Archive for January, 2010

For Karpal, the personal is political

29 Jan 10 : 8.00AM
By Deborah Loh; The Nut Graph

FIVE years ago, in the blink of an eye, life changed for the Lion of Jelutong. A car accident close to midnight on 28 Jan 2005 now keeps Karpal Singh confined to a wheelchair and under constant supervision and assistance in order to perform the simplest of tasks.

That incident has not dampened the Bukit Gelugor Member of Parliament’s drive to serve in law and politics. Even so, Karpal, 70, considers his disability worse than detention without trial under the Internal Security Act, which he experienced for two years from 1987 under Operasi Lalang.

At an age and under circumstances where many others would have retreated to live quietly, the DAP national chairperson is still fighting — as an opposition leader, a crusader for justice, and against physical pain, which he tries to ignore by working. The Nut Graph spoke to Karpal at his law firm in Kuala Lumpur on 20 Jan 2010 while he was preparing for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s second sodomy trial which starts on 2 Feb.

TNG: What keeps you going in politics?

Karpal Singh: Making sure that government is held accountable. Once in a while we get into trouble, but that’s the risk we take. For example, I’ve been charged with sedition for saying that the sultan of Perak can be sued. Of course he can be sued. And even if I were wrong, it’s just my opinion. Does that amount to a crime?

During Anwar’s first sodomy trial, I was charged for what I said while discharging my duties in court. It was when urine tests on Anwar found that he had an excessive amount of arsenic in his blood. I made a statement in court that he had been poisoned, and that people in high places were responsible. Read the rest of this entry »


Khaled should not turn the clock back but boldly go forward to foster the spirit of academic freedom among university lecturers and students

Higher Education Minister Datuk Khaled Nordin should not turn the clock back but boldly go forward to foster the spirit of academic freedom among university lecturers and students by supporting University of Malaya Vice Chancellor Ghauth Jasmon’s handling of the campus polls controversy.

Khaled should not undermine Ghauth’s authority as UM VC by attacking or criticizing the latter’s decision to suspend the controversial campus election to allow an independent testing of the e-voting system as well as to investigate allegations of bias and partisanship of the deputy vice chancellor of student affairs (HEP) Azarae Idris.

There is talk that Khaled is so unhappy with Ghauth that moves are afoot to replace him with a new Vice Chancellor for University of Malaya.

Khaled should quash such talk and deny any such moves without any delay as any such arbitrary and high-handed Ministerial interference in university autonomy will have far-reaching consequences and bring to nought all recent efforts to restore University of Malaya’s status as one of the world’s Top 200 universities.

It is open secret that UMNO and UMNO Youth leaders were blatantly involved in the recent as well as previous campus elections, not only in University of Malaya but also in other public universities – not only directly but also through their proxies in the various university administrations.
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PR Penang greatest legacy – prove right policies can make Malays and Malaysians compete and succeed against the best

by Lim Guan Eng

Pakatan Rakyat Penang’s greatest legacy to Malaysia and greatest threat to BN’s stranglehold on power is to prove that the right policies can make Malays compete and succeed against the best in the world. Ever since the Pakatan Rakyat Penang state government took power in March 2008, we have made integrity and CAT governance(Competency, Accountability and Transparency) the hallmark of financial administration.

New measures implemented includes competitive and public open tender, payments directly to recipients without going through middle-men, priority given to Penang contractors, e-tender through the internet and a 2 week objection period to ensure that successful contractor no longer need “political cables” but “computer cables”. There is no doubt that competitive open tenders saves costs and improve quality.

Many contractors have been liberated with the implementation of open tenders at all levels. For Class F contractors which is only open to bumis, open tender system has allowed non-UMNO linked contractors in Penang to get contracts for the first time. In the past contracts are usually reserved for UMNO cronies and those outside the state. Clearly the competitive open tender system of PR is more transparent, accountable and beneficial to the people compared to the negotiated tender system for BN cronies.

What is more surprising is the outcome of the open tender system open to all races. Instead of perception that Malays cannot compete and that the non-Malay contractor would win all open tender contracts, this is not true. Since the new PR government took over, Penang Development Corporation(PDC) had issued 23 tender awards, of which 7(30%) were won by non-Malay contractors and 16(70%) won by Malay contractors. Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang(PBAPP) had issued 66 tender awards of which 22(33%) were won by non-Malay contractors as compared to 44(67%) by Malay contractors.

