Archive for June, 2012

Crime: Perception and publicity

— The Malaysian Insider
Jun 24, 2012

JUNE 24 — Datuk Seri Idris Jala has a tough job, to manage the performance and delivery of key government initiatives and targets from the economy to cutting index crime.

So, the minister and the PEMANDU chief executive has to work with the private and public sector on all these targets.

But telling the media how to report crime — be it solved or unsolved — isn’t really his brief. That’s just window-dressing, and there’s a limit to window-dressing, don’t you think?

The Sunday Star today carried an interview with Jala, where he called on the media to play its role in fighting crime and help arrest the “doom and gloom” by reporting on solved cases and not sensationalising crime by repeatedly reporting the same news. Read the rest of this entry »


Civil servant or politician, Mr Ali Hamsa

— Gomen Man
The Malaysian Insider
Jun 24, 2012

JUNE 24 — I get it, Ali Hamsa. You are so thankful to Najib Razak for jumping over the queue of more senior civil servants to become the Chief Secretary that today you did something unprofessional: you urged your subordinates who are supposed to be non-partisan to become supporters of Barisan Nasional.

By doing so, you have forgotten about the great tradition of the Malaysian Civil Service, that great body which once upon a time produced stellar gentlemen as Abdullah Ayub, Malek Marican, Bhupinder Singh. Civil servants who understood that their loyalty was to King and country and the taxpayers.

That is why they were so careful with how government funds were used and why they fought off any attempts to turn the civil servants into puppets for politicians. Read the rest of this entry »


Monkey see, monkey do

Rom Nain
Jun 21, 2012

As the 13th general election looms on the not-too-distant horizon, the incumbents seem to flinch at giving us all a date when it will be held.

Indeed, the coast seemed clear for them to set a date some months back. But three letters, N, F and C, some related cows, cars and condos – and the predictable disappearance of few million ringgit of our tax money – started to screw things up.

Of course, no sooner had the minister involved been chastised and then, of course, cleared and forgiven, then the mainstream media got all that off our radar.

But, as the saying goes, it doesn’t rain, it pours. Read the rest of this entry »


Is there a need for more interfaith dialogue in Malaysia? (Part 1)

— Dina Zaman
The Malaysian Insider
Jun 23, 2012

JUNE 23 — Malaysia is not unique in its multicultural make-up, and the problems it faces. What makes Malaysia unique is Islam is the largest practised religion, (not unlike Indonesia) with a huge percentage of people who practise other faiths and beliefs. Article 3 of the Federal Constitution declares that Islam is the religion of the Federation, and that this does not affect the other provisions of the Constitution (Article 4(3)). Therefore, the fact that Islam is the religion of Malaysia does not by itself import Islamic principles into the Constitution but it does contain a number of specific Islamic features:

States may create their own laws to govern Muslims in respect of Islamic law and personal and family law matter. States may create Syariah courts to adjudicate over Muslims in respect of State Islamic laws. States may also create laws in relation to offences against precepts of Islam but this is subject to a number of limitations: (i) such laws may only apply to Muslims, (ii) such laws may not create criminal offences as only Parliament has the power to create criminal laws and (iii) the State Syariah Courts have no jurisdiction over Islamic offences unless allowed by federal law (see the above section). Much has been said about the country and its tolerance for the many faiths practised by its people. Malaysia makes for a fantastic advertisement on multiculturalism, and the infamous Malaysia, Truly Asia advertisement seen on television is proof of that. Read the rest of this entry »


Fixed term not ‘fairer’ without clean polls, says Pakatan

By Clara Chooi
The Malaysian Insider
Jun 22, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, June 22 — A fixed five-year parliamentary term would not be a “fairer” system for any party without the guarantee of a clean and fair election process, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers said today.

Ipoh Timor MP Lim Kit Siang said minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz had “missed the point” when the latter made the suggestion for a fixed term yesterday, pointing out that many other countries that still allow the early dissolution of Parliament do not misuse that power.

