Archive for March, 2008

Farewell to the Homogenous Malay

(Note: This is the English version of the same article that will published soon as part of the compilation of articles by Dr. Farish A. Noor, entitled “Di Balik Malaysia: Dari Majapahit Ke Putrajaya”)

By Farish A. Noor

‘Takkan Melayu Hilang di Dunia’ (Never Shall the Malays Cease to Be): Hang Tuah’s legendary call to arms rings a note of defiance laced with anxiety and speaks volumes about the perennial angst of a people whose place and standing in the world was never a thing to be taken for granted. Read in its proper context the full meaning of the statement becomes clear: here was the call for unity by a fabled hero that came at a time of flux and change, when the shifting fortunes of Malacca was tilting on the side of impending defeat at the hands of the Portuguese.

Yet sadly, as is always the case, the story of Tuah has been misread and mis-appropriated for other ends that have more to do with politics and less to do with history. Beloved by the right-wing conservatives among us, the dissected figure of Tuah has been robbed of his pacifist, mystical and philosophical leanings, leaving us with only the static figure of a cardboard two-dimensional ethno-nationalist who surprisingly resembles many of the Mat Rempit-wannabe types who make up the rank and file of UMNO Youth today. We forget that at the end of the Hikayat Hang Tuah epic Tuah himself abandons his keris and turns his back on his king, renouncing the world and turning his attention to the salvation of his soul instead. Yet this sorrowful figure has been cut-and-pasted today to suit the ethno-nationalist agenda of the race-warriors and demagogues.

Today that fear of permanent loss and historical erasure has gripped the hearts and minds of many a right-wing Malay communalist in the wake of the 12th General Elections and the dismal (and deserved) failure of UMNO in particular. That Kelantan could have fallen to PAS was a somewhat different matter, for the conventional wisdom that takes the place of reason in this country of ours assumes that even if Kelantan was to fall under the heels of the Mullahs, they would still be Malay Mullahs, and that the sacred soil of Tanah Melayu would still be in Malay hands.

Rather the fear we see today has been directed towards the loss of the more plural and cosmopolitan states of the West coast, where the DAP has made great (and deserved) strides in Penang, Perak and Selangor. Already the pathetic spectacle of ethno-communal fear and loathing has been played out in the public domain: Demonstrations in Penang were organised with the calculated intention of scaring the Malays into thinking that their land was up for grabs and that the vainglorious notion of Ketuanan Melayu was being eclipsed. The vernacular Malay press in particular has gone into overdrive, harping on and on incessantly about every perceived slight and injury to Malay pride, their editorials littered with the recognised markers of discontent: ‘Biadab, kurang sopan’ are the accusations that have been levelled in no uncertain terms. Read the rest of this entry »


MCA to blame for marginalisation of foreign Malaysian specialists

by LTT

I refer to Dr. LMK’S letter “Eye specialist problem – another multiracial problem”, and sympathize with this ophthalmologist who wants to come home but is prevented as a result of bureaucracy pertaining to his postgraduate qualifications.

Some have commented that Dr. LMK should just go on to another country where his skills will be better appreciated, but this would be in essence giving in to racist policies that have now slithered into our professions. It would also mean that the change that all those Malaysians were yearning for when they took to the streets and turned up in massive numbers at all those ceramahs leading to the ruling party losing in five states and at the same time almost politically annihilating the previous government would have been for nothing. Further, all the efforts and sacrifices the DAP/PKR/PAS have made to seek a just Malaysia that practices equitable policies may come to naught. Malaysians must stand their ground and must unearth or hunt down the zealots and charlatans who prey on this country’s masses and in this case its medical institutions.

Dr. LMK should be commended that he wants to return home to make this country a better Malaysia. All right thinking Malaysians who have helped transform the political landscape should help him and other Malaysian doctors who plan to come home, by ensuring that the doctors who have hijacked this country’s healthcare system are flushed out once and for all. Dr. LMK should rest assured that there is nothing wrong with his Fellowship qualifications. The problems are all here with the so called “Master’s programs” and the muddled policies at the Academy of Medicine and the Ministry of Health which have been put in place by self-serving specialists who suffer a serious dose of inferiority complex. Read the rest of this entry »


Opposition and Anwar Ibrahim – Make no mistake on your sincerity and integrity

by Foong Wai Fong

The events in the next couple of weeks, leading to whether Anwar will contest a by-election will demonstrate to the People of Malaysia whether they have indeed make the right choice, by voting in the Opposition. The People are troubled by these post-election developments.

