Archive for September 1st, 2009

He looks like KPI Minister, sounds like KPI Minister but is he KPI Minister?

In his first National Day message, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak called on Malaysians to “repair the bridges and tear down the divisive walls” that exist among the races.

Najib blamed “opportunistic people” who had exploited the friction among the people to cause the bridges, which were painstakingly built by the nation’s founding fathers, to become shaky.

Najib has hit the crisis of nation-building in Malaysia on the head, except that he is still in denial as to the “opportunists” who have been most guilty of undermining nation-building efforts – when the culprits are to be found within the Barisan Nasional and not outside.

For instance, will Umno leaders particularly Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Umno President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin be prepared to respond to Najib’s National Day call and apologise for erecting divisive walls and damaging bridges resulting in greater national divisions and heightened racial and religious polarization after the March 8 general elections last year and in particular in the five months of Najib premiership with its 1Malaysia slogan?
Read the rest of this entry »


Bumpy stretch ahead for Malaysia

By Cheong Suk-Wai | Singapore Straits Times

AUG 29 – In early May 1969, Australian anthropologist Clive Kessler rode his motorcycle through Kelantan hamlets for 30km to the nearest telephone box. He then called his parents in Sydney and told them: “You’re going to hear about trouble in a few parts of Malaysia in the next few days, but not where I am.”

Sure enough, Malaysia’s bloodiest civil strife erupted. Dr Kessler, who was then there to observe Islamist politics, had predicted it in an article he wrote to the press and in an interview he gave the Times of London in April 1969.

Now 67, the emeritus professor of sociology and anthropology at the University of New South Wales in Sydney has been a Malaysia watcher for more than 40 years and published prodigiously on it, including two books.

He had taught at the London School of Economics (LSE) and then Columbia University in New York city from the late 1960s till 1980. In that time, he worked closely with such lions in his field as LSE’s Maurice Freedman and Raymond Firth as well as Princeton’s Clifford Geertz.

He got in touch with me initially about my published review of his compatriot Anthony Milner’s book, The Malays. In the review, I had wrongly attributed to Dr Kessler the view that if the Malay cannot make something of himself, he will try to bend others to his will. Dr Kessler was gracious about my unwitting error and we got to talking about Malaysia in Subang Jaya, Selangor, at the tail end of his two-month sojourn there recently.
Read the rest of this entry »



By Hussein Hamid

You will never know what it is like to be discriminated against because you are rich or poor or because of your colour, race or religion until you have experience it your self. I was in London in the 60’s and London then still had pockets of areas where you would be treated differently because you are Asian. You will be waiting to be served at these places and you will be ignored until the ‘white’ have been served first. You would go look at a flat that you saw advertised in the local papers and be told that “it is taken”. Invariably we Asians found ourselves living in houses where there were other Asian tenants.

We Asian in turn used to mock the blacks and called them “Gagak” or crows and the whites we sometimes called them “Babi”. In one memorable episode me and some friends were on the London bus and we were referring to the gentleman in a bowler hat sitting behind us as “Babi this and Babi that”…Then as his stop came he stood up behind us with his briefcase and umbrella and politely told us “ Tolong beri laluan ini Babi nak jalan”. He must have been one of those colonial masters that came to administer Malaysia.

My unpleasant experiences in London with discrimination, however slight, made me realize that it was unpleasant to be discriminated against – for any reason. Coming back to KL around the early 70’s brought me head on with the ‘bumiputra’ and NEP situation that gave so much hope and expectations of good things to come for us Malays, regardless of our standing in life. My memories of these times are a bit hazy but one experience can capture the essence of those times. At the apex of my time doing “Project Acquisition” I had two penthouses costing me RM30 thousand a month, two Generals and back up staff under my payroll. Read the rest of this entry »