1Malaysia does not need Tongkat Ali or Viagra

M. Kulasegaran
Malaysiakini
18th Oct 2014

At the 60th MCA annual general assembly held last December, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak said MCA has the numbers and potential to champion the Chinese community, but lacks the spirit to succeed.

“We need political Viagra. Our spirit on the ground is weak,” Najib told the assembly. His comments made MCA the butt of joke, especially in the social media.

It is therefore most ironic that yesterday, Gerakan president Mah Siew Keong said the 1Malaysia campaign, which appears to have run out of steam since the last general election, needed a lift similar to the aphrodisiac root Tongkat Ali, so that the campaign could be “long lasting”.

MCA leaders were laughed at for not being brave enough to rebut the prime minister for his insulting analogy.

Will Najib tell Mah off for making him the new butt of joke? Read the rest of this entry »

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2015 Budget (4) – The National Agenda: Increasing equity ownership of Bumiputeras

2015 Budget (4) – A Critique
by Economic Adviser
18th October 2014

In indicating a further RM 600 million to EKUINAS to enable it to increase Bumiputera corporate equity the Prime Minister observed that the Bumiputera have yet to achieve the 30% target.

He further noted their effective control over corporations is currently only around 10%.

The Prime Minister appears to be playing to the right-wing gallery in his party by making these assertions which are unsubstantiated.
No details have been provided or reference made to any rigorous study.

Even a cursory review shows that GLCs are almost entirely Bumiputera controlled. The GLCs listed on the stock exchange account for almost 30 percent of paid up capital. Read the rest of this entry »

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How a tiny fishing village became the gadget factory of the world, and why that’s just the beginning of its ambitions

By Steve Ranger
TechRepublic

It’s a hot summer evening in Shenzhen, but it’s still cool inside the Apple store. The young shoppers are checking out the phones and nodding along to the music by a British indie band of the early nineties. The music they’re listening to is not only older than they are, it’s also older than most of the mega-city of 12 million people, too.

A mere 35 years ago, Shenzhen was little more than a fishing village clinging to the coast, peering enviously at wealthy Hong Kong across the water. But then it was chosen to become the first of China’s special economic zones under Deng Xiaoping — an area where foreign investment and entrepreneurialism was encouraged.

Since then it has rapidly grown into a massive metropolis — one of the largest cities on the planet — and along the way it has also become the manufacturing heart of the global tech industry. If Silicon Valley is the world’s software epicentre, then Shenzhen is home of hardware. Read the rest of this entry »

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Was lack of “tongkat ali” the reason why the Cabinet abdicated from its collective responsibility from taking a stand on Nancy’s parliamentary answer on why Ibrahim Ali was not prosecuted for his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible?

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak was in Milan yesterday for the Asia-Europe (Asem) Summit, but this cannot be the excuse why the Cabinet had abdicated from its collective responsibility from taking a stand on the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Nancy Shukri’s parliamentary answer on why Perkasa President Datuk Ibrahim Ali was not prosecuted for his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible.

Had Nancy correctly reflected the common stand of all Cabinet Ministers on the issue binding every Minister in accordance with the principle of collective responsibility, or had Nancy given a wrong, incorrect and unacceptable response, especially with reference to her statements that Ibrahim was not prosecuted because he was defending the sanctity of Islam and his action was protected by Article 11(4) of the Malaysian Constitution.

Has the principle of collective Ministerial responsibility in Malaysia degenerated in practice to mean “that no one is responsible”?

Or, to quote the Gerakan President Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, was the lack of “tongkat ali” the reason why the Cabinet abdicated from its collective responsibility from taking a stand on Nancy’s parliamentary answer on why Ibrahim Ali was not prosecuted, as it is inconceivable that Ministers, whether from Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah or Sarawak, who support Najib’s initiative of a Global Movement of Moderates could endorse the answer given by Nancy in Parliament – making them collectively responsible for her answer.