“The problem in our case is when the decision for early dissolution is camouflaged in such secrecy,” he said, referring to the current uncertainty over the date for the 13th general election.

Lim said that in other nations, adequate notice is given to all parties on the date of the polls, as well as a lengthier campaign period, to allow all election candidates enough time to woo voters. Read the rest of this entry »


Mahathir’s remarks cause for concern

— Lim Sue Goan
The Malaysian Insider
Jun 22, 2012

JUNE 22 — Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has made many shocking statements after leaving office. In January 2010, he claimed that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were staged by the US government.

In a recent speech, he openly criticised Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s liberalisation policy. He said that the government was too soft in handling the Bersih rally and warned that too much freedom risked stirring an ethnic hornet’s nest. He later implied that he was not impressed by the government’s gesture to revive a Chinese independent school in Kuantan, believing that the vernacular school system has divided the country.

We should not overly discuss Mahathir’s remarks since he is no longer in office. However, it is worrying that his remarks might trigger the nerves of the party’s hawks and conservatives, resulting in more obstacles to the work of reviving the Chinese independent school in Kuantan. Read the rest of this entry »


JAWI ignores justice and fairness

— P. Ramakrishnan
The Malaysian Insider
Jun 22, 2012

JUNE 22 — Justice and fairness is the much emphasised virtue in the Islamic faith and tradition. There is no dispute regarding this. But does the Jabatan Agama Wilayah Persekutuan (JAWI) project this virtue in its conduct and deed? This is disputable.

The Barisan government for reasons known only to itself banned the book “Allah, Liberty and Love” by the Canadian author Irshad Manji. The book was apparently banned on May 29, 2012 and this was made public 16 days later on June 14, 2012.

But before the book was officially banned, JAWI officials raided the Borders bookshop at The Gardens Mall in Mid-Valley City, Kuala Lumpur on May 23, 2012 and seized these books that were on sale. This raid took place six days before the book in question was officially banned.

In other words at the time of the raid there was no ban and no announcement that these books should not be sold. There was no justification for the raid. There was no fatwa issued by JAWI prohibiting the sale of these books. There were, therefore, no grounds for JAWI to act. Under the circumstance, the only conclusion that could logically prevail is that it was legitimate to sell these books on May 23, 2012. Read the rest of this entry »


Guan Eng wins second defamation suit against Utusan

By Shannon Teoh
The Malaysian Insider
Jun 22, 2012
UPDATED @ 03:45:31 PM 22-06-2012

KUALA LUMPUR, June 22 — The Penang High Court today found Utusan Malaysia guilty of defaming Lim Guan Eng, the second such ruling in six months, and ordered the Umno daily to pay him RM200,000 in damages and RM20,000 in costs.

The Penang chief minister had claimed a March 12, 2008 article headlined “Tiada Lagi DEB (No More NEP)” in the Malay-language newspaper which said he would abolish the New Economic Policy was inaccurate.

The DAP secretary-general said he had merely said his administration would be free from the “cronyism, corruption and systematic inefficiency” stemming from the policy.

The Bagan MP claimed damages as the article implied that he was an “irresponsible and unworthy” leader. Read the rest of this entry »


Dissecting the ETP Annual Report (Part 3): It was only RM12.9 billion of actual investments

By Ong Kian Ming and Teh Chi-Chang | June 21, 2012

JUNE 21 — It’s a long way from “committed” to “actual”. PEMANDU trumpets in its Annual Report that the ETP has brought in RM179 billion of investments. What is downplayed is that the RM179 billion is for committed investments. Actual investments under the ETP were just RM12.9 billion — a mere 7 per cent of the RM179 billion committed.

The committed investments figure is also doubtful. We found at least five projects worth RM17 billion where the ultimate investments may be less than promised. For example, PEMANDU took “110 per cent” credit for villa pre-bookings at the RM9.6 billion Karambunai Integrated Resort. But the project developer is being sued for defaulting on RM18 million of rental payments. Does it have the financial capability to deliver the new villas?

