Archive for December, 2010

Wishing all Malaysians a Happy New Year !

Happy New Year


2011 challenge to Malaysians – to unite and demand that they enjoy equal opportunity to earn a good living and provide a secure, happy life for each individual and the family

“Malaysia is at the crosssroads.” – 1Malaysia Government Transformation Programme Road Map (January 2010).

“Malaysia has reached a defining moment on its development path.” – New Economic Model (March 2010).

“We need to see the reality for what it is: we are on a burning platform” – Tenth Malaysia Plan (June 2010).

However, the year 2010, which also marks 21 months of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s premiership, has not been distinguished by any conviction or sense of urgency that Malaysia is “on a burning platform”, “at the crossroads” or “a defining moment” – that the country has no choice but to forge ahead with a paradigm shift in national economic strategy and public policy.

It is the exact reverse. Despite the 21 months of Najib’s premiership, based on his signature theme of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now”, multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural Malaysia has suffered greater racial and religious polarization and loss of social cohesion, with the concepts of unity in diversity and inclusiveness, social justice, excellence, integrity and our international competitiveness receiving one setback after another. Read the rest of this entry »


Staid papers suffer as gossip sells

By Yow Hong Chieh
The Malaysian Insider
Dec 31, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 31 — Newspaper circulation in the country maintained its downward slide this year as readers continue to shun hard news in government-controlled titles for more sensationalist tabloids.

Circulation of local media mainstays — The Star, New Straits Times, Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian — has fallen over the past five years, in some cases dramatically so. Scandal sheets, however, remain largely popular and in some cases far outselling more traditional rags which helped advertising expenditure grow 22 per cent to RM3.5 billion for the first half of 2010.

Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) figures for the full year ended June 30, 2010 show The Star’s circulation dropping from 295,479 to 286,409 (-3.1 per cent), the New Straits Times from 120,770 to 109,341 (-9.5 per cent), Utusan Malaysia from 181,346 to 170,558 (-5.9 per cent) and Berita Harian from 183,187 to 160,597 (-28.7 per cent). Read the rest of this entry »


Struggle to stem ‘brain drain’ as talent departs

Dec 30, 10

(AFP) When computer engineer Wan Jon Yew left Malaysia in 2005 for a job in Singapore, all he wanted was to work in the city state for a few years before going home. Now, he says, he will never return.

With a family, a home and a car, he now plans to settle in Singapore for good – just one of the many Malaysians stampeding abroad every year in a worrying ‘brain drain’ the government is trying to reverse.

“I wouldn’t consider going back to Malaysia, I won’t look back. If I were ever going to leave Singapore, I would migrate to Australia,” said the 28-year-old, who now has permanent resident status.

“It’s not about the money. I could have a better quality of life in Malaysia with my pay. I could have a semi-detached bungalow and have a maid there, but I would rather live in a government flat in Singapore.”

Wan, who is ethnically Chinese, is one of some 700,000 Malaysians – most of them highly educated – who are currently working abroad in an exodus that Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government is struggling to reverse. Read the rest of this entry »


Chief Secretary’s appointment of Selangor State Secretary without consultation with Mentri Besar violation of both the spirit and letter of Selangor Constitution

The appointment of Datuk Mohd Khusrin Munawi as the new Selangor State Secretary by the Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan on behalf of the Public Service Commission, without consultation with the Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, violates both the spirit and letter of the Selangor Constitution.

It has been argued that there is no mention in the state constitution that the Mentri Besar must first be informed of the appointment nor that his consent was needed.

This is a flimsy and unacceptable argument, for going by this literal interpretation, Putrajaya should not have involved the Sultan in the appointment of the state secretary as there is equally no mention in the state constitution that the Sultan must first be informed of the appointment nor that any royal consent is needed.

What is pertinent is that constitutional conventions like meaningful consultation with the Mentri Besar and the Sultan on the appointment of the top state civil servant are carried out to uphold the integrity of the state constitution and to fulfill the mandate given by the people of Selangor when they voted for the government of their choice in the last general elections.

Although the Selangor State Constitution is silent on the role of the Mentri Besar on the appointment of the state secretary, just as it is silent on the role of the Sultan on the same matter, the Chief Secretary who has been delegated the constitutional task to make the appointment, should be mindful of the different political coalitions running the Federal and Selangor state governments and the importance of ensuring an appointee who could work as a bridge-builder or at least not seen as inimical to the Selangor state government interests vis-à-vis the Federal government. Read the rest of this entry »


Softening up students to Islam with History syllabus

Written by Centre for Policy Initiatives
Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Whose history is the government pushing on our students and to what effect?

