Archive for March, 2009

Ban “Altantuya” name – Najib crackdown bordering on Najib madness

With Datuk Seri Najib Razak all set to be sworn in as the sixth Prime Minister on Friday, all stops are off for a Najib crackdown – the latest being the ban on a Mongolian name, Altantuya Shariibuu, from public discourse.

When I said yesterday that Najib’s ascension as the next Prime Minister marks an enveloping darkness descending in all fronts of human rights, as hardly a day passes in the past fortnight without a new encroachment and erosion of the fundamental liberties whether freedom of speech, expression, assembly, association or the right to information, I had not expected to be vindicated again within 24 hours.

Sad. Very sad. It would appear as if Malaysia has not become enough of an international laughing stock in recent times chalking up a lengthening list of most shameful episodes, like Read the rest of this entry »


Checkmate Barisan National in Perak

by Koon Yew Yin
20th March 2009

Like most ordinary people, I was initially very confused by all the articles and commentaries on the Perak constitutional crisis. Just like reading an interesting book, I was anxious to know what the ending would be. There is one important difference though. Unlike a book, the ending of this crisis – for better or for worse – will affect my life and the lives of ordinary rakyat of Perak, as well as all Malaysians, given the ramifications that the outcome will have on the constitutional process of political power and governance.

In recent weeks I have become increasingly concerned with the twists and turns in this modern version of the Perak wayang kulit which – as with some of the stories found in its traditional form – contains strong moral and ethical elements. These recent developments include the infamous act of demolition of the “Democracy Plaque” put up by the rain tree and the recent action taken by the Federal Government to charge Karpal Singh under the ISA for saying that the Perak Sultan can be sued.

All these events seem to indicate that the Barisan Nasional Government has prevailed in its attempt to oust the Pakatan Rakyat state government from power. Reading the official media accounts and analysis one can certainly be forgiven for thinking this. I, too, similarly was of this view until I attended the talk given by former Appellant Judge Dato N.H. Chan at the Perak Bar Council on 19th March 09. The title of his talk was ‘ How to Judge a Judge’. To get the maximum benefit from the lecture, I read up Justice Chan’s two articles, namely ‘The tussle between the Sultan and the Mentri Besar in Perak’ and ‘The Arrogance of a Novice Judge’. Read the rest of this entry »


Does Najib want to turn Malaysia into a criminal state?

Umno/BN leaders in Perak are mortally afraid of the Democracy Tree under which the Perak State Assembly convened on March 3, 2008 although the Perak Speaker and the overwhelming majority of the Perak Assembly members were locked out of the Perak State Assembly in the State Secretariat building by an illegal and usurper Mentri Besar and State Executive Council.

Umno/BN leaders in Perak are mortally afraid of the Democracy Tree plaque commemorating the historic occasion where the spirit for democracy in Perak refuse to be quashed by arbitrary, high-handed and illegal exercise of “usurper” executive power.

Umno/BN leaders in Perak are now mortally afraid of information technology and the DVD on the Democracy Tree which recorded for posterity the events leading to the historic Perak State Assembly under the Ipoh Raintree!

This was why DAP Perak State Assemblyman for Tebing Tinggi Ong Boon Piow was arrested by the police for allegedly violating the Film Censorship Act 2002 in not getting approval and a B certificate from the Film Censorship Board before “manufacturing, circulating, distributing, displaying” the Democracy Tree DVD.

This is a draconian law which must be repealed. It provides for a mandatory minimum fine of RM5,000 and up to RM30,000, three years’ jail or both, for any conviction under the Act. In other words, an MP or State Assembly member found guilty under this charge would automatically be disqualified as an elected representative in view of the mandatory minimum fine of RM5,000 – as a fine of RM2,000 and above in a criminal charge is sufficient to cause such disqualification. Read the rest of this entry »


Bukit Gantang by-election – three historic missions of the voters

The 55,562 voters in the Bukit Gantang parliamentary constituency have a three-fold historic mission when they cast their votes in the by-election on Tuesday, April 7, 2009.

