Truth and justice are no longer Malaysian way

By Michael Backman
The Age
November 21, 2007

THE Government of Australia will probably change hands this weekend. There will be no arrests, no tear gas and no water cannons. The Government of John Howard will leave office, the Opposition will form a government and everyone will accept the verdict.

For this, every Australian can feel justifiably proud. This playing by the rules is what has made Australia rich and a good place in which to invest. It is a country to which people want to migrate; not leave.

Now consider Malaysia. The weekend before last, up to 40,000 Malaysians took to the streets in Kuala Lumpur to protest peacefully against the judiciary’s lack of independence, electoral fraud, corruption and a controlled media.

In response, they were threatened by the Prime Minister, called monkeys by his powerful son-in-law, and blasted with water cannons and tear gas. And yet the vast majority of Malaysians do not want a change of government. All they want is for their government to govern better.

Both Malaysia and Australia have a rule of law that’s based on the English system. Both started out as colonies of Britain. So why is Malaysia getting it so wrong now?

Malaysia’s Government hates feedback. Dissent is regarded as dangerous, rather than a product of diversity. And like the wicked witch so ugly that she can’t stand mirrors, the Government of Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi controls the media so that it doesn’t have to see its own reflection.

Demonstrations are typically banned. But what every Malaysian should know is that in Britain, Australia and other modern countries, when people wish to demonstrate, the police typically clear the way and make sure no one gets hurt. The streets belong to the people. And the police, like the politicians, are their servants. It is not the other way around.

But increasingly in Malaysia, Malaysians are being denied a voice — especially young people.

Section 15 of Malaysia’s Universities and University Colleges Act states that no student shall be a member of or in any manner associate with any society, political party, trade union or any other organisation, body or group of people whatsoever, be it in or outside Malaysia, unless it is approved in advance and in writing by the vice-chancellor.

Nor can any student express or do anything that may be construed as expressing support, sympathy or opposition to any political party or union. Breaking this law can lead to a fine, a jail term or both.

The judiciary as a source of independent viewpoints has been squashed. The previous prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, did many good things for Malaysia, but his firing of the Lord President (chief justice) and two other Supreme Court judges in 1988 was an unmitigated disaster. Since then, what passes for a judiciary in Malaysia has been an utter disgrace and the Government knows it.

Several years ago, Daim Zainuddin, the country’s then powerful finance minister, told me that judges in Malaysia were a bunch of idiots. Of course we want them to be biased, he told me, but not that biased.

Rarely do government ministers need to telephone a judge and demand this or that verdict because the judges are so in tune with the Government’s desires that they automatically do the Government’s beckoning.

Just how appalling Malaysia’s judiciary has become was made clear in recent weeks with the circulation of a video clip showing a senior lawyer assuring someone by telephone that he will lobby the Government to have him made Lord President of the Supreme Court because he had been loyal to the Government. That someone is believed to have been Ahmad Fairuz Abdul Halim, who did in fact become Lord President.

A protest march organised by the Malaysian Bar Council was staged in response to this, and corruption among the judiciary in general. But the mainstream Malaysian media barely covered the march even though up to 2000 Bar Council members were taking part. Reportedly, the Prime Minister’s office instructed editors to play down the event.

Instead of a free media, independent judges and open public debate, Malaysians are given stunts — the world’s tallest building and most recently, a Malaysian cosmonaut. Essentially, they are given the play things of modernity but not modernity itself.

Many senior Malays are absolutely despairing at the direction of their country today. But with the media tightly controlled they have no way of getting their views out to their fellow countrymen. This means that most Malaysians falsely assume that the Malay elite is unified when it comes to the country’s direction.

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, a former finance minister and today still a member of the Government, told me several weeks ago in Kuala Lumpur that he could see no reason why today Malaysia could not have a completely free media, a completely independent judiciary and that corrupt ministers and other officials should be publicly exposed and humiliated.

According to Tengku Razaleigh, all of the institutions designed to make Malaysia’s Government accountable and honest have been dismantled or neutered.

