Archive for January 1st, 2008

Mazu statue in Kudat – allow resumption of construction and official opening before next polls

Former Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat has said that he is prepared to drop his suit if the Sabah state government allows the construction of the world’s tallest Mazu (Goddess of the Sea) statue at its original location in Kudat.

Responding to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s statement in Tuaran on Sunday on the government’s hope that the Kudat Mazu statue dispute could be settled amicably without going to court, Chong said he was left with no option except to institute legal proceedings as he had only 28 days to appeal against the decision of the Kudat Town Board (KTB) to withdraw its earlier approval for the Mazu statue on Nov. 15 last year.

He said he had been “patient because I have been writing, pleading and begging with everyone to resolve this matter for one-and-a-half years”.

Najib had said Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman was open to negotiation to resolve the controversy over the halted construction of the Mazu statue in Kudat. The Deputy Prime Minister said Musa had given him the assurance that as Chief Minister he is open to solving problems, including sensitive ones.

I for one would not believe Musa and I believe that this would be the sentiment of Chong and Sabahans who supported the construction of the world’s tallest Mazu statue both on the grounds of the constitutionally-entrenched guarantee of freedom of religion as well as to enhance the international tourism competitiveness of Sabah and Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »


No Glitter to Merdeka’s Golden Anniversary Year

by M. Bakri Musa

By right Malaysians should still be relishing the afterglow of their 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations. Alas, the much-anticipated euphoria was short lived; the grim realities of Malaysian life quickly intruded.

Even the mainstream media carry daily headlines of gory crimes. If those were not scary enough, residents now live in fear that their basic freedom is being threatened, not by some external enemy rather by their very own government. Malaysian leaders mistook their electoral mandate for a license to trample on citizens’ basic rights, as in the rights to free assembly and the freedom of conscience.

Those breaches of course did not grab the headlines in the mainstream media; you have to read the alternative media or international publications to get the real news. The mainstream media instead highlighted Prime Minister Abdullah’s “small” wedding to his “downstairs lady.”

The images of Malaysia projected onto the world stage towards the end of the year were not of a modern nation poised for Vision 2020, rather the typical backward Third World state with a stubbornly bumbling warden as its leader.

The scenes on Al Jazeera and CNN were of the police wildly tear-gassing and firing water cannons upon thousands of peaceful citizens who dared exercise their basic rights to a free assembly. If those images were not ugly enough, there was Minister of Information Zam in a fit of latah in front of the television cameras for the whole world to see.

Zam is a poor imitation of Saddam Hussein’s Information Minister “Comical Ali.” At least Ali entertained us with his outlandish bravadoes; Zam nauseated us with his blabber.

Just as we thought it could not get worse seeing that it was already November when Zam was blabbering in front of an international audience, there was Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum declaring that only Muslims are entitled to use the word “Allah” (God). He threatened banning the Malay version of the Catholic Church publication that dared use the word “Allah.”

The startling observation was that this moron of a minister could get way with such idiocies. By his silence, Abdullah reveals that he is equally moronic.

How did a nation that was so full of bubbly confidence as encapsulated in its “Malaysia boleh!” spirit only a few years ago descended so fast and so far, and with so few of the elite class protesting?

To be sure, Malaysia is still far ahead of Pakistan or Zimbabwe. Unfortunately, far too many, especially the leaders, take comfort in this. Read the rest of this entry »