Archive for June 12th, 2008

Unconscionable oil price hikes – Abdullah govt would have fallen if in South Korea

(Speech at the DAP Public Ceramah/Consultation held at Dewan Sri Mentaloon, Residen Rasmi Menteri Besar Kedah on Wednesday, 11th June 2008)

The Abdullah government would have fallen because of the 41% to 63% unconscionable and brutal oil price hikes if he is in South Korea, which saw the new South Korean President’s popularity plunging in less than four months from a presidential victory with the biggest margin in the nation’s history to a support rate of under 20 per cent and his entire Cabinet offering to resign – after a month of mammoth demonstrations against the planned resumption of US beef imports.

Malaysians are still puzzled as to the reckless and sudden manner in which the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced the unconscionably brutal petrol and diesel price hikes, after a Cabinet Minister had given the assurance that no oil price increases were on the cards until August.

The failure to announce a holistic package of mitigation measures to cushion the most vulnerable sectors from the sharp impact of the drastic oil price increases until five days later strengthened the impression that the decision was driven more by political than economic considerations. Read the rest of this entry »


Islam Hadari and the Politics of Banning

By Farish A. Noor

There are ideas, and there can be stupid ideas; but to ban an idea simply because of its stupidity seems to be a rather stupid thing to do in itself.

Among the ideas that circulate in the congested bowels of Malaysia’s public domain is the somewhat nebulous idea of ‘Islam Hadari’; loosely translated at times as ‘civilisational Islam’ or ‘societal Islam’. Others of a less charitable bent have dubbed it ‘theme park Islam’, ‘Crystal mosque Islam’ and even ‘Badawi’s brand of Islam’. Branding aside, it would appear that this brand of Islam has come under close scrutiny and admonition of late. In May the Pakatan-led state government of Selangor announced that henceforth the state would no longer promote Islam Hadari and this was later followed up by a similar move on the part of the Pakatan-led state government of Penang.

The rationale behind this prohibition leaves us with some unanswered questions that might as well be raised at this point. Who called for the prohibition of Islam Hadari and on what grounds? And if Islam Hadari is to be banned by the Pakatan-led state governments, what does this entail for the Muslims and non-Muslims of Malaysia? What, in the final analysis, was the objective of this ban? Read the rest of this entry »


RCI on boot camp for delinquent judges – critical test of Abdullah’s political will for judicial reforms

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the de facto Law Minister, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim have both poured cold waters on calls for an inquiry into the latest allegation levelled by High Court judge, Justice Datuk Ian Chin against former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

“No need…there will be no end to this. Instead, we will carry out reforms to restore confidence in the judiciary” said Abdullah.

“Another inquiry will not reveal anything more than what we already know. It will be a waste of time and money. Instead, we need to look at ensuring such incidents do not happen again…” said Zaid.

Both cannot be more wrong.

A Royal Commission of Inquiry into the two decades of judicial darkness, including the boot camp for delinquent judges, is vital and imperative as critical test of the political will of the Abdullah administration to fully restore public confidence in the system of justice in Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »