The Umno-BN battle royal

– Koon Yew Yin
The Malaysian Insider
12 May 2015

A titanic power struggle is currently taking place in the country. In one corner of the ring is former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his mainly Umno supporters who have decided to kick the Prime Minister out of power for a variety of reasons, including the 1MDB fiasco and for personal wrong doings and unresolved scandals of which the Altantuya one tops the list.

In the other corner stands Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak with the Umno and Barisan Nasional establishment behind him. Read the rest of this entry »

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Are we a Nation of Sheep?

By Martin Jalleh
Are we a Nation of Sheep? By Martin Jalleh

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Congratulations, Lady of Courage & Commitment!

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“Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to topple UMNO/BN as Federal Government and seven State Governments in Terengganu, Kedah, Perak, Pahang, Negri Sembilan, Malacca and Johor may be lost if Pakatan Rakyat cannot even survive next month

The biggest news headlines in the past two days have been the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal and its latest edition, the RM188 million 1MDB-Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH) bailout with LTH paying 1MDB for 1.56 acres of Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) land at RM2,773 per square foot, which is 43 times more than 1MDB had acquired from the Federal Government four years ago at less than RM64 per square foot.

Events are unfolding at rapid pace in UMNO over the ability of Datuk Seri Najib Razak to survive as Malaysia’s sixth Prime Minister and UMNO President.

Just before coming on stage, for instance, I read on the Internet of the blog by former Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim about a top secret meeting in Milan between Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and several UMNO bigwigs to discuss his possible takeover as Prime Minister, but Zaid admitted that this information was unverified and he did not know how reliable was his source.

But what is certain is that Najib has declared war on former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir who had asked Najib to resign as Prime Minister on the ground that UMNO/BN will lose the next polls under Najib, as the Prime Minister had for the first time made a fighting speech in Tawau in Sabah vis-à-vis Mahathir’s attacks on him.

All this raises the question, whether UMNO/BN could be toppled in the next 14th General Elections. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib Government is even more shambolic than the Abdullah Government, not only the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing, but Cabinet Ministers and DPM in the dark as to what the PM is doing

The Najib Government is even more shambolic than its predecessor, the Abdullah Government, not only the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing, but Cabinet Ministers and the DPM in the dark as to what the PM is doing.

It has resulted in the Sabah Speaker and Sabah UMNO Deputy Liaison Chief , Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak virtually demanding for the resignation of the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and three Cabinet Ministers, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal and Khairy Jamaluddin for “trying to save their own necks” on the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal and the latest 1MDB-LTH bailout fiasco by breaching the principle of collective Ministerial responsibility, “making statements as if they are outsiders and not part of the Cabinet”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib should explain his role in the 1MDB-Tabung Haji fiasco, in particular whether he had approved or directed LTH in the 1MDB land sale

The Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH) Chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahman has announced that following advice from the Prime Minister, the plot of prime land in the Kuala Lumpur city centre which LTH purchased from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is to be sold to the highest of three bidders within the next two weeks.

This has however not ended the storm over the scandal and stigma of criminal breach of trust of pilgrim funds to bailout 1MDB, which is acquiring increasing gale force with rising chorus for the resignation of the Chairman and the four top executives of LTH, the termination of the 1MDB-LTH land deal and the refund of the payment made by LTH, and even for the resignation of the Prime Minister himself.

The Prime Minister cannot continue with his policy of elegant silence while giving private and meaningless assurances that “he will not protect those involved” if there was any wrongdoing.

Even his cousin-UMNO Vice President, Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein had broken ranks and joined Deputy UMNO President, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and UMNO Vice President Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal to express concerns about the government’s credibility as to suggest an international, independent auditing firm to examine 1MDB accounts – which tantamounts to a vote of no confidence in Najib’s initiative in early March asking the Auditor-General to audit the 1MDB accounts. Read the rest of this entry »

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Permatang Pauh win shows M’sia ready for more women leaders

by Syerleena Abdul Rashid
Free Malaysia Today
May 9, 2015

COMMENT

The voters of Permatang Pauh have spoken. They have chosen dignity over conceit, honesty over corruption, coherence over illogic.

By now, Malaysians from all walks of life have heard of PKR President Wan Azizah Wan Ismail’s victory in the Permatang Pauh by-election. She won with a majority of 8,841 votes and defeated Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Suhaimi Sabudin. Her victory symbolises the yearning Malaysians have for much needed political reforms, ending tyrannical regimes, upholding social justice and above all, restoring democracy.

