Archive for November, 2011

Government facing an economic dilemma

By Ramon Navaratnam | 25 Nov 2011
The Malaysian Insider

NOV 25 — At least two economic ministers, Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah and Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, the minister in charge of the Economic Planning Unit, yesterday sounded greater caution on our economic outlook next year.

The European economy is weakening and the finance minister stated that government is “closely monitoring the European situation”. This shows his serious concern as to how low the European economies can go and how much we would be adversely affected.

The economic planning minister at the same time stated that “the global economic recovery is likely to stay weak and bumpy with a higher probability that things could get worse.”

We cannot therefore take it for granted that Malaysia can achieve a 5-5.5 per cent growth in our economy this year and anything near 5 per cent next year. Inflation could exceed 3.5 per cent next year and we could move towards stagflation which means stagnant economic growth and rising prices.
Read the rest of this entry »


Give Hishammuddin a break

By Gomen Man | 25 Nov 2011
The Malaysian Insider

NOV 25 — Stop blaming Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein for the proposed Peaceful Assembly Act. He may be the minister in charge of the police but there is a reason why Nazri Aziz and not him proposed the Bill in Parliament: his boss, the Prime Minister does not trust him.

So we can blame him for tolerating the cow head protest, for his childish opposition to Bersih 2.0, for his right wing tendencies and not being the intellectual league of his father or grandfather.

But he cannot be blamed for the new assembly act, which makes Malaysia look decidedly second best to Myanmar. In Umno circles, people are afraid of shadows and enough of Najib’s boys have been talking about the political ambitions of his cousin.

The talk has had effect and Hishammuddin does not enjoy the complete confidence of the PM. Especially after the Bersih debacle where some 50,000 people turned up despite the police advising the capital city to be shut down.
Read the rest of this entry »


The hands behind Malaysia’s false spring

By Dr Lim Teck Ghee | 25 November 2011

To most of the country’s independent political observers, it is very clear now. With the unveiling of the new proposed law restricting our right to peaceful assembly and protest, the Malaysian public has been taken for a ride on the promise of political liberalization and reform made by the Prime Minister on the eve of Malaysia Day this year.

What is the explanation for the apparent turnaround in Najib Razak’s initial plan unveiled on 15 September this year to abandon earlier draconian and repressive legislation and to improve our civil liberties?

Is it that there was really no enlightened plan but in fact a calculated and cynical move aimed at strangling the right to peaceful assembly – a potential game changer in the country’s political dynamics – whilst holding out crumbs of comfort that the government is being sincere about political liberalization on less important fronts?
Read the rest of this entry »


Najib at loss for words about new Myanmar Protest Bill which requires only 5 days’ notice when he describes his own Peaceful Assembly Bill as “revolutionary” but which requires 30 days’ notice

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak must be at a loss for words to describe the new Myanmar Protest Bill requiring its citizens to give five days’ notice to the authorities to protest peacefully when he can claim that his own Peaceful Assembly Bill is “revolutionary” but which requires 30 days notice.

Myanmar has always been regarded as the worst laggard country in ASEAN in its utter disregard and contempt for human rights and it must be very mortifying and shameful for the Malaysian government, parliamentarians and people that we now have to learn from Myanmar on how to respect human rights and fundamental constitutional liberties of our people, at least on freedom of assembly!

Does Najib want to send the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hashim to Myanmar to learn to be more respectful of the fundamental liberties at least with regard to freedom of assembly for the respective citizenry?

This is one powerful reason why the Peaceful Assembly Bill which Najib presented for second reading yesterday should be withdrawn or all Malaysian MPs would not be able to hold their heads high whether in regional or international conferences when the Myanmar Parliament could pass a bill on freedom of assembly requiring only five days’ notice to the authorities while the Malaysian government is demanding 30 days’ notice.

