Archive for August, 2013

Malaysia’s Najib Weakens

Written by Our Correspondent
Asia Sentinel
Thursday, 22 August 2013

KL sources say he’ll remain as PM, but as a “lackey” of former PM Mahathir

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak appears to be under increasing pressure from inside his own party and under blistering attack by bloggers allied with former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad — one of whom compared him to a flattened bug on a windshield.

Najib saw his ruling coalition lose the popular vote in May national elections, garnering only 47.38 percent of the vote against 50.87 for the three-party opposition Pakatan Rakyat led by Anwar Ibrahim. The Barisan, however, managed to maintain its 56-year hold on parliament by a 133-89 seat margin because of gerrymandering.

Since the election, Najib has faced a drumfire of criticism from within the United Malays National Organization over his strategy to attempt to reach out against the country’s minority Chinese and Indian races. Because UMNO raised the number of seats it won while its component Indian and Chinese parties went down the tubes, the party more and more appears to be in the hands of Mahathir and his allies, particularly former Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin, who advocated a strident Malay nationalism strategy to lure ethnic Malays, who make up 60.1 percent of the population, to the polls.

A quiet approach to Anwar to seek to set up a unity government after the election was batted back by the opposition leader, ostensibly because Najib wouldn’t rein in the strident racists in his party, but probably actually because Anwar wasn’t really interested in playing no. 2 to Naib in any political scenario.

Publication of Najib’s vain attempt to reach across the aisle to the opposition is considered to have weakened the prime minister further, partly because of Mahathir’s implacable enmity against Anwar. And while the 88-year-old Mahathir has remained silent, Mahathir-aligned blogs, including “outsyed the box” and one maintained by former information Minister Zainuddin Maidin have stepped up their attacks on Najib in recent days. Read the rest of this entry »


Will There Be Justice for Sabah?

Kee Thuan Chye
20th August 2013

The recent testimonies at the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants in Sabah have certainly been revealing – to some of us, shocking.

To be sure, prior to the RCI, we had heard rumours and allegations of identity cards being given to illegal immigrants, under what has been called Project IC or Project M (after ex-prime minister Mahathir Mohamad), so that they could vote for the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) and keep it in power, but hearing it now from the mouths of people involved in the project confirms our fear that our country’s citizenships have indeed been given away cheaply and illegally.

One of the witnesses, former Sandakan chief district officer Hassnar Ebrahim who first gave out forms in 1981 to Filipino and Indonesian illegal immigrants to allow them to apply for ICs, gave damning indication that Mahathir must have given his approval to the project because an enterprise of such a magnitude would have required it.

Besides, Hassnar said he attended a “secret meeting” in the 1980s that involved officers from the Prime Minister’s Department, the Immigration Department and the police, and at this meeting, then home affairs minister Megat Junid Megat Ayub said Mahathir had approved the project.

It was proposed that 130,000 to 150,000 names be added to the Sabah electoral roll to boost the Muslim vote. Although there were protests from one of the officers present, the proposal was passed. Hassnar himself was given 30,000 HNR3 forms to take back to Sabah. These forms were for the immigrants to apply for blue ICs. Read the rest of this entry »


Acquittal of murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu – Najib could not have a more powerful “soft launch” of his new national branding campaign of “Endless Possibilities”

With a triple strike in the past month, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak could not have a more powerful though most ironic “soft launch” of his new national branding campaign of “Endless Possibilities” in place of his earlier “lame-duck” 1Malaysia slogan.

Firstly, “Endless Possibilities” broke new ground when the Registrar of Societies (RoS) forced a DAP Central Executive Committee (CEC) re-election on pain of deregistration of DAP, although the RoS is unable to give any reason why he is “dissatisfied” with the DAP party elections last December, a triumph of the seven-month-old and continuing Umno/BN “DDD” – “demolish/destroy DAP” – campaign.

Secondly, “Endless Possibilities” opened up new vistas with the official approval for the screening of the Tanda Putera movie in cinemas nationwide on August 29, including one depicting a young Chinese man urinating in front of the Selangor Mentri Besar’s official residence provoking the May 13, 1969 racial riots.

There are no historical facts, whether photographs or documentation, including the White Paper issued by the National Operations Council on 9th October 1969 entitlted “The May 13 Tragedy” and Tunku Abdul Rahman’s book “May 13 – Before & After”, to show that such a urination incident was not a figment of imagination and a most scurrilous and incendiary lie in a multi-racial society.

Even if it is completely fictional, it is the height of irresponsibility to depict the urination incident in an officially-funded movie because it could incite inter-racial distrust, discord and hatred, completely inimical to nation-building efforts particularly on the occasion of the country’s 56th National Day. Read the rest of this entry »


So, who killed Altantuya? And why?

