Archive for December, 2008

Malaysia at new crossroads – unite as one people to withstand the worst effects of the global economic tsunami

    2009 New Year Message

2008 is the year of the political tsunami in Malaysia – with five state governments under Pakatan Rakyat, the end of two-thirds parliamentary majority of Barisan Nasional and a totally new national mindset where the toppling of the Umno-Barisan Nasional coalition government at the national level is no more impossible or unthinkable but eminently possible and a matter of time.

In 2009, the world expects the worst economic tsunami in 80 years wreaking even greater economic devastation world-wide than that caused by the global financial crisis this year which had already plunged the United States, Europe and Japan into recession and slowed down world economic growth – and the two great economic powerhouses, China and Japan, will not be spared.

Malaysia is at a new crossroads. We have lost our way after half-a-century of nationhood as illustrated by the tragic fact that the objective of a Bangsa Malaysia as proclaimed in Vision 2020 has become a subject of discord rather than concord among Malaysians and our continued slippage in international competitiveness whether in terms of university rankings, corruption perception indices, human rights or good governance ratings. Read the rest of this entry »


No IJN privatization – apply IJN success to government hospital heart centres

by Balwant Singh

I read with great interest regarding plans to privatize the National Heart Institute announced recently. As a former heart patient, who had surgery performed in Penang Hospital Heart Centre, another government facility offering cardiac services, I would like to clarify a few points regarding this issue.

Firstly , the main reason IJN has been successful is the fact that it has managed to attract and keep a group of dedicated cardiologists and surgeons, who continued to develop the service and subsequently contribute to the success story it actually is today.

This is possible because IJN has managed to escape the long bureaucratic arms and clutches of the civil service which more often becomes a hindrance and certainly a push factor for doctors leaving for the more lucrative private sector.

By being a semi private entity, decisions for advancement of services, introduction of new treatment etc, training and even better remunerations for staff are more readily made, unlike the usual delays and difficulties encountered within the Ministry of Health framework.

Secondly , it has to be pointed out that services in IJN for civil servants and their families are borne by the government. Therefore, IJN is actually not providing any free healthcare, but instead charges the government normal market rates for decent cardiac care. Read the rest of this entry »


Anti-Prophet Mohammad blog – Hamid, Shabery, MCMC should explain why so tardy in taking action

While all right-thinking Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, agree that stern action should be taken against those responsible for the blog which insults Prophet Mohammad, many are asking why the authorities have been so tardy and laid-back in acting when complaint was first made many weeks ago.

Although Utusan Malaysia first reported about the blog last Saturday, 27th December 2008, with the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, responding on the same day by directing the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar and the police to act quickly against the blog over insults to Prophet Muhammad, in actual fact, the authorities had been aware of the blog concerned for weeks.

This was revealed by the Information Minister, Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek who said on Saturday that the woman in her 20s whose photograph and identify were used in the blog containing insults to Prophet Mohammed had denied owning the Internet domain and had in fact met him two weeks ago to ask RTM to help clear her name. Read the rest of this entry »


Is Ahmad Said the most suitable candidate to be the first Chief Commissioner of the MACC?

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz was reported in the New Straits Times on Saturday as announcing that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) will begin operations on Thursday on 1st January 2009 with Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) director-general Datuk Ahmad Said Hamdan as its first chief commissioner.

The first question is whether Ahmad Said is the most suitable candidate to be the Chief Commissioner of the MACC.

Parliament and the nation have been promised that with the establishment of the MACC, purportedly modeled after Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), the new anti-corruption body can no longer be accused of being the “lapdog of the government” as the ACA had been accused of being thus far.

The implication is very clear – that the ACA had corruption cases which it had not been able to prosecute because of various constraints and considerations all boiling down to “political interference”. Read the rest of this entry »


Why some Government Officers become corrupt

by R. Ganesh

I was utterly shocked when I read today’s NST dated 2008/12/27, article entitled “ACA officers feel ‘demoralised’ over new salary scale”. In the article, it was stated that Grade 29 officers would be offered a basic salary of RM1,482.85 and RM3,246.48 when they reached the top of the scale. “The maximum year between the basic salary and top of the scale is 22 years while the yearly increase is only RM80.17.”

Police officers in the same grade receive a basic salary of RM1,423.50 with a maximum of RM3,282.77. However, the maximum number of years getting to the top is only 18 years with a yearly increment of RM103.29, the article said.

My question here is this, how do you expect an individual in power to refrain from being corrupted when he merely earns RM1500? Nowadays, one can barely survive with RM1500 if one has 3 or 4 mouths to feed at home. Read the rest of this entry »


Hero worship


An arts space with a reputation for championing freedom of expression honours five people who have gone above and beyond in the pursuit of free speech this year.