On Oct 23, Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced that History will be made a must-pass subject for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia beginning 2013. This puts the subject on par with Bahasa Malaysia in its degree of importance.

The ministry will introduce a revised SPM History curriculum in 2017 as in that year the cohort which started Form One in 2013 would have reached Form Five. Fresh elements to be incorporated when the History syllabus begins its new cycle are ‘patriotism’, ‘citizenship’ and ‘the constitution’, which by extension implicates the so-called social contract.

Muhyiddin said the reason for the move to expand the History syllabus is so that patriotism can be instilled in Malaysian youths.

On Dec 16 – responding to objections raised by some quarters on his proposal – Muhyiddin guaranteed that the government does not have any “ulterior motives” and reiterated that the government in its decision “only want to introduce a history education to appreciate [patriotism] to help them [the Fifth Formers] become more patriotic”.

Is this the real agenda of Umno and the Ministry of Education bureaucrats and their support group of academics or is this another Umno political lie? Read the rest of this entry »


Najib’s suicidal slogan

by Dean Johns
Dec 29, 10

It seems to me that the more persistently Najib Abdul Razak propounds his “1Malaysia. People first. Performance now” slogan, and the more desperately he defends it, the more damage he does to himself and Barisan Nasional. So naturally I’m 1 big supporter of the thing.

For a start, the “1Malaysia” part of it is so blatantly false that all it does is remind the hearer or reader of BN’s long-term strategy of dividing the nation’s races and religions, the better to try and ensure its eternal rule.

And this is not just an allegation, but an absolute fact. As evidenced by the BN government’s stacking of the civil services with employees of one particular race, through the wildly unequal allocation of government scholarships and contracts, to its supporting the concept of ketuanan Melayu through official economic policies, racist pressure-groups like Perkasa and publications like Utusan Malaysia.

Thus the “1Malaysia” phrase itself is such an outright and obvious lie that the long-running controversy over its originality appears virtually irrelevant. Yet Najib persists in claiming authorship as though his political survival depended on it. Which I fondly hope it does, given that the version of the concept with which I’m most familiar, “One Nation”, was the name of the notorious Pauline Hanson’s Australian political party, which long ago self-destructed. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia in the Era of Globalization #46

By M. Bakri Musa

Chapter Six: Malaysia: Assets and Liabilities

Bless Our Geography!

Allah has been generous to Malaysia. Malaysians are reminded of this every time they read about natural disasters occurring elsewhere. There are no earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, or devastating floods. God has spared Malaysia such natural calamities.

Then there is the climate; it is not visited by extremes of heat or cold. Whereas Californians have to pay to warm their houses in winter and cool them in summer, Malaysians are spared such expenses. And if Malaysians were to design their homes well with cross drafts and adequate natural ventilation, air conditioning would not be essential. It is only for comfort. In temperate zones heating a home is essential lest you freeze. Home designs in temperate zones must necessarily be more complex to cope with both winter and summer. Unlike Malaysians, those living in temperate zones need two sets of clothing.
Read the rest of this entry »


Reconceptualising federalism

By Azly Rahman

“… Democratic and aristocratic states are not in their own nature free. Political liberty is to be found only in moderate governments; and even in these it is not always found. It is there only when there is no abuse of power. But constant experience shows us that every man invested with power is apt to abuse it, and to carry his authority as far as it will go. Is it not strange, though true, to say that virtue itself has need of limits? …

“To prevent this abuse, it is necessary from the very nature of things that power should be a check to power. A government may be so constituted, as no man shall be compelled to do things to which the law does not oblige him, nor forced to abstain from things which the law permits … .” – Baron de Montesquieu, The Spirit of Laws, Book XI
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Questionable measures taken to improve the standard of English amongst Malaysian schoolchildren

by Mrs. Sheela R

Dear Mr. Lim,

The government has promised concrete measures in improving the standard of English taught to Malaysian schoolchildren, with the demise of the PPSMI. (“Teaching of maths and science in English”) .

As a mother of three schoolgoing children, I have serious misgivings that the government is sincere in its endeavour.

To illustrate further, I would like to produce an extract from a Year 4 primary school English textbook used in Singapore (which incidentally was used by my son in his Malaysian school as a supplementary text, at the equivalent grade level): Read the rest of this entry »


Lessons from WikiLeaks for Malaysia

by AB Sulaiman
Dec 27 10


In the last few weeks, WikiLeaks has been the focus of the world’s attention. Founder Julian Assange has followed the principle that a government might have secrets but these are not to be used to cover abuses. Bad government is bad for the country; that seems to be his credo.

So he leaked out inter-governmental documents despite the ‘secret’ or other similar labels stamped on them. It looks like human rights, open democracy and light-speed push button communication offered by the Internet has combined in a new version of the perfect storm, wreaking havoc to secretive cross-border communications.