It didn’t need to be like this. Malaysia is not North Korea or Indonesia. It is something quite different. Its legal system is based on British codes. Coupled with traditional Malay culture, which is one of the world’s most hospitable, decent and gentle cultures, Malaysia has the cultural and historical underpinnings to become one of Asia’s most civilised, rules-based, successful societies.

Instead, Malaysia’s Government is incrementally wasting Malaysia’s inheritance.

  1. #1 by TheWrathOfGrapes on Friday, 23 November 2007 - 2:30 pm

    Truth and justice the Malaysian way…

    Dear Leuchttuerm3,

    I will assume that you are truthful when you said you have been interested in lighthouses since you were a little boy, and not lying through your fangs.

    That means you should know quite a bit about lighthouses, ya? Sprechen Sie Englisch?

    So, what would be the first thing you, as a lighthouse enthusiast, should do? That’s right – go to a site called World Lighthouse Society. Click on the link below.

    And you would find on this site has several photos of lighthouses, with their countries of origin. One of which is Horsburgh lighthouse and in brackets, it says “Singapore”.

    Now, isn’t this a better picture of Pedra Branca than the ones you posted? The quality is better.

    Why did you not choose this photo? Or link this site to your blog? Is is because it says Horsburgh lighthouse belongs to Singapore? BTW, if you go to Google Earth or any international maps, you will find the reference to this little island as Pedra Branca and not Pulau Batu Puteh.

    You sure you sprechen Sie Deutsches? Methinks you sprechen Sie Malaiianer.

    Come on, fes up.

  2. #2 by smeagroo on Friday, 23 November 2007 - 2:57 pm

    Thanks Micheal for telling it in the face of our PM. He doesnt need a mirror. He needs ears.

  3. #3 by limkamput on Friday, 23 November 2007 - 3:00 pm

    Dear Backman,
    I think the reforms presently underway in Indonesia are probably more enduring than we thought. So, please be more gentle to Indonesia.
    Yes, I am right here watching the Australian election. I must say the media (both TV and newspapers) have been fair to both the government and the opposition. This prompted me to think about the election process in Malaysia. Despite the relative freedom Australia enjoys, there are still lots of abuse and inadequacies highlighted in the course of the campaign. What then is the likelihood for Malaysia to have free and fair election? NONE.

    BOYCOTT ALL MAINSTREAM MEDIA. IF THEY CAN’T BE FAIR, THEY DON’T DESERVE OUR MONEY. Can we do it NOW? Honestly this is the best way to hurt their pocket. Spineless people (newspapers owners and editors) all love money more than anything else in the world. So let’s hurt them. I think no amount of talking is going to change anything. It is not like they do not know what good governance, independence, transparency are all about. It is greed and their love for money.

  4. #4 by k1980 on Friday, 23 November 2007 - 3:39 pm
    Self-censorship is an obsession in the mainstream media. It happens every day. The editors will tell you what to write, what not to write. You get ministers calling up all the time. They issue directives. They sometimes send out letters, telling what the guidelines, what can be written, how it can be written. Sometimes they organize briefings for the editors….

  5. #5 by W.O or Wilson on Friday, 23 November 2007 - 3:42 pm

    Beautifully put. As a Malaysian residing in Australia for a long time now, I admit I only came to the realisation of the issues Michael Blackman have put forward when I was exposed to what democracy in its more advanced form looks like.

    The Malaysian government’s actions are indefensible. How I wish my fellow Malaysians would have the veil lifted from their eyes.

  6. #6 by sani on Friday, 23 November 2007 - 3:44 pm

    Well said Mr Backman. Like i keep on saying, we are just so timid. Too timid even for change which is good for us. Too timid to speak out. Too timid to say BN is wrong even when we all know they are wrong.

    No wonder Nazri call us pondan!

  7. #7 by Joetan on Friday, 23 November 2007 - 3:55 pm

    Thats the difference between first world’s government and third world’s government. When there is a change in government in the third world’s country , we can see riot and hell beginning to break loose by their supporters. They will use violence to scare ppl so that they can remain in power. That’s how the mentality of the third world’s government works. Personally, I dont think we can achieve the first world mentality even in 2020. I say this bcos of the actions of the members of the ruling party UMNO and their half past six ministers like Kerismuddin and his deputy’s Kari. Kari is such a racist person who every time uses racial issue to gain support and to stay in power. Yet, he can hold important position in the ruling party. Some political analyst have even predict him to be our future prime minister. I dare not dream what will happen to Malaysia if Kari becomes our prime minister. In the first world country this kind of person will be kick out long ago.