FOR the past year or so, arts hub The Annexe Gallery at Central Market in Kuala Lumpur has been busy with an art bazaar called Art For Grabs during which independent vendors gather to sell all manner of arts and crafts, from homemade jewellery to framed amateur photos.

The bazaar started on quite an ad-hoc basis, according to the gallery’s programme director Pang Khee Teik. “It has been quite successful and we plan to have them at least three times a year in future,” he enthuses.

Seizing the opportunity to reach a captive audience lured by retail therapy, Pang put together a variety of educational outreach events spanning art house film screenings and public lectures and forums to edgy, alternative exhibitions that run concurrently with the bazaars.

These outreach programmes had socio-political themes and featured heavyweight intellectuals – such as history scholar Farish Noor, indie filmmaker Amir Muhammad, and playwright Jit Murad, to name a few – who chaired forums on a wide array of themes, from debating local films to alternative sexualities.

“It’s a good way of bringing people together to hear about political issues because we do attract many who come to browse at the stalls at Art For Grabs. We want to offer them more than just shopping,” says Pang.

The fourth instalment of Art For Grabs at The Annexe Gallery that took place last Sunday also had a socio-political agenda. Read the rest of this entry »

1 Comment

Shame on you, Star

Star, on page N6, gave half a page to the statement by MCA President, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Kiat with the headline: “DAP advised to boycott polls – Ong tells party to prove it opposes hudud”.

But it blacked out my reply to Ong. Not a word at all.

Shame on you Star, which claims to be “The people’s paper”!

What are you afraid of?

Is this your “new journalism”?


Will OTK lead MCA to quit BN unless UMNO leaders renounce 7-year unconstitutional “929 Declaration”?

I am surprised that the MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat is saying things that makes neither sense nor logic. It would appear that his short tenure as the MCA President has imposed such a tremendous pressure that he is speaking and acting, to many, completely out of character.

Yesterday, he came out with a blog entitled “DAP, not MCA, should boycott KT by-election”, which was promptly reported by the Star online, with the headline “Boycott by-election, DAP told” as follows:

PETALING JAYA: MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat has asked DAP to boycott the Kuala Terengganu by-election campaign as a matter of principle if it is really against PAS’ plan to implement hudud and qisas laws if it comes to power at the national level.

He said if DAP chose to help campaign for PAS’ candidate in Kuala Terengganu, then it would mean that the party supported public whipping, amputation and stoning for criminal offences under hudud laws.

“Mere words objecting to PAS vice-president Datuk Husam Musa’s statement on the issue would not suffice if not demonstrated by action,” Ong said in his latest posting in his blog.

Ong is not making any sense firstly, as he is flying in the face of the DAP record and history in trying to suggest that the DAP supports “public whipping, amputation and stoning for criminal ofences under hudud laws” – a suggestion which is so ludicrous that it does not deserve rebuttal! Read the rest of this entry »


Unscheduled medical graduates say “No”


YB Datuk Liow Tiong Lai,
Minister Of Health,
24 December 2008

Dear Respected YB Datuk Liow Tiong Lai,

Re : Oppose to 18 months Credit Transfer Programme into Local Government Universities For Unscheduled Medical Graduates

With reference to the above mentioned subject, we would like to bring to your kind attention that we the majority unscheduled medical graduates opposed to the idea of 18 months Credit Transfer programme.

2. We came to know that a meeting on 16 December 2008 with yourself to discuss about the problems faced by our students to do a credit transfer (such as unable to get a university admission, too expensive to transfer etc).So after we organized an urgent meeting with many of our fellow friends, we have decided not to attend this meeting as from the first we had said we are unable to accept a credit transfer and opposed it. We had spent many years with our own money for our studies and still ending up jobless and our parents are still paying for our loans to study before. Read the rest of this entry »


Gobala banned from Sarawak entry – omen of relapse to Malaysia’s dark ages?

When I saw the Malaysiakini headline “MP denied entry into Sarawak”, it was déjà vu going back three decades.

Malaysiakini reported that Pakatan Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Member of Parliament N. Gobalakrishnan (Padang Serai) was denied entry into Sarawak by immigration officers at the Kuching international airport at about 5.30 pm yesterday.

Malaysiakini quoted Gobalakrishnan:

“The moment I reached the airport, immigration officers told me that I am not allowed to enter due to instructions from the state government.

“The immigration officer gave me a notice which reads ‘Tuan bukan rakyat Sarawak, tidak berhak untuk masuk ke Sarawak tanpa permit atau pas Akta Imigresen 1959-1963’ (You are not a citizen of Sarawak and are not eligible to enter Sarawak without a permit or immigration pass).”

Read the rest of this entry »


Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas.

Presenting TV Smith’s HD Christmas video greeting.

