Archive for March, 2012

Lynas Corporation for dummies (and Australians)

— Ryan Albrey
The Malaysian Insider
Mar 30, 2012

MARCH 30 — I do not need to write a ‘for dummies’ guide for Malaysians. They have made up their minds about Lynas and are now quite knowledgeable about the issues. They have learned more about rare earth and radioactive thorium than many of us will ever learn in a lifetime and they want Lynas out of their country.

Instead, I write this for Australians for whom media coverage of this story has been sparse. It is difficult to work out why the media have paid scant attention to this story. I would have thought that this was a story made for journalists.

This story involves our relationship with Malaysia. Considering that Malaysia is one of our closest neighbours and a country whose cooperation we vigorously strive for, I would have thought that an issue like Lynas should be big news in Australia. Read the rest of this entry »


Do we have faith in the politics of fear?

— Mustafa K. Anuar
The Malaysian Insider
Mar 30, 2012

MARCH 30 — Aliran is relieved to know that the organisers of the forthcoming Islamic seminar in Johor — “Strengthening the faith, the dangers of liberalism and pluralism and the threat of Christianity towards Muslims” — have dropped the purported “Christian threat” from the theme after objections particularly from certain quarters within the Christian community.

It is a relief to well-meaning Malaysians because in a society where religion and ethnicity are often easily and deliberately exploited to the hilt, those with ill intent and ill-will can easily stoke suspicion and hatred. Narrow-minded vested interests and the politics of divide and rule still hold sway, and those espousing the fire of ethnic and religious discord can undermine our unity and harmony. Read the rest of this entry »


Has Najib’s confidence of a sure win in 13GE been shattered by Mahathir’s repeated gloomy warnings?

For the past three weeks in his intensive electioneering campaign in Selangor and Perak in the build-up to an expected 13th General Election date in June, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been exuding increasing confidence of a sure win in the next general election, including taking back Selangor state government from Pakatan Rakyat.

Najib’s popularity has been on the rise, surging 10 points to 69 per cent following his role as Santa Claus with RM500 cash handouts to low-income earners and a slew of multi-million ringgit approvals and allocations in line with his “I help you, you help me” philosophy – but the Prime Minister’s high personal approval rating is not matched by the ruling coalition component parties.

Only last week, Najib said “strong winds are blowing towards Barisan Nasional”, public feedback “very encouraging” and people have been telling him that BN has regained public support since the 2008 polls.

The stage seems all set for 13GE in June.

But something very strange has happened in the past few days as if all the momentum for a June elections have suddenly faltered. Read the rest of this entry »


Ahli bawahan ibarat garam bagi pemimpin Umno

— Aspan Alias
The Malaysian Insider
Mar 29, 2012

29 MAC — Akhir-akhir ini saya telah dihubungi oleh ramai di antara rakan-rakan saya untuk berjumpa minum petang dan makan malam. Mereka ini adalah di antara ahli-ahli Umno yang memberikan saya semangat dan sokongan moral untuk saya kembali bergiat, kali ini dalam DAP.

Sesungguhnya saya mempunyai ramai rakan-rakan di dalam Umno yang akhir-akhir ini selalu berhubung dan berbincang tentang politik setakat “level” kita yang rendah-rendah ini.

Kesemua diantara mereka terus menerus meluahkan perasaan tidak puas hati terhadap Umno yang kian merosot imejnya dikalangan rakyat. Kata mereka kali ini Umno akan berhadapan tentangan hebat dari pembangkang dan juga sibuk menyelesaikan masalah dalaman yang mereka sedang hadapi terutamanya semasa PRU nanti. Semuanya hendak menjadi calon dan semuanya merasakan mereka adalah calon “winnable” untuk Umno dan Barisan Nasional.

“Bro, kami ni gunanya hanya semasa pilihanraya sahaja. Lepas tu kita tidak ada guna dah. Mereka akan sapu semua yang ada dan peranan kita hanyalah untuk melihat dan memberikan sokongan bila mereka menghadapi masalah sahaja,” kata salah seorang yang bercakap dengan saya itu.