A message to the OPPOSITION:

1. Many people voted you in not because how good you were or will be, but more they just wanted to throw out the other guy, deny the 2/3 majority given to the ruling coalition.

2. If you walk your talk, you MUST NEVER do what the other guy has been doing in the past decades.

The electorate wishes to see REAL Change, sincerity and integrity; not making deals and bargains wrapped in exchange of cabinet positions for alliance — this makes the OPP no different from the incumbent ruling class. Any mistakes on the part of the OPP in strategy will bring serious backlash, that mistake has the high risk of throwing Malaysia into a state of chaos and instability. This is SERIOUS matter.

On the other hand, if the OPP and Anwar Ibrahim can be a little patient, taking things one step at a time, act with integrity and sincerity, THIS IS A HISTORIC OPPORTUNITY. Any tactic that involves trading of bargains of power would diminish all hope that we are entering a new era. For we believe any of those MPs or state assembly members out there who cross over because they did not get the so-called “rewards” in position would do no good for the OPP. All cabinet and government positions are positions to provide service, not positions for reward of winning the election! It serves the OPP well to remember that. Read the rest of this entry »


Release Hindraf 5 from ISA – start healing after political tsunami

Two days after the political tsunami of the March 8 general election, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in an op-ed article in Asian Wall Street Journal (March 11, 2008), entitled “Malaysia will heal her divisions”, pledged:

“As there has been much speculation about the implications of our election results, I wish to offer clarity on three critically important points:

“First, we have heard the voice of our citizens, and I will dedicate myself, in this second term, to healing the divisions which became evident during the campaign. That will mean developing new and concrete initiatives, not just rhetoric, that bring our people together and ensure that no one is left behind as Malaysia prospers, whether they are ethnic Malays, Chinese or Indians.”

Abdullah is right. The Prime Minister’s fatal mistake in his first administration was that his many sweet-sounding pledges which created the feel-good euphoria resulting in his unprecedented landslide victory of over 91 per cent parliamentary seats in the 2004 general election were pure rhetoric but not backed up with any significant or meaningful action.

Is it going to be rhetoric and more rhetoric in his second premiership or is Abdullah going to start implementing his many pledges of reform of the past four years?

One immediate test faced by Abdullah as to whether he is starting to genuinely listen to the people to start the process of “national healing” after the political tsunami of the March 8 general election is the continued unjust, arbitrary and undemocratic detention of the DAP Selangor State Assemblyman for Kota Alam Shah M. Manoharan and the other four Hindraf leaders P. Uthayakumar, V. Ganabatirau, R. Kenghadharan and T. Vasantha Kumar under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for spearheading a national campaign against the marginalization of the Malaysian Indians causing them to become a new underclass in Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »


Abdullah’s Bible

By Farish A. Noor

For a country that is not exactly known for its reading habit, we seem to be grabbing a lot of books lately. Or to put it more accurately, we seem to be confiscating and detaining an awful lot of books.

For reasons best known to themselves, the benighted authorities in this land of ours have been vigilantly manning the outposts on the frontier lest we, while sleeping, are caught unawares by the legions of dog-eared tomes that are – at this very moment – surreptitiously on their way to this country to ‘pollute, corrupt and confuse’ our minds. The list of banned books grows ever longer; and the outrages continue unabated. The latest fiasco was when thirty-two Bibles were confiscated by customs officials from a Malaysian Christian on her way back from the Philippines, to be submitted for inspection by the Ministry of Internal Security. Strange that Bibles are now seen by some as a potential ‘security threat’ that need to be confiscated upon entry into the sacred precinct that is Malaysia. But Bibles? A security threat? To whom?

All this talk of ‘dangerous’ texts and potentially dangerous Bibles in particular reminds me of one particular edition of the Bible that caused quite a stir when it first came out. In fact so controversial was this particular edition that it almost never came out at all. For here I am talking about Abdullah’s Bible; or rather the translation of the Bible by none other than Munshi Abdullah Abdul Kadir, who is universally regarded as one of the forefathers of modern Malay literature.

Now those of you who remember what you were taught at school (and believe me, as an academic I am all too familiar with the phenomenon of selective amnesia among students), will also remember the name of Munshi Abdullah. He was the Peranakan Muslim scholar and translator who served both the early British colonial administrators in Singapore and Malacca as well as the various Malay courts during the opening stages of the 19th century. Read the rest of this entry »


12 Proposals for a First-World Parliament in Malaysia

In 2004, I had made 12 proposals for parliamentary reform and modernization for Malaysia to have a “First World Parliament” not only in infrastructure, but mindset, culture, practices and performance.