Firstly, to vote on behalf of the people of Perak to reject the unethical, undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional power grab in Perak orchestrated by Datuk Seri Najib Razak sparking off a prolonged constitutional crisis with two Mentris Besar, a political stalemate and the grave erosion of the doctrine of the separation of powers, symbolised by the Democracy Tree in Ipoh which has entered into Malaysian political folklore and gained international recognition and admiration. Vote on April 7 for a return of the mandate to the voters of Perak by dissolving the Perak State Assembly and holding of state general election for Perakians to decide on the government of their choice.

Secondly, to vote on behalf of the people of Malaysia to send a clear and unmistakable message to Najib, who is to succeed Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as Prime Minister of Malaysia, that to safeguard the honour of the highest political office of the land and that of the nation, he must address the many serious swirling allegations haunting and hounding him whether about mega-defence commissions or the C4 murder of Mongolian Altantunya Shariibuu as they affect public and international perceptions about his suitability, integrity and legitimacy as Malaysian Prime Minister – and public interests demand a Royal Commission of Inquiry to establish Najib ’s innocence and clear his name with regard to all these allegations; and Read the rest of this entry »


May There Be Many More Such Encounters!

by M. Bakri Musa

I congratulate Ustaz Sheikh Mahmud for bringing Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi and Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim together recently for a luncheon honoring Prophet Muhammad’s birthday. I also applaud Anwar and Abdullah for their very public display of civility towards each other on that occasion.

Along the same vein, I am pleased to see on the last day of the UMNO General Assembly Tun Mahathir and Abdullah Badawi shaking hands. Despite the many harsh exchanges between them recently, at least they could still manage a brief show of courtesy. Supporters and commentators may read many things on that, but the fact they could bury their personal differences even if only momentarily is praiseworthy enough.

Such public gestures of cordiality and mutual respect are sadly lacking in our society today. As with everything else, we could only change that if we have some very visible examples set by our leaders. We can do without such obscene displays as when a supposedly “Honorable Member” calling the Deputy Prime Minister a murderer in the hallowed hall of Parliament, or the Minister of Education branding the leader of the Opposition “a traitor to Malays!” Splendid example for our school children!

I wish academics as well as heads of NGOs, think tanks, and professional bodies would emulate Sheikh Mahmud. They too should bring together our leaders to discuss issues that deeply affect us in settings other than the political arena. Read the rest of this entry »


Perak Assemblyman arrested – for producing DVD on “Democracy Tree”


Boon Piaw was released by police on personal bond at 1.10 am this morning for allegedly violating the Film Censorship Act 2002 for “manufacturing, circulating, distributing, displaying” the “Democracy Tree” DVD without first getting a B certificate from the Film Censorship Board.

Such an offence entails a fine from RM5,000 to RM30,000, three years’ jail or both.

Boon Piaw is to report back to the police on April 13 to find out the next course of police action.

Just imagine the far-reaching repercussions of such a law – which will make a criminal of every IT-savvy citizen in the country!

Ominous signs of increasing repression in Malaysia under Najib.

(9.15.46 am)

Just before 11 pm last night (Sunday), DAP Perak State Assemblyman for Tebing Tinggi, Ong Boon Piaw was arrested at the Chin Woo Hall, Ipoh for the production of a DVD on the internationally-famous “Democracy Tree” – shortly after the launching and the public viewing of the DVD.

He has been taken to the Pekan Baru police station in Ipoh for the police arrest formalities.

Latest example of the increasing intolerance towards fundamental liberties like freedom of speech, thought and expression in Najib’s Malaysia!


Karpal attacked by missile torrent of loaded plastic “water bottles”

DAP National Chairman and MP for Bukit Gelugor Karpal Singh was attacked by a missile torrent of loaded plastic “water bottles” by Umno/Barisan Nasional members/supporters at the Bukit Gantang parliamentary by-election nomination centre at Taiping town hall this morning.

At least some 50 to 60 of these missiles were flung at Karpal’s MPV when he arrived at the nomination centre with his wife and supporters.

