Archive for July, 2010

We were once ‘Malaysians’

By Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah

The following keynote speech given by former finance minister and Gua Musang parliamentarian Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah at the 4th Annual Malaysian Student Leaders Summit (MSLS) today.

I have played some small role in the life of this nation, but having been on the wrong side of one or two political fights with the powers-that-be, I am not as close to the young people of this country as I would hope to be.

History and the 8 o’clock news are written by the victors. In recent years, the government’s monopoly of the media has been destroyed by the technology revolution.

You could say I was also a member of the United Kingdom and Eire Council for Malaysian Students (UKEC). Well, I was, except that belonged to the predecessor of the UKEC by more than 50 years, The Malayan Students Union of the UK and Eire. I led this organisation in 1958/59.
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MCA Ministers and leaders should show at least equal concern for “Justice for 27 million Malaysians who are victims of the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal” than “Justice for Ling Liong Sik”

MCA leaders, including Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung, lined up to give support to former MCA President and Transport Minister, Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik after he was charged with cheating the Cabinet in the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.

Without commenting on Ling’s case, Malaysians are entitled to expect that MCA Ministers and leaders should show at least equal concern for “Justice for 27 million Malaysians who are victims of the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal” than “Justice for Ling Liong Sik”.

What have the MCA national leadership, and in particular the four MCA Ministers, done to ensure justice for the 27 million Malaysians in connection with the PKFZ scandal?

Did the MCA national leadership and the MCA Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha prioritise the interests of the 27 million Malaysians when he overrode the decision of the Port Klang Authority (PKA) and directed it to pay its PKFZ bond obligation of RM222.58 million to Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB) special purpose vehicle Free Zone Capital Bhd (FZCB)? Read the rest of this entry »


Bolstering and Breeding Bigotry in Bolehland

By Martin Jalleh

The light, lenient, ludicrous and laughable court sentences on the cow-head protestors lends credence to the growing belief that Umno lives and lasts on bigotry

On 28 August last year, more than 50 people, shortly after their Friday prayers, marched from the Selangor state mosque in Shah Alam to the Selangor State Secretariat to protest the relocation of a 150-year old Hindu temple to their neighbourhood.

Amidst strong chants of “Allahuakbar!” they dragged and paraded the severed and bloodied head of a cow. One of their leaders shouted “I guarantee bloodshed and racial tension (if the temple relocation takes place)”.

Some of them made fiery speeches, spat on the severed cow’s head, kicked it, stomped on it, dumped it in front of the gates of the State Secretariat and proudly posed for photos, as police stood stoically, silently and submissively by.
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Will Mahathir or any of his Ministers in 2002 Cabinet testify in court of being misled by Ling to approve Port Klang Authority’s purchase of PKFZ land with 15-year repayment with compound interest instead of 10 years?

The charge preferred against former MCA President and Transport Minister, Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik, in connection with the RM12.5 million Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal has mystified many.

The charge against Ling reads:

“That you, between Sept 25 and Nov 6, 2002, at Level 4 of the Prime Minister’s Office in Bangunan Perdana Putra, cheated the Govern ment by deceiving the Cabinet into approving a land purchase in Pulau Indah for a Mega Distribution Hub project in Port Klang according to the terms agreed between Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd and Port Klang Authority which, among others, are:

  1. the size of the land being 999.5 acres or 43,538,200 sq ft

  2. the purchase price for the land being RM25 per sq ft amounting to a total of RM1,088,456,000

  3. the repayment period being based on a “deferred payment” of 15 years with an interest rate of 7.5% per annum (total RM720,014,600), and thereby dishonestly hiding the fact that the valuation by the Valuation and Property Service Department on the land was RM25 per sq ft for a repayment period of 10 years or RM25.82 per sq ft for a repayment period of 15 years, including coupon/interest that could be charged for the repayment period.

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Restructuring federal-state relations: Critical issue in next polls


Power must be devolved, decision-making must be decentralised, and development funds must be shared all the way down, asserts Francis Loh.

An important issue in the next general election, no doubt, must be the restructuring of federal-state relations. Our federal system of government needs to be transformed from a highly centralised to a more equal and co-operative one. Indeed, cooperative federal systems are the norm throughout the world, not only in Canada, Australia and Switzerland, but also in India, South Africa and Nigeria.