I thought the day will never come for me to say this – the Malaysian Prime Minister and Cabinet should learn from Myanmar at least on freedom of peaceful protest and assembly. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia can leap into World Bank top 10 list in two years, says chief secretary

By Debra Chong
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 25, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 25 — Malaysia only needs two years to break into the World Bank’s top 10 list of most competitive countries in the world, Putrajaya’s No. 1 public servant told The Malaysian Insider.

In a recent exclusive interview, Tan Sri Sidek Hassan said for the country to be a top performer the private sector needed to grow in tandem with its civil service.

“Our country can become more competitive by having the public sector 20 to 50 years ahead and bring it to today; and have the corporate sector 50 years ahead and bring it to today. Then, our country Malaysia can indeed be Number 1,” the chief secretary to the government said.

By that, he meant both government and private businesses needed to devise ways to fulfil the customer’s existing needs and anticipate future requirements before anyone else did.

And Sidek believes that Malaysians are ready to take on the challenge. Read the rest of this entry »


Antara Islam dan ‘negara Islam’

— by Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 25, 2011

25 NOV — Awal bulan November ini saya hadiri seminar di The Middle East Centre, Oxford bertajuk “The Sacking of Syria: Assad as Hulego”. Pembentangnya Rana Kabbani, seorang penulis dan penyiar Syria. Saya kagum dengan keberanian wanita ini. Mungkin jika di Malaysia ada pihak yang tidak mahu hadiri ucapannya sebab beliau “free hair” dan agak bergaya. Letak itu di sebelah dahulu, saya kagum dengan semangatnya mengkritik regim-regim Arab. “A very inspiring speech.”

Saya tertarik apabila salah seorang British bertanya beliau bahawa tidakkah nanti selepas kejatuhan Assad akan menyebabkan golongan “extremist” yang memperjuangkan “Islam state” akan mengambil alih. Beliau dengan bersemangatnya bertanya balas “kenapa awak kata demikian? Apakah kerana awak mendengar mereka melaungkan ‘Allahu Akbar’?!”

Seterusnya beliau berkata bahawa mereka melaungkan Allahu Akhbar adalah kerana Islam agama mereka. Tiada siapa berhak menafikan hal itu. Ia bermaksud Allah itu Maha Besar. Itu adalah slogan Muslim apabila berhadapan dengan regim yang sombong dan bongkak. Untuk siapa lagi yang hendak mereka laungkan slogan kebesaran. Tiada kaitan dengan kehendak mengujudkan “Islam state” seperti yang diidamkan oleh sesetengah gerakan. Read the rest of this entry »

1 Comment

I have been waiting for the revocation of the three Emergency Proclamations for the past 30 to 40 years

I stand to support the motion by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to revoke the Emergency Proclamations of 1966, 1969 and 1977.

I have been waiting for the revocation for the past 30 to 40 years.

The Barisan Nasional MP for Tangga Batu Datuk Idris Haron who just spoke misled the House when he said that Barisan Nasional stands for consistency.

This is because the byword of Barisan Nasional and UMNO is not consistency, but inconsistency and hypocrisy, particularly on the issue before the House – the revocation of the Emergency Proclamations of 1966, 1969 and 1977.

On 28th and 29th June, 1979, my motion to repeal the four Proclamations of Emergency of 1964 (concerning the Indonesian Confrontation), 1966 (Sarawak political crisis), 1969 (May 13 Riots) and 1977 (Kelantan political crisis) was debated in Parliament for two days but all the Barisan Nasional MPs spoke and voted against it.

But today, all the Barisan and UMNO MPs are supporting the revocation of the Emergency Proclamations.

Who is being inconsistent? Read the rest of this entry »


Top 10 reasons to oppose the Peaceful Assembly Bill

by Zan Azlee
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 25, 2011

NOV 25 — I disagree with the Peaceful Assembly Bill which is being tabled in Parliament at the moment and I know that many sane Malaysians also disagree with it.