The Malaysian Insider
August 23, 2013

Seven years on, no one has paid the price for the death of Altantuya Shaariibuuu. And no one knows why the pretty Mongolian was killed one night in October 2006.

But today’s Court of Appeal decision does not close the file on her mysterious murder.

Instead, the ruling to acquit former chief inspector Azilah Hadri and former corporal Sirul Azhar Umar raises more questions than ever.

Who killed her? Why? Read the rest of this entry »


Fresh DAP polls on September 29

by Rita Jong
The Malaysian Insider
AUGUST 22, 2013

The DAP National Special Congress for the re-election of the central executive committee (CEC) will be held on Sept 29 in the Klang Valley at a venue to be confirmed later.

The party’s secretary-general Lim Guan Eng announced the date during a press conference after a two-hour closed door meeting with CEC members today.

“The candidates for the re-election shall be that of the same list as that used in the 2012 National Congress in December 2012, of course less those candidates who have withdrawn voluntarily from the contest,” said Guan Eng.

“This is because there is no controversy over the list of nominated candidates and the RoS (Registrar of Societies) had instructed only the re-election of the CEC.”

He said the party would also be using the same list of qualified delegates who took part in the party polls last December to re-elect the CEC. Read the rest of this entry »


True meaning of being Malaysian

– Natesan Visnu
The Malaysian Insider
August 22, 2013

August 31, 1957 is a day we all fondly remember. We remember the image and voice of Tunku Abdul Rahman chanting the words “Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!Merdeka!” with the crowd joining in.

The word “Merdeka” remains meaningless after 56 years and average Malaysians are still in a dilemma with the meaning of “merdeka” or independence.

We live in a society where the identity of an individual is based on race and status. We are very fond of introducing ourselves as Malaysian Malay, Malaysian Chinese, Malaysian Indian, etc. In our daily conversation, we are very fond of using “The Chinese boy said….”, “India itu cakap….”, “That Malay makcik said…”, “Sabah and Sarawak people always like that….”, “Yang tu orang Kelantan” etc. We still live in a society where our identity is always based on race, status, state, dialect, etc.

In true essence, we have not achieved independence “state of mind” and we are still at where we have begun. We are not Malaysian, we are still a nation with multi-identities and multi-ideologies. The word “Malaysian” is an ideology or extension of political will to create a pseudo-identity of a nation built based on multi-races and multi-cultural. The word “Malaysian” remains an ideology and the true definition of the word remains undefined.

“Malaysian” means nothing much to any of us unless when we are supporting our football team, Lee Chong Wei or Nicol David. Our unity only happens during sporting events. After that we are back being what we are. “Malaysian” with multiple identities and ideologies. The identity ideology remains an integral part of our daily affairs. Read the rest of this entry »


Aren’t we proud of Merdeka Day?

Frankie D’Cruz
Mail Mail Online
August 21, 2013

AUG 21 — Ten days to Merdeka Day and Brand Malaysia has yet to be portrayed responsibly and sensibly. Is just asking people to fly the Jalur Gemilang enough to whip up energy on the streets and raise national happiness and patriotism?

Nothing so far has reflected the theme for the 56th Merdeka Day – ‘My Sovereign Malaysia: My Native Land’ – to remind the people the importance of uniting to defend the nation and creating awareness of love and affection.

Oops! Sorry, we had the waving of the Jalur Gemilang on Aug 16 in Sungai Petani that flagged off the Jalur Gemilang Expedition to all the states.

Double apologies, we also had the Merdeka Jalur Gemilang Aidilfitri expedition that involved visits and presentation of aid to the disabled and the needy during the month of Syawal.

So, why aren’t Malaysians singing the theme song and wearing this year’s winning Merdeka logo by Noor Hishammudin Omar on our garments?

Simple: The song has not been released yet and the logo must be in someone’s folder. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia next in crosshairs as Asian contagion risks grow

By Stuart Grudgings
Reuters | Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:08am IST

Aug 21 (Reuters) – Indebted, commodity-dependent Malaysia will be in investors’ crosshairs on Wednesday as heavy selling of Indonesia and India’s currencies threatens to spread to other Asian economies seen as most vulnerable to a withdrawal of U.S. monetary stimulus.

After Indonesia, where concerns over a gaping current account deficit sparked a stock market and currency rout this week, Malaysia and neighbouring Thailand are seen as the most vulnerable Southeast Asian markets to contagion effects.