It was fortunate that there was no physical harm to Karpal and his entourage, and the MPV withstood the missile attacks but not without leaving behind tell-tale signs of the disgraceful, disgusting and despicable incident on the MPV windscreens and bodiwork.

Karpal has subsequently lodged a police report in Taiping against the latest example of growing nastiness and beastliness in Malaysian politics. Only last month, wheelchair-bound Karpal was mobbed by Selangor UMNO Youth goons in the parliamentary precincts seeking to interfere and intimidate him from discharging his parliamentary duties.

Will the police take against the latest UMNO culprits introducing an unacceptable and intolerable culture of violence in Malaysian politics? Read the rest of this entry »


MACC: Chucking Out The Wine And The Bottle

by Tunku Aziz

It is not for want of trying but, for the life of me, I find it difficult to take the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s self-trumpeted independence seriously. Since its much hyped up launch just weeks ago, its chief commissioner, Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan, has managed to put his mouth into overdrive while shifting his brains into reverse on at least two occasions. The F1 television advertisement has obviously got through to me at last.

The first was when he claimed that there was “good and strong evidence” against the Pakatan Rakyat menteri besar of Selangor, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim even before the MACC investigation into the “car and cows” saga had got into first gear.

More recently, he was again at his favourite game of shooting his mouth and, not content with that, he succeeded in shooting himself in the foot as well when he declared, to the chagrin and utter disbelief of us all, that there were “elements of misuse of power” in the case involving the Perak assembly speaker, V.Sivakumar. This was over the suspension of the “other” menteri besar Datuk Dr. Zambry Abdul Kadir and his six assembly men.

What are we to make of the MACC, Malaysia’s last great stab at corruption, when its chief commissioner is obviously intent, by his behaviour, on destroying any residual trace of public confidence in an organisation whose very creation has only been accepted tentatively and with a large dose of scepticism? Read the rest of this entry »


7.4.09 – Balik Mengundi!

Spread the word – Let’s Change For Malaysia!

This video is to remind Malaysians of the sense of hope and liberation felt by all Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, at the heart-thumping general election results of March 8, 2008 – uniting all Malaysians in an uplifting feeling that there is still a future for the country as change is possible.

With the three important by-elections of Bukit Gantang, Bukit Selambau and Batang Ai in eleven days’ time on April 7, 2009, let us reinforce the paradigm shift in Malaysian politics achieved last year after half-a-century of electoral politics to endorse the advent of two-coalition politics where Malaysians will always have a meaningful choice at the ballot box in the march towards freedom, democracy, justice, accountability, integrity and good governance.

Every vote counts in the three by-elections on April 7.

People’s power in Bukit Gantang, Bukit Selambau and Batang Ai to end political hegemony in the country!


New “MAHATHIR” prophecy on the next line of Malaysian Prime Ministers?

Making the rounds of the grapevine of Umno delegates and observers at the current Umno General Assembly is talk of a new political prophecy to replace the “RAHMAN” political prophecy on the first six Prime Ministers of the country – the “MAHATHIR” prophecy on the next line of Malaysian Prime Ministers.

Umno delegates and observers expect the RAHMAN prophecy to be fulfilled completely when Abdullah Ahmad Badawi relinquishes the premiership and Najib Razak is sworn in as the new Prime Minister.

But for the first time in Malaysian history, the popularity of the incoming Prime Minister is so dismal that even those who had earlier demanded the early departure of Abdullah from Putrajaya because of his failure to deliver on his host of reform pledges will find it a relief if Abdullah remains to block Najib’s ascension.

I do not see this scenario being played out but it is a most significant political phenomenon that many Malaysians, transcending the political divide, are wondering whether there is any way to stop Najib from becoming Prime Minister until he comes clean on the many serious swirling allegations haunting and hounding him affecting his suitability, integrity and legitimacy as Prime Minister and the honour of the highest political office in the land and that of the nation. Read the rest of this entry »


Politics in an Age of Unreason

By Farish A. Noor

So now the bomohs (witch doctors) rule the roost it would seem. The news that a magic charm or spell was found hidden surreptitiously under the desk of none other than the Prime Minister of Malaysia does not bode well for the future of this country of ours. It may make the headlines under the ‘Strange but True’ column of foreign papers, but this historian has grown somewhat jaded by now by such ridiculousness dressed in the garment of wonderment and fantasy. No, this was no laughing matter (and if we did laugh, it was a pitiable laugh at best).

