Archive for category Mariam Mokhtar
By Mariam Mokhtar | February 22, 2013
Free Malaysia Today
As we approach the 13th general election (GE13), Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s interpretation of “1Malaysia” gets more bizarre.
To herald in the Year of the Snake, Najib made the surprise announcement that the Chinese would be treated to a special performance by the Korean entertainer Psy. Earlier this week, after much delay and heavy censorship, the Indians were finally allowed to view the film, “Vishwaroopam”.
The Malay masses, always on the wrong end of the stick when it comes to Umno’s largesse, were forced to view the Umno propaganda film “Tanda Putera”.
Psy’s performance allegedly cost RM3 million for a mere 12 minutes. The ban on Vishwaroopam caused promoters to suffer significant financial losses. Much of the box-office takings were diverted to pirated DVDs which were openly sold throughout Malaysia.
“Tanda Putera” cost RM4.8 million and is funded by the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) and the Multimedia Development Corporation (Mdec) – in other words, the taxpayer.
Read the rest of this entry »
by Mariam Mokhtar
Feb 18, 2013
Like a coin, Malaysia has two sides; the tourist experiences a tropical idyll, a shopping paradise and gastronomic delights, but the man in the street sees the obverse.
azlanIn the markets, housewives moan about the increasing prices of everyday food items, but at any Malaysian Airlines check-in counter in London, New York, Dubai or Sydney, one can see Malaysian officials and their spouses deposit box after box of shopping. It is alleged that they seldom pay excess baggage charges.
To say that Malaysia is a nation in chaos is an understatement. Minister after minister shows levels of incompetency that any half-decent company would never permit. Who runs the country? Who is in charge? Is Malaysia like an air plane cruising on auto-pilot until it crashes when it runs out of fuel?
While ministers are busy playing politics, the country is going to ruin. In Sabah, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s ‘Project M’, made illegal immigrants instant citizens of Malaysia. Last week, more than 100 armed foreigners breezed in and occupied a village, without any resistance.
Elsewhere in Malaysia, people of distinction, whose only weapons are truth and the tenets of justice and democracy, are harassed and discouraged from entering Malaysia, or are deported. These people include a French lawyer acting on behalf of Suaram, a British lawyer acting on behalf of Hindraf, Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand and Australian Senator Nick Xenophon. Read the rest of this entry »
Mariam Mokhtar | February 8, 2013
Free Malaysia Today
The prime minister had the perfect opportunity to act, but he neglected to do so. Consumed by greed and power, like many politicians in Malaysia, he looked the other way.
As soon as Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak announces the date for 13th general election, it will probably sound his political death knell.
For the benefit of the rakyat, and in front of the television cameras and news photographers, Najib and his Cabinet present a united front; but behind the scenes, another story emerges.
Damaging leaks about the shortcomings of his leadership continue to undermine Najib. His grip on the party is tenuous. His strongest ally, the self-styled First Lady Rosmah Mansor, will do her utmost to ensure he succeeds.
Last month, the independent organisation, the Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research, found that Najib had high popularity ratings of 63% among voters in Peninsular Malaysia.
For the sake of “completeness”, why not a survey among voters in Sabah and also, Sarawak? It would have been interesting to gauge Najib’s popularity in Sabah, before and during the proceedings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) for Sabah.
If the same survey had been conducted among ministers in Najib’s own Cabinet, the results would be a good gauge of their confidence in his leadership. Read the rest of this entry »
by Mariam Mokhtar
Feb 4, 2013
When food bags were given out by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak at Semenyih recently, it is alleged that there was a near stampede to acquire the goodies. Najib must have felt smug satisfaction at being able to control people like that.
One does not want to judge or question why people would demean themselves by pushing others out of the way to receive the goods. Perhaps, the people who grabbed the offerings were poor, and gaining some rice and flour seemed like winning a jackpot.
It is despicable that Najib and his advisers have not learnt to treat people with more dignity. Why should these people be filmed acting like refugees from a war-torn area? Why do political parties make ordinary people feel and act like beggars?
On the other hand, why should the taxpayer be burdened with the extra expense when the money could be put to better use?
If the truth be known, the goods were probably provided by some crony company and sold at exorbitant prices. The organisers arranging the transaction were possibly from another crony company and charging an inflated rate for completing the deal. The transport company delivering the goods may also be another crony company and presenting another excessive bill. In the end, the taxpayer will pick up the tab for the inflated invoices.
