Archive for category nation building

When principled men like UM’s Redzuan lose a battle, but win the war

30 June 2014

This is a good day for Malaysia.

Yes, most of us will be sorry that Professor Datuk Dr Mohamad Redzuan Othman is being forced out of his job at Universiti Malaya.

But this is also a good day for Malaysia. Because the principled stand taken by this gentleman is another sign that there are individuals in Malaysia who will not be cowered or silenced or threatened by insecure Barisan Nasional (BN) politicians aided by supine and morally-bankrupt government officials.

Only a few days ago, Tan Sri Shamsul Abbas, the chief executive officer of Petronas, spoke with unusual candour about the pressure being exerted on the national oil company by rent-seekers. He championed meritocracy, knowing full well the attacks he would invite from those who believe it is their birthright to plunder Malaysia’s resources.

He knows that powerful forces want him out of Petronas. The easier option would have been to say that the national oil company’s resources do not belong to him and look the other way as the plundering continued.

Similarly, it would have been so easy for Redzuan to sacrifice his beliefs for personal advancement and pecuniary interests. Read the rest of this entry »

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A German lesson for Malaysia

by Zairil Khir Johari
Jun 27, 2014

Zairil Khir Johari draws similarities between Germany and Malaysia but finds how Germany’s system of federalism is efficiently decentralised and embedded with check-and-balance mechanisms at every level.

I WAS in Berlin when I came across Canadian astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield. And no, it wasn’t because of his creative space recording of David Bowie’s 1969 hit single, Space Oddity, which generated more than 22 million YouTube views before it was removed recently following the expiry of its copyright term.

Instead, Hadfield, who is also well known for having a keen photographic eye, happened to be in the headlines for a particularly poignant photograph he had taken of Berlin from space.

The now famous shot, taken at night from the International Space Station, illustrates a cobweb of lights with a bright white core radiating from the heart of the city where the government quarter lies.

Sprouting out from that core, the picture takes an interesting twist. The entire western half of the web is peppered with bright white lights, while the eastern half emanates softer, yellow glows. Two contrasting halves: one white and bright, one yellow and dim.

Although 24 years has passed since the reunification of Germany in 1990, the legacy of one of Europe’s greatest divisions could not have been clearer than in that photograph.

The separation of colours as seen from space is not simply the result of two different town-planning approaches, but rather the remains of what was a horrific war and decades of bitter separation.

This historical experience was evident throughout my many interactions during my week-long working visit to Germany. In almost every briefing and discussion with officials and legislators, whether at the state (Landtag) or federal (Bundestag and Bundesrat) level, there was always a sense of a large chip weighing down their shoulders. This was especially true of older Germans.

One of the key aims of my visit was to learn about the German political and legislative systems, as well as the division of powers between the different branches and tiers of government. In these areas, I found that Malaysia and Germany have many things in common. Yet, at the same time, we are also quite dissimilar in the very same areas that we share commonalities. Read the rest of this entry »

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The difference between compromise and cowardice

Erna Mahyuni
The Malay Mail Online
June 25, 2014

JUNE 25 — Let the Allah issue rest, someone said to me. “In the end, when we stand before Him, none of this will matter.”

This is a very Malaysian way of looking at things. Don’t talk about this — too sensitive. Don’t stage a play or make a film about that — too incendiary.

We step on eggshells all the time, trying not to anger that person or this person.

But let us be frank here; there only seems to be one race we seem to be very afraid of offending while there seems to be no problem kicking around cow heads or throwing Molotov cocktails at churches.

We cannot keep sweeping things under the carpet in fear of civil unrest. We cannot keep banning books and films and telling minority religions to stop “threatening” the majority faith. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wong Ho Leng was a brave fighter

Bridget Welsh
Jun 24, 2014

COMMENT For those who knew Bukit Assek assemblyperson Wong Ho Leng, the words ‘brave fighter’ come to mind. When he entered politics over 30 years ago, he joined at a time when being part of the opposition was unpopular.

It was the economic boom years in Sibu, derived primarily from timber, and he chose to stand up to power and urge greater transparency and fairer governance.

Although he contested from 1986 onwards, he first won office in 1996, beating the Sarawak United People’s Party’s (SUPP) then-deputy chief minister Wong Soon Kai in Bukit Assek.

