Archive for June, 2012

Malaysia in the event of regime change

Ong Kian Ming
Jun 17, 2012


What happens in the unlikely event that Pakatan Rakyat wins control of the federal government after the 13th general election?

This is a question which few people have tried to address systematically. In this article, I want to highlight what I think will be the five main challenges facing a Pakatan federal government as a way to contextualise the policy options which such a government will have to address.

I have summarised these five main challenges into five ‘P’s:

*Dealing with the ‘Past’.

*Distributing ‘Power’ between the federal and state governments.

*Coming up with a new set of ‘Plans’ in the economic, political and social arenas.

*Focusing on a smaller number of ‘Priorities’ which can be delivered within 100 days and one year.

*Finding a set of ‘Procedures’ to deal with disagreements within the Pakatan coalition.

Read the rest of this entry »


Murky practices in rail tenders deter foreign firms, weekly reports

By Lisa J. Ariffin
The Malaysian Insider
Jun 17, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, June 17 — International companies are shying away from Malaysia’s rail sector due to less-than-transparent decisions in the tender process, The Edge weekly has reported.

According to an article in the business and investment weekly’s latest edition, “intense lobbying, glitches in the tender process and political favouritism” are among some of the reasons why foreign firms are snubbing rail tenders, a move which could deprive the country of a high-quality rail system.

The Edge writer Lim Ben Shane reported that the response to open tenders has been poor purportedly due to the unfair selection of large contracts, adding that government officials have acknowledged the problem but have defended it as a relatively new phenomenon. Read the rest of this entry »


Dr M: Najib must be firm

By Dan Martin
Free Malaysia Today
June 17, 2012

He was skeptical of Najib’s liberalising moves and suggested authorities are too soft on a rising movement demanding free and fair elections

KUALA LUMPUR: Influential former strongman Dr Mahathir Mohamad has thrown his weight behind a Malaysian conservative pushback against growing calls for change, saying reform could lift the lid on ethnic tensions.

In an interview, the 86-year-old authoritarian icon expressed wariness over liberalising moves by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and suggested authorities were too soft on a rising movement demanding free and fair elections.

“We need a government that is firm. It should be fair. It should be firm,” Mahathir said in his futuristic 86th-floor office in the crown of the sky-scraping Petronas Towers high above the capital Kuala Lumpur.

His comments come after police used tear gas and water cannon in April 28 clashes with protesters demanding changes to an electoral system they view as biased.

Tens of thousands took part in the march through the capital, rattling the ruling party and triggering a wave of sharp conservative rhetoric against reform proponents.

Najib, who must call elections by early next year, has moved to soften some of the decades-old draconian security controls frequently employed by Mahathir during his 22 years in power.

But Mahathir, who retired in 2003, warned too much freedom risked stirring an ethnic hornet’s nest.

“Now that we want to be liberal, what has happened is that now we are more race-conscious than before. Today people are accusing each other of being racist,” said Mahathir, looking somewhat frail but his mind still sharp. Read the rest of this entry »


Global Bersih: Connecting Malaysians around the world

by Lim Ka Ea
The Malaysian Insider
Jun 08, 2012

JUNE 8 — When a work engagement required me to be in Washington DC on April 28, I decided to meet some fellow Malaysians who were involved in Global Bersih 3.0: Washington DC for the purpose of writing this article. I wanted to bring their stories home with me.

Exhausted from a full day of an “unconference” and heavily deprived of sleep from an all-nighter of monitoring “live” tweets on the rally, I waited patiently for my company to arrive. They were going to end their march at the Malaysian Kopitiam, a tradition that started on July 9 last year.

I ordered a glass of “teh tarik” but when it arrived at my table, it was just regular hot tea with milk and sugar served on a small cup and saucer. Not the real thing naturally, but authentic Malaysian cuisine was not why I was there.

While waiting for nearly an hour, I kept myself alert by listening to other people’s conversations with my eyes closed, giving the illusion that I wasn’t eavesdropping. It wasn’t difficult at all since I was close to being brain dead.

Two waitresses, presumably Malaysians, were quizzing each other at the bar on what the rally was all about in Cantonese. Although they were speaking under their breath, I could identify the gossipy tones of a hush-hush conversation between two nosey neighbours across the fence. Read the rest of this entry »


Nobody surprised no Minister dare to raise in Cabinet that Najib is “Emperor with no clothes” in his wild and reckless allegation that Bersih 3.0 rally is an Opposition coup attempt to topple the government

Nobody is surprised that no Minister dare to ask the Cabinet at its weekly meeting yesterday to openly apologise for the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s wild, baseless and reckless allegation that Bersih 3.0 rally was a coup attempt by the Opposition to topple the government.