These 12 proposals for First-World Parliament should be adopted as the parliamentary agenda of both the Barisan Nasional and the Opposition in the 12th Parliament when it convenes for its first meeting in May, viz:

– live telecast of parliamentary proceedings;

– daily two-hour question time;

– Prime Minister’s Question Time twice a week;

– Opposition MP heading the Public Accounts Committee (PAC);

– some 30 specialist Parliamentary Select Committees with a Select Committee for every Ministry;

– about ten general Parliamentary Select Committees to produce annual reports on progress, trends and recommendations on national integrity, IT, women’s agenda, environment, mass media, corruption, etc;

– allocation of certain days a week specifically to deal with Opposition business;
research and constituency staffing for MPs;

– an Opposition Deputy Speaker;

– modernization and democratization of Standing Orders;

– code of ethics for all MPs;

– Ministers’ Parliamentary code of conduct. Read the rest of this entry »


Eye specialist problem – another multiracial problem

by Dr. LMK

I am an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) currently practising in UK, I
cannot come home because of my specialist degree.

“FRCS(Glasgow) in Ophthalmology” (hereinafter refer as FRCS) is a
specialist degree recognised by the whole world, the eye specialist
must go through a proper training and exam in order to get this
degree. Many eye specialists in many are holding this degree
including our famous eye specialists in Tun Hussain Onn Eye Hospital.

FRCS was confered by 4 boards, ie, Edinburgh, London, Ireland and
Glasgow. In 1999, UK has decided to change its training service due
to the European Union. FRCS exam was be replaced by MRCS exam. For
your information, MRCS is not a recognised degree in Malaysia.
However, Glasgow board is STILL offering this exam for this degree
until NOW. Read the rest of this entry »


We Need An Intelligent Response to Islamophobia

By Farish A. Noor

The recent declaration made at the OIC summit that calls for Muslim nation-states to act in a concerted manner and to take legal action against any country, group or individual who deliberately attacks Islam is noteworthy for the seriousness of its intent; but falls short of providing us with a real solution to the problem of racism and prejudice disguised behind the banner of Islam-bashing.

For a start, one wonders if the arena of international law even allows states to take legal action against other actors and agents on such grounds; and one wonders what the modalities of such an action might be. But above all, we need to take a calm and rational distance from the problem itself and consider methods that will work and reject those that certainly won’t.

The problem, however, is this: How can Muslims react rationally and coolly to acts of provocation at a time when even the utterance of the mutest words of protest are deemed by some as the irrational outpourings of misguided pious grief instead? The worry that some of us share at the moment is how the Muslims of the world will react to the release of the film produced by Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party. Wilders is known in Holland as a maverick politician on the make, an ambitious demagogue whose tactics are as loud as they are crude. His decision to make a film on the life of the Prophet Muhammad was calculated to raise the political temperature in Europe at a time when Muslim-non-Muslim relations have hit an all time low. Unlike the murdered film director Theo van Gogh who was a left-leaning activist and long-time supporter of minority concerns (and who, incidentally, also defended the rights of Muslim migrants in Holland), Wilders is a far-right politician who is clearly appealing to the baser parochial and exclusive sentiments of white Dutch society.

It would be hypocritical, to say the least, that Wilders’ film which presents Islam as a religious system akin to Facism and which compares the Prophet Muhammad to Hitler was meant to bring the communities of Holland closer together.

But in reacting to the film the Muslim community worldwide would have to take into account some cautionary points: Read the rest of this entry »


Five tests – “Reform Cabinet” or pseudo Reform Cabinet

New Stratis Times hailed the second Abdullah Cabinet unveiled yesterday as “REFORM Cabinet”, describing it as “the Cabinet and government the Barisan Nasional should have had four years ago”.

I would have been the first to welcome a “Reform Cabinet” although it is four years and two months late. Although there are signs that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi seems prepared to begin to “hear the truth from the people” although more than four years late on the pledges he first made when became Prime Minister in October 2003, like the surprise appointment of Zaid Ibrahim as Minister in charge of legal and judicial reforms, there are also signs to the contrary.

