Archive for category Politics

Brexit is not just Europe’s problem. It highlights a crisis in democracies worldwide.

By Dan Balz
Washington Post
June 27, 2016

LONDON — Britain’s political system remained in turmoil Monday, virtually leaderless and with the two major parties divided internally. But the meltdown that has taken place in the days after voters decided to break the country’s ties with Europe is more than a British problem, reflecting an erosion in public confidence that afflicts democracies around the world.

Last Thursday’s Brexit vote cast a bright light on the degree to which the effects of globalization and the impact of immigration, along with decades of overpromises and under-delivery by political leaders, have undermined the ability of those officials to lead. This collapse of confidence has created what amounts to a crisis in governing for which there seems no easy or quick answer.

The debris here is clear. The Brexit vote claimed Prime Minister David Cameron as its first victim. Having called the referendum and led the campaign to keep Britain in the European Union, he announced his intention to resign the morning after the vote. The results also now threaten the standing of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who faces a likely leadership election after seeing more than two dozen members of his leadership team resign in the past two days.

Alastair Darling, a former chancellor of the exchequer, outlined the extent of the crisis here during an interview with the BBC’s “Today” program on Monday. “There is no government. There is no opposition. The people who got us into this mess — they’ve gone to ground,” he said “How has the United Kingdom come to this position? We have taken this decision and have no plan for the future.”

The seeds of what has brought Britain to this moment exist elsewhere, which makes this country’s problems the concern of leaders elsewhere. In Belgium and Brazil, democracies have faced crises of legitimacy; in Spain and France, elected leaders have been hobbled by their own unpopularity; even in Japan, where Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces no threat from the opposition, his government has demonstrated a consistent inability to deliver prosperity. Read the rest of this entry »

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Stung by a betrayal, former London mayor Boris Johnson ends bid to lead Britain

By Griff Witte
Washington Post
June 30, 2016

LONDON – It was a scene lifted from the scripts of Shakespeare — or perhaps a binge-watching session of “House of Cards.”

When Thursday morning broke, Boris Johnson, the transparently ambitious former mayor of London, was preparing to give the speech of his life — one that would vault him out of the political mayhem wrought by last week’s referendum on the European Union and straight to the job he had long sought: British prime minister.

But the man who was to be Johnson’s campaign manager had a different idea: Michael Gove, the bookish justice secretary who has repeatedly denied any aspiration to higher office, was getting ready to stick a dagger into Johnson’s chances, and twist.

By day’s end, Britain would be reckoning with one more betrayal in a political season full of them. This one stunned an already dazed nation, and left no doubt, if any had remained, that Britain is divided, directionless and leaderless as it prepares for a leap into the unknown of life outside the E.U.

Johnson, the mop-headed rogue who had been considered the odds-on favorite to take the keys to 10 Downing Street, has now been shunted to the sidelines of the contest to lead the Conservative Party and, by extension, the nation. Read the rest of this entry »

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New Deal for Malaysia

– Liew Chin Tong
The Malaysian Insider
24 January 2016

With mega crises on all fronts, (Datuk Seri) Najib (Razak) and Umno look doomed. But they might just survive politically by creating a “Low Yat incident” every other week.

The game plan is simple: pit underprivileged kids of one race against another, then they will be so busy fighting each other that they will forget who keeps them poor to begin with. The accusation of “poor Malay cheated by Chinese handphone taukeh” is untrue. Why would a “rich” young Chinese work for a handphone shop for meagre pay?

Can we, DAP, see the shared fate of the bottom 60% of the economy – youngsters who are Malay as well as Chinese and other races? Can we articulate their wishes and aspirations in a single breath?

The even more crucial question is this: do we even actually know them? Do we actually know who the Malays are? What the Malays are? Where the Malays are?

It is sad to note that some of us see the Malays as one single entity with a set of stereotypes. For example, we didn’t even realise that we are being racial when we see most Malays as policemen, enforcement officers, Mat Rempit, etc.

The same is true for others who only see Chinese as rich people and business owners who always cheat Malays. After 50 years, the narrative has stayed the same. This is sad. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Flawed democracy’ Malaysia slips down in The Economist unit’s ranking, behind Indonesia

Malay Mail Online
January 22, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 22 — Malaysia stayed mired among countries rated as “flawed democracies” in The Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Democracy Index 2015 released this week, losing three positions from the previous year.

According to the EIU table, Malaysia is now 68th out of the 167 countries measured, after it scored 6.43 in the index, down from 65th in 2014, putting it behind Indonesia (49th) and the Philippines (54th), but ahead of 74th placed Singapore.