However for the women of this country, her triumphant return into Parliament symbolises a newfound hope that Malaysians are more than ready to discard traditionalist views and are keen on accepting women in leadership roles. Wan Azizah, herself, acknowledged how essential women’s roles are in supporting socio-political reform movements, “Women’s political, social and economic rights are an integral and inseparable part of their human rights”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Adenan must prove himself on intentions

by Joe Fernandez
CPI
08 May 2015

Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem in London on Tuesday and the day after, continuing his style since taking over from his predecessor and ex-brother-in-law Taib Mahmud, continues to say all the right things. They continue to be music to the ears of the environmentalists, other activists, the Orang Asal and even the Opposition.

In fact, he has even taken the wind out of the sails of the Opposition, being in the forefront with them, indeed away from the stand taken for so long by his ruling Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB).

In giving the benefit of the doubt to Adenan, although he’s a product of the very party and system under attack, we can best say that he may have realised belatedly that it cannot be business as usual in Sarawak for his administration. However, recognizing the need for change and being committed to that change are two different things.

We know all the usual cliches about actions speaking louder than words and the proof of the pudding being in the eating. Read the rest of this entry »

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Can Najib untangle the 1MDB-Tabung Haji bailout in the next 48 hours or will there be a political explosion when Najib meets the UMNO division leaders on Monday

Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s position as Prime Minister and UMNO President has never been so fragile and precarious as now, and the question uppermost in many minds is whether Najib can untangle the 1MDB-Tabung Haji bailout in the next 48 hours or whether there will be a political explosion when Najib meets the UMNO division leaders on Monday.

Najib’s desperation over the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal as to approve a raid of Tabung Haji funds has created an unprecedented political spectacle of the current Prime Minister being sandwiched under attack by former Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir and the current Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Mahathir is demanding that the bailout in the land deal between Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH) and 1MDB be called off immediately while Muhyiddin warned from Milan that the 1MDB scandal may explode on UMNO.

Muhyiddin admitted that the debt-ridden 1MDB was the biggest factor that led to Barisan Nasional’s (BN) loss in the Permatang Pauh by-election as he was not even able to explain the scandal when campaigning because, “I don’t even know what to say”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Azizah’s solid and impressive win in Permatang Pauh by-election paves the way for her to be re-elected as Parliamentary Opposition Leader

Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail’s solid and impressive win in the Permatang Pauh by-election paves the way for her to be re-elected as Parliamentary Opposition Leader.

UMNO/Barisan Nasional leaders had belaboured under the mirage that the Permatang Pauh by-election was a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to wrest back the seat which for the past 17 years had been the command-and-communications centre for political change and the concept of Ketuanan Rakyat.

Despite UMNO Vice President Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi’s promise of “shock and awe” at the beginning of the by-election, the UMNO/Barisan Nasional campaign, which was one of the dirtiest and dishonest in Malaysian election history exploiting and abusing the social media with lies and falsehoods, fizzled out and did not even materially improve on UMNO/BN’s share of the total votes cast.

UMNO/BN had the Election Commission to be grateful and thank, for if the polling had been held on a weekend, allowing more voters from outstation to return to vote, and the voter turnout had reached 80% and not just 74% recorded yesterday, Azizah would have no problem securing a bigger majority than the 11,721-vote majority won by Anwar Ibrahim in the 2013 general election (when voter turnout was as high as 88.2%). Read the rest of this entry »

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Is the 11th Malaysia Plan irrelevant?

Rama Ramanathan
The Malaysian Insider
7 May 2015

John F. Kennedy’s 1961 vision of putting a man on the moon energised the United States to “catch up to and overtake” the Soviet Union in technological prowess. The Soviets humiliated the US by being the first to put a human in space. Kennedy’s vision spurred the US into action to achieve technological domination.

Tun Abdul Razak’s 1971 vision, in the New Economic Policy similarly energised Malaysia. Razak wanted to eliminate poverty and to eliminate the association of occupation (and income) with race. Razak’s vision spurred the nation to recognise and reverse the effects of race-based choices with inequality-reducing choices.

The NEP reduced the income inequality between the Malay and Chinese communities. It succeeded so well that at the end of the NEP in 1991, the government decided to stop reporting figures for the Malay community. The data was hidden because the government lacked political will to end handouts which increased income inequality.

