Archive for September, 2008

Selamat Hari Raya – Speak Truth To Power

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri to all Muslims in Malaysia.

As all Malaysians, Muslim and non-Muslim, celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri, it is appropriate that thought should also be given to recent major developments in the country, including:

• Blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin spending the Hari Raya Aidilfitri in Kamunting Detention Centre as an Internal Security Act detainee, not because RPK has committed any crime but because of his great act of patriotism to speak truth to power. Together with RPK in Kamunting Detention Centre are the Hindraf Five and some 60 other ISA detainees – all of whom should be released immediately and unconditionally.

• The last Hari Raya Aidilfitri for Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as Prime Minister as a very clear message has been made in the “926” Umno Supreme Council emergency meeting that the “knives will be out” if he does not heed the ultimatum to announce before October 9 that he will relinquish the post of Prime Minister by March next year and that he would not seek re-election as Umno President. In case the message is not clear enough, four UMNO divisions have publicly stated their intention to nominate Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as candidates for Umno President and Deputy President respectively. Will there be a stampede of Umno divisions declaring their intention to nominate Najib and Muhyideen for the two top Umno posts in the next seven days should Abdullah continue to be ambivalent whether to re-contest as Umno President or not?

• Whether the Prime Minister presiding over the Hari Raya Aidilfitri next year will be Najib or Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim heading a new Pakatan Rakyat federal government; and Read the rest of this entry »


Peerless Patriot & Prince

By Martin Jalleh

Umno’s “internal security” is being severely threatened. The Umno elite are scared stiff as their political survival is seriously at stake. Split into camps, they scramble to save themselves.

The PM and DPM put on a see-through smile together as they sit side-by-side – and struggle with the hidden question – who is going to sink or swim by the end of the “show”?

The sad and solitary-looking president of Umno is stunned and left speechless after the Umno supreme council made a decision to “smoothen” his early exit.

The bosses of the servile mainstream press continue to suck up to their political masters, giving stories a spin and a slant that suits, soothes and serves the Umno-dominated government.

As it slowly self-destructs, a desperate Umno begins yet another senseless season of intimidation with a slew of repressive laws to contain, cripple and crush legitimate dissent. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia 2008 – “Nero fiddled while Rome burned”

by Dr. Chen Man Hin


Some political analysts were saying that pressure within the UMNO Supreme Council for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to step down would make him a lame duck prime minister as his reign would wane as his power wanes.

As a matter of fact, the Prime Minister showed signs of being a lame duck as early as during the second half of his previous term as prime minister

The signs of indecision and vacillation were already visible.

Promises of reforms to deal with corruption, increase of crime and judicial violations were easily forthcoming from the lips of the Prime Minister, but as easily forgotten and not implemented. Read the rest of this entry »


Hadhari, human rights, hypocrisy

by Azly Rahman

The General Assembly proclaims this Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member-States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.- Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948
Free Raja Petra Kamarudin and all the ISA detainees. Abolish the ISA. This is my appeal to the current regime.

How do we continue to live with the contradiction of being a ratifier of the UDHR and still hold on to the Internal Security Act (ISA) as an instrument of oppression? At home, how must we live with this hypocrisy of jailing without trial our noble citizens such as Raja Petra Kamaruddin and yet abroad speak out against Guantanamo Bay in the platform of world affairs?

When Malaysian leaders go abroad and give speeches at the United Nations or the Malaysian embassies for example, they often argue that Malaysians have their own way of dealing with human rights issues. Read the rest of this entry »


Option 6 for Abdullah – Be a courageous reformist PM in his last six months in at least 10 areas which will be a lasting legacy for future Malaysians

Tonight, let us explore another option open to Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, faced with an ultimatum by the Umno Supreme Council’s “926” emergency meeting that he abandon his mid-June 2010 power-transition plan and to relinquish his posts as Umno President and Prime Minister in March next year = his decision to be announced before the start of the Umno division meetings on October 9.

This may be described as his sixth option as I had last night referred to five options he would have to mull over in the next 12 days.

If Abdullah is not prepared to take on the Umno warlords by contesting for the Umno President’s post, be a lameduck Prime Minister for the next 12 months, immediately resign as Prime Minister, advise the Yang di Pertuan Agong to dissolve Parliament to hold new general election or co-operate with Pakatan Rakyat to establish a new federal government, there is one more option open to him. Read the rest of this entry »


Ousting of Abdullah as PM by next March – let MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP, Sabah/Sarawak BN parties take a stand

In his speech to the Federal Territory (FT) Gerakan Wanita and Youth delegates conference yesterday, Gerakan acting president Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon rightly called for a meeting of the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council to discuss the candidacy for the Umno President.

