August 10 is not D-Day for Khalid but D-Day for Pakatan Rakyat

Sunday, August 10, 2014 is not so much D-Day for Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim as Selangor Mentri Besar but D-Day for the six-year old Pakatan Rakyat whether it could continue to embody the hopes and aspirations of Malaysians for political change to usher in the new politics of justice, freedom, accountability, transparency, good governance, Malaysian unity and harmony after decades of UMNO hegemony, corruption and injustices.

The Pakatan Rakyat Leadership Council at its meeting on July 23, 2014 with the participation of leaders from all three PR component parties of PAS, PKR and DAP, agreed on two things:

(i) The change and replacement of Selangor Mentri Besar, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim; and

(ii) PAS and DAP to convene meetings of their respective Central Committees to decide on the PKR nomination of Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail as the new Selangor Mentri Besar. Read the rest of this entry »

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On authorities’ alleged selective prosecution

– Lim Chee Wee
The Malaysian Insider
5 August 2014

Recent attempts to question the authorities’ purported inaction over cases involving non-Muslims’ alleged disrespect for Islam will only heighten racial tension. This is most irresponsible and unnecessary at a time when we can do with more goodwill among the different races.

On Sunday, Mingguan Malaysia in a column by Awang Selamat and Federal Territory Umno Youth chief, Mohd Razlan Muhammad Rafii had suggested that the authorities practiced selective prosecution by not acting against those who had insulted Islam. The argument was that Islamic preacher Shahul Hamid was swiftly picked up for questioning after a video of him insulting Hindus went viral on social media. Meanwhile, two individuals who had made disparaging remarks about Islam are still on the loose. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib should visit Johor Bahru to explain the reasons why he had broken two solemn EDL pledges to people of Johor – “no toll charges for motorists who don’t use EDL” and “No toll on EDL”

The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak should visit Johor Bahru to explain the reasons why he had broken two solemn EDL (Eastern Dispersal Link) pledges to the people of Johor in 2002 – “No toll charges for those who don’t use EDL” and “No toll on EDL”.

Najib made the first pledge of “No toll charges for those who don’t use the EDL” at the 10,000-People 1Malaysia Dinner in Johor Bahru on March 9, 2012 which was also attended by the then Johor Mentri Besar, Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, and then MCA President Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek and the then Gerakan President Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon.

Najib said that the matter was discussed at a recent meeting of the National Economic Consultative Council which was attended by representatives from the Johor state government.

Najib made the second pledge of “No toll on EDL” six months later in Parliament in September 2012.

As Prime Minister of a government whose motto and slogan is “People’s First, Performance Now”, Najib cannot take his public pledges lightly and must go out of his way to explain and justify flagrant breaches of his public pledges. Read the rest of this entry »

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Do Umno Baru men fear women?

Mariam Mokhtar
August 4, 2014

The WikiLeaks ‘RM5 banknote gagging order’ has revealed that we cannot look to the West (read Australia) for an example of a nation which upholds democratic values, rule of law and a free press. Similarly, Malaysians cannot look to some men, principally Malay men in Umno Baru, as role models for equality, fairness and justice.

Last month, an Umno Baru constitutional law ‘expert’ said that PKR president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail could not become menteri besar because her menstruation was an “obstacle which would prevent her from accompanying the sultan, at functions”.

A few decades ago, when working in the petroleum industry, some men tried to discourage women with comments such as, “How can you go offshore, or climb ladders? Your clothing is an ‘obstacle’.”

These men had not heard of overalls. In their opinion, high-flying women were either stenographers or shop assistants. Things have not progressed much, in Malaysia.

Perhaps, Umno Baru men are trapped in a time warp, in which women are subservient and docile. Do they hanker for the good old days when a woman was a maid at home, a cook in the kitchen and a whore in the bedroom? We are not living in an Islamic caliphate nor are we living in the dark ages.