To avoid making the hard political choice of ending benevolence to rich Malays the government combined “other Bumiputera” with Malays and reported only figures for Bumiputera, Chinese, Indians and Others in national reports. Energising vision gave way to superficial vision. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is criticising Putrajaya more serious crime than kiddie porn, ask student activists

by Diyana Ibrahim
The Malaysian Insider
6 May 2015

Majlis Amanah Rakyat’s (Mara) decision to give a “second chance” to child porn convict Nur Fitri Azmeer Nordin gives the impression that sexual crimes are less serious than criticising Putrajaya, said two student activists.

The duo, who had disciplinary action taken against them by their respective universities, said students who disagreed with the government faced suspension or expulsion from their institutions of higher learning.

Adam Adli Abdul Halim said Mara’s proposal was unfair because the same opportunity was not given to undergraduates fighting for their rights and vocal in defending democracy. Read the rest of this entry »

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In the face of Islamic State successes, al-Qaida adapts, grows stronger

BY LEE KEATH AND MAGGIE MICHAEL
Associated Press
May 4, 2015

CAIRO — When al-Qaida overran the Yemeni port city of Mukalla last month, the group’s commanders immediately struck a deal to share power with the area’s tribesmen. No jihadi banners were raised. Al-Qaida even issued a statement denying rumors that it had banned music at parties or men wearing shorts.

A local tribal council now administers the city.

The approach was a stark contrast to al-Qaida’s rival, the Islamic State group, notorious for its savagery. And that was precisely the point.

In a competition with the Islamic State group for recruits and prestige across the Middle East, al-Qaida has sought to distinguish itself from its rival’s bloodthirstiness, taking an approach that in jihadi circles would be considered pragmatic. It is building alliances with local players, even old enemies, to seize new territory. Its leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, has told his followers to avoid IS-style brutalities against civilians in order to build support among local populations.

The strategy has paid off, winning new gains for al-Qaida. In Yemen, it even stands to emerge as the real winner as Saudi Arabia leads an Arab air campaign targeting the terror network’s rival, the Iranian-backed Shiite rebels known as Houthis who have taken over much of the country. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is divorce looming in Pakatan?

– Tajuddin Rosli
The Malaysian Insider
6 May 2015

The Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition was formed on April 1, 2008 consisting of PKR, DAP and PAS, having previously formed the Barisan Alternatif in the 10th general election.

Working independently, PKR, PAS and DAP knew it would be a mammoth task to uproot Barisan Nasional (BN). Hence, the mutual marriage among the three parties. Read the rest of this entry »

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What ‘Draw Muhammad’ shootings say about Islamic State reach

By Patrik Jonsson
Christian Science Monitor
MAY 5, 2015

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the foiled terrorist attack at a Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas Sunday. But that doesn’t mean the group had much to do with the attack.

The attempted terror attack by two Muslim-Americans in Garland, Texas, Sunday so far appears to confirm what terrorism experts have been saying for months: The Islamic State has no ability to carry out attacks in the United States.

But the incident shows that the Islamic State’s ability to inspire and, to a limited degree, direct “lone wolf” jihadis remains a challenge with no simple answers. Read the rest of this entry »

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The voters of Permatang Pauh must continue to lead the country to achieve what Malaysians failed to achieve in 13GE two years ago – to bring change through a new Federal Government with Anwar Ibrahim as Prime Minister

Two years ago, the hopes and dreams of the majority of 11 million Malaysian voters who voted in the 13th General Elections for a new Federal Government and a new Prime Minister in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim were frustrated by a undemocratic electoral system resulting in the appointment for the first time in the nation’s history of a “minority” Prime Minister.

On Thursday, on 7th May, in Permatang Pauh by-election, the voters of Permatang Pauh must continue to lead the country to keep these hopes and dreams for change alive and to achieve what Malaysians had failed to achieve in the 13GE two years ago – to form a new Federal Government with Anwar Ibrahim as the Prime Minister in the 14GE.

Malaysia will never become a normal democratic country unless we can effect a peaceful transition of federal power through the electoral process instead of regarding it as a national catastrophe, and there can be no meaningful change of political, socio-economic, educational and whole range of nation-building policies unless there is such a political change.

