Archive for April 24th, 2008

Renewal of Makkal Osai welcomed – now for immediate release of Hindraf 5

The government’s about-turn to renew the publishing permit of Tamil daily Makkal Osai which it banned last week is welcome as it would have otherwise destroyed the credibility of all reform pledges of Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on the judiciary and the anti-corruption agency.

The Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hamid Albar should learn the lesson of the Makkal Osai faux pax and not repeat the same mistake of complying obediently and blindly the dictates of the “Little Napoleons” in the bureaucracy and to bring to bear his higher duties and responsibilities as the Minister ultimately responsible for all decisions made by his ministry.

Now, it is for Hamid to order the immediate and unconditional release of the Hindraf 5 from Internal Security Act (ISA) detention in Kamunting.

Hamid cannot again pass the responsibility of the continued detention of the Hindraf 5 to the civil servants as he must bear full and final responsibility for the government’s refusal to heed the voices of the people in the March 8 “political tsunami” that the Malaysian Indians have legitimate grievances about their long-standing marginalization of their citizenship rights in the country, and the Hindraf 5 should be rewarded instead of being incarcerated for bringing the plight of the Malaysian Indians finally to the attention of the government and nation. Read the rest of this entry »


Rustam Sani – Patriot and Intellectual (1944-2008)

by Bakri Musa

I am saddened to hear of the sudden death of Rustam Sani. In Rustam we had a true patriot, one whose love for the country is pure. It is so because it came from the head as well as the heart. It is patriotism unadulterated by the pursuit of material wealth, public adulation, or political power. A genuine intellectual, he was not one to fit his ideas to the fashion of the day.

He recognized early the heavy duty and responsibility of being a patriot. His was not one consumed with endless exhortations. As the son of a renown nationalist, Rustam must have been immersed in the patriotic fervor and fiery speeches of his late father, Ahmad Boestaman. Yet at a very young age he knew that the new independent Malaysia would need leaders who not only love the country but also be well equipped with the necessary skills and intellect to lead it.

Consequently he focused on his school work fully aware that he was among the fortunate few among the youngsters to have the privilege of attending school. From his local sekolah attap (village school) in Behrang Ulu and the Methodist School Tanjong Malim, he went on to the University of Malaya via Victoria Institution. From there it was on to graduate work at Kent and Reading in Britain, and later, Yale.

He was a scholar as well as a practitioner of politics. His intellectual accomplishment was never diminished by his political involvement. He had penned more academic papers and popular commentaries as well as books than many fulltime academics. It was only yesterday that I read his latest (and alas his last) posting on his blog. Rustam was in his usual sharp element; that posting was a trenchant commentary on Mahathir’s interview on BBC’s Hard Talk. Rustam was also to have launched his latest books, Failed Nation? Concerns of a Malaysian Nationalist, and Social Roots of the Malay Left, later this month. Imagine two books! Read the rest of this entry »