It is no exaggeration to say that the appointment of Umno Information chief Muhammad Muhammad Taib as Minister for Rural and Regional Development has stained the second Abdullah Cabinet right from the start and raised questions about Abdullah’s commitment and political will to the new politics of accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance. Read the rest of this entry »


Support for Azizah as Parliamentary Opposition Leader

In the March 8 general election, the three Opposition parties of PKR, DAP and PAS denied the Barisan Nasional its hitherto unbroken two-thirds parliamentary majority winning a total of 82 parliamentary seats – PKR 31, DAP 28 and PAS 23.

I have been asked by reporters as to who would be the next Parliamentary Opposition Leader.

The subject has still to be discussed by the three Opposition parties as the most pressing concerns have been the formation of new coalition state governments particularly in Penang, Perak and Selangor for the DAP.

Although the three Opposition parties have yet to meet on the matter of the new Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Parti Keadilan Rakyat President Datin Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is the ideal candidate as the new Parliamentary Opposition Leader with PKR having the most parliamentary seats of the three Opposition parties in Parliament.

I support Azizah as the Parliamentary Opposition Leader for the 12th Parliament, and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the Parliamentary Opposition Leader when he is re-elected to Parliament after the expiry of his civil disenfranchisement barring him from standing for elective office in mid-April.


Abdullah’s new Cabinet – mixed signals with no luxury of political honeymoon

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s new Cabinet announced today sends out mixed signals – that he is starting to “hear the truth from the people” after failure to honour his pledge for 42 months and which was the cause of the Barisan Nasional’s devastating electoral defeat in the March 8 general election as well as the return to the old politics of patronage.

The surprise appointment of Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, who was dropped as an Umno candidate in the recent general election, as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department with the portfolio of legal affairs will be most significant if it reflects a belated commitment to institute far-reaching judicial reforms to restore confidence in the independence, integrity and quality of the judiciary to internationally-acclaimed world-class standards which it enjoyed until two decades ago when it suffered repeated assaults and rocked from one judicial scandal to another.

The appointment of Umno Information chief Muhammad Muhammad Taib as Minister for Rural and Regional Development however signifies a return to the old politics of patronage, completely at variance with Abdullah’s pledge 42 months ago to lead a clean, incorruptible and trustworthy government.

The relinquishment of one of the two key portfolios by Abdullah, who held both Internal Security and Finance under the previous administration, is a development in the right direction as it was clear that Abdullah was unable to do justice to the treble responsibilities of Prime Minister, Internal Security Minister and Finance Minister and was setting a bad example not only to other Cabinet Ministers but also to the entire government.

I hope the appointment of new Ministers in charge of key ministries, like Syed Hamid Albar as Home Affairs and Internal Security Minister, Ahmad Shabery Cheek as Information Minister, Abdul Shahrir Samad as Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister, Khaled Nordin as Higher Education Minister, Rais Yatim as Foreign Minister and Azalina Othman Said as Tourism Minister is because of an equal commitment to “hear the truth from the people” and initiate reforms in their respective jurisdictions. Read the rest of this entry »



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 »


Swearing-in ceremony for new Perak Mentri Besar tomorrow morning


The swearing-in for the new Perak Menteri Besar, Mohamad Nizar Jamaludin (PAS) of the DAP/PKR/PAS Perak state coalition government will be held tomorrow, Monday 17th March 2008 at 11.30 am.


The Malaysian revolution of 2008!

by Dr. Azly Rahman

“We’ve lost, we’ve lost”
–Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, quoted in Malaysiakini, March 9 2008

Kesilapan besar Abdullah antaranya walaupun beliau mempunyai anggota Majlis Tertinggi Umno dan Kabinet sebagai penasihat utamanya, namun beliau tidak mengambil pandangan mereka kerana dilaporkan beliau pernah berkata I trust the young one.

— Harakah Daily.Net, March 9, 2008

Are you surprised by (ISA detainee) M Manoharan’s victory?
This has happened before in 1959 or is it 1964, when PAS used to go from village to village carrying the candidate’s shoes and he won….

Has Umno become irrelevant?
For the moment, yes. It’s not always so. If Umno serves the country well, and looks after all the different races, then Umno will be relevant again.

— Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysikini interview, March 9, 2008

Malaysia’s 12th. General Election must now be a possible topic of a hundred Ph.D dissertations. It is about a revolution of a country trapped in the excesses of hypermodernity. The revolution was aided by the power of cybernetics and the daulat of the rakyat. It was fueled by the ruling regime’s abuse of the ideological state apparatuses. It was also a rude awakening for a leader snoozing in Sleepy Hollow. While one slept, the rakyat engineered a usurpation—a quiet and unique revolution.

