Archive for January, 2011

Chua Soi Lek should have the courage to tell Umno not to misread Chinese votes for PR Tenang candidate Normala

MCA leaders led by its President Datuk Chua Soi Lek have made PAS and the Islamic State as their main weapons in the MCA “scare-and-fear” campaign strategy in the Tenang by-election to frighten the Chinese voters from voting for the Pakatan Rakyat Tenang candidate, Normala Sudirman.

Their first line of attack is that a vote for Normala is a vote for an Islamic State alleging that DAP has betrayed our principles and supported PAS’ Islamic State agenda.

This is a downright lie, as the DAP’s stand on this issue has remained constant and unchanged since the party’s establishment in 1966 – DAP upholds the 1957 Merdeka Constitution which provides that Islam is the official religion but Malaysia is not an Islamic State. The Constitution clearly stipulates that Malaysia is a democratic and secular nation. Read the rest of this entry »


DAP should target urban Malays, says Zairil

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal | The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 25 — The DAP should target urban Malays as the party had better chances gaining voter support there, says its latest Malay recruit Zairil Khir Johari.

Zairil, the son for the late Tan Sri Mohd Khir Johari, joined the DAP three months ago and made his first public appearance at the recent Pakatan Rakyat (PR) convention where he was a guest speaker alongside PKR’s Rafizi Ramli and PAS Youth chief Nasruddin Tantawi.

Zairil said Umno’s attacks against the DAP through its mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia had “unfortunately” worked in making Malays, especially rural Malays, think that the DAP was anti-Malay.

“I think in such a scenario we have to be realistic. I don’t think we can wholesale go around and try to recruit Malays… that would be a bit difficult. We can show them we are a multi-racial party through our policies so that we can be acceptable especially to urban, middle-class Malays.
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Zairil Khir Johari: Why I joined DAP

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal | The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 25 — A year ago, Zairil Khir Johari’s only association with politics would be his father — the late Tan Sri Mohd Khir Johari, Umno stalwart, former education minister and who served three prime ministers including the late Tunku Abdul Rahman.

Over the past few months, however, Zairil’s name has been the talk of the town, namely through opposition blogs as well as anti-Pakatan Rakyat (PR) blogs over his appearance at the coalition’s last convention in Kepala Batas, where he was a guest speaker.

His retractors have accused him of being a “traitor” and “anti-Malay” for abandoning his late father’s party and choosing to become a part of the DAP — a party which is still feared by many Malays and considered to be pro-Chinese due to its majority Chinese membership.

The DAP has, however, of late extended an olive branch to Malays in its bid to shake off “misconceptions” about the party, and Zairil is seen as an example of the party’s efforts.
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Explain why Malaysia topped the world in per capita illicit capital outflows, losing RM888 billion as a result of corruption and misgovernance, instead of campaign of lies and falsehoods in Tenang by-election

UMNO and MCA leaders should be explaining why Malaysia topped the world in per capita illicit capital outflows, losing RM888 billion in nine years from 2000 – 2008 as a result of corruption and misgovernance, instead of disseminating lies and falsehoods in the Tenang by-election in Johore.

It is five days since the Washington-based financial watchdog, Global Financial Integrity (GFI), reported that Malaysia is among the countries which registered the highest illicit financial outflows over a period of nine years in the last decade.

The five countries with the highest illicit financial outlays between 2000 and 2008 were:

1. China $2.18 trillion
2. Russia $427 billion
3. Mexico $416 billion
4. Saudi Arabia $302 billion
5. Malaysia $291 billion.

Capital outflows from Malaysia more than tripled from US$22.2 billion in 2000 to US$68.2 billion in 2008, totaling US$291 billion (or RM888 billion) in nine years between 2000 and 2008. Read the rest of this entry »


Can Malaysia graduate?

East Asia Forum
January 19th, 2011
Author: Hal Hill, ANU

Malaysia is one of the developing world’s great success stories. Few countries outside of East Asia can match its development record. Since its independence over 53 years ago per capita incomes have risen more than eight-fold, and absolute poverty has been all but eliminated.

But it currently faces three key, interrelated challenges, some generic to upper middle income developing countries, others specific to Malaysia itself.

The first, how to graduate to the rich-country club, has been clearly articulated by the country’s Prime Minister, Tun Najib: ‘We are now at a critical juncture, either to remain trapped in a middle-income group or advance to a high-income economy … We now have to shift to a new economic model based on innovation, creativity and high value added activities.’