Koh said that although Umno party elections and post allocations are internal Umno matters, as Umno is the backbone of Barisan Nasional and the UMNO President is the Prime Minister, there is a need for the Barisan Nasional component parties to participate in the discussion and to give input on this issue in order for a consensus to be reached.

I commend Koh for giving a correct analysis on what should be the respective positions of the other Barisan Nasional component parties vis-à-vis the power struggle in Umno.

This is not an interference in the Umno internal party affairs, as Malaysians as a whole have an equal stake and interest as to who will become the Umno President as he will also be the Prime Minister so long as the federal government comes from the Umno-hegemonised Barisan Nasional.

The position taken by Koh should be the position for all other BN component parties, whether Gerakan, MCA, MIC, SUPP or other BN parties from Sabah/Sarawak. Read the rest of this entry »


Over 60% of grassroots in Gerakan, MCA, MIC and over 80% of members of Sabah/Sarawak parties want to quit BN

The front-page headline in the evening edition of tomorrow’s Chinese newspapers is the speech by the Gerakan acting president Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon that at least 60 per cent of the grassroots in Gerakan want the party to leave Barisan Nasional (BN) to be “relieved of the heavy emotional burden of BN”.

Speaking at the opening of the Federal Territory (FT) Gerakan Wanita and Youth delegates conference this morning, Koh said the Gerakan Central Committee would undertake a more objective and rational analysis of the “quit BN” sentiments in the party.

I dare say without much fear of contradiction that if given the opportunity to voice out, it is not just over 60 per cent of the grassroots in Gerakan but also over 60 per cent of the membership in MCA and MIC would want their parties to leave Barisan Nasional – and the percentage will be even higher for many Barisan Nasional component parties in Sabah and Sarawak, easily exceeding 80%.

This is because the UMNOputra leadership, despite the major blow suffered by UMNO political hegemony in the March 8 general election by a multi-racial and multi-religious Pakatan Rakyat, has proved to be utterly insensitive, blind and deaf to the legitimate aspirations of all Malaysians, including ordinary Malays. Read the rest of this entry »


“916” Not A Failure

by Bakri Musa

When (it appears less of an “if” now) Anwar Ibrahim takes over the government, he will face the monumental twin problems of undoing the damage wrecked upon our institutions as well as containing the inevitable implosion of UMNO.

Failure in either would effectively doom Anwar, Pakatan, and Malaysia. The good news is that both challenges could be handled simultaneously through the same strategy, and with the subsequent success benefiting all.

The blight on our institutions and governmental machinery, as well as the urgent need to rectify it, is well appreciated. Less recognized is the need to manage UMNO’s certain breakup.

For those who venture that UMNO’s fate is the least of Anwar’s (or our) concern, consider this. The tumultuous and unpredictable demise of the Soviet System may have ended the Cold War, but the world paid a severe price, one that could have been mitigated had the breakup been more orderly.

The world is still paying the price. There is the recurring nightmare that the Soviet’s old nuclear warheads might fall into unscrupulous hands. Those still unconvinced of the price being paid, just ask the Georgians and Ukrainians.

UMNO dominated Malaysia for over half a century; its implosion too will have unpredictable fallouts. If not skillfully managed, the consequences on Malaysia would be on a scale similar to that inflicted on Eastern Europe by the collapse of the Soviets. Read the rest of this entry »


P. Patto – Pioneer warrior of Makkal Sakti

I thank the Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar bin Jamaluddin who in his speech declared his support for naming a road in Ipoh to honour the late P. Patto for his contributions and sacrifices for the welfare of Malaysians in the service of Ipoh, Perak and Malaysia.

Patto was the pioneer warrior of Makkal Sakti who had dedicated his life to “People’s Power” for all Malaysians, regardless of race or religion.

He was at various times elected as Perak State Assemblyman for Gopeng, MP for Menglembu and MP for Bagan (Penang).

In DAP, he rose to become Deputy Secretary-General and had served as National Organising Secretary, Editor of Rocket and DAPSY National Secretary.

In 1978, he kept me company when we were arrested, charged and convicted under the Official Secrets Act in connection with my expose of the scandal in the purchase of four Swedish-made SPICA-M fast strike crafts by the Royal Malaysian Navy though we effected a RM9 million reduction in the final contract.

In 1987, Patto and I were among DAP MPs who were detained under the Internal Security Act in Operation Lalang and served time in Kamunting Detention Centre.

