Archive for June 15th, 2013

Rohani Leads in Early Iran Results

Wall Street Journal
June 15, 2013.

BEIRUT—Iran’s preliminary election results show that the candidate backed by the opposition and reformist political factions, Hassan Rohani, is leading in polls by a landslide, giving a decisive victory to Iranians calling for change.

Mr. Rohani has 51.76% of the estimated 12 million counted votes, with the second runner up, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, scoring only 15.78%, according to official preliminary results announced by the Interior Ministry.

Mr. Rohani needs 50% plus one vote to win the presidency and if early results are an indication, the election might not go to a runoff as predicted.

Conservative candidates did poorly in vote counts so far, especially the candidates perceived to be the closest to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The current nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, ranked fourth and Ali Akbar Velayati, a former foreign minister, was fifth. Mohsen Rezaei, the former commander of the Revolutionary Guards, who made the economy his top campaign issue, ranked third. The votes for all three men are below 13% so far.

Iran analysts and media pundits say if Mr. Rohani wins with a large margin, it should serve as wake-up call for Mr. Khamenei and his circle of conservative advisers that their hard-line policies ranging from the standoff over the nuclear issue to the dire state of the economy have been rejected by the majority of the population. Read the rest of this entry »


Police should not be super-efficient to arrest peaceful Malaysians, including women and child while utterly helpless at worsening crime situation with new fear among Malaysians – not safe eating out in restaurants and public eateries

The police arrest of 16 participants of the peaceful Black 505 flashmob at the Sogo shopping centre vicinity in Kuala Lumpur, including women and one child, has raised many questions about the role of the police in ensuring public peace and order as well as upholding human rights which are not complimentary to the police force.

The first question is whether it is not possible for the police to ensure public peace and order as well as uphold human rights without having to arrest the 16 people, including women and a child – bearing in mind Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s boast of wanting to make Malaysia the world’s best democracy?

The second question is whether the former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is now cracking the whip in the Barisan Nasional government as it is only yesterday that he urged the government to be “tough and not to give face” to the Opposition which he alleged to “continue to insult the nation’s democratic system”?

Last Saturday, Najib launched a highly-publicised war against crime, and the most powerful critique is not that it came four years too late, resulting in crime becoming the number one worry among Malaysians, exceeding their concern about bread-and-butter issues, but that it marked a new fear of crime among Malaysians.

This is the mass armed gang robbery of shop owners and customers at restaurants and eateries, starting with an open air steamboat restaurant in Cheras by a group of 10 persons armed with parangs and iron rods who robbed more than RM20,000 from the owner and patrons, which has been followed up by a spate of similar crimes of mass armed gang robberies at open restaurants in Kepong, Cheras, Kajang and Petaling Jaya in the past few nights.

Crime in Malaysia seems to have reached a level where criminals are not afraid of the police anymore. Read the rest of this entry »


Time to lead, Mr PM

June 15, 2013

COMMENT June 15 – The time for feeling sorry, betrayed and wallowing in self-pity is over.

With a new mandate from the Malaysian electorate and a 44-seat advantage over Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in Parliament, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak should be energised, selling his vision of the future to Malaysians daily and getting on with the job of governing this diverse nation.

After all, isn’t this what he has craved for since taking over from Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in April 2009: his own mandate? Instead, six weeks after the polls, visitors to Putrajaya still paint a picture of a leadership still wondering why the sought-after two-thirds majority was not attained; of a leadership still talking about betrayal by Chinese voters and of a leadership mulling what was not achieved instead what has been gained.

Of course, it is wonderful to own a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

Besides bragging rights, allowing for Constitutional amendments in the House, winning two-thirds of the 222 parliamentary seats would have made Najib invincible in Umno.

But let us face the reality here: This is not the Malaysia of the Mahathir era. This is a country where every election will be contested, where the Opposition is packed with solid and charismatic politicians, where a more educated electorate is demanding something more than the Barisan Nasional (BN) formula of developmental politics and where the monopoly of information and news no longer lies with the Government. Read the rest of this entry »


Najib likely to face leadership challenge

by Bridget Welsh
Jun 14, 2013

COMMENT One month after GE13, attention has turned to the Umno election. Rumours are already circulating about possible challengers to the ruling party’s No 1 post. While the Black 505 rallies continue to mobilise protest against the May 5 general election that many recognise as seriously flawed, the dominant political party is myopically focused on its party polls and who will lead the party after October.

The flurry of activity in recent weeks – from the call to make Umno more inclusive ethnically to the pleas for the return of the 2,000 delegates as electors (rather than 146,500 members) are all part of the now intensifying internal Umno political jockeying.

All eyes are on the contest for the top leadership position, especially given that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak performed poorer electorally compared to his predecessor and did not fully deliver on his promise of winning back Selangor and a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

More and more calls are being made to keep the two top positions uncontested. In Umno, however, the real politics is happening behind the scenes. The grassroots are mobilising for the first stage of the party electoral process – the divisional polls.

Despite the public rhetoric, current conditions point to a competitive contest, in which if conditions do not radically change, Najib will likely face a credible and substantive challenge to his position. Read the rest of this entry »


Lost for the last half century: Will it be the same for the next five years?

— Ahmad Mustapha Hassan
The Malaysian Insider
Jun 13, 2013

JUNE 13 — We left a path that we had created to travel forth to achieve what we had desired when this blessed motherland of ours was freed from the colonial yoke in1957. Now in order for us presently to go forward, we need to reflect whether we had moved in the right direction or had we wandered away from what our founding fathers wanted to achieve.

As the Malay proverb goes “Sesat di hujung jalan, balek ka pangkal jalan”, meaning that if we have lost our way, then we just have to go back to where we started the journey.

But of course, we have to know whether we have indeed lost our way. We had been travelling for over half a century and we have to ascertain whether we have achieved anything at all.

In the first place, why did we clamour for independence or did we? A certain section of the people did organise themselves for that struggle but they were crippled by the British. As for the rest, they were simply caught up in the wave of nationalism that was engulfing all the countries still under colonial rule, after the Pacific war. Read the rest of this entry »