Archive for September, 2011

Undilah video taken off-air over Ku Li speech, opposition figures

By Jahabar Sadiq
Editor | September 23, 2011
The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23 — A video promoting the right to vote has been taken off the air by local broadcasters despite a push for greater democracy because it contains opposition figures and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s speech talking about Malaysia having problems.

The Malaysian Insider learnt that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) directed local broadcasters this week not to use the public service announcement (PSA) produced by musician Pete Teo just days after its launch on September 16.

“MCMC emailed both Astro and Media Prima Bhd about the issue, telling them the video clip should not be aired because Ku Li speaks about the country having problems and also because it features opposition leaders,” an industry source told The Malaysian Insider, referring to Tengku Razaleigh by his popular nickname.
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The system’s breaking down

— The Malaysian Insider
Sep 22, 2011

SEPT 22 — Anti-corruption officers extorted RM1 million from money changers. Policeman sentenced to five years’ jail for shooting 14-year-old boy in the back. The Attorney-General accused of a string of serious and damning offences, including fabricating evidence.

Nope, these are not headlines from a banana republic in Central America or Zimbabwe. This is what is happening in Malaysia and is only a snapshot of a system falling into a serious state of disrepair, where there is a serious blurring of lines between law enforcers and law breakers, where the culture of easy money and lack of respect for the rule of law are hurting the country’s once-respected institutions.

Oh, you can bet that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) will talk about how a few bad apples should not sully the whole basket but we believe recent evidence suggests that the problems at the anti-corruption agency are institutional rather than isolated.

Wasn’t it the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Teoh Beng Hock’s death which found the behaviour of the MACC interrogators abhorrent? And of course that was before the Customs official fell to his death and where a CCTV recording mysteriously disappeared.

Aminulrasyid Amzah was shot in the back by a policeman and in another incident, the court awarded RM900,000 to a man who became paralysed after being shot in the back. Read the rest of this entry »


Malicious/selective prosecution of Mat Sabu should dampen euphoria in certain quarters sparked by Najib’s latest gambit to brand himself as reformer par excellence to make Malaysia “ best democracy in the world”

The malicious and selective prosecution of PAS Deputy President Mat Sabu for criminal defamation should dampen the euphoria in certain quarters sparked by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s latest gambit to brand himself as the reformer par excellence to make Malaysia the “best democracy in the world”.

The proposals to set up a parliamentary select committee on electoral reforms, to repeal the nefarious Internal Security Act (ISA) and to amend various laws such as Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) have not been able to stand up to close scrutiny that they are intended to usher in a major democratisation of the country.

The proposed parliamentary select committee will only be meaningful if it results in changes to the electoral system to ensure free and fair elections as envisaged in the Eight Demands of Bersih 2, and most important of all, that such reforms are all effected before the dissolution of Parliament and the holding of the next general elections.
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Branding guru calls Najib’s PR efforts an ‘absolute scam’

By Yow Hong Chieh
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 21, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 — The creator of the nation branding concept has called the prime minister’s use of British publicity firm FBC Media to burnish Malaysia’s image abroad an “absolute scam” and a waste of public funds.

Simon Anholt, who pioneered the use of nation branding as a way to measure, build and manage a country’s reputation, said that while public relations was needed in the private sector, it was “highly suspect” that a country could up its standing using the same means.

“There’s a great deal of evidence around us to show what a waste of taxpayers’ money this is,” he told BFM Radio in a phone interview this morning.

“First of all, the countries that tend to spend most money on these PR campaigns to fix their image tend to be the rogue nations. Read the rest of this entry »


Pakatan commits to PSC

by Aidila Razak
Sep 21, 11

Pakatan Rakyat will participate in the parliamentary select committee (PSC) on electoral reforms despite earlier boycott threats.

After the Pakatan leadership council meeting in Kuala Lumpur, PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim said that the coalition was willing to “give the government a chance” to prove its commitment to electoral reforms.

However, the coalition has yet to appoint its three representatives to the nine member committee. Five will be filled by BN MPs and another from the Independent bloc.

“We have given our members full mandate to represent Pakatan and state their priorities, collaborate and see the workings of the committee and decide if it is a delay tactic.

“We are giving the government a chance, we don’t want to be presumptuous,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »


Pak Lah and Najib: Same old, same old

— The Malaysian Insider
Sep 21, 2011

SEPT 21 — It is really amusing how former leaders labour to protect a legacy or image, many times even more strenuously than when they were occupying the hot seat at Putrajaya.