“Lepas ini kita tidak ada lagi peranan” katanya lagi. Read the rest of this entry »


My wish list for electoral reforms

— Tota
The Malaysian Insider
Mar 30, 2012

MARCH 30 — If anyone thinks that general elections in Malaysia are free and fair, he or she must either be blind or totally daft.

We only go through the motions of participating in general elections without satisfying the prerequisites, which are the hallmarks of a truly democratic and progressive country. The shortcomings in the Malaysian electoral system are indeed shameful.

Below is my wish list for electoral reforms:

1. Amend the Constitution to make the Election Commission a totally independent body with powers to act against all forms of corruption and malpractice.

2. Implement the 2:1 rural/urban weightage in the delineation of constituencies as was provided for in the Reid Commission’s recommendations.

3. Stop all gerrymandering which has allowed the Barisan Nasional so often to get about 50 per cent of the popular vote but take 80 per cent of the seats in the state assemblies and Parliament. Read the rest of this entry »


The tangled web Umno weaved (1)

— Sakmongkol AK47
The Malaysian Insider
Mar 29, 2012

MARCH 29 —

Oh what a tangled web we weave,

When first we practise to deceive!

That’s the whole problem with Umno in short. It has deceived the country and most of all it has deceived the Malays into believing that only Umno can deliver the Malays to the Promised Land. And it continues to weave the web and got itself entangled that the only way to free the Malaysian races is to destroy the web of deceit.

Let’s us now resolved to do just that. Kick out the band of robbers and the trader of false hopes. Let us kick out the deceivers.

It forfeited what it got- power since 1957 to accomplish what it set out to do — uplift the Malays. Why? Because it started on the wrong premise, and that premise wasn’t adapted and evolved into the engine to uplift the Malays first (since Umno’s struggle and raison d’etre is to serve Malay interest) and this country. Read the rest of this entry »


Nazri: No need for BN-PR panel to monitor GE-13

By Clara Chooi
The Malaysian Insider
Mar 29, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 — Putrajaya has rejected Lim Kit Siang’s call to form a bipartisan commission to oversee the next general election, saying the Election Commission (EC) was capable enough of doing the job.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz told the Dewan Rakyat today that the EC was an independent body despite criticisms by the opposition, pointing out that the body had already successfully run 12 general elections and a total of 184 by-elections as of last year.

“The government does not plan to form another commission to ensure the coming polls are clean.

“This is because the EC already exists as an independent commission with integrity… its responsibility to conduct polls, whether general election or by-elections, has been carried out well and the governments formed so far after each poll are legitimate governments.

“Including when YB Bagan (the DAP’s Lim Guan Eng) became the chief minister (of Penang)… that was also a legitimate government,” he said.

But a dissatisfied Lim, who is the DAP’s parliamentary leader, stood up to refute Nazri’s claim, insisting that if the EC was truly free from political manipulation and the country’s election process had always been clean and fair, the opposition would have won in past polls.

“YB (Nazri) mentioned the results of the 12th general election. If the system was fair, perhaps Barisan Nasional (BN) would have already fallen, the government changed. Read the rest of this entry »


Beyond the ‘Dong Zong issue’

by Azly Rahman
Mar 28, 2012

I read with interest about ongoing governmental discrimination against Chinese schools, as highlighted by Dong Zong.

Why are quality teachers and an abundance of resources still channeled only to Malay-dominated schools? Why are children in Chinese schools criminalised by the ‘sanction on teaching staff” which will ultimately deprive students of a good mother-tongue education?

What actually is our illness with regard to denial of the students’ right to their own language? Do policy makers actually understand the relationship between culture, cognition, consciousness and citizenship?

What does nationalism mean these days, and how do we understand it vis-a-viz use of language in schools? Whose brand of nationalism is being made dominant and what should an inclusive one look like?

What is the real issue behind the age-old request for the Chinese schools to have more teachers? How are the children criminalised by all this? Where is the peaceful path to this gentle profession called education? Read the rest of this entry »


Umno akan terus gagal memperjuangkan Melayu

— Aspan Alias
The Malaysian Insider
Mar 28, 2012

28 MAC — Sejak saya mengambil keputusan menyertai pihak alternatif melalui Parti Tindakan Demokratik (DAP) banyak rakan-rakan yang datang menemui saya untuk bertanya berbagai-bagai persoalan tentang tindakan saya itu.

