Archive for category nation building

In recurring religious conflicts, Muslim MPs ask where Malaysia is headed

by Joseph Sipalan
Malay Mail Online
June 27, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, June 27 ― Muslim lawmakers from both sides of the political divide have raised concerns over the seeming trend of Muslims imposing their beliefs on others, questioning if this is reflective of a wider agenda that is backed by Putrajaya to turn Malaysia into an Islamic state.

The federal lawmakers noted that the federal government appeared either unable to stop or even condoning of incidents in which Islamic sensibilities are imposed on the larger society by religious authorities and individuals.

“This issue bothers me because as our forefathers taught us, religion should be about faith and (is) personal,” Umno’s Pulai MP Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed told Malay Mail Online via text message.

“I suspect the longer-term objective of these groups is to usurp power through religious means and therefore avoid being legitimately elected.

“While I respect their motives and intentions, the elected government of the day must control the actions of these groups and act in the interest of all the citizens of the country,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fear-mongering in Malaysia

Syerleena Abdul Rashid
The Malaysian Insider
26 June 2015

Most recently, a group of angry… very angry men stormed Penang government’s administrative building and proceeded to express their dissatisfaction over an issue involving an illegal signage in the heart of George Town.

After awhile, the group split up into two; one group went to the third floor to deliver a memorandum and the other group stayed on the ground floor where the latter, in a fit of rage mixed with adrenalin, brazenly decided to desecrate a few flags.

Unfortunately for us, these acts of intimidation are becoming a permanent fixture in our local society. Read the rest of this entry »

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Civics bureau: from attendee to slideshow feature

Lyana Khairuddin
The Malaysian Insider
22 June 2015

I was amused to find a picture of me, particularly the one used for the profile of this column, on one of the slides sourced by the National Civics Bureau and recently released online. The slide cited the online petition I founded, I am #26, my age and affiliation. Upon sourcing for the whole slide deck and reading through them, I could only roll my eyes at the sheer audacity and idiocy of it all.

For someone who was (un)fortunate enough to have attended three “Kem Bina Negara” courses organised by the bureau, I am thankful that I ended up being the liberal, rational-minded person that I think I am today.

Syukur Alhamdulillah, the brainwashing did not work on me. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Ultra Malay racist’ BTN undermining multicultural Malaysia, says G25 rep

By Zurairi AR
Malay Mail Online
June 17, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, June 17 ― The National Civics Bureau (BTN) is undermining Putrajaya’s effort to promote inclusiveness among races, former ambassador Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin said yesterday after the agency’s slides critical of several groups were leaked online.

Noor Farida also slammed BTN for toeing the line of religious authorities by demonising liberalism and pluralism without explaining why, when such concepts are reflected in the Quran, the Federal Constitution, as well as the Rukunegara.

“There seems to be very little doubt that BTN is an ultra Malay racist agency. How the government can establish an organisation like this and use civil servants and public funds boggles the mind,” said Noor Farida, the spokesman of G25, a group of former Malay high-ranking civil servants.

“Instead of promoting national unity, the BTN is undermining it. Notions like Ketuanan Melayu (Malay Supremacy) appears to be it’s main agenda. Whatever happened to the Ministry of National Unity? It has now been relegated to nothing.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Why the BTN must be shut down

Azrul Mohd Khalib
The Malay Mail Online
June 19, 2015

JUNE 19 ― Ask anyone who has ever done their undergraduate degree in Malaysian public universities and quite a few of them will tell you how they were forced to attend and endure the Biro Tatanegara courses.

Each year, hundreds of students join civil servants from various departments, ministries and institutions to be indoctrinated or brainwashed into becoming unthinking, obedient and compliant drones whose allegiance is arguably not towards God, King and Country but more likely leaning towards Umno, Melayu and of course, Umno.

What they often produce instead each year are groups of people who are often embarrassed, cynical and frustrated listening to a bumbling group of individuals who have no business being instructors of anything other than potty training.

Many former attendees admit to being shocked and mortified at the content of these courses which are often unashamedly racist, bigoted, and ignorant and Malay Muslim supremacist in nature. The thing is the attendees are often multi-ethnic and reflect the rich diversity of Malaysian society.

