Archive for July 2nd, 2009

Relativism and the Politics of Absolutes

By Farish A. Noor

Studying Malaysian politics is a chore in itself, but rewarding for the simple reason that it is one of the most plural, complex and complicated countries in the world. Among all the countries that I have worked on, it is Malaysia that continues to challenge my capacity to think (and relax) for the simple reason that its communitarian mode of sectarian politics is an odd blend of modernity and primordialism that is seldom equalled anywhere else.

At present the opposition coalition known as the Peoples Alliance (Pakatan Rakyat) is once again in a state a crisis – or rather manifold crises – as the component parties bicker over the mode of governance in the states that they won after the elections of March 2008. Bringing together the predominantly Chinese-Malaysian Left-leaning DAP, the multiracial PKR and the overwhelmingly Malay-Muslim Islamists of PAS was never an easy task; and it was said from the outset that the coalition was an instrumental one.

Today however the coalition is once again at breaking point after the DAP threatened to leave the coalition over a dispute over the destruction of a pig abattoir in the state of Kedah, disputes over contracts awarded to development projects in Penang and Selangor, and the lingering fear that the Islamists of PAS will push their Islamisation agenda in the states that have come under their control. Seemingly trivial matters such as the sale of pork and alcohol have forced all three parties to the defensive, with each party holding steadfast to its stand. Read the rest of this entry »


100 reasons why Malaysia needs a new Inspector-General of Police

The passage of the Enforcement Agencies Integrity Commission (SIAP) Bill by Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday is the last nail in the coffin of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) proposed by the Royal Police Commission more than four years ago in May 2005.

It also marks the failure of the Barisan Nasional government and the police leadership to fully honour and implement the 125 recommendations of the Royal Police Commission set up by former Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi during his “First 100 Days” to revamp and reform the police, which had raised such high hopes and expectations among Malaysians creating such a national euphoria that Abdullah won an unprecedented landslide victory in the March 2004 general elections winning over 91% of the parliamentary seats!

Who must take the greatest responsibility for such a great national letdown and disappointment, if not the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan?
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PAC decision to summon Liong Sik, Kong Choy, Attorney-General to testify on RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal lauded though belated

My three questions (No.100 to No. 102) on the 34th day in the current series to Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat on the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal today are:

Question No. 1 – This is the second day that I am starting my “three questions a day” with a welcome.

Yesterday I welcomed the Port Klang Authority (PKA) Board decision on the withholding of RM660 million in the next drawdown of the government’s soft loan of RM4.6 billion to pay the PKFZ turnkey developer Kuala Dimensi Sdn. Bhd. (KDSB) for the PKFZ land and construction.

Today I welcome the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) decision yesterday to summon in a fortnight the two former Transport Ministers, Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik and Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy, as well as the Attorney-General, to testify over the PKFZ scandal. The PAC is also to summon the Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BNBBC) and MP for Bintulu Tiong King Sing, who is also the CEO of KDSB.
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Crucial to resolve conversion issues without delay: Lim

The Sun | Giam Say Khoon

KUALA LUMPUR (July 1, 2009) : Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timur) wants parliament to convene an emergency sitting to pass amendments to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 not relating to Islam.

He said the announcement of Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz on Tuesday that laws on conversion would be indefinitely put on hold pending a decision of the Conference of Rulers was a great disappointment and setback in the resolution of such a “burning issue”.

“I call on the cabinet on Friday to take a bold decision on matters arising from unilateral conversions … these must be resolved without any delay,” Lim said.

“The Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act has nothing to do with Islam, and I call on the cabinet to make a decision so that parliament can convene an emergency sitting in July or August, specially to deal with this problem which has become so polarising and dividing,” he said at the parliament lobby.
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