katil parliamentary seat in Malacca, oblivious to the fact that he would not have lost in the May general elections if he had not also lost the support of the Malay voters in his constituency.
Is Ali going to blame the Chinese again for his loss in the Umno Vice President contest yesterday, where even the overwhelming majority of the Umno divisions in his Malacca state did not vote for him?
Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir was equally irresponsible, ruthless and reckless in playing the race card, reiterating the preposterous allegations and lies since his failed attempt to racialise the Gelang Patah battle in the 13th General Elections that the Chinese in Malaysia were out to oust the political power of the Malays and dominate Malaysian politics.
But the Umno party elections yesterday is further confirmation that Mahathir’s aura and magic have been on an unchecked decline, not only among the Malaysian and Malay public from his 13th general elections campaigns in Gelang Patah, Shah Alam and Pasir Mas but also inside UMNO. Read the rest of this entry »
Mahathir cannot be more wrong – three generations of Malaysians regardless of religion have been singing the state anthems of seven states invoking the name of Allah to bless and protect the Sultan and people
Former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir cannot be more wrong when he said that non-Muslims insisting on the use of the word ‘Allah’ in peninsular Malaysia are disrupting what was already a working arrangement, claiming that “insisting to do so creates tensions between different religions” as non-Muslims in the peninsula do not traditionally use the word.
This is because three generations of Malaysians regardless of race or religion have been singing the state anthems of seven states, Johore, Selangor, Perak, Kedah, Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu invoking the name of Allah to bless and protect the Sultan and people. Were they wrong? Read the rest of this entry »
Johore a key battle ground for the vision of a Malaysian Dream as a unifying factor for all Malaysians and an antidote to the revival of extremist and intolerant racist politics in five months after 13GE
Johore is a key battleground for the vision of a Malaysian Dream as a unifying factor for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region and antidote to the revival of extremist and intolerant racist politics in the five months after the 13th general elections on May 5, 2013.
In fact, the Vision of a Malaysian Dream was given expression in the Battle of Gelang Patah in the 13th General Elections, as a direct response to irresponsible and reckless campaign by UMNO politicians, led by former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir, to racialise the Gelang Patah contest in particular and the 13th general election in general.
But Gelang Patah was a major failure for Mahathir, particularly his irresponsible and reckless campaign to racialise the Gelang Patah battle between former Mentri Besar Datuk Ghani Othman and myself by falsely and mischievously alleging that I had wanted to create a “racial confrontation” and that I was seeking to incite the Chinese to hate the Malays.
In fact, far from trying to racialise the electoral battle, it was in pursuit of the Malaysian Dream as a rallying point of unity for all races in the country that was behind my high-risk decision to leave the Ipoh Timor parliamentary seat, where I had won with a majority of over 21,000 votes in the 2008 GE, to contest in the Barisan Nasional fortress of Gelang Patah which BN had won with some 9,000-vote majority in the 2008 GE and a humoungous 31,688-vote majority in the 2004 GE.
There was no surety that I could win in Gelang Patah. In fact, there was a lot of concern that I would lose as I had seemed to have bitten more than I could chew, especially with top UMNO campaigners like Tun Mahathir and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin calling on the voters to make Gelang Patah my “graveyard”. Read the rest of this entry »
The Malaysian Inside
October 13, 2013
Three things we learned from this weekend’s Umno polls.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s influence in the party on the wane.
Yes, he is still the most recognisable name in Malaysian politics and a segment of Umno members yearn for a return to the days when he owned Putrajaya but there is a limit to what Dr Mahathir Mohamad can do these days.
We got a peek into his waning influence in the run-up to the general elections on May 5 when he could not alter the outcome in many places where he campaigned furiously. Remember Gelang Patah. Remember Shah Alam. Remember Pasir Mas. Remember Lumut.
For many younger voters, he was like a voice from another generation. For many non-Malays, he was the leader of the right-wing brigade and a reminder of all the excesses of the Mahathir era. Read the rest of this entry »
The Malaysian Insider
October 10, 2013
This is what’s…
• Despicable about Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and his ilk: They believe that the day after the Umno polls on October 19 they can wrap up their divisive talk and everything will be normal again in Malaysia.
These past weeks of cutting words and right wing rhetoric has set back race relations years, maybe even decades. The fighting words from Zahid and Datuk Seri Ali Rustam – one pitching Indians as criminals and Malays as victims and the other pigeonholing Chinese as power crazy – have reminded non-Malays that behind the cash handouts and 1,000-kilowatt smiles, an enemy looms.
A true test of a leader is his consistency and what he utters under pressure. Will he play to the gallery to score points? Will he sacrifice race relations to get voted into office? Will he speak with a forked tongue to win?
The trouble with the Umno politician today is that he stands for everything that is rotten about the state of the country. He is corrupt; he is a plunderer; he is vindictive; he has no understanding of the rule of law.
And he actually believes that hurt from a quiver full of verbal arrows fired at non-Malays can be forgotten. Read the rest of this entry »
Oct 4, 2013
QUESTION TIME In the wee hours of yesterday as most of Malaysia slept, the amendments to the Prevention of Crime Act were pushed through. This brought back the dreaded provision of detention without trial that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had rolled back when he dismantled the Internal Security Act and the Emergency Ordinance.