“There is a lot of resemblance to prior crises like 1997-98. We have had two countries going down, India and Indonesia, and now you have got to start thinking about the third and fourth countries,” said Pradeep Mohinani, a Nomura credit analyst in Hong Kong.

“The likely candidates would be those with high fiscal deficits, slowing economies and high foreign ownership of government bonds. Thailand and Malaysia tick most of the boxes in that regard.”

Economists say that both those countries, as well as the fast-growing Philippines, are to some extent protected from major turmoil by their much stronger external balances compared with Indonesia and India.
Read the rest of this entry »


DAP gives Utusan Malaysia 48 hours to answer letter of demand

by Hasbullah Awang Chik
The Malaysian Insider
August 21, 2013

DAP national legal head Gobind Singh Deo has given Umno-controlled daily Utusan Malaysia 48 hours to respond to a letter of demand over two defamatory articles.

The two articles headlined “At last the drama has ended” and “Kit Siang manipulated CEC elections?”, were dated August 17 and 18.

The first article quoted the Equity Report said to be written by a Father Augustus Chen, while the other report was that DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang had manipulated the party polls last December.

“The article quoting the Equity Report had no verification. Editor Zulkifli Jalil and reporter Kasthuri Jeevendran as well as Utusan Malaysia, have to answer all the allegations,” Gobind said at the party’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur today.

DAP also wanted Utusan to reveal who was the real author of the booklet and has demanded for the apology within the stipulated time.

Gobind added that the Utusan editor and reporter should be clear about journalism ethics and should have verified allegations contained in the booklet before publishing the article. Read the rest of this entry »


When will regional and international magazines front-page Malaysia for being “lucky country” and for “low-crime”?

The cover stories of two international magazines in the past month should have given considerable food for thought for Malaysians to ponder as to what has happened to Malaysia, more than 100 days after the recent general elections and which is to celebrate our 56th National Day in eleven day’s time.

The first is the 20th July 2013 edition of The Economist “The Curious Case of the Fall in Crime”, reporting that “The rich world is seeing less and less crime, even in the face of high unemployment and economic stagnation”. Read the rest of this entry »


Apa lagi Mahathir mahu?

Mariam Mokhtar
Aug 19, 2013

If the third prime minister of Malaysia, Hussein Onn, had not nominated Mahathir Mohamad as his successor in 1981, the course of Malaysian history would have been very different.

Mahathir may have left office after 22 years in power, but today, he pops up like those annoying advertisements which appear, without warning, on your computer screen. Mahathir’s messages act in a similar way to some of those adverts; they can harm your computer with malware or other unwanted files, when they are “opened”. Perhaps, we need a spam-blocker that will work on Mahathir.

How will we ever learn from history, if we are prevented from examining what has gone badly wrong for this nation? Mahathir’s policies continue to divide the nation, but many Malays are under the illusion that he is their saviour. Sadly, after 56 years of independence, it is mostly non-Malays who are more Malaysian than the Malays.

Until we get a change in government, only one man can stop Mahathir’s deleterious effects on the nation – Najib Abdul Razak – but he either won’t or can’t bring himself to perform this saintly task. Such is the hold that Mahathir has over Najib.

Yesterday, Mahathir urged that MAS be privatised. His penchant for privatisation enables profitable companies to be annexed by his cronies or Umno Baru nominees. This practice has all but bankrupted the nation.

It is ironic that the man who once said that “Melayu mudah lupa”, should forget his role in handing the national airline carrier, on a golden platter to Tajudin Ramli. Few MAS employees will ever forget how the company’s performance plummeted with Tajudin at its helm. Read the rest of this entry »


In Borders case, common sense triumphs over bad faith

by Debra Chong
The Malay Mail Online
August 20, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 20 — In the face of Malaysia’s rising religious conservatism, a civil court judge has boldly ruled on reason and common sense to uphold a Muslim storekeeper’s constitutional right to sell a book Islam’s gatekeepers here found offensive.

The court case involving the local Borders’ sale of Canadian author Irshad Manji’s book “Allah, Liberty and Love” has been closely-watched since it hit national headlines last year after Islamic enforcement officials seized the stock and charged the store manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz with violating publication and distribution laws.

Five months after pronouncing the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (JAWI), the home minister and the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Islamic affairs guilty of abusing their powers to illegally prosecute the bookstore’s Muslim manager, Datuk Zaleha Yusof of the Kuala Lumpur High Court has finally released her grounds of judgment.

Though couched in the language of the court, the judge’s strongly-worded explanation kept to a strict interpretation of the law that has given hope to Malaysians that their civil liberties as laid down in the country’s founding document remain as robust as the day they were conceived half a century ago.

