Umno seen losing grip on Johor bastion

by Yiswaree Palansamy
The Malay Mail Online
December 7, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 — Johor may be the birthplace of Umno but its status as the Malay nationalist party’s fortress is increasingly under threat, according to political analysts and observers.

Growing urbanisation and rural migration have put Johor under the same conditions that led to Umno and Barisan Nasional’s hold loosen before it was eventually broken in states such as Selangor and, briefly, Perak.

“The trend in Johor is just the same as with other states, whereby the more urbanised it becomes, the more likely it is for the Malays in Johor to question the long term dependency on Umno and not stick to the idea of being loyal to a particular party,” Wan Saiful Wan Jan told the Malay Mail Online.

The chief executive of think tank Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs said, however, this decrease in blind loyalty to any particular party was necessary for a healthy democracy to flourish. Read the rest of this entry »

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Muslims must learn about other cultures and religions, says Singaporean academician

by Sukhbir Cheema
The Rakyat Post
Dec 6, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6, 2014: Malaysia should strike a balance between inclusivity and exclusivity of Islam to avoid the rise of extremism, a Muslim scholar says.

In stating so, National University of Singapore Prof Dr Syed Farid Al Atas said extremism was the failure of striking a balance of the two extremes.

Citing recent examples of extremist tendencies in the nation, Dr Syed said Malaysia had to develop a multi-culturalist and cosmopolitan approach in mitigating this issue.

Through education, Muslims , he said, must learn about other cultures, ethnic groups and other religions to develop a sense of admiration and respect.

“We should celebrate diversity by respecting the rights of others via achieving a balance between Islamic rules and spiritual experiences,” he told The Rakyat Post. Read the rest of this entry »

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Can Pakatan Rakyat build on the momentum of 13GE to create the two per cent shift of votes from UMNO/BN to bring about the first catalytic change of federal government in the 14GE?

The greatest challenge in the next 14GE, whether in 2017 or 2018 , is whether Pakatan Rakyat can build on the momentum of the 13th General Elections to create the two per cent shift of vote from Umno/BN to bring about the first catalytic change of federal government.

Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin warned the recent UMNO General Assembly that BN will be ousted from power if it loses just two per cent of support in the next general election.

Let this be a reminder to all Malaysians throughout the country as to how close the UMNO/BN government would have been voted out in the 13th General Election in May last year, if the electoral process had been really clean, free and fair, minus all the constituency gerrymandering and the undemocratic abuses and malpractices in the country.

Furthermore, it should also be reminder as to how close Malaysians have come to achieve the catalytic change of federal of power in Putrajaya – as all that is needed to win Putrjaya is another two per cent of voter support that had gone to UMNO/BN.

Muhyiddin admitted that a loss of two per cent voter support will translate to Barisan Nasional being reduced from its 133 seats won in the 13GE to 103 federal states, less than half of the 222-seat Parliament – comprising 68 UMNO seats and 35 non-UMNO seats.

A loss of five per cent voter support would have slashed the total BN seats to 81, comprising 53 UMNO and 28 non-UMNO seats.

It is precisely of this fear of losing Federal power that UMNO propagandists have gone all out to drum up fear and hate through lies and falsehoods to conjure imaginary threats and enemies to convince the Malays and Muslims of The Big Lie that Malays and Islam are under threat.

Will Pakatan Rakyat be able to rise up to the challenge in the 14GE, debunk The Big Lie and win Putrajaya or will it disintegrate to give UMNO/BN an unexpected bonus? Read the rest of this entry »

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Is Umno the true guardian of Malay rights?

Hamzah Nazari
The Rakyat Post
Dec 6, 2014

Malays have now acquired a new sense of political awareness. And it’s causing alarm bells within the Umno establishment, said Raub MP Datuk Mohamad Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz. — TRP file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6, 2014: Vocal Raub MP Datuk Mohamad Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz has, in his blog Sakmongkol AK47, questioned the Umno political party’s role as a guardian of ethnic Malays.

“That idea, dear readers, is a blatant lie that has been shoved down our throats for a long time, by the Umno bourgeois elite. It is the Great Lie that all right thinking Malaysian must expose.

“That idea, that notion of a supra entity guarding our interests, flies against the concept of the free man that we are,” wrote Mohamad Ariff Sabri.