Instead of fulfilling its stated aims which are to nurture the spirit of patriotism and commitment to excellence and good values among Malaysians, and to train leaders and future leaders to support the nation’s development efforts, this government agency which exists under the Prime Minister’s Department has for decades promoted racial and religious discrimination and divisiveness. Read the rest of this entry »

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BTN is a tool for Umno’s propaganda

– Iskandar Fareez
The Malaysian Insider
21 June 2015

I am appalled to read the recent statement made by the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Razali Ibrahim in defence of the National Civic Bureau (BTN).

Perhaps the leaking of presentation slides are not enough and Razali needs more testimonials from participants before he admits that BTN was and will continue to be a tool for Umno’s political propaganda.

From my personal experience going through training at BTN during my secondary school days, the modules were designed with the purpose of indoctrinating participants with a Malay supremacist agenda under the guise of nation building.

Being only in my teen years, we were called on to defend Malaysia’s current leadership to avoid any split of Malay political dominance.

We were cautioned that any hints of discord among the Malay community will be used by the opportunist non-Malays to take over the country. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call for immediate dissolution of Biro Tatanegara (BTN) as the country has wasted over RM1.1 billion on the BTN in the past 30 years as it continued to incite racism, disunity, bigotry and intolerance instead of fostering patriotism, unity, inter-racial and inter-religious understanding and goodwill

Recently, the latest evidence was uncovered that the Biro Tatanegara (BTN) under the Prime Minister’s Department had continued its negative, divisive and anti-national activity of inciting racism, disunity, bigotry and intolerance instead of fostering patriotism, unity, inter-racial and inter-religious understanding and goodwill.

Even for former top Malay civil servants in G25 have condemned BTN of being “ultra Malay-racist”.

Former diplomat and spokesperson of G25 Datuk Farida Ariffin also joined the growing chorus demanding that the Najib government should dissolve the “anti-national” BTN forthwith.

Five years ago, the Najib administration had promised a revamp and Malaysianisation of BTN after a nation-wide furore when a senior BTN official had used the terms “si mata sepet” and “si botol” at a closed-door Puteri Umno gathering to describe the Chinese and Indians respectively, but clearly nothing had changed and BTN remains the bulwark of brainwashing and hotbed of racism, opposing the concept of Malaysianisation as a whole and Najib’s 1Malaysia policy in particular in the Malaysian civil service.
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Malaysians should seriously consider the possibility of a new political configuration to “Save Malaysia” which is post-BN and post-PR, based on principles and national interests and not opportunism or self-interests

More than two months ago have passed since I first broached the idea of a new political alignment in the country to form a new coalition Federal Government which is post-BN and post-PR with a new Prime Minister to “Save Malaysia” to resolve the debilitating multiple political, economic, educational, social and nation-building crisis plaguing the country.

Since mid-March, the crisis in both political coalitions, UMNO/Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat have worsened with no light at the end of the tunnel.

The war between the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the former longest-serving Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir, whether directly or through proxies, has reached a new pitch.

Today, I read of a new NGO threatening to sue Mahathir for RM100 billion losses as a result of the numerous financial scandals during Mahathir’s 22-year premiership from 1981 to 2003. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is the 11th Malaysia Plan irrelevant?

Rama Ramanathan
The Malaysian Insider
7 May 2015

John F. Kennedy’s 1961 vision of putting a man on the moon energised the United States to “catch up to and overtake” the Soviet Union in technological prowess. The Soviets humiliated the US by being the first to put a human in space. Kennedy’s vision spurred the US into action to achieve technological domination.

Tun Abdul Razak’s 1971 vision, in the New Economic Policy similarly energised Malaysia. Razak wanted to eliminate poverty and to eliminate the association of occupation (and income) with race. Razak’s vision spurred the nation to recognise and reverse the effects of race-based choices with inequality-reducing choices.

The NEP reduced the income inequality between the Malay and Chinese communities. It succeeded so well that at the end of the NEP in 1991, the government decided to stop reporting figures for the Malay community. The data was hidden because the government lacked political will to end handouts which increased income inequality.

To avoid making the hard political choice of ending benevolence to rich Malays the government combined “other Bumiputera” with Malays and reported only figures for Bumiputera, Chinese, Indians and Others in national reports. Energising vision gave way to superficial vision. Read the rest of this entry »

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The voters of Permatang Pauh must continue to lead the country to achieve what Malaysians failed to achieve in 13GE two years ago – to bring change through a new Federal Government with Anwar Ibrahim as Prime Minister

Two years ago, the hopes and dreams of the majority of 11 million Malaysian voters who voted in the 13th General Elections for a new Federal Government and a new Prime Minister in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim were frustrated by a undemocratic electoral system resulting in the appointment for the first time in the nation’s history of a “minority” Prime Minister.

