Archive for December, 2011

Happy New Year (a poem)

by Allan CF Goh

Farewell to Two-O-One-One;
Let us count our blessings and wants,
As we sing the “Old Lang Syne”,
To this full year’s departing sign.
Firstly, thanks to have survived;
Our future needs to be revived.
We have maintained our good health,
And have not squandered all our wealth. Read the rest of this entry »


Happy 2012 to all!


2012 NY message – Year to make Malaysians proud of being a Malaysian and motivate Malaysians to achieve greatness

As if further reminders are needed, the closing month of the year have provided further proofs that the country has never been so polarised both on grounds of race and religion in the nation’s 54-year history than in the 32 months of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s premiership, viz:

  • The irresponsible incitement and exploitation of the 3R cards of race, religion and Malay Rulers at the UMNO General Assembly;

  • The Prime Minister’s pandering to the 3R rhetorics at the ensuing Perkida general assembly;

  • The extremist reaction to a moderate and reasoned appeal for a fair and even-handed interpretation of Article 153 made by the chairperson of National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF) Reverend Eu Hong Seng at a Christmas hi-tea on Christmas eve; and

  • The unjustified response by Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to Reverend Eu’s speech at the national Christmas open house in Kajang on Dec. 26, warning against attempts to undermine the country’s unity “which the BN government has painstakingly built”.

Why has racial and religious polarisation in Malaysia worsened in the 32 months of Najib’s premiership when Najib had launched from April 2009 his signature policy and slogan of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now”, focussing on the core concepts of social cohension, unity in diversity and inclusiveness, social justice, excellence and integrity? Read the rest of this entry »


Scandals, real or imagined?

The Malaysian Insider
Dec 30, 2011

DEC 30 — When it comes to scandals of the financial variety, Putrajaya seems to have only one answer: blame the opposition.

Fair enough; the opposition does the same when it gets caught. Sometimes both sides are no better than the other.

Yet, what happens to the scandals? The National Feedlot Centre (NFC) “mess” was first revealed in the Auditor-General’s Report for 2010.

It blew up with further revelations from a few whistleblowers via PKR. Anti-graft officials passed the matter to the police. And over month later, it remains under investigation.

As is the matter of a man now held for attempting to “settle” the matter for those in the NFC. But Barisan Nasional (BN) has been quick to say it is an opposition plot to smear Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil.

And that the NFC has nothing to do with her, as the project is undertaken by her family. Not her.

It remains that the Auditor-General was the first to raise alarm bells about the NFC. Just as he and his team did with the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ).

We now have a similar situation with the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department who is in charge of Islamic religious affairs, Senator Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, whose legal fees were paid using zakat funds. Read the rest of this entry »


Merdeka sudah, tapi jiwa masih terjajah

Aspan Alias
The Malaysian Insider
Dec 30, 2011

30 DIS — Rakyat sedang menghadapi terlalu banyak masalah yang berat akibat kelakuan dan sikap pemimpin kerajaan kita yang tidak mempunyai disiplin kepimpinan serta pemikiran. Sebagaimana yang telah selalu saya katakan masalah yang kita hadapi ini berpunca dari masalah kepimpinan negara.

Sekarang ini kepimpinan negara sedang menghadapi krisis keyakinan yang paling getir dalam sejarah kemerdekaan negara. Krisis ini sudah lama menular tetapi kerajaan dan parti yang memerintah masih boleh menyangkutkan kesinambungan kuasa yang dipegangnya melalui saki-baki sokongan dan kuasa yang masih berada di tangan mereka.

Umno tidak lagi mempunyai kepimpinan yang jitu kerana akhir-akhir ini krisis keyakinan ini ditokok dan ditambah oleh isu-isu baru, kesemuanya berkait dengan salah guna kuasa dan rasuah. Tidak ada pertembungan di antara dua atau lebih dalam Umno berkaitan dengan perjuangan. Semuanya kena-mengena dengan wang ringgit dan laba harta yang tidak berkesudahan.

Selepas isu NFC dengan Shahrizat Jalil, timbul pula isu Awang Adek dan sebelum itu isu menteri yang menjaga agama yang tidak amanah menggunakan wang zakat untuk membayar kos guaman peribadinya. Shahrizat pula menambah lagi dengan berkata tidak ada pemimpin dalam Kabinet atau parti yang tidak bermasalah. Ini semua berlaku dalam beberapa minggu ini dan jika hendak diluruti sejarah satu dekat yang lalu timbul pula wang rakyat dan negara telah dilarikan keluar negara sebanyak RM1 trillion.