“These countries also have free and fair elections and, even if there are problems (such as infringements on media freedom), basic civil liberties are respected.

“However, there are significant weaknesses in other aspects of democracy, including problems in governance, an underdeveloped political culture and low levels of political participation,” the EIU explained.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Don’t have to invent the wheel, just have the political will to do what is right and just to implement the Cabinet decision of April 22, 2009 or resign as Ministers

All eyes are on the Cabinet meeting today – will the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his 36 Ministers in the jumbo Cabinet end one of the greatest injustices of the seven-year Najib premiership – the Indira Gandhi injustice where a mother had been forcibly separated from her 11-month old baby daughter not for one or two years but for seven long years!

For seven long years, the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, Parliament and the Judiciary have all failed Indira Gandhi and her daughter, and the Constitution, the laws, the courts and the system of governance have been manipulated to deny Indira and her daughter their fundamental rights as a mother and a child to be to see, hold and touch each other!

There is no need for the Cabinet today to invent the wheel. Just have the political will to do what is right and just to implement the Cabinet decision of April 22, 2009 that there should be no unilateral conversion of children and that the children of parents where one parent chooses to convert to Islam must continue to be raised in the common religion at the time of the marriage. Or resign as Ministers!

Furthermore, the Minister should demonstrate that it is not only a Cabinet of compassion and humanity, but of justice and competence by directing the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and all relevant agencies to ensure that within 48 hours, Indira Gandhi should be able to re-unite with her daughter whom she had not seen for seven long years. Read the rest of this entry »

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10 things about: Steven Sim, the computer engineer turned MP

by Opalyn Mok
Malay Mail Online
January 10, 2016

GEORGE TOWN, Jan 10 — Steven Sim Chee Keong was relatively new in DAP when he first stood for elections in 2013 for the Bukit Mertajam parliamentary seat and won.

Prior to that, he was the Seberang Perai Municipal Council councillor and had been helping his predecessor Chong Eng and later, Berapit state assemblyman Lydia Ong Kok Fooi with party matters.

Ever since he won the seat, the 32-year-old has been using technology to try and improve governance and delivery to the people, particularly his constituents in Bukit Mertajam.

He is the one behind the introduction of a user-friendly application called “Citizen Action Technology” for the public to lodge complaints to the local authorities.

He also wrote a book titled The Audacity To Think: An Invitation To Rethink Politics which is his take on political concepts based on his experience.

It is hard to imagine that this young energetic politician used to be a chocolate entrepreneur before calling it quits to continue his studies in computer science. Read the rest of this entry »

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Restoring hope in politics

Syerleena Abdul Rashid
The Malaysian Insider
8 January 2016

Fundamentally, I am an optimist who always believes that silver linings do exist in any situation we find ourselves in, even in situations so bleak and depressing.

However, there are quite a number of dark moments when my faith is sorely tested and I have to admit, there are times when I feel that the odds are stacked way too high.

Desmond Tutu said it best, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness”. These are the words that every Malaysian must try to remember.

The injustice and the humiliation we encounter as we soldier on in the name of political and democratic reforms will probably worsen as the general election draw closer. Read the rest of this entry »

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My six-month suspension from Parliament a most symbolic way to mark my 50 years in politics in pursuit of the Malaysian Dream

Fifty years ago, I started my involvement in Malaysian politics and my current six-month suspension from Parliament in a most symbolic way marked my half-century of political work and patriotism where I dedicated virtually my whole life to the pursuit of the Malaysian Dream of an united, inclusive, progressive, just and prosperous Malaysia for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, language, culture, region, politics or class.

My six-month suspension from Parliament is a salutary reminder that the pursuit of the Malaysian Dream is not a completed journey but very much a work-in-progress, that it is not a smooth-sailing venture but requires courage, commitment and vision to overcome the trials and tribulations of an upstream, against-the-current struggle to build a better Malaysia for all Malaysians, where good governance and justice is the order of the day and an end to the ever-lengthening list of political and economic scandals suffocating the country. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call for a national roundtable conference of eminent citizens, community and religious elders, political and civil society leaders to brainstorm to search for an exit for the country’s unprecedented quandary and to restore Malaysians’ lost self-confidence to compete with the best in the world

I thank the people of Sabah who have shown unstintingly their support for the “Solidarity with Lim Kit Siang and Mana RM2.6 billion?” campaign in the past two days during our tour of Tenom, Keningau, Kudat and Kota Kinabalu, continuing tomorrow to Tuaran and Sandakan.

