Archive for August, 2010

Stand up and be counted, Malaysia

By Azmi Sharom | Brave New World

It is strange that in the 21st century, we are still having to face the problem of institutionalised racism.

OVER the past week or so, there have been some developments in our country which are more disturbing than usual.

In particular, the two cases of alleged racist remarks by school heads; the accusations that Penang mosques have replaced the Yang di-Pertuan Agong with the Chief Minister’s name in their prayers; and the continued insistence that Article 153 of the Constitution is equal to an inalienable right that could not be questioned.

These events are interrelated and it seems to me that they indicate that there is a battle of ideology going on in the country now.

On one side is the idea that a person’s ethnicity and religion entitles him to be treated better than anyone else who is different. On the other side is the idea that equality is an aspiration that is both noble and necessary for nation building.
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When will Najib and his Ministers wake up and realize that the twin crisis of human talents and investments confronting the country are more than a matter of economics?

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed is quoted in today’s press as saying that Talent Corporation has been tasked with attracting at least half of the 750,000 Malaysian professionals working overseas to come home as part of its efforts to draw the best brains in the world to Malaysia.

Speaking at the launching of the Public-Private Partnership’s website, he said seeking out the Malaysian diaspora for the top brains was necessary as the Government aimed to hit the target of RM115 billion per year in local and foreign investments to turn the country into a developed nation by 2020.

It is shocking that Nor Mohamed could come out with such an unrealistic and “tall order” not only because of the dismal failure of previous government “brain gain” policies but in the light of recent events when the unchecked escalation of the rhetoric of race and religion would have the effect of giving a major push to greater brain-drain from the country instead of pulling back talents from the Malaysian diaspora to return to serve the country.

It is time that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his Ministers wake up and realize that the twin crisis of human talents and investments confronting the country are more than a matter of economics.
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Malaysia in the Era of Globalization #29

By M. Bakri Musa

Chapter 4: Modern Model States

The Relevant Lessons For Malaysia

At first glance, Malaysians cannot readily identify with any of these three countries. Although they differ in a number of significant ways, nonetheless each has important lessons to offer Malaysia.

The most obvious difference is that none of three countries have multiracial societies and the accompanying interracial problems. South Korea is ethnically and culturally homogeneous. There may be some tension between the Buddhist majority and the Christian minority, but that does not lead to serious social or religious conflict. Polarizations and schisms in Korean society are more along regional and class lines.

Argentina is also deeply divided along class lines; between landowners and workers, and urban and rural dwellers. Ethnic differences are not significant as they are all essentially Europeans. Granted there are significant differences between the Germans and the Italians Argentineans (language, culture, religion), but those are of not of the same scale as the differences between Malays and Chinese.
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Acronym soup swamps Malaysia reform drive

Global News Journal
Aug 25, 2010

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak says he has embarked on a series of radical economic reforms. In reality it feels as if he has unleashed a barrage of incomprehensible acronyms on the unsuspecting public of this Southeast Asian nation.

The charge for economic reform is being led by the snappily named PEMANDU. As well as being the Malay word for “driver” it stands for the government’s Performance Management and Delivery Unit.

PEMANDU is in charge of formulating and implementing NKRAs (National Key Result Areas), MKRAs (Ministerial Key Result Areas) and getting “Big Results Fast”, according to its website, although it singularly failed to win political backing for a radical revamp of Malaysia’s costly subsidy regime. Read the rest of this entry »


Has Mahathir crossed the Rubicon to declare war on Najib, 1Malaysia and NEM?

Shock, outrage and consternation are understatements of the reactions to the latest outbursts by former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad when he denounced the proponents of meritocracy as “racists too” and warned the Malay community that they risk losing political control of the country if they remain disunited.
It is not just the spectacle of the former longest-serving Prime Minister of Malaysia adding oil to the cauldron of the politics of race and religion  but the repudiation of the Vision 2020 and Bangsa Malaysia which he had proclaimed two decades ago.
In 1990, beginning his second decade as Prime Minister, Mahathir spelt out Vision 2020 to achieve in 30 years a fully developed Malaysian nation made up of one “Bangsa Malaysia” with a sense of common and shared destiny,  distinguished by the pursuit of excellence, fully aware of all its potentials, psychologically subservient to none, and respected by the peoples of other nations.
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There must be some degree of decency in politics

by P Ramakrishnan
24th August 2010

There must be some degree of decency in politics.

Why are the police taking such a long time to complete their investigation into the serious allegation that the name of His Majesty, the Yang di Pertuan Agong, had been substituted with the name of the Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng, during the Friday sermon in certain mosques?