His razor-thin majority of 226 votes in his first victory symbolised a political career where he would not only redefine politics in Sarawak but would leave a national legacy. Read the rest of this entry »

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A generation of Malaysians have lost their trust in Putrajaya, says Anglican bishop

by Jennifer Gomez
The Malaysian Insider
10 June 2014

Malaysia is “losing a generation” that no longer trusts the government, authorities and even each other, given the current trend of religious extremism, says Anglican Bishop Datuk Ng Moon Hing.

Ng, the newly minted president of the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM), said his greatest fear for Malaysia is a societal break-up due to hate speeches, racial hatred and religious extremism that is not being monitored.

“This nation has begun to lose a generation of people who no longer trust the government, the authorities, the elders, the religious leaders, and more so each other,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

Ng said trust and confidence in Putrajaya have plunged to its lowest level with unresolved issues affecting Malaysia’s multi-religious society, including the seizure of Bibles and the controversy over the use of the word “Allah” by Christians. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mengapa Orang Cina pula dimusuhi?

Abu Hassan Adam
Friday, June 6, 2014

Aku tidak faham dan ‘bingung’. Seolah-olah telah wujud satu teori yang mengatakan bahawa orang Melayu mesti memiliki perasaan perkauman dan memusuhi golongan bukan Melayu di Malaysia supaya orang Melayu boleh maju. Seolah-olah semacam begitu pemahaman sebilangan kecil penduduk Malaysia yang menggelarkan diri mereka sebagai penganut Islam sejati sedangkan Rasullullah tidak pula pernah mengajar pengikutnya supaya membenci antara satu sama lain.

Seolah-olah golongan ini sentiasa mencari kesalahan orang lain untuk meyakinkan tohmahan mereka bahawa sememangnya orang Cina yang menyebabkan orang Melayu mundur. Seolah-olah golongan bukan Melayu (Cina khususnya) yang mesti dipersalahkan yang menyebabkan orang Melayu masih mundur, masih berpendapatan rendah, masih mengharapkan bantuan dan subsidi dari kerajaan, masih mengharapkan belas dan ikhsan dari orang lain sebagai bayaran menjadi ‘tentera upahan’.

Aku agak sedih mengenangkan keadaan orang Melayu yang sebegini, walaupun sudah ramai orang Melayu yang tidak berperangai sedemikian lagi. Maknanya aku sedih melihat ‘saudara-mara’ aku yang masih bersikap demikian. Aku sedih melihat bahawa masih ramai orang Melayu di negara ini yang tidak mengikut ‘rentak’ dan ‘tari’ bangsa-bangsa lain yang jauh lebih maju dari bangsa Melayu.

Tidak dapat dinafikan bahawa orang Cina jauh lebih maju dari orang Melayu ditinjau dari sudut mana sekalipun. Namun apakah terpaksa kita memusuhi mereka disebabkan mereka berjaya di negara Malaysia ini. Apakah golongan bukan Melayu yang mahu dipersalahkan yang menyebabkan orang Melayu tidak sehebat kaum lain di negara ini? Read the rest of this entry »

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How to ensure poor get their share of scholarships

– Koon Yew Yin
The Malaysian Insider
May 11, 2014

Since my retirement, I have been concerned with how we can solve the problem of the poor through educational mobility.

This has involved putting my money where my mouth is in a programme which helps needy families send their children to university through financing their first year.

Although Forbes, the media organisation has given recognition to me in its annual selection of Asian philanthropic heroes in 2011, I am the first to realise that my efforts at providing scholarships to the needy are modest and a drop in the ocean of need.

After much reflection, I would like to provide a practical and easy solution to the problem of too many deserving poor children having to chase and compete for too few scholarships.

My solution is a two-pronged one. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hate groups getting louder as long as Putrajaya stays mute

May 09, 2014

In the past week, groups like Isma and others in academia have amplified their hatred for a section of the Malaysian population, going as far as to distort the country’s history to make it clear that Malaysia belongs to the Malays.

It does not help that Putrajaya has remained mute, except for some parties in the ruling coalition making some noises and calling for action to curb such talk. But the dominant Umno and its president, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, remain silent.

Also, these parties are not members of the administration and their voices have been ignored and in fact, Isma has even asked them to shut up.

