Archive for September, 2012

Malaysia’s PM to bet on generous budget as election looms

By Siva Sithraputhran and Anuradha Raghu
Sep 26, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak is expected to unveil a voter-pleasing budget on Friday, placing the priority on winning a tough election above addressing the country’s rising debt burden.

Economists say Najib will likely delay much-needed reforms to broaden Malaysia’s tax base and reduce its dependence on oil revenues to at least next year, while announcing measures to help poorer families struggling with rising living costs.

Strong revenues in 2012 mean Najib can afford to be generous in the budget for next year without alarming financial markets, but further signs of fiscal slippage would add to investor concerns over a steady deterioration in Malaysia’s finances.

The Southeast Asian country’s public debt as a percentage of GDP is just short of its self-imposed ceiling of 55 percent – up from 43 percent in 2008 – while its budget deficit of 4.7 percent in the first half of 2012 is the third-biggest in Asia after Japan and India.

Fitch Ratings said in August that Malaysia’s public finances were weak compared with other countries on equivalent sovereign ratings (A minus) and on a par with heavily indebted countries such as Italy and Israel. Read the rest of this entry »


Dr M, Melayu mahu bersatu, tetapi di luar Umno

— Aspan Alias
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 24, 2012

24 SEPT — Saya telah cuba untuk tidak menulis tentang Dr Mahathir Mohamad lagi tetapi tidak dapat saya berbuat demikian kerana beliau masih lagi menyalahkan semua orang di atas perpecahan orang Melayu sebagaimana anggapan beliau sekarang.

Dalam tulisan beliau dalam Mingguan Malaysia semalam beliau menzahirkan perasaan sedih di atas apa yang telah terjadi kepada orang Melayu yang pada beliau akan hilang kuasa politiknya disebabkan perpecahan sesama sendiri.

Tidak susah untuk memikirkan siapa yang dimaksudkan oleh Dr Mahathir sebagai Melayu yang tamak kuasa yang telah memecahkan Melayu itu. Ia tidak lain selain dari Anwar Ibrahim yang telah menjadi duri dalam daging kehidupan sepanjang hayat beliau.

Dr Mahathir masih lagi bercakap tentang Melayu yang beliau sendiri telah pecahkan dan hasil dari perpecahan itu dilontarkan kesalahannya kepada semua orang kecuali diri beliau sendiri.

Utusan menggambarkan yang beliau telah menangis memerhatikan perpecahan orang Melayu sekarang ini. Tetapi Dr Mahathir mesti faham yang orang Melayu telah lama menangis dan tersedu di atas perbuatan beliau memecahbelahkan pimpinan dan premis perjuangan Melayu iaitu Umno selama ini.

Umno telah beliau jadikan sebagai alat permainan beliau dengan menggunakan sentimen Melayu yang menebal dan menggunakan simpati dan sokongan Melayu itu untuk kepentingan peribadi beliau.

Kata perbilangan “sesal dahulu pendapatan, kesal kemudian tiada gunanya”. Inilah yang patut Dr Mahathir rasakan sekarang dan berhenti mengalih dan melontarkan kesalahan kepada orang lain seperti Pak Lah dan Anwar Ibrahim. Read the rest of this entry »


Lim Guan Eng corrupt? What a joke

— Penang Man
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 25, 2012

SEPT 25 — Gerakan and Barisan Nasional’s (BN) mudslinging jokers should just give up because their relentless attempts at portraying Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng as corrupt only allows voters to see them for what they are.

And what they are, are a bunch of hypocritical jokers with no integrity that my fellow Penangites threw out of power in 2008.

I urge Penangites, Malaysians and the Penang CM to not take Gerakan seriously. Read the rest of this entry »


Budget 2013: What do we want and what can we afford?

— Ramon Navaratnam
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 25, 2012

SEPT 25 — Budget 2013, I am sure, will be one of the most difficult to design and to present to the people and Parliament come Budget Day this Friday Sept 28. I’ve done this many times before, so I think I would know!

