Archive for January 15th, 2014

What’s next with Dr M’s fans baying for Najib’s head to roll

January 15, 2014

Nostalgia for better times has dominated this week with one Umno veteran openly calling for Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to return to helm the country while the prime minister’s brother harked back to the integrity of their own prime minister father.

But the better times was when Umno was dominant and the Internal Security Act (ISA) was used to silence dissent, something which Tan Sri Zainuddin Maidin alluded to when calling for Dr Mahathir’s return to lead the nation.

He is the latest Mahathirist to say the obvious in not so many words that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak must step down.

Several bloggers aligned to Dr Mahathir have called for the same in the weeks after the last Umno elections where Najib’s camp won handsomely.

These were among the same people who also agitated against Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who resigned as prime minister and Umno president in April 2009, a year after the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) suffered historic losses in the 2008 elections. Read the rest of this entry »


Between God and Allah

Wall Street Journal
Jan 14, 2014

Malaysia tries to stop Christians using the Bahasa word for God.

For nearly 200 years non-Muslim residents of present-day Malaysia used the Arabic and Bahasa word “Allah” to refer to God. Seven years ago, the government began an unnecessary and provocative push to ban them from doing so in print. Now Malaysian police are accusing a Catholic priest of sedition after he announced that churches in the state of Selangor would continue using the A word in their local-language services.

At the heart of the dispute is prominent Catholic priest Lawrence Andrew. In 2007, Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar banned Father Lawrence Andrew’s church newspaper from printing “Allah.” Father Andrew fought the ban in the courts and eventually lost in the Court of Appeal last October. In November, the sultan of Selangor took the campaign a step further and extended the ban to Bahasa-language Bibles and churches. Now Father Andrew is being investigated for violating the edict under the draconian Sedition Act. Read the rest of this entry »


In Nazir’s paean to dad, a call to action for all Malaysians

January 14, 2014

It happens all the time. Whenever someone writes or talks about the golden generation of Malaysian leaders, it is a bittersweet experience for citizens of this blessed country.

There is pride that individuals such as Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Tan Siew Sin, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman once charted the fortunes of Malaysia.

And there is deep longing for such men of integrity, principle and fairness.

Yet, there is also numbing sadness that such men no longer exists in government, replaced long time ago by inept individuals with a ravenous appetite for self.

Make no mistake, Razak and friends were flawed men, at times drive by political interests of their parties. But they loved this land above everything else. Above enriching their family members. Above nurturing crony capitalism. Read the rest of this entry »


Call for bi-partisan support in March/April Parliament for a RCI into RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal or Malaysia will be international laughing stock as “land of mega-scandals without criminals”

Anyone game for a bet – whether the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) “mother of all scandals” had ever been raised or discussed at the Cabinet meeting today?

I am not privy to what happened in Cabinet today or any other information covered by the Official Secrets Act (OSA) but I would not hesitate betting that the subject of PKFZ scandal never cropped up in today’s Cabinet meeting – although two days ago, a second former Cabinet Minister Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy walked free from High Court when the Attorney-General withdrew all charges against him in connection with the PKFZ scandal.

The acquittal of Chan, following the acquittal last October of Chan’s predecessor as former Transport Minister Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik of three charges of cheating the government in relation to the PKFZ scandal, should be urgent and weighty subjects for today’s Cabinet meeting – that is if the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is serious about the wanting to make corruption part of Malaysia’s past not its future, or the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department on governance and integrity, Datuk Paul Low is making a difference in Cabinet and government not just a cipher and the post-13GE Najib Cabinet is a Transformation Cabinet with anti-corruption as one of its top priority agendas and not the worst “half-past six Cabinet” in history.

I would imagine that the Cabinet Ministers and the top Umno/Barisan Nasional leaders must have sighed with relief at the double acquittal of the two former Transport Ministers marking their success to keep the “mother of all scandals” under wraps and the last thing anyone of them wants to do is to “stir the hornets’ nest” and give the demands for accountability a fresh lease of life. Read the rest of this entry »


Who is the leader?

By Wan Saiful Wan Jan
Free Malaysia Today
January 15, 2014

How is it that Umno, a party that has been in power for so long, has suddenly become subservient to these relatively young entities?


Even if you disagree with groups like Perkasa and Isma, I think they really deserve an applause. These two groups have been very effective in their campaigns, to the extent that they cannot be simply dismissed in today’s public discourse.

Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa was set up by Ibrahim Ali soon after the 2008 general election. I don’t think I need to explain who Perkasa is because many readers already know them. Their campaign is centred around defending the rights of the ethnic Malays.

