Archive for November 21st, 2012

Do Your Job Right, PTPTN

By Kee Thuan Chye
Malaysian Digest
21 November 2012

It’s unbelievable how lackadaisical the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) is in collecting loan payments. These, after all, constitute the rakyat’s money, and it is the responsibility of the corporation to be accountable for it. And yet its chief executive officer, Agos Cholan, can say, in an interview with Malaysiakini, that it tells its debtors to pay whatever they can.

Whatever they can! What kind of an attitude is that? Isn’t it encouraging defaulters?

Is PTPTN not concerned about getting back the money because the money belongs to others? Is it plainly incompetent? Is it poorly run? If so, it reflects badly on the government we have.

In fact, the least the Government could do now is crack the whip on the people heading PTPTN to ensure that they do their job well, and if they don’t, it should have them replaced. Read the rest of this entry »


Tunisia’s Hamadi Jebali: The face of moderate Islam?

Al Arabiya News
19 November 2011

TUNIS – With deep roots in the fight against anti-Muslim oppression, Hamadi Jebali emerged from years in jail under a repressive regime as a man of compromise and the moderate face of Tunisia’s Ennahda Islamist party.

The 63-year-old Ennahda secretary general is set to become the north African country’s prime minister under a deal reached by the three main parties, to be approved Tuesday by the newly elected constituent assembly.

With his neatly trimmed white beard, thin-framed glasses and the prayer mark of the pious Muslim on his forehead, Jebali “has been one of the main players on the Islamic scene” in Tunisia, Sofiene Ben Fahrat, editor of Tunisia’s La Presse daily told AFP.

“He notably led the confrontation against the regime of (Habib) Bourguiba,” the father of independent Tunisia who launched a repressive campaign against Islamists and had several of its leaders sentenced to death, he said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Umno is ‘rakyat’, not wrong to acquire public land, says Kuang rep

By Zurairi AR
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 21, 2012

SHAH ALAM, Nov 21 — A Selangor assemblyman denied today that Umno had abused its political ties to grab state land meant for the public, as the party represented the people.

All 24 plots of land in Selangor — alleged to have been acquired by Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties and former MIC President Datuk Seri Samy Vellu (picture) while they were in the ruling coalition — were meant for public amenities like multi-purpose halls and kindergartens, said Umno state lawmaker for Kuang, Abdul Shukur Idrus.

“Umno is ‘rakyat’… Umno represents 400,000 ‘rakyat’ in Selangor. (The land plots) were not for an individual. They’re for an organisation with many members.

“Can’t Umno receive land for the use of the people?” he asked, in response to backbenchers from the ruling Pakatan Rakyat (PR) pact in the Selangor legislative assembly who had yesterday accused BN parties of being involved in a land grab when still in power.

The allegation was said to involve 24 plots of public land in seven out of nine districts in the country’s wealthiest state, which were acquired by the branches and divisions of Umno, MCA, MIC and Gerakan between 2000 and 2008. Read the rest of this entry »


The politics of accommodation in PAS

Bridget Welsh
Nov 20, 2012


Islamist parties throughout the world are grappling with new roles and responsibilities. PAS is no exception.

The discussions at the party’s muktamar held in Kota Bharu last weekend highlight that PAS is adapting to new conditions globally and nationally, and in fact embracing reform.

Perhaps more than any party in Malaysia, PAS is engaging in accommodation.

Despite news reports focusing on the comments of one or two individuals – a common feature, especially in the reporting of Malaysia’s Islamic party – PAS is moving towards a more nationally-oriented position in which it can play a prominent role as a partner in an alternative government.

In fact, judging by its actions and the meeting taken as a whole rather than the words reported, the muktamar highlights that PAS is continuing to embrace more progressive positions, especially among its leadership.

Its challenges, however, have more to do with winning over its more parochial and conservative membership that is reluctant to change and struggling to adapt and understand a more complex and demanding political environment. Read the rest of this entry »