One recalls the blanket order issued by some political parties last year just before the general elections of March 2008, to the effect that politicians should refrain from calling upon the services of such practitioners of the ‘black arts’. That political parties have to issue such warnings in the first place speaks volumes about the state of Malaysian politics today, a primordial politics that is being enacted in an age of unreason.

As a scholar in Britain in the 1990s I remember reading a report about a Latin American country that had fallen into an economic tailspin of unprecedented proportions. As inflation rose to the level of more than a thousand percent, the hapless citizens of that unfortunate country wondered aloud about how their country’s economy could have fallen apart in so short a space of time. Read the rest of this entry »


Second issue for Najib tomorrow – set up RCI to clear his name on Altantuya murder case and mega defence commissions

In his farewell speech as Umno President, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi conducted a public soul-searching on Umno’s crisis of confidence and test of credibility, asking: “Why are we suffering this fate, blamed to this terrible extent? Why are we now seen to be completely without virtue?”

Abdullah’s diagnosis is the same as the one I prescribed in Parliament on Wednesday, when I said Umno had become “power-crazy” (gila kuasa).

Abdullah admitted as much when he said the cause of the credibility crisis of Umno is because the party is “intoxicated” by power.

Abdullah said:

“We were intoxicated by our achievements and we become complacent. We believed that we had become all-powerful. We have put our own positions within the party first, instead of being concerned over Umno’s position in the eyes of our citizens and the nation.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Umno – buffetted by winds of change

by Tunku Abdul Aziz
26 March 2009

A monolithic organisation is by definition slow to change. This description fits UMNO like a glove. As it lumbered into its 59th annual party conference, the collective mood of the general assembly was much less confident than it had ever been in its history.

There was really nothing to celebrate, certainly not the succession of Najib with all that huge and unsavoury media attention he is attracting internationally. Even here in Malaysia, where standards of public morality and ethics are much less vigorously applied to those in high office, there is a real feeling of queasiness and unease that Najib appears to be so cavalier about the critical need to clear his name against what he protests are unsubstantiated allegations of impropriety. Read the rest of this entry »


M vs Pak Lah (Round 2) – Mahathirism vindicated, set to be dominant force in Najib premiership

Although Mahathir triumphalism was checked in Round One of the “M vs Pak Lah” battle in the elections for Umno Youth and Wanita leaders on Thursday, with the outgoing Prime Minister getting the upperhand, Round Two of the “M vs Pak Lah” battle for the top Umno posts yesterday saw Mahathirism vindicated and set to be the dominant force in the new Najib premiership.

With Abdullah’s proxy, Mohd Ali Rustam disqualified from the contest, Muhyiddin Yassin was elected Umno Deputy President with 1,575 votes, defeating Muhammad Muhammad Taib with 916 votes.

The three elected Umno Vice Presidents are Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (1,592 votes), Hishammuddin Husein (1,515 votes) and Mohd Shafie Apdal (1,445 votes).

Abdullah’s farewell speech to wean UMNO from the scourge of money politics and corruption did not go down well at all with the Umno delegates, as he was repeatedly booed when he spoke against “greedy and avaricious” Umno members who created “the negative perception that Umno is a corrupt party” and Umno members who “expect positions and projects”, “titles and awards”, “material fulfillment” while “the spirit of sacrifice, the spirit of struggle, the spirit of serving the people and country is fast fading away”! Read the rest of this entry »


Scraping the bottom of the barrel for judicial talent

How to judge a judge
– a talk given to the Perak Bar on 7 March 2009 –
by N. H. Chan