Umno Baru lawyer Mohd Hafarizam Harun, Umno Baru Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin and Universiti Islam Antarabangsa (UIA) lecturer Shamrahayu Abdul Aziz forget how they arrived in this world. For nine months, women carry a foetus, suffer weeks of morning sickness, have eating and sleeping problems, to climax in the pain of delivery. Read the rest of this entry »

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Follow the World Bank procurement guidelines to prevent corruption and abuse

— Koon Yew Yin
The Malay Mail Online
August 2, 2014

AUGUST 2 — The World Bank has procurement guidelines which all the borrowers of Bank funding have to follow. The guidelines include the system of calling tenders. It is a system which has helped to prevent corruption even in the most corrupted countries in the world.

Malaysians are getting fed up with the government’s failure to reform the tender system as well as to check corruption and abuse which is costing us billions of ringgit annually, and bleeding the country’s finances dry.

Although the Government has appointed a minister, Paul Low, to take charge of the implementation of transparency in the government, it is clear that he is getting nowhere. Senator Paul Low has claimed that he is highly motivated in promoting and implementing new transparency procedures in order to curb corruption and cronyism. Well, being motivated is one thing but running around in circles and establishing another layer of bureaucratic smoke and mirrors has been the main outcome of the Minister’s more than one year in office. Read the rest of this entry »

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Height of irony Utusan Malaysia complaining about selective prosecution and investigation when it has been the major beneficiary enjoying immunity and impunity for series of seditious articles inciting racial and religious hatred and tensions in the country in recent years

It is the height of irony that Utusan Malaysia is complaining about selective prosecution and investigation when the UMNO-owned daily has been the biggest beneficiary of such criminal oversight and abuses of power by various enforcement agencies particularly the police and the Attorney-General’s Chambers as Utusan continues to enjoy both “immunity and impunity” for a series of seditious articles inciting racial and religious hatred and tensions in the country in recent years.

Now Utusan alleges that non-Muslims are becoming blatant in demeaning Islam because authorities are not pursuing them with the same vigour applied to Malays.

Utusan Malaysia further alleges that “the eagerness of non-Muslims to insult Islam can no longer be ignored” because of the “hesitance or fear on the part of the authorities to punish non-Malays for such activity”.

This is utter bunkum. Read the rest of this entry »

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480% Johore causeway toll hikes absurd, presumptuous and preposterous – giving Najib a bad name as a Prime Minister whose word is not his bond

The sudden imposition of the 480% Johore causeway toll hikes is absurd, presumptuous and preposterous, giving Datuk Seri Najib Razak a bad name as a Prime Minister whose word is not his bond.

ABSURD because the astronomical, unreasonable and unconscionable toll hikes clearly for the Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL) are being imposed on the majority of the thousands of vehicles and the 200,000 people crossing the Johor causeway daily who do not use the EDL for them to reach the Johor Bahru Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ).

Isn’t it absurd that the majority of daily vehicles and commuters of the Johor causeway who do not use EDl are being penalized in having to pay the unfair and astronomical causeway toll hikes for upkeep and maintenance of EDL?

Can the Federal or State government cite another instance in the country where vehicular traffic using one highway or access have to pay toll for another highway that they are not using?

Is the reason why there is no full and proper consultation before the Johor causeway toll hikes are implemented because those in authority realize the height of absurdity of such an imposition, and they have no confidence in facing the legitimate and righteous wrath of those who are made victims of such bureaucratic absurdity – having to pay toll hikes for the EDL when they are not using the EDL? Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on Najib to defer 480 per cent Johor causeway toll hike to enable proper process of public consultation in keeping with his GTP commitment to uphold the highest standards of transparency and accountability

On his return from Amsterdam, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should direct a deferment of the 480 per cent Johor causeway toll hikes to enable a full and proper process of public consultation in keeping with his commitment under the Government Transformation Programme to uphold the highest standards of transparency and accountability.

The Prime Minister should have received public feedbacks by now not only about the unpopularity but even more important, the great sense of injustice felt by the people in southern Johor over hardships caused by the astronomical causeway toll hikes, especially for the following reasons:

Firstly, substantive breach of the undertaking by the Prime Minister in Parliament on Sept. 24, 2012 that the Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL) will remain toll-free as the causeway toll hikes are imposition of EDL tolls in disguise.