Sekarang ini kita tidak lagi menyebut jumlah yang berbillion. Kini kita menyebut jumlah kecurian yang berjumlah trillion-trillion ringgit. Masyaallah, rupa-rupanya negara kita negara kaya sehinggakan dalam tempoh sepuluh tahun sahaja sebanyak RM1 trillion telah dibawa lari ke luar negara oleh mereka yang tidak bertanggungjawab kepada negara. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia CBN finally gets head of choice

By Debra Chong
The Malaysian Insider
Dec 30, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 30 — SMK Convent Bukit Nanas (CBN) has a Christian headmistress again, after the Education Ministry caved in to the wishes of school’s Catholic owners following a highly-publicised row.

“Yes, the candidate we named, Mystrical Rose Fernandes, reported for work last week,” Sister Rosalind Tan, the mother provincial of the Sisters of the Infant Jesus (IJ) Convent who own the prestigious mission school, told The Malaysian Insider today.

Fernandes, who is a Catholic, previously headed SMK Convent Sentul, which is also owned by the IJ Sisters, and SMK St Gabriel’s in the city, which is owned by the Anglican Church.

She replaces Datin Seri Zavirah Shaari, who was also newly posted to head CBN. Zavirah was taking over from the previous principal, Ann Khoo, who has since retired.

Tan, who is also on the school’s board of governors, said she had not received any letter from the Education Ministry informing them of the latest switch.

She found out only because Fernandes stopped by the Malaysian Catholic Education Council (MCEC) office to inform them of her new posting.

A spokesman from the MCEC, who asked not to be named, confirmed that Fernandes had reported last Friday. Read the rest of this entry »


A change is gonna come

by Praba Ganesan
The Malaysian Insider
Dec 29, 2011

DEC 29 — An important time is arriving in Malaysia, and it does not matter if you are for it or not; that’s not material anymore. The growing fear is that the nation is about to enter this phase without a seat belt.

History students in the distant future will love 2011. When in doubt in a class history quiz, 2011 is, as they say in basketball, a high percentage shot (or guess in that situation). The world has plenty of discussion points from this year, with the death of Kim Jung-il tipping the year to epic proportion.

However for Malaysians, despite its share of watershed moments this year, 2012 will be the one that is monumental.

Two inevitable events in 2012 will dictate life in Malaysia for some time.

A general election and a court verdict. Read the rest of this entry »


Messing around with Malaysian higher education

Zaharom Nain
The Malaysian Insider
Dec 28, 2011

DEC 28 — In Malaysia, politics has been central to many academic matters for a pretty long time, from as far back as 1971 at the very least, when the University and University Colleges Act (UUCA) was introduced.

The UUCA, like other legislation such as the Internal Security Act (ISA) and the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA), is an obscene piece of legislation which really has no place in a democracy.

Two recent controversies highlight the extent to which politics has virtually swamped Malaysian academia and the resultant mess that has emerged. First has been the on-off suspension of Professor Abdul Aziz Bari by the International Islamic University (IIU) and the accompanying police investigation. Second was the recent Appeal Court verdict on the UKM4 and the judgment given on Section 15(5)(a) of the Universities and University Colleges Act. Read the rest of this entry »


Berdayakah Najib dan kepimpinan Umno mengenepikan Shahrizat?

Aspan Alias
The Malaysian Insider
Dec 28, 2011

28 DIS — Isu Shahrizat Jalil dan NFCnya masih tidak terlerai dan tidak ada apa-apa keputusan. Ia tidak akan terlerai dalam masa yang singkat ini kerana yang terlibat ialah seorang Menteri Kabinet kerajaan persekutuan. Di Malaysia seorang menteri itu bukan senang hendak diketepikan kerana menteri itu merupakan orang yang sangat besar dalam masyarakat kita terutamanya orang kita Melayu ini.

Etika kepimpinan kita sangat rendah dan moral kepimpinan memang tiada. Lima tahun dahulu seorang ahli Kabinet Britain, Blankett ,telah hilang jawatannya semata-mata kerana beliau telah mempercepatkan proses permohonan teman wanitanya untuk mendapatkan permit kerja untuk “maid”nya. Beliau telah dikatakan telah menggunakan kuasanya sebagai menteri bertanggungjawab kepada permit pekerjaan mempercepatkan pemohonan teman wanitanya yang memerlukan permit kerja untuk “maid”nya itu.