Thanks to WikiLeaks we are now able to taste not only more of the spice of the hot curry of international politics but also to know the ‘off the record so please do not quote me’ other people’s views of us.

Is WikiLeaks good or bad; is it morally sound, is it legally tenable? And should we embrace this new communication ‘medium’ with all gusto and enthusiasm?

I am no expert on the question of the morality and legality of this issue. But I am of the view that WikiLeaks is decidedly good for the country.

My reasons are basic. I am in favour of the good old fashioned way of running a country, especially one like ours whose buzzword is ‘nation-building’. Read the rest of this entry »


The LoyarBurok Book Review: “Perak – A State Of Crisis” – An Unabashed Self-Indictment By The BN Government Of Its Undemocratic Takeover Of Perak

By NH Chan
27 December, 2010

[LoyarBaca’s first publication Perak: A State of Crisis (PASOC) has been a runaway hit and will soon be in Malaysia’s major bookstores through leading indie, activist distributor, Pak Chong’s GerakBudaya. We have sold out copies at hand for the moment (2nd impressions are on the way), but you may purchase them directly from GerakBudaya here. Here, after a brief hiatus, NH Chan re-appears to pen his thoughts on PASOC. ]

On the cover of Perak: A State Of Crisis, 2010 – the book is described as “Rants, reviews and reflections on the overthrow of democracy and the rule of law in Malaysia”.

On the back cover is this apt but accurate assessment by Marina Mahathir: “The people of Perak voted in March 2008 for a new government, then woke up one day to find that they had an entirely different one in place. A must read.”

Why is this book a must read? It is so because the book is a chronicle and commentary of the events that led to the unceremonious overthrow of the PR Government in Perak. The direct involvement of the BN protagonists who engineered the treacherous takeover – whose actions in that sordid episode spoke louder than words – has demonstrated unequivocally to the people of this country and to the world that they are the unquestionable “bad guys”.

With such unyielding and nefarious mindset in the BN camp, it looks like the choice for the voters in the next elections is between “good and bad”, “right and wrong”, “democracy and oligarchy” etc. The choice is obvious for no one wants to be governed by a group of self-serving people for this is the meaning of “oligarchy”; such an attitude in the psyche of the BN mindset would inevitably lead to “resource-draining corruption and rampant inequity” – to borrow a phrase from Audrey Quay in her “Editor’s Preface & Introduction” (page v) – as the Perak debacle has brought to light. Read the rest of this entry »


A government out of step with public opinion

by Mariam Mokhtar
Malaysia Chronicle
27th December 2010

When Communication and Culture Minister Dr Rais Yatim revealed that eighty-four percent of Malaysians understood the 1Malaysia concept, would it be safe to say that Deputy Prime minister Muyiddin Yassin is in the 16 percent group?

Earlier, Prime minister Najib Abdul Razak said that the 1Malaysia concept described how the ‘spirit of togetherness and the ability to rise above political differences’ were important for continued peace and stability in the country.

He said, “Although some might like to think it (1Malaysia) is for political purposes, it is actually for nation-building.”

Would he care to tell us how much he has spent on all the 1Malaysia posters, advertisements, billboards, badges and other paraphernalia where 1Malaysia has been plastered around the countryside?

Instead of spending millions on frivolous projects, why not spend that money on its people? The nation could do with improved healthcare, better infrastructure, quality teachers and schools. At a time like Christmas, several hundreds if not thousands of Malaysians roam the streets because they are destitute. Money could be channeled away from the promotion of 1Malaysia, and be used for a good cause to help these homeless people.

If 1Malaysia has to be continually drummed into us, then it says a lot about Najib’s leadership. Read the rest of this entry »


Pakatan’s 100-day reform plan: Malaysia unbound

by Terence Netto
Dec 27, 10


You could call it ‘Malaysia Makeover Phase 1’ – this Pakatan Rakyat 100-day reform plan, enunciated a week ago at its second annual convention in Kepala Batas.

You could also call it by more grandiloquent terms like ‘National Recovery Plan’ or ‘Malaysia Revival Programme’, as both are appropriate to the necessity of the task and its gravity for our future.

Definitely, the latter two labels have got more oomph if less alliteration.

But they suffer for reason of their ready comparison to such monikers as ‘Great Leap Forward’ and ‘Marshall Plan’ – the former a misnomer for a murderously disastrous plan that brought much grief to China, and the latter a programme of economic aid that helped western Europe revive after the devastation of world war.