Secondly, although the causeway toll hikes are purportedly to improve the “facilities and services” of EDL, thousands of vehicles and the majority of the 200,000 people crossing the Johor Causeway daily do not take the EDL for them to reach the Johor Bahru Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ), while some 80% of the 220,000 vehicles utilizing the EDL daily do not cross over to Singapore at all. Read the rest of this entry »

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No ordinary Zhou

The Economist
Aug 2nd 2014

In carrying out the most significant purge in a generation, Xi Jinping seeks to tighten his grip

Beijing – SINCE President Xi Jinping launched his anti-corruption campaign at the end of 2012, the question has been how high he would aim. On July 29th an emphatic answer came with the news that Zhou Yongkang was under investigation by the Communist Party for “serious violations of discipline”—for which, read corruption.

Mr Zhou was once one of the most powerful men in the land. Until two years ago he was a member of the Politburo’s ruling standing committee: in charge of the state’s vast security apparatus, he controlled a budget bigger than the army’s. It had long been an unwritten rule of China’s power politics that men of Mr Zhou’s stature were untouchable. In flouting the rule, Mr Xi has left no doubt about the authority he believes he now wields. He appears to be the most powerful Chinese leader since the late Deng Xiaoping.

Mr Zhou first appeared to be in trouble in 2012, with the purge of Chongqing’s party secretary, Bo Xilai. It is thought that Mr Bo had been eager to challenge Mr Xi’s ascent to the presidency, and Mr Zhou was a close ally who argued against bringing Mr Bo down. The result was a rare serious split in China’s highest leadership. Read the rest of this entry »

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Straw poll gives peek into restive feeling in Sabah, Sarawak

The Malaysian Insider
1 August 2014

A straw poll has confirmed a trend that Sabah and Sarawak folk are becoming more restive, with many urban Sarawakians even talking openly about leaving the federation.

The straw poll of 100 revealed that 72% of Sarawak folk felt that leaving the federation was the best option, with only 14% in Sabah agreeing.

The straw poll also revealed that 43% of them believed that the best way for Sabah and Sarawak to solve their problems was to leave Malaysia and go at it alone.

Secession is considered treason under Malaysian law.
Read the rest of this entry »

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WikiLeaks gag order: open justice is threatened by super-injunctions

Richard Ackland
30 July 2014

Australian courts have increasingly been issuing suppression orders preventing the publication of legal proceedings – and an implicit dislike of the media is partly to blame

Last month, an Australian judge issued a super-duper injunction preventing the reporting of bribery allegations which involved south east Asian political figures, and in some cases their family members.

The allegations have arisen in a criminal case before the supreme court of Victoria. The super-injunction, which not only prevents publication of the allegations, but the detailed terms of the injunction itself, only came to light because WikiLeaks published the intimate details on July 29.

So while WikiLeaks, anonymous blogs and social media are buzzing with the details of these sweeping court orders, which apply Australia-wide, the mainstream media cannot trespass in this territory for fear of facing proceedings for contempt of court. This is the ludicrous nature of overreaching suppression orders, and this one is to last for five years unless earlier revoked.

The internet has made them so porous as to be useless. Only those who publish above the radar with sizeable assets and readily identifiable journalists and executives (at least ones that are not corralled in foreign embassies) are effectively injuncted from publishing. Read the rest of this entry »

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The politics and business of bank mergers

Terence Gomez
22 July 2014

Malaysians were informed on July 10, 2014 that a major bank consolidation was in the pipeline, involving CIMB Group Holdings, RHB Capital and Malaysian Building Society. With this union, CIMB will emerge as Malaysia’s largest banking enterprise, in terms of assets, as RHB Capital owns RHB Bank, currently the country’s fourth largest bank.

According to media reports, the merger will enhance CIMB’s goal of becoming Southeast Asia’s leading Islamic finance institution with the capacity to expand its interests in this sector to other parts of the world. However, one core issue remains unmentioned in the press: this consolidation will tightly entwine the interests of political and business elites in the banking sector. Read the rest of this entry »

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Dutch experts still unable to get to MH17 crash site

The Malay Mail Online
JULY 31, 2014

KIEV, July 30 — Dutch police yesterday said it was unlikely they would be able to access the site of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 crash in east Ukraine because of on-going combat.