If the rakyat stopped rushing up to Najib to receive his goods, his money or his election offerings, Najib would not know how to react and Umno would be flabbergasted. Corruption does not work if there are no takers for the gifts.
People cannot be told what to do, and to stop needy people from taking these goods is easier said than done. There are many underprivileged people whose needs are varied, but what if the majority of us stuck to our principles and stopped giving Najib the attention he craves? Read the rest of this entry »
by Mariam Mokhtar
Jan 21, 2013
According to one Sabahan, there is so much crime in Sabah that squatter houses, too, have grilles on the doors and windows, and that these cost more than the houses themselves.
For four decades, ordinary Sahabans have been angered by illegal immigration and the social and economic problems associated with it, such as a shortage of housing, a lack of employment and educational opportunities, high levels of crime and massive overcrowding.
Despite the limited terms of reference of the royal commission of inquiry (RCI) ordered by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, the RCI has revealed disturbing aspects of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s bid to remain in power. Soon, the RCI will be overshadowed by the side-show that Mahathir may have helped arrange.
The star-performer is the self-styled motivational guru Sharifah Zohra Jabeen Syed Shah Miskin (right). One wonders if Zohra has replaced the virgin queen, Ummi Hafilda Ali, who used to come to Mahathir’s aid and helped distract the rakyat with golden showers and salacious revelations.
There was once a time when the government would detain reporters and send them to Kamunting, ostensibly for their own safety. Zohra was denied this privilege because Najib has abolished the ISA. Last week, Zohra bowed to overwhelming pressure and heeded police advice to cancel her seminar on ‘How to Make Your First Million’.
I can give you the gist of the RM200 seminar. It is an open secret that the first million is easy to make; join Umno, then claw your way to the top by backstabbing and badmouthing everyone who stands in your way.
There are tell-tale signs that that you have “made it” and joined the Umno elite. In the election canvassing that takes place every five years, Umno delivers bags of rice to the masses, but the Umno elite receive Birkin bags.
Households that qualify are given a one-off payment of RM500 (and possibly another RM500 if the situation demands it) but the elite get several million ringgit in hard cash, stuffed in suitcases.
The poor may get a discount on their smartphones, but the elite are given the contracts to sell the phones.
The rakyat may be given tins of powdered milk as freebies during canvassing, but elite members are given millions of ringgit to buy a few cows and many luxury condominiums. Read the rest of this entry »
by Mariam Mokhtar
Jan 14, 2013
Oh, to be a fly-on-the-wall in the home of former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad when he witnessed the outpouring of support for the KL112 rally – dubbed the People’s Uprising Rally, last Saturday.
Did his purse his lips, clench his fists and tighten his resolve to remove the weaklings in Umno? His greatest fear is that the truth will emerge, his legacy is exposed as a sham and his dynasty is castrated.
Last Saturday, about 35km away from the Merdeka Stadium, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak attended a meet-the-people rally organised by the Malaysian Indian Progressive Front (IPF), and Bernama said he was “impressed by the strong support of the IPF”. Around 15,000 people had assembled in the sleepy town of Semenyih to welcome Najib.
The PM should have known that the IPF event would have been overshadowed by KL112 and that no amount of negative spin by the mainstream English and Malay newspapers would detract from the implications of KL112.
Was this a deliberate ploy by people in Najib’s camp to undermine him? Is Najib being prepared for the big push? Read the rest of this entry »
Dec 24, 2012
Who needs Father Christmas when we have Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak?
The world has Father Christmas. In western folklore, he is the legendary figure who brings presents to the homes of good children on the night of Christmas eve. He is usually portrayed as a chubby, joyful, white-bearded man who wears black boots and a red suit trimmed with white fur. Santa lives in the North Pole with Mama Claus, and is assisted by his magical elves and flying reindeer.
In Malaysia, Najib has assumed the role of Santa, with his various handouts. Najib does not have Santa’s long white beard nor rosy cheeks, but many women claim to be envious of his luscious red lips.
Both the Malaysian Santa and his Mama Claus live in a sprawling mansion called Seri Perdana, with an air-conditioning system which would make Santa jealous. To put things into perspective, the official residence of the British PM, No 10 Downing Street, is a garden shed in comparison. Read the rest of this entry »
Dec 17, 2012
If wife of former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos, Imelda Marcos is famous for her shoes, then Rosmah Mansor, the spouse of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is noted for her bags and rings. But fashion accessories are not her only forte, unlike most Malaysians, she can set aside subpoenas and has the time, money and inclination to write a book.
