Archive for December, 2013

Despite rising Islamic conservatism, non-Muslim groups stick to peaceful engagement in Malaysia

The Malaysian Insider
by V Anbalagan
December 30, 2013

As 2013 draws to a close, Malaysia has seen its fair share of events with people who either inspire or bring despair to the country. It has been a year where some feel a sense of entitlement, that it is their way or the highway, that they have to make a name for themselves no matter what, and where the little people’s hopes have risen and have also been shattered. Yet, there are the few who do good work quietly to help their fellow man, to make Malaysia a better place. Over the next few days, The Malaysian Insider will feature some of them – Malaysia’s Inspiring People 2013 – the ordinary heroes who never cease to amaze us with their perseverance, diligence, empathy and vision for a happier nation.

Malaysia has been touted as a model of multi-racial and multi-religious harmony over the years under a coalition government that seeks consensus to prevent a recurrence of racial riots over 40 years ago.

Yet, in recent years, there has been a rise in Islamic conservatism, especially within the ruling government, putting pressure on non-Muslims in the Muslim-majority nation.

Despite that, the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) has taken it upon itself to champion the cause of about 40% cent of the 29 million population.

Their weapon of choice is peaceful engagement and communication, says council president Jagir Singh, despite the uphill battle to ensure religious freedom in the country. Read the rest of this entry »


Perutusan Tahun Baru 2014

Kita akan mengucapkan selamat tinggal kepada 2013 dengan dada yang lapang; dengan kesedaran bahawa pada setiap penghujung tahun adalah permulaan bagi hari-hari baru yang bakal menjelang. Kita harus sentiasa optimis bahawa segala yang terjadi sepanjang tahun lalu adalah batu-batu asas yang akan merintis jalan ke arah perubahan.

Perubahan itu sifatnya abadi. Setiap waktu, setiap hari; perubahan tidak berhenti. Tidak ada siapa yang mampu menahan perubahan daripada berlaku ketika ia datang tepat pada waktu.

2008 yang lalu Malaysia telah melihat tsunami politik yang begitu besar, dengan beberapa buah negeri berjaya ditadbir oleh koalisi politik parti-parti oposisi yang kini dikenali umum sebagai Pakatan Rakyat.

Lima tahun kemudian pada 2013, ombak perubahan politik yang lebih kuat terus membadai lantas berkesudahan dengan pertambahan kerusi Pakatan Rakyat di Parlimen, selain menafikan majoriti undi popular parti pemerintah.

Pasca 505, negara menyaksikan harapan dan impian baru yang selama ini jarang-jarang diyakini boleh tercapai. Meski pun harapan rakyat untuk melihat perubahan rejim tidak kesampaian, kita masih boleh merasakan kehendak rakyat yang semakin berkobar-kobar mahukan sebuah perubahan, dan tanggungjawab membawa perubahan ini haruslah digalas bersama. Read the rest of this entry »


When He’s Alone, What Does Najib Think About?

by Kee Thuan Chye
Yahoo! News

I wonder, when Najib Razak has his private moments, what does he think about?

Does he think about what a liability his wife, Rosmah Mansor, is turning out to be? About the bad press that has been mounting against her and her allegedly extravagant spending and her use of the government jet to go to Qatar? And now her son’s purchase of a RM110 million condo in New York City?

Lavishing that amount of money at a time when Malaysians are being compelled to pinch pennies is obscene. It also shows up the glaring contrast between the lifestyles of the ruling elite and those of the common people. While the ruling elite forces us to tighten our belts in the face of rising prices, its own family members appear to be having a whale of a time.