Other DAP MPs who “graduated” from Kamunting Detention Centre included Karpal Singh, Lim Guan Eng, Dr. Tan Seng Giaw, Lau Dak Kee and the late V. David.

DAP lost an outstanding leader and the people a great Parliamentarian and a true Malaysian son when he suddenly died of a heart failure at the Ipoh General Hospital on 12th July 1995. Read the rest of this entry »


2 more options, increasing to 5, open to Abdullah to mull over his political future

The month of September has given birth to two momentous dates – first “916” and then “926”.

“916” signifies political “sky-change”. Its importance does not lie in whether the change in federal power takes place on Sept. 16 but in the sea-change in the political mindset, attitudes and expectations of Malaysians about power change.

Six months ago, the Barisan Nasional was so monolithic and impregnable that it was unthinkable and impossible to envisage that it could be toppled from the federal government level.

In the past six months however, the dream and possibility of change of federal power have spread like a prarie fire among Malaysians that it is no exaggeration to say that today the overwhelmingly majority of Malaysians believe that change of federal power is possible while a clear majority would want such a change to take effect immediately.

This is what is most important about the “916” magic – not whether the “skychange” took place on September 16, 2008 (which it did not) but that the political moment in Malaysia has arrived when change of federal power is no more an impossible dream but has become a practical possibility and it is only a matter of time when this “skychange” transforms the political landscape in the country.

When the “916 skychange” takes place remains a very immediate political agenda in Malaysia – whether 1016, 1116, 1216 or in an early 13th general election. Read the rest of this entry »


Abdullah’s premiership de facto ended yesterday (26.9.08)

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s premiership de facto ended yesterday, September 26, 2008 – 54 months after scoring the most stunning landslide electoral victory for any Prime Minister in the nation’s 51-year history.

How far and how fast Abdullah has fallen!

All the Umno heavyweights are now engaged in a marionette play – how to plunge the dagger into Abdullah’s back without blood being seen to be drawn or better still even camouflaging from the Malaysian public the act of dagger-stabbing altogether.

Although Abdullah claimed that it would be his decision, “whether to contest or not” the post of Umno President, there could be no doubt that if Abdullah departs from the script and fails to announce by before October 9 that he would not be offering himself as a candidate as Umno President, the marionette play would be abandoned and the dagger-stabbing would be a very public and bloody one.

Even the sweet-sounding praises by Umno leaders yesterday over the scuttling of Abdullah’s original mid-2010 power-transition plan and the postponement of the Umno general assembly from December to March next year sounded rather ominous if Abdullah ignores the unmistakable signal that he should not dilly-dally any more in making his exit. Read the rest of this entry »


Abdullah’s mid-2010 transition plan scuttled – can he salvage his premiership when the writing is on the wall?

The fifth Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is now on his last leg. He has at most six months. The end could come even faster, in a matter of weeks.

A coup d’etat was staged at this morning’s emergency UMNO Supreme Council meeting, where Abdullah’s mid-2010 power-transition plan was scuttled for good.

Although Abdullah declared after the meeting that he had not decided whether to defend the Umno President’s post in March next year, asserting that “The decision is mine, you can go on guessing”, these are empty brave words as the writing is clearly on the wall of another Prime Minister and Umno President being forced out of office.

Can Abdullah salvage his premiership to leave behind some honourable legacy to future generations?

Read the rest of this entry »


Emergency Umno Supreme Council meeting – for the sake of Abdullah or Malaysia?

Today’s emergency UMNO Supreme Council meeting, second in a week, exposes Umno in a white-heat crisis to Malaysians.

There were all sorts of rumours last week, including the quite “unbelievable” one (which I mentioned in my blog) that Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had been given up to Sept. 26 to step down as Prime Minister – although nobody was able to explain why Sept. 26 as the deadline for at least a clear-cut announcement of his retirement intention rather than the more believable Oct. 9.

But as they say, there is no smoke without fire! This explains the emergency Umno Supreme Council meeting today.

The full effects of the political tsunami of the March 8 general election, which dealt a fatal blow to Umno political hegemony, destroyed the hitherto unchallenged Barisan Nasional mould of race and money politics, and gave heart to Malaysians that there is hope after all for Malaysia to fulfill her great potential and promise of human, intellectual and natural resources, end and reverse the costly brain-drain, taking her rightful place in the global community – have still to be played out.