There’s been (and will be) tons of people writing and voicing their thoughts on the matter and here’s my list of top 10 reasons why I disagree with it:

1. The right for people to assemble is the right to freedom of speech and expression. If you limit and restrict that right, then you are denying democracy.

2. Myanmar just passed a law to allow public protests. I repeat — Myanmar just passed a law to allow public protests.

3. Prime Minister Najib Razak says this new law will be “revolutionary.” Sure! It’s as revolutionary as Iran’s Revolutionary Guards! Read the rest of this entry »


Why are you frustrated?

The Malaysian Insider
Nov 24, 2011

NOV 24 — PAC Chairman Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid was reported to be frustrated, when giving his comments on the National Feedlot Centre controversy. “The public is fed up”, he told reporters.

Firstly, I would like to ask Datuk Seri Azmi: why are YOU frustrated? How could you lament at the inefficiencies, wastages and corruption which have become ingrained in our civil service’s DNA, when the nation’s CEO (who by extension, happens to be your boss) went to a by-election with his “I help you, you help me” tag proudly on display? Here’s a management lesson 101 then:- down-liners apply the same principles and work culture that the top adopts. The down-liners are also good at doing going to sleep with their eyes open, when the same top delivers speeches peppered with virtuous sounding jargons, because most of them could pick out a “do as I say, but don’t do as I do” type, when they hear one.

In fact Datuk Seri, I wish to ask you, is feeling frustrated ALL that you could muster? Pardon me, but frustrated sounds a little polite for me in the light of what is revealed, year in-year out, by the Auditor General’s report. Frustrated sounds muted when considering Barry Wain’s revelation that the Mahathir years have wasted approximately USD100 billion of our money. Read the rest of this entry »


The 13th GE: It’s an open field

Sakmongkol AK47
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 24, 2011

NOV 24 — Rahim Tamby Chik (RTC) says there are attempts by the opposition parties to invite Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah to become PM. This will happen, Rahim says, if there is a hung Parliament. Such a situation is untenable, says Rahim, because it will create political instability. So Umno must work hard to get a two-thirds majority.

Those were the observations and musings by RTC on the political possibilities after the GE13. What is intriguing was his warning that a hung Parliament will create instability. I hope we will not be in such a situation. Malaysians would prefer a clear-cut victory one way or the other.

I am not going to respond to his nervous prognosis, being more interested on how such a scenario can possibly happen and what are the implications if it does. I don’t think we are going to have a hung Parliament. It will be clear-cut either way. I am also bemused at his attempt to involve Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah in such a scenario. To qualify as a participant in any future negotiations should a hung Parliament comes into being, TRH must be head of a political party. Right now, TRH is in Umno and doesn’t head a party nor is he a leader of any faction in Umno. Could Rahim’s advice be another attempt to isolate TRH from Umno? Read the rest of this entry »


Emergency Declarations Revoked after 45 years

Part 1

Read the rest of this entry »


Are we stupid enough to fall for the same scam?

By Kee Thuan Chye | Nov 24, 2011

I can’t help but wonder if the government really thinks that Malaysians are stupid. So stupid that we can be hoodwinked into believing that the changes they propose to our laws amount to actual reform.

Two months ago, when Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that newspapers would no longer have to renew their publishing licences annually, he might have expected us to go ga-ga and applaud and say that the media would now be freer.

But if we had done that, we would indeed have been stupid. Because we would not have realised that there is really no change.

Even if the newspapers need not renew their licences every year, the fact remains that the home minister still retains the power to suspend or close down any newspaper at any time – if he feels it is too free in expressing its views, or for whatever reasons.
Read the rest of this entry »


Najib has smashed to smithereens the mirage of political transformation and “best democracy in the world” which he created two months ago with a repressive and undemocratic Peaceful Assembly Bill

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has now smashed to smithereens the mirage of political transformation and “best democracy in the world” with the first reading of the undemocratic Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011.