This Budget is crucial for many reasons. Firstly, we are facing global economic decline and considerable uncertainty that can adversely affect our socioeconomic outlook. Secondly, the 13th General Elections are looming and voters want and think they can get more from this Budget. Thirdly, more so now, there is a major conflict between two perennial Budget issues — what people want and what can we afford.

Government is now faced with the exacting challenge of wanting to please the voters in an Election Budget and protecting the integrity of the Budget and indeed the sustainability of the economy itself. The Budget will thus have to strike a clever balance that will not easily please everyone — the people and the foreign financiers.

On the Macro front, we must take into account the rising concerns of the international Rating Agencies, the World Bank and the IMF which will be closely watching to see how we manage these conflicting demands on the Budget.

We can all merrily ask for more perks, tax concessions, subsidies and even more spending to make us all feel good and happy. But we have to think of the impact of more “giveaways” on the overall health of the economy. We have to remember our overriding need to control the widening Budget Deficit and the Debt Burden which have been rising rapidly and weighing down on the confidence in the economy in the longer term. Read the rest of this entry »


Listen, Malaysians

— Ali Kadir
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 25, 2012

SEPT 25 — I don’t know about you but I am disgusted with Umno and its sycophants, MCA and Gerakan, and I believe that we have to reject them wholesale for:

1) The culture of idiocy they nurture. There is a difference between BN and Pakatan Rakyat.

Whenever Lim Guan Eng or Khalid Ibrahim is accused of wrongdoing, they don’t hide. They come out with proof, sue to clear their name and even engage international audit firms. In contrast, till today no one knows how Altantuya Shaariibuu’s immigration records were erased or why the RM250 million sweet deal was given to Shahrizat Abdul Jalil’s family or how Cabinet ministers are able to live a life of luxury on RM18,000 a month.

Till today, there has been no rebuttal of the fact that millions of ringgit were paid in kickbacks to the highest offices in Putrajaya from a submarine deal. Read the rest of this entry »


10 big questions to ask about Pengerang

— Thomas Fann
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 25, 2012

SEPT 25 — On May 13, 2011, PM Najib announced that Petronas will invest RM60 billion in a major integrated refinery and petrochemical complex in Pengerang, Johor. The Refinery and Petrochemicals Integrated Development (RAPID) project by Petronas, as it is known, is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2016, as part of the national oil company’s efforts to expand its downstream production.

Exactly a year later on May 13, 2012, when the RAPID project was officially launched, the total value is now RM120 billion, with expected investments from Taiwanese and German petrochemical companies, easily making this Pengerang project the biggest-ever in the history of this nation.

In the midst of all the excitement and promises of economic benefits to the state of Johor and the nation, there has been some disquiet amongst the Pengerang community. Local NGOs were formed and had submitted memorandums to various authorities and several protests were organised this year.

It would be wrong to say that these NGOs and the people they represent are against any form of development in Pengerang but what many are concerned about is that it has to be sustainable. These local NGOs have adopted a unifying theme — Kekalkan Pengerang Lestari, or Maintain the Sustainability of Pengerang. Development of such scale must be embarked upon with regards for the people affected by it and be done responsibly to minimise its impact on the environment.

We have to ask honest questions and hear honest answers to these questions so that the concerns of not just the Pengerangites but also Malaysians are allayed.

There are many issues and questions to ask but I want to list down 10 big questions to ask the government about this massive project. Read the rest of this entry »


Bruno Manser Fund asking for global bank freeze on Taib assets

The Malaysian Insider
Sep 25, 2012

SEPT 25 — The Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) is a well-connected international organisation “committed to maintaining the threatened tropical rainforests with their rich plant and animal life, and to campaigning, in particular, for the rights of the peoples who inhabit the rainforests” with an especial focus on Sarawak.

One of the BMF principals — its eponymous founder Bruno Manser — was a Swiss activist who lived in Sarawak with the Penan between 1984 and 1990. He famously disappeared without trace in May 2000 after his last journey to the state.

The rich and infamous

BMF recently conducted an investigation into the wealth of Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud and his family. These family members include: Read the rest of this entry »


Apologise NST

By Martin Jalleh


Koon Yew Yin scholarships

By Koon Yew Yin
Updated : 27 Feb 2014

All students, irrespective of race and religion who have secured a place to study for the foundation course in any of the public Universities in Malaysia, including UTAR, are eligible to apply for scholarships from Koon Yew Yin.