It may be claimed that Rosmah’s son, Riza Aziz, came to great wealth through his own talent and initiatives, like investing successfully in Hollywood movies such as The Wolf of Wall Street, and is therefore entitled to his enjoyment of luxuries, but the next question that begs to be asked is: Why, in the midst of the brain drain Malaysia is suffering, does he not come back instead to contribute his talent and wealth to developing his own country? And helping his stepfather to achieve the goal of making Malaysia a high-income nation? Read the rest of this entry »


Through my aging eyes – a gift from Rocket

By Dr Edwin Bosi, DAP ADUN for Kepayan

Samparita is famous for a wrong reason. The village is home to a teenage girl Norikoh Saliwa who was brutally murdered and dumped on the side of a road in Kota Marudu on 25th November 2012. How could I forget as her date of death is my date of birth? Norikoh who was only sweet sixteen was in town in search of a part time job in a furniture store. A Pakistani man is now charged with her murder and will soon know his fate when the case is up for mention in the High Court.

This is a high profile case because it involves a local girl and a foreigner. As DAP Secretary, I took the time to visit her parents and family at Kg Samparita to listen to their story (not just from the media), and also to convey our condolence and to hand over a little donation. Norikoh’s parents are down to earth simple folks, with a very simple house with basic necessity. She on the other hand had high hope to address this issue. She ventured and pursued her study in Kota Kinabalu and had a bright future for herself and to uplift her family from their present situation. Then the tragic accident happened and now we can only hope for justice to come her way. This is one murder case that must see the light of justice.

When DAP Malaysia mooted the program called “Impian Malaysia” and later extended to “Impian Sarawak” and “Impian Sabah”, I was a little taken aback when it was revealed that the first program of impian Sabah would be in Kg. Samparita Laut. The word “Samparita” rang a bell and that brought me back to the time my team and I visited Norikoh’s parents. When I got hold of the local newspaper upon returning from KL, I saw and read that her case will be up for mention in a few weeks time.
Read the rest of this entry »


BN/Umno government secret funding of Perkasa the most abominable government con-job in nation’s 56-year history

Two months ago, former Cabinet Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim urged the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to dissociate himself from the extremist, racist and Malay supremacist group Perkasa because of its “toxic ideas” and “warmongering”, warning that Europe made the same mistake in the Nazi era which had taken a world war to correct.

Zaid had blogged:

“Even if Perkasa has a prominent patron, the organisation should not be allowed to run amok. Its very existence is an embarrassment to the country, especially to the Malays. The issues this group champions are just plain ridiculous, and there is nothing in Perkasa’s struggle that merits serious consideration. It has continued to cause consternation and fear among both Malaysians and also potential investors, and the Prime Minister should categorically denounce Perkasa and its allies for its disruptive politics and warmongering. After all, there will be no General Election until 2017-2018.

“The Government cannot maintain a cavalier attitude towards Perkasa, hoping that its toxic ideas will disappear and have no effect. Europe made the same mistake in the Nazi era and it took a World War to correct it.”

But truth is stranger than fiction. Who would have imagined that in actual fact, while Najib was strutting the international stage to launch his “Global Movement of Moderates” and present himself as a model for moderates in the world to emulate, his government was funding Perkasa to carry out its extremist, intolerant, racist, religious and seditious campaign including attacking Najib’s own signature policy of moderate and inclusive 1Malaysia.

The Umno/Barisan Nasional government secret funding of Perkasa in the past four years must rank as the most abominable government con-job in the nation’s 56-year history which stinks to high heavens and must be condemned and deplored by all decent, reasonable and patriotic Malaysians.

I have ten questions for Najib, the Ministers and leaders of Umno/Barisan Nasional with regard to this “most abominable government con-job in the nation’s 56-year history”, viz: Read the rest of this entry »


Umno’s caveman politics

– Sakmongkol AK47
The Malaysian Insider
December 30, 2013

The donkeys in Umno are coming out braying. Here and there, they were elected as leaders. The most fundamental building block of excellence – demanding and insisting upon excellence, is totally absent from Umno’s selection criteria.

And so, Umno Malays have a voracious appetite for dullards and dolts as leaders. Despite that, its paramount leader still talks senselessly about transformation. Does that drop from the sky or what?