On Thursday, on 7th May, in Permatang Pauh by-election, the voters of Permatang Pauh must continue to lead the country to keep these hopes and dreams for change alive and to achieve what Malaysians had failed to achieve in the 13GE two years ago – to form a new Federal Government with Anwar Ibrahim as the Prime Minister in the 14GE.

Malaysia will never become a normal democratic country unless we can effect a peaceful transition of federal power through the electoral process instead of regarding it as a national catastrophe, and there can be no meaningful change of political, socio-economic, educational and whole range of nation-building policies unless there is such a political change.

The movement for change must be based on the formula to unite and mobilise all Malaysians, regardless of race – Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans and Ibans – and regardless of religion – Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs – as Malaysia’s future can only secured and advanced by an inclusive political campaign which has a place of dignity and honour for every Malaysian under the Malaysian sun. Read the rest of this entry »

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Either have snap general election or the present batch of 222 MPs should rise above race, religion and party affiliation to elect a “Save Malaysia” Prime Minister who is committed to defend constitutionalism, the rule of law and moderation

Malaysia is indeed in “No Man’s Land”, never before have the nation been so sick and wracked by so many crises, whether the RM42 billion 1MDB financial scandal; the 6% GST imposed on April 1; the worst racial and religious polarisation in the nation’s history with the unprecedented rise of extremism and intolerance as illustrated by the “cross” incident at Taman Medan in Selangor; the loss of national and international confidence in the Prime Minister; major crisis in the two major political coalitions – Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat; and above all, the future and survival of the Merdeka Constitution of 1957 and the Malaysian federation formed in 1963!

For the first time in the nation’s history, there is open speculation as to who should be the new Prime Minister of Malaysia – by-passing not only the incumbent Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak but also the incumbent Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin!

A former deputy prime minister said UMNO is “imploding” with internal wars tearing the party apart.

Another former UMNO Minister warned of a “Malay tsunami” in the next general election, claiming that Najib’s belief that UMNO warlords are behind him has led him to sign off on unpopular policies which could push the people to turn against him at the polls.

A former law minister has even named UMNO veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah as the best choice to replace Najib as Prime Minister, by-passing Muhyiddin as “the current number two is unlikely to reform the country and undo what Najib has done in the past few years”.

He believes that if former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir “wants better and more accountable leaders for UMNO in the years to come, and at the same time put an end to systemic corruption and improve the quality of the public institutions”, the choice of successor must be none other than Tengku Razaleigh. Read the rest of this entry »

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Best tribute to Karpal Singh is for all Malaysians regardless of race, religion or political affiliation to unite to Save Malaysia to defend constitutionalism, the rule of law and moderation as our national way of life and model for the world

Five months ago on Dec. 8, 2014, a group of 25 prominent Malays penned an open letter asking for a rational dialogue on the position of Islam in a constitutional democracy.

The 19-paragraph statement was signed by prominent people, including former secretaries-general, directors-general, ambassadors and prominent individuals, as they felt that it was high time moderate Malays and Muslims speak out as extremist, immoderate and intolerant voices do not speak in their name.

They called on the Prime Minister to exercise his leadership and political will to establish an inclusive consultative committee to find solutions to issues which have become more “difficult to address” because of the extreme politicisation of race and religion in this country by bringing together experts in various fields, including Islamic and constitutional laws, and those affected by the application of Islamic laws in adverse ways.

They also urged more moderate Malaysians to speak up and contribute to a better informed and rational public discussion on the place of Islamic laws within a constitutional democracy and the urgency to address the breakdown of federal-state division of powers and finding solutions to the heart-wrenching stories of lives and relationships damaged and put in limbo because of battles over turf and identity.

Although the open letter of G25 which has expanded to G44, drew widespread support from many quarters, including petitions online as well on twitter and FaceBook, it is most regrettable that after close to five months, the Prime Minister, who had travelled the world with his initiative of a Global Movement of Moderates calling for a “coalition of moderates” to reclaim their religion from extremists appears to be either indifferent or impotent about rising extremism at home. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib forewarned that the UMNO “UG” conspirators should not be allowed to continue to play with fire as it could lead not only to the disintegration of Pakatan Rakyat, but also Barisan Nasional and even the Malaysian Federation

The month-long Parliamentary meeting starting on March 9 and adjourning in the early hours of April 10 has gravely undermined and damaged both the political coalitions in the country, the Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat.