With that, out through the window went Najib’s self-proclaimed programme to promote civil society and get rid of legislation which curtailed human rights in order to restore the same to all Malaysians.
Najib had made this loosening up of tight legislation a part of his election campaign to try and capture some of the more liberal minded, non-bumiputera, and urban voters by at least giving the impression that the nation was moving towards greater freedom.
Along with this Najib sought to become a prime minister for all Malaysians with his 1Malaysia programmes and efforts to get the non-Malay votes by targeting them specifically in ad campaigns and through the English mainstream media.
But post the elections, the tone of changes has taken a completely different complexion. The moves have been to help bumiputeras almost exclusively and to reverse the changes towards greater liberalisation. Read the rest of this entry »
by Eileen Ng and Mobhd Farhan Darwis
The Malaysian Insider
October 04, 2013
Umno incumbent vice-president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi appears to be gaining ground among the party’s 191 divisions in the run-up to the October 19 party polls, say Umno insiders.
However, the Home Minister’s two running mates, incumbents Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Rural Development Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, are believed to be trailing in the six-man race.
The trio is facing a stiff challenge from Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, Felda chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad and former Malacca chief minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam.
The Malaysian Insider understands Ahmad Zahid has garnered pledges of support from about 130 divisions as he travels across the country in his quest to keep his party post. Some 146,000 grassroots delegates will vote for their leaders in the polls, as opposed to the 2,500 delegates that previously voted in the triennial elections. Read the rest of this entry »
The Malay Mail Online
October 4, 2013
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 4 — The chief minister of the rural Malaysian state of Kedah has a familiar face, even if he lacks the charisma, provocative rhetoric and razor-sharp political skills of his famous father.
Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir is the youngest son of Malaysia’s longest-serving leader, Tun Mahathir Mohamad, whose often authoritarian rule transformed the economy into a developing powerhouse while winning a reputation for cronyism and dubious “mega-projects”.
Ten years after his father stepped down, Mukhriz has stepped into a battle for the soul of the long-ruling United Malays National Organisation (Umno) in a test of 88-year-old Mahathir senior’s still-powerful influence over the party.
If Mukhriz succeeds in snaring a coveted Umno vice presidential post later this month, unseating one of three seasoned cabinet ministers, it would be seen as a further blow to the flagging reform agenda of Prime Minister Najib Razak.
The ruling coalition’s weak election victory in May undermined Najib’s attempts to forge more inclusive policies in racially diverse Malaysia, empowering Umno conservatives who want to strengthen policies favouring majority ethnic Malays.
The elder Mahathir remains a potent figure through his towering reputation and leverage within Umno. Victory in the party elections for the son would give rise to suspicion that he would act as a proxy for his father.
Both father, who has previously scorned political dynasties, and son have denied that. Neither responded to Reuters’ requests for interviews.
Nevertheless, Mukhriz Mahathir’s election to a top party post would be seen as bolstering the conservative wing of the party. Read the rest of this entry »
Sep 30, 2013
Mention the word Umno Baru and people will think of the 3Cs – corruption, cheating and cronyism.
Thousands of miles away, Najib Abdul Razak told the UN General Assembly that “the greatest threat to Muslims today, is not from the outside world, but from within”. His words are poignant and have some gravitas, for they reflect the conditions at home.
Thanks to former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the public has become extremely mistrustful of politicians. Thanks also to Mahathir, the biggest challenge which Najib will face at the next Umno-Baru elections, is ironically, within his party.
Many factors will affect the battles during the upcoming Umno-Baru election, including wit and financial considerations. The two men, president Najib, and deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin, ‘won’ their seats unopposed. Read the rest of this entry »
By Kee Thuan Chye
30th Sept. 2013
“Transformational” is getting to be a hollow word. And the Cabinet ministers who brandish it at will don’t seem to understand its meaning. Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi just showed he doesn’t when he said the bringing back of detention without trial in the newly proposed Prevention of Crime (Amendment and Extension) Bill was “transformational”. Was he using it simply to be in fashionable sync with the Government Transformation Programme?
Is something retrogressive transformational? Is a return to the provisions of the repealed draconian Emergency Ordinance (EO) and Internal Security Act (ISA) transformational? If it is so, then Malaysians are in for a big surprise. And a nasty one too.
Both acts were considered reprehensible to the public, and therefore the Government was forced to remove them. But that was before the 13th general election was called. Now that it’s over, the Government apparently sees no more need in appeasing the public. Pre-election pledges have gone out the window.
A government that is transformational would not hark back to the dark days of Mahathir Mohamad’s reign, when fear was the instrument used to keep people in line. It should instead be demolishing Mahathirism and restoring the damage done to our institutions. No wonder Mahathir is applauding the Bill and blaming the public for “not (being) that developed or educated to appreciate that the law is for their own good”. But then, that’s Mahathir. Always blaming other people. And always asserting that might is right.