In that sense, Malays have not progressed at all – in the olden days, the musclemen and strongmen get to become leaders. These people get to lay first claim on sources of wealth, land, women, other people’s wives and so forth. Today, in the 21st century, Umno want Malays to stay mute as democratic rights get assaulted because they are done in the name and on behalf of Malays.

All right-thinking Malays must resist this and reject Umno-style rule, because it will eventually lead to acquiescence and acceptance of intrusion into our lives. One day, it will be all right if the Umno overlord comes into our house, sleep with our daughters and even wives, and we are asked to tolerate that kind of repression because it’s done by one of us anyway.

The Malay family will be told to accept that cruelty and abuse, because it is done by another Malay. That is how Umno define government as. Read the rest of this entry »


Let parents have bigger say in tweaking our half-century old education policy

— BH Toh
The Malay Mail Online
December 29, 2013

DEC 29 — More than fifty years ago, Malaya achieved independence through cooperation among the various races. Native Malays formed the biggest ethnic group. Besides many other smaller indigenous groups, the Chinese and Indians were the second and third largest racial group at time.

Given the highly complex and diverse racial mix with each group speaking mainly their own respective mother tongues without a common language, our leaders at that time must have, after careful and cautious considerations, prudently decided that it is best to accommodate the mother-tongue language demands of the larger racial groups. Chinese and Indian vernacular schools were allowed to continue alongside mainstream schools that were mostly English medium ones legacy of the British era.

Eventually, all those English medium schools became Sekolah Kebangsaan, using our National Language as the main medium of instruction. While these vernacular schools struggled along at times, they managed to survive and some are actually doing quite well today in terms of enrolment. Read the rest of this entry »


Ini Kali Lah! Press for Freedom!

By Kee Thuan Chye

The public forum ‘Bebaskan Media/Free the Media’, organised by Gerakan Media Marah (Geramm) and held in Kuala Lumpur last Friday, packed a full house and signified something positive – the coming together of journalists to speak up for media freedom. What is now needed from this talk is an action plan.

It seems to me that the crux of any action to be taken would be to fight for the repeal of the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA). And the time to take action would be now, amidst the white heat generated by the Home Ministry’s suspension of the news weekly The Heat, under the provisions of that Act.

This suspension is, however, done without good reason, and has thus provided journalists with a just cause. For The Heat has indeed broken no laws to deserve such punishment. And as such, journalists must show up the ministry’s whimsical use of power and expose the insidious implications of the PPPA, and strive once and for all to break the Government’s tyranny over the media.

To do so, however, they must be united. And the fight must involve journalists from the print media as well as they are the ones directly affected by the PPPA. Not only that, these journalists should hail from publications of all the main language streams.

Unfortunately, their presence was sorely missed at Friday’s forum. Of the six speakers, none was a print journalist. Three of them came from the online media, which is not subservient to the PPPA. In fact, the online media is free from censorship, thanks to a promise made by the Government years ago that it would not censor the Internet. Read the rest of this entry »


Farewell To 2013

by Teck Ying & Allan Goh

As we sing the Olde Lang Syne,
To history this year consign,
We thank fate, and Almighty,
For surviving our frailty.
To all friends and relatives,
A ‘Thank You’ superlative!
Forgive us our short-coming,
And uncalled for transgressing. Read the rest of this entry »


Cat out of the bag – Perkasa is the unofficial 14th member of the Barisan Nasional coalition with greater heft and more influence than “7-11” MCA and the other 12 BN component parties combined

The cat is out of the bag. The extremist and racist Perkasa is the unofficial 14th member of the Barisan Nasional coalition with greater heft and more influence than “7-11” MCA and the other 12 BN component parties combined.

We must thank the Perkasa President Ibrahim Ali for his hubris at the annual general meeting of Perkasa a week ago getting much too big for his shoes for this expose of this top Umno/BN secret for the past four years.