These are the pains, trials and tribulations of Malaysia becoming a more normal country after 51 years of nationhood so that Malaysia can truly join the ranks of the fully-developed nations. Read the rest of this entry »


Terrible price being paid by Malaysians for Abdullah’s failure to establish IPCMC

Two ghastly news within 24 hours –the robbery-cum-murder of Thor Joo Lee, wife of former Penang State Assemblyman for Bukit Tambun, Lai Chew Hock at her Tambun Indah house in Penang and the robbery of Datin Chang Lee Lee, wife of former Penang Exco and Pulau Tikus Assemblyman Datuk Dr. Teng Hock Nan in her Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman house in Penang.

These two cases of robbery (and one murder) of the wife of two former Penang Assemblymen are horrible reminders of the terrible costs being paid by Malaysians for the failure by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to heed the important recommendation of the Police Royal Commission to establish the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to create an efficient, professional and world-class police service to keep crime low in the country.

As a result, it has become an important factor why Malaysia is losing out in the international competiveness stakes to other countries in attracting foreign investment as low crime, personal safety and security of property always rank as one of the top considerations for any foreign investor in the important decision-making process whether to invest in a country or not.

I have no doubt that Malaysia would have broken the back of the worsening crime problem if the IPCMC had been fully accepted and started functioning from May 2006 as recommended by the Royal Police Commission, making Malaysia a safe haven not only for Malaysian citizens, but also for investors and tourists.

Abdullah has failed as Home Minister for eight years from 2001-2008 as he presided over a worsening crime situation in the country with Malaysians, investors and tourists unable to feel safe whether in the streets, public places or in the privacy of their homes.

The current Home Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar is also heading for another dismal failure as a Home Minister as he has not been able to inspire public confidence that his No. 1 responsibility is to reverse the rising tide of the crime index in the past decade to make Malaysia a safe country for her citizens, investors and tourists. Read the rest of this entry »


Race Relations Act – why now?

By Azly Rahman

This sounds like a good idea; but after 51 years of independence?

We should have had this act to prevent the emergence of race-based parties and to ensure that all citizens be given equal opportunity and the rights and privileges accorded to them as a result of surrendering their natural rights to the state.

After 51 years of the institutionalisation of ethnocentrism and many times outright racism in terms of allocation of resources, open-secret indoctrinations, and the exploitation of racial and religious issues for political gain, we are now proposing an act to improve race-relations?

I am now puzzled – by the inherent contradictions we are confronting and will continue to confront vis-à-vis this proposed act. Read the rest of this entry »


“Malaysians want fundamental change, and they want it now!”

Statement by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah
September 23, 2008

I write this as a Malaysian, as someone who, over forty seven years of political life, has had the privilege of playing some small part in the formation our country, the building of its institutions, and our achievement of a degree of economic sufficiency. I write out of deep concern about the present state of our country.

In the lives of nations as of individuals, there come moments of profound possibility, when the potential for self-transcendence and for self-destruction are simultaneously present.

As before some critical examination in our youth, we come to the daunting realization that we hold our future in our hands, when how we will fare many years hence, and whether we shall flourish or languish, will depend on how we conduct ourselves now, in this small window of time.

We are in a political impasse that threatens to metastasize into a Constitutional crisis. Political crises come and go, but the present crisis might well be the beginning of a cascade of failures leading to long-term instability and destruction. Read the rest of this entry »


All eyes on MCA Ministers in Cabinet today – censure Hamid for RPK ISA detention and harassment of Wee Meng Chee?

The formal detention of blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin (RPK) hours before his habeas corpus application hearing at the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday is a gross violation of human rights, a blatant abuse of power and downright contempt of court by the Home Minister and a travesty of the rule of law in Malaysia.

One would have expected that being a lawyer by training, the Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar would have greater regard, respect and understanding of the principles of a just of rule and would not do anything to frustrate the legal process as in RPK’s habeas corpus application hearing yesterday. But Hamid has proved everyone wrong.

The Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail should explain whether he was privy to the Home Minister’s decision on Monday night to frustrate the legal process over RPK’s habeas corpus application hearing yesterday challenging the police detention under Section 73 of the Internal Security Act (ISA) by the simple but most cynical and irresponsible expedient of the Minister signing a formal detention order under Section 8 of the ISA.

Was the Attorney-General consulted and his agreement sought to this irresponsible ploy to frustrate RPK’s habeas corpus application and did he advise the Home Minister against such flagrant contempt of court and to trust in the impartiality and integrity of the judicial system to pronounce on the legality of the police detention of RPK under the ISA under Section 73?

Whose idea was it that the Home Minister should abuse his powers to expedite the formal detention of RPK under Section 8 of the ISA in order to frustrate RPK’s habeas corpus application, when RPK had been detained for only 10 days under Section 73 which provides for a 60-day police custodial detention?