Look at Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad; when he was in power for 22 years, he did not care if Malaysians and his critics called him a dictator or autocrat or “Mahafiraun”.

But since yielding the reins, he has attempted to rewrite history by suggesting that it was the police who ordered the arrests of over 100 people under Ops Lalang and that he was tolerant, open-minded, transparent, etc.

Now comes the turn of Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. He has come “alive” since his replacement Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced on Thursday plans to abolish the Internal Security Act (ISA) and other laws enacted, propped up or abused by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government. Read the rest of this entry »


Najib must retract his “crushed bodies, lives lost” speech and declare that he will accept the general election verdict of the people, including a change of government in Sri Perdana Putrajaya

On Sunday the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak claimed that his Malaysia Day speech announcement of the repeal of the Internal Security Act and other law reforms was an effort to make Malaysia “the best democracy in the world”.

Within 48 hours however Najib demonstrated that he has neither the political commitment nor the necessary mindset to “walk the talk” of making Malaysia “the best democracy in the world” when he spoke to the Association of Former Members of the Social Welfare Department (PBAKM) calling for assistance to defend Putrajaya by declaring that Seri Perdana is the residence of UMNO and a BN Prime Minister.

Najib cannot be more wrong as Sri Perdana is not the private property of UMNO and Barisan Nasional but the public property of the people of Malaysia, regardless of the outcome of any general election. Read the rest of this entry »


Can the separation of power in Malaysia become reality?

— Koon Yew Yin
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 20, 2011

SEPT 20 — The recent announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak of pending political reforms is an important step in the right direction for the country. These reforms are needed to complement the earlier economic ones. The prime minister’s boldness in enacting these reforms has been applauded by all quarters, except for supremacist groups such as Perkasa who have been agitating for the harsher use of punitive laws against groups opposed to their notion of Malay rights and who are against any liberalisation of the status quo.

However, critics and cynics have questioned whether the reforms are being undertaken by the government to gain popularity and to counter the increasing potency of these civil liberty issues in the coming general election. Concern has also been expressed on whether the new laws to deter terrorism may be misused by the authorities and may have the same effect of stifling legitimate dissent. Also the proposed decision to abolish annual licensing for the print media under the Printing Presses and Publications Act is really a minor improvement since the home minister’s decision not to renew a licence is final and cannot be disputed in any court of law. Read the rest of this entry »


Ex-CID head in relentless pursuit of AG

Malaysiakini | Sep 19, 11

A former CID director has argued that the federal government has “confirmed” that Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail tampered with evidence in the 1998 ‘black eye’ incident involving Anwar Ibrahim.

Mat Zain Ibrahim, in an open letter to Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar, referred to a review of the incident by a three-member panel.

He noted that one panel-member had established a prima facie case against Gani (right). And by defending the panel’s legitimacy and authority through a ministerial statement to Parliament last December, he argued, Putrajaya had validated the minority finding.

“The main issue is whether Gani had falsified evidence in the investigation involving Anwar or not. It is clear that, in this case, the government had confirmed that the falsifying of evidence did take place.
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To be a statesman or to remain a politician?

by K Kabilan
Free Malaysia Today
September 20, 2011

Critics can be silenced only if Najib shows that he is genuine in making political reforms. For that, he has to start the ball rolling now, not next year, not after the general election.


It’s not surprising that there are so many sceptics to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s proposed political reforms as announced by him on Malaysia Day.

It has been about a week now and we are yet to be shown any outlines or details of the mechanism under which Najib proposes to revoke the three Emergency proclamations, do away with the draconian Internal Security Act and on what form would the two replacement Acts be.

Neither have we seen any fine print on how the other Emergency Ordinance-related laws such as the Banishment Act and the Restricted Residence Act 1993 will be replaced. Read the rest of this entry »


Bumis ‘typically’ sold government contracts for cars, houses, leaked study reveals

The Malaysian Insider
Sep 20, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 — An unpublished Works Ministry study found that Bumiputera contractors as a rule sold their government contracts to buy luxury cars and houses apart from misusing payments received from the Treasury, according to a leaked US diplomatic cable.

The cable, revealed by whistleblower website WikiLeaks, comes just after Putrajaya agreed to allocate RM8 billion worth of contracts in the country’s most expensive infrastructure project, the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), which initially set strict rules for its contractors.

The US diplomatic cable quoted a Works Ministry source as saying the “Study on Bumiputera Contractor Leakage” was the result of feedback from various industry sources on failed and successful projects. The report was used by then-Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (picture) to castigate failing Bumiputera businessmen in February 2007.

