Archive for January, 2009

CNY of the Ox – Change!

Courtesy of SinChew Daily

Courtesy of SinChew Daily


Umno discipline and ethics – rules that apply to some but not to others

by Zaid Ibrahim

1. The call by Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen, Chairman of The Disciplinary Tribunal, for UMNO to disband its youth, wanita and puteri wings, as part of the measures to curb corruption, has attracted much flack from the party’s senior leaders including Dato Najib Razak. Instead of brushing aside the suggestion, as is the standard response of the party when confronted with something new, they should reflect and try to understand what Tengku Din was trying to tell them. Tengku Din was exasperated with the extent of the corruption permeating the party at all levels. He was saying that the Disciplinary Tribunal alone could no longer cope with the practice and culture of corruption within the party. As a loyal party man he was trying to politely tell the party leaders that UMNO could no longer be salvaged under the present structure, and under the present crop of leaders I might add.

2. What makes it so difficult for the Tribunal to effectively carry out its functions is the selective prosecution it must practice in the discharge of its duties. Actions can only be taken if required or useful to certain top leaders. The Tribunal lacks clear mandate from the party management in dealing with money politics, UMNO’s euphemism for corrupt practice. When I was suspended for allegedly being involved in money politics, I knew that Tengku Din, although Chairman, was not involved in making the decision. Someone else in the management wanted me out. So an UMNO member will be subject to investigation and harassment if he does not belong to the right camp. Many others will escape with impunity and they can bribe the delegates as much as they want and not get the attention of the Tribunal. So even Tengku Din now realises the futility of having the Disciplinary Tribunal to deal with corrupt practice. I therefore urge Tengku Din to retire and resign from the Tribunal.

3. UMNO leaders who are critical of Tengku Din should also be mindful that they are not supposed to criticise him or the Tribunal. Look what happened to me for criticising the Tribunal and for not wanting to apologise when asked. I got suspended because they said I violated party ethics. UMNO got ethics? Well that’s the true story. So they same fate will fall on Dato Najib and his friends in the Supreme Council. They too may get suspended if they continue to criticise the Disciplinary tribunal or its Chairman.This is of course wishful thinking, as there are rules in UMNO that apply to some but not to others.


Liow Tiong Lai – take leave from all MCA duties to spearhead war against dengue

Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai flew into a rage over my suggestion that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi appoint a new Health Minister if Liow is incapable of being an effective commander-in-chief in an all-out war against the worsening dengue epidemic to check continuing avoidable loss of lives.

Liow descended to a very personal level, resorting to abuses and invective, such as calling me a “poisonous political mosquito”.

I will not go down to Liow’s puerile level as my priority concern is to puncture Liow’s phoney war against dengue which could only lead to more avoidable dengue deaths and sufferings, which had already reached an unprecedented level last year, so that the Health Minister can take full responsibility to mobilize the nation to wage an all-out and successful war against dengue.

Liow failed Malaysians as a Health Minister last year in failing to spearhead a war against dengue, which recorded the highest number of 49,335 dengue cases and 112 dengue deaths in the nation’s history. Read the rest of this entry »


900 cases of Umno money politics – Dare MACC tell PM and Rithaudeen they are wrong?

The Prime Minister and the UMNO Disciplinary Board Chairman are wrong and the Chief Commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) right on whether money politics and vote buying in Umno come within the jurisdiction of the MACC.

The UMNO disciplinary board chairman Tan Sri Tengku Ahmad Rithaudeen so despaired at the rot of corruption in Umno that he even suggested the abolition the Umno wings – Youth, Wanita, Putri and Putra – as a radical surgical solution but he refused to recognize MACC’s powers, responsibilities and jurisdiction over these cases, claiming that the Umno disciplinary board is not a “forwarding agency” for the MACC.

Rithaudeen said investigations by the MACC and the Umno disciplinary board would be done separately and any information-sharing would be done on a case-by-case basis.

Rithaudeen’s position has been upheld by the Umno President Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi after the Umno Supreme Council meeting last night.

New Straits Times today reported:

Asked whether investigations into money politics came under the disciplinary committee or the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, he said the issue fell under the committee’s jurisdiction.

Read the rest of this entry »


Why as a doctor I want this government to go away

by CSK

I am a local graduate and have been in practice for 31 years. I am basically a physician by training and received my qualifications from the Royal Colleges in 1985. I see mainly kidney ailments and their predisposing illnesses which usually are high blood pressure, diabetes and heart ailments.

I was in government service for twenty years and the remainder now in private practice. I run a clinic in Penang and have visitation rights to private hospitals.

When I was in government service, yes, there was much bureaucracy. But nothing of the sort we see today. There was a greater deal of camaraderie. And although there were differences with private hospitals or clinics, generally everyone learned to work together.

When I first opened my clinic, it was fairly a straightforward affair. Apart from my APC (Annual Practicing Certificate), it was just ensuring the clinic was adequately equipped to treat the type of patients which I knew I would be treating, and making certain I had the type of medication I wanted to prescribe to my patients generally.

My first brush with the law, if you can call it that, came when a group of government medical assistants and health inspectors walked into my clinic without notice and brusquely gave me a warning regarding a new rule regarding toxic waste and how we should dispose them in yellow containers recommended by the ministry. I complied.

About two years later, there were problems regarding my X-ray machine, when third parties who appeared not so knowledgeable but apparently approved by the Ministry of Health, started walking in and out of my clinic for purposes of calibration and licence renewals. I could not quite understand why the supplier or manufacturer himself was not allowed to service or calibrate these machines. The cost ran into thousands of ringgit which I had to pay.

To add insult to injury, I was forced to attend Continuing Medical Education (CME) programs run by what looked like staff who didn’t know much about the programs they were conducting despite myself having a qualified radiographer to do the X-Rays. The cost of the CME programs again had to be borne by me.

And then came the PHFSA (Private Health Care, Facilities and Services Act). No one understood the need for this Act. Read the rest of this entry »


CNY Open House

You are all invited to the DAP Chinese New Year Open House at the KL-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall tomorrow from 11am-1pm.

Facilities are available for the elderly and disabled.

Entertainment includes lion and line dances, Chinese Orchestra and PR leaders mixing yee sang.


How Many Deaths Does it Take?

By Farish A. Noor

Commenting on the loss of credibility and legitimacy of the Burmese state security forces in the eyes of the Burmese people and the international community, the Burmese activist leader Aung San Su Kyi once said: “All they have left are their guns”.

Indeed, if the possession of a badge is the only thing that differentiates a law enforcement officer from the ordinary public or the criminal fraternity, then it can be said that the line between law enforcement and the absence of law and order is a fine one. It has become a truism worldwide that once that line is fatefully and fatally crossed, it would be next to impossible to redeem the reputation and standing of any law enforcement agency again. This was the case of the police in South Africa during the days of Apartheid, whose job it was not to protect all South African citizens but rather to prop up the Apartheid regime at the cost of the freedom of others. The same applies to the stained reputation of the security forces of many other developing countries, from Zimbabwe to Pakistan to Sri Lanka to the Philippines, whose job it seems is to protect the ruling parties and the political elite rather than to provide for the safety of the population at large.

Today Malaysia seems to be heading down the same path as more and more revelations of misdemeanours among the state security forces come to light. The most recent case being that of Kugan Ananthan, a 22-year old who was arrested by the Malaysian police on suspicion of being part of a luxury car-theft racket. Kugan was later found dead at the Subang Jaya police station, and the initial explanation for his death was ‘water in the lungs’. Read the rest of this entry »


Abolish UMNO – as no political will to eradicate corruption in the country’s most corrupt institution?

Just as no one expects that the proposal of the Umno disciplinary board chairman Tengku Tan Sri Ahmad Rithaudeen to abolish the Umno wings – Wanita, Youth, Puteri and Putera – to end the scourge of money politics in Umno would be taken seriously by any Umno leader, nobody believes that it is possible to eradicate corruption in the country’s most corrupt institution, Umno, because of the sheer absence of such political will.

Sure enough Rithaudeen’s proposal encountered immediate objection yesterday from the Umno top-guns, like Umno vice president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Umno Youth leader Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Umno Wanita leader Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz and Puteri Umno leader Datuk Noraini Ahmad with the de facto Umno President and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak delivering the coup de grace when he said today that Umno will not abolish any of its wings as they are important in nurturing future leaders of the party.