If the prime minister cannot find it in himself to silence these groups that appear to ignore history and harmonious interfaith ties, then he and his government should just apologise to the Chinese and Christians for their inability to do anything about the matter. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tweets on PAS forum on 13th May, 1969

1.Spoke at interesting forum organised by PAS Shah Alam last night entitled: “13 Mei: Rekonstruksi Sejarah n Pembinaan Malaysia Pasca Rasisme”

2. Other speakers MP Mujahid Yusuf whose father Yusof Rawa defeated Mahathir in 1969, Subky Latif and Pemuda PAS leader Mohd Nasaie Ismail

3. Subky was veteran journalist I had known since 60s when he was with Utusan which had not degenerated to unethical disgrace to journalism today.

4. ’13 Mei ‘a blot in Malaysian history. It should not have happened, should not have been allowed to happen and all Msians must ensure there is no repeat.

5. 45 years after national nightmare in 1969, there is no authoritative account of what and how it happened – no Truth and Reconciliation efforts. Read the rest of this entry »

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PAS MP slams UiTM event attacking Christianity, challenges ‘undercover priests’ claim

by Jennifer Gomez and Desmond Davidson
The Malaysian Insider
MAY 08, 2014

A PAS lawmaker has slammed a public university over a religiously-charged seminar which attacked Christianity, and challenged a claim that Christian priests were masquerading as football coaches to proselytise to Muslims.

Parit Buntar MP Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusuf Rawa said the speakers should make a police report over the accusation, and warned that statements made at the seminar were mala fide and dangerous if they failed to back them with evidence.

“The speakers and the organisers of the seminar risk being hauled up for making accusations which could threaten inter-religious harmony in the country which was already fragile,” said Mujahid.

He urged them to provide evidence to the police, and cited Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution restricting the propagation of any faith to Muslims. Read the rest of this entry »

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On first anniversary of 13GE, Malaysians torn by grave disillusionment with Najib for a year of failed policies and the dire prospect of a break-up of Pakatan Rakyat over hudud law

Tomorrow is the first anniversary of the 13th General Elections where Malaysians had hoped to see a change of federal government in Putrajaya for the first time in the 56-year history of the nation.

Unfortunately, although Pakatan Rakyat secured the support of the majority of the national electorate, with 52% of the national voters voting for PR, Barisan Nasional continued to occupy the citadels of power in Putrajaya because of unfair electoral practices, gerrymandering and unfair redelineation of electoral constituencies.

The past one year has brought greater disillusionment to the people who wanted to see political change to bring Malaysia back to the pursuit of the Malaysian Dream for all Malaysians by bringing the country back to the tracks of justice, the rule of law, democracy, good governance, excellence and prosperity which Malaysia had strayed from for more than 40 years.

The latest global survey on the average broadband speed is another index to highlight the continued regression and retrogression of Malaysia instead of progress way ahead in the forefront in th world in various aspects of national achievements. Read the rest of this entry »

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Obama’s Visit: Any Value and Is Anyone Listening?

Koon Yew Yin

President Obama has come and gone. His visit to KL has generated much feedback. Analysts concerned with the political direction of the country have been especially disappointed with his refusal to meet the opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim. It was like him visiting Myanmar and refusing to meet Aung San Suu Kyi.

One commentator, Dennis Ignatius, has called this decision “an astonishing betrayal by a country that has often portrayed itself as a world champion of democracy and human rights. It sends an unmistakable signal to corrupt and abusive governments everywhere that disrespect for human rights and the curtailing of democratic governance will be overlooked in exchange for pro-American policies.”

The critic noted that surely the US leader is not “unaware of what is going on in Malaysia – the corruption and abuse of power, the tainted elections, the harassment and jailing of opposition leaders, the racial and religious incitement, the intolerance of dissent, the narrowing of our democratic space.”

In one sense, I share the above view of the critic who incidentally is not any ordinary Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »

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Liow Tiong Lai should stop blowing “hot air” if he is not prepared to issue an ultimatum to Najib that he and MCA would not return to Cabinet unless the Prime Minister gives solemn undertaking to uphold secular Malaysian constitution with no hudud laws for the country

MCA President Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai should stop blowing “hot air” if he is not prepared to issue an ultimatum to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak that he and MCA would not return to the Barisan Nasional Cabinet and Government unless and until the Najib administration gives a solemn undertaking to uphold the secular Malaysian Constitution with no hudud laws for the country.

