Archive for February, 2009

Zambry – dissolve State Assembly or go down in history as the infamous “illegitimate Perak MB” and dragging with him Najib

Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir should cut the Gordian knot of the Perak political crisis by agreeing to the dissolution of the Perak State Assembly or he will go down in history as the infamous “illegitimate Perak Mentri Besar” and dragging with him Najib Razak.

If Zambry is a democrat and believes that he has the mandate from the voters of Perak to be Mentri Besar, he should not have any qualm in opting for the only decent, honest and honourable solution to the political crisis – dissolution of the Perak State Assembly to return the mandate to the Perak voters to elect the Mentri Besar and government of their choice.

Zambry should know better than anyone that the illegal and unconstitutional power grab orchestrated by the Prime Minister-in-waiting, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, is a great disservice to the cause of the healthy growth of parliamentary democracy in the country.

This is because Zambry should have realized by now that he has no credibility and legitimacy whatsoever as the Perak Mentri Besar among the people of Perak and Malaysia – which explains why he had such a short fuse in his first media conference as the illegitimate Mentri Besar of Perak on Tuesday.
Read the rest of this entry »


Bukit Gantang/Selambau by-elections on April 7 – another example of craven subservience of Election Commission to serve Umno interests

The Election Commission has provided another example of its craven subservience to serve Umno interests in fixing the simultaneous nomination and polling dates for the Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat in Perak and the Bukit Selambau state assembly seat in Kedah on March 29 and April 7 respectively.

Clearly, the fractious and internecine Umno party elections until March 28 had been the primary consideration of the Election Commission when deciding on the two by-election dates, so that the by-election campaign for the two constituencies will be held after the Umno party elections and Datuk Seri Najib Razak has officially taken over UMNO and become the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia.

But these are the very considerations which an independent and self-respecting Election Commission has no business to take into account when fixing election dates, as it has only reinforced strong public perceptions that the Election Commission is a mere Umno tool at the beck-and-call of the top Umno leadership.

The Election Commission has made dubious history in the fixing of the election dates for the Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau by-elections, stretching to the constitutional limit of the 60 days when they should be filled from the date of vacancy. Read the rest of this entry »


Patriotism and Hate-Speeches are Different Things

By Farish A. Noor

Nothing stirs the humbug soup better than spurious talk of patriotism and loyalty. The saddest thing of all is that more often than not whenever there is the rallying call to demonstrate one’s patriotism and to show one’s love for the nation, it comes from the most narrow-minded, chauvinistic and intolerant quarters of society.

This was demonstrated in Malaysia recently when political differences between the ruling National Front coalition led by the UMNO party and the opposition People’s Alliance (Pakatan Rakyat) spilled out onto the streets. In the wake of the take-over of the state assembly of the state of Perak by the National Front, several politicians of the People’s Alliance – including veteran opposition politicians like Karpal Singh of the Democratic Action Party and the former Chief Minister of the state Nizar Jamaluddin – cried foul over the means that were used to wrestle control of the state assembly from their hands. Complicating matters was the role of the Sultan of Perak who chose not to dissolve the Perak Assembly but instead allow for a new National Front-led state government in a matter of days.

Now from the wider perspective of world politics, the goings-on in the state of Perak somewhere in North Malaysia may not have even registered a blip on the international news radar. Indeed, years from now the historian may write on the episode and sum it up in one sentence, as an instance of power changing hands in a controversial manner.

But what is alarming was the reaction of the Youth Wing of the UMNO party that reacted to the protests of the opposition party leaders by condemning them for having the temerity to question the process and the role of the Sultan in the debacle. Read the rest of this entry »


Rulers can be sued – are judges, lawyers, law professors/lecturers to be charged for treason?

The police questioned DAP National Chairman Karpal Singh for two hours yesterday in connection with 89 reports which had been lodged against him nationwide for being disrespectful to the Sultan of Perak over the most simple proposition – that rulers in Malaysia’s system of constitutional monarchy can be taken to court in their official capacities.

This is the height of nonsense in the police and the Home Ministry!

Are all the law professors and lecturers in the Malaysian universities and colleges going to be questioned by the police for the crime of treason for teaching their students that rulers can be sued in court for their official capacities?

Are all the judges and the lawyers in the country going to be charged for treason for holding that rulers can be sued in their official capacities?