That is the question that is bothering Penangites.

This allegation has the potential to disrupt the harmony and unity that we enjoy in Penang. This controversy has been deliberately hatched to create political turmoil and destroy our peace. It can have terrible repercussions that will affect the existing goodwill among the various communities.

When there is so much to lose, why is there no urgency to bring the mischief-makers to book immediately? What is causing the delay and what is the problem facing the police? Read the rest of this entry »


Penang’s Special Area Plan

by Thomas Lee

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has invited the public to help provide input, meaning ideas and suggestions, to the state government as it seeks to prepare a special area plan (SAP) for Georgetown, a requirement as a world heritage site under Unesco

Guan Eng said the feedback from Penangites was important as they are the biggest stakeholders as residents of Georgetown, which was listed as world heritage site in 2008.

The SAP provides for the protection of the heritage sites and would be prepared by Putrajaya according to Section 16(B) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1976. The plan covers an area of 259.42 hectares within the city of Georgetown, and must be submitted to Unesco on or before 1 February 2011.

The massive area has more than 1,700 historic buildings in hundreds of sites, representing the different stages in the historic development of Penang.

In view of the extensive and expansive scope of the whole SAP, with wide-ranging socio-economical implications, it is obvious that the state government would not be able to go it alone in this undertaking. Certainly, the private corporate sector and concerned individual residents of Penang must be enlisted to participate and be involved to make it a resounding success.

I suggest that the state government should consider embarking on the SAP with a new strategic preservation, maintenance and development schema involving a sort of decentralized pursuance of the SAP based a tripartite set-up involving the state, the residents of the particular site, and a private development company. Read the rest of this entry »


What’s next for Malaysia?

By Karim Raslan
The Star
Tuesday August 24, 2010

All societies need change and countries that don’t change or can’t change remain ossified and stagnant.

A few weeks ago, I hosted a lunch for a Malaysian politician and an Indonesian businessman.

The politician and I were struck by the tycoon’s steadfast support of his nation’s democratic traditions.

He stressed that he would not be where he was now had it not been for Reformasi and the turbulence of 1998.

Indeed he made a powerful argument that his country wouldn’t be powering ahead were it not for the transformation that took place after Soeharto’s ouster.

Interestingly, I think most Malaysian businessmen, including those dependent on government contracts, would agree with my Indonesian friend.

All societies need change and countries that don’t change or can’t change remain ossified and stagnant. Read the rest of this entry »


Last Cabinet meeting before National Day on August 31…

Tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting is the last before National Day on August 31 and its greatest challenge is to demonstrate it has the “political will and leadership to break the logjam of resistance by vested interest groups” to kickstart and stay the course of the NEM (New Economic Model) transformation process.

There can be no more useful thing for the Cabinet Ministers to do tomorrow than to revisit the New Economic Model unveiled by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak on March 30 and the dire warnings that Malaysia is “on a burning platform” and that “the status quo is not an option” as it will only put Malaysia at risk of being overtaken by other countries, just as we had overtaken others in the past.

The Cabinet should in particular revisit the frank and brutal admission by the NEM of the crucial and critical role of “unwavering political will and leadership” to break the logjam of resistance by vested interest groups and short-sighted factions and to “stay the course” when resistance is encountered.
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MACC “commits suicide”!

By Martin Jalleh

18 Aug. 2010 – The Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), very tragically, “committed suicide” today. It killed the very little that was left of its own integrity and credibility.

Its public image plunged to the very depths with the help of its advocate Abdul Razak Musa. He had at first advocated self-strangulation. He even demonstrated how it could be done.

When that failed, the very experienced lawyer of 24 years assisted the Commission to take a wild leap out of the window of logic, common sense and civility. Read the rest of this entry »


There is a sickness in the country which is total mockery and negation of Najib’s 1Malaysia policy

With eight days to go before the National Day proper on August 31 and 24 days before Malaysia Day on Sept. 16, Malaysians regardless of race, religion or region should be celebrating a new sense of pride and unity as Malaysians after 18 months of the 1Malaysia slogan and policy proclaimed by Datuk Seri Najib Razak after he became the sixth Prime Minister in April last year.

But every 24 hours is demonstrating the opposite.

There is a sickness in the country as illustrated by several headlines in a matter of a few hours by online media Malaysian Insider yesterday, viz:

  • “Perkasa, MPM want Soi Lek arrested under ISA”

  • “Pakatan wants to ‘destroy’ constitutional monarchy, claim Malay groups” (a lie)

  • “Ibrahim Ali follows Tee, tells those who disagree to get out”

  • “Malay groups want vernacular schools abolished”

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What does UMNO Penang fear?