This means that more devolution of power must occur. As well, decentralisation of decision-making and of course disbursement of development funds from the federal government to the state governments. And the civil service must act more professionally to serve the government of the day, regardless of party affiliation.
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PKFZ scandal: Ex-transport minister Ling charged


Former transport minister Ling Liong Sik was today charged at the Kajang Sessions Court over his involvement in the multi-billion ringgit Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.

Ling, 67, who is also former MCA president, is by far the most prominent politician to be nabbed in recent years.

He is charged under Section 418 of the Penal Code with misleading the cabinet between Sept 25 and Nov 6, 2002 into agreeing to purchase 999.5 acres of land on Pulau Indah for a project, that is now known as PKFZ, at a price of RM25psf on a deferred payment method for a 15-year period, at a 7.5 interest rate.

The cumulative interest paid would total at RM720 million at the end of the repayment period.

He was also ffered an alternative charge under Section 417 of the Penal Code for the same offence.
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Call for reports of the PKFZ scandal “super taskforce” to be made public to account for actions taken by Najib administration in past year

The decision by the Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha to override the decision of the Port Klang Authority (PKA) and direct it to pay its Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) bond obligation of RM222.58 million to Freezone Capital Bhd (FZCB) is another proof that his topmost concern and those of the Najib Cabinet is to bail out the PKFZ turnkey contractor Kuala Dimensi Sdn. Bhd (KDSB) rather than to do justice to the 27 million Malaysian people in the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal.

The PKA Board had acted properly in expressing reservations on the payment of RM222.58 million to KDSB’s special purpose vehicle, FZCB, because of an RM1.4 billion ongoing suit and considering withholding payment because of its worry that it may not be able to recover funds from KDSB.

Kong’s decision is all the more deplorable as it has now been revealed that KDSB had given undertakings that it will cover any shortfall in bond repayments should PKA fail to do so, making it KDSB’s problem and not that of Malaysian taxpayers.
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Malaysia in the Era of Globalization #25

By M. Bakri Musa

Chapter 4: Modern Model States

The Celtic Tiger

Ireland is synonymous with emigration. Throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries Ireland’s biggest “export” was its people; they were desperate to escape the wretched conditions of their homeland. Only recently was this trend reversed, with Irish émigrés returning to work in the republic’s burgeoning hi-tech and other industries.

In absolute numbers, the Irish immigrants were not large; there were far more Chinese and Indians who emigrated. But as a percentage of their home population, the number of Irish who left was truly staggering. During the Great Famine of 1845-48, out of a population of eight million, two million left: one in four! Imagine what would have happened had a quarter of China’s population left!
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Anwar insists PAS-Umno talks will never take place

Malaysian Insider
July 28, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR, July 28 — Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has nixed the chance of unity talks ever taking place between his Pakatan Rakyat (PR) ally PAS and the ruling coalition’s Umno, even without being stonewalled by the Islamist party’s Spiritual Adviser, Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat.

The Barisan Nasional (BN) Malay party has long viewed Nik Aziz as the main stumbling block towards achieving bi-party unity and political cooperation, an idea that has repeatedly cropped up post Election 2008.

“PAS maintains its stand it will not cooperate with Umno based on its past experiences and without being backed by principles.

“PAS leaders also reject this cooperation,” Anwar was reported saying during a visit to Kumpulan Media Karangkraf yesterday.

The PKR de facto chief added that Umno did not understand PAS; noting the grand old Malay party thought “if they can capture Nik Aziz, they would be able to control PAS.” Read the rest of this entry »


The world has spoke “yes to economic freedom, liberal market, no to NEP and corruption”

By Dr Chen Man Hin, DAP life advisor

UNCTAD, a UN body has issued its World Investment Report (WIR) 2010 on Foreign Direct Inflows (FDIs) of world countries.