The Home Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar and the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan should be fully aware of this simple legal proposition or they are simply not fit to continue for a single second in their high positions and in Hamid’s case, everyone must wonder how he got his law qualifications in the first place! Read the rest of this entry »


Sultans Must Read Their Subjects Well

By M. Bakri Musa

The current tussle between the Sultan of Perak and his Pakatan Chief Minister is not the first, nor will it be the last, such crises in the country.

Contrary to the assertions of constitutional scholars and legal practitioners, this is not a legal issue. Its solution does not lie with the court system. Nor does it require of us to return to the old feudal ways of blind loyalty to the sultan, as some traditionalist would wish.

I am not surprised that Sultan Raja Azlan, a former chief justice, would view this as a legal matter. However, the reputation and salvation of Raja Azlan specifically, and that of the institution of sultans generally, would require of him to look beyond the law for a solution. Anything less and he would risk our country degenerating into another Thailand, cursed with endless constitutional and political crises. Coming as it is during these trying economic times, it would also be a major distraction, one we could do without. Read the rest of this entry »


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 »


RPK: Anwar, Kit Siang and Hadi should quit

The Star
Tuesday February 10, 2009

PORT KLANG: Blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin has called for the resignations of three senior Opposition leaders for the loss of the Perak Pakatan Rakyat government to Barisan Nasional.

Pakatan de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang and PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang should resign and accept collective responsibility for the loss, he said at a Chap Goh Mei celebration at the Kuan Soon temple grounds in Pandamaran here.

When asked whether it was a leadership crisis, he said it was just bad leadership, with bad decisions and the three senior politicians were out of touch with the people on the ground.

“It is time for them to stop the blame game. Move aside and give the position to the younger generation that are more able.”


Shocked and hurt by Karpal’s statement – let the party resolve any differences internally

I am shocked and hurt by DAP National Chairman Sdr. Karpal Singh’s statement yesterday.

Malaysians are scandalized that instead of uniting Malaysians to face the worst global economic crisis for eighty years, the Prime Minister-in-waiting Datuk Seri Najib Razak had done the opposite – frittering away further public confidence in engendering greater national discord by engineering the Perak political crisis in the illegal and unconstitutional grab for power, resulting in the constitutional crisis of two Mentris Besar in Perak.

Perakians are outraged. Malaysians are outraged. The world looks on in disbelief at the political insensitivity and indifference of the Prime Minister-in-waiting on the imperative to restore public confidence at this critical stage of the nation by giving top priority to uniting Malaysians, by actively creating not only a Perak but national political crisis.

The national economic crisis and the latest political crisis caused by Najib’s coup de’tat must be the topmost concern for all Malaysians.

Let the DAP resolve any differences internally as they should not be allowed to deflect efforts to resolve both the grave economic and political crisis confronting Malaysians.


DAP reaffirms support for PR to establish an alternative government

(Press Statement By DAP Secretary-General And MP for Bagan, Lim Guan Eng, In Petaling Jaya On 9.2.2009)

DAP’s commitment towards a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural Malaysia is not only an article of faith but a deep conviction in Bangsa Malaysia. DAP is inclusive of all races and religions. We represent the interests and fight for the rights every Malaysian.

In the effort of being representative of all Malaysians, including both Malays and non-Malays, the party is willing to undertake a transformational process that may be painful but necessary. We have no alternative but to grow without compromising our basic principles.

DAP reaffirms support for Pakatan Rakyat(PR) to establish an alternative government that is democratic, people-centric and with an ethical leadership based on the 5 principles of freedom, justice, truth, social welfare and universal moral values. In this regard the DAP supports PKR de facto leader DSAI Anwar Ibrahim as the Parliamentary Opposition Leader and will remain so as no single leader has ever questioned this during internal meetings whether at the highest levels or otherwise.

The Pakatan Rakyat leadership has clearly endorsed a position that no individual party policy can be PR policy unless it is fully approved unanimously by all three parties. DAP’s position on hudud and Islamic state is crystal clear and regardless of whatever support for both hudud and the establishment of an Islamic State, whether from PAS or PKR, this will not be PR policy as long as DAP does not agree to it. Read the rest of this entry »


The Monkey Handler

by M. Bakri Musa

In the few months that he has before assuming office I would have expected Prime Minister-in-waiting Najib Razak to be focused on forming his new leadership team and formulating his major policies. Instead there he was in Perak smirking with renegade state politicians who had crossed over to his Barisan coalition. Najib looked like a mischievous monkey handler who had successfully enticed a couple of wily monyets from the neighbor’s coconut tree to his.