By Sakmangkol Ak47

Some Muslims in Penang were highly agitated when the khatib ( the man who reads sermons) offered prayers for the Penang chief minister. In what manner was it said? Was LGE’s name mentioned in the context of something?

Actually we have not heard what actually transpired other than listening to a few emotionally charged statements from some people. Who are these people? If they are UMNO members, then their response was hardly surprising.

To me, the fearful responses thus far only reflect how desperate UMNO is in re capturing the Malay support in Penang. I won’t say re-capture Penang, because that is already impossible. what UMNO fears now is losing Malay support in Penang. That is like the end of the world.

What UMNO fears is a rising consciousness among Penang Malays that despite detaching themselves from UMNO, their lot can still be improved. This will be the beginning of a wider consciousness debunking the myth that equates loyalty and allegiance to this country to loyalty and allegiance to UMNO. The two things are not the same. If Penang is successful in demolishing this long perpetuated myth and this awareness becomes a national phenomenon, UMNO is in serious trouble.
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Secular Aspects of Blessed Ramadan

By M. Bakri Musa

A friend from Canada who moved to California many years ago decided recently to return to the cold north. When asked why, he replied that while he absolutely enjoyed the year-round sunshine and the salubrious climate of the Golden State, he found the lack of seasons disorienting.

“I could not get anything done,” he claimed, “Every day was too nice and I would postpone to the perpetual ‘next day’ doing my gardening, cleaning the garage, or even reading my favorite novel.”

My friend’s observation reverberates in me this middle of Ramadan. Yes, California lacks a definite season, but the fasting ‘season’ forces me to shift gear mentally, behaviorally, and in many other ways just as surely as the falling snow in January and the glorious sunshine in July did to me when I lived in Canada.

Nonetheless, my Canadian friend is on to something profound. One theory explaining the more advanced development of the people of the temperate zone is that the definite seasons disciplined them to plan, or at least be prepared for the inevitable adversities ahead.
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Hudud laws and Islamic state are not Pakatan Rakyat policies

Questions have again been raised about the DAP and Pakatan Rakyat policies on hudud laws and Malaysia as an Islamic State.
DAP’s stand on Malaysia as a secular state has always been constant and consistent.

Hudud laws and Islamic state are not Pakatan Rakyat policies. This is why there is no mention of these issues in the Pakatan Rakyat common platform unveiled at the Pakatan Rakyat Convention in Shah Alam on 19th December last year.

In the section on “Transparent and Genuine Democracy”, Pakatan Rakyat made the pledge to:

“Defend the Federal Constitution, Islam as the religion of the Federation while other religions can be practiced peacefully anywhere in the country and protecting the special position of the Malays and the indigenous peoples anywhere including Sabah and Sarawak, and the legitimate interests of other races in accordance to Article 153.” Read the rest of this entry »


Penang PR joint statement on baseless allegation of “Guan Eng gantikan Agong”


Mesyuarat tergempar PR dipanggil hari ini berikutan permainan isu “Guan Eng gantikan Agong” yang digembar-gemburkan oleh UMNO dan media massa. Permainan politik oleh UMNO ini adalah begitu karut kerana hanya orang tak siuman dan berniat jahat baru berani menggantikan nama DYMM YDP Agong dengan nama lain.

Dalam mesyuarat tersebut Ahli EXCO Negeri Pulau Pinang portfolio agama Islam YB Abdul Malik Kassim telah menjelaskan teks khutbah yang disediakan oleh MAINPP dan JAIPP.

10 usul telah diluluskan dalam mesyuarat tergempar PR Pulau Pinang yang dipengerusikan oleh Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang dan Pengerusi Pakatan Rakyat Lim Guan Eng:-

1. Melafazkan ikrar taat setia kepada DYMM Yang di Pertuan Agung sebagai pemimpin terunggul negara atau Kepala Utama bagi Persekutuan menurut Perkara 32 Perlembagaan Persekutuan dan juga sebagai Ketua agama Islam bagi Negeri Pulau Pinang menurut Perkara 5(2) Perlembagaan Negeri Pulau Pinang. Read the rest of this entry »



Rev. Dr. Thomas Philips
21 August 2010

In the light of the latest, in an increasing line of provocative racist remarks, this time by a principal of a school in the state of Johor, MCCBCHST calls upon the authorities to take prompt, and appropriate action to demonstrate that such dastardly acts and words perpetrated by government servants regardless of their rank is not and will not be tolerated in Malaysia.

The Johor school incident occurring as it did in the runup to the coming National Day celebrations casts a sombre shadow over the nation’s commitment to a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society where all citizens can be guaranteed a shared destiny in Malaysia as Malaysians based on peace and justice.