Apabila diketahui umum, maka beliau telah meletakkan jawatan kerana beliau telah bertindak secara tidak beretika dalam meluluskan permohonan permit itu. Itu sahaja sebabnya. Begitulah tingginya etika kepimpinan di negara itu.

Sebaliknya di negara kita perkara-perkara yang tidak beretika itu berlaku tanpa hadnya dan jika semuanya mengambil tindakan ke atas mereka yang melakukan kerja-kerja yang tidak beretika itu hari ini, tidak ada seorang pun yang kekal dalam Kerajaan Persekutuan pada hari ini.

Kes NFC dengan Shahrizat tidak langsung menjadi apa-apa kepada Shahrizat. Tetapi sebaliknya beliau masih berada di dalam Kabinet sehingga hari ini, malah beliau telah menyatakan bukan beliau sahaja yang bermasalah dalam Umno, semua menteri-menteri lain pun juga bermasalah. Read the rest of this entry »


All I want for Christmas

Mariam Mokhtar | Dec 26, 2011

The spirit of Christmas lives on in Malaysia, regardless of race or religion. I know of several non-Christians who have not forgotten the joy of giving and thinking of others before themselves. Some find solace in singing carols in a group. Others delight in thinking about what to get for friends, family or colleagues.

A few join in the season of goodwill by the simple act of volunteering, while others help relieve Christian colleagues who want the day off to celebrate Christmas. Perhaps, there is something about the magic of Christmas, which even diehard Muslim extremists will never destroy.

When I was in primary school, Lembaga Letrik Negara (LLN), the pre-cursor of Tenaga National Bhd, used to hold Christmas parties for children, principally of its employees.

It was an event that every child looked forward to eagerly. As Christmas fell during the school holidays, it was another happy occasion that children and parents found welcoming.

It did not matter if the child was Malay, Chinese, Indian or Eurasian. No one bothered if the child who went was Christian or not. It wasn’t just the children who were excited. The accompanying parents enjoyed the get-together, which was always held at the Kilat Kelab. Read the rest of this entry »


Barisan National’s early elections plan in disarray

by Dr Lim Teck Ghee
27 December 2011


During the last few months, Prime Minister Najib Razak has been pulling out one pre-election carrot after another from his inexhaustible supply of goodies aimed at persuading the electorate to vote BN’s way in the coming general election (GE).

These range from indefinite postponement of the long delayed goods and services tax to financial grants and other handouts to Chinese, Tamil and Islamic religious schools as well as politically strategic groups including Felda settlers, Indian small entrepreneurs, low income communities, and imams and Kafa (religious) teachers.

Najib’s backroom boys must have been supremely confident that this mass saturation of money and handouts – so effective in past elections – would pave the way for a resounding victory as they plotted the timing of the next GE. Read the rest of this entry »


Encouraging Entrepreneurialism

by Bakri Musa

Chapter 11: Embracing Free Enterpriseby
Encouraging Entrepreneurialism

A decade ago there was not much interest in teaching entrepreneurialism at business schools as the perceived wisdom was that it could not be taught. Today it is a hot elective for young MBAs. Many top line business schools trumpet their entrepreneurial studies program. It is not accidental that most graduates of American universities aspire to work for the private sector or start their own businesses. Their models are their professors starting new ventures or becoming consultants to industry. In my graduating class, only a few considered a job with the government. The vast majority opted for starting their own medical practices. In contrast, in Malaysia most graduates, especially Malays, look to the government for employment.

The culture and the social environment can do much to foster entrepreneurialism, especially the attitude towards failure and risk taking, as well as the reward system.

The stance towards failure is particularly instructive. As Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems observes, if you do not have failures, you do not have winners. And if you do not have winners, you do not have a market economy. Part of what makes America great is that there is little stigma attached to failures. The recent crash may have dampened but did not destroy the Silicon Valley spirit. Granted, million-dollar homes were not selling fast and there were fewer sleek Porches on the streets of Palo Alto, but the area is still bustling with entrepreneurial activities.