The movement for change must be based on the formula to unite and mobilise all Malaysians, regardless of race – Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans and Ibans – and regardless of religion – Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs – as Malaysia’s future can only secured and advanced by an inclusive political campaign which has a place of dignity and honour for every Malaysian under the Malaysian sun. Read the rest of this entry »

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We shall overcome! We shall never surrender!

By Martin Jalleh

We shall overcome! We shall never surrender!

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Excerpt #5: Two Black Swans and Many More Dark Crows

by Bakri Musa
Malaysia’s Wasted Decade 2004-2014. The Toxic Triad of Abdullah, Najib, and UMNO Leadership Excerpt #5
May 4, 2015

Already one component of the toxic triad – Abdullah Badawi – is gone and no longer heaping his share of trash upon the nation. As for UMNO, despite being the largest party and a ruling one at the federal level for over the past half a century, it never gets a foothold in Sarawak. Of the nine states in the peninsula, UMNO is permanently wiped off in Penang, Kelantan, and Selangor. If the federal territory of Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur were also a state, UMNO would be wiped out there too. At one time it was also out in Perak, Kedah, and Trengganu.

That leaves only Najib. My earlier prediction of his premature ending as prime minister notwithstanding (see “Priority of Packaging Over Performance’” page 119), he is now secure at the top of the UMNO rubbish heap. To be the unchallenged skipper of the Titanic is no job security; it could very well undermine your well-being.

I am always amazed at the ability of one person to initiate transformational changes. Often those individuals are the ones we least expect. There is no rhyme or reason for such individuals to emerge except that they somehow appear at the right time and place, with all the right people to help him or her do the right thing in the right manner; in short, the confluence of all the elements and the alignment of all the stars.
Read the rest of this entry »

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United Kingdom Election – five days to go

Adrian Beaumont
The Conversation
2 May 2015

The United Kingdom election will be held in five days on Thursday. The current UK Polling Report (UKPR) poll average has the Tories on 34%, Labour on 33%, the Liberal Democrats (Lib Dems) on 9%, the UK Independence Party (UKIP) on 14% and the Greens on 5%; this represents a 1% gain for the Tories since last week.

Based on uniform swings in England and Wales, and a separate uniform swing for Scotland, UKPR has Labour winning 290 of 650 seats, to 263 for the Tories, 19 for the Lib Dems, 60 for the Scottish National Party (SNP) and a few Others, and 18 for Northern Ireland parties. My adjustment to this is to take 20 seats off Labour and give them to the Tories owing to sophomore surges; this method gives the Tories 283 seats to Labour’s 270. If this is the result, the Tories would be the largest party by 13 seats, but Labour would form some sort of government with SNP support.

There are some signs that Labour has regained ground in the last few days. Four of the last five polls have given Labour a 1-2 point lead, and the fifth was tied. As a result, the May 2015 poll average now has a dead heat between the major parties, after showing a slender Tory lead. A caveat is that the most recent polls are Internet based panel polls, and phone polls have been better for the Tories.

The last three Scottish polls all give the SNP over 50% of the Scotland vote, with Labour in the low to mid 20’s. As a result, there has been some speculation that the SNP could win all 59 of Scotland’s seats. The latest forecasts have the SNP winning between 49 and 56 seats. Read the rest of this entry »

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Baghdadi may be gone, but his empire will live on

By David Blair
Chief Foreign Correspondent
Telegraph
02 May 2015

The Isil leader may have been wounded in an air strike, but the terrorist movement no longer depends on him

After leading a desert blitzkrieg across Syria and Iraq, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi stood before thousands of followers and proclaimed himself “Caliph” of a new “Islamic State”.

Yet the bloodsoaked reign of a terrorist who achieved global prominence by conquering swathes of the Middle East now appears to have been cut short by one American air strike.

Iraq’s government and other sources are convinced that far from leading his men in battle, Baghdadi now lies critically wounded and receiving constant care. A US air raid near the town of Al-Baaj, 90 miles west of the Iraqi city of Mosul, appears to have injured Baghdadi and killed three of his companions on March 18.

The self-styled “Caliph” is understood have suffered spinal damage for which he requires continuous treatment. As a result, Baghdadi is thought to be incapacitated and no longer in command of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

Instead, de facto leadership of the movement has passed to a council of senior commanders, including Baghdadi’s supposed deputy, Abu Alaa al-Afri. Read the rest of this entry »

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