Otherwise, the Barisan Nasional Government and the Najib Cabinet would not have suffered such a grave credibility gap that the sixth Prime Minister and his Ministers are increasingly become the butt of jokes of Malaysians, whether for their words or deeds, in a manner which had not befallen the Cabinets of the previous five Prime Ministers.

Najib’s Ministers will privately agree that the Prime Minister and the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein have not been able to produce an iota of evidence to substantiate such a preposterous allegation, despite public and dubious backing by three former Inspectors-General of Police, Tun Hanif Omar, Tan Sri Rahim Noor and Tan Sri Musa Hassan, and that the last nail for the coffin of such a preposterous allegation was driven home in Parliament on Wednesday by none other than the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz who could not produce any evidence in reply to my question specifically asking for proof for such an allegation.

But in public, no Minister will dare to say that Najib is behaving as “the Emperor with no clothes” in his wild, reckless and baseless allegation that Bersih 3.0 is a coup attempt by the Opposition to topple the government by force on April 28. Read the rest of this entry »


Smoke and Mirrors: Malaysia’s “New” Internal Security Act

By Mickey Spiegel
Senior Advisor with the Asia Division at Human Rights Watch
East-West Center


“Critics also noted that the bill, coupled with amendments to other laws, tightened restrictions or banned outright activities already under constraint, added limits to previously unrestricted activities, and broadened police apprehension and surveillance powers in new and innovative ways.”

When Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced last September that the country’s infamous Internal Security Act (ISA) would be repealed, he referred to tensions “between national security and personal freedom,” and promised that new “legislation formulated will take into consideration fundamental rights and freedoms.” Fast forward seven months to this April when Parliament’s Lower House, followed in short order by the Upper House, passed ISA’s replacement, the Security Offences (Special Measures) 2012 Act (SOSMA).

Unfortunately, this new bill does not go far enough to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of Malaysians. While this bill is not yet the law of the land, all that remains is for the king, Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah, to assent and for the text to appear in the Federal Gazette with the date it will take effect.

A far better plan would be for Malaysia’s policymakers to immediately scuttle this first attempt at replacing the ISA and seriously rethink what it means to protect national security concerns while simultaneously protecting the democratic rights and freedoms of all Malaysia’s people. There may yet be hope if influential allies of Malaysia, including the United States, publicly raise their concerns. Read the rest of this entry »


Our silence: An open letter to Malaysians

by CW Vong

Dear Malaysians,

Recently, I watched some Bersih videos on YouTube. I have been avoiding watching them and reading articles related to the rally because such news often makes me feel depressed. Perhaps I should have stuck to my habits because I found myself extraordinarily shaken after watching these videos.

I did not go to the Bersih rally here in Melbourne. I have not, in any way, ever lent support to any political organisation in Malaysia, be it those currently in office or their opposition. Admittedly, I do not know if my name and identity card number has been used to vote without my knowledge – which is always a possibility in my country. Personally, I have never seen the inside of a voting booth. I have avoided matters of a political nature regarding my country my entire life.

‘Why?’ you ask. Because, truth be told, I have never believed that my country could change and that it was worth sticking out my neck for. Mr Anwar Ibrahim is only the most famous of many who have been through the ISA. I have kept silent. And so have many of you. So why should I be so emotionally charged after watching a demonstration video?

Malaysians, let me tell you my story. Your story might not be the same as mine – I do hope it is kinder – but this is what I learned about Malaysia as I grew up: Read the rest of this entry »


Call on MACC to re-open investigations why 18 “high-profile” cases had escaped corruption charges after the first 100 days of the Abdullah premiership and the hundreds of other “big fishes” who have escaped in past eight years

Despite increased budget, powers, manpower and resources than its predecessor, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is a great letdown as it has failed to be even a pale shadow of Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) – failing to net a single “big fish” in its three-and-a-half years of operation.

The MACC continues to play politics to serve its political masters in the Barisan Nasional government, as for instance, its recent focus on re-opening old investigations into PKR leaders Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Azmin Ali.