He claimed that those guarding rights were not political parties but instead people collectively acting through a government, pursuing their collective legitimate interests and rights. Read the rest of this entry »

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If Tunku is alive today, instead of being the “happiest Prime Minister” he would be the “unhappiest Malaysian”

On this day 24 years ago, Malaysia’s first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman passed away at the age of 87.

If Tunku is still alive today, instead of being the “happiest” Prime Minister which had been his greatest wish, he would have been the “unhappiest” Malaysian in the country.

Together with the third Prime Minister, Tun Hussein Onn, Tunku’s efforts to form UMNO Malaysia when UMNO was deregistered in 1988, was sabotaged and quashed by the then Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir who set up his own UMNO Baru which Tunku refused to join, questioning its legitimacy and integrity to his last breath.

Tunku would have been horrified at the proceedings of the recent UMNO Baru General Assembly where race-baiting and religious incitement based on the primordial politics of fear, hate and lies were given free rein, with delegates made to believe that after 57 years of UMNO government and six UMNO Prime Ministers, Malays are under siege and Islam under threat, causing one delegate to declare that Malays have become “slaves in our own land”, another to call for the use of “1 Melayu” instead of “1 Malaysia slogan”, while a third to demand that UMNO elect MCA, Gerakan and MIC leaders into the Barisan Nasional supreme council. Read the rest of this entry »

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Major flaw in computing bumi equity target

By Lucky Star
Malaysiakini

Part 1: Has 30pct bumi equity target been achieved?

COMMENT At the initial stage of the New Economic Policy, privatised entity and government-linked companies (GLCs) were almost non-existent.

Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the main institution through which the federal government controls GLCs, only came into existence in 1993. Therefore, before 1990, the exclusion of government shareholding owned by Khazanah was a non-issue.

But, when the privatisation policy was vigorously implemented after the publication of the ‘Privatisation Master Plan’ in 1991, the exclusion of government shareholding in privatised entities and GLCs had a significant distorting effect on equity ownership by ethnic group.

Musa Hitam, in an exclusive interview in August 2014 with the Malaysian Insider said, “But the government does not take GLCs into account when they point out that the present bumiputera equity ownership is 24 percent. We are deluding ourselves by continuously pointing a finger at the Chinese.” As a former deputy prime minister and chairperson of a GLC, Musa definitely knew what he was talking about.

For the purpose of showing bumiputera equity ownership, government data are divided into three categories of bumiputera, namely:

1) Bumiputera individuals
2) Bumiputera institutions
3) Bumiputera trust agencies
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Has 30pct bumi equity target been achieved?

By Little Stars
Malaysiakini

COMMENT At the outset, we wish to make it abundantly clear that we fully support the New Economic Policy (NEP) objective of eradicating poverty irrespective of race and we completely agree with the 30 percent bumiputera equity ownership target.

In a multiracial country, social engineering using affirmative action to uplift the economic status of a lagging community is necessary. We do not doubt the noble intention of the founding fathers of NEP and we believe the objectives can be achieved if right policies are formulated and implemented.

Government in any part of the world is usually quick to claim credit for any success. However, in the case of Malaysia, with regard to the achievement of 30 percent bumiputera equity ownership target, the government seemed to be more inclined to declare “failure”.
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‘Farcical’ Sabah RCI let Projek IC masterminds off the hook, Anwar says

The Malay Mail Online
Dec 5, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 5 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today the findings of the royal commission set up in 2012 to investigate the abnormal spike in Sabah’s foreigner population was not only “farcical”, but had also failed to bring to book the real culprits behind the problem.

The Opposition Leader noted that the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) report released Wednesday had placed the blame squarely on errant civil service runners for what he described as the “biggest illegal immigrant scandal” in Malaysian history since independence.

Anwar said the report, which was 366 pages long, contained mere “meaningless” texts that saw all government agencies and departments completely exonerated of any culpability in the scandal, which has now resulted in nearly 30 per cent of Sabah’s 3.12 million population made up of foreigners.

“The masterminds and the real culprits responsible for the nefarious importation into Sabah of illegal immigrants from southern Philippines and Indonesia are completely off the hook,” he said.