  8. #8 by MISHUGINA on Friday, 23 November 2007 - 4:07 pm

    “We do not want to pretend and say that everything is okay. We do not want to be in a state of denial. Tell the truth, even if it is painful.”


    “This sort of freedom had made them resort to such action (of spreading lies and making unfounded allegations).

    Even bloggers or those who maintain websites use this opportunity to create stories. Lies after lies are being told. To them, everything is not right, everything is not good.

    If I allow myself to be distracted by all this, I will not be able to do any work. That is what they want, that I not focus on my work.”

    Badawi again in his exclusive interview with NST.

  9. #9 by alabama on Friday, 23 November 2007 - 4:21 pm

    “Demonstrations are typically banned. But what every Malaysian should know is that in Britain, Australia and other modern countries, when people wish to demonstrate, the police typically clear the way and make sure no one gets hurt. The streets belong to the people. And the police, like the politicians, are their servants. It is not the other way around.”

    True to my eyes. I saw a demonstration on the street of Sydney on 11 Dec 2005 by a group of “Australian Fah Lung Gong” where the police help to clear the streets and lead the procession to ensure a peaceful march and it went smoothly without disturbances. I took three photos and those interested to see the police leading the procession, I can forward the photos to you if you leave your email address here.

  10. #10 by sheriff singh on Friday, 23 November 2007 - 5:16 pm

    “…And like the wicked witch so ugly that she can’t stand mirrors, the Government of Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi controls the media so that it doesn’t have to see its own reflection…”

    So if you are handsome, you should not be afraid of mirrors. But if you have done so many cosmetic surgeries over the years that your face is now so disfigured, you fear seeing yourself in the mirror, just like a popular singer, fearing what he might see. So he lives in darkness and pretends everything is well and OK.

    Incidentally, this singer MJ also sang “Man in the Mirror”, “Its black, its white” (nothing in between?), I’m “Bad”, somebody’s wife called Billie “Jeanne”. He can also do the “moonwalk” but sadly, Bolehland’s leaders just cannot “walk the talk” but only “talk the cock”.

  11. #11 by tc on Friday, 23 November 2007 - 5:30 pm

    Limkamput says:
    I AM IN ! 2 main dailies out from tomorrow.Read magazines in the morning and for the news go to the internet.Anymore joining me in the boycott?

  12. #12 by dawsheng on Friday, 23 November 2007 - 6:24 pm

    “It didn’t need to be like this. Malaysia is not North Korea or Indonesia. It is something quite different.” Beckman

    It is like what you said before- Bodoh! That’s quite different eh!

  13. #13 by Jonny on Friday, 23 November 2007 - 9:10 pm

    Did anyone notice of the ongoing PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE?

    Road blocks are present since Friday on main artery roads leading to KL.

    This is to provoke anger, hatred of motorists towards the organizers and our brothers and sisters who are handing over the memorandum this Sunday at British Embassy.

    Even, there are already gossips flying around. To advice us to avoid going to KL on Saturday / Sunday for safety reasons. That the Indians will create havoc.


    To create fear. Just like post 9/11. It provided the opportunity for the US govt to create Patriot Act (akinned to ISA). And they can as they wish, shift up or down the level of alert towards terrorism attack. Hence, people are put on their feet. FEAR.

    I passed by few of these blockades. The policemen are harmless. They are just instructed top down. They are spending their time at the blockades chit-chatting away. They are not even monitoring the traffic.

    What is this – if this is not a PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE unto us, the rakyat?

    This is getting far too much to my liking. The police are wasting our time. Wasting nation’s resources.

    This is the advice to robbers and thieves:
    Sunday is the best time to attack – all policemen are zeroed into GROUND ZERO KL.

