Archive for March 17th, 2008


By Ishwar Nahappan

In the euphoria of the opposition severely denting Barisan’s overwhelming dominance of the Malaysian Parliament and further taking control of 5 state governments, the opposition should be cognizant of the extent to which some senior members of UMNO will stoop to in order to sustain themselves in power. UMNO controls all key instruments of government whether it be the police, army, civil service, judiciary and additionally, all aspects of media.

Historically, since 1970 with the inception of the NOC and more obviously since 1981, when Mahathir became Prime Minister, all instruments of government were ruthlessly and cynically manipulated at his whims and fancies. Unfortunately, this policy has been continued by many UMNO leaders in order to perpetuate their power and more importantly, the rich gravy train.

UMNO is presently like a wounded tiger ready to attack anything that presents a threat to their continued power, continuance of the rich gravy train and the dominance of the party by a few well established families. They will use all instruments of government and media to whip up the more radical elements of their party into frenzy and thereby re-establish control under the pretext of maintaining law, order and stability.

Therefore, at this very early juncture of Malaysian democratic renaissance, it would be prudent not to provide any ammunition to UMNO leaders for them to distort seemingly innocent statements which could be misrepresented to the Malay community. We now have to be very circumspect in the positions we take, the statements we make and perhaps even use the art of Wayang Kulit posturing which is a specialty of UMNO leaders.

In particular, I would draw everyone’s attention to 2 great Asian philosophers, Sun Tzu and Chanakya who both subscribed in their own individual way, “not to reveal what they thought upon doing, but by wise council kept it secret being determined to carry it into execution”.


CMs, DPMs and PMs: Time to go beyond the old taboos

By Farish A. Noor

WHEN the opportunity presented itself for Malaysia to choose a Malaysian woman of South Asian origin to be made the country’s first astronaut, those responsible for the final decision stepped back before the seemingly-insurmountable wall of taboos and inherited petty wisdom. No, they opined, we should choose a Malaysian Male Muslim Malay instead, as this would reflect the demographic realities of the country. But by doing so, they not only reflected the demographic realities of the day, but also confirmed the hegemony of that reality and thus rendered it absolute and unquestionable.

Now think of the possible alternatives had the Malaysian-Indian woman be chosen instead: For a start it would point to the demographic realities many of us would have wanted to see; and it would have been such a powerful symbolic message sent to Malaysia and the world. Had the other candidate been chosen, we could have proudly proclaimed that this was a country where racial and ethnic divisions had been transcended, and where gender equality was within reach. It would also have been such an enormous boost to the pride and sense of self-worth of so many other marginalised minority groupings in the country, to see themselves mirrored in the national narrative and to be made to feel that they truly belonged to a Malaysia that was indeed a country for all races. But no: Sadly, once again, the powers that be did the familiar cop-out and conceded to their own misguided belief in the old taboos.

The debate over who should be made chief minister of Perak, which has been going on for a week now, points to the same sort of intellectual and psycho-social impasse that has kept Malaysia paralysed for so long. Despite winning the biggest number of state assembly seats in the state, the DAP was not allowed to nominate one of its own to the post. The grounds for this realpolitik consideration happens to be a legal provision in the Perak constitution that apparently precludes the possibility of a non-Malay and non-Muslim from assuming the post of chief minister, even if her/his party won all the seats in the state assembly. Read the rest of this entry »


Royal audience with Perak Regent Dr. Nazrin Shah

I was granted an audience with the Perak Regent Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah after the swearing-in ceremony of engineer and PAS Perak Secretary Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as Perak Menteri Besar at the Iskandariah Palace, Kuala Kangsar today where I personally apologized for any offence caused to the Perak Sultan and Regent

On Saturday, I had written a formal letter of apology to the Perak Sultan.

At the swearing-in ceremony for the new Perak Mentri Besar, three representatives from each of the three parties to the state coalition government, DAP, PKR and PAS (DPP) were invited to attend. DAP was represented by the DAP Perak State Chairman Ngeh Koo Ham (MP for Bruas and State Assemblyman for Sitiawan), Perak State Secretary Nga Kor Ming (MP for Taiping and State Assemblyman for Pantai Remis) and myself.

The formation of the new Perak State Exco, based on a 6-3-2 formula for DAP, PKR and PAS respectively, is the next step for the formation of the Perak DPP coalition government. Read the rest of this entry »


UMNO Ultras Defanged

by M. Bakri Musa

One least noted but most consequential impact of this last election is that those rabidly racist UMNO ultras have been effectively defanged. Malaysians can now be assured that the next UMNO General Assembly will not see the likes of Hishammuddin Hussein or Khairy Jamaluddin putting on their race-taunting, kris-wielding stunts.

These hitherto UMNO young bulls have been, as we say here on the ranch, “cut off.” Yes, castrated! They are now reduced to sterile steers destined for the slaughterhouse; they are not worthy to propagate the herd.

Khairy Jamaluddin in particular had a near-death political experience in Rembau, his father’s village and a previously safe UMNO constituency. Unknown PKR’s candidate Badrul Hisham Shaharin, or Chegu Bard, a product of the local kampong school and the nearby Raja Melewar Teachers’ College, proved a formidable opponent for Khairy, the self-puffed ego and product of Oxford University via Singapore’s World United College.

Khairy is smart enough to realize that had it not been for the timely “rescue” in the form of postal votes, together with the earlier last minute cancellation by the Elections Commission on the use of indelible ink that would have prevented fraudulent voting, Chegu Bard would have easily humbled Khairy. How else to explain an initial hundred-vote victory for Chegu Bard would turn out to be a massive 5,000-vote victory for Khairy on “recount”?

As I wrote elsewhere, even UMNO morons are teachable. That is not a surprise, for the ability to learn is an attribute of all living things. The only variable is the slope of the learning curve and of course the timing.

UMNO operatives may have learned their lesson with this election, but it is already too late. The implosion of UMNO has begun. Read the rest of this entry »