Archive for September 16th, 2013

Former foes hold no grudges against Chin Peng, they want to move on

by Eileen Ng and Diyana Ibrahim
The Malaysian Insider
September 16, 2013

Two former policemen who fought Chin Peng and his communist troops have called on the public to move on, with one saying that he was sad over the death of a “friend”.

Former Special Branch deputy director Tan Sri Yuen Yuet Leng who led the fight against the communists, said he has come to terms with the Malayan Emergency and considers Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) leader Chin Peng a friend.

“I lost a friend, an enemy who became a friend. Rest in peace my friend,” said Yuen.

After the signing of the 1989 Peace Accord in Haadyai, Thailand, between CPM leaders and government officials representing Malaysia and Thailand, both Yuen and Chin Peng were seen talking and joking with each other, surprising those who were present.

One of them asked Yuen, “Don’t you have resentment against this man?” – referring to the feared Communist leader.

“I turned to Chin Peng and asked him whether he wanted to answer the question. He said no and asked me to answer instead.

“I said: we tried to kill each other (previously) but today, we are alive and in Haadyai, so where’s the resentment?” he told The Malaysian Insider in a telephone interview today.

Yuen said there were no hard feelings between them as each was working for the people in their own way. Read the rest of this entry »


Hari Malaysia

Video by Pete Teo


In Malaysia, Sarawakians look for a fairer deal

by Desmond Davidson
The Malaysian Insider
September 14, 2013

Only three years ago and 47 years after the formation of Malaysia did the 2.4 million people of Sarawak, together with those in Sabah and the peninsula, mark the birth of the country on a national scale.

This year will be the fourth such celebration. But how do Sarawakians feel about what should arguably be the country’s most important national event?

“There’s something lacking. I’ve never felt the spirit of Malaysia Day,” was 50-year-old paraplegic Josh John’s reply to The Malaysian Insider in Sarawak’s capital city, Kuching.

To this former accountant, who lives in the city’s Batu Kawa suburb, every Malaysia Day is “just another holiday”.

John (pic) attributed the lack of feeling for Malaysia Day to the government’s failure to emphasise how important it is.

“To this day, the government still places emphasis on the importance of Malaya’s independence from the British rather than the historically more significant event – the birth of the country.

“So what do I think of Malaysia Day? Not much,” said the father of one, who became wheelchair bound after suffering a viral attack to his spinal column that left him paralysed 17 years ago.

Violet Yong, a DAP assemblywoman, also cannot understand why Hari Merdeka continues to be more important than Malaysia Day.

“Why is August 31, the Malaya independence day and which has nothing to do with Sabah and Sarawak, an event still more important than Malaysia Day?” she asked.

“The emphasis should be on September 16 rather than August 31,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia at 50 : Inclusive development, nation-building and human rights

– Simon Sipaun
The Malaysian Insider
September 15, 2013

In two days’ time on 16th September, 2013 Malaysia will turn 50 years old. For a country, 50 years of age is very young, although it is old for a human being. It does make me feel my age to realise that I am 25 years older than Malaysia.

I have reached the age described by George Burns as the time “where everything hurts, what does not hurt does not work”. The reality is “today is the oldest we have ever been, yet the youngest we will ever be”.

The theme of this RTD is Malaysia 50 years since formation: Inclusive development, nation-building and human rights. Indeed it is a very wide subject. It is a three-in-one. The three are closely inter-related.

Recognising Malaysia Day

In 2007, I used to see billboards at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport with the slogan “celebrating 50 years of nationhood” written on them. Of course, the truth is in 2007, Malaysia was only 44 years old. This is a classic case in which history is the distortion of facts by people in power.

I used to point this out at the slightest opportunity in the past but it felt like it was just a voice in the wilderness. I had the impression that the federal government was trying to make the people, especially Malaysians living in Sabah, believe that the formation of Malaysia was on 31st August, 1957. Read the rest of this entry »


Has Najib finally abandoned the New Economic Model (NEM)?

One question for the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak following his announcement of the Bumiputera Economic Empowerment Agenda on Saturday is whether he has finally abandoned the New Economic Model (NEM) which he announced three years ago on 30th March 2010.

The NEM admitted that “the excessive focus on ethnicity-based distribution of resources has contributed to growing separateness and dissension”.

NEM stated in Chapter 6 (p. 117):

“Existing affirmative action programme and institutions will continue in NEM but, in line with views of the main stakeholders, will be revamped to remove the rent seeking and market distorting features which have blemished the effectiveness of the programme. Affirmative action will consider all ethnic groups fairly and equally as long as they are in the low income 40% of the households. Affirmative action action programmes would be based on market-friendly and market-based criteria together taking into consideration the need and merits of the applicants. An Equal Opportunities Commission will be established to ensure fairness and address undue discrimination when occasional abuses by dominant groups are encountered.”

Because of opposition from racist and chauvinists, Najib had abandoned the idea of an Equal Opportunities Commission.

Has he now abandoned the entire NEM with regard to a needs-and-merit based transformation of the affirmative programme, to promote building of capacity and capability, focusing on the low income 40% of the households? Read the rest of this entry »


Relive history – with a modern twist

by Chester Chin
September 15, 2013

PETALING JAYA: For the first time, Malaysians will see clear video footage of the late Tunku Abdul Rahman when he declared the country’s independence.

Not only that, local celebrities and politicians like Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Nurul Izzah Anwar, Lim Kit Siang, Datuk Seri Nazir Razak, Datin Sofia Jane and Datuk David Arumugum could also be seen in the crowd at Merdeka Stadium in other footages.

The footage is just some of the many old clips from the 1950s and 1960s restored and doctored by local filmmaker Pete Teo and his team over a span of five months.

These clips will be featured in Teo’s latest Hari Malaysia music video which will premiere at midnight both on and YouTube.

“Previously, you would not be able to see Tunku’s face in the footage.

“However, we have restored the footage to give Malaysians a clearer picture of the moment,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »


Najib’s New NEP: Step Forwards or Backwards

by Koon Yew Yin

42 years after the New Economic Policy (NEP) was launched by his father, Tun Abduk Razak, Prime Minister Najib Razak has now followed in his father’s footsteps with a new national policy specially aimed at enhancing Malay participation and control of the economy and which is expected to run into the year 2020.

There are many reasons to fear the worst from this new national policy. Firstly unlike the NEP which was initiated following the racial riots of May 1969, this policy is clearly linked to Najib’s fear of losing his position as president of UMNO in the coming UMNO general assembly elections. Najib has also made references to the fact that the new policy is to reward the Malay voters who supported UMNO during the last elections but this appears less strong a reason than his own survival as UMNO leader.

Secondly, unlike the NEP which was at least endorsed by a larger multi-racial grouping in the form of the National Operations Council, the main catalyst for the so-called Bumiputra empowerment policy has come from Malay pressure groups such as the Malay Economic Action Council (MTEM), Perkasa, right wing Malay media and bloggers and their god father, Dr. Mahathir. In fact the MTEM has claimed the credit for the new policy. Completely side-lined even though the nation is not under emergency rule has been the cabinet as well as Parliament.

The apparent failure of the ruling BN coalition of parties to even be minimally consulted on the new policy speaks volumes of how much respect Najib has for his non-UMNO BN colleagues and for the principles of parliamentary democracy. It also shows that Najib – despite all the rhetoric of 1Malaysia and the inclusive scope of the New Economic Model – is prepared to sacrifice the interest of the non-Bumiputra component of the country’s population to secure his own and UMNO’s Malay interest. Read the rest of this entry »