The performance by Malay contractors in an open tender system with non-Malays proves that Malay contractors can compete with others and win tender awards on their own merit. Clearly it is not the race that is an issue but failed policies that encourage dependency especially when it helps BN maintain the status quo and its grip on power. Read the rest of this entry »


Disappointed Doctor


I am a medical doctor who was educated overseas and worked in Australia for several years and recently decided to return to Malaysia to serve the country.

As a professional working overseas I heard about the ‘Program bagi mengalakkan warganegara Malaysia yang berpakaran yang bekerja di luar negara pulang ke Malaysia’ and therefore applied for it. I was very disappointed when they rejected my application on the grounds that it was sent after I returned to Malaysia. Apparently it was meant to be sent whilst I was still in Australia.

I find this a very poor excuse given the fact that Malaysia is trying to lure back its citizens to work for them. It discourages professionals such as me from having to bear the burden to return but not have any perks or encouraging incentives. Furthermore, my parents bore my exorbitant medical tuition fees and I did not receive any governmental loans whatsoever. The “least” is something anyone would expect.

Besides that, it took me a great deal of an effort to locate the abovementioned application form which was hidden in the catacombic archives of one of the governmental websites. Talk about purposeful inconvenience or perhaps voluntary neglect. Read the rest of this entry »


Khaled – Hands off! Respect and uphold University of Malaya Vice Chancellor Ghauth Jasmon’s decision on moratorium and suspension of campus polls

Hands off! Respect and uphold the University of Malaya Vice Chancellor Ghauth Jasmon’s decision on the moratorium and suspension of University of Malaya campus polls.

This is the message all Malaysians hoping to see the restoration of academic freedom and excellence in our public universities, particularly University of Malaya, want to send to the Higher Education Minister Datuk Khaled Nordin.

Khaled has already jumped into the campus fray by questioning the judgment of the University of Malaya Vice Chancellor in suspending the campus elections and his decision to resolve the campus poll controversy, viz:

  • appointment of an IT consultant by the pro-students group to test the e-voting system – a re-election to be held if it is proven that elements of fraud or abuse exist.

  • investigate allegations that deputy vice-chancellor of student affairs (HEP) Azarae Idris misused university funds to quarantine HEP sponsored candidates at a hotel, the night before nomination.

I call on Khaled to endorse the decision and judgment of Gauth Jasmon, taking into account legitimate complaints about the campus electoral process.
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Pakatan Rakyat – what next

Pakatan Rakyat won a renewal of public confidence and trust with the successful holding of the Pakatan Rakyat national convention in Shah Alam on Dec. 19 last year and the demonstration of greater responsibility and maturity as compared to Umno and Barisan Nasional in the response to the “Allah” controversy which had further marred the image and reputation of Malaysia, both locally and internationally, since the new year.

But in a matter of days, these hard-won gains for the Pakatan Rakyat were largely undone not by the acts of our political adversaries but by the deeds of Pakatan Rakyat standard-bearers.

As a result, there is now a new round of public questioning as to whether Pakatan Rakyat can be trusted with the great responsibility of federal power in the next general elections.

This internal haemorrhaging, at a time when the Umno-led Barisan Nasional is intensifying its political offensive with a new round of abuses of the national institutions and instruments, must end.

This will be the challenge of the Pakatan Rakyat leadership council when it meets tomorrow. Read the rest of this entry »


Instant rejection of proposal for Parliamentary Select Committee on 1Malaysia GTP – cannot withstand public and parliamentary scrutiny?

I am very disappointed that my proposal yesterday for the establishment of an opposition-headed Parliamentary Select Committee on 1Malaysia Government Transformation Programme was given the immediate short shrift by the second KPI Minister, Datuk Idris Jala who rejected the proposal out of hand.(Sin Chew)

I find this very revealing but ominous as the instant rejection of the proposal for a Parliamentary Select Committee on 1Malaysia GTP shows that the two KPI Ministers Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon and Idris have no confidence that the GTP Roadmap can go very far out of the laboratory stage to withstand public and parliamentary scrutiny.

They are probably right and it will be most tragic if all the interests of GTP is focused at the laboratory stage more as “academic exercises” than in translating them into actual policies and programmes subject to public and parliamentary scrutiny.

The virtually total absence of public interest in the 1Malaysia GTP Roadmap Launch exhibition at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre yesterday, to the extent that I felt very embarrassed both for myself and for the KPI Ministers when I paid it a visit with DAP MPs Fong Kui Lun (Bukit Bintang) and Tony Pua (PJ Utara), is proof that despite 10 months and tens of millions of ringgit of publicity about the “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now” concept, Najib’s Government Transformation Programme has failed to catch fire and is in danger of failing like a damp squib. Read the rest of this entry »


Call on Najib to immediately abolish the practice of support letters for contracts to demonstrate his commitment to zero tolerance for corruption

When I visited the Lab Open Day of the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) in Sunway on 18th December last year, I raised the question about the government’s seriousness and commitment to declare an all-out war against corruption and asked why nobody in government, starting from the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak had ever talked about “zero tolerance for corruption”, and this question remains as valid today as seven weeks ago.