Rata-rata yang datang bertanya itu adalah dikalangan mereka yang telah berkawan dan bersahabat dengan saya sejak puluhan tahun dahulu. Rakan-rakan yang jauh bertanya kepada saya melalui emel dan talipon dan memahami saya setelah saya memberikan kefahaman yang sebetulnya.

Apa yang saya nampak mereka lebih bertanya kenapa saya memilih untuk tidak lagi bersama Umno. Jarang-jarang mereka bertanya kenapa pilih DAP kerana mereka juga memahami yang DAP itu adalah sebuah parti yang berpengalaman dan telah berusia hampir lima dekad lamanya.

Mereka memahami yang DAP telah melalui semua ujian dan dugaan untuk “survival” nya kerana tekanan dan momokan oleh pihak pemerintah terhadap parti itu tidak henti-henti dilakukan oleh pihak yang takut dengan perkembangan pengaruhnya, lebih-lebih lagi sejak akhir-akhir ini. Read the rest of this entry »


Anwar: Christian threat is Umno propaganda

S Pathmawathy | Mar 28, 2012

Pakatan Rakyat condemned the latest move to instil fear of the threat of Christianisation in the country, blaming it as tactic by Umno to “frighten” the Muslim Malay majority.

“I want to state, the all mighty in Malaysia is Umno – Umno is in charge of religion, Umno is in charge of the finances – so if the allegations (of attempt to spread Christianity) is true, that means it is Umno that failed to strengthened the faith of the Muslims,” said opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

“What I can confirm is that this is nothing other than a disgusting political manoeuvre to use religion to frighten the people,” Anwar said.

Speaking at a press conference at Parliament today, Anwar pointed out that if a movement exists to threaten the faith of the Muslims, then there are adequate legal measures that can be taken for transgressing the law. Read the rest of this entry »


Pakatan promises to buy back MEX if voted to power

By Clara Chooi
The Malaysian Insider
Mar 28, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) pledged today to buy back the part publicly-funded Maju Expressway (MEX) from its concessionaire should they wrest Putrajaya in the coming polls, claiming the move would save over RM4.6 billion in taxpayers’ money.

In a statement signed by representatives from all three PR parties – Rafizi Ramli (PKR), Tony Pua (DAP) and Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (PAS) — the leaders noted that it was one of PR’s Buku Jingga promises to restructure toll rates and the country’s many highway concession agreements, many of which they claim have over-benefitted Barisan Nasional (BN) cronies.

Speaking at a press conference in Parliament today, Pua, DAP’s publicity secretary, said it was more sensible for Putrajaya to buy back the highway with a maximum payment of RM400.9 million, instead of allowing Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd to profit from its sale.

He said that Maju Group executive chairman Tan Sri Abu Sahid Mohamed stands to make a clean profit of RM1.09 billion or 1,800 per cent of his initial investment of RM60 million from his sale of MEX to EP Manufacturing Bhd (EPMB) for RM1.7 billion.

“This profit is too high because the government has already used taxpayers’ money to fund 74 per cent of the highway’s construction cost,” he said.

This, added Pua, amounts to a whopping RM976.7 million. Read the rest of this entry »


What have our schools become?

— Jahabar Sadiq
The Malaysian Insider
Mar 28, 2012

MARCH 28 — Last weekend, I went back to school for a memorial. This was the second time in three years that I visited St John’s Institution. While the memorial for Master Vincent Fernandez was sombre, it ended on an uplifting note when the school rally rang through the old school hall.

The school itself appeared to be a far cry from its glory days. The field was bare but the main building had ferns and other vegetation growing out of it, showing the neglect and lack of respect for the hardware required for the education of the young. I had no heart to even peek into any of the classroom for fear of further disappointment.

As it is, the school that has produced a list of top Malayans and Malaysians since 1904 no longer boasts of a hockey or football team that dominate the Kuala Lumpur school leagues. We can only take pride that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak studied there, as did his cousin Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Selangor ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, Perak regent Raja Nazrin Shah and a whole lot more others.

