Archive for category nation building

Seeking a meeting with Najib on establishment of Royal Commission of Truth and Reconciliation on the Low Yat Race Riot to ensure that there will be no recurrence of race riots because of petty crimes

I have written to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak seeking a meeting on the establishment of a Royal Commission of Truth and Reconciliation on Low Yat Race Riot to ensure that there will be no recurrence of race riots because of petty crime.

In my email to the Prime Minister, I also suggested that the terms of reference of the Royal Commission of Truth and Reconciliation on the Low Yat Race Riot should include the following seven items:

• How Malaysia can be a world model of a successful, united, peaceful and harmonious multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation;

• Whether the police could have acted pre-emptively to prevent the petty crime of mobile phone theft from being transformed into a race riot involving a few hundred people;
• The attack on journalists;

• The role of social media with Ministers blaming it as a main culprit of the Low Yat Mob Incident;

• Whether one major cause of the Low Yat riot was the incessant incitement of hatred as a result of irresponsible politics of race and religion in recent years.

• Whether the Low Yat Incident is proof of the failure of nation-building policies, particularly the Prime Minister’s 1Malaysia signature policy and decades of Biro Tata Negara’s “racist” courses.

• A blueprint to ensure that there will be recurrence of race riots from petty crimes, which is particularly important for a plural society like Malaysia.

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Not just Low Yat Plaza but whole of Malaysia is a time bomb if race hatred, religious intolerance, breakdown of rule of law and collapse of good governance not resolved urgently

Utusan Malaysia today said Low Yat Plaza is a ticking “time bomb” waiting to explode.

I say it is not just Low Yat Plaza but the whole of Malaysia is a time bomb waiting to explode if race hatred, religious tolerance, breakdown of rule of law and the collapse of good governance are not resolved urgently.

I fully agree with former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah who yesterday expressed the hope that everyone would bury the hatchet to strengthen the relationship among the different races in the country.

This is why I had called for a Royal Commission of Truth and Reconciliation on the Low Yat Race Riots last Sunday to ensure that there would be no recurrence of a petty crime of theft of a mobile phone mushrooming into a race riot involving hundreds of people.

Malaysia cannot continue to adopt the “sweeping under the carpet” mentality, which was why there had been no Commission of Inquiry into the May 13, 1969 race riots to learn from the disasters of our history to ensure an united, peaceful and better future for all Malaysians. Read the rest of this entry »

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Some questions about the Low Yat riots

By P Gunasegaram
Malaysiakini
Jul 15, 2015

QUESTION TIME For the past few months, the country has been gripped by the 1MDB scandal and mesmerised by all the stories and the allegations made. Meantime, the self-styled strategic development fund, with accumulated debts and payables of as high as RM46 billion, shows no tangible way out of the morass it is in.

Questions were raised as to why it should raise so much of borrowed money mainly to invest in dubious portfolios which it has not properly disclosed in its accounts or anywhere else. Combined with allegations made of money being siphoned off into accounts of businessman Jho Low, which have not been properly rebutted, it provided for a series of unsettling stories.

Even rating agencies’ ratings on Malaysia had to depend on how serious the problem at 1MDB was. To help stem the long slide in the ringgit, the central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia, had to come out publicly to state, although somewhat obliquely, that 1MDB did not pose a systemic risk to Malaysian banks, although some banks’ profitability could be affected.

And then came The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) shock report alleging that US$700 million (RM2.67 billion) were moved into Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s bank accounts at AmIslamic Bank. No such allegation had ever been made against a Malaysian prime minister before.

Najib’s response was weak – the prime minister’s office only said that the prime minister has never taken any money for personal gain without specifically denying the allegations made in the journal. A letter by his lawyers to Dow Jones, the owners of the WSJ, confused rather than elucidated when it asked WSJ to clarify the report to say if it implied that the money came from 1MDB. The WSJ did not say that.