The report on the 2009 FDIs into the Asean region are as follows

Singapore US$16.1 billion
Malaysia 1.38 billion
Philippines 1.95
Thailand 5.95
Indonesia 4.88
Vietnam 4.56

The FDI for Malaysia in 2008 was US$7.2 billion, which meant that there was a 81% precipitous drop for the year 2009.
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Guan Eng-SDO spat a test of civil service impartiality

Malaysian Insider
By Yoges Palaniappan
July 26, 2010

GEORGE TOWN, July 26 – Lim Guan Eng and state development officer (SDO) Nik Ali Nik Yunus’s running feud highlights widespread misunderstanding over the different roles of the civil service and political parties, political analysts said today.

Universiti Malaya Law Faculty associate professor Azmi Sharom and political analyst Wong Chin Huat backed the Penang chief minister’s criticism against Nik Ali, despite the stout defence of the federal employee put up by Chief Secretary Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan.

They were of the opinion that the civil service needed to understand the distinction between political parties and government.

Azmi and Wong were commenting on the ongoing clash between Lim (pic) and Nik Ali which had escalated following a recent outburst by the federal civil servant, who said Lim had lowered his own status of a chief minister by criticising a SDO. Read the rest of this entry »


Civility in the US, vitriol in Penang

Making Sens
By Tan Siok Choo
26th July 2010

A CIVIL servant makes a speech. Heavily edited and later publicised, the speech makes the speaker appear racially biased. Journalists and politicians suggest the civil servant should be sacked. After the civil servant resigns, the full speech is published showing its theme of racial reconciliation had been turned into a racist rant.

This incident happened not in Penang but in the US. Nevertheless, last week’s fiasco involving Shirley Sherrod, state director of rural development in Georgia, provides a useful counterpoint to the spat between Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and State Development Officer (SDO) Nik Ali Mat Yunus.

In the US, Sherrod’s speech was edited by a conservative group to suggest she had discriminated against a white farmer. Last Monday, Fox News Channel aired the edited excerpt and host Bill O’Reilly called for Sherrod’s resignation. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack obliged and asked Sherrod to leave.

However, the unedited version of Sherrod’s speech showed the black civil servant had helped the white farmer and was recounting the experience to illustrate that race should never be considered in dealings with others.

Thereafter, President Barack Obama telephoned the US Agriculture Department employee to express his regret over her forced resignation while Vilsack offered Sherrod his apologies and a unique new position in the department.

In contrast to the furore in Penang, one aspect of the Sherrod imbroglio stands out. Although the exchanges in the US were heated, they were civilised. Apart from labelling Sherrod a racist, name calling was notably absent. This contrasts with the volleys of verbal vitriol in Penang between Nik Ali and Guan Eng.

This prompts several questions: Is civility now an endangered trait in Malaysia? Why isn’t it possible for two persons to disagree without being disgustingly disagreeable? Read the rest of this entry »


Discipline the Little Napoleans

By Thomas Lee

It is indeed a relief that Deputy Prime Minister cum Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has given an assurance that non-Mulsim religious clubs or societies are not banned in schools.

Muhyiddin has pledged that school clubs and societies related to non-Muslim activities that have been in operation for decades need not be disbanded.

He said the Education Ministry has not issued any directive for such clubs or societies to close.

If such is the case, then disciplinary action must be taken against the officials of the Selangor Education Department and certain school heads who have been flexing their muscles to curb religious activities by the non-Muslim students in the schools.

The recent case of the Klang High School being ordered to close its non-Muslim religious clubs is not an isolate case. Read the rest of this entry »


Scrap the 10-yr-old Education Ministry circular restricting formation of non-Muslim religious societies in schools – against 1Malaysia and NEM to educate a critical and creative generation of Malaysians

The 10-year-old Education Ministry circular restricting the formation of non-Muslim religious societies in schools is the best example of Little Napoleons running riot in the civil service working against the national interests of educating a critical and creative generation of Malaysians and harnessing the multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural assets of plural Malaysia.

What is the use of boasting about Malaysia as a model of ethnic, cultural, religious and biological diversity and Malaysia’s rich and unique cultural heritage when restrictions continue to be in place affecting the formation of non-Muslim societies in schools?

The Cabinet on Wednesday should scrap the 10-year-old Education Ministry circular restricting the formation of non-Muslim religious societies in schools as it is against Prime Minister’s 1Malaysia slogan and policy and the New Economic Model objective to educate a critical, creative and innovative generation of Malaysians.