It is no use the GTP lab on “fighting corruption” referring to “zero tolerance for corruption” when nobody in government, from the Prime Minister downwards is prepared to embrace it.

The GTP Roadmap makes grandiloquent statements and proposals about fighting corruption but the political will to implement them are sorely lacking.

It proposes the gradual reduction of the “practice of support letters, which are used to exert undue influence on civil servants to circumvent standard policies and processes in obtaining contracts”.

It said:
“Often, these interventions do not necessarily originate from politicians themselves, but from vested individuals who use the support letters as leverage to negotiate with the Government.
Read the rest of this entry »


Establish opposition-headed Parliamentary Select Committee on 1Malaysia Government Transformation Programme Roadmap to exercise parliamentary oversight if Najib, Tsu Koon and Idris are serious about major government reforms

I embarrassed Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, the KPI Minister and Chairman of Pemudah and Datuk Idris Jala, the Second KPI Minister and CEO of Pemudah when together with DAP MP for PJ Utara Tony Pua and MP for Bukit Bintang Fong Kui Lun, I visited the 1Malaysia Government Transformation Programme (GTP) Roadmap exhibition just after noon.

Apart from Idris, the GTP Roadmap exhibition staff and the media, there was hardly a soul from the public. Reporters said that the venue was as empty yesterday except for the official launching ceremony of the GTP Roadmap by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

It is almost ten months since Najib became Prime Minister, and apart from his dazzling “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now” slogan and concept, Malaysians have not felt and could not perceive that there is any meaningful change in their daily lives.

The 261-page “1Malaysia Government Transformation Programme” would make an impressive thesis on nation-building and government transformation but the national challenge today is not who can produce the best-sounding thesis but have the political will to implement meaningful changes in all aspects of national life.

In fact, there could not be a worse time for the launching of the 1Malaysia Government Transformation Programme when for the past month, the Malaysian image of a united, harmonious and progressive nation had suffered prolonged battering in the international media because of the failure of find a quick solution to the “Allah” controversy.
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PM Najib must institute good governance before the country can achieve high income economy

by Dr Chen Man Hin, DAP life adviser


Dr. Zakaria, executive director of MIER at an economic conference on 26th January, stated that for Malaysia to become a high income country, it must liberalise the economy to attract both foreign direct investments as well as domestic investments. This is a hopeful statement, from a dedicated public servant, who wants to see his country prosper.

Unfortunately, he is going to be disappointed, not for lack of trying, but because the political and economic realities do not encourage both foreign and domestic investors to put money in this country.

Widespread corruption, racial prejudices and over regulation of the economy are unfriendly and deter investors to invest. Under an unstable cloud, the investors will not deem the climate here favourable to investors. In fact, this has led to a huge outflow of capital from the country.

Read the rest of this entry »


Middle Malaysia

By Dr Chen Man Hin, DAP life adviser


Actually, the evolution of Middle Malaysia was spontaneous when about 50% of the electoral votes of 2008 general election supported a minimum common programme of the PKR-DAP-PAS coalition.

March 8th 2008 was a turning point for the country when the coaltion achieved a resounding victory by capturing five States and denied the Barisan of a two thirds majority. It signified that half the electorate wanted a Malaysia that was democratic, just, transparent, with religious freedom and rule of law – all the prnciples of the common programme of the Coalition of PKR-DAP-PAS.

The momentous victory for the coalition marked the spontaneous birth of a MIDDLE MALAYSIA.

Read the rest of this entry »


Which were the top 20 schools in the early years of the nation?

(How many of the 20 high-performance schools picked by Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin would have been your choice?

May be, lets open a debate as to which were the top 20 “high-performance” schools when the country achieved Merdeka in 1957 and became Malaysia in 1963, how many of them are in Muhyiddin’s Top 20 schools and why the rest have lost out in the placings?

Reproduced below is one view by Lee Wei Lian in Malaysian Insider)

The tragic tale of Malaysian education
by Lee Wei Lian
Malaysian Insider
January 27 2010

What do Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Malaysia’s founding father Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s second richest man T. Ananda Krishnan and YTL chairman Tan Sri Francis Yeoh have in common?

The answer: all four studied at once famous schools that are now glaringly absent from the list of 20 high performance schools recently announced by the government.

