Archive for category Mariam Mokhtar
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 »
Mariam Mokhtar | Dec 26, 2011
The spirit of Christmas lives on in Malaysia, regardless of race or religion. I know of several non-Christians who have not forgotten the joy of giving and thinking of others before themselves. Some find solace in singing carols in a group. Others delight in thinking about what to get for friends, family or colleagues.
A few join in the season of goodwill by the simple act of volunteering, while others help relieve Christian colleagues who want the day off to celebrate Christmas. Perhaps, there is something about the magic of Christmas, which even diehard Muslim extremists will never destroy.
When I was in primary school, Lembaga Letrik Negara (LLN), the pre-cursor of Tenaga National Bhd, used to hold Christmas parties for children, principally of its employees.
It was an event that every child looked forward to eagerly. As Christmas fell during the school holidays, it was another happy occasion that children and parents found welcoming.
It did not matter if the child was Malay, Chinese, Indian or Eurasian. No one bothered if the child who went was Christian or not. It wasn’t just the children who were excited. The accompanying parents enjoyed the get-together, which was always held at the Kilat Kelab. Read the rest of this entry »
By Mariam Mokhtar | Dec 12, 2011
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received the brunt of the wrath of former KGB spy and ex-president Vladimir Putin, when he blamed her for encouraging Russian street protests.
When BN cranks up its dirty tricks, will Clinton risk the fragile relationship of trade and investment with the Malaysian government by telling its people to take to the streets, as she did in Russia?
Premier Putin’s desire to return to power as president next year, with the United Russia party ‘winning’ the elections, reminds us of Umno wanting to prolong its 54 years of power. The parallels between Malaysia and Russia are too many to ignore.
With reports of ballot box-stuffing and ‘carousel voting’ fueling their anger, Russians took to the streets to protest. Carousel voting is when people are driven from polling-station to polling-station to vote time and time again.
Read the rest of this entry »
By Mariam Mokhtar | Nov 21, 2011
Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s impressive performance in a “popularity poll” conducted by the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM), has nothing to do with his leadership qualities or his ability to charm the voters.
His apparent rise in popularity is in proportion to his absence from the country. In short, the electorate is glad he is absent from Malaysia.
The IIUM lecturer who devised the poll may have his own reasons for attributing Najib’s enhanced popularity to “his relentless efforts to touch base with the people and steer the country to a promising future”.
The PM is besotted with his image as an international statesman and swells with pride when he shakes the hands of the big players like Hu Jintao and Barack Obama. But pride comes before a fall.
Read the rest of this entry »
By Mariam Mokhtar | Nov 14, 2011
Hey diddle diddle,
The MP on the fiddle
The cow jumped over the moon
Khairy laughed to see such sport,
And Noh cow-ed like a buffoon
‘Cattlegate’ has exposed the Women Family and Community Development Minister, Shahrizat Abdul Jalil’s ill-advised foray into the cattle business.
Shahrizat and her family are alleged to have misappropriated the taxpayers’ money; with RM250 million for the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC), an RM800,000 overseas junket and a further RM10 million to purchase a luxury condominium in Bangsar.
Shahrizat’s husband operates the NFC and her three children, Izran, 27, Izmir, 31, and Izzana, 25 are chief executive and executive directors.
Read the rest of this entry »
Mariam Mokhtar | November 11, 2011
Free Malaysia Today
The rakyat should support calls for the 13th general election to be postponed until after ALL the recommendations (on electoral reforms) have been implemented.
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s flurry of reforms in the last couple of months, raises disturbing questions about his desire to make Malaysia the “best democracy in the world”.
Who stands to benefit most from his idea of the “best democracy” in the world? The rakyat or the Barisan Nasional (BN) political elite?
The naïve rakyat, who are lulled into a sense of security by Najib’s rash of reforms, may think it will be the main beneficiaries. On the other hand, BN’s political elite and their cronies hope to woo the electorate by appearing to accede to calls for political reforms and then undo the reforms, after they have secured a win.
Judging by the number of times BN has reneged on election promises in the last 54 years, it will be the latter group who will benefit. Read the rest of this entry »
Mariam Mokhtar | Oct 17, 2011
The cultural identity of modern Malaysia is like an artist’s palette, a colourful blend of people from different backgrounds, origins, traditions, culture and faiths. There is no denying that our rulers helped shaped the country’s social and historical development. They symbolise unity, pride and national identity.
But our royalty cannot escape living in a goldfish bowl.
If our public institutions are subject to modernisation, evaluation and reform, why can’t we discuss this particular institution – the royal institution?
Why are we perceived as enemies of the state just because we point out the obvious but unspoken facts? Why do intellectually challenged flunkies, who refuse to be dragged into the 21st century, prevent intelligent discourse about the Malay rulers?