But a school is more than bricks and mortar. The Johannians past and present can and will chip in, as they did previously, to make our alma mater as good as new again and put the green in the right place — the field, not the building.

However, who will put education or the software right? For instance, my colleagues reported today that the Johor education authorities are having a weekend seminar for religious teachers to reinforce the Islamic faith, to counter liberalism, pluralism and the threat of Christianisation. Read the rest of this entry »


Thank you for making someone cry

by Goh Keat Peng

There are many ways to make someone cry.

Hit her or him and cause physical and emotional pain. Break her heart by letting her down. Disappoint her. Say untruthful things about her. Being unfair and unjust to her.

Yes many ways to bring unwelcome tears. In fact it takes just one person to cause untold harm to burst the tear bank.

But in Malaysia, in a small town, just the day before yesterday, a group of young men, UNIT AMAL of Pas (Islamic Party), did something so special, something not so common, to bring floods of unstoppable tears to someone dear to me! Read the rest of this entry »


Cowed no more

by Kapil Sethi
The Malaysian Insider
Mar 27, 2012

MARCH 27 — Till maybe a decade ago, the average Malaysian adult, when confronted with a political topic in a public place would shuffle uneasily, take a quick peek over his shoulder and either change the topic or restrict his response to a quick whispered sentence or two. Very Orwellian, but understandable in the context of realities such as the ISA, Ops Lalang, Special Branch and the Anwar black eye incident.

In the context of all the deeply intellectual prognoses by hordes of political analysts on the outcome of the next general election, it seems strange that there has been no acknowledgement of the profound impact of this loss of fear among the electorate.

From rumours of serial numbers on ballot numbers being used to identify and harass those who voted a particular way, to civil servants’ jobs and promotions being in jeopardy if they didn’t toe the line, to the full might of the law being used to finish careers of those who openly supported the other side, it seems everyone in Malaysia had a instructive story to tell of those who chose oppositional politics. Read the rest of this entry »


Umno rewards the compromised

— Sam Peh
The Malaysian Insider
Mar 27, 2012

MARCH 27 — Is it any wonder that Khairy Jamaluddin is now being made the chairman of PUNB? Not at all because Umno is a party which reward its members who have indulged in money politics, being found guilty of subverting the judicial system, abused the Internal Security Act and even those who have not been able to shake the smell of corruption.

Syed Hamid Albar is the top boss at SPAD, the public transportation body, and his claim to fame is locking up a journalist under the ISA supposedly for her own safety.

Isa Samad was found guilty of vote-buying or corrupting the electoral system of his party and now he is heading Felda. Read the rest of this entry »


Bilalah Abdul Wahub akan muncul?

— Aspan Alias
The Malaysian Insider
Mar 27, 2012

27 MAC — Lama juga rasanya saya berada dalam Umno dan pernah bergiat hampir tiga dekad lamanya. Walaupun saya bukan seorang yang pandai dan jauh sekali untuk memandai-mandai, saya dapat banyak pengalaman bergiat dalam parti yang telah diberikan mandat untuk mentadbir negara selama kita mencapai kemerdekaan. Itulah sebabnya saya berani dan boleh untuk menceritakan perkara-perkara yang membezakan diantara Umno yang dahulu dengan Umno Baru yang baru berumur 24 tahun itu.

Bak kata orang tidak ada yang lama tidak ada yang baru. Keadaan bersalah-salahan itu memang satu keadaan yang natural. Hanya kita sahaja yang boleh memilih untuk memilih salah satu dari sifat berlawanan itu. Kalau ADA lawannya TIADA, Begitulah keadaannya. Mana kita tahu yang sesuatu itu panjang jika tidak ada elemen yang pendek. Masakan kita tahu mana yang panas jika kita tidak tahu dan pernah merasakan yang sejuk dsb.

Dalam politik dinihari kita sedang melihat satu politik yang belum pernah kita lihat dan alami sebelum ini. Keadaan ini berlaku disebabkan kali ini merupakan pilihanraya dalam mana rakyat ramai terutamanya gulungan yang muda bersama-sama terlibat memainkan peranan untuk membezakan politik dahulu dan politik sekarang ini. Kali ini juga merupakan politik yang pertama kalinya BN menghadapi pengaruh PR yang sudah pun memegang teraju pemerintahan dilima buah negeri dalam persekutuan ini. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mentalqinkan Umno

— Sakmongkol AK47
The Malaysian Insider
Mar 27, 2012

Mari talqinkan Umno.