It is no use MCA, Gerakan, MIC, Sarawak, Sabah and even UMNO “moderate” Ministers praising Najib for his recent speech at the United Nations General Assembly against religious intolerance and extremism and even pledging “full and strong support” when as Ministers of the Najib Cabinet, they are not prepared to walk Najib’s talk by refusing to compromise with any form of extremism and religious intolerance, like Ibrahim’s immunity from the sanctions of the law for his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible. Read the rest of this entry »

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Religious, ethnic hatred top global threat for Malaysians, poll finds

by Boo Su-Lyn
Malay Mail Online
October 17, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 17 ― Nearly one-third of Malaysians see religious and ethnic hatred as posing the greatest danger to the world, according to the latest survey finding by Pew Research Center, a concern shared by Indonesia amid simmering religious tensions in both countries and the rise of violent militant Islamist groups.

The Washington-based research group’s Greatest Dangers in the World survey released yesterday showed 32 per cent of Malaysians who cited religious and ethnic hatred as the biggest global threat today.

In contrast, 22 per cent Malaysians surveyed pointed to nuclear weapons, 16 per cent said environmental damage, 13 per cent cited increasing income inequality and 12 per cent highlighted AIDS and other diseases as major global threats.

In neighbouring Indonesia, home to the world’s biggest Muslim population, 26 per cent of its people polled also cited religious and ethnic divisions as the main threat to the world compared to other Southeast Asian nations like Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines which are more concerned with environmental issues.

Concerns about religious and ethnic hatred ranked the highest in Malaysia among Asian countries, followed by Bangladesh (30 per cent), Indonesia (26 per cent) and India (25 per cent). Read the rest of this entry »

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2015 Budget (3) – Implementing GST

2015 Budget (3) – A Critique
by Economic Observer
18th October 2014

The Prime Minister has attempted to offer soothing statements concerning the scope and coverage of the GST.

He has listed a whole list of items that will be exempted. While the list may be impressive, the value of the items that will be exempted remains shrouded.

Such claims as “ Of the 944 goods and services in the basket of goods of the CPI, the prices of 532 items or 56% are expected to reduce up to 4.1%.” or “Meanwhile, about 354 goods and services may experience some price increase but less than 5.8%” offer little clarity. No indication is given about the burden to be borne by an average household or the percentage by which the CPI will rise.

The Prime Minister indicated that the GST will yield RM 23.2 billion in gross revenue. However, with the implementation of GST, the Sales and Services Tax (SST), will be abolished resulting in revenue foregone of RM13.8 billion.

He went on to state: “This means that after deducting RM13.8 billion and RM3.8 billion from a revenue of RM23.2 billion, the Government will have a balance of RM5.6 billion.”

He went on to claim that of the total, RM4.9 billion was being channeled back to the rakyat through assistance programs such as the increase in BR1M.

“Finally, net revenue collection from GST will only amount to RM690 million.” This latter statement is remarkable indeed and is designed to minimize the collection from this new tax.

The Minister has side-stepped pertinent questions concerning the impact of the GST on middle and low income households by referring to the tax reductions. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia 19 years behind South Korea, complacency, graft among culprits

by Lee Shi-Ian
The Malaysian Insider
17 October 2014

Malaysia are 19 years behind South Korea in terms of productivity, the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry said today, naming graft, leakages, complacency and archaic labour laws as road blocks.

Its executive director Stewart Forbes said Malaysia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per worker productivity last year was equivalent to South Korea’s – but in 1995.

“Malaysia’s historic productivity growth was unimpressive although at one time, Malaysia, South Korea and Taiwan all started out on the same level playing field.

“Putrajaya is always quick to point out that Malaysia is better than Thailand or Vietnam or Indonesia. But why is Malaysia choosing the worst to make comparisons?

“Putrajaya ought to be comparing Malaysia to Taiwan, Singapore or South Korea. They should set the bar higher when making comparisons,” Forbes said. Read the rest of this entry »

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The regression of our society

– Joshua Wu
The Malaysian Insider
17 October 2014

I refer to the video on YouTube on the attack on Gerakan Hapus Akta Hasutan’s (GHAH) Penang coordinator Ong Jing Cheng as well as a few others during their peaceful gathering at Speaker’s Square in Penang.

“Unacceptable, abhorrent, repulsive, barbaric, uncivilized, undemocratic, illegal, insolent, untenable, quixotic, unscrupulous, boorish, cockamamie, craven, dastardly, egregious, odious, and asinine” were some of the words that flashed through my mind as I watched the seven minutes and thirty seconds video.