The head of the Dutch recovery mission in Ukraine, Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg, also said 68 Malaysian experts and police officers were expected in Kiev today to join the group.

The Malaysians will then travel to Kharkiv in east Ukraine, closer to the crash site.

“Unfortunately, we don’t expect the security situation to improve enough over the next few days,” Aalbersberg told reporters in Kiev.

“This makes it less likely that we will reach the crash site in the immediate future. There is still too much fighting in the area,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tampered MH17 site not likely to yield new clues, experts say

The Malay Mail Online
JULY 29, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 — After over 12 days of exposure to looters, amateur searchers, and now debris from nearby battles, experts on the ground believe that evidence from MH17’s crash site in eastern Ukraine may be too contaminated to be of much use to investigators.

According to CNN, one frustrated official labelled the site “one of the biggest open crime scenes in the world” after a team of Dutch and Australian investigators were forced to turn back yesterday due to nearby clashes between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists.

The 45-member team, which was accompanied by officials from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), were left frustrated by the fighting which, according to reports from wire agencies, may have destroyed parts of the site where the aircraft’s remains still lie.

AFP reported Vladimir Antyufeev, the self-styled deputy chief of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” as saying that the Ukrainian army has now “taken over part of the crash site”.

The situation on the ground now “is very complicated, it is not a secret”, the rebel leader added, AFP added.

OSCE spokesman Michael Bociurkiw told CNN that on-site experts are growing “sick and tired” of being delayed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Clashes again force investigators to abort visit to Malaysia Airlines crash site

By Carol Morello
Washington Post
July 29 2014

KIEV, Ukraine — An international team of forensics experts and investigators does not expect to reach the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 before Wednesday or even Thursday, two full weeks after it was shot down by an antiaircraft missile fired from rebel-held territory, an official said Tuesday.

Negotiations for access are underway with both the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian rebels in control of the debris field in eastern Ukraine, said Ertugrul Apakan, head of a monitoring team from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe that is accompanying the experts.

“We expect in a short span of time, tomorrow or the [next] day, to be able to reach the crash site,” Apakan told reporters in Kiev.

Heavy fighting around the site forced a team of about 50 Dutch and Australian experts to abandon a planned visit Tuesday for the third straight day.

The Ukrainian military is in the midst of a major offensive against the rebels, and some of the fiercest fighting has been in the general area where the plane came down in pieces on July 17. The Malaysian Boeing 777 was carrying 298 passengers and crew en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ukraine troops nearing MH-17 crash site; U.N. opens war-crime probe


Los Angeles Times
July 28, 2014

Ukrainian government forces recaptured three towns from pro-Russia separatists and were pressing toward the Malaysia Airlines crash site in eastern Ukraine where the separatists accused of downing the plane have obstructed international disaster investigators, officials said Monday.

The United Nations high commissioner for human rights, meanwhile, said at a news conference in Geneva that the shooting down of MH-17 and the deaths of all 298 people on board were being investigated for possible war-crime charges.

Pro-Russia militants who seized a dozen towns and cities in eastern Ukraine in March and April have seen the territory under their control reduced by more than half during the past few weeks and are now holed up in their embattled strongholds of Donetsk and Luhansk. The separatists also control the miles-wide crash site strewn with debris and victims’ remains but face an advancing government offensive emboldened by international outrage over the plane’s destruction.

Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, told journalists in Kiev on Monday that government troops had recovered control of Shakhtarsk, about 20 miles from the center of the crash site.

“Our troops entered Shakhtarsk, Torez and Lutuhyne,” Lysenko said, claiming government control of towns on roads leading to the wreckage strewn among sunflower fields.
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Sticking together through cobwebs and rendang

Dyana Sofya
The Malaysian Insider
July 26, 2014

Dyana Sofya suffers from dysania and is using her superpowers to pen down her thoughts late into the night. Political Secretary to Lim Kit Siang by day and she tweets from @dyanasmd.

JULY 26 — Seated in the passenger seat, I try to collect my thoughts as old memories flash by. My eldest brother is driving the car and we are cruising steadily on the North-South Expressway en route to our hometown of Ipoh to celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

Now that all four of us siblings are grown up, it is a rare occasion for us to travel together. Hence, this particular ride was a proverbial trip down memory lane.