  14. #14 by undergrad2 on Friday, 23 November 2007 - 10:04 pm

    I’m not sure about Backman’s intended audience here but the fact that it takes a “Red Devil” to point the errors of our ways speak ill of our Asian psyche. This writer does not tell us anything we don’t already know about our governments and ourselves. The world has always known Malaysia for what it is – a country in South Asia. Today in the world of post 9/11 western leaders know a bit more. Malaysia is a Muslim country practicing religious moderation with a stable government and an ally in the war against Islamic radicalism.

    It is testimony to what other western writers have been saying about us as Asians who are viewed as being compliant and submissive, preoccupied with imitating the West in their pursuit of materialism and with it moral decadence, to really care about issues like western-style democracy and the electoral process and a representative government.

    Today, some fifty or so years after independence, we have what it takes for democracy to work like a relatively developed and developing socio-economic infrastructures essential to the working of a western-style democracy, institutions which enable the rapid mobilization of popular support for or against government policies, pressure groups like trade unions and associations and NGOs, human rights groups and most of all an electorate as politically matured as could be expected in the five decades i.e. voters who know and understand the importance of their participation in the electoral process, of lining up to cast that vote once every five years – even though the older generation may not understand why the fuss over their constitutional right to vote, when they helped boot out the ‘orang putih’ or the ‘red devil’ even before we have a constitution.

    The fact remains that our Asian values like filial piety are in fact more conducive to an authoritarian form of government rather than to anything like a western-style freely elected government that is accountable, transparent and responsive to public demands. Herein lies the strength of any political party thrust into power through an electoral process alien and underdeveloped and flawed, a political party that has been clinging to power as a result of the continued abuse of political power ever since the country’s independence – an aspect of the Asian psyche.

    So to Michael Backman, a first class economist, a columnist and an author and an expert on matters Asian, tell us something we don’t already know about our governments and ourselves.

  15. #15 by raven77 on Friday, 23 November 2007 - 10:07 pm

    Many Aussies including Kiwis and the British died for the then Malaya….as Malaysia sinks to pariah status…….shouldnt Backman campaign for Malaysia to be suspended from the Commonwealth……it woke up Musharaf… should wake up the monkeys we have who pass off as parlimentarians….the Malaysian rakyat need help…..perhaps the Commonwealth or at least the BRits or the Aussies who helped this country once…..should lend a helping hand to its peoples who are thumbed down by a hopelessly corrupt government……..its Zimbabwe way for Malaysia if no one helps……

  16. #16 by ALtPJK on Friday, 23 November 2007 - 10:14 pm

    Michael Backman was probably limited by space in his column in The Age. I would hazard a guess that in his original list of topics, the less than squeaky-clean Election Commission would be an item of intended juicy writing.

    Nevertheless, his article has dealt with values which many people in Australia, Britain and most ‘democratic-proper’ countries tend to take for granted and yet very much longed for by the minority (especially contributors to this and similar blogs) but sadly remain in the blind-spot of the vast majority of Malaysians due to their being continuously blindfolded, brainwashed and even subject to the proverbial ‘frog in warming water’ over the last 30 odd years or so.

    It saddens me to watch from afar this undesirable development happening to a country with a culture, as Backman aptly describes, as hospitable, decent and gentle.

    May God save the King who in turn should save the country and his people.

  17. #17 by Marathonrunner on Friday, 23 November 2007 - 10:25 pm

    What Micheal Backman said is absoutely correct.

    If ‘injuctice” still prevails in our Country. I see no reason at all our children who completed their studies overseas would want to come back to serve the Country in which they probably find it not worth living in.

  18. #18 by budak on Friday, 23 November 2007 - 10:41 pm

    “THE Government of Australia will probably change hands this weekend.”

    This wont happen in MalangSial…!
    We got bunch of beruk waiting for peanuts…
    and the beruk master keep feeding them…

    It will be forever…
    Else who going to feed these beruk leh…?

  19. #19 by EARNEST on Saturday, 24 November 2007 - 12:16 am

    If you personally experience what Truth and Justice are like in our legal system, what is written By Michael Backman above is child’s play.

  20. #20 by Tulip Crescent on Saturday, 24 November 2007 - 12:20 am

    ====== STOP PRESS ======

    A group has been formed
    to ensure that those
    involved in unlawful or
    illegal activities in the
    case of V.K. Lingam’s
    brother will not be touched.