Victoria Institution (Ananda, Yeoh), St John’s Institution (Najib), Penang Free School (Tunku Abdul Rahman) and others like Malacca High School and St Michael’s Institution are all storied schools that have been allowed to fall behind until they are no longer counted as among the elite educational institutions in the country.

Just imagine if Eton College in the UK or Raffles Institution in Singapore was not recognised as one of the top schools in their respective countries.

That is the equivalent of what has befallen what were once the most respected schools in Malaysia. Today, they do not even rate a mention on a list of the top 20 high performance schools.

It is a crying shame as these schools produced many leaders that were influential in the development of Malaysia and to a lesser extent even in Singapore. Read the rest of this entry »


More important for Najib to convene all-party all-religion RTC to demonstrate Malaysian unity and condemnation of religious intolerance giving real meaning to 1Malaysia than to officiate launching of hollow-sounding GTP

The desecration of two mosques in Petaling Jaya, the Masjid Jumhuriyah in Taman Dato Harun and the Al- Imam Tirmizi mosque at Taman Sri Sentosa this morning, must be condemned in no uncertain terms – no ifs and buts – by all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation.

Again, for the past four weeks since the beginning of the year, Malaysia is hogging the international limelight for all the wrong reasons – the 16th and 17th cases of desecration of places of worship involving arson attempts and acts of vandalism which now involve 11 churches, a Sikh gurdwara, three mosques and two surau.

This has aggravated Malaysia’s crisis of confidence to attract foreign investors, tourists and students, undermining Malaysia’s international competitiveness and tarnishing Malaysia as a safe and secure haven for FDIs and as an ideal location for tourists and students.

Clearly there are irresponsible people out to cause mischief and create inter-religious strife arising from the Dec. 31 judgment of the Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Datuk Lau Bee Lan lifting the 2007 Home Ministry ban on the Catholic Church weekly Herald and allowing the use of the word “Allah” in its Bahasa Malaysia version, and it is most unfortunate that the lack of firm commitment by the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein to uphold the rule of law had sent out the wrong message to these mischief makers.
Read the rest of this entry »


Ripping to shreds Shamsul Akmar’s arguments

Raja Petra Kamarudin

I would like to reply to Shamsul’s article that appeared in today’s New Straits Times. You can read the full text of the article below. The parts in brackets (Point number 1, 2, 3, etc.) are my own additions for easy reference — so that you know which part of the article I am replying to.

Point number 1: Ex-Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been lamenting about the problem with the Malays his entire life. His letters to First Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman (which I have already published in the Internet back in 2001-2002) and his book, The Malay Dilemma, show that his opinion of the Malays go way back to the 1960s.

During one Umno general assembly, Mahathir cried because, according to him, he was disappointed about the attitude of the Malays. When asked by a journalist soon after he retired what he would consider his greatest regret in 22 years as Prime Minister, Mahathir replied that his greatest regret is that he could not change the attitude of the Malays.

And which part of the attitude of the Malays is Mahathir so upset about? He said it in his letters to Tunku Rahman, he said it in his book, The Malay Dilemma, and he said it many times more after that.
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Allah row easy to solve if we follow His bidding, not Umno’s

By Wong Choon Mei, Harakah

The ongoing row over whether non-Muslims can use the word Allah to describe God has flushed out many systemic weaknesses, and also highlighted how unprincipled some of our political and religious leaders have become.

Just to stay on the winning side, many seem to think nothing of abandoning basic truth and simple facts. So much so, it is no longer religious principle but vested interest that is now the core tussle behind the row, and that whoever speaks the loudest – regardless of whether the verbiage is backed by the Quran or not – will emerge victorious.

Against such moral deterioration, what are the chances of an inter-faith dialogue finding a way forward that is satisfactory to all quarters? Against such deliberate cultivation of prejudice, can the voices of every participating faith be heard equally, or will they be drowned out selectively?

The answer depends on whose bidding Malaysians – be they Muslims or non-Muslims – follow.

Deliberate lies
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Would Tsu Koon raise in Cabinet tomorrow setting up of unity desks in all ministries and government departments to foster national unity and inter-racial, inter-religious and inter-cultural understanding on the ground?

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon yesterday called on media organisations to set up a special desk to be known as the Unity Desk to assist the government in improving mutual understanding among the multi-racial people in the country.

He said at the opening of the Media and Unity Symposium that the special desk could serve just like any other desk in the organisation, but with greater focus on efforts to foster national unity as well as religious and cultural understanding.

He suggested that media organisations with various and multi-language mediums should give priority to improving national unity and harmony by interacting frequently with one another to make the effort a success.