For Malays, the trauma of failure is a double burden. In addition to the deep personal disappointment, they would now be portrayed as yet another example of the inadequacies of their race. This is a major psychological load. Unfortunately the government and specifically Malay leaders, by continually harping and criticizing on the failures of Malays, only aggravates the problem. Read the rest of this entry »


Christians urged to rejoice in hope amid adversity

Terence Netto | Dec 25, 2011

Catholic Bishop Dr Paul Tan Chee Eng called on Christians “to put two years of foreboding caused by corrosive doubt over their fidelity to constitution and country behind them and embrace the hope of change and national renewal.”

In a year-end message to Christians celebrating Christmas and New Year, the head of the Catholic Church in the Melaka-Johor diocese, said:

“Christmas is the season of hope which is why though Christians feel that their loyalty to the constitution and country has been unfairly questioned over the last two years, I pray their predisposition to hope will overcome the challenges posed by political demagogues and religious charlatans.”

The Jesuit-trained prelate has been vocal on issues affecting Christians in the year drawing to an end after his assumption of the presidency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia on Jan 1, 2011.

Catholics number 927,000 in a Christian population that is slightly over 9% of Malaysia’s total of 27.5 million people.

Bishop Paul observed that the last two years have been particularly trying for Christians as, first, the Catholic Church was at odds with the authorities over the right to use the term ‘Allah’ in their Bahasa Malaysia publications; and, later, Christian groups were accused, on dubious grounds, of proselytising among Muslims and of working to dethrone Islam as the country’s official religion.

“The combined effect of the two issues has left Christians with the feeling that they are a sinister and alien presence in this country when the truth is more nearly that in the education, health, and welfare fields, their contributions have been and continue to be of great benefit to the nation,” said Bishop Paul Tan. Read the rest of this entry »


FGV listing: Corporate vs. peasant settler

— Sakmongkol AK47
The Malaysian Insider
Dec 26, 2011

DEC 26 — Two upcoming events are being awaited with great anticipation:

(1) The outcome of an injunction application by a few settlers to stop the Felda Global Ventures listing, and;

(2) the January 5 extraordinary general meeting of Koperasi Permodalan Felda (KPF).

The outcome of the second event is a foregone conclusion. Chairman Isa Samad will get elected as the KPF chairman despite not having the qualifications to become an office bearer. He is not a settler nor is he a Felda employee. But the minister in charge of Felda has given his approval; what can people do? The minister is also the prime minister. He is lord over whoever lives in this land.

We must not be sidetracked by this sideshow involving the two-bit actor Isa Samad. The more pressing matter concerns the listing exercise.

Why the injunction? Why should four people extend energy and time and assume the risks of being called traitors and all that, to apply for an injunction? Greed can’t be the overriding objective. If it is, it’s more profitable for the four people to side with chairman Isa, who can be generous if he is pleased.

The object of the injunction is to stop FGV from taking over assets and shares belonging to KPF in Felda Holdings. These people believe that the 350,000 hectares of land that Felda took was actually meant for settlers.

All the assets owned by KPF in Felda Holdings will be leased to FGV for the next 99 years. They will no longer exercise control over the assets as their interests are all converted into shares. Felda Holdings is 51 per cent owned by settlers and 49 per cent owned by Felda Global.

They are willing to risk it all, because they believe settlers are being sold out. Read the rest of this entry »


Is the Dewan Negara another government department churning out bills?

Dewan Negara speaker ticked off the 8 Pakatan Rakyat Senators for calling for a division in voting for the employment act 1955 after the debate on the bill on 22/12/2011 afternoon.

Earlier during the sitting two others bills, Kampong Baru Development Bill and Peaceful Assembly Bill out of 14 bills tabled so far, were also called for division in voting.

The speaker reprimanded the 8 PR senators for wasting time and that it becoming very frequent. He added that he knows what to do the next time a bloc vote is asked for and that he will not allow it.

He forewarned that hereafter anybody wanting to speak, need not give your names but just stand up and I know whom to call to speak. It seems a veiled warning that unless you guys are subservient and follow my dictates, you will not be allowed to speak. It is very sad that the speaker who is supposed to uphold the dignity and legislative role of the Dewan is instead stifling and strangling the legislation process of the upper house. Read the rest of this entry »


Numb and dumb no more

Dean Johns | 12:15PM Dec 21, 2011

When I asked a young and beautiful pro-democracy activist at dinner in Bangsar the other night how she felt about the latest antics of Malaysia’s ruling regime, she shocked me with her initial single-word response: “Numb”.

