Archive for January, 2009

Najib’s pretensions

By Philip Bowring
International Herald Tribune
January 8, 2009

Malaysian pretensions

HONG KONG: In a move that could backfire by drawing attention to discrimination against Chinese, Indian and other minorities in Malaysia, the country has claimed a role in the advancement of Malays in other lands.

The Malaysian deputy prime minister and heir apparent, Najib Razak, told an international Malay/Muslim audience recently that his government would work to help support them in countries from the Philippines and Singapore to Madagascar, Sri Lanka and South Africa.

Najib’s remarks may draw the attention of China, India and other countries to what has hitherto been regarded by most outsiders as a domestic issue: Malaysia’s official economic and social preferences for Malays, and by extension Muslims, which disadvantage Malaysia’s non-Malay minorities, mostly Chinese and Indian. His statements are also sure to irritate Indonesia, Malaysia’s larger neighbor and fount of Malay culture. Read the rest of this entry »


P036 by-election – political dynamics at play

by Art Harun
Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Kuala Terengganu P036 by-election could not have come at a more inopportune time for Barisan Nasional in general and UMNO, as well as Najib Razak in particular. As we all know, the Barisan Nasional is still reeling from the effects of the March 8 general election last year. The main coalition of UMNO, MCA, Gerakan and MIC have seen testing days after that general election with all parties going for each other’s throat on issues close to their respective heart. Issues on Ketuanan Melayu; teaching of Maths and Science in the English language; marginalisation of the Malaysian citizen of Indian origin; distribution of the economics pie are but some of the issues which saw the BN main component parties shouting and screaming at each other with the obvious goal of championing each party’s racial agenda and outlook.

To top it up, these main component parties also have internal issues to be settled. MCA saw a change of top leadership in an election which was more than a little uncivil and divisive resulting in its President and Deputy being elected from two different and opposing camps. As for MIC, it is as good as a dead horse. While Samy Vellu says he wants to re-brand MIC he forgets that re-branding MIC would most certainly involve his removal from the party as he has become synonymous with all that is wrong with MIC itself.

Most importantly is the internal wave of discontent which UMNO is going through from March 8 2008 until today. Read the rest of this entry »


Special Parliament on Gaza on Monday

Just received notice from Parliament of a special meeting of Parliament on Monday on the Israeli invasion of Gaza.

Parliament will meet on Monday, January 12, 2008 at 2.30 p.m. and not the usual beginning of 10 am.

This is the result of the joint memorandum submitted by Pakatan Rakyat leaders to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in Putrajaya last Monday (5th January) for a special Parliament meeting on Gaza.

The latest atrocity in Gaza is the killing of at least 40 Palestinians when Israeli forces struck a school run by the United Nations.

The world is faced with a humanitarian disaster in Gaza, whose water and sewage systems are on the verge of collapse because of power shortages – with more than 530,000 people among Gaza’s population of 1.4 million completely cut off from running water and the rest receive water only every few days.

The death toll in Gaza has exceeded 600 since the start of the Israeli offensive last month.


8,787 Chinese voters – “kingmakers” in a historic mission in KT by-election

With the 88% Malay voters in the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary by-election in a very tight contest, the 8,787 Chinese voters representing 11.4% of the Kuala Terengganu electorate have emerged as the “kingmakers” in the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary by-election on January 17, 2009.

They will decide which candidate wins the Kuala Terengganu by-election.

Last night after the morning nomination, I attended a 10,000-peope mammoth PAS ceramah at Astaka, Tanjong as well as a close-to-a-thousand-people dinner ceramah organized by Kuala Terengganu DAP within 24 hours.

Mammoth PAS ceramahs are not unusual in Terengganu but what was unprecedented and most encouraging was the very enthusiastic support at the dinner ceramah, not only by the some 500 people at the dinner but also by the 300-400 people who stood outside the restaurant to follow the four hours of speeches.