    So it looks like the three
    lawyers Vijayakumar, Dato
    Sithambaram and Dato
    Kumarandren who went to
    see Lingam’s brother to get
    him to sign the 81-page
    document, feign depression
    and seek admission into
    Hospital Bahagia will still get
    away with it.

    For them, they are not tampering
    with any witness, not obstructing
    the cause of justice, nothing of
    that sort.

    They are performing a national
    service. Why do you think two
    of them became Datuks?

  21. #21 by wits0 on Saturday, 24 November 2007 - 1:52 am

    Undergrad2 : “The fact remains that our Asian values like filial piety are in fact more conducive to an authoritarian form of government rather than to anything like a western-style freely elected government that is accountable, transparent and responsive to public demands.”

    Right! And not forgetting the malay feudalistic and, lately, the arabic tainted anti-Western sentiments of the governance and education here. That animosity towards individualism, that constant, “Don’t ape the West”, mantra.(It being 110% okay to ape the arabs!). Then comes the regression into uncompetitiveness and still the denials merely entrenches deeper.

    In wanting to over-control too much, the giovernment has screwed tself into this state of a mess with all balances lost to stupidity, biasness and parochial propensities.

    Ironically, while the Leftist Liberals in America are the real donkeys for the Mores, the so-called conservatives in Bodohland are the main culprits responsible for the malaise of of it. Their parochial exclusiveness express itself by trying to fix what ain’t broke, just because they can. To these “nationalists”, the Umno is pandering to, fascism, relgiousity and all.

    Un-PC and direct truths which few would mention – these are the actual BANE of Bolehland and among other fundamental reasons why it is self-screwed up.

  22. #22 by harrisonbinhansome on Saturday, 24 November 2007 - 2:11 am

    Mr. Badawi is not blameless as the PM of Malaysia, but he may have done better if the legacy of Mahathir’s misrule had been jettisoned before he entered office.

    It all started from Mahathir, the ruthless power crazy tyrant amongst the five ruling premiers in Malaysian history.

    Badawi was handpicked by Mahathir not because of his competence that assailed others like Najib Razak, but because Mahathir was mindful whenever history haunted him when Anwar Ibrahim reneged against him that prompted the lamest man to be chosen as a puppet but the love affair ended shortly when his son-in-law took over as the puppet-master. (Sorry to hear that).

    From judiciary fixing scandals to the bestiality of the ISA and countless of police brutalities from the land of unending scandals, the interim PM does not care to wake up from his constellation of disastrous advisors but chose to have reveries from time to time whenever political calamities struck us.

    Whenever history came into my mind, I was wondering who is the bigger of the two evils?

  23. #23 by kanthanboy on Saturday, 24 November 2007 - 4:06 am

    “Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, a former finance minister and today still a member of the Government, told me several weeks ago in Kuala Lumpur that he could see no reason why today Malaysia could not have a completely free media, a completely independent judiciary and that corrupt ministers and other officials should be publicly exposed and humiliated.”

    If Tengku Razaleith Hamzah sincerely believes in free media, independent judiciary and actions against corrupt ministers he should resign from UMNO immediately. Otherwise he is just a hypocrite. His past tells us that he is only interested in political power. The only reason for him to disband Semangat 46 in 1989 to rejoin UMNO is hoping to be rewarded a minister post but only to realize that he has been outplayed by Mahathir. If he wants talk about corruption of ministers, absence of media freedom and independent judiciary, then the appropriate platform for him is at the UMNO AGM

  24. #24 by Godamn Singh on Saturday, 24 November 2007 - 7:32 am

    “Dear Backman,
    I think the reforms presently underway in Indonesia are probably more enduring than we thought. So, please be more gentle to Indonesia.
    Yes, I am right here watching the Australian election. I must say..” limkampueeiit.

    Wa! You know him one ar?? He reads what you write here ar?

  25. #25 by madmix on Saturday, 24 November 2007 - 10:32 am

    When Indians try to fight for their fair treatment, they are charged with inciting racial hatred. When UMNO war mongers wave kris and assert their ketuanan Melayu, they are called heros.