The second, shared by some of its Southeast Asian neighbours, is the country’s slower development trajectory since the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s. Even before the current global financial crisis, which it has navigated quite successfully, economic growth in the 2000’s was about two percentage points below that of the decade 1986-96.

Particularly worrisome is the slump in investment, which has been stuck at little more than 20 per cent of GDP since the late 1990s. This is 10-15 percentage points of GDP lower than the country’s historic ratio. With savings remaining buoyant, the country’s external position has been transformed dramatically. In 2002, the country had net liabilities equivalent to 35 per cent of GDP. By 2008, this had been transformed to net assets of 20 per cent of GDP. Put simply, Malaysians have been finding overseas investment increasingly attractive, while foreigners have been less attracted to Malaysia.

The third challenge relates to the development of high-quality institutions to underpin a modern market economy in a country that has experienced continuous one-party rule for over half a century. Malaysia’s ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) is in fact the world’s longest-serving governing party currently in power among all ‘quasi democracies’. Not surprisingly, elements of UMNO exhibit the problems of complacence and arrogance that one expects from entrenched one-party dominance. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia in the Era of Globalization #50

By M. Bakri Musa

Chapter Six: Malaysia: Assets and Liabilities

The Barnacles of Special Privileges

Malaysia’s affirmative action programs can be viewed in one of two ways. One, they were designed to ameliorate the deteriorating socioeconomic status of Bumiputras; and two, they are part and parcel of the inherent rights of Bumiputras consequent to their being the indigenous people of the country. With the first, the primary objective is to enhance Bumiputras’ competitiveness so they could compete effectively not only with non-Bumiputras but also the rest of the world. The program’s effectiveness could thus be objectively evaluated by this ready criterion.

The second premise views these privileges as essentially being part of our heritage. It is a right. There is nothing to assess; the program would be permanent. Whether such privileges are boon or bane depends on how they are administered and on the recipients. Native American Indians have many privileges not afforded to ordinary Americans (sovereignty of their reservations, free education, tax free status, etc.), but they still remain far behind. They have become essentially wards of the state; their initiative and industry sucked dry out of them.
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Investigate Why Malaysia Has Attained World Ranking in Illicit Outflows

by Dr. Lim Teck Ghee

I refer to a report by Washington financial watchdog Global Financial Integrity which found that Malaysia lost US$291 billion or RM889 billion through illicit outflows between 2000-2008.

The report written by GFI economists Karly Curcio and Dev Kar, who is a former senior economist at the International Monetary Fund is deserving of attention from everyone in the country – the Prime Minister to the lowest of our citizenry.

This finding of massive illicit capital outflow for Malaysia is the strongest confirmation of sustained capital flight from the country during the past decade, even if one wants to dispute the definition of “illicit” used. What is especially worrying is that the outflow has tripled in the short period of eight years from 2000-2008

There can be no dispute that a major part of this outflow is due to financial gains accumulated through corruption, kickbacks and other illegal means. How much is due to various causes can be disputed and can only be determined by a thorough investigation such as through the establishment of a Royal Commission to determine the extent and the reasons for the outflow. Without an independent panel or Commission looking into this and having access to banking and other financial data, there will be no end to finger pointing and needless speculation as to who are the parties implicated in these outflows. Read the rest of this entry »


A Voyage Into the Darkness of Indonesian Corruption

by Angela Dewan
Asia Sentinel
18 JANUARY 2011

The Travels of Taxman Tambunan

If Jonathan Swift had written a satire on corruption in Indonesia, he couldn’t have imagined a more farcical plot than that involving Gayus Tambunan. In just eight months, the detained civil servant, a mid-level tax official, managed to bribe his way out of prison 68 times, fly to at least three other countries in a dubious disguise and even bribe his way out of bribery charges.

A frustrated President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Monday demanded an end to the affair and issued orders to look into 149 companies said to have benefited from the tax official’s services, including as much as US$1 billion in taxes allegedly evaded by companies controlled by Aburizal Bakrie, the head of the Golkar political party and one of Indonesia’s richest businessmen. It is a story that illustrates how deeply corruption reaches into the Indonesian government, including the national police, the courts, the prosecutor’s office, the immigration department, the prison system, the tax agency and others. It has also tarnished Yudhoyono’s reputation as a reformer.