“Even more glaring is the utter failure to mention the role of the National Security Council as well as the Prime Minister’s Department, let alone attribute any blame on them, notwithstanding the overwhelming evidence to that effect,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »

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Umno abandoning youths, not the other way round, analysts say

By Zurairi AR and Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
The Malay Mail Online
December 6, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 ― As more youths migrate to urban areas, Umno can no longer blame its waning support on federal opposition pact Pakatan Rakyat (PR), analysts said when weighing in on the recent call for “rejuvenation” by the ruling party’s youth wing.

Instead, the failure to capture the support has been the result of the 65-year-old party’s disconnect with the younger set of voters compared to the pull PR has over youths or urbanites, they suggested.

“Any party that wishes to garner support from urban areas, or youths who have migrated to cities, must transform themselves,” Prof Dr Jayum Jawan, a political analyst with the National Professor Council, told Malay Mail Online in a recent phone interview.

“They should know the ‘taste’ of the urbanites, the youths. They have to understand the aspirations of the youths. Not for the youths to understand the parties instead.”

Jayum suggested that while PR component parties may not be empathetic towards the demographic, they at least understand the “lingo” of the youths.

“They dance to the youths’ rhythms. They try following their ‘taste’, their way of talking. Their tone fits with the youths. Umno should be like that as well, why can’t it?” Jayum asked.

According to the Universiti Putra Malaysia lecturer, it is “unscientific” and an “indefensible argument” to assume tha youths will automatically flock to PR just because they migrate to urban areas.

Prof Dr Shamsul Adabi Mamat, a political science lecturer with Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, claimed that while majority of young urbanites might vote for PR, it is however far from a lost cause for Umno. Read the rest of this entry »

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Post-Sabah RCI, the merry-go-round goes on

By Kim Quek
Malaysiakini
Dec 5, 2014

COMMENT The royal commission of inquiry (RCI) report exonerating the Barisan Nasional (BN) government of responsibility in the gargantuan illegal immigrant calamity in Sabah must have stunned, shocked and disgusted many who had been eagerly looking forward to this RCI report for some relief and justice.

The RCI, instead, attributes the entire blame on errant civil servants who have carried out such illegal activities for profit.

Who on earth could have believed such blatant whitewash when an influx of Muslim illegal immigrants from southern Philippines and Indonesia over a sustained period of decades has caused Sabah’s population to explode to five times its 1970 numbers (3 times the growth rate of other states)?

Also the fact that monumental evidences have been produced both before and during the hearing of the RCI of the massive conversion of these illegals into voters (popularly known as phantom voters) to rob the original Sabahans of their sovereignty?

Have our defence forces, police, immigration department, national registration department (NRD) and the entire cabinet under the BN government been in deep slumber all these decades while millions of foreigners swarmed over Sabah until they outnumbered the original inhabitants who were impoverished in the process?

Could a few corrupt civil servants motivated by greed have engineered and achieved such a fantastic feat that has drastically and illegally altered the demographic and power balance of such a huge state without a powerful command from the top hierarchy of the government? Read the rest of this entry »

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Oil slide threatens Malaysia’s fiscal progress

By Andy Mukherjee
Reuters
December 3, 2014

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Just when Malaysia was beginning to plug the holes in its public finances, the prospect of a sharp reduction in oil revenue is threatening to undermine fiscal progress and weaken the currency.

Petronas is playing spoiler. The state energy company recently warned that its contribution to the government’s exchequer – in the form of dividends, taxes and royalties – could slide 37 percent next year from an estimated 68 billion ringgit ($20 billion) in 2014.

Such a shortfall in the main source of government’s oil-and-gas revenue would easily exceed 2 percent of GDP. That would wipe out the 1.7 percent of GDP in annual savings the government hopes to achieve by scrapping domestic fuel subsidies from Dec. 1.

The fiscal hit could be even larger if oil prices next year remain below the $75 a barrel on which Petronas based its forecast. That would threaten the government’s target of reducing the budget deficit to 3 percent of GDP, from an estimated 3.5 percent this year.

