Archive for February 21st, 2011

70 and looking forward to more democratic breakthroughs (1)

Turned 70 yesterday. Humbled and overwhelmed by the avalanche of well wishes and greetings by Malaysians, from all parts of the country and abroad, whether in person as at the 70th birthday reception at the Equatorial Hotel Penang on Saturday (Feb. 19) organized by my family (happy to learn that many numbers-cognosenti made money as the winning numbers in yesterday’s 3D and 1+3D were 219 and 0219) or through sms, email, facebook, twitter, blogs or through the forums provided by online media like Malaysiakini, The Malaysian Insider, Malaysia Chronicle, Free Malaysia Today, etc.

Pleasantly surprised from the greetings that I share the same birthday with at least two others – firstly, with the hot online media columnist Mariam Moktar who said in her email: Read the rest of this entry »


Not for PM to say one religion superior to another

By John Malott

Bernama recently commented that I have “gone off the rails” because of my Feb 8 op-ed in the Asian Wall Street Journal.

To prove its point, the news agency gave just two examples. First, that I was wrong in saying that Malaysia’s needs to grow by eight percent annually over the coming decade to achieve Vision 2020 and higher income status.

In my defence (Who’s off the rails, Bernama? Part 1), I revealed the source of my ‘error’ – a speech and report from Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Bernama also took me to task for saying that racial and religious tensions in Malaysia are higher today than when Najib (right) took office and are worse than at any time since the riots of 1969.

It pointed out that one week after my article appeared, Najib attended a meeting of the Malaysia Interfaith Council to commemorate World Interfaith Harmony Week.
Read the rest of this entry »



By P. Ramakrishnan | Aliran President

My Dear Mr Lim,

This was what I meant to say if I had the opportunity on Saturday which observed your 70th Birthday. Unfortunately, and very understandably, it wasn’t possible. So let me share this with you:

    LIM KIT SIANG: The Legend

YB Lim Kit Siang and Mrs Lim, Members of the Lim family, Distinguished Guests, Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen:

My wife and I are very grateful to the Lim family for extending their invitation to us to be part of this very special occasion. What we are observing today is an important milestone in the life of a remarkable parliamentarian.

YB Lim Kit Siang is no ordinary Malaysian; he is a legend. His public involvement spans over 40 years – a period covering the tenure of six Malaysian Prime Ministers – from the first to the present sixth PM. And he will certainly be there, I’m sure, when a new seventh PM takes over after the 13th General Elections!

This is a record that will not be matched or surpassed by any Malaysian. If he was from Umno, this feat would have gone into the Malaysian Book of records.
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Non-Muslims back Penang interfaith portfolio

By Debra Chong | The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21 — The national non-Muslim council has given its thumbs-up to the Penang government for setting up a new interfaith portfolio, and called on other states to follow its example in a bid to counter rising religious extremism.

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) applauded Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s (picture) initiative to form and head the new executive portfolio to handle non-Muslim religious issues in the state.

“Further, we are deeply encouraged that he has taken it upon himself to head it to give the seriousness it deserves,” it said in a statement today.

Religious tensions in multicultural Malaysia have been on the rise in recent years and have led to clashes in court and on the street between Muslim and non-Muslim communities last year in disputes over religious terminology and places of worship, among others.
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Long Live LKS!

By Martin Jalleh

You have dared to continue to differ in spite of your double ISA detentions and the “dangers” that come with voicing and doing what is right and just.

You have made a difference whilst others dance to the tune of the status quo and become self-serving servile lap dogs to the dominant powers that be.

You were discouraged, down but not out when the DAP faced a near-death in its dismal 1995 general election performance. You bounced back defying all political odds.

You were determined to soldier on in spite of a debilitating spate of defections in 1996 and disturbing frequent internal conflicts, divisions and factional disputes.

You desired to quit and to assume full responsibility for the DAP’s election debacle in 1999. Yet, you went on to prove that you were no political dinosaur and to disappoint those hoping for DAP’s demise!

You have been the DAP’s driving force and strong disciplinarian for several decades, thereby giving your enemies within and without the DAP the excuse to label you a “dictator”.

You have never despaired in spite of the many downs and dark and depressing moments in your political career, whilst others grew disillusioned and eventually disappeared from the political scene. Read the rest of this entry »


The Najib position on pluralism

By Thomas Lee

Another religious controversy is brewing over the Prime Minister’s warning to Muslims last week that religious pluralism is un-Islamic because it places Islam on an equal footing with other faiths.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak has also asked government Islamic agencies and religious teachers to explain the issue of pluralism to the Muslim community.

Najib’s statement is being challenged by various quarters alleging that his stand would cause confusion and religious disharmaony among the people.

However, the Rev Thomas Phillips, president of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCST), has come out in defence of Najid, saying that all religions had their own theological stand and advised the people against taking Najib’s statement out of context.
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Malaysia in the Era of Globalization #54

By M. Bakri Musa

Chapter 7: Enhancing Human Capital

Enhancing Human Capital Through Better Health

Good health is good for the economy. A National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) paper showed that a one-year improvement in a country’s life expectancy (an index of health) contributes to a four percent increase in its economic output, and that good health has a greater impact on the economy than work experience or years of schooling.

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Commission on Macroeconomics and Health (CMH) Report reaffirms the powerful link between health, poverty reduction, and economic growth. The report challenges the traditional argument that health of the citizens will automatically improve as the result of economic growth. Indeed the opposite is true; improved health is a critical requirement for economic development in poor countries.
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Who’s off the rails, Bernama?

John Malott | Feb 20, 11

Bernama news agency recently commented that I have “gone off the rails” because of my article in the Asian Wall Street Journal.

Because Bernama is owned by the Malaysian government, it is no surprise that they would feel obliged to say something critical.

But who really is off the rails? It is too bad that Bernama went into attack mode before it did its homework. Indeed, the article reads like it was written by a PR firm, trying to spin the truth.

So let’s take a look at what Bernama said. Read the rest of this entry »