One moment, both Najib and Rosmah are riding high on the wave of public opinion and their belief that “we can do no wrong”. Next moment, they are at rock bottom and having to fend off accusations; hence the book. Did she publish details of her life and her rise to prominence, out of conceit or an act of desperation?
Surely the book is not the best medium to “explain” herself, if it is true that Malaysians only read two-and-a-half pages a year.
If Rosmah wants to clear her name, why has she not gone on television and done a Princess Diana type confession complete with black eyeliner and coy looks? After all, the government media and printed newspapers are all within her reach.
If the New York Times could have a US$5 million centre-fold spread of her a few years ago, then she should use the local papers to promote herself. RTM will free-up several slots and would not dare decline her request. Read the rest of this entry »
Dec 3, 2012
Malaysians need not fear that we will become like Afghanistan because Afghanistan has learnt from us and has become like us.
A New York Times report headlined ‘Audit says Kabul Bank began as Ponzi scheme’ bears a striking resemblance to the way Umno runs this country.
Investigators have claimed that the Kabul Bank has been fraudulently obtaining hundreds of millions of dollars and siphoning it off to a few individuals connected to President Hamid Karzai (left).
The war-torn country is trying to get to grips with the concepts of western democracy and banking, but public trust and confidence in the government has been shattered by the revelations of crony capitalism and corruption on a massive scale.
Governments around the world are shocked at the Kabul Bank scandal but are turning a blind eye to similar events in Malaysia, where institutions routinely siphon off money to Umno and its cronies.
An audit by the Kroll investigative firm has revealed that the Kabul Bank’s financial duplicity was mired in controversy and cover up. There was a political conspiracy involving those at the very top of government to stall the investigations.
This is no different from Malaysia. Recent cases are the political interference concerning Tajuddin Ramli’s involvement in the Malaysia Airlines scandal, the Sabah Umno and Michael Chia fiasco and the National Feedlot Corporation case. Read the rest of this entry »
by Mariam Mokhtar
Oct 29, 2012
Without any surgical instruments, former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad has managed to create the Malay master-race. Dr Josef Mengele, the Nazi ‘Angel of Death’, would have been proud of him.
Mengele is best remembered for his work to create an Aryan master-race, befitting the Third Reich. During WWII, he performed experiments on inmates at Nazi concentration camps, many of which had no scientific basis.
People were operated on without anaesthetics. Mengele was motivated by the desire for racial purification and he satisfied his passion for the study of genetics, by experimenting on twins.
These experiments started during WWII and continued in Argentina, after his escape from Germany.
We are aware that Mahathir has a morbid obsession with all things Jewish. He has a special mention of the Jews in his book ‘The Malay Dilemma’; he blamed the 1997 financial crisis on a Jewish conspiracy; and, in 2003, his anti-Semitic speech caused an international outcry.
Last week, he reiterated his stance that the Jews “created many problems for us and the rest of the world” but then, appeared to distance himself from the comments of his former cabinet minister, Sanusi Junid, who said Mahathir’s economic policies were anti-Jewish.
In their youth, both Mengele and Mahathir were both intelligent and popular men, but within a few years of finishing their medical degrees, their racist views shaped their future lives. Read the rest of this entry »
Oct 15, 2012
The Tunku once described himself as “the happiest prime minister” when he was interviewed in 1983, by Peter Hastings, the foreign editor of the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH).
Today, as we read about Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, and the tactics used against the rakyat, NGOs, civil liberty groups and the opposition, we see a man who resorts to foul play, even breaking the law if necessary, to prolong his political career and that of his party, Umno.
Perhaps, what the Tunku possessed and what his successors lack is a sense of humour. Behind the calm purpose of his jokes, Tunku was able to show his spirit of tolerance.
Tunku laughed when Hastings reminded him of the time an Islamic group had sought the Tunku’s support for adulterers to be stoned to death and he had replied: “There are not enough stones in Malaysia.” Read the rest of this entry »
by Mariam Mokhtar
Oct 8, 2012
It is wrongly believed that when women speak, men only hear nagging.
The tragic prime minister Najib Abdul Razak, who is under intense pressure at home, should refrain from bringing his domestic problems into the workplace. For him to dismiss the need for a women’s rights movement in Malaysia is premature and daft.