Tambunan, back in jail, presumably for a long stretch, was so audacious in his antics that he captivated and even impressed Indonesians, who have dubbed him SuperGayus in local media – one newspaper even named him Man of the Year.

After several secret jaunts abroad, Tambunan was finally busted when a photojournalist covering an international tennis tournament in Bali snapped the slippery 31-year-old in the audience sporting an unconvincing wig of lustrous black locks and thick-rimmed glasses.

Tambunan was supposed to be sitting in a police cell awaiting trial for accepting Rp28 billion (US$3 million) in bribes to doctor the tax returns of three companies linked to the Bakrie Group. He denied for weeks that the photo depicted him. “I prefer golf,” was his sole response to reporters’ allegations outside the courtroom. Read the rest of this entry »


Explain RM888b illegal funds leak

by Lim Guan Eng

DAP wishes to extend our congratulations to the Royal Malaysian Navy for its success in capturing 18 Somali pirates and preventing their attempted hijack of a Malaysian chemical tanker near the Gulf of Aden. This successful operation in saving the tanker and their crew without any loss of life inspires confidence in a professional navy that justifies the people’s faith.

Whilst our navy boys are heroes for their successful capture of Somali pirates in international waters, DAP regrets that land “pirates” are allowed to roam freely in Malaysia. The US-based financial watchdog Global Financial integrity (GFI) reported that illicit money outflows from Malaysia tripled to US$68.2 billion (RM208.1 billion) in 2008, from US$22.2 billion in 2000.

For the period 2000-2008, China tops the chart among the world’s exporters of illicit capital with a whopping US$2.8 trillion of outflows, followed by Russia (US$427 billion), Mexico (US$416 billion), Saudi Arabia (US$302 billion) and Malaysia (US$291 billion or RM888 billion). Other Asian countries with high illegal capital flight are Philippines ($109 billion), Indonesia ($104 billion) and India ($104 billion).

Clearly illegal capital flight from Malaysia of RM888 billion over 9 years from 2000-8 has dwarfed legitimate capital inflows into the country. GFI defines illicit financial flows as generally involving the transfer of money earned through illegal activities such as corruption, transactions involving contraband goods, criminal activities, and efforts to shelter wealth from a country’s tax authorities.

GFI said that poor governance, pervasive corruption and rising income inequality as contributory factors, making serious allegations that even GLCs such as Petronas could probably be driving illicit flows. This is a devastating indictment of the lack of enforcement, rule of law and a culture of corruption that has eroded confidence in our capital market. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Beng Hock and Interlok will not derail BN’s target’

by Regina Lee
Jan 22, 11

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is unfazed by the opposition’s attempts to raise the issues of Teoh Beng Hock’s death and the controversial textbook ‘Interlok’ at the Jan 30 by-election in Tenang.

Muhyiddin said he is confident that it will not dent the BN’s efforts to regain the 5,000-vote majority it had at the 2004 general election.

The BN’s by-election commander-in-chief said the opposition would be hard pressed in finding real issues during the contest, and would thus resort to spreading lies.

“There are not many issues in Tenang. The land demands by the second generation of Felda settlers is being considered by the government,” said Muhyiddin during a press conference after this morning’s nominations.

“In any by-election, there will always be new issues repeatedly played up by the opposition. They will look for one or create one that includes lies and slander.

“Although I don’t think it will effect us but we cannot keep quiet. If they make false statements, we will have to explain ourselves, lest the voters believe them,” he said when asked about Teoh Beng Hock and the novel ‘Interlok’. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia is world’s No 5 in illicit outflows

Jan 20, 11

Malaysia is among the countries which registered the highest illicit financial outflows over a period of nine years in the last decade.

According to a ground-breaking report by Washington-based financial watchdog Global Financial Integrity (GFI), money flows out of Malaysia have more than tripled from 2000 to 2008.

The outflow from Malaysia in 2000 was RM67.7 billion (US$22.2 billion). Eight years later, this has ballooned to RM208 billion ($68.2 billion).

The report warned that the sharp increase of capital flight in Malaysia is “at a scale seen in few Asian countries”.

It said that it was difficult to point out the reasons behind this massive outflow of illicit capital – estimated at RM889 billion (US$291 billion) between 2000 and 2008 – without carrying out an in-depth study of Malaysia, which is outside the scope of the report.

“It is clear however that significant governance issues affecting both the public and private sectors have been playing a key role in the cross-border transfer of illicit capital from the country.