I call on the MACC to re-open investigations why 18 “high profile” cases had escaped corruption charges after the first 100 days of the Abdullah premiership in February 2004 and the hundreds of other “big fishes” who have escaped the dragnet in the past eight years.

In February 2004, Tun Abdullah Badawi had marked his first 100 days as the fourth Prime Minister with two very high-profile corruption arrests – former Perwaja Steel managing director Tan Sri Eric Chia and the then Land and Co-operative Development Minister, Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam.
Read the rest of this entry »


Funds boost for BN MPs an act of desperation which says that Najib has lost out in the political argument

By Dr Chen Man Hin, DAP Life advisor

Anwar claims that Najib is scraping the bottom of the barrel in his desperation to give money to BN MPs to get support from the people. Actually the government coffers are already empty. The money he is now splashing round to the low income groups and to BN MPs who badgered for money are sourced from Petronas and EPF funds.

Predictions of the economy are bad. The GDP growth for first quarter is about 4% which is 2% lower than the expected 6%.

World economy is bad. The Eurozone countries are mired in debt. The China economy is slowing down. So Najib’s dreams of achieving a high income economy are dashed.

The World Bank has no praises for Najib’s economic reforms because he has not made structural reform. The Time magazine echoes the views of the World Bank.

Najib now has his back against the wall. His cronies can’t work up an ideology to boost party morale. The only way for Najib to win votes is to use government funds to hand out money to the people.
Read the rest of this entry »


No need for Mahathir to fear he will end up like Gadaffi or Mubarak. I do not even want to see him in jail but he must not block full investigations into the host of financial and political scandals under his 22 years as PM

It is quite unworthy and dishonourable for Tun Dr. Mahathir to imply in his blog “My Fears” yesterday that I am “inspired by what happened to Gadaffi and Mubarak” and that I would “love” to see him “dragged to the courts and sentenced to death or to at least a life sentence” and “Maybe like Gadaffi I would be murdered”!

I do not know whether Mahathir is becoming a victim of a very fevered imagination, to the extent that he could imagine and blog that I would want him to end up like Gadaffi or Mubarak.

Nothing is furthest from my mind but I forgive Mahathir these wild and preposterous imaginings.

Mahathir started his blog yesterday: “ Lim Kit Siang is reported to have said that I am working hard to ensure the Opposition will not win because I am afraid when the Opposition Government is in place, it will act against all my ‘misdeeds’ when I was Prime Minister.” Read the rest of this entry »


BN takut garam, botol mineral

Lim Kit Siang [ Ipoh Timur ] minta PERDANA MENTERI menyatakan bukti dakwaan beliau bahawa perhimpunan Bersih 3.0 adalah satu cubaan rampasan kuasa oleh pihak Pembangkang untuk menjatuhkan Kerajaan.

Lim Kit Siang [ Ipoh Timur ] to ask the PRIME MINISTER to state the evidence for his claim that Bersih 3.0 assembly was a coup attempt by the opposition to topple the Government.


Remove Moral Studies from the SPM

Foreword by CPI

A group of concerned parents are making a representation to Suhakam with regard to many longstanding complaints about Moral Studies taught in upper secondary school.

For many years now, the exam format of this subject has been so rigid that students are forced to strictly memorize 36 ‘values’ and definitions. They are then required to regurgitate word for word what they’ve memorized when sitting the SPM paper.

Such a method of testing morality is best suited to training parrots and appears to be designed by monkeys. Who are these monkeys that have been instrumental in designing the examination and how have they been allowed to get away with their monkey business for so long?

Any youth who has been educated to think critically might well ask, why 36 values, and why not 35 or 37? Who defines these ‘values’? Why must definitions drafted by some textbook writers be so stringent that not a word is to be changed? Even the 10 Commandments handed down by God from atop Mount Sinai allow more flexibility in their wording.
Read the rest of this entry »


Any Minister who dare to ask Cabinet tomorrow to openly apologise for the PM’s wild and baseless allegation that Bersih 3.0 was a coup attempt by Opposition to topple government?

Now that the Barisan Nasional government, through the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz’s reply in Parliament yesterday, had as good as confessed that there is not even an iota of evidence to substantiate the wild and reckless allegation of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak in Gua Musang on May 4 that the Bersih 3.0 rally was a coup attempt by the Pakatan Rakyat opposition to topple the government by force on April 28, the Barisan Nasional Ministers must place this topic on top of the Cabinet agenda tomorrow.

