Archive for January 17th, 2011

Returning to democratic foundations should be the top priority

Breaking Views
by Ahmad Mustapha Hassan
The Malaysian Insider
January 17, 2011

January 17, 2011JAN 17 — Malaysia is considered by the present leaders as being a democratic country. It goes to the polls every five years or whenever the ruling coalition feels the time is right. It allows its citizens to practise whatever religion they choose, with some major exceptions. It allows the media, electronic and print to exist, with again very major restrictions. But, of course, the rationale behind all these restrictions is to maintain peace and order. This is the common cliché used to justify the existence of all the preventive and restrictive laws. Of course, the real reasons are to maintain power.

Looking back on how Malaya then was formed, there was every reason to believe that our model of democracy would be a shining example to all the newly independent countries that were once colonies of Britain. Malaya followed the Westminster model. Malaya had all the trappings that would make all other countries envious of it.

It had a bicameral legislature just like Britain. Instead of the House of Lords, it created a nominated House known as the Senate. Members of Parliament were to be elected through a general election. It separated the functions of the Executive and that of Parliament. Each had a definite power of its own. The Judiciary was independent of the Executive. The separation of power was put in place to allow democracy to flourish. The media was to act as the fourth estate.

To top it all, Malaya created a unique constitutional monarchy to be rotated every five years by the nine Sultans in the country.

And the civil service was to remain neutral.

It was beautifully conceived by the founding fathers. The country was to be secular in nature although Islam was made the official religion with all other religions allowed to be practised. There was, in other words, religious freedom. Read the rest of this entry »


When did Najib get the veto power as BN Chairman to veto parliamentary and state assembly candidates proposed by the other BN component parties?

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced in Kuching yesterday that he will exercise his rights as Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman to veto potential candidates to ensure only winnable ones become BN candidates in the next election.

It is public knowledge that all along, the final decision on the list of candidates rests with the presidents of the respective Barisan Nasional component parties, whether MCA, Gerakan, MIC, PPP or the Sarawak/Sabah component parties.

When did Najib get the veto power as BN Chairman to veto parliamentary and state assembly candidates proposed by BN component parties?

There is nothing in the Barisan Nasional constitution which confers on the BN Chairman the veto powers to reject the parliamentary or state assembly candidates proposed BN component parties.

If Najib can veto potential candidates proposed by Barisan Nasional component parties to ensure only winnable ones become BN candidates, can leaders of the other BN component parties veto proposed Umno candidates on similar ground of winnability in the next general election?
Read the rest of this entry »


Be realistic, Kit Siang tells Pakatan supporters

By Kuek Ser Kuang Keng | MalaysiaKini

Pakatan Rakyat supporters were told to be realistic in their target for Tenang, which is to reduce BN’s majority instead of winning the by-election.

“We need to be realistic. It is not easy to win this by-election,” said DAP leader Lim Kit Siang at PAS’ candidacy announcement ceremony last night in Labis.

“If we could reduce the over-2,400 majority of Umno and BN in the 2008 general election, it would be a victory for the people and Pakatan Rakyat, paving the way for the next general election.”

He pointed out that should the BN majority be reduced, it would mean the political tsunami in 2008 that spared Johor had hit the southern state and Johor is no longer a BN ‘fixed deposit’.

BN retained the state seat in the last general election with a 2,492 majority.
Read the rest of this entry »


Tenang by-election: Attempt to transfer husband for failing to ‘control wife’

By Kuek Ser Kuang Keng | MalaysiaKini

The Johor Education Department has attempted to transfer the husband of PAS’ Tenang candidate Normala Sudirman from Tenang to Johor Bahru on the ground that he cannot “control his wife”.

he sudden directive, which orders Normala’s husband Makrof Abd Mutalib to relocate to Johor Bahru within 24 hours, was however retracted after the couple (left) protested.

“The headmaster said it was because I can’t control my wife, referring to her political participation in PAS,” said Makrof Abd Mutalib, who has been teaching in a school in Tenang for the past 13 years.

Met at a PAS event to announce its candidate last night, Makrof told Malaysiakini that he received the transfer notice a few days ago when it was heavily speculated that his wife could contest the Jan 30 by-election for the state seat.
Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia in the Era of Globalization #49

By M. Bakri Musa

Chapter Six: Malaysia: Assets and Liabilities

Malaysia’s Digital Divide

The digital divide (the lag in IT) is seen not only between Malaysia and the developed world but also within the nation itself: between Malays and non-Malays, rich and poor, and urban and rural. It is widening. This digital divide is also reflective of a more general technology gap.

For Malaysians to benefit from globalization, we must not only be comfortable with these new technologies, and specifically IT, but also be able to master and make full use of their potential.

Technologies directly impact productivity. A generation ago it took 16 farmers to feed 100 Americans; today only 2 or 3, thanks to superior technology. One man can now effectively farm hundreds of acres by using combines and tractors. Similarly, with efficient fertilizers, pesticides, and improved seeds, the yields have increased tremendously.
Read the rest of this entry »