PEMANDU is stealing credit again. It said that the RM94 billion worth of private investments in Malaysia last year was “some 113 per cent above our target”. That seriously overstates PEMANDU’s performance given that PEMANDU brought in only RM12.9 billion, and that RM12.9 billion includes both private and government investments.
Read the rest of this entry »


Wither English, wither the nation

— Thomas Fann
The Malaysian Insider
Jun 21, 2012

JUNE 21 — The title of this article is inspired by a presentation I heard at an English language conference I attended recently. It was a gathering of educators involved in the teaching of English in schools and people who are committed to raising the standard of spoken and written English in our nation. Coincidentally, another article by Stephen Doss was published at the same time entitled “Whither the standard of English.” (


For me, a few facts stood out. Firstly, the height from which our command of English has fallen in our nation as a whole. Most of the invited speakers spoke impeccable English, especially the “dinosaurs” amongst them. But they were from a bygone era, an era where English was the main language of instruction in our schools and our proficiency in the language was among some of the best in the world.

Secondly, there is a sense of haplessness among the educators that they are going against the flow, that the political will is not there to stem the downward slide despite all the chatter from politicians about improving the standard of English in our country. The reversal in the decision to teach maths and science in English is one such example of this inconsistency.

Thirdly, that the fruit of this decline is now maturing in our society, where we heard a newspaper editor and a hotel owner bemoaning the fact that they are finding it increasingly difficult to secure employees who are able to speak and write good English, which is a vital criteria in their industries. We used to laugh at signage and product manuals from China but now we laugh with them.

But alas, all is not lost especially when we heard from some of the younger teachers who spoke. Their passion, creativity and commitment to raise the level of English in our schools and their use of new technology are encouraging and gave us hope that there are still many out there who believe that English as a language is still important in this country. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Cock and bull’ spins: Voters must decide

Stanley Koh | June 21, 2012
Free Malaysia Today

Barisan Nasional scaremongers will continue to flog Pakatan Rakyat’s ‘inexperience’, but Malaysians must use reason and logic when the time comes to choose.


One of the most common and irritating claims continuously harped on by the Barisan Nasional leaders during their campaign rounds is that the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition had no experience in governing a multi-racial nation.

BN scaremongers in their battle cry for political survival would say the most naive and air-headed remarks such as “the nation would ultimately be bankrupt”, “ethnic tensions could flare” leading to pandemonium in the national state of affairs.

Four years have passed since the “308-electoral tsunami” when the Pakatan coalition bagged five states and formed new state governments in Perak, Kelantan, Kedah, Penang and Selangor.

Unfortunately, Perak returned to BN after a coup d’état not long after.

Indeed, “experience” is a hard teacher and even the most hard-headed pupil would not dispute this wisdom.

Those who have gone through extreme hardships, trials and tribulations can testify that experiences often gives the test before the lessons.

In this political odyssey filled with the voices of Malaysians demanding for “change,” the question is, should voters support an inexperienced coalition against an experienced 55-year-old or more ruling regime? Read the rest of this entry »


WSJ: Malaysia needs China’s help to weather euro storm

The Malaysian Insider
Jun 20, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, June 20 — Trade-dependent Asian countries including Malaysia will take a major hit if the euro zone economy collapses and will require China’s aid to hobble along, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

The newspaper highlighted the point that Malaysia has bank loans from Europe equal to 20 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP), which it said was high for the region, and would be more troubled compared to financial hubs Hong Kong and Singapore, both of which have huge “rainy-day funds” to keep homes and businesses above water.

While China, the world’s biggest economy after the US, would be able to withstand the global slump due to its closed financial system, WSJ said Malaysia’s growth would be lessened.

