Archive for category nation building
The Malay Mail Online
September 19, 2013
SEPT 19 — Enforcement officers attempt to demolish parts of a Hindu shrine. The row over the use of the word Allah intensifies. Sermons proclaim that the social contract is non-negotiable. More travellers die in express buses. A headmistress in Shah Alam asks her Chinese pupils to go back to China. The prime minister hopes that Utusan Malaysia continues to prosper. It comes to light that some schools are installing CCTVs in toilets.
Rewind to approximately three years ago. A temple is to be relocated. People bring a cow’s head and desecrate it. A High Court judgement allows Christians to use the word Allah and a firestorm erupts. The NEM is revealed, roundly criticised for diluting the social contract and promptly shelved. More travellers die in express buses. A headmistress in Johor asks her Chinese pupils to go back to China. Utusan Malaysia continues its rhetoric. There are calls in Terengganu for 1 Malaysia toilets to be used by both sexes.
While it looks like that in addition to road safety and privacy, in the area of race and religious relations there is no change, in reality it points to a deterioration rather than stasis. Instead of broad social cohesion punctuated by a few incidents of chauvinism, the situation seems to be turning on its head.
Instead of a gradual levelling of the playing field and an emphasis on merit and needs over communal privilege given the steady economic rise of Malaysia, what is being witnessed is growing stridency in asserting the permanence of majority privileges fuelling rising discontent among the minority.
But is this deterioration in race and religious relations in Malaysia mirrored elsewhere? Are the economy and public policy impacted by this, even the wider political system? Read the rest of this entry »
— Malaysians for Malaysia
The Malay Mail Online
September 17, 2013
SEPT 17 — As a taxpayer of more than 3 decades I am increasingly disillusioned by the present government. I am not able to call them “my” government as they do not support me or my needs. I can very clearly see the Government of the Malays and the Muslims but I am not able to see the government of the Chinese, Ibans, Indians, Kadazans, Orang Asli and the rest of us.
My hard earned tax ringgit are being used to pay the wages of the Malay majority civil servant (in excess of 90 per cent), build numerous suraus in every government building, finance government projects that benefit their rich families and friends, etc. But why are my needs, and those of my sisters and brothers of other ethnic origins and religious persuasions, not supported? It would be good to see a breakdown of tax contribution by ethnicity. It would be no surprise to see that the majority of our taxes are contributed by Malaysians who are ignored by this government.
I see the government speaking up and fighting for Malay and Muslim rights. But why do they not defend my basic human rights? Why are my needs ignored? Why are my rights trampled on by the government? Recently the minister of the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry was very quick to act against employers who discriminate against women wearing the ‘tudung’ (Muslim headgear) as employees. But why is there no similar response to all the ethnic and religious injustice meted out to those of us from different ethnic and religious persuasions? Read the rest of this entry »
by Desmond Davidson
The Malaysian Insider
September 14, 2013
Only three years ago and 47 years after the formation of Malaysia did the 2.4 million people of Sarawak, together with those in Sabah and the peninsula, mark the birth of the country on a national scale.
This year will be the fourth such celebration. But how do Sarawakians feel about what should arguably be the country’s most important national event?
“There’s something lacking. I’ve never felt the spirit of Malaysia Day,” was 50-year-old paraplegic Josh John’s reply to The Malaysian Insider in Sarawak’s capital city, Kuching.
To this former accountant, who lives in the city’s Batu Kawa suburb, every Malaysia Day is “just another holiday”.
John (pic) attributed the lack of feeling for Malaysia Day to the government’s failure to emphasise how important it is.
“To this day, the government still places emphasis on the importance of Malaya’s independence from the British rather than the historically more significant event – the birth of the country.
“So what do I think of Malaysia Day? Not much,” said the father of one, who became wheelchair bound after suffering a viral attack to his spinal column that left him paralysed 17 years ago.
Violet Yong, a DAP assemblywoman, also cannot understand why Hari Merdeka continues to be more important than Malaysia Day.
“Why is August 31, the Malaya independence day and which has nothing to do with Sabah and Sarawak, an event still more important than Malaysia Day?” she asked.
“The emphasis should be on September 16 rather than August 31,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »
- Simon Sipaun
The Malaysian Insider
September 15, 2013
In two days’ time on 16th September, 2013 Malaysia will turn 50 years old. For a country, 50 years of age is very young, although it is old for a human being. It does make me feel my age to realise that I am 25 years older than Malaysia.
