Archive for September 24th, 2008

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 »