Archive for February 11th, 2009

Blind Loyalty? Re-Reading the Taj-us Salatin of Buchara al-Jauhari

By Farish A. Noor

As if it was not bad enough that Malaysia has been overrun by an outbreak of frogs – like a scene from some Biblical catastrophe – we now have to stomach the spectacle of humbug heroes and demagogues as well.

One is deeply distressed to read reports of conservative politicians and their followers crying for revenge against those whom they accuse of having offended the fragile sensibilities of the monarchs. According to one such report, Umno deputy Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin had asked his followers, referring to Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, “In the old days, what did we do to those who commit treason?”

The crowd replied, “Kill him!”

Khairy then said they should only ask for Nizar “to be banished”.

Not being a legal expert, I am uncertain of the gravity of the actions of the abovementioned individual. From my own untutored perspective it appeared more like an invitation to violence than anything else. But being a historian myself I am struck by the first part of Khairy’s question, i.e. the phrase: “In the old days …” Read the rest of this entry »


Karpal agrees on top priority – the two impending by-elections in Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau

Karpal Singh and I, together with Dr. Chen Man Hin, had a hour-long frank, forthright and fruitful discussion last night.

We agreed that the present top priority is to ensure a decisive and overwhelming victory for Pakatan Rakyat in the two forthcoming by-elections in Bukit Gantang parliamentary constituency in Perak and the Bukit Selembau state assembly constituency in Kedah to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the Prime Minister-in-waiting Najib Razak that the illegal and unconstitutional grab for power in Perak is completely unacceptable as it has further undermined national unity and public confidence when the country should be girding to face the world’s worst economic crisis in 80 years.

There are no fundamental differences in our political objectives and principles as our political relationships go back four decades.

Any differences will be resolved within the party.


Jeopardising the nation

10 Feb 09
By Clive Kessler
The Nut Graph

“All great historical events happen twice — the first time as tragedy and the second, at times, as an unnecessary tragedy.”
(A witticism offered with apologies to both Hegel and Marx)

WHATEVER the impertinence, a comment by a not totally clueless outsider who holds Malaysia close in his attachments on the present constitutional crisis in Perak and its national political implications may prove useful and instructive.

Tough legal questions have been raised already with no simple answers. They are questions that serious Malaysian citizens are worried, and have the right to be concerned, about. I am too. Those questions need not be repeated here.

If I were the Sultan

Instead I shall compound my impertinence. Were I, however improbably, to have found myself in the position of the Sultan of Perak on 5 Feb 2009, I would have been strongly tempted — in good conscience and out of an impeccable sense of duty and for the best possible reasons — to have acted just as he did.

But I pray I would have resisted that temptation. I hope that, however tricky that different course might prove in the immediate and short term, I would have allowed the fate of a democratically elected government, under a system of constitutional monarchy, to be decided by the people in one of two ways. Read the rest of this entry »