It has been said that truth is stranger than fiction.

While the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak may rejoice that the “hudud” plot of the UMNO’s “UG” conspirators has succeeded in causing grave damage to Pakatan Rakyat, he should rue its threat not only to Barisan Nasional but the Malaysian federation as well.

Najib had not realised that the “hudud” weapon of UMNO “UG” plotters’ is a double-edged sword, which could not only damage the unity and solidarity of Pakatan Rakyat with its success to entice PAS support with purported UMNO endorsement for PAS Kelantan State Government hudud implementation, it also threatens the unity and even survival of Barisan Nasional and the Malaysian Federation as well.

In fact, the “hudud” plot of the UMNO “UG” conspirators has the potential not only to destroy both coalitions, Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat, but also the nation or bring about a realignment of political forces in the country.

The warning signals are clear for all who have eyes to see.
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When the success of one nation casts shadows on the failures of another

Julia Yeow
The Malaysian Insider
31 March 2015

Not many were shocked at the news that Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew died on March 23, weeks after being in intensive care. But I believe most were taken aback by the overwhelming outpouring of grief that followed. The unending crowds who queued for hours to pay their last respects and the thousands of honest, poignant outpourings of grief and tributes gave those of us who were mere observers a glimpse into the mark Kuan Yew made, not just on Singapore, but on the world.

Almost every accolade given to Kuan Yew has acknowledged his role in driving a tiny nation from obscurity into one of the world’s most successful economies. Article after article, and in every obituary and compliment, the success of Kuan Yew and that of Singapore – the absolute object of his passion – have been laid out for all the world to behold and, for some of us, to envy.

As Singapore’s closest neighbours, both geographically and sociopolitically, it’s hard not to notice the stark contrast between our two nations, especially in the glowing light of Kuan Yew’s tributes. Our two countries share a unique relationship in that we were once one nation that was ultimately separated by the politics of different ambitions. We had a common goal once, and our founding fathers shared the same vision for a unified, successful Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »

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Thanks Dave, always good to feel less lonely in quest for the Malaysian Dream

It is always good to feel less lonely in the quest for the Malaysian Dream where Malaysians regardless of race, religion or region, unite in a common national vision and destiny to build a more united, democratic, free, just, competitive and prosperous nation for all Malaysian citizens.

I refer to Dave Anthony’s Open Letter to me which ended thus: “Saudara Kit Siang, yours may be the lone voice even in the DAP. Never mind, you too step forward and please let your voice ring loud and clear to reach the ears of all Malaysians. You have thrown us a life-line, and I am sure enough of us will take it. Malaysia desperately needs a leader like you.”

Thanks Dave, for throwing me a life-line!

True, what I had raised in the past week represent my personal views and not the official position of the DAP, as it has not been discussed at the various DAP decision-making councils. Read the rest of this entry »

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An open letter to Lim Kit Siang

Dave Anthony
28 March 2015

If enough like-minded people agree to associate, you can create a nation where we all have a stake to safeguard, says Dave Anthony.

Dear saudara Kit Siang,

I salute you as the elder statesman of Malaysia who has raised a consistent voice over the years. Today we are in the cusp of a political crisis and yours is the only lonely voice calling for a Malaysian solution.

Pakatan Rakyat, whichever way we look at it, is no longer a viable reality. Anwar had tried to glue the legs of the tripod together but it still stood lopsided with no spirit to level it. We can try ropes and masking tape and splints to hold it together but it will still not stand.

Why are we even trying to keep it together? Is it only for the sake of capturing Putrajaya? The DAP and Pas are quite clear where they stand on the hudud issue.

We are not certain where PKR stands. They appear to stand as an observer outside – like a fourth party rather than a third party. They should state their stand unequivocally rather than offer to mediate between the DAP and Pas.

Let me explain why Pakatan seems no longer relevant. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on rational and moderate Malaysians to give Cabinet a third and final chance to do what is right on the Ismail Sabri affair – to get Ismail to retract and apologise for his racist statement or be removed from Cabinet

I call on moderate and rational Malaysians to give the Cabinet a third and final chance to do what is right on the Ismail Sabri affair – to get Ismail to retract and apologise for his racist statement calling on Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses or be removed from Cabinet.