Was this a sign that the Chinese in Kuala Terengganu have woken up and are standing up, not only for their rights as voters in the state but as citizens of Malaysia? Read the rest of this entry »


MCA man jailed for offering bribe to Singapore cop

MCA man jailed for offering bribe to Singapore cop
The Malaysian Insider7.01.09

SINGAPORE, Jan 7 — A Malaysian community leader initially fined S$15,000 (RM36,000) for offering a bribe to a traffic policeman was yesterday sentenced to jail for six weeks following an appeal by the prosecution.

Justice V. K. Rajah, handing down the jail term at the appeal hearing, stressed that the courts should take a firm, no-nonsense approach towards attempts at graft.

Any attempt to bribe a police officer will bring on a jail term, and if the bribe is accepted, both parties can expect “uncompromisingly stiff custodial sentences”, he said.

It is the way to go if the integrity of the police force as a pillar of society is to be upheld.

Rajah added that the jail term meted out to Lim Teck Choon, 56, took into account mitigating factors raised by his lawyer. He would otherwise have been jailed two to three months.

Lim, who has business interests on both sides of the Causeway, is a member of the MCA and the party’s deputy chairman in the town of Kampong Jawa in Johor. A philanthropist, he regularly donates money to temples and an orphanage; in 1988, he donated a building for a school. Read the rest of this entry »


Gaza: Terrorising the Victims through the ‘War on Terror’

By Farish A. Noor

That the discourse of the ‘War on Terror’ is a terribly useful one for governments that wish to exteriorise, dehumanise and brutalise an enemy is a foregone conclusion for many of us by now. Since the day when the term was first coined by the administration of President Bush Junior, it has made its rounds all over the planet and has been seized upon with gusto and delight by many an authoritarian regime seeking a pretext to detain and eliminate their enemies. Til today we do not have a tally of the figures of those who have been summarily arrested, detained without trial, tortured and ‘disappeared’ as a result of this War on Terror which, as any linguist will tell you, doesn’t even signify anything meaningful in the first place.

The current onslaught on Gaza is proof of the utility of such a discourse when it falls into the hands of those currying favour with the Washington administration – and here it doesn’t really matter if the man sitting in the oval office is Bush Junior or Mr Obama. Israel’s relentless attacks on the Palestinians has been couched and justified as part of the global war effort against terrorism, and as a result the Palestinians have in toto been summarily labelled as terrorists who, by extension, deserve neither mercy nor understanding.

Even more worrying still is the manner in which the metanarrative of the war on terror has been appropriated by other countries and governments that are likewise in a bellicose mood and warlike demeanour. The mainstream media in India, for instance, have likewise hopped on to the anti-terror bandwagon and have taken to it like a duck to water. In the wake of the Mumbai attacks – which were indeed an instance of terrorism at work – the right-wing parties and political demagogues of India’s hard-right have upped the ante even further calling on the Indian government and armed forces to ‘do a Gaza’ on Pakistan next door. Read the rest of this entry »


The new budget air terminal at Labu

by J.C.

I read with apprehension at the recent announcements by Sime Darby Berhad and Air Asia with respect to their receiving government approval to build a new low-cost terminal at Labu, Negeri Sembilan. The announcements coincided with a statement by Malaysia Airports Berhad (MAHB) that it is ready to construct a new low-cost terminal to replace the existing LCCT at KLIA. The statements, and the subsequent comments by Air Asia spokespersons, gave the impressions that a new low-cost terminal is urgently needed, that MAHB has not been responsive to the needs of Air Asia, that Air Asia could easily save 15 pct of operating costs by moving to the new terminal at Labu and that not a single sen of public money will be utilised.

The following questions need to be answered by the government:

1. Was the approval given to the Sime Darby-Air Asia consortium based on the construction of a totally new airport, complete with runway(s) ? No one has indicated that there will be new runways, but it would be ridiculous to assume that planes could land on the existing KLIA runways and taxi the 7 km to the new Labu terminal. Sime announced that the new terminal would take up approximately 3000 acres of land, and surely a terminal without runways would not require such a sizeable landmass. If there are going to be runways, who would be paying for the Air Traffic Control (ATC) facilities ? Who would be charging passengers for airport taxes ?