I have reached the age described by George Burns as the time “where everything hurts, what does not hurt does not work”. The reality is “today is the oldest we have ever been, yet the youngest we will ever be”.
The theme of this RTD is Malaysia 50 years since formation: Inclusive development, nation-building and human rights. Indeed it is a very wide subject. It is a three-in-one. The three are closely inter-related.
Recognising Malaysia Day
In 2007, I used to see billboards at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport with the slogan “celebrating 50 years of nationhood” written on them. Of course, the truth is in 2007, Malaysia was only 44 years old. This is a classic case in which history is the distortion of facts by people in power.
I used to point this out at the slightest opportunity in the past but it felt like it was just a voice in the wilderness. I had the impression that the federal government was trying to make the people, especially Malaysians living in Sabah, believe that the formation of Malaysia was on 31st August, 1957. Read the rest of this entry »
by Art Harun
Special to The Malaysian Insider
September 15, 2013
On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr, among others, led a civil rights march on Washington for “jobs and freedom”. There, he delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech, saying he was there to “cash a cheque” for “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
He spoke of an America where his children “will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character”.
He concluded: “And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last’.”
Nineteen days later, our father of independence, Tunku Abdul Rahman, stood before a nation and said: “Now finally, the peoples of Malaysia are celebrating the establishment of Malaysia. This is the time to think earnestly and hopefully on the future of Malaysia as the whole country resounds with joy.
“So I pray that God may bless the nation of Malaysia with eternal peace and happiness for our people. Read the rest of this entry »
News Analysis by The Malaysian Insider
September 14, 2013
Somebody, someone better step in because never before has the stereotyping been this bad, this widespread, this debilitating and potentially irreversible for Malaysia.
And the big loser along this road to perdition will be Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN).
In the eyes of a significant number in Umno, the non-Malays who voted with their feet in GE13 are traitors and ingrates who must be punished, the harder the better.
The form of punishment yearned for ranges from depriving the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) supporters of cash handouts to penalising businesses owned by Chinese to completely erasing the concerns of non-Malays in policy-making.
No doubt some of this is just talk, borne out of anger and frustration by BN members not being able to deliver what they believed was a minimum target: regaining two-thirds majority control of Parliament.
But there are enough Umno politicians bending Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s ears about a more punitive approach against non-Malays to suggest that this toxic thinking will poison decision making, sooner rather than later. Read the rest of this entry »
by Sugasini Kandian
Special to the Malaysian Insider
September 13, 2013
My father is a Malaysian citizen. At least, that is what his identity card (IC) says.
But ask him what it means to be a Malaysian citizen – and he will probably say, “I don’t know.”
My father is an ordinary man. He was born in Kuala Lumpur, raised in Pahang, completed his high school education at St John’s Institution, KL, and then left to study accountancy in the United Kingdom.
Growing up in a family where political commentary was the norm at dinner, I used to ask my dad, “Why didn’t you just settle in the UK? Then we wouldn’t have to deal with this messed up system!”
His answer, “I don’t know. Family. Plus Malaysia today isn’t the same as it was back in the 1980s. The economy was booming then and prospects were good.” Read the rest of this entry »
Ex-top cop Yuen Yuet Leng confirmed that the May 13, 1969 “urination” incident at the Selangor MB’s residence was totally fictional as he never heard of it although he was based in KL during the riots
I thank former top police officer, Tan Sri Yuen Yuet Leng for his two postings on my blog statement yesterday: “Yuen Yuet Leng is wrong – as the 1969 general election result was a greater blow to the MCP although it was a set back for the Alliance”
I had expressed my disagreement with a Sun report on Monday headlined “’Communists helped opposition win seats’ in 1969” quoting Yuen as saying that “the communists had helped opposition parties, including the DAP, to win a substantial number of seats in the 1969 election”.
I had said that Yuen’s claim that the communists helped the opposition to win seats in the 1969 general election was news to me, as it run counter to what happened in the run-up to the 1969 general election and studies whether books or articles by scholars of the 1969 general election.
This was because the communists had called for a boycott of the 1969 general election and the Opposition parties which had participated in the 1969 general election were attacked and condemned as “stooges” and “puppets” of the Alliance for going against their call to “shatter the parliamentary path” and to opt for the “mass struggle”.