“If China doesn’t open the stimulus floodgates, that would mean less of a boost for its neighbours, including commodity exporters such as Australia and Malaysia,” the paper said. Read the rest of this entry »


Is Najib saying he is not prepared to accept the verdict of the electorate or ensure a peaceful transition of government if PR wins the next general election?

Threats! Threats! More Threats!

Is this all that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak could think of to ensure that UMNO/Barisan Nasional wins the next general election with him firmly in the saddle as the Prime Minister?

Najib’s speech when opening the Associated Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCIM) 66th annual general meeting this morning reminds Malaysians of his infamous “fire and brimstone” presidential address at the UMNO General Assembly in October 2010.

When Najib warned the Chinese business community this morning that their assets and wealth may “evaporate” unless there is “political certainty and stability”, Malaysians are immediately reminded of his “crushed bodies, lives lost” speech at the UMNO General Assembly in October 2010 vowing that Umno would defend power at any cost in Putrajaya.

Let Najib fully explain himself – is he threatening that if UMNO/Barisan Nasional loses Putrajaya in the next general election, the “assets and wealth” of the Chinese business community could “decline and even evaporate” and is this because of his “crushed bodies, lives lost” vow that UMNO would defend power at any cost in Putrajaya? Read the rest of this entry »


1 Malaysia, 2 BNs, 3 agendas

by Zairil Khir Johari
The Malaysian Insider
Jun 20, 2012

JUNE 20 — As Malaysians begin to grow weary of the guessing game that is the election date, a more amusing charade is beginning to develop in the northern corner of our country. Of late, one particular state — in fact the second smallest one — seems to be grabbing the lion’s share of media attention.

The sudden obsession with Penang, as evidenced by the unrelenting headlines and the constant barrage of political proclamations on a multitude of Penang-related issues, would appear to speak of a concerted attempt to consolidate the entire federal machinery towards the goal of dismantling the current state government.

Yet interestingly enough, if one were to scrutinise between the lines of the numerous statements made by various Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders regarding Penang, one would begin to wonder whether the blue orchestra was performing in single harmony, or whether they were in fact being directed by numerous conductors playing to different beats. Read the rest of this entry »


Do you trust them?

— Ali Kadir
The Malaysian Insider
June 19, 2012

JUNE 19 — Everything begins and ends with this question: Do you trust them?

Do you trust Khaled Nordin to look after the interest of Malaysians or do you believe that the Parliamentary Select Committee was set up to regurgitate information provided by Lynas and merely rubber stamp an investment already banked in by the Barisan Nasional government?

Please bear in mind that Khaled is also the minister who believed he was doing the right thing when he froze federal loans to students at Unisel in a show a political gamesmanship that he lost.

Do you trust Rais Yatim when he tells all and sundry that only 22,000 Malaysians attended Bersih 3.0?

Do you trust M. Kayveas when he says that urban Malaysians are navel-gazers and an ungrateful bunch who only know how to whine? Read the rest of this entry »


The Dark Passage to Lynas

Charles Santiago
MP for Klang

We welcome the report of the Parliamentary Select Committee which has produced its recommendations, including the upgrading of the standards used by the AELB. But while we appreciate the effort, this is clearly a document which has only looked at ways to keep the Lynas Advance Material Plant (LAMP) in operation.

The key area – returning the radioactive waste to Western Australia – has not been looked at although it was one of the earliest pre-conditions to the government granting Lynas a Temporary Operating License.

Violating pre-requisite to the Temporary Operating License (TOL)

Over a ten-year period of the plant’s operation, the total volume of wastes will amount to 2,766,600 cubic metro. Over a 20-year period, as Lynas continues to enjoy its tax break, the waste would presumably have doubled. And it is highly inconceivable that there will be enough soil and technology available to “dilute” the wastes and remove its radiation level to natural ground level radiation. This is especially crucial as Lynas plans to store the wastes onside in the Residue Storage Facility (RSF).