Clearly relishing the idea of being Prime Minister of Malaysia one day, Ibrahim toyed with the possibility of a political “reverse take-over” when he offered Perkasa as an alternative to UMNO, asserting that Perkasa is the “most structured political party in the country with 500,000 members”.

Claiming that Umno and BN will not be able to win in the recent general elections without Perkasa’s assistance, particularly in Perak and Kedah, Ibrahim said that although Perkasa supported BN during the last general election it is not guaranteed who it would side with in the future.

This prompted the riposte by UMNO veteran, former Minister and Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar and currently Felda Chairman Mohd Isa Abdul Samad who asked: “We protected Perkasa and it received plenty of benefits from us. How will it replace us?” Read the rest of this entry »


Stop harassing Rafizi – Malaysian Police should conduct itself as a mature, efficient, professional and world-class police force fully mindful of its primary task of “democratic policing” and liberated from the obsession of “upholding the regime” to oppose democratic change at all costs

The Malaysian Police force has presented a sorry spectacle of itself recently, undermining its professional image as an independent, efficient and world-class police force, but what is worse, tarnishing the international image of Malaysia by trumpeting to the world as if Malaysia has become a “basket case country” on the verge of political and economic collapse.

And the person who led the charge to undermine the professional image of the police and the international image of the country is none other than the country’s No. 1 policeman, the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, who shocked the country and the world with the wild and reckless “fairy tale” two weeks ago of a plot to “topple the government” on New Year’s eve.

Neither the IGP nor the police force have been be able to produce any evidence of a “topple government” plot on New Year’s eve, as Khalid was only acting on a “hunch” or brainwave (planted or inspired by Umno conspirators), and I cannot think of a more “anti-national” act than this to end 2013.

Yesterday, the Kuala Lumpur deputy police chief Datuk Amar Singh Ishar Singh said that the police had received 588 reports nationwide in protest against the New Year’s eve rally to “bring down the government”, alleging that four NGOs were out to “create chaos” in Dataran Merdeka and would be bringing various weapons, including grenades and gas mark to stir up a commotion.

My first reaction to the 588 police reports (probably the 600 mark would be crossed by now) is the amount of wasted national energies provoked by the IGP’s “fairy tale” plot to topple the government – or was this the whole intention of the IGP in the first place?

Are there no better, more useful and productive things for Malaysians to do than to lodge 588, or over 600, police reports on a “fairy tale” plot? No wonder Malaysia is losing her competitiveness in the global marketplace. Read the rest of this entry »


Religious without religion

– Muhammad As’ad
The Malaysian Insider
December 28, 2013

To be a religious believer we have to follow certain strict rules which cannot be violated. For instance as Muslims we believe that Allah is the only God and the Prophet Muhammad is His messenger; we must regularly observe the five daily prayers, zakat, fasting during the month of Ramadhan, and the haj at least once in a lifetime — all these are the five pillars of Islam. As Muslims, we cannot evade those five pillars except for some specific exceptions.

Another important step is to make religion a part of our life. The number of Muslims in this country is remarkable. How can we say that we are not religious?

However, Transparency International’s 2012 Corruption Perception Index showed that Indonesia was ranked 118 out of 176 countries; worse than in 2011 when Indonesia was ranked 100. The Indonesia Ulama Council (MUI) even issued an edict in 2000, stating that bribery, corruption and gratification are forbidden.

Nonetheless, these rules fail to deter corruption. For instance, the treasurer of MUI, Chairunnisa, who is also a lawmaker of the Golkar party, was arrested by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) along with the former Constitutional Court chief Akil Mochtar. We probably have religious piety but we certainly do not have social piety.

In terms of religiosity, we are quite remarkable. We can see many Indonesian people celebrating religious activities, rituals and commemorations. Nevertheless, this religiosity does not seem to influence our life. Read the rest of this entry »


Gov’t’s history of silencing media on ‘technicalities’

Nigel Aw
Dec 28, 2013

Media activists have poured cold water on the Home Ministry’s explanation that news weekly The Heat’s suspension was due to its failure to comply with technical provisions under its publishing permit.