The new Bill proposes detaining a suspect for an initial two years, after which period if a review finds that the suspect should be detained further, he will be held for a further two years. This could go on indefinitely in a series of two-year periods. In this sense, it is no different from the EO and the ISA. Read the rest of this entry »
The Malaysian Insider
September 29, 2013
Najib addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly in New York yesterday. – Reuters pic, September 29, 2013.Najib addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly in New York yesterday. – Reuters pic, September 29, 2013.Here is one reason why Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak enjoys being outside the country so much: it is only in the rarefied air of the United Nations assembly or in meeting rooms at the swanky Waldorf Astoria in New York that an audience still buys his talk about Malaysia being a model of moderate Islam.
Back home, here in Malaysia, with the right wing very much in ascendancy in Umno and with religious and racial intolerance at red flag levels, any mention of the word “moderation” is met with cynicism. Or worse yet, disdain.
It was revealed in Parliament that the Prime Minister spent a staggering RM44 million on travel abroad between March 2008 and May 2013.
It is a fact that has raised eyebrows even among Umno politicians. Some of them wonder why attending the UN assembly or opening the Khazanah Nasional office in San Francisco is so important, or why it was necessary to go to Thailand for his second break after the May 5 general election.
Actually, there is a simple explanation why he enjoys being outside the country so much. He needs a diversion from the daily mess that is Malaysia, a mess compounded by his willingness to allow shrill, fringe voices to dictate the tone of this country. And his inability to tackle the laundry list of issues from endemic corruption to the breakdown in law and order.
A laundry list that also includes: an increasingly right-wing Umno; an inept Cabinet; a combative opposition; fractured and irrelevant BN component parties; a widening budget deficit and the insatiable appetite of businessmen and cronies; and, not least, the hulking presence of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Read the rest of this entry »
Sep 28th 2013 | KUALA LUMPUR
Politics in Malaysia – The ruling party returns to its old habits of race-based handouts
THE United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) is the dominant party in the coalition that has ruled Malaysia since independence in 1957. Only now, however, is it parading its democratic credentials, so far as its internal appointments go. Nominations have just closed for elections to a broad range of party posts, to be decided in the middle of October by 146,000-odd party delegates at local level. Previously, a mere 2,600 members, those who attended the party’s convention, had a say. UMNO’s boosters claim that these new elections will restore vim to an ageing organisation. They say it will make it the most genuinely democratic party in the country. Not bad for an outfit with a past reputation as a ruthless political machine.
Yet what might be therapeutic for UMNO could prove the reverse for Malaysia. For what has emerged during the electoral process is that the so-called “warlords” who run the party are determined to shift the country in a conservative, indeed reactionary, direction. They want to reassert the supremacy of ethnic Malays. Read the rest of this entry »
by Lee Shi-Ian
The Malaysian Insider
September 19, 2013
The Royal Commission of Inquiry on Sabah’s illegal immigrants problem today heard from Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that indiscriminate issuance of Malaysian identity cards had begun during the time of second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein.
Anwar, the Deputy Prime Minister from 1993 until his dramatic sacking in 1998, Ibrahim, told the Inquiry that between 1972 and 1984, there was an influx of refugees fleeing fighting in the southern Philippines.
The refugees were granted identity cards indiscriminately between 1979 and 1990, said Anwar, who said a special task force was formed by the National Security Council for this purpose.
“The task force is still active today,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »
By Syed Jaymal Zahiid
The Malay Mail Online
September 14, 2013
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 14 — A renewed and inward-facing agitation among Umno-friendly blogs hints that all is not well within the Malay nationalist party ahead of its polls.
Since the general election, prominent blogs aligned to the party such as bigdogdotcom and outsyedthebox began turning up their criticism against Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak. And with the party’s election drawing nearer, their volume has only grown louder.
They are also not a force to be trifled with; ostensibly created to protect and promote the conservative interests of those aligned with former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, they were partly credited for the campaign that saw Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi forced out to make way for Najib in 2009.
But the grace accorded to Najib since he took office in April 2009 has since ended. Now, the son of Malaysia’s second prime minister has come in for the same treatment from the very blogs that helped put him in power.
And as much as Najib and his allies try to tell the public that Umno is doing well and remains united in the aftermath of Barisan Nasional’s (BN) worst ever electoral performance, the increasing attacks in the blogs paints a much grimmer picture that the ruling Malay party is divided. Read the rest of this entry »
By Kee Thuan Chye
13th Sept 2013
Former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad drew considerable laughter last Wednesday when he gave testimony at the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants in Sabah. One hopes the laughter was laced with irony and scepticism.
Irony and scepticism because it seems unlikely, going by reports of the proceedings, that anyone listening to some of the things he said could find them acceptable.
The most unacceptable was his saying that he had not heard about Project IC or Project M (for Mahathir) until only recently, and that the Government could not be held responsible for the issuance of illegal identity cards (ICs) to immigrants who had entered Sabah illegally.
“These illegal immigrants may have been issued the identity cards erroneously or it may have been the wrongdoing of certain low-ranking civil servants,” he said, expressly passing the blame on to others. Read the rest of this entry »