Aren’t the troublemakers worried about the civil and criminal repercussions of their actions? Read the rest of this entry »

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2015 Budget (2) – Economic Performance & Prospects

2015 Budget – A Critique (2)
by Economic Observer
17th October 2014

There exists a long held convention for the Annual Budget Speech to serve as a vehicle for reporting to the nation recent economic performance along with a candid account presenting near term prospects.

Sadly the Minister has chosen to ignore tradition.

In a speech of almost 30 pages, hardly a page and a half are devoted to a discussion of recent developments or the prospects for the year ahead. What little is said about recent performance consists of broad generalizations.

Growth merits a few lines; little is said about price developments, private consumption which is a measure of the people’s wellbeing.

Cynically much is made of the performance of the stock market but not a word is said about the growth in private debt or about the leakages that the economy has suffered through massive capital flight.

The reference to investment trends is based on data relating to approvals rather than actual investments. Read the rest of this entry »

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Alternative to Sedition Act is in Penal Code

– Adrian Lim
The Malaysian Insider
17 October 2014

I come from a Chinese Christian family. I have been labelled “pendatang” and “Cina Babi” all my life, but the Sedition Act is still irrelevant to me.

Well, many have said that Datuk Ibrahim Ali should be charged with sedition for threatening to burn the Christian Bible. There are also racists and even principals who have labelled the Chinese as “pendatang” or even “Cina Babi”.

Technically, these people have committed an offence under the Sedition Act for “promoting feelings of ill will and hostility between different races” – Section 3(1)(e) of the Sedition Act 1948.

Yesterday, Khairy Jamaluddin claimed that the walk against sedition has not made an impact because most Malaysians want safeguards against racially or religiously offensive speech.

Is that so? Do we not have safeguards in place?

In fact, I do not need the Sedition Act to protect me. I do not need the Sedition Act to criminalise people like Abdullah Zaik Abd Rahman, Ridhuan Tee, Zulkifli Nordin or the infamous Ibrahim Ali. Read the rest of this entry »

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Terrorising the Christian minority

Boo Su-Lyn
Malay Mail Online
OCTOBER 17, 2014

OCTOBER 17 ― De facto law minister Nancy Shukri sparked an outrage when she said that Datuk Ibrahim Ali was not prosecuted over his threat to burn Christian bibles because the authorities had concluded that the Perkasa president was merely defending Islam.

According to her, the Attorney-General’s Chambers had decided that Ibrahim’s alleged call for Muslims to torch Malay-language bibles containing the word “Allah” was in line with Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution that prohibits the proselytisation of other faiths to Muslims.

Malaysian law does not address hate crimes per se; Ibrahim was investigated under Section 298 of the Penal Code that outlaws wounding the religious feelings of another.

News portal Free Malaysia Today quotes Ibrahim as saying at a press conference on January 19, 2013: “Muslims must unite to protect their religion. They must seize those Bibles, including the Malay editions, which contained the term Allah and other Arabic religious terms, and burn them.”

The Malay right-wing group chief was purportedly responding to a claim that Christian bibles were being distributed to students, including Malays, at a secondary school in Penang.

The government’s explanation that Ibrahim was merely trying to protect the sanctity of Islam gives the false impression that Islam is under attack in the country, and hence, it is fine to do whatever it takes ― even burning the holy books of a minority religious group ― to defend it. Read the rest of this entry »

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2015 Budget – Policy Challenges and Rhetoric

2015 Budget – A Critique (1)
by Economic Observer
17th Oct 2014

The Prime Minister-cum-Finance Minister in his opening remarks observed that economic planning and policies of a country need to be adjusted according to developments and challenges in the domestic and external environment.

He went on to add that Malaysia is in need of a move to be an economy based on knowledge, high skills, expertise, creativity and innovation.

A laudable statement indeed which will not be disputed or attract criticism. However, this statement is nothing more than a platitude and rhetorical in scope. It is patently clear what the challenges are.