The finance ministry is refusing to give up on the 2015 target just yet. It may hope that Petronas can be persuaded to make a less drastic cut in its dividend payment. Read the rest of this entry »

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Germany jails Islamic State jihadist Kreshnik Berisha

BBC News
5 December 2014

A German man has been jailed for three years and nine months for joining Islamic State (IS) militants, in the first trial of its kind in Germany.

A court in Frankfurt convicted Kreshnik Berisha of membership of a foreign terrorist organisation.

Berisha avoided the heaviest sentence of 10 years after admitting he spent six months with IS in Syria last year.

German authorities believe more than 500 German citizens have travelled to fight for IS in Iraq and Syria.

The domestic intelligence agency estimates that 60 have died there in combat or suicide attacks, and 180 have returned to Germany, according to the AFP news agency. Read the rest of this entry »

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ISIS in Gaza

by Khaled Abu Toameh
Gatestone Institute
December 5, 2014

When One Radical Group Believes Another Is Not Radical Enough

It is always dreamlike to see one Islamist terror group accuse the other of being too “lenient” when it comes to enforcing sharia laws. But it is not dreamlike when a terrorist group starts threatening writers and women.

That is what is happening these days in the Gaza Strip, where supporters of the Islamic State are accusing Hamas of failing to impose strict Islamic laws on the Palestinian population — as if Hamas has thus far endorsed a liberal and open-minded approach toward those who violate sharia laws.

Until this week, the only topic Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were talking about was how to rebuild homes and buildings that were destroyed during the last war between Hamas and Israel.

Now, however, almost everyone is talking about the Islamic State threats against poets, writers and women. Read the rest of this entry »

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Do Sabahans Deserve the RCI They Got?

By Kee Thuan Chye
Yahoo! News
December 4, 2014

The Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the illegal immigrants in Sabah has turned out to be a big disappointment.

We had hoped to get conclusive findings in its report – announced last Wednesday, almost two years after the hearings began in January 2013 – but instead, after the 43 days spent on hearing the testimonies of 211 witnesses, the months of writing the report and then the months of keeping Malaysians waiting for it to be announced, what the panel came out to tell us was that Project IC “probably existed”.

“Probably”? Project IC, which purportedly gave out citizenships illegally and systematically to immigrants in Sabah, has been in the Malaysian consciousness for decades. Former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad was even said to be the mastermind behind it, which accounts for why the scheme is called Project M as well. Those who were part of it testified to its existence at the RCI and named figures in high authority implicated in it.

And yet the RCI concludes that the whole operation was not politically motivated. It says the Government and political parties were not involved. It blames instead syndicates and former National Registration Department (NRD) officials out to make big bucks. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib would have lost his premiership and UMNO/BN kicked out of Putrajaya if the RCIIIS Report had been written and released before the 13th General Elections

Datuk Seri Najib Razak would have lost his premiership and UMNO/Barisan Nasional kicked out of Putrajaya if the 368-page Report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry on Illegal Immigrants in Sabah (RCIIIS) had been written and released before the 13th General Elections on May 5 last year.

If a Sabah state elections is held now, I have no doubt that UMNO/BN would be kicked out of state government and power by the single issue of the Report of the RCIIIS.

This is the measure of the disappointment, disbelief, disquiet and dismay which had greeted the release of the RCIIIS Report in Kota Kinabalu on Wednesday, both in Sabah and in Malaysia.

This may explain for the cloak-and-dagger arrangements for the launching of the Report of the RCIIIS, where the DAP MP for Kota Kinabalu Jimmy Wong, the DAP Sabah State Assemblyman for Kepayan Edwin Bosi, former Senator Maijol Mahap as well as NGO representatives were unceremoniously barred from the event, as if the authorities had something to hide instead of marking a historic event for the state and nation. Read the rest of this entry »

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TI CPI 2014 nothing for Najib to crow about when he has done worse in TI CPI rankings in his five years as PM than Abdullah’s five years and Mahathir’s 22 years

There is nothing for the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to crow about for Malaysia’s improvement in Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2014, moving up to 50th spot among 175 countries from the 53rd position last year.

Although any improvement is to be welcomed, there is no ground for Najib to be ectastic to talk about “not rest on our laurels”, as Malaysia has yet to achieve any laurels on the anti-corruption front under his premiership.