“I am satisfied that the applicants have shown existence of illegality, abuse of discretionary powers, irrationality, unreasonable exercise of power, unconstitutionally and that there exists procedural impropriety on the part of the respondents,” Zaleha wrote in her grounds of judgment released last week. Read the rest of this entry »


Can religious leaders still talk through issues anymore?

by Jennifer Gomez and Hasbullah Awang Chik
The Malaysian Insider
August 19, 2013

To the world, before these past few weeks, Malaysia has been a country that always at least claimed to be a model for moderate faith and prided itself on cherishing interfaith dialogue and shared space.

No one is making that claim anymore, at least no one from the top. No one there can.

Not when in the space of bare weeks, Malaysians have seen two high religious figures – one Buddhist, the other Catholic – have to issue apologies to mollify a madding crowd. Read the rest of this entry »


The role of public interest litigation

– Dr. R. Rueban Balasubramaniam
The Malaysian Insider
August 19, 2013

After the recent general election, Malaysian democrats have again been frustrated. Once more, the United Malay National Organization (“UMNO”) emerged victorious, though many believe this was the most fraudulent election in Malaysia’s political history. Now, democrats are redoubling their efforts to reveal such fraud and to seek electoral reform at least with an eye to winning the next election.

Democrats take solace in the fact that UMNO is on very vulnerable political terrain; it cannot compete fairly within upon a democratic playing field, but they should not just exert political pressure on UMNO. They can use another strategy: public interest litigation designed to embarrass UMNO’s ethnocratic political program, a program rooted in an authoritarian and discriminatory principle of Malay political dominance. Through such litigation, democrats can cast further doubt on UMNO’s claim to exercise legitimate political rule.

At present, Malaysia has no tradition of public interest litigation. This, despite the existence of a supreme written Constitution that contains a bill of rights and provisions that protect important group interests within a rubric of legal equality and provisions that express the principles of the separation of powers and federalism, which guard against the excessive concentration of power in any single organ of government. It is plain that the constitutional framework imposes legal discipline upon political power in a way that is hostile to authoritarian rule that is readily amenable to public interest litigation. Read the rest of this entry »


Lawyers instructed to institute legal proceedings against Utusan Malaysia for recycling the lies of booklet “The Equity Report (CEC Election Fraud)” of fictitious “Father Augustus Chen”

I have instructed my lawyers to institute legal proceedings against Utusan Malaysia for recycling the defamatory lies of the booklet “The Equity Report (CEC Election Fraud)” of fictitious “Father Augustus Chen”.

In a statement on August 5, 2013, I said:

  • “Father Augustus Chen” who authored the booklet alleging irregularities in the DAP Central Executive Committee (CEC) elections last December was “a total figment of imagination of the Umno/BN ‘war-room psy-war’ campaign against the DAP before and after the 13th General Elections”;

  • The allegations of DAP election irregularities by the fictitious “Father Augustus Chan” in his booklet is a regurgitation of the many lies and baseless allegations which had been published in some 400 anti-DAP reports and write-ups in UMNO/BN controlled media since January, particularly in Utusan Malaysia and New Straits Times;

  • The appearance of the booklet of lies by the fictitious “Father Augustus Chen” in July was to provide a semblance of justification for UMNO/BN and the Registrar of Societies (RoS) to act against the DAP, enabling Umno/BN leaders and Cabinet Ministers to quote the fictitious “Father Augustus Chen” as authority why action, such as invalidation of DAP CEC elections and even deregistration, should be taken against the DAP.

Read the rest of this entry »


DAP facing life-and-death struggle with the widening of the battleground and opening of a third phase of the UMNO/BN “DDD” campaign to demonise and destroy DAP

DAP is facing a life-and-death struggle with the widening of the battleground and opening of the third phase of the UMNO/BN “DDD” campaign to demonise and destroy the DAP.

In the past several months, the Umno/BN “DDD” – “Demonise/Destroy DAP” – battalions of propagandists and cybertroopers had launched two phases of assault on the DAP, viz:

Firstly, the outrageous and preposterous allegation of the non-existent DAP-financed “Red Bean Army” of 3,000 cybertroopers with a budget from RM100 million to RM1 billion in past six years to demonise and character-assassinate Umno/BN leaders; and

Secondly, the baseless and malicious campaign about electoral fraud in DAP Central Executive Committee (CEC) elections last December, culminating in the booklet of lies by the fictitious “Father Augustus Chen” making two major allegations, namely “753 delegates (mostly Indians)” not notified of the DAP Congress and “543 phantom delegates (mostly from Penang)”, when both are complete lies and falsehoods.