The Education Ministry circular dated 16th December 2000 stated that non-Muslim religious societies formed before 2000 need not have to be registered but remain as status quo. Those set up from 2000 onwards need approval by the registrar, which is the state education department director.

For ten years, the circular was used by Biro Tatanegara-trained Little Napoleons in the Education Ministry to discourage, hamper or downright disallow the formation of non-Muslim religious societies. Read the rest of this entry »


Chief Secretary Sidek’s “Mother Hen” Folly

By M. Bakri Musa

Chief Secretary Sidek Hassan did not acquit himself honorably in so quickly defending federal civil servant Nik Ali Yunus in his very public and ugly squabble with Penang’s Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

            Sidek’s swift reaction reflects more of a “mother hen” instinct of protecting its brood rather than the cool considered judgment of the head of an organization of professionals, as our civil servants would like us to believe them to be.

            A state development officer (Nik Ali’s designation) is pretty far down in the federal civil service scheme of things, yet Sidek felt compelled to intervene.  He did, in a rash and clumsy manner.  At the very least he should have sought the views of both sides before rendering judgment.  That would have been the mark of a true professional; it would also the decent thing to do.
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FDI crashing because investors lost faith, says DAP

By Boo Su-Lyn | The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, July 25 — A lack of confidence in Malaysia’s economy has driven foreign direct investment (FDI) to our neighbours, leaving the once-roaring “Asian tiger” to compete with Indochina countries, the DAP said today.

The World Foreign Investment Report (WIR) 2010 released by the United Nations showed that FDI in Malaysia plunged 81 per cent last year, trailing behind countries like the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore.

“For the first time ever in history, Malaysia attracted less investment than the Philippines,” DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua said in a statement today.

The Philippines attracted US$1.95 billion (RM6.24 billion) in FDI compared to Malaysia’s US$1.38 billion, while Singapore raked in the most — more than US$16 billion.

“Among Southeast Asian nations, we are now only attracting more FDI than Cambodia, Myanmar, Brunei, Laos and Timor-Leste,” added Pua.
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M’sia’s increasing unattractiveness is ‘karma’

By Joe Fernandez | Malaysiakini

Without getting into the kind of superstition and quackery that many Malaysians swear by most times, it’s safe to conclude that the chickens are coming home to roost.

The 10 percent economic growth rate envisaged this year for the country, if it’s not a flash-in-the-pan, reminds us of the phrase that there are lies, damn lies and statistics. Again, this is indeed the unpalatable fact that we have to deal with in the run-up to 2020 and its aftermath.

The federal government needs to start thinking from now how they are going to explain in ten years time why we have failed to reach developed nation status and a high income economy.
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Efforts to de-stabilise & sabotage Penang intensified – video


Bad FDI news for Malaysia: Down by 81 percent in 2009

By Aidila Razak | Malaysiakini

A nosedive in foreign direct investments in Malaysia in 2009 follows a continued downward trend in FDI, increasingly overshadowed by regional players, noted a United Nations report.

FDI Malaysia 2009

According to the World Investment Report 2010 unveiled today, FDI plunged 81 percent from US$7.32 billion (RM23.47 billion*) in 2008 to just US$1.38 billion (RM4.43 billion) last year.
(*Calculated based on exchange rate of US$1 = RM3.20650)

The 2009 FDI is less than half of the annual average FDI inflow between 1995 to 2005, which encompasses the long recovery period following the 1997 economic crisis.
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Decline in moral accountability?

By Thomas Lee Seng Hock | Mysinchew

Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan has made himself look very foolish by asking whether it is wrong for civil servants to attend functions held by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, as he is the DAP secretary-general.

Sidek is apparently trying to justify the presence and participation of Penang state development officer Nik Ali Mat Yunus at an Umno press conference, where the officer verbally lambasted Guan Eng and issued prepared press statements to criticize the chief minister.

I am simply amazed that the country’s top civil servant doesn’t even understand the simple basic difference between a government and a political entity, and respect the very important fundamental principle of impartiality and neutrality of the civil service.
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