As the nation reeled from this shock announcement and the lack of zeal and specificity in refuting it, the riot at Low Yat happened. The authorities can cry out until they are blue in the face that the incident was not racial but they cannot deny in the face of video evidence that it had very strong racial overtones.

Such an incident happening in the heart of the city, the Golden Triangle area, barely a few hundred metres from the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters, is a severe indictment of the safety standards of our streets and public places which already have a bad reputation in terms of snatch and street crime.

KL residents are asking what this means for the future and what kind of precautions they should take when visiting public places while overseas visitors are querying if Kuala Lumpur is a safe place to visit. Read the rest of this entry »

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In Malaysian politics, keep calm and amok on!

by Sophie Lemiere, Guest Contributor
New Mandala
15 JULY 2015

In the wake of a brawl in Kuala Lumpur’s Low Yat Plaza, Sophie Lemière looks at how youth, prejudice and mob violence go hand-in-hand with politics.

The Malay word amuck or amok (rage) is the most famous Malaysian export along with palm oil (praised by Nutella lovers) and rubber (praised by everyone). Amok or to run amok has become a global concept to describe any sudden and ephemeral acts of violence to a killing rage. There is no cultural specificity here; we have sadly seen people running amok from Columbine in the USA to Paris and the beaches of Sousse (Tunisia).

Amok is surely the only Malay word the entire world uses, without even knowing its quasi-mystical origins. Anthropologists, psychiatrists and novelists have written extensively on this word, exploring the linguistic roots of amok to the intricacies of a psycho-pathological phenomenon; an unresolved intellectual quest well resumed by Yan Kon[1]. The “pengamuk”, the one who suddenly falls into a violent frenzy, was once seen as a hero: a mystical warrior getting his inner strength from god. Malay mysticism and history is filled with epic stories of such great warriors. Today, that heritage may be found in the hybrid tradition of Silat balancing an intense physical practice and mystic-religious beliefs with prayers to invulnerability charms[2]. Sadly today, for most, the pengamok has lost his nobility and is seen simply as a psycho.

This linguistic-mystic maze is now used to describe a non-event: the rowdy gathering of about 200 people at the empire of electronic goods, Low Yat Plaza in Bukit Bintang (Kuala Lumpur’s entertainment district), following the alleged theft of a mobile phone and consequent brawl. Read the rest of this entry »

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Silver lining in Low Yat Plaza incident

By May Chee
Malaysiakini
Jul 16, 2015

Was the Low Yat incident something waiting to happen? Or did someone start a spark, hoping to engulf the whole nation in flames?

I don’t know and I don’t care. I’m just glad that it happened.

I’ve always held the belief that bad things happen for a good reason. Provided of course, we learn from them, make reparations and put in place mechanisms to avoid such untoward incidents.

It has been rather difficult for a while now to spread cheer around. However, from the Low Yat incident, in spite of the ugliness displayed by some really irresponsible quarters, others have given us much hope.

I wouldn’t know of all the angels who came to the rescue of those battered, bloodied and disillusioned but I thank you all, for saving our fellow Malaysians and most of all, showing to the whole world out there that we do look out for everyone, irrespective of creed and colour. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Low Yat lesson: May 13 sequel unlikely but ethnic fault lines show risk remains

By Ida Lim
The Malay Mail Online
Saturday July 18, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, July 18 — Malaysia will not likely see a repeat of the May 13, 1969 racial riots but isolated clashes like last weekend’s melee at Low Yat Plaza will not be uncommon in a society still divided along ethnic lines, regional observers said.

Although Malaysians are largely deemed a peace-loving lot, the observers cautioned that racial politics and years of race-based policies have created a lingering resentment among the country’s different ethnic groups.

In such an environment, they said economic gloom and even minor personal disputes could cause ethnic tensions to flare easily.

“So, tremors like we’ve just felt in Low Yat will doubtlessly recur—for the ethnic fault line in Malaysia is widening,” Prof William Case told Malay Mail online. Read the rest of this entry »

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With Anwar in jail, is there anyone in Malaysia who could stitch together a new coalition with support from over 112 MPs to “Save Malaysia” from becoming a failed state and re-set nation-building policies?