Isma stands for Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia. Those who are familiar with the history of Muslim groups in Malaysia will know that, up to a few yeas ago, the rivalry between the various Malaysian Muslim groups was fierce. And, the contested history is that Isma started off as a splinter from another group, the Jamaah Islah Malaysia (now known as Ikram).

It will take too long to explain the long and convoluted history of Isma properly. But suffice to say that Isma is one of the many Muslim groups that exist in Malaysia today that was inspired by another global movement called the Muslim Brotherhood.

The backgrounds of these two organisations are rather different. But, if we look at their work, they have become potent pressure groups in Malaysia today. Read the rest of this entry »


#BBCtrending: Be careful what you say about spinach

BBC Trending
What’s popular and why
14 January 2014

Hundreds of joke images are being shared on social media in Malaysia

Malaysia’s prime minister is being widely lampooned on social media for a comment he made about the price of kangkung, or water spinach.

Food is a faux pas minefield for politicians, especially when it’s perceived as being used in a get-down-with-the-people kind of way – think of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s pasty moment or Chancellor George Osborne’s “posh burger” tweet. The almost inevitable response seems to be ridicule. That’s where the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak finds himself right now. With the government under fire because of price hikes in basics like fuel and electricity, he choose to push back by highlighting a reduction in the cost of the leafy green vegetable kangkung. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia’s kangkung index

– Sakmongkol AK47
The Malaysian Insider
January 15, 2014

Ungku Aziz had his sarong index. To those not old enough to remember, Ungku Aziz was once the vice-chancellor of Universiti Malaya and is the father of the present governor of Bank Negara. He has always been a keen social and political observer and his views can be rapier sharp as they are acerbic. To the establishment that is.

On the recent Kagkung-gate faux pas committed by an insensitive PM, Ungku Aziz penned down the following verses:

Pucuknya angkuh memanjat bukit,
tak sedar akar terendam air parit,
rakyat mengeluh lelah dan sakit,
sedikit diberi banyak diungkit..

Pucuknya angkuh memanjat bukit,
Tak sedar akar diair parit,
Bagaikan melepas anjing tersepit,
Dah jadi pemimpin , rakyat digigit.

When researching into the issue of poverty, Ungku Aziz came up with sarong index – a measure of the level of poverty. The level of poverty can be measured by the number of sarongs a person has. When Ungku Aziz did his poverty study in Kuala Kemaman many years ago, many people there had only one sarong. People were very poor. Read the rest of this entry »


The ‘Allah’ Issue in Perspective – Part 2

By Kee Thuan Chye
14 Jan 2014

Yesterday, I looked at the ‘Allah’ issue from the time it started to what it has become today, and how we are now trapped in a web of confusion spun from diverse interpretations of the Court of Appeal’s decision on the use of the word ‘Allah’ by The Herald, as well as the “one-policy, two-countries” implication arising from Prime Minister Najib Razak’s 10-point solution.

In the midst of such confusion, how do we judge who is right – those who claim that ‘Allah’ is exclusive to Muslims or those who insist that it is their constitutional right to practise their religion the way they have been doing it for ages, including referring to God as ‘Allah’?

How do we deal with the rising fervour on both sides, Muslim and Christian, as they seek to defend what they think is right? With Father Lawrence Andrew, the editor of The Herald, who said on December 27 that Christians would continue to use ‘Allah’ in all Selangor churches, and with the Solidariti Umat Islam Klang members who protested in public against his statement?

How do we deal with Perak Mufti Harussani Zakaria’s demand for the arrest of the Malays who turned up at a church in Klang to show solidarity with Christians? Read the rest of this entry »


The ‘Allah’ Issue in Perspectiv​e — Part 1

By Kee Thuan Chye
Jan 13 2014

As the ‘Allah’ issue rages on, particularly after the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) raided the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) and seized 300-plus copies of the Bible in Malay and Iban on January 2, let’s take a moment and look at it in perspective.

How did it start?

Not, as falsely claimed by former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, because Malaysia has become more liberal and Malaysians are testing the limits of their “new-found freedom”. Not, as he says, because some groups “purposely come up with something to annoy people” or that they want to run down other religions.

That is the usual kind of poppycock for which he has of late been fond of spinning.

The whole mess started in 2009 with Syed Hamid Albar, who was home minister then, banning the Catholic weekly The Herald from using the word ‘Allah’ in its Bahasa Malaysia section. Prior to that, there had been no issue. Christians in Sabah and Sarawak had been using it for ages, long before they joined the Federation of Malaysia. No one had raised a hue and cry. Read the rest of this entry »