If Rithaudeen is right – and he is right – that the many elections for the Umno Youth, Wanita, Puteri and Putera wings created opportunities for money-making, all that Najib meant about “nurturing future leaders of the party” is to give them opportunities to be adept in the art of corruption in Umno party elections.

No wonder Umno has the notoriety as the most corrupt institution in the country and Rithaudeen is totally helpless to check money politics, to the extent that he has to concoct a totally unacceptable analogy to justify the Umno disciplinary board’s failure to hand over all cases of Umno money politics to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). Read the rest of this entry »


Let Kugan not die in vain – entire Cabinet should resign if no RCI and IPCMC

A. Kugan would not have died in police custody if the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) had been operational since May 2006 as recommended by the Police Royal Commission headed by former Chief Justice Tun Dzaiddin and former Inspector-General of Police Tun Hanif Omar.

If the IPCMC, the key proposal of the 125 recommendations of the Police Royal Commission to transform the Malaysian police force into an efficient, incorruptible, professional world-class police service to discharge its three core functions to keep crime low, eradicate corruption in the police force and uphold human rights had been set up in accordance with the timeline as proposed, a new mindset and culture of responsibility, accountability and professionalism would have been disseminated and developed in the police force in the past 30 months and saved the life of Kugan.

As it is, even the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar does not have this requisite mindset that he could come out with his latest howler, when he said that “the people should not regard criminals as heroes and the police who enforce the law as demons”.

This statement, as outrageous as his previous howler when he said last September that the Sin Chew senior reporter Tan Hoon Cheng had been detained under the infamous Internal Security Act for her personal safety, is strong testimony that Hamid is not capable of being a reformist Home Minister to undertake long-needed and far-reaching police reforms. Read the rest of this entry »


What are you waiting for, MACC?

In his post-Kuala Terengganu by-election interview with New Sunday Times (January 25, 2009), “Upping the ante on anti-graft enforcement”, the Chief Commissioner of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan declared categorically that money politics is corruption. This came in the concluding part of the Q and A:

Q: Do you see any difference between money politics and corruption?

A: When you pay people to vote for you, that is corruption. People call it money politics but not us. Under the law, anybody who sells or buys votes is guilty of corruption, so we go on that basis.

Q: Is the MACC focused on cleaning up Umno?

A: Not just Umno, please be clear about that. We will take action against any political party involved in corruption. It seems that way only because it is now Umno season. The party itself asked us for help. Read the rest of this entry »


War on dengue – having new Health Minister if Liow ineffective as commander-in-chief

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should appoint a new Health Minister if Datuk Liow Tiong Lai is incapable of being an effective commander-in-chief in an all-out war against the worsening dengue epidemic to check continuing avoidable loss of lives.

In contrast to his long protracted silence on the dengue epidemic last year, which had recorded the highest number of 49,335 dengue cases and 112 dengue deaths in the nation’s history, Liow has been making weekly statements on the dengue epidemic this year.

The Health Minister’s weekly statements about the dengue epidemic however does not constitute an all-out war against dengue and will do nothing to save lives and mitigate suffering.

Liow has squandered his 10 months as Health Minister in indifference and inaction over the dengue epidemic last year when right from the beginning he should have spearheaded an all-war against the dengue epidemic, inspired by the motto that an avoidable dengue death is one death too many.

Over 50 per cent of the 112 lives lost to dengue last year were preventable, which make Liow’s failures all the more deplorable. Read the rest of this entry »


2 caveats on MACC’s independence, credibility and professionalism

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) must live down its very bad start which has seriously undermined its claim to independence, credibility and professionalism as compared to its predecessor, Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA).

The MACC had swung into action in the past week and although it seemed to be in an “all-out war” mode against Umno “ikan bilis”, it has to convince Malaysians that it is becoming another ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption of Hong Kong) which brooks no nonsense in its fight against corruption on two important grounds:

• Firstly, when will it move from Umno “ikan bilis” to Umno “ikan yu” to eradicate corruption in the most corrupt institution in the country; and

• Secondly, its “stop work” in its first 17 days of establishment for fear of jeopardizing UMNO’s victory in the Kuala Terengganu by-election on January 17, although Malaysians were promised that the MACC would hit the ground attacking corruption from January 1, 2009. Read the rest of this entry »


Defection of UMNO SA to PKR – working out of “RAHMAN” prophecy?