2. Was any cost-benefit comparison made with respect to the construction of a new terminal at KLIA as opposed to a new terminal (or should we say airport) at Labu ?

3. When the government agreed with the sponsors of the new Labu airport that the entire project would be privately funded, did it take into consideration issues like the KTM Komuter link from Labu to KL Sentral ? KTM would be expected to build the link, and this is government money. We all know that rail links are only viable with subsidy from the public sector. Look at ERL. After 10 years of operations, their debt is still guaranteed by the government of Malaysia, and they are still being subsidised annually through a minimum ridership clause in their concession agreement. Would the roads leading to Labu be privately funded or would they have to be built by the Works Ministry ? Read the rest of this entry »


KT voters – send a clear and unmistakable message of a national “sky change” in next general election

The great challenge in the Kuala Terengganu by-election on January 17 is for the 80,229 voters of Kuala Terengganu to send a clear and unmistakable message of a national “sky change” in the next general election as UMNO and the Barisan Nasional have not learnt the lessons of the March 8 political tsunami in the past 10 months.

Malaysians were promised after the March general election, which ended UMNO political hegemony, the BN two-thirds parliamentary majority and five Pakatan Rakyat state governments in Penang, Perak, Selangor, Kedah and Kelantan that the UMNO-Barisan Nasional coalition had heard loud and clear the message of the people in the ballot box and that there would be radical reforms in the country but very little had been accomplished in the past 10 months.

It is clear that the Umno and Barisan Nasional coalition do not have the political will and commitment to bring about far-reaching changes that can transform Malaysia from a country with first-world infrastructure with third-world mentality into one with a first-world infrastructure and first-world mentality.

In fact, Malaysia is not only losing out in the international competitiveness race, straggling behind one country after another, we are in the danger of becoming a third world country with third world mentality. Read the rest of this entry »


KT by-election – Najib not campaigning as DPM and police should not apply double-standards

The police in Kuala Terengganu by-election campaign should not apply double standards and should treat Datuk Seri Najib Razak as one of the party leaders in town for the by-election and not as a Deputy Prime Minister or Prime Minister-elect.

At a time when the retiring Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is trying to give new life to his National Integrity Plan and anti-corruption efforts in his last three months in office, the way the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary by-election is conducted will be a test as to whether his national integrity efforts and the newly-minted Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) have any real meaning.

For instance, would the police in Kuala Terengganu treat Najib at par with other party leaders, whether Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat, for the duration of the by-election, as there is no business for a Deputy Prime Minister to be campaigning in Kuala Terengganu in his official capacity.

Najib is in Kuala Terengganu as UMNO Deputy President and Barisan Nasional Deputy Chairman and not as Deputy Prime Minister, and this distinction must be scrupulously observed not only by the police and all relevant government departments but also by Najib himself!

Najib should dispense with the horde of police outriders during his visit to Kuala Terengganu to show that he is not abusing his powers and be an example to all other Ministers and VIPs – that they should not misuse scarce police personnel and resources in having to provide outriders and escorts. Read the rest of this entry »


Israeli invasion of Gaza – crime against humanity

The United Nations Secretary-General Bank Ki-moon must spearhead the world condemnation of Israeli invasion of Gaza.

The failure of the United Nations Security Council to call for an immediate ceasefire and the role of the United States government in blocking a United Nations Security Council ceasefire resolution must be deplored by all peace-loving nations and peoples.

The United States President-Elect Barrack Obama, who will be inaugurated as US President in a forthnight’s time, should pledge to end all US carte blache support to Israeli aggression under his administration.

The Israeli invasion of Gaza, wreaking death and destruction, chalking up a death toll of more than 510 people, mostly civilian casualties including women and children, is a crime against humanity.

Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas on the planet with roughly 1.5 million people which even prior to the most recent escalation was undergoing a humanitarian crisis as the region has been held under siege for almost 18 months and was already struggling with lack of food, medical supplies, power, and other necessities. Read the rest of this entry »


DAP boycott Kuala Terengganu by-election over hudud?

Most intriguing.

MCA has not given up.

The stance of the MCA President Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat is being echoed by his underlings with the MCA leadership continuing to plug the line that the DAP should boycott the Kuala Terengganu by-election over PAS agenda on hudud.

Of course, no indication that MCA would boycott the by-election although there is no renunciation by the UMNO leadership of a series of hegemonistic agendas, whether the “929 Declaration” that Malaysia is an Islamic state or “ketuanan Melayu”.

Forty hours to nomination in Kuala Terengganu by-election on Tuesday morning. Read the rest of this entry »


Even an acting OCPD has become the victim of crime!

Imagine – even an acting OCPD has become the victim of crime!

In the past, former top police and government officers had been victims of crime, including a former Inspector-General of Police and a state Governor – with the former Penang Chief Police Officer killed in a burglary.

Now, for the first time, a serving Police district chief has become a serious victim of crime.

Is this enough to be a final wake-up call to the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and the Inspector-General of Police to break away from their terminal denial complexes to admit that time is long overdue to restore to Malaysians the two fundamental freedoms they have lost – to be free from crime and free from the fear of crime.

This is the breaking news on the Tawau Acting OCPD who has become a victim of crime:-

January 03, 2009 13:28 PM

Tawau Acting OCPD Stabbed
TAWAU, Jan 3 (Bernama) — Tawau acting OCPD Supt Ramli Ali Mat was seriously injured after being stabbed in his house in Taman Ria 5 at about 2am today.

Bernama understands that Ramli, who was alone in the house, was stabbed in the abdomen in an attack by a group of five men. Read the rest of this entry »


KT by-election – post-March political tsunami changes to continue or be blocked and even reversed

DAP National Deputy Chairman Dr. Tan Seng Giaw, who was at the Kuala Terengganu stadium last night representing DAP, was as surprised as anyone when it was announced that the PAS candidate for the forthcoming by-election is four-term Wakaf Mempelam State Assemblyman, Abdul Wahid Endut and not anyone of the two leading contenders, Batu Buruk assemblyman Dr. Syed Azman Nawawi and PAS Terengganu chief Datuk Mustapha Ali.

The Kuala Terengganu by-election on January 17, the second parliamentary by-election after the March general election last year is no less important than the Permatang Pauh by-election four months ago, which saw the triumphant return of the Pakatan Rakyat leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to Parliament after an unjust enforced absence for a decade.

The Kuala Terengganu by-election is a crucial and critical one as it will have a major influence on whether the changes started by the March 8 political tsunami last year should be pressed on or be blocked and even reversed.
Read the rest of this entry »


Agree with Chua Soi Lek – Liow not doing enough to inform Malaysians about a deadly dengue epidemic

I agree with the former Health Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Chua Soi Lek that the Health Minister, Datuk Liow Tiong Lai has not done enough to inform the public about a deadly dengue epidemic in the country.

In fact, I had expressed my outrage 12 days ago at the “conspiracy of silence” perpetrated by Liow “to play down the worst dengue epidemic in the country’s history which has to date claimed 100 lives and recorded over 45,000 dengue cases”.

After Chua expressed his alarm at the lack of publicity surrounding 106 dengue-related deaths recorded at Dec. 15, Liow has come out with the latest statistics of a total of 108 deaths out of 48,178 dengue cases reported as at Dec. 27.

Why is Liow so niggardly with data about dengue cases and deaths that he had to be compelled to release the latest statistics, when he should be constantly on radio, television and the printed media using these figures to warn Malaysians of the deadly dengue epidemic as well as the new chikungunya outbreak? Read the rest of this entry »