But, as she quickly went on to explain, she is vividly aware that numb and dumb is precisely how Umno/BN want Malaysians to feel, and keep on feeling, so they’ll keep tolerating the ruling regime’s regimen of repression and robbery.

And that she knows, as I do, that her momentarily depleted emotions and energies will soon be re-charged by her passion for participating in the massive awakening and spirit of change that is sweeping Malaysia.

Unhappily, however, there are still far too many Malaysians who remain politically naive or napping, having been lulled into slumber by Umno/BN’s endless litany of lies. Read the rest of this entry »


1Care: Prioritise, not privatise patient care

Dr Ng Swee Choon | Dec 24, 2011

We refer to the letter from the Director-General, Ministry of Health: ‘Gov’t not abdicating responsibilities thru 1Care’ on Dec 17.

We fully agree with the need to improve the quality and delivery of health services for the rakyat, provide more choice to patients and preserve the strengths in our current health system. Read the rest of this entry »


Syria: bloodshed in Damascus

The Arab spring is at a crossroads; if Assad falls and the country avoids civil war, the revolution may move eastwards

23 December 2011

It is an unseasonably gloomy thought, but nevertheless a true one: all the aspirations, the sacrifice and the triumphs of a momentous year of revolution and upheaval in the Arab world hinge ultimately on events taking place in Syria. The Arab spring is at a crossroads. If Bashar al-Assad’s blood-stained regime falls, and the country stays in one piece and avoids a sectarian civil war, there is nothing to stop the revolution moving onwards and eastwards. The next stop could well be Iran, but none of the monarchies of the Gulf states are secure either. But if Syria disintegrates, it would quickly become a regional battlefield, fed by the rival interests of its neighbours – not unlike Iraq was in 2006 or Lebanon was during its civil war. And then the Arab spring would well and truly have come to a halt.

On Friday a blood-strewn week reached its apogee with a twin bombing of security and intelligence buildings in Damascus, killing at least 40 and wounding 100. The regime pointed the finger at al-Qaida and the state news agency quoted analysts who included US, Israel and Europe in the list of the bomber’s puppet-masters.

The Free Syria Army denied involvement and voiced scepticism. Read the rest of this entry »


Celebrating hope in Penang by establishing a people-centric government based on integrity, good governance and letting the people realise their full potential

— Lim Guan Eng
Chief Minister, Penang
Dec 25, 2011

DEC 25 — Christians celebrate not just the birth of Jesus Christ but also hope on Christmas Day. We pray for peace, joy and goodwill to all. Penang also celebrates hope by establishing a people-centric government based on integrity, good governance and letting the people realise their full potential.

Penang has benefited from a clean government. It is not just praise for good financial management from the Auditor-General or from Transparency International for implementing open tenders and fighting corruption. Penang has recorded budget surpluses for the state government, MPPP and MPSP since 2008.

This has enabled social programmes and cash handouts to the elderly, disabled, single mother, new-born babies and students. Penang became the first state in Malaysia to wipe out hard core poverty by 2009. For 2012 the minimum income has been increased to RM600 monthly per household, where the state government will top up any difference to ensure that each family receives at least RM600 monthly. Penang intends to also be the first state in Malaysia to wipe out poverty by 2015.

Penang has also benefited from good governance through building institutions based on freedom, justice, truth and democracy. Freedom of speech and peaceful assembly is observed in Penang with the first Speakers’ Square in Malaysia and weekly protests held in the streets. There is a Freedom of Information Act and implementation of open tenders to ensure the best price, quality and management. CAT governance of competency accountability and transparency has ensured a more responsive, accessible and effective government delivery system. There is also freedom of worship where respect not tolerance is encouraged. Read the rest of this entry »


What’s fair?

Hussaini Abdul Karim
The Malaysian Insider
Dec 24, 2011

DEC 24 – The headline in The Star’s report by Nurbaiti Hamdan, Friday December 23, 2011 read, “Khir Toyo gets 1 year jail for graft”

Former Selangor Mentri Besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo was found guilty by the High Court here Friday of knowingly purchasing two pieces of land and a bungalow in Section 7 at a much lower price than its original value from Ditamas Sdn Bhd director Shamsuddin Hayroni in 2007.

He was sentenced to one year in jail from Friday and Justice Mohtarudin Baki ordered his land and bungalow be forfeited.

However, the judge granted him a stay of execution of jail time and forfeiture of the properties pending an appeal after his lawyer M. Athimulan made the request. Read the rest of this entry »