The defection of Umno Perak State Assemblyman for Bota Datuk Nasarudin Hashim to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) strengthens the Pakatan Rakyat government in Perak which has been governing with a wafer-thin majority, i.e. 32 – 27 from the previous 31 – 28.

A portentous sign of the times.

The working out of the most famous political prophecy, “RAHMAN”?


UMNO’s Reform Must Begin With Najib Razak

by M. Bakri Musa

It is not enough for Najib Razak and other UMNO leaders to lament the loss of their party’s “wow” factor, or for them to endlessly exhort the party faithful to “re-invent” or “re-brand” their organization. Reform is like sex; merely talking about it is not enough, for without the necessary accompanying actions it will only increase your frustration.

To regain voters’ confidence, the change in UMNO must begin with its top leaders, specifically Najib. He has to demonstrate it through his actions; anything less and he risks frustrating voters and replicating the electoral disasters of Permatang Pauh and Kuala Trengganu nationally.

First and foremost Najib must legitimize his rise to the party’s top position. Being “promoted” by Abdullah Badawi is no endorsement, being that he is a discredited leader. Likewise, being nominated unopposed is no ratification either, especially when the process is hopelessly riddled with “money politics,” otherwise known as corruption.

Second, Najib must display a sense of enlightened leadership. For example, expending his precious time and political capital by intensively campaigning in a by-election that in his own words “would not alter the nation’s political landscape” was neither necessary nor prudent. With the nation facing many critical crises, he should focus on more substantive matters.

Last, Najib must demonstrate that he has the personal qualities and moral integrity to lead the nation. Merely denying that he had nothing to do with Saiful Bukhari, that college dropout who alleged that he had been sodomized by the opposition leader, or that Najib knew nothing of the brutal murder of that Mongolian model Altantuya and the attendant involvement of his hitherto closest advisor Razak Baginda, is not enough. The public deserves better; we demand a more thorough accounting.

Until then, any utterance by Najib Razak about reforming UMNO will ring hollow; do not frustrate voters by unnecessarily raising their expectations. That is dangerous. Read the rest of this entry »


CNY Message – Can Malaysians regardless of race, religion or territory share a common Malaysian dream?

Happy and auspicious Chinese New Year of the Ox to all Malaysians.

When Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th and first African-American President, he embodied the American dream rallying bipartisan support with the majority of Americans uplifted by better hopes for the future.

The question Malaysians should ponder on the occasion of the Chinese New Year of the Ox is whether Malaysians regardless of race, religion or territory, can share a common Malaysian dream to build a united, harmonious, democratic, just, meritocratic, competitive and prosperous nation.

The next 12 months will be a very difficult and challenging one, whether on the economic, political or nation-building front.

Two days after Chap Goh Mei on Feb. 11, Malaysia’s human rights record will face scrutiny by the United Nations Human Rights Council, which will investigate and consider the human rights situation in Malaysia as part of the Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of countries.

Malaysia’s human rights record is not going to come out smelling of roses from the Council’s UPR, especially with the recent slate of human rights atrocities, such as: Read the rest of this entry »


Can you imagine that…

I was at the Institut Jantung Negara (National Heart Institute) waiting room today for my check-up when the door opened and in came the former Health Minister, Datuk Seri. Dr. Chua Soi Lek.

I asked Chua why he was not in China with the highly-publicised MCA top-level delegation led by the MCA President, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Kiat.

Chua said he was not invited to the MCA trip to China and he was in IJN for his check-up.

Well that is MCA’s business and none of mine.

Check-up ok, with cholersterol under control and other tests so far so good.

All fine to move on.


Do the Batik Walk, Mr. Obama

By Farish A. Noor

With the hopes of the world apparently pinned upon his shoulders, Barrack Obama will have a lot of things on his mind in the months and years to come for certain. The news that the interrogations at Guantanamo Bay might be suspended for a period of 120 days already sends out the right signals that the man intends to deliver upon his promises, and that cannot be a bad thing for anyone for what was promised was a new America that should play a humbler, moderating role in world affairs.

But let us be somewhat circumspect and realistic in our expectations for now. While many of us would like to see the man succeed, Barrack Obama is just another American President who has – for now – served us a tantalising wish-list that as sweet as it is appealing to many.