All eyes are on the four MCA Ministers in Cabinet today – will they censure Hamid and demand immediate release of RPK under ISA? Read the rest of this entry »


Abdullah ultimate failure in battle against corruption – Malaysia’s worst ranking in 14 years of TI CPI (No. 47)

It is another day of shame for Malaysia when the Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2008 was unveiled, with the country placed at No. 47th position, its worst ranking in 14 years since the introduction of the annual TI CPI ranking in 1995.

It is also the ultimate failure of the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s campaign against corruption, which he promised to place at the very top of his agenda when he became the fifth Prime Minister five years ago –a campaign rich in paying lip service but doomed to failure as it lacked the political will to produce results.

It is most ironic and tragic that one man who will feel most vindicated by the TI CPI 2008 is former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

Abdullah had promised that his campaign against corruption will be one area which will distinguish the difference of his premiership from that of his predecessor. It was his promise to bring in a refreshing wind of change after 22 years of “cronyism, corruption and nepotism” (KKN) of Mahathir administration that created the unprecedented Barisan Nasional landslide electoral victory in the 2004 general election.

However, in just a year after the 2004 general election, Mahathir was able to adopt a “holier than thou” attitude towards the Abdullah premiership by publicly warning in May 2005 that corruption under Abdullah for a little over a year was even worse than under him for 22 years, that “corruption might be getting to a point of no return”, becoming “a culture in Malaysia with corruption almost at the ‘above the table’ level” and “more and more people no longer trying to hide the fact that they were corrupt”.

The TI CPI 2008 has proved Mahathir right in his adverse judgment on the Abdullah administration on its dismal performance in the battle against corruption.

What a sad and tragic end reminding one of the Shakespearean quote in Macbeth: “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Read the rest of this entry »


Pak Lah Desecrating Ramadan

by M. Bakri Musa

When President Nixon ordered the bombing of Hanoi during Christmas of 1972, I knew then that his fate was sealed. I am not a Christian, but living in the West I am very much aware of the spiritual significance of Christmas. As such I found Nixon’s action, coming from a self-professed Christian who regularly had Billy Graham pray with him in the White House, abominable beyond comprehension.

A Just God would not let such a barbaric action go unpunished. Sure enough, a few months later the Watergate scandal broke out that would ultimately lead to Nixon’s resigning under threat of impeachment. This was less than two years after he won a landslide re-election victory.

As a Muslim I feel profoundly the spirituality of Ramadan. It was the month that Allah first revealed the Quran to His Last Messenger, Prophet Muhammad, s.a.w. That was a measure of His generosity upon us. It is said that the gates to Heaven are wide open, and to Hell closed shut, during this season, again reflecting His mercifulness during this blessed month.

We are expected to reciprocate this divine gift by being generous to our fellow beings. Ramadan is thus a season to be charitable, to be forgiving of each other and the seeking of forgiveness from others. All faiths have such a special period in their calendar when their followers are expected to be extra generous to and tolerant of their fellow human beings.

Imagine my horror, shared by many, when Prime Minister Abdullah, the self-declared Imam of Islam Hadhari, chose this particular month to incarcerate Raja Petra Kamarudin and others under the draconian Internal Security Act that allows for detention without trial, or even the filing of charges.

I would have expected the reverse. That is, during Ramadan the Prime Minister would grant amnesty to deserving prisoners as a gesture of the government’s generosity and charity of spirit.

I have yet to see this happen in Malaysia, or any other Muslim country for that matter. Instead we have the odious act of the police bundling up Raja Petra and others into prison, right in front of their families. Where in the Quran or the sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad, s.a.w., did Imam Abdullah find the justification for such a cruel act? Where is the spirit of generosity or sense of forgiveness demanded from each of us by our faith during this holy month?

As a Muslim Abdullah will be paying his zakat fitr (tithe) this Ramadan, and come Hari Raya he will be generous with his duit raya to the children calling upon the gates of Sri Perdana. That is the extent of his understanding of the concept of charity and generosity called for in our faith: simplistic, ritualistic, and materialistic. Those he jailed under the ISA or the millions made miserable through escalating living costs as a consequence of his economic policies never enter his heart. Read the rest of this entry »


I accept challenge of a legal suit

Threats have been issued to institute legal proceedings against me over my statement that the police report by a MCA Operative triggered the Internal Security Act arrest of Teresa Kok.

I have issued a statement yesterday.

I am now outside the country. But I accept the challenge of a legal suit.