In the two phases of the “DDD” campaign, the battalions of Umno/BN propagandists and cybertroopers had concocted and recycled hundreds of lies and falsehoods against the DAP especially in the Umno/BN media Utusan Malaysia and New Straits Times. Read the rest of this entry »


Why MAS Share Is On Cheap Sale?

by Koon Yew Yin
16th Aug 2013

As a long term serious investor, I have a closer look at the cheap share price of MAS. Why is it selling at 33 sen. about one third of its par value?

Many market analysts have already covered MAS and Idris Jallal has said that the company should be sold off as soon as possible. My intention of writing this piece is to help the BN Government decide to put in the final nail to bury MAS to save tax payers’ money. Obviously the Government did not see my previous article “Why MAS Is Still Flying” which I published about a year ago. It is important and worthwhile to include some of the points I mentioned earlier in my previous article.

The latest 1st quarter 2013 ending March shows that MAS lost Rm 279 million. In 2012, 2011 and 2010 the company lost Rm 433 million, Rm 2.424 billion and Rm 234 million respectively.

As usual, there are the incorrigibly optimistic cheerleaders for the airline who are unable to see the writing on the wall. These ‘experts’ are still touting that the company is in recovery mode and will soon be returning to profitability.

The market however sees the prospects for the airline differently. During the past few days the airline share has been trading around 35 sen level. This is about the lowest share price that the airline share has recorded during the past many years. Without the support of government-linked funds and left to market forces alone, it is possible that the share price of MAS will drop even more. Read the rest of this entry »


The escalating religious intolerance must stop

– Lawyers for Liberty
The Malaysian Insider
August 16, 2013

Lawyers for Liberty views with extreme concern the escalating religious intolerance in Malaysia where in recent months, several minor incidents of perceived insult against Islam have been blown completely out of proportion by Umno leaders, their supporters and the mainstream media – leading to the arrest and remand of Maznah Yusof, known as Chetz, and Syed Ahmad (the resort owner), and in Alvivi’s case, criminal charges and denial of bail (which was later reversed after eight days in prison).

While religion especially Islam is a sensitive subject to most, this however must not detract from the fact that Malaysia is a multi-racial and multi-religious democratic state with established democratic norms including the Federal Constitution guaranteeing fundamental rights, rule of law, due process and other practises that mark Malaysia as a
modern and civilised state.

Religion like any other important issue cannot escape from being subjected to scrutiny, comment, satire and to the less eloquent, insult and condemnation.

The government and state institutions such as the police, Attorney-General’s Chambers and Jakim, instead of advocating harsh action, should take a more measured approach in diffusing this obvious attempt to pit Malay/Muslim against other ethnic group/religion and explain why Islam or any other religion should not be subjected to insults. Read the rest of this entry »


Today’s New Straits Times front-page report of lies about DAP CEC re-election signals a new phase of the DDD (Demonise/Destroy DAP) propaganda war with lies and falsehoods

The New Straits Times (NST) front-page report today on the DAP Central Executive Committee (CEC) re-election is a typical example of the mountain of DDD – “Demonise/Destroy DAP” – lies and falsehoods by Umno/Barisan Nasional media, culminating in the July appearance of the booklet of lies by the fictitious “Father Augustus Chen”, in the past seven months.

The lead paragraph of NST front-page report headlined “DAP finally agrees to hold fresh CEC polls” by S.K. Thanusha Devi reads:

“Kuala Lumpur: DAP yesterday conceded that it must hold fresh polls, after it was found to have disallowed 753 party members from attending its congress-cum-elections as delegates in December”.

This is not journalism but a downright blatant and bare-faced lie, for two reasons: Read the rest of this entry »


The general election surprise: younger Malays too went to Barisan

The Malaysian Insider
August 16, 2013

Here’s what was expected: Pakatan Rakyat (PR) comfortably won the battle for first-time and younger voters in Election 2013. Here’s what was not expected: Barisan Nasional (BN) snared more Malay votes in this category of voters.

Going into the elections, the general line was that PR would obtain the bulk of the first-time and young Malaysian vote because its focus on a range of issues, including corruption, would be attractive to younger voters.

Also, the Opposition had a stronger slate of young politicians like Rafizi Ramli, Nurul Izzah Anwar and Liew Chin Tong who found support among young Malaysians.

But Ibrahim Suffian of Merdeka Center sounded a note of caution for the opposition pact on this thinking. He noted that the majority of first-time Malay and young Malay voters gave their support to BN, suggesting that the Opposition has not done enough to convince young Malays that their future was secure with PAS, PKR and DAP.

And Ibrahim noted that this segment is only going to get larger in coming elections, due to the higher birth rate among Malays. Read the rest of this entry »