Archive for December 7th, 2011

The oxymoronic world of Umno’s politics

by Edwin Yapp
The Malaysian Insider
Dec 07, 2011

DEC 7 — Oxymoron.

That’s the word that has been on my mind of late. Why? Because that’s exactly what we, Joe Public, are being fed on a daily basis.

Etymologically speaking, the word is derived from the fifth century Latin “oxymoron”, which in itself is derived from the ancient Greek to mean “sharp, dull,” according to Wikipedia. The noun describes “a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction.”

And therein lies the connection — such is the frequency of contradictory ideas and terms used in today’s local political sphere that it’s almost as if our government has nothing else to worry about.

Case in point: The highly controversial Peaceful Assembly Bill passed last week in Parliament, and our Prime Minister’s declaration that the Bill is “revolutionary,” and that the amendments follow international norms. That’s oxymoronic.

Also, the war cries of one Umno leader last week that labelled those who support opposition parties as “bangsat” (bastards) and that a vote for DAP is a vote for the destruction of Islam. Hmm… that’s another one.

And finally the PM’s quote in his closing speech, “When I started 1 Malaysia, I did not say — let’s neglect the Malay agenda.”

I can go on, but I’m sure you get my drift. Read the rest of this entry »


Zaid is spot-on – UMNO GA speeches portend dangerous trends in the nation’s politics as they make nonsense of Najib’s 1Malaysia, NEM and proposal for a “Global Movement of Moderates”

Datuk Zaid Ibrahim is right and spot-on. Recent statements from UMNO leaders about the Opposition parties at the UMNO General Assembly are both regrettable and worrying.

They portend dangerous trends in the nation’s politics as they make nonsense of the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia call, New Economic Model and his proposal for a “Global Movement of Moderates”.

Has Najib decided to cancel his initiative to launch “the Global Movement of the Moderates” in Kuala Lumpur with an inaugural International Conference of the Global Movement of Moderates from Jan 17 to 19 as his speeches and those of UMNO leaders at the UMNO General Assembly are completely antithetical to any acceptable definition or concept of “moderates” or “moderation”.

I challenge Najib to conduct a public opinion poll whether he is perceived by Malaysians as speaking for 1Malaysia and for all Malaysians, as well as whether he is speaking as a “moderate”, in his UMNO Presidential Address, or just for UMNO and in particular UMNOputras? Read the rest of this entry »


A letter to the PM

Jacob Sinnathamby
The Malaysian Insider
Dec 07, 2011

DEC 7 — We tell our children that more important than whether they win at football or netball is how they play the game. They must play it with sportsmanship, empathy and fairness.

Our parents used to implore us to study and excel at examinations, but also to do it the correct way; not by cheating but by hard work.

All the major religions tell us to stay on the right path always; to do the right thing, not to take short cuts, not to justify the ends by the means.

I raise all these points because as Prime Minister Najib Razak embarks on the final stretch of his first election as the PM, I cannot shake off the feeling that every method — kosher or not — is being used to achieve victory. It greatly troubled me that he spoke the fighting language of a Malay chauvinist at the Pekida gathering a couple of days ago. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia among most vulnerable to euro crisis, says Nomura

By Lee Wei Lian
The Malaysian Insider
Dec 07, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 — Malaysia will be hit harder than its Asian peers by the economic crisis in Europe due to its relatively weak public finances and dependence on commodities, said Nomura International today.

Its chief economist for Asia ex-Japan, Robert Subbaraman, said that unlike most countries in Asia, Malaysia will be negatively affected by an expected drop off in commodity prices while the government will also find it difficult to keep up stimulus policies.

“Malaysia is one of the economies that will weaken the most; it is in the weaker group of economies,” said Subbaraman at a media briefing here today.

Nomura economist for Southeast Asia Euben Paracuelles said Malaysia’s growth in the first three quarters of this year was largely led by government spending, but as public finances were relatively weak, he doubted that it would be sustainable.

Subbaraman also noted that Malaysia ranked third in Asia ex-Japan in terms of exposure to European bank claims, after Hong Kong and Singapore, which could mean a drying up of liquidity should European banks start to cut their exposure to the region. Read the rest of this entry »

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Political Islam poised to dominate the new world bequeathed by Arab spring

The Muslim Brotherhood’s success in the first round of Egypt’s elections has added to western fears of an Islamist future for the Middle East. But this does not necessarily mean that democracy and liberal policies face extinction

by Peter Beaumont
foreign affairs editor
3 December 2011

Among the potent symbols of the Arab spring is one that has been less photographed and remarked on than the vast gatherings in Tahrir Square. It has been the relocation of the offices of the Muslim Brotherhood, the once banned party, now set to take the largest share of seats in Egypt’s new parliament.

Before May this year they were to be found in shabby rooms in an unremarkable apartment block on Cairo’s Gezira Island, situated behind an unmarked door. These days the Brotherhood is to be found in gleaming new accommodation in the Muqatam neighbourhood, in a dedicated building prominently bearing the movement’s logo in Arabic and English.

Welcome to the age of “political Islam”, which may prove to be one of the most lasting legacies of the Arab spring. It is not only in Egypt that an unprecedented Islamist political moment is playing out. In the recent Tunisian elections the moderate Islamist Ennahda party was the biggest winner, while Morocco has elected its first Islamist prime minister, Abdelilah Benkirane.

In Yemen and Libya, too, it seems likely that political Islam will define the shape of the new landscape.

None of which should be at all surprising. Indeed, if elections in Egypt and Tunisia had been held at any other time in the past two decades, the same result would almost certainly have ensued, reflecting both the levels of organisation of Ennahda and the Brotherhood and the countries’ cultural, economic and social dynamics. Read the rest of this entry »


From present TI CPI trend, China will overtake Malaysia as less corrupt country in 4 years’ time by 2015

In 2004, former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced with great fanfare the National Integrity Plan with the five-year target to improve Malaysia’s Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) from 37th place in 2003 to at least 30th position in 2008 and the 5.2 CPI score for Malaysia in 2003 to at least 6.5 by 2008.

In 2008, Malaysia deteriorated in both TI ranking and score as compared to 2004, placed in the lowest-ever ranking of No. 47 out of 180 countries with a CPI score of 5.1.

When Datuk Seri Najib Razak became Prime Minister in April 2009, he abandoned the National Integrity Plan and announced instead a series of national transformation plans, beginning with the Government Transformation Plan (GTP) with “Fighting Corruption” as one of the six key NKRAs (National Key Result Areas).

The 1Malaysia GTP Roadmap released in January 2010 admitted that the perception of corrupt practices in Malaysia had risen in recent years, estimated that the “significant” cost to the nation of corruption was as much as RM10 billion a year or 1-2% of GDP and announced the target to increase by 2010 “our CPI score from 4.5 to 4.9”.

In the event, the anti-corruption NKRA target was another colossal failure as it was completely wide off the mark, as Malaysia’s CPI score for three years from 2009 to 2011 was 4.5, 4.4 and 4.3, all three the lowest scores ever registered by Malaysia. There had only been two previous years since 1995 when TI CPI started its annual ranking when Malaysia’s score fell below 5, viz 4.8 in 2000 and 4.9 in 2002. Read the rest of this entry »