Prior to his retirement, my workaholic father would refuse to take early leave before Raya. As a result, it was always a frantic rush back to Ipoh on Raya eve. However, our manic moments would disappear the instant we arrived home to be greeted by the smell of wonderful, aromatic rendang. As usual, my mother would return a few days earlier to make preparations for the celebration.

After devouring our traditional late supper on Raya eve, my brothers would start spring-cleaning the house while I would devote myself to kitchen duties to prepare more (last minute) Raya goodies. Read the rest of this entry »

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What is Impian Malaysia?

Wan Hamidi Hamid
The Malaysian Insider
26 July 2014

Once upon a time, a political party was formed. Its name was Democratic Action Party or DAP, and it wanted to promote the idea of a Malaysian Malaysia.

It was meant to be an idea for a united nation, a country for all Malaysians, regardless of race and religion. Hence, Malaysia would never be a monopoly of any particular race, religion or ideology, as enshrined in the original Federal Constitution.

The idea was born almost a half century ago. It may sound obsolete to some, it may even sound obscene to some racist-minded people.

However, despite its noble intention, the Alliance and its successor Barisan Nasional under the control of Umno through their controlled media had portrayed the ideal as something evil, especially for the Malays. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to review all flawed judgments by the Malaysian judiciary whether because of racial bias or corruption in the past 26 years after the first judicial crisis of 1988

After the 13th General Elections of May 5, 2013, the country was shocked with the appearance of a former member of the judiciary making racist and seditious statements and speeches undermining the unity, harmony and goodwill among the different races and religions in the country.

One of the most racist and seditious speeches in the nation’s history was made by the former Court of Appeal Judge Mohd Noor Abdullah at the forum titled “GE13 post-mortem Muslim leadership and survival” organised by UiTM Malaysia Alumni Association and Gabungan Pelajar Melayu Semanjung in Kuala Lumpur in May 2013 where Mohd Noor warned that the Chinese Malaysians must be prepared for a backlash from the Malay community for their “betrayal” in the recently concluded 13th general election.

He said: “The Chinese betrayal towards the Malay’s hand of friendship – that is true. Because they plotted to seize political power even though they already have economic power”.
Mohd Noor’s racist and seditious speech was defended on the ground that it was “as a whole constructive and within the boundaries of what is in the federal constitution”, and in line with his expertise as a former judge.

Up to now, Mohd Noor has not been able to quote chapter and verse as to which article or part of the Malaysian Constitution justified his making irresponsible, fictitious, inflammatory, racist and seditious allegations that the Chinese in Malaysia “plotted to seize political power even though they already have economic power” or his criminal and gangsterish threat of a “Malay backlash” to a completely non-existent “Chinese betrayal towards the Malay’s hand of friendship” ? Read the rest of this entry »

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Joko Widodo must not waste his mandate in Indonesia

Financial Times
July 23, 2014

The new leader has the chance to take the country to the next level

After an extended count lasting the best part of a fortnight, Joko Widodo, governor of Jakarta, has narrowly won the race to become president of this nation of 250m people. Initial fears that Indonesia’s second truly democratic passage of power might end in violence and chaos have proved exaggerated; the presidential baton has been transferred relatively smoothly. Opportunistic attempts by Mr Widodo’s opponent, former general Prabowo Subianto, to question the fairness of the process have fallen on deaf ears. Given the definitive nature of the result, Mr Subianto should do the graceful thing and concede in a way that confers legitimacy on the victor.

Mr Widodo, universally known as Jokowi, has much to prove when he takes office in October. One reason the result was so close was that he turned out to be a lacklustre candidate, far less organised and politically astute than his more ruthless and better-funded opponent. Things are unlikely to become any easier now the count is over.

Having campaigned against the old elites that have dominated Indonesian politics for so long, Mr Widodo must show that he can govern effectively without their patronage. In particular he must redeem his promise to avoid traditional horse-trading and appoint to his cabinet only those with the character and capacity to hold their offices. Given the new president’s lack of a reliable majority in parliament, this will require political skills of a high order – ones he has yet to demonstrate he possesses on the national stage. Read the rest of this entry »

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