No, Pakatan’s 100-day reform plan is less hubristic in its goals, though surpassingly vital for the reform of the Malaysian polity. Read the rest of this entry »


Najib is denying the undeniable when he claimed his 1Malaysia slogan is not political

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak is denying the undeniable when he claimed that his 1Malaysia concept is not political but a tool to foster unity among the different communities for nation-building.

Najib cannot deny that in the 20 months since the introduction of Najib’s “1Malaysia, People First, Performance Now” slogan, instead of giving Malaysians a new sense of being Malaysian, the reverse has taken place.

As a result, the brain drain of talented Malaysians regardless of race has again returned to the fore, despite the proposed establishment of a Talent Corporation to attract the best brains in the world to Malaysia.

In the past 20 months, despite Najib’s 1Malaysia concept to create a Malaysia where every Malaysian perceives himself or herself as Malaysian first and by race, religion, geographical region or socio-economic background second, there had been an unprecedented rhetoric of irresponsible politicking, racist extremism and religious bigotry.

The year could not have ended on a worse note for 1Malaysia when even Malaysia’s religious pluralism came under attack as if it is something anti-national, un-Malaysian and a great liability when the country’s racial, religious, cultural and linguistic diversity are the nation’s greatest assets and keys as to whether Malaysia can achieve inclusive, sustainable high-income developed nation status. Read the rest of this entry »


Celebrating the Challenge of Christmas!

by Martin Jalleh
Christmas Day, 2010

Christmas is here. For many of us who are Christians, we have allowed rampant commercialisation and the “Walt Disneyfication” of Christmas to reduce our Christian spirituality to mere sentimentality.

By all means, let us enjoy the carols, cakes, cool cards and cozy nativity scenes, but let us also put Christ back into Christmas and remind ourselves that Christ did not enter a world of comfortable spiritual sentiment.

Whilst commenting on what King Herod represents in the Christmas story a Bible scholar describes the real world in which Jesus Christ entered into and why He did: “Herod represents the dark side of the gospel. He recognizes something about Jesus that in our sentiment we fail to see: that the birth of this child is a threat to his kingdom, a threat to that kind of domination and rule. Jesus challenges the very power structures of this evil age.”

“Jesus enters a world of real pain, of serious dysfunction, a world of brokenness and political oppression. Jesus was born an outcast, a homeless person, a refugee, and finally he becomes a victim to the powers that be. Jesus is the perfect savior for outcasts, refugees, and nobodies. ” Read the rest of this entry »


Winners ignored, 5th placers lauded?

by Ooi Chin Wah
Dec 22, 10

The World Robot Olympiad (WRO) is an event for science, technology and education, that brings together youths from all over the world in order to develop their creativity and problem solving skills through challenging and educational robot competitions.

Participating teams need to create, design and build a robot model that looks or behaves like human.

This year the task of organising the competition was given to the Philippines. The Ministry of Education and many private companies in the Philippines jointly sponsored the event.

The steering committee consists of well-known academicians from China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Singapore. 250 teams from 22 countries participated. Read the rest of this entry »


Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Most Malaysians against 100-storey project, poll shows

By Leslie Lau
Executive Editor
The Malaysian Insider
December 24, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 24 — The majority of voters in peninsular Malaysia are against the proposed construction of the 100-storey Warisan Merdeka project, a recent survey by the independent Merdeka Center has revealed.

The survey, conducted between November 30 and December 11, found that 65 per cent of those polled disagreed with the construction of what would be the tallest building in the country.

Opposition to the project was uniform across all three major communities.

Sixty per cent of Malay voters polled disagreed with the project while 76 per cent of Chinese opposed its construction. Among Indians, 58 per cent were against it.

The findings suggest that a recent online protest on the Facebook social networking site was a fair reflection of public opposition to the project. Read the rest of this entry »


Selangor Exco should review decision to ban 1Malaysia logo from billboards to prove Muhyiddin wrong that Pakatan Rakyat is afraid of Najib’s 1Malaysia concept

The assertion by Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin that the Pakatan Rakyat Selangor government has banned the 1Malaysia logo from billboards in the state because of Pakatan Rakyat’s fear of the concept is downright ridiculous.

He further claimed that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia vision is increasingly popular and this scared Pakatan Rakyat.

Muhyiddin’s statement is downright ridiculous as he himself has declared that he does not fully endorse the 1Malaysia concept, whose official objective is the creation of a Malaysian nation where every Malaysian perceives himself or herself as Malaysian first and race, religion, geography and socio-economic grouping second.

When I challenged all Ministers in Parliament in March this year to declare that they are Malaysians first and their race, religion or region second, to demonstrate their support and commitment to the 1Malaysia concept, Muhyiddin had responded that he was Malay first and Malaysian second.
Read the rest of this entry »