The scholarship provided will be sufficient to cover tuition fees and cost of living expenses for the one-year foundation course.
On successful completion of the foundation course, the students will be required to apply for the government PTPTN loan to complete the degree courses chosen by them.


  1. Scholarships will only be given to needy students whose parents are earning less than RM3,000 per month. Applicants must have passed SPM with at least 5A.

  2. Scholarship recipients after completion of their degree courses are not required to compensate in any way for the financial support received. The only condition is that they will have to promise to help other poor students when they themselves are financially secure and in a position to help the unfortunate and needy.

  3. All applications should be sent to the address below with appropriate parents’ salary or pay vouchers or other evidence of income as well as offer letters from the universities. For students with parents engaged in self employment, a letter of reference from a school teacher or official on the financial status of the parents will be sufficient.

  4. The selection criteria is based on applicant’s financial need and not on academic achievement.

Contact by post to

Mrs Koon Yew Yin
65, Lingkaran Meru Valley,
Meru Valley Golf Resort,
30020 Ipoh

Or contact by email: [email protected]

Note: I have given more than 250 scholarships to help poor students to complete their tertiary education. The attached photos taken during the recent Chinese New Year celebration, shows some of the graduates who benefitted from my scholarships.

This is how I want to spend my money effectively to create happiness. Just see how happy they all are. When they are happy, I am happy.

Remember, after you have made more money than you really require, you must not forget that you cannot take it away when you die. You must do charity and create happiness which is our ultimate aim in life.

Among these graduates, standing 3rd from the right is Wan Pui Yee with 9A1 and 2A2 in SPM and sitting 3rd from right is Andrew Tan with 10A1 in SPM. Both of them could not get scholarships from the Government. They would have gone to Singapore if I did not offer them my helping hand.

If you know of poor students who need financial help, please tell them to apply.


Suaram, Scorpene, Altantuya dan dana asing

— Aspan Alias
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 24, 2012

24 SEPT — Isu Suaram dengan tuduhan terhadapnya mendapat bantuan dana asing hebat dimainkan oleh pihak BN. Selepas ini tidak tahu apa pula yang akan dihadapi oleh Suaram dan NGO-NGO yang lain yang tidak sebulu dengan pihak yang berkuasa. Najib berkata biarkan pihak yang berkuasa melakukan penyiasatan. Katanya, lagi kurang kita bercakap lagi baik.

Tindakan berkuasa terhadap Suaram bukanlah satu isu mengejutkan kerana Suaram membuatkan ada pihak yang “mandi tak basah dan tidur tidak lena” dibuatnya. Suaram ada isu yang besar yang diketengahkannya dan ia melibatkan pemimpin-pemimpin dan kroninya dalam isu komisyen pembelian Scorpene yang besar itu. Isu komisyen itu menghasilkan pembunuhan Altantuya Shaariibuu, seorang wanita jelita yang dikatakan berkaitan dengan pemimpin besar negara kita.

Isu Altantuya tidak dapat tidak terpaksa dibongkar. Isu pembayaran komisyen Scorpene dan Altantuya itu kait mengait dan kedua-dua isu itu tidak dapat dipisahkan jika kita mahu menyiasat salah satu darinya. Siasat satu akan melibatkan lagi satu isu dan kedua-dua isu itu merupakan isu yang akan membabitkan tindakan jenayah pihak-pihak tertentu yang berada di atas persada kuasa negara kita. Read the rest of this entry »


Leadership lessons in Jakarta pave way for 2014 election

— Pitan Daslani
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 24, 2012

SEPT 24 — Joko Widodo’s victory in the Jakarta gubernatorial election has caused many politicians to re-examine their approach in representing the people’s wishes.

The victory of the governor-elect, known as Jokowi, has vindicated a new theory that many of Indonesia’s major political parties actually do not connect with their constituencies.

Although they claim to represent millions of voters, the biggest irony in Indonesia today is that when it comes to electing a new leader, political parties’ aspirations contradict the wants of the people they represent.