The Cabinet Ministers must come to the rescue of the Prime Minister to save his face by assuming collective responsibility and make an open apology on behalf of the Prime Minister to the hundreds of thousands of Malaysians who took part peacefully and patriotically in the Bersih 3.0 rally and the 28 million Malaysians for this wild, reckless and baseless allegation about the Bersih 3.0 rally being a coup attempt by the Opposition to topple the government by force on April 28.

The question Malaysians want to know is whether there is any Minister, whether from UMNO, MCA, MIC, Gerakan, Sabah or Sarawak who dare to ask the Cabinet tomorrow to openly apologise for the Prime Minister’s wild, reckless and baseless allegation that Bersih 3.0 was a coup attempt by the opposition to topple the government by force on April 28.

Or will the former Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir be proven right that the Cabinet Ministers are no better than “half-past six” Ministers? Read the rest of this entry »


Secret now out – allegation that Bersih 3.0 rally a coup attempt by PR to topple government completely baseless but Najib government afraid of “salt and water bottles” for fear of having lost support of the people

Question No. 4 during Question Time in Parliament today was the star attraction of the day as I had asked the Prime Minister to substantiate his allegation more than a month ago that Bersih 3.0 rally was a coup attempt by the Opposition to overthrow the government.

MPs from both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat were expecting some “shocking” revelations to substantiate the very serious allegation by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak in Gua Musang on 4th May and which had the immediate support of three former Inspectors-General of Police, Tun Hanif Omar, Tan Sri Rahim Noor and Tan Sri Musa Hassan that the Bersih 3.0 rally was a coup d’etat attempt by Pakatan Rakyat to overthrow the Najib government on April 28 itself!

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, who replied on behalf of Najib, was however a total disappointment as he could not give even an iota of evidence to substantiate Najib’s allegation and went completely off tangent into a tirade against Bersih 3.0 and Pakatan Rakyat.

Nazri is entitled to his jaundiced views about Bersih 3.0 and Pakatan Rakyat but they do not constitute evidence that the Bersih 3.0 rally on April 28 was a coup attempt by Pakatan Rakyat to topple the Barisan Nasional government by force on April 28.

As I countered Nazri during my supplementary question, is the Najib government so weak that “salt and water bottles” (which was all that some of the peaceful Bersih 3.0 protestors were armed that day to defend themselves against any police tear gas and chemically-laced water cannons) could even topple it? Read the rest of this entry »


AG robs police of authority with CPC amendments

Hafiz Yatim
Jun 12, 2012

EXCLUSIVE Several high-profile criminal cases could well have been swept under the carpet on the instruction of the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

This follows claims that amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) five years ago have strengthened the attorney-general’s position in police investigations as his office can, at any time, demand the investigation papers of a case even if it has not been completed.

As a result, the AG’s Chambers can at times be seen as influencing the direction of police investigations, something that has never before happened in the force.

Former Kuala Lumpur Criminal Investigation Department (CID) chief Mat Zain Ibrahim, who raised this controversial matter, said the amendments to the CPC passed by Parliament in 2006 and enacted since 2007, have resulted in the police force losing some of its independent investigation powers. Read the rest of this entry »


Let’s ban ‘em all!

— Art Harun
The Malaysian Insider
Jun 12, 2012

JUNE 12 — I quite like the way people in authority attempt to solve various problems in Malaysia.

A long time ago, safety helmets were made compulsory for every motorcyclist and pillion rider. Thereafter, some smarty-pants wore helmets with visors to rob banks. Although I was still in school at that time, I remember the so-called solution which our authority came up with to solve that problem. They simply banned helmets with visors. Problem solved, right?

Many years ago there were concerns over deaths caused by accidents involving water-scooters on Penang beaches. Of course, before everybody could finish saying “water-scooters”, I remember some hot-shots proposed that water-scooters be banned. Fortunately that did not happen.

Baby dumping? Oh well, that’s easy. Ban, among others, Valentine’s Day celebration. Read the rest of this entry »


Takut-takut Mohamad bermimpi di siang hari

— Aspan Alias
The Malaysian Insider
Jun 12, 2012

12 JUN — Saya telah dihubungi oleh beberapa pemimpin Umno Baru di Negeri Sembilan dan meminta saya membuka Free Malaysia Today kerana ada berita hangat yang akan saya temui. Bila saya bertanya apa beritanya dia menjawab, “Baco lah bang. Ado coghito Mad Hasan nak botanding di Paroi. Nak tumpaskan PAS terus bang” katanya.