“The current system of awarding lucrative government contracts to Bumis provides them with a strong economic incentive to simply act as agents, turning over as many projects as possible and taking a cut before handing each one off to a competent non-Bumi implementer.

“This ‘Bumi agent’ system is firmly entrenched in Malaysia. Any effort to make reforms is likely to be resisted not only by well-established Bumis, but also by the non-Bumi implementers who have built up a network of well-oiled agent partnership,” the US Embassy concluded in the report published by the Malaysia-Today news portal. Read the rest of this entry »


That bold speech on that historic day

— Sakmongkol AK47
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 19, 2011

SEPT 19 — I am a little late to write on the historic speech of the prime minister. Really, I wanted to offer words of encouragement and support. I am tired to continue criticising the PM, who is, after all, my ketua bahagian.

I was thinking, support and congratulations are in order because the media, led by the overzealous minister of information, have led the public to believe that some real goodies are in order; and after that, the public will offer effusive joyousness in response.

They will, I think, if the subject matter that is going to be announced affects them directly and immediately in a positive way. The response from the public will be lukewarm if the subject matter affects them indirectly and inconsequentially. Let us judge the administration on this score. Read the rest of this entry »


Foreign sell-off, economy top concerns despite reforms push

by Lee Wei Lian
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 19, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 — Despite the Najib administration’s political reforms, a Bloomberg report today said foreign funds may continue paring down local share stakes in an indication that the world economy will remain the government’s biggest headache ahead of an expected general election.

Terence Wong, head of research at Kuala Lumpur-based CIMB, was reported as saying that worsening global economic turmoil may cause investors to keep unloading the nation’s equities.

Wong also said that promises made last week by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to burnish Malaysia’s democratic credentials and abolish the controversial security and media laws will not be enough to boost confidence.

The Bloomberg report said that KLSE data showed that foreign funds sold RM3.8 billion worth of Malaysian shares last month, the most since at least October 2009 after four consecutive months of inflows. Read the rest of this entry »


Human Rights and Transparency in Malaysia

by Lim Guan Eng
Speech at Monash Asia Institute in Melbourne
19th September 2011

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for inviting me to speak at the Monash Asia Institute, an important research center at my alma mater. I would like to especially thank Professor Greg Barton and my dear friend Dr Wendy Smith as well as send my thanks to the Monash University’s leadership. As you know, Monash University has a sister campus in Kuala Lumpur and although it is sadly not in my state, the university plays an important role in educating future leaders of our country.

As a Malaysian, I am very grateful for this collaboration and hope we can strengthen ties between Monash and Malaysia further. On a personal level, as many of your know I received my economics and accounting degree here and was quite active in student politics. I was never an outstanding student but what little I gleaned has helped me to formulate new economic and industrial policies in Penang that is now acknowledged as the best run state in Malaysia with strong growth, record budget surpluses and record FDIs coupled with a labour shortage.

In short, Monash helped me to evolve as a leader and politician and this university will always have a special place in my heart for which I am eternally grateful. Not only did I learn the importance of studying and working hard, but the need to forge relationships and centrality of principles. I am sure Monash will train future Malaysian leaders and I look forward to many of you helping to chart our future and being the change you want to see. Read the rest of this entry »


Najib should present a full blueprint of how he proposes to make Malaysia the “best democracy in the world” when Parliament reconvenes on October 3

Malaysians should take seriously what the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in Pekan yesterday about making Malaysia the “best democracy in the world” and put him to the test.

At present, Malaysia is among the “worst democracy in the world” where citizens could be arrested for wearing yellow T-shirts and attract the full might of the law for supporting a peaceful rally in pursuit of a perfectly legitimate and democratic campaign for free and fair elections, including mass arrests and the firing of teargas and chemically-laced water cannons at unarmed and defenceless Malaysians.

A government seriously committed to the goal of becoming the “best democracy in the world” would not have arbitrarily and undemocratically banned Bersih 2.0 as an illegal organisation but would have engaged with all political parties and the civil society as to how Malaysia can transform itself from a “flawed democracy” into a “full-fledged democracy”. Read the rest of this entry »


Pak Lah warns Najib of internal resistance to reforms

By Shannon Teoh
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 19, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 — Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said today that Datuk Seri Najib Razak should expect hardliners in Barisan Nasional (BN) to resist his plans to repeal the Internal Security Act (ISA) and other security laws because they want to maintain the old ways to silence critics.

The former prime minister, who was conferred Universiti Malaysia Kelantan’s first honorary doctorate today, said in his acceptance speech that his own efforts to implement reforms were “opposed not just by those outside but also those from within.”