The nation is grappling with the dangers associated with the continued brain drain, and the continued neglect of the education system. Read the rest of this entry »

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Cabinet must take collective Ministerial stand to endorse or dissociate from Nancy Shukri’s parliamentary answer that Ibrahim Ali is not prosecuted for his threat to burn Malay-language Bible as he was defending sanctity of Islam and protected by Article 11(4) of the Constitution

The Cabinet at its meeting today must take collective Ministerial stand to endorse or dissociate from the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Nancy Shukri’s parliamentary answer to the Penang Chief Minister and Bagan Member of Parliament Lim Guan Eng that Perkasa President, Datuk Ibrahim Ali is not prosecuted for his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible as Ibrahim was defending the sanctity of Islam and his action was protected by Article 11(4) of the Malaysian Constitution.

Borneo Post, in a report yesterday headlined “Nancy says she does not support Ibrahim Ali or his religious views”, quoted Nancy as making the following statement through her political secretary Kamaluddin Effendie:

“Neither the police nor AG (Attorney-General) can give any reply in Parliament. I, as the de-facto Law Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, had to do it on their behalf. Whatever were the findings of the police or the decision of the AG, I read it out in Parliament because they could not do it there.

“It must be made known that it was the AG’s decision not to charge Dato Ibrahim under the Sedition Act, and the decision was made based on the police investigation.

“As a minister or one of the leaders of the nation, I have to support the rule of the law, but it does not mean I agree with Dato Ibrahim’s extreme views.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Open memorandum to the Prime Minister of Malaysia — Malaysian Bar

Malay Mail Online
OCTOBER 16, 2014

1. The Malaysian Bar has walked to Parliament today as part of our on-going campaign for the repeal of the Sedition Act 1948. It is in order to rid ourselves of an unjust law and unneeded crutch, and for the realisation of a better Malaysia.

2. The Malaysian Bar’s walk today is called the “Walk for Peace and Freedom” because we wish to promote a peace anchored by bonds of unity, lasting harmony and true mutual respect amongst Malaysians. We walk for the freedom from fear and intimidation; freedom from extremism; freedom from divisiveness; freedom from exploitation for personal, sectarian and selfish gains; freedom to question, criticise, discuss and debate; freedom to learn; and freedom to grow and mature.

3. The Sedition Act 1948 is inherently flawed. It is designed to subjugate, suppress and oppress. It is NOT designed to promote peace, harmony and unity. As a piece of criminal legislation, it is repugnant to the rule of law because it punishes freedom of speech and expression of thought by the use of imprecise and ill-defined offences. It does not require any proof of ill intention or intention to create disorder. Truth is not a defense. Hence, the Sedition Act 1948 in fact criminalises the truth.

4. The Walk for Peace and Freedom is part of the Malaysian Bar’s response to Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak’s call for all right thinking and moderate Malaysians to stand up and speak out. The Malaysian Bar walks so as to give voice to such Malaysians. Read the rest of this entry »

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What is the rankings’ message for varsities?

By Dr I Lourdesamy
Malaysiakini
Oct 15, 2014

The Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2014-2015 has caused some concern in Malaysia, and rightly so. There is not a single Malaysian university in the top 400 positions. What is more discomforting is the decision of Universiti Malaya (UM) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) to opt out from participating in the THE ranking exercise. They argue that the THE ranking is less relevant to their direction and focus.

They are featured in the QS World University Rankings, which seems to present a more favourable picture of their performance. Their decision to accept the QS ratings and reject the THE ratings has only compounded the problem, for it seems to reflect a lack of academic honesty. At one time UM was on the THE list but as its rankings began to fall, UM decided not to participate in the survey.

Several criticisms have been levelled at Malaysian universities for their poor showing in international rankings of educational institutions. Malaysian universities are constantly compared with Singapore where the National University of Singapore (NUS) secured a world ranking of 25 in the THE list for 2014-2015 and Nanyang Technological University was placed 61.

Several universities in East Asia have also shown high rankings, with the University of Tokyo leading the pack at position 23.

What is the message for Malaysian universities, especially for UM which started off at the same time as NUS? Read the rest of this entry »

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To end Nancy’s agony, the Cabinet tomorrow should (i) reaffirm Najib’s pledge to repeal the Sedition Act and (ii) drop all sedition charges in court

For the past ten days, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri has been at the receiving end of national brickbats, scorn and even opprobrium for her outrageous parliamentary answer to the Penang Chief Minister and Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng that Perkasa President Datuk Ibrahim Ali was not prosecuted for his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible as Ibrahim was defending the sanctity of Islam.