“For instance, there are reports in the Malaysian media that large state-owned enterprises such as Petronas could probably be driving illicit flows.”

The financial watchdog said that its research has indicated that political instability, rising income inequality and pervasive corruption are some of the structural and governance issues that could be driving illicit capital from many developing countries. Read the rest of this entry »


Malay history: What’s missing from the textbooks (2)

by John Doe | CPIASIA

Also interesting to note is the following:

In Late Yuan Dynasty, China became chaotic, people who lived along the coastal area of Fujian, under the leadership of Ong Sum Ping’s siblings, escaped to eastern Kalimantan — they landed at the river mouth. When they were exhausted, facing a shipping crisis, someone lost their arms. After that, the Kadazans named it as Sungai Kinabatangan — the place where the Chinese lost their arms.

Ong Sum Ping and his sister, and the Chinese people developed the area of Sungai Kinabatangan, and they increased their influence there. With the increase of his prosperity, the natives named him Raja, or King. The Chinese named him as ‘Chung Ping’ — meaning the General. We can clearly see that Ong Sum Ping controlled Eastern Kalimantan.

This is Ong Sum Ping Road in Brunei.
Read the rest of this entry »


Investors shun Malaysia as emerging market outlook cools

By Yow Hong Chieh
The Malaysian Insider
January 20, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 20 — Global investors are continuing to avoid Malaysia as fund managers trim investments in emerging markets over concerns that China’s economy will slow this year.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a note this week that Malaysia remained a “big underweight” for investors in emerging markets, with its underweight rating increasing from 46 per cent in December to 55 per cent in the first month of 2011.

An underweight call is a recommendation for investors to reduce their investments in a particular security, asset class or, in this case, country.

Malaysia slipped from 14th place in December to dead last this month among the 15 countries studied by the investment bank, despite the roll out of big ticket Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) projects and speculation that snap polls will be held later this year.

Topping the list was strongly overweight Russia, followed by Thailand, Brazil, Turkey, South Korea, China, Indonesia and Mexico. Other emerging market underweights were Poland, Taiwan, Colombia, India, South Africa and Chile.

Malaysia’s underweight call also comes at a time when fewer investors are looking to increase investments in emerging markets due to worries that China’s “eroding” economy will have a knock-on effect on the market in Asia. Read the rest of this entry »


Malay history: What’s missing from the textbooks

by John Doe | CPIASIA

Brunei has always been known to be one of the earliest Muslim Kingdoms in Southeast Asia. They pride themselves in this fact. All their neighbors pride themselves in this too, and of course, since it is fact, it is irrefutable. Right?

Good. Let’s quickly look at some FACTS then:

It is taught in school textbooks that Pateh Berbai, the brother of Awang Semaun and Awang Alak Betatar, discovered Brunei. Awang Alak Betatar subsequently became Brunei’s first Sultan and was known as Sultan Muhammad Shah. Awang Semaun and Awang Alak Betatar were the famous heroes in Brunei during that time.

Sultan Muhammad Shah was the first Sultan of Brunei. He ruled Brunei from 1363 to 1402. He was the first Muslim ruler of Brunei as a result of his conversion to Islam in 1363 for his marriage to a Johorean-Temasik princess. Prior to conversion to Islam, he was known as Awang Alak Betatar.
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Coloniser-colonised thesis revisited

by Azly Rahman

Learning about the current Tunisian revolt, and remembering the work of Martin Luther King Jr, I have somewhat come to draw a parallel between analysis and hope, between reality and manifestation. From Albert Memmi to Martin Luther King Jr.

In the case of the Tunisian youth ‘chasing out’ their dictator of 23 years and their anger over the royal robbery of the monarch, I found an explanation in the 1965 classic by the Tunisian psychoanalyst and political-cultural theorist Albert Memmi in his seminal work, The Colonizer and the Colonized, in which he proposed that the only way to resolve the contradiction of the oppressor and the oppressed and put an end to the brutality of the dictator is through revolt.

One can find a similar theme in analysing the master-slave narrative in works such as Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth and Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

That is what is happening now in the streets of Tunis; the coloniser who was once a colonised mind has turned into a coloniser and now is deposed by the colonised. Revolt is the way to overcome the slow death of the masses via hegemony of developmentalism and the illusion of nationalism.