Malaysians of good sense and goodwill, regardless of race, religion or even political affiliation, are tired of the cant and hypocrisy of the Ismail Sabri affair – to the extent that it is no more an issue affecting the Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister, but the quality and morality as well as the credibility and integrity of the entire 35-Minister Cabinet and the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The 35-Minister Cabinet seemed to be very committed in wanting to prove former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathr Mohamad and former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin right that it is “half-past six” Cabinet with “deadwood” Ministers – for the Ismail Sabri affair has proved beyond a shadow of doubt that we have the most dim-witted and dishonest Cabinet in the nation’s 58-year old history. Read the rest of this entry »

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An open letter to Ismail Sabri

By Syerleena Abdul Rashid
Feb 10, 2015

With all due respect, I am not here to tell you how to do your job nor am I here to criticise you – I am a firm believer that everyone is entitled to their own opinions but one must be made aware of the consequences it may bring. There is an old Arab proverb which states “Arrogance diminishes wisdom”, and as a leader much like yourself, you must be made fully accountable for the things you said and the people whom you may hurt in the process.

But politics aside, I write this not as a political opponent – not today, but only as a mere Malaysian who has seen how demoralised and worn out most Malaysians have become because of the hatred, fear and lies that seem to perpetuate our country.

It fills me with great sadness that our beloved country is slowly but surely heading down a path our founding fathers fought hard against. When they created the federation, they had a vision where Malaysians could live together in harmony and prosper together.

And here we are in 2015, just five years shy from Wawasan 2020. Can we safely say that we can truly become a developed nation by then? Are we comfortable with stripping away our ethnicity in order to achieve the glorious concept of a Bangsa Malaysia? Are we at ease with each other’s religious differences and are we able to prevent any inkling of religious supremacy? Read the rest of this entry »

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The 35-Minister Cabinet tomorrow will have second and final opportunity to demonstrate whether they are “We Are All Ismail Sabri” or “We Are All not Ismail Sabri”!

The 35-Minister Cabinet tomorrow will have a second and final opportunity to demonstrate whether they are “We Are all Ismail Sabri” or “We Are All Not Ismail Sabri”!

Cabinet Ministers should stop equivocating and end their hypocritical stances, as beating their breasts in public promising to “claim justice for the Chinese community” for the smear by the Minister for Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri, against the Chinese community but the astounding revelation later by the Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein that neither the MCA nor MIC Ministers at the Cabinet meeting last Wednesday had asked Ismail to retract his racist statement or resign from the Cabinet. No mention whatsoever about the Gerakan Minister’s role in Cabinet!

Yesterday, after a week of procrastination, the police had finally recorded a statement from Ismail Sabri for his racist call to Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses.

Malaysians are still intrigued and puzzled why the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar insists on wasting police time and resources on an investigation into the Minister for Agriculture and Agro-based Industry when the Cabinet last Wednesday had sanctioned, condoned and defended Ismail’s racist call to Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses.

Is the IGP seriously suggesting that the Police will dare to find the Prime Minister and the entire Cabinet wrong in sanctioning, condoning and defending Ismail’s racist call, and to submit such an investigation report to the Attorney-General for further action?

Who could envisage the Attorney-General charging in court not only Ismail, but also the Prime Minister and the entire Cabinet for sanctioning, condoning and defending Ismail’s racist call on Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses? Read the rest of this entry »

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Why is Najib the only one of six Prime Ministers to sanction, condone and defend the totally indefensible rabid racist statement of one of his Ministers?

The rabid racist statement by the Minister for Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob calling on Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses has snowballed from the aberration of one errant Minister to a crisis of an entire errant Cabinet of 35 Ministers because of the extraordinary and outrageous decision by the Cabinet to sanction, condone and defend Ismail’s racist fulminations.

Today is the first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman’s 112th birthday anniversary. I have no doubt that if the Ismail Sabry episode had happened in Tunku’s time as Prime Minister, Ismail would have been made to apologise for his racist fulminations and even been sacked from Tunku’s Cabinet.

This was why in my statement six days ago on 2nd February, I had said:

“If a past Minister had done what Ismail did under the first three Prime Ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein Onn, he would have been sacked on the spot immediately after the expression of such racist sentiments, for it would be conclusive proof of his total unsuitability to continue as a Cabinet Minister in a plural society.

“I think such a Minister would have been sacked by Tun Dr. Mahathir during his 22 years of premiership although Mahathir may now look for excuses to come to Ismail’s defence or rescue.” Read the rest of this entry »

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