Nancy added fuel to the national firestorm ignited by her answer when she ill-advisedly sought to clarify later with an even more outrageous justification – that Ibrahim’s action was protected by Article 11(4) of the Malaysian Constitution.

These are undoubtedly the worst ten days in Nancy’s political life.

To end Nancy’s agony and ordeal, the Cabinet tomorrow should step in with two decisions, firstly to reaffirm the pledge given by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in 2012 to repeal the colonial Sedition Act; and secondly, to drop all sedition charges and prosecutions currently in court. Read the rest of this entry »

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Explain inaction on racial, religious provocation cases, Bar asks police, A-G

By V. ANBALAGAN
The Malaysian Insider
15 October 2014

Ahead of its peaceful walk to protest the Sedition Act tomorrow, the Malaysian Bar has a list of at least a dozen cases of provocative racial and religious remarks since 2012, and wants the police and Attorney-General to explain the status of each to the public.

The list of cases was appended in a document when the Bar passed a resolution at its extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on September 19 that the Sedition Act should be repealed and a protest march be held.

Its president Christopher Leong said it was not for de facto Law Minister Datuk Nancy Shukri to speak of these matters that came under the responsibility of these agencies.

“It is for the police to explain their non-action while the Attorney-General’s Chambers on why it refused to prosecute certain cases,” Leong told The Malaysian Insider.

He said this in response to the barrage of criticism against Nancy, who last week replied on behalf of the public prosecutor that no charges would be framed against Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali for his statement last year that Malay Bibles should be burnt. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jurists worldwide insist Putrajaya protect lawyers rallying against Sedition Act

Malay Mail Online
October 15, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 15 – An international jurists group urged Putrajaya today to ensure no “police abuse” and disruptions occur during the Malaysian Bar’s planned protest against the Sedition Act 1948 tomorrow.

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) — comprising lawyers, judges and academics — noted that a rally against the colonial-era law that was organised by local human rights group Suaram in Penang last Sunday was disrupted by a rival group.

“The Malaysian government is responsible for protecting the rights of those holding dissenting views, and that includes protecting peaceful protesters from police abuse as well as from violent counter protesters,” ICJ’s international legal advisor on Southeast Asia Emerlynne Gil said in a statement today.

“The Sedition Act is being misused with increasing frequency to muzzle legal professionals who express their views about existing laws,” she added. Read the rest of this entry »

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In rare march, lawyers press Putrajaya to show door to Sedition Act

By Ida Lim
Malay Mail Online
October 16, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 ― Malaysian lawyers will trade the courtroom for the streets today, in an uncommon march by the legal profession to demand Putrajaya honour its two-year old pledge to repeal the Sedition Act 1948.

The rare spectacle is set to add to mounting pressure on the government to abolish the colonial-era law whose use in an ongoing crackdown has drawn criticism from both local and international groups including the United Nations.

Christopher Leong, who heads the Malaysian Bar that represents 16,000 lawyers in peninsular Malaysia, pointed out that the prime minister himself has asked moderates to speak up instead of ceding public space to extremists.

“This walk by the Malaysian Bar is part of our response to that call by the prime minister for moderates to stand up and speak out,” Leong said in an interview with local radio station BFM yesterday, adding later that the professional body believes that the national leader was right to decide to pledge the abolition of the law. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib called to account for Sedition Act by Commonwealth lawyers

The Malaysian Insider
15 October 2014

Ahead of the Malaysian Bar’s walk to protest the Sedition Act tomorrow, the German Federal Bar has expressed concern over the use of the law in a letter to Datuk Seri Najib Razak, asking the prime minister for his stand on its widespread against the government’s critics.

The German Bar’s Dr Martin Abend, in a letter dated yesterday, noted that the act had been applied increasingly in Malaysia in the last few months, including against lawyers for voicing their legal opinions.

Abend said that in one particular case, a lawyer’s house was searched and his mobile phone and his laptop seized.

“The German Federal Bar is deeply concerned about these current developments in Malaysia.

“We kindly ask you to inform us if the information available to us is correct and how you view the situation,” Abend said in the letter which was posted on the Malaysian Bar’s website.

He also urged Najib to ensure that the Sedition Act would not be applied to facts relating to the freedom of expression. Read the rest of this entry »

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