This extreme conclusion emerged during the Jakarta gubernatorial election. When the ruling Democratic Party joined forces with the Islam-based United Development Party (PPP), National Mandate Party (PAN), Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and Golkar Party to support Fauzi Bowo, the challenger’s camp reacted humbly.

Megawati Sukarnoputri, chairwoman of the Indonesian Democracy Party of Struggle (PDI-P) said that she was “being mobbed by the big players.”

Her candidate, Jokowi, reacted to the establishment of the big coalition by saying that he would “set up a coalition with the people” because he believed that “people power would be enough” to confront the power of the big coalition. Read the rest of this entry »


Scopene Submarines Purchase and Murder Scandal

A brief summary
by Koon Yew Yin
September 24, 2012

Pakatan Rakyat has invited Suaram to talk about the Scopene Submarines Purchase and the Murder scandal at 8PM at Hotel Excelsior , Ipoh on Sunday, 30th Sept 2012. My purpose of writing this summary is to help the attendees understand the talk better. As you know Suaram needs money to do the work for us in exposing the corruption and murder involved. We are expected to donate whatever we like at the admission.

In November of 2009, Suaram, the Kuala Lumpur-based human rights NGO, asked a French investigative law firm to look into what appeared to be huge bribes and kickbacks paid to Malaysian politicians by the French state-owned defence company DCN and its subsidiaries for the 2002 purchase of two submarines and the lease of a third.

The story was complicated by the sensational 2006 death of a Mongolian translator and party girl, Altantuya Shaariibuu, who was shot by two of then-Defense Minister Najib Tun Razak’s bodyguards and her body was blown up with military explosives. While the bodyguards were convicted of her killing, the court appeared to have actively suppressed any mention of who allegedly paid the two to kill her, raising Suaram’s concerns that there would be no justice delivered. Read the rest of this entry »


To free is to save

― May Chee Chook Ying
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 24, 2012

SEPT 24 ― Civil society is under siege in Malaysia. That does not augur well for a nation, touted by the powers-that-be, to be the best democracy in the world. How on earth can anyone even begin to espouse a democratic way of life if he doesn’t even recognise the role civil society plays? Is this so-called democratic government effective or legitimate, at all?

According to a mainstream newspaper, some RM20 million was poured into 11 organisations in a plot to destabilise the government. RM20 million from genuine benefactors can destabilise the government when hundreds of billions plundered by present and past leaders have gone unchecked?

If at all the present government can be destabilised, it can only come from its own undoing! Don’t go pointing fingers at others. “Sila tepuk dada, tanya selera!”

A large part of humanity lives in darkness, even now in the 21st century. We have seen how, in Tunisia, fruit-seller Mohamed Bouazizi immolated himself to draw attention to police corruption and ill treatment. Will history show that this selfless act of sacrifice as an exercise in vain? I’m no soothsayer but I think history will show, in time, how a solitary act of selflessness and sacrifice will liberate a huge chunk of humanity. It always begins with that solitary act. Always.

When I first started working almost three decades ago, I saw a copy of Aliran on a table in the staff room. What I read both shocked and mesmerised me. The founder himself wrote with such courage and tenacity. I was instantly converted and started to subscribe to Aliran soon after.

From his writings, I learnt about inequality in society. I learnt about how each of us can play our role in bringing about a more equitable Malaysia. I read about how we should demand good governance and how we should hold the government of the day to account.

Now, when I read what “he” has to say, I die a little inside. He was one of those in civil society who could have resurrected our ailing nation to a new life. He could have taught us how to rise up to a tyranny. Read the rest of this entry »


A call for a more constructive media

― Bridget Welsh
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 24, 2012

SEPT 24 ― Too much of the reporting on political events within Malaysia is based on fabrications, rather than analysis anchored in research and responsible journalism. There has been noticeable decay in the professionalism of journalists, either from selling out their principles to engage in partisanship, or through the lack of proper mentorship or training.

Some of this is a product of the growing competitive political environment, where formerly more reliable mainstream papers have compromised their integrity for their political masters, while in other cases, the drive to publish the story first and make it the most sensational has comprised the due diligence of proper reporting.