The time has passed whereby mere platitudes and words from the national leadership and enforcement authorities in themselves will be enough. The nation needs just and fair actions rather than just words. Read the rest of this entry »


Forget about Talent Corporation and other transformation initiatives of NEM and TMP if Najib cannot stop extremist forces exploiting race and religion from rearing their ugly heads

This should be a special and unique month not only in the 53-year nation-building of Malaysia but the 18-month premiership of Datuk Seri Najib Razak as the theme of the Merdeka month celebrations from August 1 to September 16 is “1Malaysia Transforming the Nation” – first time after Najib’s full-year premiership and less than six months after the unveiling of the transformative NEM.

Messages and the spirit of Malaysian unity and inter-racial and inter-religious goodwill, harmony and solidarity should be pervading all nooks and corners of the country and infusing Malaysians with what they are saying are doing in these six weeks to put into practice and action the 1Malaysia slogan which Najib had proclaimed since becoming Prime Minister in April last year.

But the opposite had been the case as never had Malaysia been so divided, discordant and un1Malaysia in the past two decades, with persistent, irresponsible and inflammatory incitement of the politics of race and religion in recent months to stoke racial and religious animosity and hatred in plural Malaysia, going against the very grain of what 1Malaysia stands for.

Even the schools and the young generation of Malaysians are not spared, as illustrated by the cases of the racist outbursts against school children, one in the south in Kulai and the other in the north in Sungai Petani, demonstrating utter contempt and intolerance of 1Malaysia and our ethnic, religious and cultural diversity which are the country’s richest assets by school principals who should be the “role models” and standard-bearers of Najib’s 1Malaysia! Read the rest of this entry »


Another ‘racist’ school head in Kedah

Meeting to discuss racist remarks by another HM
The Star
Saturday August 21, 2010

SUNGAI PETANI: The Kedah Education Department is organising a meeting between parents and authorities of a school here following complaints that the principal had scolded non-Malay students for eating outside the school canteen.

Its director Shahidan Abd Rahman said he had spoken to the school principal involved after learning about the incident on Thursday.

“We will call a meeting soon on the matter, involving him, the parent-teacher association and parents of the students concerned,” he said here yesterday.

In the incident, the principal had allegedly scolded 10 Form Three students for eating outside the school canteen at about 7am before classes began.

The students were eating outside because the lights in the canteen were not switched on.

The principal had purportedly told them off for “not respecting” their Muslim friends and that they “should return to their country of origin if they did not show such respect”. Read the rest of this entry »


Utusan Malaysia’s front-page headline is the most irresponsible act in history of Malaysian journalism

The Utusan Malaysia’s front-page headline today “Nama Guan Eng ganti Agong – Disebut dalam doa khutbah Jumaat: Umno Pulau Pinang bantah” is the most irresponsible act in the history of Malaysian journalism – utterly baseless, a mischievous and dangerous incitement to religious hatred, tension and discord in plural Malaysia and goes against all the principles and values espoused by 1Malaysia.

The first Merdeka month celebrations themed “1Malaysia Transforming the Nation” should celebrate Malaysia’s unity in diversity of ethnicity, religions, cultures and beliefs, the concepts of inclusiveness, social justice and the 1Malaysia principles of culture of excellence, integrity, wisdom, humility, loyalty and the twin commitments of People First, Performance Now.

But we have the opposite as illustrated by Utusan Malaysia’s front-page headline of falsehood and dangerous incitement to religious hatred, discord and tension.
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Racial remarks: Headmistress must be sacked

By P Ramakrishnan | Aliran

It is difficult to reconcile how a principal of a secondary school could be so insensitive and dumb as to utter derogatory words to denigrate students under her care. She had shown utter contempt to the Chinese and Indians in this country.

It is unbelievable that she could have said, “Chinese students…can return to China.”  It is amazing that she could have likened the prayer strings worn by Indians to a dog leash.

It is difficult to believe that she is a teacher and an educator. With this warped and distorted view of the Chinese and Indians, what kind of values can she impart to her students under her care? What kind of character can she inculcate among her students? She comes across as subhuman.

How she got promoted is a mystery. How she got selected to be a teacher is a wonder. Unfortunately, there are many of her ilk in the Teaching Service doing immense damage to this nation. Two years ago, we had one dumb discipline teacher in Anderson School who ordered Hindu students to remove their religious wristband and shave off their moustache and beards, which they had allowed to grow ahead of fulfilling their vows during Thaipusam
We have this kind of people not only in schools Read the rest of this entry »