Millions of women in Malaysia face violence, intimidation and other prejudices, in private, at work and in public. The instruments of the state and the Syariah Court have failed to deal with their problems.
The PM opined that “equality has been given from the start”for Malaysian women.
In the first instance, neither he nor his party gave women that equality. It was the British colonial administration which gave the women of Malaya schooling. Despite that, they still had to fight for jobs, demand equal pay and battle other forms of discrimination. Read the rest of this entry »
by Mariam Mokhtar
Oct 1, 2012
After the furore concerning the leaked question on Bersih 3.0 in the mock SPM test papers, a more serious problem has emerged; the Moral Studies paper for the upcoming examination has been stolen.
Originally, the trial papers had prompted concerns that young minds were being indoctrinated – a charge denied by deputy ministers Puad Zarkashi and Wee Ka Siong.
Puad said: “As long as it does not affect the racial or religious sensitivities or malign any individual, I feel (the question) is not a problem… It’s up to the rakyat to decide.”
Wee also disagreed that education was being politicised and refuted calls for an investigation: “I cannot act based on any Tom, Dick or Harry’s allegations….”
With weeks to go before the examination, all police leave has been cancelled and an investigation into the theft ordered. A spokesperson said the probe would include everyone who had access to the test paper before publication, the printers and the people who set the questions.
Like many other parents and children who want an advantage in the forthcoming exams, this correspondent managed to secure a copy of the Moral Studies paper, for RM100, in the backstreets of Kepong. Read the rest of this entry »
08 August 2012
It’s an established fact: Sportsmen like Lee Chong Wei unite Malaysians like no politician can. Prime minister Najib Abdul Razak struggles with his ‘1Malaysia’ slogan just as Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s promises of change, fail to convince some Malaysians.
There is a disgusting predictability whenever a high-profile tournament fails to deliver the expected victorious result.
In last weekend’s Olympic badminton finals when Malaysia’s hopes of her first Gold medal were dashed, we blamed the athletes, their lack of determination, their weak fighting spirit, their ineffective coaches and the useless accompanying officials.
We praised the victors for their superiority. We blamed the presence of certain personalities for bringing bad luck to the players. A few of us even introduced the racial element, to sport.
Why are our hopes pinned on a handful of sportsmen? Why do we have so few world-class athletes? Read the rest of this entry »
by Mariam Mokhtar
Jul 23, 2012
You’re on holiday, you’re curious about the government in the country you are visiting, but the travel guides say very little. Why not try the following unscientific survey?
First, look around to see if there are posters of the prime minister or president and second, check the condition of the public toilets.
A vain head of government would have posters of his image littering the country. The third world mentality is reflected in a profusion of his images in public spaces.
As if to reflect the oppressive nature of the government, the state of public toilets tends to mirror the decline of the nation. In a way, the overall condition of the public toilet could also be a metaphor for the governance of the country.
Those who have travelled widely (both internally and abroad) may have noticed that in some countries, they are charged for using public toilets, only to find that there is no toilet paper and the facilities are a disgrace.
Sometimes, all that greets them is a stinking hole in the ground. On occasion, they are supplied with only two sheets of toilet paper, at the entrance.
The toilet user feels much like the citizen who has paid his taxes but finds an inefficient public service. There is no one to complain to, the attendant (metaphor for the MPs and civil service) is indifferent, and the suggestion box only leads to the cesspit.
The visitor to America is not bombarded with pictures of President Barack Obama, on every street corner. Nor are those who visit England, repulsed by posters of Prime Minister David Cameron.
Last week, when members of the Free Syrian Army captured a border post on the boundary with Turkey, they vented their frustrations by decimating posters of President Abas Assad with machinegun fire. During the Tahrir Square demonstrations, angry Egyptians tore down posters and stomped on the face of then-president Hosni Mubarak.
Unless Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is trapped in his ivory tower and has no way of gauging the mood on the ground, why was he persuaded to plaster his face all over the doors, walls and pillars of the KTM Komuter trains and stations? Read the rest of this entry »
Jul 2, 2012
Every Malaysian has, in their daily activities, had dealings with Macom Bhd., the company which flourished under the tenure of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Even foreign investors have been involved in transactions with Macom. Just in case you’re not aware, Macom stands for ‘Makan Commission’.
At some point in the past, our integrity was compromised. Umno and to a large extent, Mahathir, were responsible. Umno Baru was created to keep the Malays ignorant and stupid (Melayu di perbodohkan), as Mahathir might say.