Simple things, such as checking facts and quotes, have gone by the wayside. Worse yet, it has become acceptable for some to publish shoddy work, and rather than be chided for this practice, it is openly encouraged and financially rewarded.

Readers sometimes take what is published at face value, rather than adopting a more discerning approach to what they are reading. Too much of the discussion of politics is tied to misrepresentation and misunderstanding.

It is a time of political transition in Malaysia. The incumbent party that has held onto power since 1957 ― 55 years ― is facing the most competitive polls in history. At a public forum on Monday September 17th in Kuala Lumpur, I explained why based on polling trajectories and fieldwork, the Barisan Nasional (BN) has not regained significant ground since March 2008. Read the rest of this entry »


Umno provoking state conflict to destroy opposition

― Koon Yew Yin
The Malaysian Insider
September 24, 2012

SEPT 24 ― The latest dirty trick in Umno’s attempt to destroy the present Pakatan Rakyat government in Selangor has just been unveiled by the Pahang Mentri Besar Adnan Yaakob, after he opened the mini Maha programme at Dataran Bentong recently. This comes in the form of the threat to review its planned sale of raw water to Selangor if the Pakatan Rakyat continues to rule that state.

“We want a review and may even opt to cancel the agreement as the Selangor government appears not to be interested in proceeding with the deal,” said Adnan.

“Initially, we agreed to sell raw water to Selangor at 10 sen per cubic metre but if Pakatan retains the state in the next elections, we would need to review the price. The agreed price with Selangor earlier was at the time it was under the Barisan Nasional.”

According to the Pahang MB, “if Pakatan is taking charge, we may increase it to RM1 per cubic metre.”

To most Malaysians and me, this is the worst type of blatant political blackmail. How can a political leader with any integrity engage in such threats? How dare the mentri besar use the basic necessity of water as a political football? Read the rest of this entry »


Speaker Pandikar Amin should overrule Nazri’s interference with parliamentary affairs and order that the Auditor-General’s 2011 Reports should be tabled in Parliament immediately without any delay

The Speaker, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, should overrule the blatant interference in in-house parliamentary matters by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of parliamentary affairs, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz and order that the Auditor-General’s national audit reports for 2011 be tabled in Parliament immediately without any delay.

The reason given by Nazri that the government will only table the Auditor-General’s 2011 audit reports about a week or two after the 2013 budget is presented by the Prime Minister-cum-Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak on Friday is utterly ridiculous, unacceptable and an outrageous affront to the concept and principle of parliamentary independence and autonomy, even in its most attenuated and diluted form after 55 years of encroachments by the UMNO/Barisan Nasional government!

Nazri said the tabling of the Auditor-General’s Reports are being held up so that “it won’t steal the limelight from (debate on) the budget” is totally misconceived, misguided and a blatant abuse of executive power, especially as the annual audit reports by the Auditor-General are an integral and essential part of the annual budget debate by MPs.

Has Najib given Nazri the “green light” or the directive to hold back the Auditor-General’s 2011 Reports a week or two after his Budget 2013 presentation on Friday? Read the rest of this entry »


The Havoc Education Reform Inflicts: Education Blueprint 2013-2025 (Part 2)

by M. Bakri Musa

Second of Five Parts: Quality Schools Begin With Quality Teachers

[In Part One, I discussed the Blueprint’s failure to recognize the diversity within our school system and the need to have different solutions for different constituents. In this Part Two, I discuss the particular challenge of having competent teachers especially in science, English, and mathematics that is not adequately addressed in the report.]

In the 1950s, the headmaster of my Tuanku Muhammad School, Kuala Pilah, lived in a palatial bungalow up on the hill, next to the residence of the District Officer. Two decades later, his successor was renting a modest house from my father, a retired Malay primary school teacher. As for that hilltop house, it is now occupied by a civil servant.

In the 1960s when the Minister of Education visited Malay College he was noticeably deferential to its headmaster. Today, the threat of a visit by a lowly ministry functionary would throw the headmaster and his senior staff into a tizzy.