But the communists failed in their campaign calling on the voters to boycott the 1969 general election, as the voter turnout reached some 72% – though less than the 79% voter turnout in the 1964 and 73% in the 1959 General Election, it was still higher than the 70% voter turnout in the 1986 and 71% voter turnout in the 1999 General Election. Read the rest of this entry »
The Malay Mail Online
September 11, 2013
SEPT 11 — You would think I set fire to the flag and declared my allegiance to North Korea, judging from the vitriol I got for my “Tanda Putera” review.
Someone even said that I shouldn’t have been so hard on the film since it was “a local film.”
So if it is a local film, I shouldn’t expect it to have a coherent script?
So if it is a local film, I shouldn’t hope the actors are more than decorative furnishings that speak?
So if it is a local film, I should fully expect it to be bad and be pleasantly surprised if it does not suck
If a film is about any of our historical leaders, painting them in a beatific light then I have to like it before even watching it? Read the rest of this entry »
BY DINA ZAMAN | September 10, 2013
The Malaysian Insider
Mazlyn Mustapha is a doctor. She enters the cafe we are in, in a crisp-like manner. Dressed in a blouse, long skirt, tudung and sporting sunglasses. Her hands are clasped tightly as she begins talking. She may cut a diminutive figure, but her speech is clear and measured, and she has very firm ideas.
She is from Petaling Jaya, and leads “a normal life. Nothing unusual.”
Her late father wanted one of his children to be a doctor, and when she received a scholarship to study medicine in Ireland, she did what he had planned for her. She did very well academically.
In short, she was the quintenssential school girl who excelled, and was expected to come back with a degree, marry, and practise, all of which she did.
A stranger in her own country
When she and her husband came back to Malaysia, they lived in Kelantan for awhile.
Read the rest of this entry »
Sep 9, 2013
No one will dispute the filial piety and devotion shown by Tawfik, the eldest son of Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, who was once called “The man who saved Malaysia.” Dr Ismail died in office, in his capacity as acting prime minister, effectively the best prime minister we have had.
tun dr ismail abdul rahmanDr Ismail was remembered for his non-ethnic approach to issues and his concern about racial polarisation. He had a strong work ethic, was a strict but fair man who adhered strictly to rules. He despised incompetence and lateness. He was feared and respected. He refused to grant favours even to relatives and close friends. He was highly principled and enjoyed debating.
He avoided conflict of interest and the British High Commissioner said in despatches, “Ismail was a man of formidable reputation for integrity and talent in all communities.”
Tawfik has sullied his father’s memory by aligning himself with the present, undistinguished Umno Baru politicians by suggesting that the controversial film, Tanda Putera be made into a mini-series. Read the rest of this entry »
— Ravinder Singh
The Malay Mail Online
September 9, 2013
SEPT 9 — “Tanda Putera” was not a natural birth. In contrast, I believe, “Bukit Kepong” was.
“Bukit Kepong” was a film made in 1981 and based on an incident in Bukit Kepong in 1950. It portrayed a historical fact and was not produced with any ulterior motive.
However, certain vested interests saw how it could be put to political use. It became the prime weapon in the election campaigns of the ruling coalition. For the next several elections it became “mandatory” viewing by the electorate starting a few weeks before each election, and almost to the eve of the election.
The TV screening of the film was calculated to “motivate” the voters into supporting the ruling coalition to ensure a “peaceful” future. If not, another Bukit Kepong could happen again.
Impulses reaching the brain through the sense of sight are very powerful. They account for about 80 per cent of all that the mind absorbs. So, screening of the film at the critical hour before the elections was a calculated strategy to condition the minds of the viewers to believe something and react accordingly at the ballot box. It was mind-conditioning.
Having been used for campaigning purposes at a few elections, it had become stale. This is when someone got a brainwave to produce a designer movie to replace Bukit Kepong. This brainwave, I believe, did not originate in Shuhaimi Baba’s mind. It had to be the mind of a master strategist, as far as election campaigning goes, that came up with it. Read the rest of this entry »
The Malay Mail Online
September 6, 2013
SEPT 6 — The polemical Tanda Putera was screened a few days ago to mixed reviews. I dislike reading reviews before experiencing the said movie/book/concert myself as it conditions my mind to see things according to the reviewer.
