Archive for March 17th, 2012

Putrajaya waffles on Lynas

— Ali Kadir
The Malaysian Insider
Mar 17, 2012

MARCH 17 — Somebody in the government thinks he is pretty smart by announcing the setting-up of a parliamentary select committee on Lynas’s rare earth plant in Gebeng.

This is a familiar tactic by the Najib government. When they are caught in a pickle, they scramble for a way out. And what is really shocking is how quickly they change their tone from steadfast defence of a stance, policy or project to building consensus, all in the name of votes.

Last year, Najib Razak and his colleagues ridiculed and demonised Bersih 2.0 and the calls for free and fair elections. Then, when they realised that the rakyat were with Ambiga Sreenevasan and friends and that they were onto a hiding, they set up a parliamentary select committee.

Now, after months of defending the Lynas project and even taking over the role of spokesman and defenders of the Australian company, they are once again buckling. No less than Najib vouched for Lynas, saying that the project was scientifically and factually safe. Read the rest of this entry »


Shahrizat’s departure: What sacrifice?

Yap Mun Ching | Mar 14, 2012

The announced departure of Women and Family Development Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil could not have come a moment too soon given the depth and breadth of the Cowgate scandal which has now festered for months.

It brings relief to many who have deplored the slow reaction of enforcement authorities in acting decisively to address the unfolding mess which has focused international spotlight on gross corruption in Malaysia.

In commenting on Shahrizat’s ‘resignation’, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak disappointingly described the action as one of sacrifice in the interest of the government and the party.

Najib had justified his statement on grounds that there is “no proof so far that she had committed any offence in terms of law”.

In the light of the statement by National Feedlot Corporation CEO Wan Shahinur Izmir Salleh, Shahrizat’s son, admitting that the company had used funds meant for the development of a cattle business to purchase luxury condominiums, the prime minister, it would seem, has overstepped his attempts at neutrality.

If Shahrizat sacrificed for anything at all, it would be to raise some pertinent questions about the state of governance in Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »


Why women are marching on March 18

— Ivy Josiah
The Malaysian Insider
Mar 17, 2012

MARCH 17 — Tomorrow, a coalition of organisations called Wanita Suara Perubahan will gather at the Padang Astaka in Petaling Jaya. The staff, members and volunteers of the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) will also be marching proudly as part of Wanita Suara Perubahan with thousands of women from all over Malaysia demanding a clean government.

We will all be wearing white gloves. The gloves represent clean hands and symbolise clean government and as the country prepares for next general election, we want our elected representatives to commit to ensuring a clean government for Malaysia.

We want our political leaders to accept and realise the demands of women, which include: a government free from corruption, the introduction of a decent living wage, a better quality of life, an end to gender-based violence, the repeal of laws that restrict public assemblies and the establishment of free and fair elections.

Our demand for a corruption-free and accountable government is critical, as women are particularly vulnerable to the consequences of corruption, racism, exploitation, divisive politics and a curtailment of civil liberties. Millions of ringgit have been misspent that should have been used to ensure adequate housing, health, transportation, education, living wages and environmental protection. Women suffer the consequences of unjust laws as well as poor enforcement of laws relating to personal safety and gender-based violence. Read the rest of this entry »


Into the lion’s den

— Sakmongkol AK47
The Malaysian Insider
Mar 17, 2012

MARCH 17 — I went back into the lion’s den last Wednesday, March 14. I took part in my first ceramah as a DAP member in Pekan Pahang in a kampung called Kampung Sungai Miang. The ceramah was organised by the local PAS chapter at a house belonging to a PAS supporter. The house has a big compound and was able to accommodate a large crowd. The two other speakers at the ceramah were my fellow DAP colleague Aspan Alias. The other was PAS firebrand, deputy president Mat Sabu.

I spoke with a Pekan slang. This is the seat of our PM. He is the MP for Pekan with its four ADUNs. He is the man with the 69 per cent approval rating. He is the man who coined so many acronymed initiatives. A smorgasbord consisting of strange morsels termed as NKRA, ETP, PDP, NEM, and so many others. We have lost count. He is the one speaking about 1 Malaysia and who taught adults and children alike to show up one obscene finger.

I have proven one point. While Najb’s personal rating goes up 60 per cent, Umno’s rating has gone down. And that night on March 14, the response shown by Pekan Umno did not do justice to the man who gets a 69.

While we were holding the ceramah where more than 600 attended, Umno was given permission to do a ceramah barely 100 yards away. The attendance? Not more than 60 people. Of course, if you count the drinks and refreshments, the empty chairs, the lamp posts, the chickens, more than 100 attended the Umno ceramah. Read the rest of this entry »