    KLANG: Three lawyers, said to be key players in the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), were charged yesterday with inciting racial hatred.

    P. Waytha Moorthy.
    P. Waytha Moorthy.
    P. Uthayakumar (left) and V. Ganabatirau.
    P. Uthayakumar (left) and V. Ganabatirau.
    Hindraf is the organiser of a planned gathering in front of the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow. Police have refused permission for the rally for fear of public disorder.

    P. Uthayakumar, 46, his brother P. Waytha Moorthy, 41, and V. Ganabatirau, 34, claimed trial to inciting a crowd through speeches in Tamil at a restaurant in Batang Berjuntai on Nov 16.

    The three were brought under heavy police escort to the court at 4.20pm with a large group of supporters in tow.

    From the onset of the proceedings, there was controversy as the lawyers representing the three, M. Manoharan, A. Sivanesan and R. Kenghadaran, objected to the charge, claiming it was flawed.
    Manoharan said the charge was incomplete as the original copy of the alleged seditious speech, which was in Tamil, was not attached to the translated copy.

    Deputy public prosecutor Ishak Mohd Yusoff told the judge that the translation had been certified by a police officer, but it had yet to be verified by an independent party.

    At this juncture, Manoharan interjected, saying the charge was not clear and that prosecution was not ready to charge the three.

    Judge Zunaidah Mohd Idris agreed that the original copy of the speech should have been attached to the translated text and said the prosecution should have also identified the words which were deemed seditious.

  26. #26 by k1980 on Saturday, 24 November 2007 - 10:46 am

    Why no need for Australians to march and demand clean, fair and free elections, unlike in Malaysia?

  27. #27 by ALtPJK on Saturday, 24 November 2007 - 1:09 pm

    When my friends went to the polling booth this morning, they voted for policies which they believe will be good for the econmic well-being of the country and also for the future of the country.

    The big difference is that, here in Australia there is respect for the rule of law.

  28. #28 by EARNEST on Saturday, 24 November 2007 - 1:32 pm

    Our nation is still too young to be on par with Western counterparts in respecting human rights, and to refrain from blatantly violating its citizens’ inalienable constitutional human rights. But basing on knowledge gleaned from the achievements of courageous Western civil rights activists and what they experienced and went through, we can jump-start and lead the way in respecting human rights amongst developing nations, many are definitely even much worst. But lets us not compare ourselves with the worst, but emulate the best, the most progressive. We can benefit from the mistakes of others, without having to partake in their bloodbath in order to demand that our rights not be violated.

    For a start, the relevant authorities should understand that Hindraf demonstrators have genuine grievances basing on statistics of suicides, gangsterism, and probably Tamil schools educational opportunities, and issue police permit and not only refrain from using water canons and firing tear gas canisters against them, but to provide protection to Hindraf’s peaceful demonstrators who I believe would not be armed. There may be women and children among them. Otherwise these children may grow up hardened to become the next generation of firebrand Hindraf leaders who may be forced to adopt whatever means necessary to achieve their legitimate objectives.

    These courageous people, to wit P. Waytha Moorthy, P. Uthayakumar (left) and V. Ganabatirau are like Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King of Malaysia.

    These grievances are not only harbored by Indians. Recently, a Malaysian Chinese Namewee of negarakuku fame had expressed his frustrations from a Taiwanese University, some of which are shared by very many others who are not only afraid to support him, but afraid to voice their own frustrations. Decades ago the Chinese had already fought for their constitutional rights to establish a University. One of the leaders who championed their cause lost his citizenship until he passed away. When legitimate means are closed, will another action force emerge soon?

  29. #29 by akarmalaysian on Saturday, 24 November 2007 - 1:41 pm

    aiseh….for the oppositions to win is not possible but it just wont happen at present with all these scumbags hanging around.with all their dirty tricks up their sleeves in making sure of their victory by watever possible means…it is gonna be hard for the oppositions to play dirty with these scumbags.just look around at all the scandals…look at all the money they hv been swindling…and look at how they behave like monkeys.u knw how many of these scumbags will go to jail if the oppositions do win?these scumbags think they are just too powerful and no one can touch them…yes no one…but the people of malaysians can…its on a matter of tim justice will be restored by its own people.

