Archive for October 26th, 2012

Change of government needed to undo all the adverse effects of 25-year Operation Lalang on democracy, human rights and national institutions

Tomorrow marks the 25th anniversary of Operation Lalang which brought about the darkest days for democracy and human rights in the nation’s history.

There was not only the arrest of 106 Malaysians, including opposition leaders – 16 of whom were from the DAP, including MPs and State Assemblymen – trade unionists, social activists, environmentalists, Chinese educationists and religious workers, there was also the wholesale attacks on press freedom with the closure of three newspapers, the merciless attacks on the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law resulting in the sacking of the Lord President and two Supreme Court judges and the series of undemocratic legislation which caused a tectonic shift in the Malaysian political landscape, subordinating the legislative and judicial branches to the Executive or to be more exact to the fiat of one person, the Prime Minister of the day.

The Government Transformation Programme of Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has promised to make Malaysia “the best democracy of the world”, but after more than 42 months of his premiership, Malaysia falls far short of the conditions to be a “normal democracy” let alone the “world’s best democracy”, as illustrated by the refusal by the Prime Minister and the ruling UMNO/BN coalition to make a public commitment that they would fully accept the verdict of the voters in the 13th General Election and would peacefully and smoothly transfer Federal power to Pakatan Rakyat if this is the verdict of the Malaysian electorate in the ballot box. Read the rest of this entry »


A punch-drunk party?

Rom Nain
Oct 25, 2012

If the reports are to believed, after a weekend of coming up with absolutely nothing in terms of policy strategies and directions for the country and incessantly bashing PAS, DAP and hudud instead, the MCA annual general meeting, clearly in need of sustenance, resorted to Malaysia’s favourite pastime, sex.

Or, rather, talking about sex.

Or, even more accurately, talking about other people having sex.

Indeed, leading up to the two-day, weekend meeting, the MCA’s mouthpiece, The Star, chose to relegate whatever build-up there might have been to the inside pages, and stormed ahead with its expose of these two naughty Malaysian souls, Alvin and Vivian.

For three whole days, their photographs – individually or together – were prominently featured on the cover page of the paper. Fully clothed, fortunately.

Together with the voyeurism, there was so much predictable tut-tutting by all and sundry. These ranged from the paper’s ‘agonising’ aunty, to quickly-interviewed shocked and appalled Malaysians, including parents, to even ‘experts’, psychiatrists dispensing their wisdom from kilometres away without the need of their couches. Or the need to talk to these two ‘celebrities’.

And at the MCA weekend retreat, too, their frolicking did not go unnoticed. Both the MCA Youth and Wanita meetings were spiced up with condemnations of the couple’s very-public performances.

And the wholesome twosome simply basked in all that attention they received.

Then, almost abruptly, the coverage stopped. Read the rest of this entry »


Before meddling with subsidies, ask why we need subsidies

by Pak Sako
26th Oct 2012

Two groups, CPI and REFSA-IDEAS, are debating government subsidies.

This debate is critical because politicians are taking their cues from it.

It is important that good judgement prevails. Much is at stake.

But first, what is a subsidy? Why do we need it?

Some believe subsidies are government money spent on primary healthcare, infrastructure, culture or the environment.

But these are not subsidies. These are fundamental public provisions that a decent society would collectively provide for all its members in most ordinary circumstances.

A subsidy is different. It is a special kind of public expenditure.

A subsidy is designed to support a disadvantaged group that cannot secure the needs and necessities for survival because an underlying condition is persistently preventing their fulfillment. Read the rest of this entry »


Hudud will not impact non-Muslims, minister says

by Clara Chooi
The Malaysian Insider
Oct 24, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 24 — Hudud will not have an impact on non-Muslims in Malaysia, Umno minister Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom has said, disputing the repeated warnings by political ally MCA to the Chinese community on the controversial Islamic penal code.

In a written reply to Tan Tee Beng (IND-Nibong Tebal), the minister for Islamic affairs, explained that hudud, which prescribes the amputation of hands for theft, could only be applied to those who come under the jurisdiction of the Syariah court — Muslims.

“Therefore, hudud law will not impact non-Muslims,” he concluded.

MCA has been using the hudud issue to warn the non-Muslim community away from voting for Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in the coming polls, insisting that the pact’s “dominant” partner PAS would insist on its implementation despite its ties with secular DAP and PKR.

Hudud has remained a sensitive touch point in Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy, which has a 60 per cent Muslim population, with political parties continuing to spar over the subject in the run-up to the 13th general election.

The idea of an Islamic criminal code has been used to either scare the minority Chinese voters, or shore up support among the majority Malay-Muslim community. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Indian gangsters’ or just lost souls?

— Choo Sing Chye
The Malaysian Insider
Oct 25, 2012

OCT 25 — The other day, at a dinner, I met a former PPP supporter who, upon recognising me, came over to my table for a chat.

But before saying anything, he quickly declared that he had switched parties, from PPP to a full-fledged MIC member.

I asked him: “What’s the difference?”

He did not answer, but switched subject to talk about the good old days. Then suddenly at one juncture he asked me whether I had admitted any Indian gangsters during my watch as Perak DAP organising secretary.

“No!” I replied.

“Hey, don’t ‘ali-utart’ (bluff) me lah, just admit it bro,” he reacted.

I looked at him and responded, “I never come across any Indians who had filled the little dotted line under “Occupation” with the word “Gangster”, when joining the DAP.

“So, to you when you see an Indian beating another, you call him a gangster and when a rich man or top politician’s son bashing another, you just say, boys will be boys, right?” I retorted. “Is this the way MIC solves the Indian problem?”

This is a true story that happened a very long time ago. Read the rest of this entry »


10 Qualities of A Great Nation

By Thomas Fann
October 26, 2012

With an upcoming General Election that is expected to be the most hotly contested one ever since independence and the formation of our relatively young nation, Malaysia is at a crossroad. Perhaps for the first time the prospect of a change in government is realistic and both coalitions sense it.

Hearing the empty rhetorics of some leaders of the current coalition, one can only come to the conclusion that they are bankrupt. Certainly not of material wealth but of ideas.

What if there is a change in government and we have a chance to rebuild and reshape this nation? What kind of a nation would we want to build? What are the qualities that would make Malaysia a great nation?

Let me state clearly that I for one do not believe that change for the better will come overnight for two reasons. You can’t undo a political, administrative and social mindset that has been skewed towards a regime overnight. It will be a slow uphill task that requires perseverance. Secondly, the new government does not necessarily be different in ability and even integrity from the old or have all the answers. The difference is that there is a chance for real reform and for the voices and aspirations of the people to be heard, and that is, if we choose to actively and constructively engage the new administration.

I would like to suggest 10 qualities that would make Malaysia a great nation, a place that we would be proud to call home and where we would see a reversal of the brain drain?. Read the rest of this entry »