In these perilous times Najib is more a slimy backroom political operative consumed with concocting shady deals than a national leader ready to steer the nation through tough economic and other challenges. This latest and unneeded upheaval in Perak only adds to Malaysia’s already muddled political climate, and comes at a time when the nation can ill afford this distraction. Najib is oblivious of the evolving global economic disaster and its inevitable impact on Malaysia.

These handlers too behave like the monkeys they keep. After finishing his latest act in Perak, Najib stayed away. The monkey handler’s interest, like that of the monkeys they keep, was only in creating mischief. Once that is achieved, then he is gone so as to avoid getting entangled. Read the rest of this entry »


Zambry – prove he can be Perak MB for all by getting legitimate mandate in a new general election

Datuk Dr. Zambry Abdul Kadir wants to be Mentri Besar for all in Perak.

Then let him prove it by getting a legitimate mandate from the people of Perak in a new state elections by dissolving the present Perak State Assembly.

Zambry is a mere usurper and cannot be regarded as a legitimate Mentri Besar to replace Datuk Seri Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin through an illegal and unconstitutional coup de’tat orchestrated by the Prime Minister-in-waiting Datuk Seri Najib Razak – until and unless he can get a proper mandate through a Perak state elections.

It is of no help to Zambry to compare himself to Barack Obama who pledged to become President for all Americans – as no American doubt or question Obama’s legitimacy as US President in the way Zambry’s legitimacy as Perak Mentri Besar is questioned by the overwhelming majority of the people of Perak of all races.


Najib as PM – with his infamous pre-100 days, no need for first 100 days

New Prime Ministers have dazzled the people with bold promises and pledges of a new beginning in their first 100 days in office.

Both the two previous Prime Ministers, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, took full advantage of the power and magic of their first 100 days in office, leveraging them into stunning general election victories in their first year in office – the unprecedented sweep of 91% parliamentary seats for Abdullah in the 2004 general election and the resounding victory for Mahathir in the 1982 general election.

For Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who will be the sixth Prime Minister after the Umno general assembly next month, his first 100 days would be overshadowed by his infamous pre-100 days, and featuring high on his pre-100 days list is undoubtedly the disgraceful and outrageous grab for Perak power, completely in disregard of the proper constitutional process and respect for the people’s mandate in the 2008 general election.

Malaysia has in the past 24 hours become an international laughing stock because of the constitutional crisis in Perak producing two Mentris Besar – the Pakatan Rakyat Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin who has never vacated office, and the usurper UMNO Mentri Besar Datuk Dr. Zambry Abdul Kadir.

In orchestrating the coup de’tat in Perak with the illegal and unconstitutional grab for power, when Nizar is still the legitimate, effective and functioning Mentri Besar, Najib has caused great harm and damage to the system of democracy, the monarchy and the rule of law in Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »


Constitutional scandal of two Perak MBs – Abdullah should support dissolution and state elections

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is wrong when he said that Pakatan Rakyat must now accept a new government in Perak just as Barisan Nasional had accepted the results of last year’s general election.

The comparison is totally inappropriate. In fact, he should be the last person to make such a statement if he is serious about national integrity and morality in politics and public affairs which is one of his major promises and biggest failures of his premiership.

Abdullah cannot be unaware that there is a world of a difference between last year’s general election result and the current political crisis in Perak engineered by Umno leaders.

Last year’s general election results were the outcome of the exercise of the constitutional and democratic rights of the people of Perak to elect the government of their choice, while the present attempt to oust the legitimate Pakatan Rakyat government by UMNO and Barisan Nasional is a most unethical and opportunistic power-play frustrating the verdict of the voters in the March 8 general election last year.

If Abdullah is sincere and serious in wanting to eradicate political corruption and introduce ethical and principled politics, which he had repeatedly professed publicly, he should dissociate himself from the coup d’etat orchestrated by Deputy Prime Minister and the new Perak Umno leader Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the illegal and unconstitutional power grab in Perak through the defection of three and re-defection of one Perak state assembly person. Read the rest of this entry »


Dissolution of Perak Assembly – Signs grim

Signs of a dissolution of Perak State Assembly not good at all.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak has stepped up his campaign for an illegal and unconstitutional grab for power in Perak in utter disregard of the constitutional process and the mandate of the voters of Perak.