  30. #30 by year of snake on Saturday, 24 November 2007 - 2:34 pm

    For the oppositions to win is not possible.

    I totally agree that at the present time it is impossible especially with the opposition parties still in disarray. However, the first step could be done is to reduce their majority so that they will have a wake up call realising that there are many malaysians which are not happy at the current policies of the government. As the ruling party of BN always say that they do not depend on the votes of the non-bumiputeras, it is time to show them that it is not true by voting for their opponents in the next GE. Therefore, exercise your rights and come out to vote in the next General Election as every vote counts. “BAD OFFICIALS ARE ELECTED BY GOOD CITIZENS WHO DO NOT VOTE’

  31. #31 by limkamput on Saturday, 24 November 2007 - 4:55 pm

    Godamn Singh, if you have any grey matter in your head, write something, otherwise just shut up. So far what i see in you is just one liner here and there. I think you can’t even write one paragragh and you have not travelled anywhere out of the country before. Yes, i am right here in Australia watching the election. You got a problem with that?

  32. #32 by DarkHorse on Saturday, 24 November 2007 - 7:05 pm

    I see this lamkamput is still trying to run others down. Back to his old self!

  33. #33 by greenacre on Saturday, 24 November 2007 - 8:00 pm

    Thanks Michael Backman. Your views are spot on. We do carry our back on our back nevertheless do not know how the back looks like unless someone else takes a peep and tell us. indians writing their history could not squeeze together the right stuff until ‘Freedom At Midnight” came out. Well tell us more with your glasses.

  34. #34 by waterfrontcoolie on Saturday, 24 November 2007 - 9:05 pm

    The greatest sin which the leadership of this nation has created is the mentality of a GATE-KEEPER. Those days, only GOMEN servants possessed such sickness, but to-day this cancerous disease has spread everywhere. I was involved with a local group of companies, one day my manager filed a complain against another department because the drivers were asked to pay ‘toll’ to the contractor’s fork-lift drivers who were all foreigners!
    I had to demand that the contractor had the foreigners sacked.
    This could come about when the layer above was not doing anything or he was also in the game. Of course in the private sector, it is only kick-backs or commisions.
    So if you have to do something like this in any organisation, you can be rest assured that the cancerous growth had spread, as always from the top to the bottom.
    Why am I writing this here, part of the problems of the Indian community is they had hero-worshipped one of their kind for far to long, and they continue to be ‘sai-lang’ by him up to now.

  35. #35 by ktteokt on Saturday, 24 November 2007 - 9:41 pm

    Only cowards are afraid of their own shadows!!!

  36. #36 by negarawan on Saturday, 24 November 2007 - 10:42 pm

    We need more international awareness and exposure of the wrongdoings and crime of UMNO in Malaysia. Michael Backman, a big thank you for helping us to spread the message and the truth about Malaysia and its corrupted “leaders”

  37. #37 by Man_of_Honour on Sunday, 25 November 2007 - 1:17 am

    Thumbs up! Michael…

    “Democratic, Malaysian version” = UMNO-U Must Not Object

    MCA & MIC’s mission statement: If u can’t beat them, join them! Afterall, if UMNO idiots make money, MCA & MIC will get their share. Well, to these hypocrites, “No Big Fish, small prawns also will do”.

    Sad, sad, sad… Will probably be migrating also.

  38. #38 by Bigjoe on Sunday, 25 November 2007 - 9:19 am

    The last line ‘Malaysia government incrementally wasting Malaysia’s inheritance’. should have been the main topic. In fact, ‘Malaysia government wasting Malaysia’s inheritance is in fact a long tradtion since May 13, 1969.

    Simple economic numbers already tell us that Malaysia’s GDP should at least be 2-3 times larger if not for the incompetence. Even as near as 1990, South Korea was not very far from Malaysia’s development and today we look at South Korea and South Korean companies as models.

    Wasting resources and inheritance of what used to be strong institutions including our Constitution is a Malaysian way under UMNO. Yes fifty years on, Malaysian today are just prodigal sons and daugthers of better men and women.