Stopping healthy interaction will strain relationships between the rakyat and the monarchy. Hence, this discussion is long overdue.
The royalty cannot dispense with the scrutiny of a rakyat that exacts high standards from them. The royalty must learn to cope in a modern world where the feudal system, class distinctions and other forms of discrimination are outdated. Read the rest of this entry »
September 2, 2011
The NEP may have caused an increase in the wealth of the Malay urban middle class but on the whole, many Malays remain poor.
Dr Mahathir Mohamad came to the defence of the New Economic Policy (NEP) when economist Ramon Navaratnam and Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim condemned the NEP for discouraging foreign investment and for promoting corruption.
However, Mahathir failed to note that the NEP, like many of the government’s other programs with catchy, meaningless acronyms are only publicity stunts which fail to address the underlying problems that face many Malaysians, principally the Malays.
He said: “There may be corruption involved in some cases but the charge is not warranted because in most cases, the benefits of NEP have been enjoyed by almost every Malay and bumiputera. In fact, indirectly and, in some cases, directly it has benefited the non-bumiputera as well.”
The former prime minister’s selective amnesia serves him well. The NEP’s short-term benefits may have impressed his Cabinet colleagues but in the long term, the NEP has disadvantaged all other Malaysians. Read the rest of this entry »
Mariam Mokhtar | Aug 22, 11
Only an optimist would believe that their vote would sweep Umno from power in GE-13. Why bother with a sham election and waste resources going through the motions of an election, where the outcome has already been decided in advance? The headlines will proudly boast: “BN wins. Najib scores a landslide victory, in a massive 103 percent turnout”.
Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak wants GE-13 before electoral reforms. In a functioning democracy, the rakyat has a choice. The fundamental difference is that we are denied that choice.
We distrust our electoral processes despite Najib’s assurance about the parliamentary select committee (PSC) on electoral reforms. Will Umno/BN leave office gracefully?
At the 61st Umno general assembly Najib declared: “Even if our bodies are crushed and our lives lost, brothers and sisters, whatever happens, we must defend Putrajaya”. Read the rest of this entry »
Mariam Mokhtar | Aug 15, 11
If we are not happy with our car, we fix it or change to a better model. If we are dissatisfied with our clothing, we change tailors or buy another dress. If the restaurant food which is served is rubbish, we demand a refund or send it back to the kitchen. Some of us are even prepared to marry another woman if the current one(s) are unsatisfactory. So why not political parties?
Various people have urged Prime minister Najib Abdul Razak to resign but some people are hesitant because they fear that Najib’s deputy, Muhyiddin Yassin would take over.
To think that Muhyiddin (right) is the only choice means that Malaysians are still in a coma, or are too lazy to exercise their grey cells, or perhaps cannot see beyond their noses. Have these myopic Malaysians forgotten that Malaysia does have an opposition? And that they have a choice?
Read the rest of this entry »
Aug 8, 11
If Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s ‘Project N’, the sequel to former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s ‘Project M’ is realised, Tourism Malaysia will not need use the meaningless ‘Malaysia, Truly Asia’ as its slogan.
It will have to adopt the more apt ‘Malaysia, Truly Indonesia’.
With numerous allegations that 3 million Indonesians have become Malaysian citizens with full bumiputera rights, then perhaps Malaysia, with the exception of Sabah, will soon be known as the 34th Province of Indonesia. Read the rest of this entry »
Mariam Mokhtar | May 16, 11
Does Umno consider the life of a three-year-old fair-game in the war for political power? When will Umno take seriously the threat to kidnap MP Nurul Izzah Anwar’s three-year-old daughter?
Are Umno politicians so politically immature and morally corrupt? Perhaps Umno’s propaganda machine considers a defenceless child is just a pawn to use to gain political advantage.
Umno vice-president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was sceptical of the threat to kidnap Nurul’s child. He believed it was “just an opposition ploy to gain sympathy”.
Perhaps, if his child were to face similar threats, Zahid, who is also Defence Minister, would not mind if we were to tell him that he should ‘grin and bear it.’
Few will forget Zahid’s embarrassing back-tracking over his statements which alluded to the loyalties of the non-Malays in the armed forces. He wasn’t such a brave man when he faced the nation’s wrath. Read the rest of this entry »
By Mariam Mokhtar
May 9, 11 | Malaysiakini
The Muslim NGO Pembela is wrong to blame Christianity for the alleged decline of Islam in Malaysia because the worst enemies of Islam, in Malaysia, are from within the ranks of the Muslims.
Islam may be a beautiful religion, but some of the Muslims in Umno, Utusan Malaysia, and the extremist groups like Perkasa and Pembela are ugly. Islam may preach love and tolerance, but Muslims in Umno, Utusan, Perkasa and Pembela are bigots who are consumed with hate.
