Archive for October 25th, 2014

The day-and-night difference in anti-corruption efforts between Malaysia and Indonesia

The past month has continued to provide mounting evidence of the day-and-night difference in anti-corruption efforts between Malaysia and Indonesia, which should raise the red flag that it is a matter of time before Malaysia will be regarded internationally as lagging behind Indonesia in fighting corruption.

This is best illustrated by the contrasting headlines on anti-corruption in the two countries in the past month.

For instance, one of the most electrifying news on the anti-corruption front in Malaysia was the headline last month: “8 officers face 28 fresh charges in Customs bribery case” but this paled into insignificance when compared with the following headline on the fight against corruption in Indonesia a week earlier: “Ex-leader of Indonesia’s ruling party gets 8 years in jail for corruption, money laundering”

But what gives the feeling of the night-and-day difference in anti-corruption efforts between the two countries are the headlines in Indonesian newspapers on Wednesday like “Jokowi to replace eight prospective ministerial candidates following KPK`s recommendation”, following the KPK (Corruption Eradication Commission)’s recommendation that the eight prospective Cabinet Ministers are “high risk” of being named graft suspects, and those yesterday like “Indonesia president submits new cabinet list” to KPK and “Eight new ministerial candidates still under KPK consideration: Jokowi”.

The gloom felt by Malaysians at the puny anti-corruption efforts are not relieved when they are inundated with disastrous, ambivalent or downright inane news headlines like “Malaysia one of the most corrupt nations, survey shows” (Sept. 27), “No plan to boost law to probe into ‘high-living’ civil servants” (Oct.8) and “Top cop looks to ordinary Malaysians to keep police in check” (Oct. 23). Read the rest of this entry »


Joko Widodo says the time has come to “work, work and work”

Oct 25th 2014 | JAKARTA

Indonesia’s new president – Taking the reins

EVERYONE loves a politician with a common touch—except that politician’s security detail. After Joko Widodo, or Jokowi, was inaugurated as Indonesia’s seventh president, he and his vice-president, Jusuf Kalla, rode through central Jakarta to the presidential palace in an open horse-drawn carriage, their wives following along behind. Tens of thousands of well-wishers lined the path, banners saluting “the people’s president”. As ever, he reached out to them. Only the security men in black suits failed to look elated.

More hard-bitten observers did not share the crowd’s optimism. They set the simple, almost innocent demeanour of this grass-roots politician against the ruthlessness of the old guard he beat. It is determined to fight hard to preserve its wealth and privilege—and parties sympathetic to his opponent in the presidential election, Prabowo Subianto, control the legislature. Such observers are writing Jokowi off as a decent man but a political naif. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Pendatang’ and other manufactured crises

By Azly Rahman
Oct 24, 2014

Again, this question of migration has bored us to the point of death and dying and Sartrean nausea (see Jean Paul Sartre’s play La Nausee on the meaninglessness of concepts). Aren’t we all here in this land now, whether you like it or not? We just need to be good thinking and moral citizens and uphold the ideals of the constitution and live by the spirit of it. We don’t need to keep on manufacturing crises to sustain conflicts and produce new ones.

Why fight over whose grandpa or grandma was here first? Who knows what these interpretations of the history of migration should mean, but what is clear is one’s legal status and citizenship and what all of us have contributed and will contribute to the betterment of each other if not for this ‘imagined community’ and ‘nation-state’ of Malaysia.

I fear that these arguments about ‘pendatang’ will turn into us calling each other ‘binatang’, ‘menatang’, and ‘menate’ (as in Kelantan dialect). Not good for human progress.

Each citizen, lawful citizen, must be given the equal rights and privileges as Malaysian citizens, whether they have been a citizen yesterday or 10,000 days ago. There should be no discrimination in educational opportunity, welfare services, housing, or anything – these must come with the reward for loyalty. I hope we have read Rousseau’s idea of social contract, or at least understand how airlines give free miles as rewards.

So, let us quit arguing and move on. To those still producing these over-used and abused arguments, as if there are no intelligent things to argue about, I must say this: You are all wrong in framing your argument and asking the right questions. Read the rest of this entry »