Najib should stop illegal and unconstitutional power grab in Perak

The Prime Minister-in-waiting, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who has taken over as Perak UMNO and Barisan Nasional leader, should stop the attempt at the illegal and unconstitutional grab for power in Perak and respect the constitutional process and the mandate of the people of Perak.

The Perak Pakatan Rakyat Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin yesterday had an audience with the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah to seek the dissolution of the Perak State Assembly and to hold state election, as returning the mandate to the voters is the most honourable and democratic manner to resolve the political crisis in Perak.

In his book “Constitutional Monarchy, Rule of Law and Good Governance” (2004), the former Lord President wrote:

“Under normal circumstances, it is taken for granted that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong would not withhold his consent to a request for dissolution of parliament. His role is purely formal.”

He also pointed out that no sultan or agung had withheld consent to dissolve legislative body, except in Kelantan in 1977.

While the Sultan’s decision on the Mentri Besar’s request for dissolution of the Perak State Assembly is awaited, it is most improper and unconstitutional for Najib to attempt an illegal and unconstitutional grab for power in Perak state to frustrate the will and wishes of the people of Perak in the March general election last year. Read the rest of this entry »


Dissolve Perak State Assembly and hold state election

Perak Pakatan Rakyat Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin is to have audience with the Sultan of Perak to seek the dissolution of the Perak State Assembly and to hold state election.

Returning to the voters of Perak to seek a clear-cut mandate for the government of the state is the most honourable and democratic manner to end the political crisis in the state.


How Indonesia’s Islamic Universities Are Different

By Farish A Noor

Regardless of where you stand on the question of whether we are living in the age of Islamism, neo-Islamism or Post-Islamism, the fact remains that there is pretty much Islam all over the place at the moment; and much of this Islam is also going all over the place…

From the late 1970s onwards many a Muslim-majority state with a Muslim-majority government embarked on a host of projects intended to inculcate Islamic values, norms and standards in the daily lives of their people. In some cases, such as that of Malaysia, this inculcation of Islamic norms was at times at the expense of other faith communities and cultural minorities as well. From Morocco to Pakistan to Malaysia we witnessed the sudden surge of growth in the Islamic public sector: Shariah courts were raised to a level on par with secular civil courts; Islamic finance and banking was experimented with and implemented with gusto; Islamic think tanks, research centres and universities were funded lavishly and built all over the place. In time a network of Islamic universities and colleges was created worldwide, creating hundreds of thousands of graduates who later entered the public domain with the expectation that they will be given jobs.

The one country that resisted this headlong rush towards Islamisation was Indonesia, though that was partly due to the somewhat Islamophobic tendencies of its then leader Suharto and his coterie of Generals and business elite cronies.

Indonesia’s Islamic universities developed at their own pace, often under close state supervision but also under careful tutelage of Islamic intellectuals like Mukti Ali who was the Minister for Religious Affairs. Under the guidance of men like Mukti Ali, Indonesia developed Islamic universities where Islam was not taught, but rather researched. This was singularly unique in the Muslim world because the Indonesian government actually encouraged Muslim scholars to think objectively and critically about Islam and religion in general. In other words, rather than produce Islamist ideologues, the Islamic universities of Indonesia produced a generation of Muslim scholars who could objectively study -critically – their own religion. Read the rest of this entry »


Perak political crisis – all options will have to be considered

The Election Commission has acted unconstitutionally outside its jurisdiction in refusing to recognize the decision of the Perak Speaker, V. Sivakumar on the vacancy of the Changkat Jering and Behrang state assembly seats and to hold by-elections.

As pointed out clearly by the former Election Commission Chairman, Tan Sri Rashid Rahman, the Election Commission’s constitutional duty is to act on the Perak Speaker’s official notification on the vacancy of the two state assembly seats and to call for by-elections to be held in the next 60 days.

It is no business of the Election Commission to act and usurp the jurisdiction of the courts to dispute the Speaker’s decision – as any such legal challenge should come from Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi and Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu if they want to challenge the legality of their resignations from their respective state assembly seats.

In this case, the Election Commission has even acted as a court of law – in a decision which is clearly influenced by the political interests and considerations of the Barisan Nasional.

With the further odds against the Pakatan Rakyat state government in Perak, all options to resolve the political crisis in Perak will have to be considered.