“There are hardliners who want to maintain the old system, controlling the flow of information and using laws to silence the public. Najib may face the same challenges I did before. The job of a reformist is not easy.

“I hope there will not be those that oppose silently, ‘seperti gunting dalam lipatan’, as the policy that (Najib) wants to create with the repeal of the ISA will benefit the public and the nation in the long term,” Abdullah said, using the Malay idiom that refers to internal saboteurs. Read the rest of this entry »


From the people behind Tony Blair, a ‘cool’ Najib

By Leslie Lau
Executive Editor
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 19, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 — In the last few weeks, a group of political strategists that includes members of the team behind Tony Blair’s “New Labour” have started work to reinvent Datuk Seri Najib Razak as a moderate reformist to appeal to voters as he prepares to lead his Barisan Nasional (BN) for the first time into elections.

The Malaysian Insider understands that besides the former Blair operatives, the Najib team is also seeking the counsel of a familiar face — Paul Stadlen, the former boss of APCO Malaysia, the team that met an ignominious end a few months ago for alleged links to Israel.

As part of the Najib team’s big push, it is also understood that multi-million ringgit funding has also been worked out for a new website and to hire hundreds of people to promote “Brand Najib” and “Brand BN” on social media and other websites.

A new Najib — one who attends concerts and speaks of being “cool” — has already emerged despite the short time the “Blair team” has been working here.

Last week, the prime minister pushed aside the hawks that had been dominating space in his administration by announcing plans for a raft of reforms including the repeal of the Internal Security Act (ISA). Read the rest of this entry »


A Whiff of His Father’s Leadership

by M. Bakri Musa

In announcing the repeal of the Internal Security Act and other repressive laws, Prime Minister Najib Razak secures for himself an enshrined spot in Malaysian history.

Of the many thoughtful comments on Najib’s historic announcement, the one that struck at the heart of the issue was that by former Mufti of Perlis, Dr. Asri Zainul Abidin. He declared, “The ISA is an un-Islamic law. It infringes [upon] individual rights and can be easily misused by leaders, so repealing it was a very Islamic move.” Amen!

“Najib’s announcement,” Asri continued, “is more valuable than any bonus payment or salary increase because repealing the ISA means the restoration of human rights … which is more valuable than money.” That is putting things in their proper perspective.

I disagree however, with the Mufti’s characterization of Najib’s move as a “gift” to the people. When someone robs you of something and then returns it, that is no gift, merely restoring what is rightly yours. The ISA and other restrictive laws rob us of our precious possession, our freedom. That is Allah’s gift to us, as enshrined in the Koran. It is not for mere mortals, no matter how exalted their earthly positions, to tamper.

Nonetheless I do hear the Mufti. Good Muslims ought to be grateful for their blessings, however small. I want to be a good Muslim, and Najib’s announcement is a huge blessing, so I am very grateful. Alham dulillah! Praise be to Allah! Read the rest of this entry »


Stop the charade of claiming to want to be the “best democracy in the world” – what Najib should do is to immediately end Malaysia’s ranking as a “flawed democracy”

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak is outdoing himself every day with taller and ever incredible claims – yesterday claiming that no one else but Barisan Nasional should take credit for the repeal of the Internal Security Act and other law reforms he announced in his Malaysia Day message and today reiterating that the repeal of the ISA is not due to pressure from any quarter but an effort to make Malaysia the “best democracy in the world”.

Najib should stop the charade of claiming to want to be the “best democracy in the world” when what he should do is to immediately end Malaysia’s ranking as a “flawed democracy” before Malaysia could qualify to rank among the full democracies in the world.

The third edition of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Democracy Index 2010 released early this year categorised Malaysia as a “flawed democracy” due to “a gradual erosion of civil liberties and political culture in the past year” with Malaysia’s aggregate score dropping 0.17 to 6.19 out of 10 from the previous index in 2008, and the overall country ranking falling from 68th to 71st out of 167 countries. Read the rest of this entry »


Najib: Reforms not due to any pressure

Free Malaysia Today
September 18, 2011

The prime minister says ISA was being repealed in order to make Malaysia the best democracy.

PEKAN: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said today the repeal of the Internal Security Act was an effort to make Malaysia the best democracy in the world.

The prime minister said the repeal of the ISA was possible at this time because of the success in developing the nation, the increasing maturity of the people and the greater awareness of human rights in society.

“It was not due to pressure from any quarter,” he stressed at his Aidilfitri open house here which was attended by about 50,000 people. Also present was his wife Rosmah Mansor. Read the rest of this entry »