The “Solidarity with Lim Kit Siang and Mana RM2.6 billion?” campaign is not about me, but the future of 3.3 million Sabahans and 30 million Malaysians – whether Sabahans and Malaysians have the right to demand that their elected representatives raise the issues that matter to the people in Parliament and the State Assemblies, like Prime Minister’s Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s RM2.6 billion “donation” and the RM50 billion l1MDB twin mega scandals.

Malaysia is now in unprecedented times and we are in fact in “no man’s land” in terms of our political and nation-building experience.

There have been many strange goings-on in our country in the past year demonstrating that what we see openly and publicly may not reflect the many powerful under-currents flowing below the surface in our political society. Appearance is not the reality, as things may not be what they seem on surface.

I will give three illustrations. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia in political stalemate

By Murray Hunter
On Line Opinion
26 October 2015

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib is facing accusations of fraud with the 1MDB fiasco, and the murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaaribuu, while the economy is going into a ‘nosedive’.

After six and a half years in office, Premier Najib presides over a nation with contracting growth, rising inflation, growing unemployment, a Ringgit at a 20 year low against the US Dollar, significant capital flight, a massive debt problem, disappearing sources of income, and low consumer confidence.

Although some of these problems are the result of global factors such as declining oil and gas prices, low commodity prices, and sluggish growth of major trading partners, Malaysia’s problems also greatly exist today as the result of policy failures. Extremist policies have also led to social and ethnic tensions within the country. In addition, the depreciation of the Ringgit and introduction of the GST have put undue hardships on the people. Read the rest of this entry »

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Political freedom and char kuey teow on a chilly London night

by Dyana Sofya
Malay Mail Online
October 7, 2015

OCTOBER 7 — The air was chilly but festive. Crowds of Londoners were streaming in, most of them in their work attire as it was a weekday evening.

Amid the hustle and bustle, a few people clad in Malaysian traditional costumes were giving out red hibiscus clips. I took one of myself and pinned it on my hair.

Our national flower as an adornment — what a neat way to commemorate our country on this evening celebrating Malaysia Night in London.

Spread out around Trafalgar Square were stalls selling a variety of Malaysian delicacies such as satay, roti canai, apam balik and much more. For many Malaysians living in London, it was a real treat, even if it was a bit of a luxury at GBP5 per meal (but then again, where else can you get roadside nasi lemak in London?).

As I sat on the steps of Trafalgar Square while waiting for the festivities to begin, a young Malaysian student beside me opened his container of hot, steaming char kuey teow from one of the stalls. I couldn’t help commenting how great it smelled and looked, and tried to recall when was the last time I had a plate of flat rice noodles cooked with seafood, chives, chilli paste and soy sauce. If there’s one thing Malaysians miss almost immediately after leaving home, it is our food!

And so the char kuey teow became an ice-beaker and I began to chat with the student and some of his friends. They all wanted to know about what was happening back home, from donations to 1MDB. The topic of Bersih 4.0 naturally came up, and one student shared with me her interest to participate in the rally, but did not because she and other JPA scholars had received a “love letter” warning them not to attend or risk their scholarships. Read the rest of this entry »

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Political ‘earthquakes’ that realigned Malaysian politics (Part 1)

— Liew Chin Tong
Malay Mail Online
September 25, 2015

SEPTEMBER 25 — In the wake of an earthquake, tectonic plates will shift and realign. It takes time before gradually stabilising. In the process of seismic shifting, instead of hoping for a more stable surface, it would be better to reflect on the possible changes after the earthquake.

The spectrum of Malaysian politics experienced three great political earthquakes that caused shifting and realignment. After each shaking, the scenario that emerged was a previously unthinkable one. Once the tectonic plates shift, the outcome is a change that will never be the same again.

The first pre-Merdeka pan-Malayan General Election in July 1955 saw the success of the Alliance, using the UMNO-MCA-MIC formula. Read the rest of this entry »

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Choosing sides: Days ahead in Malaysia

— Rebecca Khoo
Malay Mail Online
August 26, 2015

AUG 26 —To some, patriotism simply means ‘love for country’ which is a very valid way of looking at it. Patriotism means different thing to different people. It is rather subjective as patriotism exists on many— and different— levels. Hence, what is patriotism to you? Maybe you believe that it partly is about voting for the candidates of political parties that you pledge support for. However, have you ever contemplated that giving mandate to candidates of political parties alone is not equivalent to love for the country. That is just exercising your right to vote, which includes the right to abstain from voting.