  39. #39 by sounddesigner on Sunday, 25 November 2007 - 9:28 am

    with the power of the internet at our fingertips but not my dad’s, he’s often misled into just accepting the local media content at face value. i’ve resorted to printing out some important information, like the issue of growth of our pay-grades compared to our neighbouring countries, the incessant cronyism (this to me seems slightly off the mark from apartheid) that is causing a decrease in quality government contracts to my Bumi friends who have been contractors for so long and more.

    i’ve also talked to many 80s kids and they say that they don’t really care what’s happening in the country so getting them to vote in the next elections, eh… i needn’t say anymore. there’s so much information that needs to be sent out to them, that I’m at a loss of even knowing where to start. i’ve not voted before in my life so I understand. the next elections would be my first time voting.

  40. #40 by mendela on Sunday, 25 November 2007 - 12:27 pm

    Our opposition parties are short of resources and funds to fight UMO and all the running dogs. All the so-called main stream media are just propaganda machines for UMO.

    Instead of wasting our time and energies on all kind of comments, can’t we all do something more meaningful too like make meaningful political contributions/donations to DAP and others?

    The UMO run Government is using our money and our resources to sustain this most corrupted regime of all time. We must pull all our resouces together to win this war!

    Talks and talks alone will not bring us far, we need real actions! How much have you contributed so far to the opposition parties so far?

  41. #41 by mike_tang on Sunday, 25 November 2007 - 12:49 pm

    I am so saddened by this article by Michael Backman. I was 17 years old when I left Malaysia in 1955 to study in the US and I have been living here ever since. At one time I wanted to return to Malaysia to teach but I decided against it, having married an American wife and all four children who had never set foot in the country. I am now 69 years old; my kids are now in their 30s, and I have 6 grandchildren. I felt so sad when I gave up my Malaysian citizenship in 1975 but in looking back I have to admit that I did the right thing.

  42. #42 by ChinNA on Monday, 26 November 2007 - 2:32 pm

    can the opposition contest the elections using the by-election strategy like what happened in Singapore in 1990s.

    The opposition scored a high number of seats in that poll.

  43. #43 by kihowa on Monday, 26 November 2007 - 4:08 pm

    Good article. I have seen the media coverage before, during and after the Australia election, my Australian friends and colleagues were jumping and cheering because they are excited, excited because they know there will be a new Goverment and they know that the new Goverment will treat them better than the previous one. For the past few months, we heard a lot of promises, debates and proposals that the two parties in Australia presented, however, Australia is just like Malaysia: multi-culture and multi-racial, the leaders talked about the future and what they can do to their country people, regardless of races and religions, no bias. There’s a moment I’ll remember a long time when Rudd gave his thank you speech on the stage in front of his supporters and John Howard’s:”A short time ago Mr Howard called me to offer his congratulations, I thanked him for that and the dignity with which he offered those congratulations. I want to wish Mr and Mrs Howard and their family all the very best for the future. There are big differences between us but we share a common pride in this great nation of ours. Today the Australian people have decided that we as a nation will move forward. To plan for the future, to prepare for the future, to embrace the future and together as Australians to unite and write a new page in our nation’s history…” There’s no boos from both side of the supporters, just cheers.

    When is Malaysia achieve a true democracy?

  44. #44 by DarkHorse on Tuesday, 27 November 2007 - 1:50 am

    “At one time I wanted to return to Malaysia to teach but I decided against it, having married an American wife …” Mike-Tang

    It’s never too late especially now that you’re retired. Malaysia is a beautiful country – summer all year round, no hurricanes, no twisters to twist you around, no wildfire to burn your house down, no earthquakes and no tsunami to drown you. Only thunderstorms; and the possibility of lightning striking you is much less than being run over by your neigbor’s son on his bicycle on a rainy day!

  45. #45 by lupus on Tuesday, 27 November 2007 - 9:59 am

    Michael Backman has been a torn to the Govt of Malaysia and have upset BN in the past. This article is just one of them – for saying things that most Malaysian would only acknowledge behind closed doors. We should email copies of his articles to the moron at BN – sort of in-your-face on them

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