There has never been a Haji Raya Aidilfitri like this one in modern-day Malaysia, when Muslims and non-Muslims gather to celebrate the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.

Firstly, never had Ramadan sales been so poor and dispirited, with one survey estimating a plunge in Ramadan sales of as much as 20 per cent compared with last year.

Secondly, never before have national issues been so dominant during Ramadan and in Hari Raya Aidilfitri open houses – questions galore about the catalogue of financial scandals, breakdown in law and order with Low Yat race riot the latest example less than a week from Hari Raya Aidilfitri and what the future has in store for the people and the country.

But so few answers! Read the rest of this entry »

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Call for Royal Commission of Truth and Reconciliation on Low Yat Mob Incident headed by Rafidah Aziz to ensure that there will be no recurrence of race riots because of petty crimes

This is the fourth day of the Low Yat Mob Incident on Sunday, July 12, 2015 and situation is returning to normal.

The term of “Low Yat Incident” which is the official terminology for the rioting on Sunday, reminds me of May 13 Incident, the race riots which took place in Kuala Lumpur after the 1969 general election where official figures put the casualties as less than 200 although different unofficial figures were much higher, even as high as suggesting four-figure numbers.

In my first speech in Parliament in February 1971 when Parliament reconvened after a 20-month suspension, I had called for a Commission of Inquiry into the causes of the May 13 racial riots and to propose a blueprint to reconcile the different races and build a united Malaysian nation.

But this proposal was rejected and up to today, there had been conflicting, divergent and even fictitious accounts about the causes of the May 13 riots 46 years ago.

This “sweeping under the carpet” mentality is still at work, for after the refusal to have a Commission of Inquiry into the May 13, 1969 race riots, there was also no inquiry into the causes and the events of the race riots in Taman Medan 14 years ago in 2001.

This is most unsatisfactory and unacceptable. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia is going through “the worst of times”. Are there enough Malaysians to make it “the best of times”?

Never before has Malaysia been in such a mess.

What is devastating is that there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

Malaysia’s spirit cannot soar and reach for the skies, to seek and attain an ever-higher level of national achievement and human excellence.

Instead, we are daily bogged down by the mundane and sordid details of one scandal after another, as if we need constant reminders as to how far Malaysia has fallen from grace from the era of Tunku Abdul Rahman, Razak and Hussein Onn.

Dominating the landscape of scandals is the 1MDB “mother and mother of all financial scandals”, a hydra-headed monster capable of unending combinations and permutations to unveil the gravity of the collapse of an ethical government and the principles of accountability, transparency and good governance in the country. Read the rest of this entry »

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Not telling the truth is not an option, Ku Li tells those in the know of Malaysia’s problems

The Malaysian Insider
14 July 2015

Knowing the facts and the problems but not telling the truth is not an option, Malaysia’s longest-serving lawmaker Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said in his Hari Raya Aidilfitri message tonight.

The Gua Musang MP and Barisan Nasional backbencher said those in the know about the country’s problems should stand by their principles and help in resolving them.

“We earnestly hope that there is still honour left in our beloved country and that there are honourable men who have the relevant facts to put the matter to rest,” he said, in a veiled remark aimed at authorities looking into various controversies plaguing the country including, debt laden 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

“They should stand fast by their principles and take the moral high ground to assist in the resolution of the problem.

“If this was the case, surely there is no necessity for us to waste time instituting inquiries and investigations.

“Knowing the facts and the problem but not telling the truth is not an option,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Our rise or fall depends on moderate path ahead

By Ramon Navaratnam
Malaysiakini
Jul 13, 2015

I refer to the thoughtful letter written by my former colleague Sheriff Kassim recent letter in The Star (July 7) and also in the NST (July 8) on ‘Moderation?’ Sheriff rightly concludes that “the growth of the economy and the happiness of the people depend on the country taking the moderate path, in line with the principles enshrined in the constitution and our obligations as a member of the international community”.