The mirage created by Najib that he wants to make Malaysia “the best democracy in the world” lasted only two months as the proposed repeal of Section 27 of the Police Act requiring police permits for any gathering of three or more persons is to be replaced by a more undemocratic and repressive Peaceful Assembly Bill violating the constitutional right of Malaysians to freedom of assembly.

In many respects, the Peaceful Assembly Bill is even more restrictive and repressive than Section 27 of the Police Act. Under the new law, for instance, a person can be fined up to RM20,000 as compared to RM10,000 under the Police Act.

In banning “street protests”, restricting assemblies from “prohibited places” or “within fifty metres from the limit of the prohibited place”, requiring notice of 30 days for an assembly to be held as well as empowering the police which is a total stranger to the concept of “democratic policing” to impose arbitrary restrictions and conditions for an assembly, the fundamental constitutional right of freedom to assembly runs the risk of being grounded to ashes. Read the rest of this entry »


Let Parliamentary Select Committee review Peaceful Assembly Bill

By Proham | November 23, 2011
The Malaysian Insider

NOV 23 — Proham views with grave concern the proposed Bill on Peaceful Assembly fails to reflect the true spirit of human rights that is consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Federal Constitution and the promise of the Prime Minister to institute democratic reform.

However, Proham acknowledges that the proposed bill recognises the citizen’s right to organise an assembly or participate in an assembly peacefully, although it makes it very difficult in practice.

The withdrawal of the permit to assemble is welcomed and reflects the PM’s commitment to further democratic reforms. However this is substituted by a whole range of pre-conditions and prior approvals, and restrictive legal provisions , including strengthening the powers of the police, that will severely discourage and dissuade the freedom of peaceful assembly, which is a basic human right.
Read the rest of this entry »

1 Comment

Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011: Unconstitutional and anti-democratic

By Tommy Thomas | November 23, 2011
The Malaysian Insider

NOV 23 — Why is it always the case that the Malaysian government, in the guise of improving the freedoms of its citizen, enacts laws that actually erode liberties?

Since 1960 when the Emergency was revoked, only to be immediately replaced by the dreaded Internal Security Act, 1960 (“ISA”), successive governments have taken state action to the detriment of its people. The Peaceful Assembly Bill, 2011, which had its first reading in the Federal Parliament yesterday, is another example of such retrograde law making.

I cannot believe that after 54 years of Merdeka in the 11th year of the 21st century, the Executive has the audacity to present a Bill, which, in its own Explanatory Statement, describes it as “one of the efforts initiated by the government to undertake the transformation of the existing legal framework in relation to the constitutional rights of citizens to assemble”.
Read the rest of this entry »


New assembly law undermines Constitution, says Ambiga

By Debra Chong
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 22, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 – Bersih 2.0 chief Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan slammed today the proposed new law on peaceful assembly for giving greater powers to the home minister and the police to curb dissent and undermine the Federal Constitution.

In a statement today, the prominent lawyer accused the government of failing to keep up with international standards and creating instead the illusion that Malaysians now have greater freedom as provided by the country’s supreme law.

“This Bill restricts our rights as much as possible. It gives unfettered powers to the minister and the police to further restrict the freedom to assemble. It impinges on free speech. In short, it will stymie legitimate dissent in ourcountry,” Ambiga (picture) charged.

“Furthermore freedom of assembly includes peaceful street protests. By excluding this as a right altogether the Federal Constitution is once again undermined,” she said.

Ambiga moved to punch holes in the Peaceful Assembly Bill tabled this morning, saying it was worse than the existing and unconstitutional section 27 of the Police Act 1967 it was to replace. Read the rest of this entry »


The right to assemble

— The Malaysian Insider
Nov 22, 2011

NOV 22 — On September 15, Datuk Seri Najib Razak went further than just saying he will repeal the Internal Security Act (ISA). In effect, he said the government of the day will treat all Malaysians as adults by reviewing section 27 of the Police Act on the freedom of assembly.

This freedom is enshrined in Article 10 of the Federal Constitution and the prime minister said then that the government will allow public gatherings based on international norms while taking a firm stand against street demonstrations.