But we have also had our share of American Presidents who spoke at length about the promotion of human rights and democracy across the world, only to have our hopes dashed on the hard rocks of realpolitik when it became painfully evident that their focus was more on the Soviet bloc and the enemies of the United States.

Jimmy Carter got the ball rolling after the Helsinki accord of 1975 when he spoke of America’s mission to rid the world of authoritarianism and despotic rule; but it was the same administration that did little to help the people of Indonesia and the Philippines as they lived under the heels of two of the most corrupt and authoritarian pro-American despots, Ferdinand Marcos and General Suharto.

So let us see whether Obama can actually deliver on what he has promised, and let us keep our fingers crossed that he will not turn into another froth-producing American leader who is long on rhetoric but pitifully short on substance. Read the rest of this entry »


Horror flight on board MH161

by Radhika Iyer-O’Sullivan
Jan 20, 09 3:55pm

I am a Malaysian currently residing and working in Dubai. On Dec 25, 2008, I flew with Malaysian Airlines flight MH161 to Kuala Lumpur to visit my parents. I was in seat 36H (an aisle seat) and the seat next to me, 36K (window seat) was vacant. The flight stopped over at Karachi for an hour.

In Karachi, more passengers boarded the plane. One male passenger boarded, showed his boarding pass to a stewardess and she pointed to seat beside me (36K). The man looked at me and said, ‘She’s a Hindu, I cannot sit beside her.’ The stewardess responded, ‘So what? What’s wrong with Hindu?’ The man then began to yell and shout that he would not sit next to a Hindu.

The crew insisted that he had to because there were no other seats available because the plane was full. Then this passenger sat down but began to verbally abuse my faith and the crew members. I sat in my seat but was physically cringing away from him. The flight supervisor was summoned and until then the man was still seated next to me. Imagine my shock, horror and fear in being next to a hostile, abusive person.

One steward did stand next to me but did not offer any help and I did not feel safe or reassured. I reached out and told that steward that I did not feel safe anymore. I said this to him softly in English and he told me to sit and wait. He then walked off and a female crew member took his place. All this time I was under the impression that this hostile passenger beside me was a Pakistani.

I then told the stewardess in Malay that this man should not be seated beside me after what he had said about me. There were other Malaysian passengers sitting in the same area and all of them heard me. She smiled and merely nodded. Read the rest of this entry »


Can Najib emulate Obama to embody change?

Can Datuk Seri Najib Razak emulate Barack Obama to embody change and inspire Malaysians with the same hope of a “dream come true” as Obama has been able to evoke from the American people as witnessed in the inauguration of the 44th United States President yesterday?

This is the natural question to ask following Najib’s acknowledgement that Obama won election as the first African American president of the United States because he pushed for and embodied change.

Can Najib’s warning that Umno and Barisan Nasional must change or perish in the next general election be taken seriously, when he had just spearheaded the Barisan Nasional’s Kuala Terengganu “buy-election” campaign where money politics and electoral corruption had reigned supreme? Read the rest of this entry »


Whither National Air Transport Policy ?

by J Chan

The storm that is generated by the government’s decision to give the go-ahead to the Sime Darby-AirAsia consortium to build a brand new airport at Labu continues to blow unabated.

On the one side is a government GLC, Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) which is being accused by AirAsia of not being able to meet AirAsia’s needs of no-frills service, and yet attempting to charge AirAsia “exorbitant” landside charges.

On the other side is MAHB which, through its website, defends its record of meeting clients’ expectations, and asserting that airport charges are being set by the Government, not by the airport operator.

What the public is inclined to accept is that the present LCCT is in a shambles, and is probably on a par with some domestic Indian airports.

MAHB defends this, as they have spent RM 170 million to build a new extension, which is now partially opened, and they say that the upgraded LCCT should be able to cater for up to 10 million passengers per year until 2013. After that, MAHB says that they have plans to build another terminal that is contiguous with the KLIA main terminal, and that this terminal could be ready by 2013.

AirAsia says that this is baloney, for MAHB have never really delivered commitments on time (they point to the current state of affairs at LCCT as an example) and that any delays would negatively impact AirAsia’s business model. Read the rest of this entry »