Sheriff indicated that there are many ‘sacred cows’ like the resistance to change, the New Economic Policy (NEP), the university entry qualifications, the Education Policy and inter alia , government procurement policies. I believe that these sacred cows have to be managed better and removed for Malaysia to progress.

I fully agree with Sheriff that the return to the moderate path in our national policies and practices will enable Malaysia to succeed and prosper and rise as a united nation in the longer term, or fall.

However, I have to confess that I fear that Malaysia will gradually decline, decay and fal, if our beloved country continues to veer from the path of moderation. Indeed Malaysia could slowly slide like Greece has if we adopt more extremist and parochial policies and tolerate narrow and polluted practices. Read the rest of this entry »

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No pride in May 13, Rafidah Aziz tells young Malaysians after Low Yat fracas

Malay Mail Online
July 14, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 — Malaysia has everything to lose if it ever sees a repeat of the deadly May 13 race riots, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz said following the unrest at Low Yat Plaza here on the weekend.

Urging the younger generation to resist dismantling the efforts to heal the nation following the 1969 riots, the former minister said all Malaysians must learn from the “dark period” of the country’s history and free their minds of prejudice, bias, and parochial tendencies.

Expressing sadness over the “mob violence” that left five people injured and three more arrested, Rafidah also questioned the need to make race the focus of an issue that began over an alleged shoplifting incident.

“I have gone through that sad dark period in our nation’s socio-economic history… triggered by the May 13 1969 riots… it is NOT something to be proud of… it is something from which we need to learn valuable lessons.

“My generation of Malaysian leaders, and Malaysians, have put in much effort to heal the pain of the May 13, 1969 tragedy… to narrow the chasms that had been created, and to rebuild a strong and resilient Malaysia, forged upon the strength of unity in diversity.

“The generations ensuing must refrain from undoing what has been tirelessly forged,” she wrote on Facebook. Read the rest of this entry »

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DAP welcomes like-minded Malays and Muslims to join the DAP in furtherance of the nationalist and patriotic cause to save Malaysia from becoming a failed state because of rampant corruption, injustices and collapse of good governance

DAP welcomes like-minded Malays and Muslims to join the party in pursuit of the nationalist and patriotic cause to save Malaysia from becoming a failed state because of rampant corruption, injustices and collapse of good governance.

DAP is not a non-Malay or non-Muslim political party and we must not allow ourselves to be locked into non-Malay and non-Muslim areas and spheres of activities in the country, as the DAP had right from the beginning of our formation some five decades ago in 1966 espoused the Malaysian Dream to advocate justice, freedom and human dignity for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region.

This is why the DAP had always presented a multi-racial slate of candidates for parliamentary and state assembly constituencies in general elections from the very first general election contested by the DAP in 1969.

In Perak, DAP had elected five Malay state assemblymen into the Perak State Assembly from the 1969 to 1990 general elections – Ibrahim Singgeh (Tapah Road – 1969) followed by Daing Ibrahim bin Othman (Pasir Puteh – 1974), Salleh Nakhoda Hitam, (Guntong – 1974 & 1978), Fadzlan Yahya (Pasir Bedamar 1982 & 1986) and Asri Othman (Dermawan – 1990). Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on Police to uphold law and order and on all Malaysians regardless of race and religion to be calm and unite against corruption and abuses of power

The Low Yat rampage in Kuala Lumpur is a stain on Malaysia’s reputation.

The Police have established that it was a simple case of theft.

This is clearly reported by the media, for example the New Straits Times, “Low Yat theft case solved, says police”, which stated:

“Police have solved a theft case at Low Yat Plaza in Bukit Bintang, here, which sparked a riot incident on Saturday.

“Police sources said the case was a clear-cut theft involving a 22-year-old suspect, who took away a cellular phone from a shop there without paying.

“’Investigation revealed that the man had stolen a phone, which led to him being arrested by public members. Read the rest of this entry »

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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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