Today, he made good his promise. In the most surprising of ways. His administration tabled the Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 that actually ends any right to a public procession for any other reason except for religious events and funerals. Read the rest of this entry »



Black Swan
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 22, 2011

NOV 22 — With the debacle that is the NFC and many other issues being hotly debated in Malaysia at the moment, a thought suddenly came to me.

The underlying and pervading issue here seems to be an issue of values. Let me qualify this: I am no psychologist with textbook definitions of values; I am a professional and mother who is increasingly aghast at what is going on in Malaysia.

Values to me are simply our personal guidelines that enable us to distinguish between right and wrong. We would do something that is right because our personal values guide so and we wouldn’t do something because the same values would, again, make us hesitate from doing it.

As the NFC debacle looms larger and politician after politician (from the highest offices of the government) come out and say that this was right and make it all sound very convincing, one then realises that they are saying so because they believe they are right. Why? Their personal values are guiding them.

Which brings to question the entire value system that is being practised. It has nothing to do with religion or race. These people’s values are guiding them to believe that they are right.

When you have politicians saying, “we want to do something because of its political dividend” or “we cannot afford to be ‘picky’” about which groups to align themselves with, and that everything must be done with only one goal in mind — winning the next election — the value system, to me, again comes into question. Isn’t public office about serving the people and doesn’t it require a certain degree of selflessness and humility? Read the rest of this entry »


Dr M: Siapa yang mengaku kelemahan diri?

Aspan Alias
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 22, 2011

22 NOV — Semalam hari minggu. Pagi-pagi lagi saya mendapat panggilan talipon dan beberapa SMS dari rakan-rakan dari jauh dan dekat bertanyakan saya samada saya membaca wawancara Utusan dengan bekas Perdana Menteri Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“Bro dah baca ke interview Dr Mahathir dalam Utusan?”

Saya jawab, “Saya tak langgan Utusan sudah 10 tahun, nanti saya baca Utusan online lah!”

Saya terus sahaja membaca setiap ulasan Dr M dalam Utusan itu dan saya tidak berapa hairan kerana saya sendiri telah menyebut segala-gala yang di sebut oleh Dr Mahathir dalam wawancara beliau itu. Bezanya Dr Mahathir seorang tokoh besar sedangkan saya hanya seorang biasa yang melata di tepian politik negara.

Pada keseluruhannya Dr Mahathir bersetuju dengan pandangan ramai yang Umno dan pemerhatian yang Umno sekarang adalah parti yang lemah dan tidak pandai untuk menjadi parti pemerintah. Pendeknya Umno sudah tidak serupa Umno lagi.

Umno berpecah di setiap peringkat dari cawangan ke pusat dan tidak berkepimpinan. Umno tidak lagi berdaya menjawab persoalan yang di timbulkan oleh orang ramai melalui parti-parti politik pembangkang serta NGO dan ini amat menyulitkan Umno untuk terus relevan sebagai parti yang memerintah negara. Read the rest of this entry »


World Bank: KL a ‘mini Los Angeles’ of inefficient urban sprawl

By Lee Wei Lian
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 21, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 – The World Bank said in a report today that Malaysian cities needed to adopt more compact urban forms to improve livability and attract talent.

The report noted that Kuala Lumpur had sprawled to accomodate unrestrained motorisation and had been referred to as a “mini Los Angeles,” referring to the fact that the US city has been widely derided for its unlovely and inefficient sprawl.

The World Bank’s Senior Country Economist for Malaysia, Frederico Gil Sander told The Malaysian Insider in an interview prior to the launch of the report that the country needed to review its land use policies and make it cheaper to develop along public transit arteries and make it more expensive to develop further away from public transport.

“Create incentives for people to develop along public transport arteries,” he said.

Sander also called for universities to be integrated more tightly into the urban fabric and attract more city dwellers to take classes or attend cultural events. Read the rest of this entry »