It is a story which has been told repeatedly. The Malays, under Mahathir, became rich beyond their wildest dreams. In one generation, the Malays and their values were compromised. The non-Malays are not blameless, especially the ones who played along with Macom.
The people who control Macom don’t want things to change. The Malay who prefers to keep quiet and not rock the boat, is preferable to one who makes his government and leaders accountable for their every action. Read the rest of this entry »
Mariam Mokhtar | Apr 30, 2012
The irony of the Bersih 3.0 rally was that it was Ambiga Sreenevasan and not premier Najib Abdul Razak, who managed to unite the rakyat and give true meaning to his favourite slogan, ‘1Malaysia’.
Ambiga united all Malaysians. They had one goal. How it must have hurt Najib that she had more magnetism than he does.
If democracy in Malaysia is like a dead man, then Bersih 3.0 successfully resurrected him. It just remains for the rakyat to nurse the dying democracy back to good health.
It is doubtful that the PM or any other Umno politician, could have attracted the size of crowd that filtered into Kuala Lumpur on Saturday. It is inconceivable that they could have united Malaysians on a national and global scale. Umno just manages to divide the races. If Umno cannot see this, then it is either too obtuse or in denial. Read the rest of this entry »
Mariam Mokhtar | Apr 9, 2012
The average human brain weighs about 3 lbs and is 80 percent water. When Einstein’s brain was set aside for research, people were surprised that it was not unusually large. Perhaps, we have to remind ourselves that it is not size that matters, but what we do with our brain that really counts.
If there was an opportunity to dissect Malay brains, and separate the brains of extremist Malay/Muslims from the moderate Malays, would we find any differences in the pathological specimens?
Would the extremist brains be abnormally heavy because they were weighted down by the condition known as Ketuanan Melayu? Would the moderate brains show lesions on the lobes which govern speech?
It is a simple question, but no one has been able to answer it: where are the moderate, smart Malays who should speak up about issues which affect all Malaysians?
I pose the question because extremist Malays appear to dominate the affairs of Malaysia. Are the moderates consumed by apathy? Are they afraid of drawing attention? A few may think they are not articulate, or that their views do not matter. Perhaps, the moderates are content to carry on as we have done for the past 54 years; hence their silence.
If they are as disgruntled as the rest of the nation, they must speak out now because their opinions would send a clear message to Umno, that enough is enough. Read the rest of this entry »
Mariam Mokhtar | January 27, 2012
Free Malaysia Today
The inexcusable translation in our government departments is not just a question of lack of professionalism and education but, more importantly, of attitude, especially of those at the top.
Throughout Malaysia’s arms spending history, the government has forked out billions on defence procurement while millions more have allegedly been used for commissions and backhanders.
And yet the defence ministry does not see fit to apportion a tiny fraction of its massive budget on the services of a translator.
It cannot be a lack of funds or a scarcity of translators. Is it an aversion which started after one high-profile translator connected to a particular defence purchase met an untimely end?
When the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) posted its error-riddled translation on its English website to describe the dress code appropriate for staff, it received extraordinary attention on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
The translations ranged from the painful sounding “Clothes that poke eye” to the more serious safety connotation of the “Malaysian Government take drastic measures to increase the level of any national security threat”.
Defence Minister Zahid Hamidi admitted that his ministry had utilised the free Google online translator. He subsequently ordered the site to be removed temporarily. It is easy to blame Google. Read the rest of this entry »
By Mariam Mokhtar | January 13, 2012
Free Malaysia Today
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was aware of the consequences of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim being jailed. With limited choices, he was forced to choose the unpalatable option of having Anwar acquitted.
In doing so, Najib’s reputation may have been enhanced, his party Umno-BN saved from the brink of annihilation at the polls and, most important of all, the creation of the powerful and feared martyr (Anwar), was neutralised.
For Anwar, acquittal meant he could concentrate on leading the opposition and making sure the government performs. Sodomy II was designed by Umno to be a distraction, for him and the rakyat. Valuable time and resources had been wasted on this sham trial which was designed to wear Anwar and the rakyat down.
Najib must think us fools to believe that Anwar’s acquittal signalled an independent judiciary. What about the many other cases which have been rigged in the past? Teoh Beng Hock, Aminulrasyid Amzah, Ahmad Sarbani, A Kugan.
Read the rest of this entry »