Archive for February 8th, 2011

Perkasa hijacked NEM, says NEAC man

Aidila Razak | Feb 8, 11

Malay rights NGO Perkasa’s fierce objections to aspects of the first part of the New Economic Model (NEM) forced its second part to be watered down.

Revealing this today, National Economic Advisory Council member Zainal Aznam Mohd Yusof said Perkasa and other right wing groups were up in arms particularly over the NEM’s rejection of 30 percent bumiputera equity and the proposal of an equal opportunities commission.

“(These suggestions) were lambasted and strangled by right wing groups led by Perkasa. They wanted to burn part one (of the NEM).

“…Perkasa said we did not have roh Melayu (the Malay spirit),” he lamented.

Speaking at a forum organised by think-tank Institue of Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) in Kuala Lumpur, Zainal Aznam added that listening to the right wing groups meant that the cabinet had failed the test on reforms.

“This was the government’s litmus test and at this time, I have to say that there is no political will,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »


The Price of Malaysia’s Racism

Slower growth and a drain of talented citizens are only the beginning.

The Wall Street Journal
Feb 8, 2011


Malaysia’s national tourism agency promotes the country as “a bubbling, bustling melting pot of races and religions where Malays, Indians, Chinese and many other ethnic groups live together in peace and harmony.” Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak echoed this view when he announced his government’s theme, One Malaysia. “What makes Malaysia unique,” Mr. Najib said, “is the diversity of our peoples. One Malaysia’s goal is to preserve and enhance this unity in diversity, which has always been our strength and remains our best hope for the future.”

If Mr. Najib is serious about achieving that goal, a long look in the mirror might be in order first. Despite the government’s new catchphrase, racial and religious tensions are higher today than when Mr. Najib took office in 2009. Indeed, they are worse than at any time since 1969, when at least 200 people died in racial clashes between the majority Malay and minority Chinese communities. The recent deterioration is due to the troubling fact that the country’s leadership is tolerating, and in some cases provoking, ethnic factionalism through words and actions. Read the rest of this entry »


Egyptian opposition cautious after vice-president Suleiman opens talks

Government offers concessions to groups including Muslim Brotherhood – but critics say proposals do not go far enough

Chris McGreal in Cairo and Julian Borger in Munich
The Guardian
Monday 7 February 2011

The Egyptian government has offered a series of concessions at the first talks with opposition groups, including the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, in an attempt to end the mass pro-democracy protests across the country.

But opposition leaders said that Egypt’s vice-president and longtime intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, did not go far enough in his proposals for greater political freedom and pledge of free elections.

In Cairo, demonstrators again packed Tahrir Square to demand President Hosni Mubarak’s immediate removal from office as a prerequisite for any deal, undermining the government’s attempts to get people back to work because of the huge economic losses caused by the crisis.

While the mood was relaxed in the square for much of the day on Sunday, with even a wedding taking place, the army fired warning shots after dark in an apparent confrontation with some protesters. There are concerns that demands by the military to remove barricades blocking roads are a move towards breaking up the demonstration.

A government statement said that Suleiman, who is apparently playing an increasingly powerful role, agreed to a number of measures including the formation of a committee of political and judicial figures to oversee changes to the constitution which would scrap provisions that limit the ability of the opposition to run for the presidency. Read the rest of this entry »