It is pointless of Liow going on a nation-wide road show to meet thousands of “MCA grassroots leaders and leaders from Chinese guilds and associations” breathing “fire and brimstone” and threatening to unleash thousands of MCA Youth members throughout the country, including surrounding Parliament when it reconvenes in June, over a PAS proposal to table a Private Member’s Bill in Parliament for the implementation of hudud in Kelantan when the MCA President dare not say “No”, loudly and clearly, to the Prime Minister who had said a few days ago that the Barisan Nasional Federal Government had never rejected hudud?

Was Liow and the MCA leadership consulted before Najib made the policy change and announcement that the Barisan Nasional Federal Government had never rejected hudud, which not only violates the fundamental principles and features of the secular 1957 Merdeka Constitution but goes against the struggles, memory and heritage of the nation’s founding fathers in UMNO, MCA and MIC, whether Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, Tun Hussein, Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Tun Tan Siew Sin or Tun V. T. Sambanthan?

Or had Liow given his personal, if not party, agreement to Najib’s new policy announcement that the Barisan Nasional Federal Government had never rejected hudud?

Malaysians are entitled to know – was the MCA President ever consulted and whether he had given his consent, whether personally and privately or as MCA President, to Najib’s announcement? Read the rest of this entry »

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Open letter to the President of the United States

– Tony Pua
The Malaysian Insider
April 26, 2014

Dear President Barack Obama,

Welcome to my country, my home, my beautiful Malaysia.

We Malaysians are extremely proud that an American president, the first in 48 years, decided to visit our humble country.

Although you are an American, Malaysians together with the rest of the world celebrated with you when you won the historic presidential election in 2008.

To quote your predecessor, President George Bush, your “journey represents a triumph of the American story”.

I was personally moved and inspired by your victory acceptance speech in Chicago, “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer… at this defining moment, change has come to America.”

Hence you would surely remember and appreciate the struggles of African Americans in the history of the United States for freedom, justice and equality. Read the rest of this entry »

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Kajang voters, Malaysia’s destiny is in your hands!

P Ramakrishan
The Malay Mail Online
March 22, 2014

MARCH 22 — As you go to the polling booth on Sunday, 23 March 2014, remember that in your hands lies the destiny of this nation.

When you hold the ballot paper in your hand, remember that you are going to determine the future of our country. It is a heavy responsibility that you have been entrusted with but no generation of voters has ever been tasked with such a duty or been given such an opportunity.

What you do on 23 March must surely be the beginning of a new change that will provide the impetus for a new government.

It is not so much as casting your vote in favour of Pakatan or Barisan Nasional. You cast your vote in favour of fairness, justice, rule of law and democracy.

You are casting your vote to determine how this nation should be governed. You are going to express yourself very diligently and bravely, and let it be known in no uncertain terms what is best for this country.

The present government has failed to curb corruption which is the scourge of this nation. Corruption has become so rooted in our everyday life that it flourishes rampantly without any serious attempt to curb it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Denying BN deposit in Kajang by-election an “impossibly tall order” but there is no other more appropriate occasion than Kajang by-election for voters to forfeit BN of election deposit

(Speech at the DAPSY Ceramah for the Kajang by-election held at the Sungei Chua BasketBall Court, Kajang on Sunday, 16th March 2014 at 9.30 pm)

When I first suggested at the fifth Pakatan Rakyat Convention in Shah Alam the previous Saturday (8th March) that the Kajang voters should do the impossible in the by-election by making the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate lose deposit, I had said that this was a “very tall order” but the occasion warranted going for such an extraordinary result.

I want to repeat my call tonight to the Kajang voters in the by-election to perform the impossible to make the Barisan Nasional candidate lose the deposit on polling day on March 23.

I would describe this not just a “very tall order” but an “impossibly tall order”, which is not going to be easily achieved as it would need a super-herculean effort by the Kajang voters on polling day.

There are some 40,000 voters in Kajang state assembly seat. In the 13GE in May last year, the voter turnout for the constituency, comprising 48% Malay voters, Chinese 41%, Indian 10% and others 1%, was as high as 87.9%. Read the rest of this entry »

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If DAP or any of Pakatan Rakyat parties had done what Perkasa had done in going against the King’s Speech on the National Unity Consultative Council, we would have been accused of being anti-national, anti-Agong and traitors

In his royal address opening Parliament on Monday, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong not only endorsed the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) set up by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to preserve the country’s harmony and seek a common ground on various religious and ethnic matters, he “called on all parties to refrain from making any statement or action that might be deemed provocative or sensitive”.