That was the path Algerians took in the Battle of Algiers within the context of The French-Algerian War, in which the colonised fought against the brutal French colonisers, ending in a few million deaths. Read the rest of this entry »


DAP ropes in prominent Malays

Latest entrant’s father had served in Cabinet of first three PMs
By Carolyn Hong, Malaysia Bureau Chief
Singapore Straits Times

Zairil Khir Johari
Mr Zairil Khir Johari, seen here at a Pakatan Rakyat convention, is the son of the late Tan Sri Khir Johari, an illustrious Umno politician. –PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR: The short-sleeved white shirt was a dead giveaway. It’s marked out Mr Zairil Khir Johari as an active member of the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP), as it is the attire favoured by this Chinese-based party.

‘I’m just an ordinary member,’ he said.

But he already devotes a substantial amount of time to party work. The 28-year-old businessman had made his maiden political appearance last month when he gave a well-received speech at the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) convention in Penang. The DAP is one of the parties making up the opposition PR alliance.
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Najib cannot be more wrong. Tenang is about future of Malaysia – no more TBH Kugan Aminurasyid Krishnan & unaccounted deaths

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in Tenang yesterday that he also want to know the real truth of Teoh Beng Hock’s death.

If so, it is not too late for him to meet the demands of Teoh Beng Hock’s family and the overwhelming majority of Malaysians who want to see that justice is not only done but seen to be done by setting up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to probe further into the Coroner’s finding of Teoh Beng Hock’s prefall neck injury.

The Teoh Beng Hock RCI should be a meaningful and high-powered one comprising independent and credible members with the widest terms of reference to ferret out the truth of Teoh’s death and a commitment that the government will accept and implement its findings unlike the Lingam Videotape RCI.

Although Najib pledged his commitment “to unravel the mystery” behind Teoh’s death in Tenang yesterday, and that “we have ways to find out the truth”, government actions in the past 18 months since Teoh’s tragic and outrageous death at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters in Shah Alam on July 16, 2009, where he had gone voluntarily to give his co-operation to the MACC as a witness and not as a suspect, had not inspired confidence that the Prime Minister would “leave no stone unturned” to uncover the whole truth about Teoh’s death.
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Poor English skills bad for economy

by Stephanie Sta Maria
Free Malaysia Today
January 18, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR: A nation’s economy is only as good as its education system. So powerful is education that even the subtlest tweak has the propensity to either elevate or relegate a nation on the global stage.

Policy-makers therefore tread with great care when proposing policy amendments, acutely aware of the staggering impact their decisions would have on the country’s future.

Malaysia’s policy-makers, however, appeared to have lacked this attention to detail when deciding to reverse the teaching and learning of Science and Maths in English (PPSMI). And that move has placed Malaysia’s economy on shaky ground.

Cheong Kee Cheok, a Senior Research Fellow with the Faculty of Economics in Universiti Malaya, expressed grave concern over the system’s failure to produce the human resources needed to propel the country forward. And this, he warned, would severely cripple the flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Malaysia.

“One of the benefits a country reaps from FDI is the acquisition of technology,” he said. “But we can only acquire it if we speak the language of technology, which is English. Unfortunately, we are losing out to the Thais, Vietnamese and Chinese in our ability to communicate in English.”

“We have enjoyed FDI for 30 years but what technology have we acquired? To a certain extent, piracy is a key indicator of a country’s technological prowess. China is able to pirate almost anything whereas our piracy is limited to DVDs.”

The inability of a nation to acquire a certain strength leaves it no choice but to be dependent on other nations. This stagnancy will gradually reduce its competitiveness and eventually ease it out of the economic supply chain altogether.

“Our lack of technological expertise will dissuade technologically capable industries from investing in Malaysia,” Cheong said. “Right now we are still locked in a supply chain but our position will shift as other nations become better.” Read the rest of this entry »


The true spirit of the azan

By Prof Dr Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi | MalaysiaKini

Let us be clear on the purpose of the adhan in its original form. According to the hadith (recording of the sayings and actions) of the Prophet Muhammad as documented by Sirah Ishaq:

“When the apostle was firmly settled in Medina and his brethren the emigrants were gathered to him and the affairs of the helpers were arranged, Islam became firmly established.

“Prayer was instituted, the alms tax and fasting were prescribed, legal punishments fixed, the forbidden and the permitted prescribed, and Islam took up its abode with them. It was this clan of the helpers who ‘have taken up their abode (in the city of the prophet) and in the faith’.
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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 »