1 Comment

Najib “No freehold” bombshell – who are the “spanner throwers”?

Deputy Prime Minister and UMNO Deputy President Datuk Seri Najib Razak dropped a bombshell at the National Land Council meeting yesterday – that it is unconstitutional for state governments to issue freehold titles to new villages, kampong tersusun and other purposes, impacting directly on the plans of Pakatan Rakyat state governments of Perak and Penang.

The Perak Pakatan Rakyat State government had announced within a month of being in power after the March 8 “political tsunami” that freehold titles would be issued to new villages and kampong tersusun, affecting some 149,000 people living in 349 planned and 134 new villages in the state.

The Penang Pakatan Rakyat State Government had also announced that residential leasehold landowners in the state could apply for their property to be converted to freehold status and earlier this month, that some 20,000 owners of low and medium-cost flats developed on state land need not pay a premium to convert their leasehold titles to freehold status.

There is controversy as to whether Najib is right that Article 91(5) of the Constitution and the National Land Code constitute a bar on the state governments from issuing freehold titles without the approval of the National Land Council. Read the rest of this entry »


RM4.6 billion PKFZ scandal – no need for MCA to campaign in KT if OTK continues to hide the truth

“Nothing to hide” – this was the front-page headline of Sun yesterday on Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Kiat’s “tell-all” press conference on Sunday on the RM4.6 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal – which told absolutely nothing!

Although Ong adopted the stance that he had “nothing to hide”, in actual fact he had hidden the most important fact in his “chronology of events” on the RM4.6 billion PKFZ scandal – the RM4.6 billion retrospective approval given by the Cabinet in June 2007 to bail-out the four unlawful “Letters of Support” which gave implicit government guarantees issued by the two previous MCA Transport Ministers to the money market for the RM4.6 billion bonds for the PKFZ project.

Both the two previous MCA Transport Ministers had acted unlawfully, as they had no powers to issue financial guarantees committing the government, which could only be issued by the Finance Minister and only after Cabinet approval.

However, the Malaysian Government would have created a major crisis of confidence in the international money market if the Cabinet had not bailed out the two MCA Transport Ministers and given retrospective approval to the four Letters of Support which gave implicit government guarantees to the RM4.6 billion bonds issued by Kuala Dimensi Sdn. Bhd (KDSB), the PKFZ turnkey contractor, for the PKFZ project.

Can Ong explain why he had deliberately omitted this important fact in his “chronology of events”, which need not have to depend on the outcome of the Pricewaterhouse Cooper audit report? Or is he denying that Cabinet had given such retrospective approval? Read the rest of this entry »


Islam and the Malay Mindset: What Went Wrong?

by M. Bakri Musa

This was the topic for a small group discussion at a recent seminar organized by Kelab UMNO New York/New Jersey. I was a passive participant at this dialogue, at least initially.

In the ensuing discussions, the students duly reaffirmed the greatness of Islam, citing many ready examples. Islam emancipated the ancient Bedouins out of their Age of Jahilliyah (Ignorance), and did it all within a generation. Islam then spread as far westward as Andalusia and eastward right up to China. In the process Islam inspired and created great civilizations and empires that lasted till at least the early part of the last century.

After over 1400 years however, Islam (at least the physical empire, though not the faith) was done in by European colonialism. With colonialism’s ending, there was a quick resurgence of Islam. Today it is the faith of a quarter of the world’s population, and fast growing.

Islam has been part of the Malay world for well over half a millennium. It is very much an integral part of our “Malayness” such that the statutory definition of a Malay is tied to the faith. Our embrace of Islam remains firm if not enhanced, despite being under complete Western (specifically British) colonial domination for a good portion of the time.

With the resurgence of Islam, Malays like Muslims everywhere yearn for the return of those earlier glorious days. Thus far that is all there is to it – just a yearning; much of the Muslim world remains tragically mired in poverty, with its citizens deprived of their basic human dignity and rights. Read the rest of this entry »


Husam confirms – hukum hudud is not Pakatan Rakyat policy

December 22, 2008 20:31 PM

PAS Admits Difficulty Getting Consensus On Hudud From Opposition Partners

KOTA BAHARU, Dec 22 (Bernama) — PAS has admitted that the implementation of Hudud and Qisas laws would have to be postponed even if Pakatan Rakyat is able to take over the government in future.

This is because it will require the agreement of its two other Pakatan Rakyat partners, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and DAP, which has already objected to the plan.

The admission was made by PAS vice-president Datuk Husam Musa at a press conference, here, today as the three opposition components had signed an agreement in August, stating that any policy change should have a multilateral agreement among them.