However, since Tanda Putera didn’t make it to any cinemas in London and probably won’t ever, I read and listened to reviews to get a glimpse of all the fuss.
What piques my interest about this film is the brouhaha surrounding it. Some people are angered at the RM4.5 million grant it received. Some are angered at how it masquerades itself as a historical film when some parts are purely fictional. Some are just angry.
At the heart of the controversy there is actually a contest: a contestation of the truth as to what really occurred on that fateful day of May 13, 1969, the contextual considerations that triggered the violence and the subsequent events that unfolded after that day.
Most people are unsure and uncertain about this black spot in our history. Materials on this topic are insufficient.
Since the truth is unclear, people start to formulate their own versions of the truth. I can’t blame them; the truth is after all elusive and relative. The truth is liable to be subjected to various interpretations and manipulations to suit the ears of the hearer and wishes of the maker.
Films such as Tanda Putera are controversial because it is perceived as being intellectually dishonest by telling only one side of the story. The huge subsidy demonstrates the government’s power in the production of a certain historical narrative. Read the rest of this entry »
Sep 3, 2013
I also have a dream. Martin Luther King Jr had the original dream for the US of A from 50 years ago, which we all remembered recently together with CNN; it was the same year we also became Malaysia.
As we move into the second half century, after 50 years of nationhood; my dream is that we may yet become 1Bangsa of Malaysians.
In other words, I have a dream of One Nation, One People; a nation-state made of one single class and category of Malaysian citizens; wherein the sun shines equally on every Malaysian without ethnicity, religious or cultural considerations; including all who are citizens, even if by the backdoor as we already heard from the royal commission of inquiry (RCI) in Sabah.
But, who or what is our greatest current stumbling block. I agree totally with Brother Haris Ibrahim about his premise and thesis: that it is Umno’s agenda to realise a Ketuanan Melayu nation-state which remains the most important and detrimental factor in realising our one Bangsa of Malaysians dream. Why do I say also this?
Let me simply review how this misdirected but strategic intent was “evolved into what is now called the Biro Tatanegara or National Civics Bureau (BTN) by all promoters of that skewed agenda.” Some fringe groups supported by a former president of Umno today already sing the same tune today, every day.
Where did BTN and Ketuanan Melayu agenda start? Read the rest of this entry »
by Zairil Khir Johari
5 September 2013
I am disappointed in Tanda Putera’s failure to honour Tun Razak’s achievements.
According to the Malaysiakini articled titled “Zam: DAP irate as its logo stands out in Tanda Putera” dated 4 September 2013, former minister of information Tan Sri Zainuddin Maidin is quoted as saying that the DAP is against the film because the party’s logo is prominently displayed in the film’s controversial May 13, 1969 racial riot scene.
I would like to state that I have seen the film, and having done so, I admit that I am sorely disappointed. However, my dissatisfaction against the film stems not so much from the fact that the DAP was constantly maligned (indeed, our logo appeared to be omnipresent in most of the racial riot scenes, although there was no direct reference linking the party to the riots). This is because I had expected nothing less than a perversion of reality, as how the DAP has been constantly victimised and misrepresented in recent times, most notably over the CEC election.
I was also not surprised by the grossly unfair and one-sided portrayal of the Chinese as the main instigators of the racial riots. That too was expected, considering the film was fully funded by a RM4.8 million grant from FINAS (National Film Development Corporation) and MDEC (Multimedia Development Corporation). After all, race-baiting and provocation is everyday fare for the BN-controlled mainstream media. Read the rest of this entry »
Free Malaysia Today
September 4, 2013
How can Finas justify this work by Shuhaimi Baba, investing millions of ringgit and in the process jeopardising our racial harmony. For what? The truth?
I’ve watched Tanda Putera. Aside from wanting to know what the hype was about this film, I considered the price of the ticket as my contribution in support local filmmakers. Hopefully, the small amount I paid, to some extent, will be able to help develop the local film industry.
According to media reports, Tanda Putera cost around RM4.5 million, with the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) contributing RM2.5 million and the Multimedia Development Corporation RM2 million, excluding sponsorship from GLCs such as MAS.
With that huge amount of investment, the technical aspects of the film was far from satisfying. The quality of computer generated images were messy. The settings, props and costumes also fell short of capturing the atmosphere of the 60/70s era, unlike Bukit Kepong or Leftenan Adnan. Is it because the producers wanted to save on budget?