Setelah sampai ke rumah saya pun membelek-belek apa kah benar cerita yang di katakan oleh AJK Bahagian Umno itu. Benar, ada berita tentang kecenderungan MB Negeri Sembilan untuk bertanding di DUN Paroi untuk menentang YB Taufek yang kini ahli Legislatif Negeri Sembilan mewakili DUN Paroi itu.

Sebenarnya saya percaya apa yang di tulis oleh FMT itu. Kalau berita itu datangnya dari Utusan, kita terpaksa berfikir panjang untuk mempastikan berita itu benar atau pun tidak Ini adalah kerana akhbar milik Umno itu belum lagi berjaya menulis berita-berita yang benar.

Akhbar milik Umno itu tidak “professional” dan tugasnya hanyalah untuk memecah belahkan pihak-pihak yang hendak bersatu. Akhbar itu tidak sedar yang semua rakyat kini mahu bersatu, tetapi diluar Umno dan BN. Read the rest of this entry »

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Muhyiddin is just being honest

By Rama Ramanathan | June 11, 2012
The Malaysian Insider

JUNE 11 — Tomorrow my wife and I leave Malaysia so that I can take up a short-term assignment abroad. As I said in my last post, we struggle over whether, as citizens, we are doing the right thing. We are after all Malaysians. We don’t think of any other country as our home. Politicians in no other countries care about our votes.

After I paid a few hundred US dollars, India recognised me as a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) — this means I don’t need a visa to enter India. But this is only in order to encourage me to transfer funds to India, which I have not done. I don’t have voting rights in India. Why should I? I care more about Malaysia than I do about India!

I do have voting rights in Malaysia, and I am disappointed that the 13th general election in Malaysia will likely occur while I’m away. Fortunately, my member of Parliament is not Umno-BN, and it seems likely the seat will remain with the opposition even without the help of the votes of my wife and myself. But, with all the shenanigans the Election Commission and Umno-BN are practising, we can’t be too sure.

The Malaysian Insider reported that Muhyiddin Yassin, the deputy prime minister, said the opposition is “skilful at spinning” and at using social media tools.
Read the rest of this entry »


How Malaysia’s Leader Is Damaging His Reformist Reputation

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has styled himself a reformer, but his government’s prosecution of protesters shows he still has a long way to go.
By Robert Horn

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak appears determined to give himself a political black eye. On June 13, government prosecutors will haul into court 10 leaders of Bersih, a coalition of civil society groups campaigning to clean up the country’s corrupt elections commission. The government is demanding damages for destruction to public property during a clash between Bersih demonstrators and police in Kuala Lumpur on April 28. At least 100,000 people marched for clean elections in the Malaysian capital that day, while tens of thousands more joined protests in 11 other cities across the country and 80 cities around the world. Whether or not the government wins compensation in court, however, no amount of money will undo the damage it is inflicting upon its own reputation by pursuing the case.

The April 28 demonstrations were a stunning show of discontent in a country where protests are rarely tolerated. In half a century, Malaysia has advanced from a poor British colony with a plantation economy to an ambitious, middle-income nation with science parks, cybercities and skyscrapers. But in a trade-off typical of Asia, the Barisan National coalition, which has ruled the country since independence in 1957, curtails civil liberties and keeps a tight rein on political opposition in exchange for delivering prosperity. That governing model, however, contains the seeds of its own decay. Malaysia’s successful development “translates into a better-educated electorate who have more sophisticated demands and expectations,” political scientist Prof. Farish Noor tells TIME.
Read the rest of this entry »


The big PTPTN blunder

— Stephen Ng
The Malaysian Insider
Jun 10, 2012

JUNE 10 — I have been following the news about the PTPTN, and had previously written about it as well.

The latest development by the minister of higher education, Khaled Nordin, is one of the worst of Umno’s political games.

From the shared script with Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, the victims were apparently the students and their parents.

This ploy did not take into consideration the younger generation of Malaysians who cannot afford the higher education under the present Barisan Nasional regime.

To play on their sentiments is something that most Malaysians will not forgive.

Sometimes, silence is golden. In this case, it only became worse when Khaled Nordin had the cheek to say that the freeze on PTPTN loans to Selangor-owned tertiary education institutions “was sparked by the Selangor government’s failure to find a permanent solution for providing free education.” Read the rest of this entry »