On March 9, 2008 many must have exclaimed these: “What a tsunami of a win”. “Malaysians did the Obama!”, “We have taken the giant leap forward.” “Thirteen days that shook Malaya” the headline should be. “Secure the state documents.” “We need to begin a chapter in which transparency and accountability rules.” “This is a victory of Radical Marhaenism – and ethnogenesis (birth of a new culture) of hopefully a more sober and sensible Malaysia ready to work together regardless of race, color, creed, national origin.” Read the rest of this entry »


Now see what happens when you play around with the keris?

By Farish A. Noor

As the broken remnants of the Barisan Nasional recuperate and recover what is left of their shattered pride, it would be prudent to take a step back and look at some of the factors that have certainly contributed to the dismal showing the BN component parties and the UMNO party in particular.

It is clear to many that this election was, in some ways, a singularly unique event in the same way that the 2004 elections were special. 2004’s election results could be read as a collective sigh of relief on the part of the Malaysian electorate after twenty years of rule under the Mahathir government, which witnessed a host of controversial incidents ranging from the BMF scandal of the early 1980s all the way up to Ops Lalang in 1987. The enormous mandate given to the Badawi government was a sign that the public was thirsting for change and that they were no longer willing to live with the modes of governance and politics that we have all grown sadly accustomed to for lack of a choice…

This time round, the electorate has once again spoken to signal their utter disillusionment after it became painfully evident that none of the reform policies foregrounded by the Badawi team were ever going to come true. Instead this had been an administration long on gimmicks and novelties, but short on substance and delivery. Was it necessary to send a Malaysian astronaut to space on a Russian craft, to make the vain boast that a Malaysian citizen had been there and done that? If this was meant to assuage the anger and frustration of Malaysians who lived in estates and poorly-run low-cost urban housing, it certainly had the opposite effect of driving home the point that this administration was out of touch with reality and totally disconnected with the needs and wants of the people.

But vain boasts notwithstanding, the Badawi government suffered its long-overdue shock due to the vain boasts of some of its leaders and spokesmen. Here is it worth noting the effect that UMNO’s own overheated pyrotechnics had on the sentiments and sensibilities of a significant section of the Malaysian public; namely the non-Malays and non-Muslims of the country. In particular we are referring to the repeated assertion on the part of some hot-headed UMNO leaders who continued to harp on about the notion of Malay dominance in a racially and religiously diverse and plural society. Read the rest of this entry »


Time to move on into the uncharted political waters

This morning I visited Taman Cempaka market and the Pasir Puteh market together with the three elected DAP Assemblymen in Ipoh Timur parliamentary constituency – Su Keong Siong (Pasir Pinji), Wong Kah Woh (Canning) and Ong Boon Piow (Tebing Tinggi) – to thank the Ipoh Timor voters for their great support in the March 8 general election returning me as MP with a humbling majority of 21,942 votes as well as securing a DAP victory in all the three constituent assembly seats of Pasir Pinji, Canning and Tebing Tinggi with impressive majorities of 6,339, 5,666 and 2,515 respectively.

Earlier, three days ago, I had visited the Kampong Simee and Pasir Pinji markets in my thank-the-voters rounds.

In my rounds today, I received mixed reactions to the proposed DAP-PKR-PAS Perak State coalition government headed by a PAS Mentri Besar, details of which were finalized two nights ago with regard to the 6-3-2 allocation of Exco seats respectively for DAP, PKR and PAS and awaiting the holding of the swearing-in ceremony.

The mixed reactions could be divided into the following categories:

• Support;
• Conditional support with concerns about Islamisation undermining the constitutional rights of Malaysians;
• Outright opposition, regarding the DAP-PKR-PAS coalition government with a PAS MB as a betrayal of the DAP’s general election mandate. Read the rest of this entry »


Apology to Perak Sultan and Regent – No offence intended

My three-paragraph statement at 7 pm last night that the DAP Central Executive Committee emergency meeting on 9th March had not given approval for a PAS Mentri Besar to head a Perak coalition state government was not made out of disrespect to the Perak Sultan and Regent both whom I have always held in the highest regard and I apologise for any offence caused. The statement was on the party position at the time.

There have been further discussions and developments on the matter in the hours after the statement. Announcements of the latest position will be made.