After watching it, I wondered if the film was about the history of May 13, or something else?
There were the infamous scenes depicting youths urinating on a flag pole. But, it’s not clear if this incident really took place or derived from historical facts. If true, where and what is the source? Before this, we never heard about it. So we want to know the facts, either from police reports or notes by historians.
It is not clear from the scene where the flag pole is located. Was is it in the compound of Harun Idris’ (Selangor Chief Minister) residence or at the government office or a hawkers area? If it is linked to the residence, it’s probably an assumption just because the pole is flying the Selangor flag. Or, is the urination scene a figment of the director’s imagination?
According to an eyewitness account by one Habib Ahmad, based in Kampung Baru at that time, it is almost impossible that the incident took place in the Menteri Besar’s residence. Read the rest of this entry »
— Clive Kessler
The Malay Mail Online
September 3, 2013
SEPT 3 — A regime crisis, a complete implosion of the then existing national ruling formula and framework: that, and not a “race riot”, was what occurred in May 1969.
And that fact, that distinction, needs to be emphasised and repeated.
Now that Tanda Putra is being widely screened, amidst heated and acrimonious controversy.
A regime crisis, not just a “race riot”: that is a truth that has long been denied and is still routinely resisted.
But is it an essential truth that cannot forever be evaded.
Oleh Mahdzir Ibrahim
Filem Tanda Putera telah pun saya tonton di pawagam. Selain mahu melihat sendiri gembar-gembur tentang filem ini, ia juga saya anggap sebagai sumbangan peribadi saya kepada penerbit filem tersebut demi menyokong kemajuan filem tempatan. Mudah-mudahan dengan wang tiket yang saya bayar itu, sedikit sebanyak akan dapat membantu memajukan lagi filem tempatan.
Saya sebagai penonton mempunyai pandangan sendiri, saya akan cuba berlaku adil menilai filem ini.
Menurut laporan media, kos filem ini sekitar RM 4.5 juta, ia dibiayai oleh Perbadanan Kemajuan Filem Nasional Malaysia (FINAS) sebanyak RM2.5 juta dan RM2 juta lagi daripada Perbadanan Kemajuan Multimedia (MDeC). Tidak termasuk penajaan dari syarikat kerajaan seperti syarikat penerbangan Malaysia (MAS).
Dengan kos tersebut, saya fikir hasil dari aspek teknikalnya tidaklah begitu memuaskan. Penggunaan teknik CGI atau Computer Generated Image yang digunakan tidak sempurna dan tidak kemas malah jika difikir-fikirkan, ianya tidak perlu bagi filem sebegini. Namun terpulanglah kepada pengarah kerana itu haknya.
Begitu juga dalam dalam aspek rekabentuk produksi, props dan costume. Ia tidak cukup sempurna untuk menggambarkan suasana di zaman tersebut sedangkan filem ini berlatarkan suasana diera 60/70an. Jauh bezanya dengan props dan costume filem Bukit Kepong atau Leftenan Adnan. Adakah kerana penerbitnya ingin berjimat, kita tidak pasti.
Selepas menonton, saya tertanya-tanya adakah filem ini mahu bercerita tentang sejarah 13 Mei atau apa? Read the rest of this entry »
Ooi Kee Beng
The Malaysian Insider
September 04, 2013
In thinking about 2013, the year the Federation of Malaysia celebrates its 50th anniversary, one cannot but compare the national atmosphere to that in 2007, the year the Federation of Malaya celebrated its 50th anniversary.
I remember that the New Straits Times under Datuk Seri Kalimullah Hassan ran a week-long serialisation in January that year of my book The Reluctant Politician: Tun Dr Ismail and His Time (ISEAS 2006) with the express purpose of putting the country into a contemplative mood and reminding Malaysians of what nation building is all about.
Given the faltering reform programme of then prime minister Tun Abdullah Badawi, 2007 couldn’t help but be a contemplative — and agitative — year for many Malaysians in any case. Be that as it may, to be fair to Abdullah, much change had come to the country after he took over from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in October 2003.
Otherwise, the latter would not have been using his considerable political acumen back then to undermine his successor’s position. Only Dr Mahathir’s bad health that year limited his attacks on the prime minister. Read the rest of this entry »