Those are the realities of the teaching profession in Malaysia today. The folks that produced Education Blueprint 2013-2025 see the world of Malaysian teachers differently. They brag about having 38 applicants for every teaching slot, way over the eight in Finland, acknowledged as having the best schools and teachers.

What gives? Just a few lines away and easily missed by careless readers, the Blueprint reveals that over a third of those applicants lacked even the minimal (and very low) current qualifications. Imagine! The perception students have of the teaching profession is this: If you are not qualified for anything else, apply to be a teacher. Read the rest of this entry »


PM’s blinkered views

— Jaleel Hameed
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 20, 2012

SEPT 20 —Mr Prime Minister sir, where have you been these past few weeks? Why are you still harping on whether your political foes want to change the Jalur Gemilang?

Where are you, sir, when Bernama insulted your popularity by photo-shopping a crowd at your event? Why didn’t you admonish them, sir?

Do you need this kind of magic to show how popular you are? Do you need to talk about the non-story of the opposition trying to replace the national flag?

Why don’t you respond to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, sir, who talks about how close you are to buying votes with your programmes like BR1M? Read the rest of this entry »


Dr M mahukan orang Melayu berlindung di bawah Umno walaupun sudah busuk sampai ke ususnya

— Aspan Alias
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 22, 2012

22 SEPT — Dr Mahathir Mohamad berkata di Johor Baru dua hari lepas yang pemimpin yang baik perlu menerima teguran yang membina. Ini pun Dr Mahathir benar dan betul tetapi jika kritikan itu di arahkan kepada beliau itu adalah satu kesalahan besar. Apabila beliau di tegur dan di tandingi secara demokratik beliau mengambilnya sebagai satu tindakan memalitkan tahi ke muka dan beliau tidak dapat menerimanya. Hasilnya beliau secara sistematik telah mengharamkan partinya sendiri.

Apabila sistem dan undang-undang yang masih baik semasa itu mampu untuk memulihkan parti yang beliau haramkan itu, maka sistem itu di bunuhnya dengan menceroboh Badan Kehakiman yang sepatutnya bebas dari pengaruh eksekutif. Empat orang hakim Mahkamah Agung telah di pecat termasuk Ketua Hakim Negara Tun Salleh Abas melalui penubuhan “tribunal” yang amat tercemar cara penubuhannya.

Apabila semua sistem berada di tangan beliau, Dr Mahathir bertindak mengikut kehendak hatinya sendiri. Tidak lagi sistem demokrasi yang betul kerana semuanya boleh dilakukan oleh Dr Mahathir dan itulah yang membolehkan beliau terus berkuasa dengan rakus selama 22 tahun itu. Jika sistem tidak tercemar Dr Mahathir tidak akan dapat kekal kerana populariti beliau telah jatuh hasil dari pemilihan 1987 itu. Read the rest of this entry »


Ignoring ‘Innocence’

— A. Lin Neumann
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 23, 2012

SEPT 23 — The “Innocence of Muslims” film controversy, which resulted in riots in the Middle East and the death of the US ambassador to Libya, seemingly exposed the many fault lines between the West and Islam. But that story line has quickly unravelled.

In Indonesia, fortunately, the reaction has been pretty calm. Apart from about a thousand people throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at the US Embassy in Jakarta and small mobs elsewhere looking to attack McDonald’s and KFC franchises — where no doubt the customers were fellow Muslims — the nation has absorbed “Innocence of Muslims” and wisely decided to let it go. In another week or so it should be forgotten.

In Libya, where Ambassador Chris Stevens died during a riot, a video surfaced showing Libyans entering the smouldering consulate building and trying to rescue Stevens, who was then barely alive. US security people had apparently evacuated the facility and lost track of their own ambassador. So much for us against them and the idea that all of Libya was on a rampage.

In the United States, one of the actresses who appeared in the film is suing the filmmaker for fraud, saying she signed up for something called “Desert Warrior” that had nothing to do with Islam, did not mention the Prophet Muhammad and was later redubbed into “Innocence of Muslims” by the producer, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a native Egyptian and Coptic Christian. There goes the vast conspiracy theory. Read the rest of this entry »