You may still think that you love the country in your heart, but is that so? Of course, placing your hand on your heart will not instill or fire up love for the country. Neither will singing patriotic songs, nor following the national theme for the National Day. Many Malaysians who have high political awareness support either the Barisan Nasional (BN) or the Opposition. The one-eyed partisanship is very clear. More often than not, people lose their rationality when it comes to politics. Staunch supporters from both sides of the political divide will come to their leaders’ defence-at all cost, never mind if the leaders are just as wrong as their opponents on the other side of the House. Read the rest of this entry »

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A post-PR, post-BN future for Malaysia?

— Zairil Khir Johari
Malay Mail Online
July 23, 2015

JULY 23 —Many Malaysians are understandably dismayed by the recent break-up of the Pakatan Rakyat (PR), a seven-year-old coalition that had been cobbled together by force of necessity following the unprecedented results of the 12th General Election in 2008.

In the aftermath of the landmark polls, which saw the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition losing its customary two-thirds Parliamentary majority for the very first time, and in the process also relinquishing control over five out of 13 state governments, the three main opposition parties of DAP, PKR and Pas suddenly found themselves in the awkward position of having won enough seats to form five state governments – together. Thus, as entrenched differences were set aside for the sake of pragmatism, a tripartite coalition pact was forged.

For the most part, the arrangement functioned. By the next General Election in 2013, despite visible hairline cracks, the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition was able to present itself as a viable alternative to the decades-long domination of the BN. This premise was confirmed by the results of the 13th General Election (GE13), which saw the three-party coalition picking up 52 per cent of the popular vote – but unfortunately denied the right to form the Federal Government, thanks to creative gerrymandering and malapportionment of seats.

Alas, that was to be the pinnacle of the PR story. Everything began to slide downhill after that. Aggressive goading by the dominant, Umno-controlled Malay media, quickly saw the Malay-Muslim ethno-religious nationalist agenda gaining traction. Coupled by factional infighting within Pas, this led to the resurgence of highly divisive issues such as the shariah criminal code, or hudud law.

In the end, amidst broken promises and much mudslinging between and within the PR component parties, Pas capitulated by ushering in a new slate of right-wing hawks as leaders, and by means of a motion to cut ties with the DAP during its general assembly, the fate of the coalition was sealed. Read the rest of this entry »

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By Abdul Rahman’s logic, I should have paid money for the so-called “info” about 1MDB, reckless about the mercenary’s motivation and the info’s veracity and demand Najib should accept them as gospel truth!

A few days ago, I received a call and the person on the other side of the line said he had all the info about the 1MDB scandal and asked whether I was interested.

When I said yes, he said he needed money and when I told him clearly and unmistakably that these are two separate issues which I am not prepared to link together, the caller ended the phone conversation. I have not heard from him since.

Have I acted wrongly?

The overnight Barisan Nasional strategic communications director, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, Minister for Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government might think so, which is probably why he has suddenly become the champion of the dubious information offered by a dubious character regarding it as “pay dirt” and questioning the honour, honesty and credibility of those who had tried to pry open the biggest financial scandal in the nation’s history – the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal.

Abdul Rahman was so pachydermous that he even had the temerity to claim that he is emulating me when he tweeted: “When BN questioned the credibility of DAP’s sources, @limkitsiang always quick to say “Don’t shoot the messenger, focus on the message!” So?” Read the rest of this entry »

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Egg all over his face and he still does not know – a special quality of UMNO/BN Ministers and leaders

I do not know whether to commiserate or congratulate the overnight Barisan Nasional strategic communications director, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, Minister for Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government who has undoubtedly won instant media fame (or is it infamy) by having egg all over his face.

The wonder of it all is that he is blissfully unaware that he has egg all over his face – a special quality of UMNO/BN Ministers and leaders.
He could even admit to having soiled goods but insist that the importance is the message not the messenger.

But if the messenger is disreputable and mercenary, what is the credibility of his message?

School children would be able to give proper answer to this question which seems to be beyond Abdul Rahman’s mental and moral capabilities – no wonder former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir keeps lamenting the low-standard of present-day Cabinet Ministers whom he and his former Finance Minister, Tun Daim Zainuddin, have dismissed as “half-past six” or “deadwood” Ministers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Parti baharu sangat dinantikan

A Shukur Harun
The Malaysian Insider
7 July 2015

Pelbagai pihak, khususnya generasi muda, sedang menunggu-nunggu akan kelahiran parti baharu – Gerakan Harapan Baharu – yang dirancang diumumkan selepas hari raya ini.