The judge’s craft

Before anyone can hope to be able to judge a judge it is essential that he should know about his craft. It is only when you know of the judge’s craft that you will be able to judge the performance of the judges: it is only then that you will know the difference between the good and the bad judges. But before you go about judging them, remember the words of the most liberal of American judges, judge Learned Hand, who once wrote:

“… while it is proper that people should find fault when the judges fail, it is only reasonable that they should recognise the difficulties. Perhaps it is only fair to ask that before the judges are blamed they shall be given the credit of having tried to do their best. Let them be severely brought to book, when they go wrong, but by those who will take the trouble to understand. (Leaned Hand, The Spirit of Liberty, at page 110)”

So do take the trouble to understand, then, you may severely bring the judges to book whenever they go wrong.
Read the rest of this entry »


UMNO or MIC General Assembly?

Crowd turns rowdy, cops called in
Star Online
Published: Thursday March 26, 2009 MYT 3:02:00 PM

UMNO secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor has asked for police help in maintaining calm at the general assembly at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) in Kuala Lumpur.

He said that he had made the request to Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar as the crowds along the hallways had grown excited and difficult to control.

“I am saddened by what is happening and if they are doing anything wrong they should be picked up,” he told reporters when asked about the conduct of candidates’ supporters.

Delegates, VIP guests and media were hindered by campaigners and the scene at times turned ugly, with some resorting to aggressive shoving and pushing. As a result, some people almost fell or were nearly trampled upon. Read the rest of this entry »


UMNO power-crazy? Yes, says Pak Lah…

Is Umno power-crazy?

I had said in Parliament (video) that if Umno is not power-crazy (gila kuasa), it would not have suffered the shattering defeat in the political tsunami in the last general election of March 8, 2008.

For speaking truth to power, I was suspended from Parliament yesterday.

Now, outgoing UMNO President and Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has admitted as much that Umno is power-crazy.

In fact, he even gave five illustrations of Umno being so power-crazed as to create a crisis of credibility and erosion of public trust in Umno.

According to Abdullah, the five factors resulting in Umno becoming power-crazy are as follows: Read the rest of this entry »


Abdullah’s warning against return of Mahathirism – Will Najib scotch talk of imminent ISA arrest of Anwar?

In his farewell Umno Presidential speech today, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi confirms his image as a basically decent and humble person who unfortunately could not translate his good instincts into government policy, measures and actions resulting in his being prematurely and ignominiously forced out by his own party and becoming the shortest-serving Prime Minister of the country.

Why is this so?

The fault cannot be borne by Abdullah alone, but must be on the shoulders of the rest of Umno and Barisan Nasional leaderships, for failing to give Abdullah the necessary support, and in many cases, for actively sabotaging him in the past five years to frustrate Abdullah from walking the talk of long overdue national reforms.

As a result, Abdullah could not even salvage and accomplish the minimalist legacy of reform he had hoped to leave behind before stepping down as Prime Minister – when the last of the trio of his final reform legislative programme, the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) Bill, had to be again deferred although it was meant to be the “crown jewel” of Abdullah’s last parliamentary meeting lasting 22 days from Feb. 16 which ended yesterday.

Even the first two of the trio of his minimalist reform legislation – the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) Act and the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) Act – have proved to be great disappointments and letdowns, but Abdullah seemed to have abandoned whatever is left of his reformist zeal in his last three months in office. Read the rest of this entry »


Umno power crazy – parliament video

Read the rest of this entry »


M vs Pak Lah (Round One) – M triumphalism checked

Mahathir triumphalism was checked with Abdullah Ahmad Badawi winning Round One of the “M vs Pak Lah” battle with the following Umno Youth Chief election results yesterday:

Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar 304

Datuk Seri Dr. Mohd Khir Toyo 254

Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir 232

But incoming Prime Minister, Najib Razak has not emerged as the clear winner, especially with the Umno Wanita chief results:

Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil 507

Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz 280

Today is Round 2 of the UMNO elections stakes.

Who will emerge the real winner – Najib, Mahathir, Abdullah or none?