The Yang di Pertuan Agong said: “Be mindful that when unity disintegrates, the country will head towards destruction. Therefore, we should reinforce unity by cultivating mutual respect and moderation in life.”

But the Yang di Pertuan Agong has been openly challenged and defied by the provocative and insensitive statements and actions of extremist organization Perkasa and other NGOs, led by Ibrahim Ali, which rejected “wholesale” the NUCC and have set up the National Unity Front (NUF) as an alternative to the NUCC.

Yesterday, former Chief Justice Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamed was announced as the first chief of the Perkasa-backed NUF to challenge what the Yang di Pertuan Agong said in his Royal Address to Parliament on Monday. Read the rest of this entry »

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Two brands of Malaysian unity: moderation versus bigotry

by Elizabeth Zachariah
The Malaysian Insider
March 06, 2014

Malay rights group Perkasa’s Datuk Ibrahim Ali has only one reason for setting up his own unity council – he wants to keep the Malays happy.

Ibrahim feels that by keeping the Malays happy and united, only then will unity be possible in Malaysia, a country where over half of the 30 million population are Malays.

“The happiness and the unity of the Malays and the Bumiputera are the core of unity in Malaysia because we are the majority at 67%,” the Perkasa president told The Malaysian Insider.

“The government cannot satisfy everyone, so it is best if they keep the majority happy because they are the ones who can determine and foster unity.”

Hence, the formation of his baby, the National Unity Front, which Perkasa has presented as an alternative to Putrajaya’s newly formed National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC). Read the rest of this entry »

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Attempts to disqualify Anwar and Karpal as MPs and to hold by-elections in Permatang Pauh and Bukit Gelugor fly in the face of Najib’s claim that he is serious about national reconciliation and national consensus

(Speech 2 in Dewan Rakyat when taking part in the debate on Motion of Thanks for the Royal Address on Thursday, 13th March 2014)

The traumatic and heart-rending MH370 tragedy is not the only event to darken the horizon of the country in the past week.

The other two somber developments of the country were the attempts to disqualify the Parliamentary Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the DAP National Chairman Karpal Singh as Members of Parliament and to hold parliamentary by-elections in the Permatang Pauh and Bukit Gelugor constituencies, the former probably as early as before the next Parliamentary meeting in June.

The attempts to disqualify Anwar and Karpal as MPs fly in face of the claim by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak that he is serious about national reconciliation and national consensus and is prepared to rise above partisan differences to end national drift and loss of leadership and direction in the country in the past 10 months since the 13th General Elections.

In his written reply to the PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang on National Reconciliation Plan, Najib smuggled for the first time in the past 10 months a reference to the 1Malaysia Policy, which he seemed to have forgotten or abandoned although he promulgated as his signature policy when he first became Prime Minister in April 2009. Read the rest of this entry »

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A nation responds to loss of MH370

by Bridget Welsh
March 10, 2014

COMMENT The loss of MH370 will be a defining moment in the country’s history. While attention rightly focuses on comforting families, finding the plane and what has caused this tragedy, the event has shown the depth of caring among Malaysians.

Across faiths, ethnic groups and borders, Malaysians have reached out to each other and to friends. Pride has been put aside in accepting international help and social media on the whole has shared more messages of hope than division. In the shared sadness of loss, the tragedy had revealed and reinforced a strong sense of community.

The image of an interfaith prayer led by former PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was perhaps the most powerful moment over the weekend, as it reflected what had been happening in society itself as Malaysians from all walks of life reached across their differences for those affected by the missing plane. It did not matter what word was being used, as the sentiment was the same.

Crises like these reveal character. They tell us who can handle pressure, test leaders and what are the real priorities. The character that was revealed is a society that cares for each other.

Despite all of the anger and stupidity surrounding recent events – from red paint throwing to unjust legal decisions – the ties among Malaysians are strong and resilient.

The silent majority of people who go about their lives, take planes, go on vacation and work, came out this weekend in the phone calls made to each other, recollections of classmates and on Facebook. This same silent majority is the one who is fed up with politicians abusing power and attacking each other, and wants more emphasis on solving the country’s problems and more dignity in political engagement.

They put Malaysia, its citizens and visitors first. If anything, this is a silver lining of the tragedy. Read the rest of this entry »

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