At a forum in Kuala Lumpur last night to show solidarity with The Heat, Malaysiakini chief editor Fathi Aris Omar bluntly called the explanation “bulls**t”.

Fathi pointed out that the government has had a history of indefinitely suspending publications on technical grounds when upset with their contents. Read the rest of this entry »


After The Heat freeze, Malaysian Bar calls for PPPA repeal

By Boo Su-Lyn
The Malay Mail Online
December 28, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 28 — The Malaysian Bar urged Putrajaya today to abolish the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) 1984 and to establish a Media Council instead, amid an indefinite suspension of The Heat weekly.

Malaysian Bar president Christopher Leong criticised the recent suspension of The Heat that was ordered shortly after the paper reported on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s “big spending” nature in its November 23 to 29 issue, calling it an “unwarranted attack” on press freedom, as well as on freedom of speech and expression.

“Action against The Heat is merely the latest event in a long list of state actions to suppress the press,” Leong said in a statement today.

“Other instances include incidents during which the minister of home affairs harassed a Malaysiakini journalist who was asking him questions, and threatened to shut down newspapers that reported his speech in Malacca the following day; and the physical assault and abuse of media professionals by the police during the Bersih 3.0 public assembly in Kuala Lumpur on April 28, 2012,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »


Muhyiddin’s Malaysian Education Blueprint knocked out of kilter by the adverse 2011 TIMSS and 2012 PISA results and needs to be revised and downwards

Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, must break his month-long “inelegant silence” on the Malaysia’s deteriorating educational standards and state whether he supports the convening of an emergency Parliament in January to debate the national education crisis and the formation of an Opposition-headed Parliamentary Select Committee on Education to provide direct and constant parliamentary oversight over educational policies and measures in the country.

These two initiatives are urgent and imperative as Muhyiddin’s Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 to spearhead educational transformation in the next 13 years have proven to be unrealistic, impractical and Utopian – overtaken by the adverse results of Malaysian students in the 2011 TIMSS (Trends in International Maths and Science Study) and 2012 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment).

The MEB was formulated to deal with the adverse performance of Malaysian students in the quadrennial 2007 TIMSS and triennial 2009 PISA, resulting in the policy statement that the 13-year MEB will catapult Malaysia in a triple “hop-step-jump” from the bottom-third to the top-third of PISA and TIMSS systems by the turn of the next decade, viz: Read the rest of this entry »


Right about Islam, Christianity’s common ground, but who seeks to keep Allah exclusive?

December 26, 2013

Faith in Malaysia has become a trickier issue in the past few years, first with the authorities insisting that the word Allah is exclusive to Muslims, and finally that Muslims must be Sunni, and not Shia.

The preoccupation with faith and the policing of it is perplexing to say the least when it has never been a bone of contention for the most part of the country’s independence. If anything, the economy and the salaryman’s pay packet has always been a greater issue. Read the rest of this entry »


Ministers and police chiefs have done a great disservice to the nation trumpeting to the world about a “fairy tale” plot on New Year’s eve to “topple the government” as if Malaysia is a “basket case country” on the verge of political and economic collapse

Cabinet Ministers and police chiefs have done a great disservice to the nation in the past ten days trumpeting to the world about a “fairy tale” plot on New Year’s eve to “topple the government” as if Malaysia is a “basket case country” on the verge of political and economic collapse at any moment.

The whole “topple government” caper was started by of all persons the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar who should have shown greater professionalism and gravitas instead of shocking the country ten days ago with the flighty announcement that a planned gathering on New Year’s eve at Dataran Merdeka to “topple government” was “a national threat”, vowing action under the Penal Code and SOSMA – Security Offences (Special Measures) Act – and threatening that any person guilty of the offence of activity detrimental to parliamentary democracy can be jailed for a maximum of 15 years.