Ianya bukan apa apa. Umno sudah sampai masa tamatnya. Bila dah tiba maut, kita tak boleh melambat atau menyegerakan walaupun sesaat. Rakyat sudah lemas dan meluat dengan Umno. Untungnya, Umno tidak boleh melakukan apa apa untuk menyelamatkan dirinya. Setiap hari Umno menunjukkan lemasnya.

Najib berkata kepada rakyat jangan melakukan kesilapan sekali lagi. Amat benar — jangan melakukan kesilapan dengan memberi lesen kepada pimpinan Umno untuk merompak dan melanun negara ini. Pada kadar kerajaan Umno memberi kontrak dan pinjaman dengan kadar rendah, seolah-olahnya, kerajaan pimpinan Umno memerah rakyat. Negara akan bengkrap.

Lebih mendukacitakan — Najib menunjukkan sifat Umno yang bongkak. Umno merasakan dialah sahaja Melayunya. Dialah sahaja yang pandai mengurus negara. Dialah sahaja yang melindungi orang Melayu. Dialah sahaja yang boleh beri masa depan kepada orang Melayu dan Malaysia. Akan tetapi, fakta menunjukkan negeri-negeri di bawah Pakatan Rakyat di tadbir dengan lebih baik. Read the rest of this entry »


On thorium and Lynas

— Chan Chee Khoon
The Malaysian Insider
Mar 27, 2012

MARCH 27 — The Sun declined to publish my response (below) to Dr Looi Hoong Wah’s earlier letter . In the interest of reasoned exchanges, I hope this response to Dr Looi’s latest letter sees the light of day.

In this letter, Dr Looi’s cites the Argonne National Lab’s fact sheet on thorium to argue that only a miniscule portion of thorium-232 which is ingested via food or water is absorbed into the bloodstream, of which only 4 per cent gets deposited in the liver where it is retained with a biological half-life of 700 days.

He neglects to mention that thorium-232 is much more readily absorbed into the human body via an inhalation route, and furthermore that 70 per cent of the amount entering the bloodstream gets deposited in bone where it is retained with a biological half-life of about 22 years, all that while irradiating the much more radio-sensitive blood-forming tissues there with highly mutagenic alpha-particles (20 times more damaging to cellular genetic material than beta or gamma radiation).

Could this be the reason for the cluster of childhood leukaemias observed among the children of Bukit Merah? Read the rest of this entry »


BN has failed the Indian community

— S. Barathidasan
The Malaysian Insider
Mar 26, 2012

MARCH 26 — The Malaysian Indians Progressive Association (MIPAS) has done surveys, studies, gained information and feedback from the rakyat showing that it is not true that the rakyat’s support for Barisan Nasional (BN) is peaking based on the party’s record of fulfilling its promises, as claimed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

MIPAS feels that it is not true that “big winds” are blowing towards BN.

The rakyat still does not have confident and full trust in the BN government as many issues have still not been fulfilled. Read the rest of this entry »


Tribunal will show A-G’s hand in Altantuya trial, says Mat Zain

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
The Malaysian Insider
Mar 26, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 — Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim today continued to pressure the prime minister to investigate the Attorney-General for alleged abuse of power, arguing that a tribunal will prove Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail’s “manipulation” in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder trial.

PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak had on Friday said there was no need to probe claims against the A-G made by Mat Zain and former Bukit Aman commercial criminal investigations chief Datuk Ramli Yusoff, saying they were mere allegations.

But Mat Zain claimed today a tribunal would “expose the wrongdoings of Abdul Gani in manipulating, hiding material evidence” in the Altantuya trial.

The A-G’s manipulation, said the ex-cop, was evident with the change in prosecutors in the trial, where deputy public prosecutor Datuk Sallehuddin Saidin was replaced by Datuk Tun Majid Hamzah. Read the rest of this entry »