The PSC recommendation has noted that some of the regulations imposed by the Malaysian government are better than international standards. But according to the Lynas document which is under review, the management of radioactive residue generated from the decommissioning activities of LAMP upon cessation of operations after 20 years are not within the scope of the Lynas Radioactive Waste Management Plan or RWMP but presented in a separate document titled “Decommissioning Plan (Environ 2011b). This is certainly not in tandem with international standards.

Malaysia is still in the midst of cleaning up after the Asian Rare Earth factory was decommissioned at the cost of USD100 million, the largest in the rare earth industry. The rare earth factory was set-up 30 years ago and we are yet to wipe out all traces of residue. Lynas will produce 20,000 tonne of radioactive material, ten times more than the Asian Rare earth. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia’s next general election shaping up to be a battle of the coalitions

— Greg Lopez
The Malaysian Insider
Jun 19, 2012

JUNE 19 — Malaysia’s 13th general election, which must be held by April 2013, has been the most anticipated in Malaysian history, given the megatrends that are occurring in the country and the ability of the two main contenders to manage them.

Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) are the main contestants. BN — currently the longest-ruling coalition in the world — is a 13-party coalition based mainly around ethnic and regional interests. Umno is the single most important political party in the ruling coalition, dominating not only the coalition, but all major institutions in Malaysia except in the state of Sarawak. Najib Razak, son of Malaysia’s second prime minister, has led the coalition since becoming Umno president through an interparty compromise.

PR, in turn, is a new and informal coalition, set up in the euphoria of the opposition’s historical performance at the March 2008 12th general election. None of its three component parties has a clear majority, and all understand that their success is predicated on their ability to work together. PKR’s unelected leader Anwar Ibrahim leads the coalition by virtue of his ability to hold together three disparate groups — the Chinese-dominated DAP, the Islamists party PAS and his own band of largely ex-BN/Umno members. Read the rest of this entry »


An open letter to Datuk Kayveas

— Tan Zhong Yan
The Malaysian Insider
Jun 18, 2012

JUNE 18 — Dear Datuk Kayveas,

I, as part of a younger generation of Malaysians and a participant of Bersih 3.0, am totally disappointed with your statement which states that 99 per cent of those who went for the sit-in demonstration did not know why they were there and that they were paid. Your statement is not only absurd and irresponsible but also insulting.

If the people do not know the purpose of the sit-in demonstration, why would they want to waste their time? Were they there to get a taste of the tear gas, water cannons and how it feels to be beaten up by the police?

I would like to tell you that I was there; neither because my parents asked me to (in fact, I am the one who asked my dad to tag along) nor because I was paid. I was there because I was aware of the fact that elections in Malaysia are not clean, free or fair. I was there because I fully understand that we need clean, free and fair elections. Only clean, free and fair elections will guarantee a better future. Only clean, free and fair elections will make Malaysia a true democracy. Read the rest of this entry »


Is Mahathir trying to make the revival of Mahathirism the secret Barisan Nasional agenda in next general election?

“Dr M: Najib must be firm”

“Reforms could lead to extremism, Dr M warns Najib”

“Dr M: Reforms could spark unrest”

These are three headlines on online news portals on the latest interview by former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad with foreign news agency, AFP.

Mahathir’s message is very clear.

He is fully opposed to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s whole spectrum of transformation programmes although these transformation programmes have been mostly talk and no action with even severe cases of backtracking in the past three years of Najib premiership – from 1Malaysia, New Economic Model, Economic Transformation Programme to Political Transformation Programme! Read the rest of this entry »


No Sticker Lady Here: Malaysia Welcomes a New Banksy

By Trinna Leong
Wall Street Journal

When a six-meter-tall graffiti image of an old man’s face appeared on the wall outside an Armenian Street corner shop in George Town, Penang, it had local residents buzzing. Instead of demanding it be removed, however, they asked for more, and starting from today, that’s exactly what they’re getting as part of the annual George Town Festival.
Read the rest of this entry »