For the sixth consecutive year, the Najib premiership (2009-2014) has registered a lower TI CPI ranking than under the two previous Prime Ministers, Tun Mahathir and Tun Abdullah.

This is illustrated by the following chart on TI CPI 1995-2014:

Prime Minister Best ranking Best score Worst ranking Worst score
Mahathir 23(1995) 5.32/10 (1996) 37 (2003) 4.8/10 (2000)
Abdullah 39(2004) 5.1/10 (2005/7/8) 47 (2008) 5/10 (2004/6)
Najib 50 (2013) 52/100 (2013) 60 (2011) 4.3/10 (2011)

No wonder of Mahathir had always boasted that corruption is worse now than during his 22 years as Prime Minister (although Abdullah can also make the same boast about his five-year premiership).
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I will ask for meeting with Zahid on the expiry of 480 hours on Dec. 18 to find out why the Home Minister is unable to fulfil his public oath that the police will start investigations within 24 hours of a report lodged against any individual over a sensitive issue

Sense and sensibility has not only abandoned the UMNO leadership and delegates at the UMNO General Assembly last week, but also after, so much so that UMNO Ministers are incapable of diligently and responsibly discharging their duties not just to UMNO, but even more important, to the nation and all Malaysians.

I will ask for a meeting with the Home Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Zaid Hamidi on the expiry of 480 hours on December 18 to find out why the Home Minister is unable or incapable of fulfilling his public oath that the police will start investigations within 24 hours of a report lodged against any individual who impinged on a sensitive issue.

It is more than a weeks since two DAP MPs, Teo Nie Ching (Kulai) and Kasthuri Patto (Batu Kawan), my political secretary Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud and DAP activist Syefura Othman lodged a police report against former Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr. Mashitah Ibrahim for her hate speech at the UMNO Wanita General Assembly calculated to incite inter-racial and inter-religious fear, tension and conflict with the despicable falsehood that the Chinese community in Kedah had committed the sacrilegious act of burning the Quran “page by page during a prayer ritual”.

Yesterday, together with DAP MPs Zairil Khir Johari (Bukit Bendera), Steven Sim (Bukit Mertajam) and Vincent Wu (Assistant National Organising Secretary), my political secretary Dyana Sofya and the two DAP Kedah State Assemblymen, Tan Kok Yew (Derga) and Teoh Boon Kok @ Teoh Kai Kok (Kota Darul Aman), as well as the PAS State Assemblyman for Kubang Rotan, Mohd Nasir Mustafa, I visited the Taman Anggerik market food court in Alor Setar where the sacrilegious act by the Chinese community was alleged by Mashitah to have taken place. Read the rest of this entry »

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Kurds Defend Kobani From Islamic State

Huffington Post/AP
12/04/2014

KOBANI, Syria (AP) — The men and women of Kobani call one another “heval” — Kurdish for ‘comrade’ — and fight with revolutionary conviction, vowing to liberate what they regard as Kurdish land from Islamic State group militants.

Amid the wasteland and destroyed buildings, a sense of camaraderie has developed among the town’s defenders who have for more than two months doggedly fought off the advances by the extremists.

Often, members of the same family can be found on the front lines.

Nineteen-year-old Shida’s father was a fighter before her. After he was killed, she gave up hopes of becoming an artist and decided she must follow in his footsteps to honor his example. She says her mother supports her decision. One of her six brothers is also fighting, the rest of her siblings are living in Turkey. Read the rest of this entry »

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Report of the Commission of Enquiry on Immigrants in Sabah

  1. Read online via Google Drive
  2. Download report [15.3 MB] (right click on link; Save):-
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Permanent secretariat in 199-word proposal

Malaysiakini
Dec 3, 2014

The royal commission of inquiry (RCI) on Sabah has made only one recommendation in its 376-page report – a permanent secretariat to address the problem of illegal immigrants in the state.

In its long-awaited report unveiled today after two years of exhaustive inquiry, the RCI came up with a 199-word recommendation where the main plank is for the government to set up another committee.

The four-paragraph recommendation also proposed the setting up of a management committee on foreigners with extensive powers to support the permanent secretariat.

However, the RCI stressed that if the concept of such a management committee is not acceptable to the government, there is the choice of forming a consultative council on immigrants and foreigners. Read the rest of this entry »

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