There is merit in Koh’s proposal and if there is any reservation, it is why Koh as the Minister responsible for KPI and national unity, should be tinkering at the edges of the problem of national unity when he should be grappling with the central issues as to why Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia slogan and concept have failed to live up to the early promise to inspire unity and solidarity among the diverse races, religions, cultures and regions in the country?
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Why Police has not lodged report against Awang Selamat and Mingguan Malaysia for sedition when it had lodged report against Guan Eng for sedition?

Since the publication in Mingguan Malaysia yesterday of Awang Selamat’s editorial “Melayu sokong DAP?” reeking with racist poison and incitement, the question many Malaysians ask is why the police has not lodged police report against Mingguan Malaysia and Awang Selamat for sedition and to initiate police investigations when the police could lodge a police report against DAP Secretary-General and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng for his speech at the Pakatan Rakyat national convention in Shah Alam last month.

Malaysians want to know whether the police are guilty of double standards, especially when Guan Eng had clearly not committed any sedition when he referred to the mysterious death of Teoh Beng Hock at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters in Shah Alam on July 16 last year, while the Awang Selamat editorial in the Mingguan Malaysia clearly violated the Sedition Act in seeking to incite racial animosities and hatred with its spiel of seditious lies and falsehood as alleging that DAP is anti-Malay and wants to abolish the Malay monarchy by establishing a republic.

This is a question that the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan should account to the Malaysian people – whether the police are guilty of double standards.

Awang Selamat’s editorial in the Mingguan Malaysia yesterday is also a clear challenge of Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia slogan and concept.
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Najib should set a two-week deadline to resolve the “Allah” controversy to salvage his 1Malaysia slogan and to defuse the latest factor driving away Malaysian talents and FDIs

The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak should set a two-week deadline to resolve the “Allah” controversy to salvage his 1Malaysia slogan and to defuse the latest factor driving away Malaysian talents and FDIs.

The Police are to be commended for their quick arrests in connection with four arson attacks on churches and suraus and Malaysians hope that the police can expeditiously resolve all the 15 cases of arson and vandalism against places of worship in the first three weeks of the year since the Kuala Lumpur High Court judgment on the “Allah” controversy on Dec. 31 last year.

Right from the beginning, this controversy had been mishandled by the authorities, in particular the political leadership, who have failed to fully realize the negative impact and far-reaching consequences of the issue to the country.

The Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, for instance, should stop play politics on the issue and not allow his political role as Umno leader to wrongly influence his professional judgment and other aspects of his duties as Home Minister.

For instance, Hishammuddin said in Kuala Terengganu on Friday that the arson attacks on churches and suraus in the country could be attempts to undermine the 1Malaysia vision.
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Dr Mahathir – a Creation of the US!

By Martin Jalleh

For a very long time the US government was looking for a political lackey to do its bidding in South East Asia. They scoured the earth and soon found their man in Bolehland – a land where anything is possible. He was none other than Dr Mahathir Mohamad (Dr M). They would mould, modify and manage him into a perfect make-believe.

They first portrayed Dr M as the savior of his nation. He would make great speeches about the grave threat of recolonisation but for his own political survival he would hone to perfection and use a gamut of archaic repressive laws left behind by the Colonial Master. US professors in history and politics would then write about the tragedy of how the once-oppressed are now the oppressors in the Third World!

Next they projected him through the foreign press as a Voice of the Third World. Dr M would invite Nelson Mandela to stand next to him in Kuala Lumpur to declare his anti-apartheid vehemence. The same media would then go to town with his racist stance at home reinforced recently by a Cabinet minister who crowned him a “Bloody racist” and a “Father of racists”! It was an excellent smokescreen for racism in US.
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BN-style resolution to “Allah” issue

By Jacqueline Ann Surin | The Nut Graph

WORD is, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is mightily concerned about the “Allah” issue and wants the matter resolved.

Forgive me, but it’s hard to believe this, based on the public statements the government has been making. Honestly, how can we believe that the Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) government under Najib’s leadership is sincere about resolving the issue of who can use “Allah”?

Indeed, apart from Najib, at least three other cabinet members have publicly displayed a lack of respect, knowledge, or even intelligence about the issues at stake.

Dialogue BN-style

First off is Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Jamil Khir Baharom, who calls for interfaith dialogue but in the same breath tells church leaders to drop their claim to use “Allah” to refer to God.

To substantiate his argument, reported on 11 Jan 2010, Jamil Khir declared that “church leaders must have deep understanding of the situation and history” about the use of “Allah” in Malaysia.
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