Ini menunjukkan sebuah parti baharu yang mampu memberikan harapan masa depan kepada rakyat Malaysia sangat diharapkan. Iaitu ketika rakyat melihat dengan sangat bimbang pelbagai krisis yang menimpa negara yang tidak dapat diselesaikan oleh parti pemerintah, di tengah-tengah Pakatan Rakyat (PR) sendiri juga tidak habis-habisnya berkrisis.

Parti Gerakan Harapan Baharu ini dirancang penubuhannya oleh golongan progresif dan sederhana yang disingkirkan dengan penuh hina dalam muktamar PAS bulan Jun lalu.

Penubuhan parti ini juga untuk meneruskan legasi perjuangan Allahyarham Datuk Fadzil Mohd Noor dan Allahyarham Tuan Guru Nik Abd Aziz Nik Mat yang sangat terbuka dan demokratik serta berpandangan jauh ke depan. Read the rest of this entry »

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DAP “egosentrik”? Benarkah begitu wahai anak muda?

oleh WAN HAMIDI HAMID
Roketkini
3 Julai 2015

Sekalung tahniah untuk sekumpulan 146 aktivis politik yang menggelar diri sebagai Anak Muda atas keberanian menyuarakan keinginan mereka kepada sebuah kerajaan alternatif.

Pada masa yang sama, mungkin kerana salah faham atau kurang maklumat, ada yang membuat generalisasi bahawa “Anak muda berasa mual melihat parti-parti yang kononnya berpakat, tetapi gagal mengurus egosentrik lantas memberi talian hayat kepada Kerajaan minoriti Barisan Nasional”.

Sebenarnya ayat lazim seperti ini tidak akan membantu kepada penyelesaian masalah. “Mual”, “egosentrik”, “talian hayat” kepada musuh politik adalah antara kata-kata yang penuh dengan pelbagai telahan negatif.

Tuduhan seperti itu sama seperti sikap seorang guru sekolah yang menyangka dirinya adil dengan menghukum kedua-dua pembuli dan mangsa yang dibuli tanpa sebarang siasatan. Read the rest of this entry »

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IKRAM Iltizam Cakna Perkembangan Politik Semasa

Ustaz Haji Hasanuddin Mohd Yunus
Timbalan Presiden
Pertubuhan IKRAM Malaysia
1.7.2015

Mengikuti perkembangan politik dan pembangunan semasa negara, Pertubuhan IKRAM Malaysia (IKRAM) sebagai sebuah pertubuhan bukan kerajaan (NGO) yang prihatin dan cakna kepada keadilan sejagat, keharmonian masyarakat dan kesatuan umat selaras dengan perjuangan IKRAM untuk memastikan ‘Malaysia Menuju Negara Rahmah’, ingin menegaskan pendirian-pendirian berikut untuk kebaikan bersama warga Malaysia:

IKRAM meyakini bahawa sistem pemerintahan berteraskan konsep dwiparti merupakan satu keperluan demi memastikan proses tatakelola kerajaan yang baik berteraskan akauntabiliti, ketelusan dan proses semak dan imbang sentiasa menepati prinsip-prinsip ‘Siyasah Syar’iyyah’ (politik berinspirasikan Syariah).

IKRAM yang bergerak atas dasar prinsip menyuruh yang makruf mencegah yang mungkar (amar makruf nahi munkar) akan terus menjadi kumpulan pendesak dan pengimbang kepada semua pihak samada daripada pihak pemerintah atau pembangkang, agensi kerajaan atau swasta terutamanya yang melibatkan organisasi yang mengendalikan amanah kepentingan awam dan yang melibatkan penyalahgunaan kuasa pentadbiran, ketirisan dalam penggunaan wang awam dan seumpamanya. Read the rest of this entry »

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Prospects for coalition making, post-muktamar

By Steven Sim
Malaysiakini
Jun 23, 2015

MP SPEAKS Two months ago, Lim Kit Siang proposed a crazy idea; a post-BN post-Pakatan Rakyat “Save Malaysia” grand coalition. Many criticised him, including allies and supporters and even DAP members.

Lim, the DAP parliamentary leader, was inviting Malaysians, including Malaysian politicians, to “think the unthinkable”, going beyond the much cherished two-party system into something else.

What does this “something else” look like?

I was to discover part of the answer when I joined Lim on a trip to the Middle East. Read the rest of this entry »

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