Perhaps the so-called Muslims in these organisations, who profess to be true Muslims, are Muslim in name only. They lust after power and are aware that without the Malay vote, the activities of their party, their newspaper, their institution or their way of life (the Ketuanan Melayu lording it over other communities) will be curtailed or cease to exist altogether. Read the rest of this entry »
By Mariam Mokhtar
May 2, 11 | Malaysiakini
It was to be expected that when ‘The Ugly Chinaman’ appeared in this column last week, the Chinese ‘face’ was slighted. Many ignored the fact that the offensive bits were attributes, made by the writer Bo Yang, about his fellow Chinese.
The article also incorporated answers from a questionnaire I had circulated within a small cross-section of Malaysians (Chinese and non-Chinese), that although unscientific, gave a flavour of what people perceived of the Chinese.
For a brief moment, the normally reticent Chinese was indignant. The messenger had to be shot.
When previous articles appeared under this column, condemning the Malays, I was seen as a champion of all races and praised for ‘seeing it from the other side’. Read the rest of this entry »
By Mariam Mokhtar
Apr 25, 11 | Malaysiakini
It is heartbreaking for Malaysians to see that the country is more fractured and divided than at any time in its history – Malays against Chinese, east Malaysians against peninsular Malaysians, Muslims against non-Muslims, and so on.
In the aftermath of the Sarawak election, the swing of votes to the opposition alarmed BN, but instead of looking in the mirror at itself, BN has again sought to blame others for its faults.
As is the norm after any election, it is the Chinese which BN conveniently picks on to ‘explain’ its poor showing in the voting pattern.
Why should we question the loyalty of the Chinese when BN should examine its own leadership, its policies and the way its conducts itself before, during and after an election? Read the rest of this entry »
Mariam Mokhtar | Feb 21, 11
The BTN or National Civics Bureau is divisive, racist and politically-motivated. Most people are aware of this except for BN politicians. Despite the serious allegations made about the BTN, their main coalition partners, MCA and MIC have not been effective in condemning the BTN.
Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin denied claims that courses run by the BTN were a form of political indoctrination. He said, “BTN is to inculcate nationalism and unity among the people in line with the 1Malaysia concept”.
Talk of nationalism smacks of the supremacy of one race over the other races. If he had said that the mission of BTN was to promote patriotism, this would be more in line with the spirit of Malaysian unity.
After a media blitz on the BTN in late 2009, the cabinet decided that the BTN would be revamped as it had run counter to its aims of instilling a united Malaysia. When former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad disagreed, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Aziz described him as racist.
Nevertheless, the task of revamping the BTN was given to Ahmad Maslan, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, who is also the BTN chief. As is common with most BN politicians, he flip-flopped and said that he was not going to revamp the curriculum but would merely ‘upgrade’ it. Read the rest of this entry »
by Mariam Mokhtar
27th December 2010
When Communication and Culture Minister Dr Rais Yatim revealed that eighty-four percent of Malaysians understood the 1Malaysia concept, would it be safe to say that Deputy Prime minister Muyiddin Yassin is in the 16 percent group?
Earlier, Prime minister Najib Abdul Razak said that the 1Malaysia concept described how the ‘spirit of togetherness and the ability to rise above political differences’ were important for continued peace and stability in the country.
He said, “Although some might like to think it (1Malaysia) is for political purposes, it is actually for nation-building.”
Would he care to tell us how much he has spent on all the 1Malaysia posters, advertisements, billboards, badges and other paraphernalia where 1Malaysia has been plastered around the countryside?
Instead of spending millions on frivolous projects, why not spend that money on its people? The nation could do with improved healthcare, better infrastructure, quality teachers and schools. At a time like Christmas, several hundreds if not thousands of Malaysians roam the streets because they are destitute. Money could be channeled away from the promotion of 1Malaysia, and be used for a good cause to help these homeless people.
If 1Malaysia has to be continually drummed into us, then it says a lot about Najib’s leadership. Read the rest of this entry »
by Mariam Mokhtar
Thursday, 23 December 2010
Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin scoffed at Pakatan’s 100-day reforms in the event that they formed the federal government and reminded the public ‘why BN has been in power for more than half a century and counting’.
His shameless attempt to discredit Pakatan is an insult to the electorate. He said, “Pakatan can promise the sun, moon, stars and mountains… But that is not the way of the BN government. We cannot squander our nation’s wealth.”
Muhyiddin is far removed from reality. People are disillusioned. After 53 years, the nation is more divided than ever, and our economy is in tatters. Our standards in education are falling, our defence budget is spiraling out of control and the civil service is bloated. The Prime minister’s residence and the King’s palace are undergoing a multi-million magical transformation whilst some people live without piped water and electricity.
Does Muhyiddin still think the electorate deserves to give BN another chance? Is 53 years of failure not long enough? Read the rest of this entry »