Husam said PAS would not act unilaterally in coming up with the Hudud law if the party ruled the country but would instead work together with DAP and PKR on the matter. Read the rest of this entry »


Sarawak DAP expands into Iban areas

by Wong Ho Leng
Chairman, DAP Sarawak

In November 2008, DAP approved the formation of two (2) predominantly Iban branches at Sibu Jaya and Sungai Merah, both in Sibu (Another predominantly Iban branch approved was Bintangor Scheme B).

This morning, members from these 2 branches gathered at the Sibu DAP office to hold their first Annual General Meeting (AGM) and elect the first office bearers.

The small DAP premises was filled to the full by these members. Every chair was occupied. Some members even had to stand throughout the meeting.

More branches will be formed in rural areas in the next few months. The formation of these branches will bear testimony that we are not content to work in the Chinese areas alone and shout for the rural constituencies from outside. We are determined to go rural, and to see improvement in the lives of all races, in particular, the economically besieged and poor Dayaks. These rural areas should have DAP Iban leaders serve them. They should go for change. Read the rest of this entry »


Tee Kiat has taken Malaysians for a ride in his long-awaited “tell all” report to the nation on the RM4.6 billion PKFZ scandal

I would not have used the strong and harsh language in response to the Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Kiat’s long-awaited “tell all” report on the RM4.6 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal, like the doyen of Port Klang bloggers, Capt. Yusof Ahmad, former pilot superintendent of Klang Port Authority and pioneer general manager of West Port, who delivered this censure in his blog, Ancient Mariner:

“If this isnt treachery and deceit, then I dont know what is.”

Or another blogger, de minimis, who exclaimed tongue-in-cheek:

“I also hear that most hardware shops in the Klang Valley ran out of stock with white paint for the whitewash needed for the Minister’s Press Conference…”

There can be no doubt however that Ong had taken Malaysians for a ride in his long-awaited “tell all” report to the nation on the RM4.6 billion PKFZ scandal – as it told absolutely nothing from what he promised when he was appointed Transport Minister after the March 8 “political tsunami”. Read the rest of this entry »

1 Comment

Hukum hudud not Pakatan Rakyat policy

Media reports that PAS vice president Datuk Husam Musa has said that PAS will implement hudud if Pakatan Rakyat takes over the Federal Government has created a frenzy of reaction.

Hukum hudud is not Pakatan Rakyat policy and it is for Husam to clarify what he actually said.

DAP’s stand on the secular character of Malaysian nation and state as agreed in the social contract by our forefathers when Merdeka was achieved 51 years ago remains consistent and unchanged.

If unclarified, Husam’s statement would create unease, anxiety and opposition not only among the 11% of the Chinese voters in the critical Kuala Terengganu by-election on January 17 but also among both Malay and non-Malay voters whether in Terengganu or the rest of Malaysia.


Which earlier – next Sarawak state election or 13th national election?

Which will be held earlier – the next Sarawak state general election or the 13th national general election?

The conventional wisdom will be the former as the Sarawak state general election is expected to be held in the next 12 to 18 months.

In the May 20, 2006 Sarawak state general election, the Sarawak Barisan Nasional suffered a major and unforgettable blow when its political hegemony in the Sarawak State Assembly was smashed with the loss of nine state assembly seats – six to the DAP.

After the “political tsunami” of March 8, 2008 general election, where five states in Peninsular Malaysia fell to Pakatan Rakyat and the Barisan Nasional lost for the first time its parliamentary two-thirds majority, the expectation and hunger for greater political change is thick in the air all over the country.

In the first six months after the March 8 general election, Sabah held the political centre-stage as the pivotal state to take the “political tsunami” to a higher level.

Although this has still to come to fruition, the political centre of gravity has shifted to Sarawak which is expected to go to the polls in the next 12 to 18 months – providing a critical test whether the political changes started in the May 2006 Sarawak state general election and expanded in the March 2008 national general election will culminate in a great political tsunami in the next Sarawak state general election with the toppling of Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud and the Sarawak Barisan Nasional state government. Read the rest of this entry »


Abdullah’s sensible/commendable comments on nation-building – why not adopted in his heyday as PM?

In his interview with Sin Chew Daily in the past two days, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi made the most sensible and commendable comments on nation-building in Malaysia.

The greatest pity is that he did not adopt them when he has the real power to influence the government and nation in his heyday as Prime Minister.

Firstly, in “Change Or Perish, Pak Lah Tells UMNO”, Sin Chew reported:

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the Malays have changed their old thinking and value system, only that UMNO seems to have “forgotten” that the Malays have indeed changed.

He said the Malays have changed, but if UMNO remains unwilling to change, then the party will eventually head for destruction.

“UMNO has forgotten that the Malays have changed their own thinking and perspectives. It has forgotten that the Malays have changed their value system. The Malays are no longer what they used to be. They unreservedly express themselves. They even wave the DAP flags!” Read the rest of this entry »