Even Cabinet Ministers like the Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek got into the act to present to the world the spectacle of Malaysia as a “basket case country”, although warning that the December 31 rally is “to divert the people’s attention from the lies spread by the opposition after failing to capture Putrajaya in the May 5 general election”.

Pakatan Rakyat parties of PKR, PAS and DAP are even accused by UMNO mass media and cybertroopers of masterminding the New Year’s eve “plot” to topple the Najib government. Read the rest of this entry »


Agenda Lebuhraya PLUS: DAP sudah dedah sejak 1987


KUALA LUMPUR, 26 DISEMBER: Perjanjian kotor kerajaan demi mengkayakan kroni dalam pemberian kontrak projek Lebuhraya Utara Selatan (PLUS) 26 tahun lalu akhirnya terbukti menyusahkan rakyat.

Dalam risalah bertajuk ‘Skandal Lebuhraya Utara Selatan’ terbitan 1987, Ketua Parlimen DAP, Lim Kit Siang pernah mendedahkan kemungkaran UMNO yang dilihat mempunyai kepentingan kepada saham konsesi lebuhraya itu, namun sehingga kini masih diam membisu.

Antara yang dipertikaikan beliau adalah peranan syarikat pelaburan UMNO iaitu Hati Budi Sdn Bhd yang menguasai United Engineers Malaysia (UEM) Bhd.

Hati Budi ketika itu dikaitkan dengan pimpinan tertinggi kerajaan iaitu Tun Daim Zainuddin (Menteri Kewangan ketika itu) dan Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

UEM merupakan syarikat utama mendapat kontrak pembinaan PLUS dengan tempoh konsesi daripada 1987-2017 yang akan mengutip tol berjumlah RM54 bilion dalam tempoh 30 tahun.
Read the rest of this entry »


Najib should intervene immediately to restore publication licence to The Heat before it becomes the tipping point to plunge Malaysia’s 2014 Press Freedom Index to the lowest point, even below that of Myanmar

Before the end of the year of 2013 in five days’ time, there is another pledge that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should honour – his pledge to make Malaysia the “best democracy in the world”.

Nobody whether in Malaysia or outside really believe Najib would transform Malaysia into the “best democracy in the world” but the least they expect Najib to do is not to backslide on his specific promise of democratic reforms.

The suspension of the weekly, The Heat, would be one such unacceptable instance of Najib reneging on his specific promise of democratic reforms to unshackle the press from authoritarian restrictions of the Mahathirish past.

In fact, Najib should be moving forward to repeal the Printing Presses and Publications Act altogether to remove the requirement for the licensing of publications.

The Home Ministry has claimed that Najib is not behind the suspension of The Heat and that the suspension is not related to the report in the weekly titled “All eyes on big spending PM Najib” published for the week of November 23-29.
Read the rest of this entry »


Najib – Time to prove he is a moderate by deed and conviction not a political chameleon who alternates between moderation and immoderation in his speeches depending on the crowd and occasion

The speeches by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday – one delivered by him at the national-level Christmas Open House in Penang and the other read out for him in Kuala Lumpur by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Paul Low, at the Christian Federation of Malaysia’s Christmas Hi-Tea – should have been received in elation by all reasonable and moderate Malaysians but this time, they failed to evoke such a response.

Why? Is it because men and women of reason and moderationn in Malaysia have become extremists rejecting the sentiments of moderation, harmony and co-existence preached by Najib in his two Christmas speeches yesterday?

This cannot be so and it is not so.

In his address at the National Christmas Open House celebration in Penang, Najib said both Christianity and Islam have common roots and are Abrahamic religions.

He noted that the Muslims may not be able to accept the Christian interpretation on the concept of God and vice versa for the Christians.

“So, rather than choosing this path of fighting over these differences, it is better that we find a common ground to preserve the peace, harmony and stability of the country.”
Read the rest of this entry »