Archive for December, 2014

Flood victims anxious as ATMs run out of cash

3:29AM Dec 26, 2014

Water supply and electricity cuts in several flood-affected areas in worst-hit state Kelantan is raising anxieties among flood victims as supplies run low.

Residents in parts of Pasir Mas told Malaysiakini say they no longer have running water or power supply, while automated teller machines (ATMs) are out of cash.

Others say they their food ration has almost depleted with most major roads inaccessible even to rescue vehicles due to strong flood currents.

Astro Awani reported that some residents in Manek Urai and Dabong are forced to go hungry because they are completely cut off.

On Wednesday night, army rescue personnel evacuated 400 who had been stranded on the third floor of SK Manek Urai Lama in Kuala Krai for five days.

They were reached by two armed forces boats, which arrived with food and daily essentials.

Victims are trapped in 28 locations including hilltops, schools and mosques in Kuala Krai, with rescue workers trying to reach them, Kelantan Umno liaison chief Mustapa Mohamad told Bernama.

“There are many children and senior citizens at these unreachable locations. Our rescue team is trying their best to assist them,” he said, adding that helicopters and boats are deployed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Patients shifted after doctor’s desperate plea

2:42AM Dec 26, 2014

Critical patients treated in pitch black after Kuala Krai hospital ran out fuel to power generators last night were finally evacuated from the flood-hit area.

Doctors posted desperate pleas for help after forced to intubate an infant in darkness and tearfully watching rescue helicopters leave after failing to land.

“Latest update. Alhamdulillah, helicopter assistance has arrived to take the victims in hospitals especially babies to shelter,” Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham said in a Facebook posting at 10.20pm Thursday.

The army evacuated adult and paediatric patients to Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia (HUSM), which is about 20 minutes away via helicopter, he said, while diesel supply was replenished.

“All settled diesel delivered, generator filled, functioning and power supply back to normal. Supplies delivered and Hospital Kuala Krai is in safe zone (as it is on) high ground.

“One adult critically-ill patient and two neonates were transferred successfully to HUSM and live another day. (Rescue workers) to continue patient evacuation tomorrow,” he said.

In a video shared by Noor Hisham, Hospital Kuala Krai staff said patients are hungry and thirsty as there is shortage of drinking water.

“We hope help will arrive soon…Our focus is to save lives, the rest we leave to God,” the staff member said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why is it so difficult to declare State of Emergency in flood-hit areas?

– Lokman Mustafa
The Malaysian Insider
25 December 2014

What are the prerequisites for the proclamation of a State of Emergency to be made in an area severely hit by natural disaster?

To my knowledge, such a proclamation is a formal step for local officials to receive assistance from the federal administration.

In the US, a state of emergency is issued when a disaster occurs that requires State aid to help alleviate damages.

The declaration also enables the governor of a state to make resources immediately available to rescue, evacuate and provide basic needs in affected areas.

Although the state of emergency declaration does not restrict citizen movements or activities, access to affected areas may be limited due to concerns for public safety.

The declaration is revoked when support is no longer needed for the affected areas. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why PM not only away in secret holiday in Hawaii, but not a single UMNO Minister visiting hardest-hit Kelantan to show the Federal Government’s concern for the worst floods since 1971?

The Washington Post report of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak teeing off in Hawaii with President Obama (who is on the fifth day of a two-week vacation) on Christmas Eve caused quite a jolt, not because he was holidaying in Oahu, Hawaii, but because Najib had tried to keep his trip abroad a secret from Malaysians.

This “jolt” was compounded by Najib’s absence at a time when the country was facing its worst floods since 1971, with over 91,000 people affected in Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Perak, Perlis and beginning in Kedah, and with the flood situation expected to worsen and to hit Johore in a massive manner in the last few days of the year.

In response to mounting criticisms of Najib again being an absentee Prime Minister at a time when Malaysians are facing a natural disaster, the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin responded with insufferable complacency saying: “I am in charge, don’t worry. Have trust in me.”

Malaysian have reasons to worry that Muhyiddin is up to task of handling the nation’s worst floods since 1971, with his stubborn refusal to agree to the need to declare an emergency to focus all Federal government resources to deal with the devastation caused by the floods. Read the rest of this entry »


Criticism rains on absent leaders as floodwaters rise

25 December 2014

More than 90,000 people have been evacuated in the peninsula’s east cost states as floodwaters rise due to incessant rain. While the floods are an annual event, this year’s edition has been the worst in living memory.

Hence, the mounting criticism against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who has been photographed having a round of golf with US President Barack Obama in Hawaii on Christmas Eve.

This is not the first time a Malaysian prime minister has been under flak for not being around when floods hit the country hard. The last was in 2006 when then prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was holidaying in Perth while floodwaters inundated Johor.

Pak Lah, as he is popularly known, came back but the damage was done. It is not known if Najib will cut short his annual year-end holiday and fly home to lead the relief operations. Read the rest of this entry »


No point in my attending any future PR Presidential Council meetings if PAS pushes for implementation of hudud in December 29 Kelantan State Assembly special meeting

I fully endorse what the Selangor Mentri Besar and PKR Deputy President Azmin Ali said yesterday, that hudud is not a common policy of Pakatan Rakyat, hence PAS should bring the issue to the Pakatan Rakyat presidential council for discussion.

Azmin referred to the September 28, 2011 meeting of Pakatan Rakyat Presidential Council at the PAS Headquarters attended by over 30 top leaders of DAP, PKR and PAS, which was also attended the then DAP National Chairman, Karpal Singh, and Kelantan exco members, and the consensus was that hudud was not part of PR joint common policy framework until all parties agreed to it.

As Azmin said: “If there is any new opinion or suggestion, it has to be brought back to the original consensus which was agreed among Pakatan, meaning that it has to go back to Pakatan’s presidential council.”

But PAS has never brought this matter to Pakatan’s presidential council.

In fact, the headline of The Malaysian Insider report on the Sept. 28, 2011 PR Presidential Council meeting was: “Pakatan: Hudud only if all parties agree.” Read the rest of this entry »


Ultimate political humiliation for Joseph Pairin to accept RCIIIS Report Working Committee Chairmanship unless he has the political will and courage to come up with a report that the weight evidence of 211 RCIIIS witnesses and memorandum show there was ‘Project I/C’ involving political masterminds

The latest chapter in the host of merry-go-rounds created in the 40-year nightmare of illegal immigrants in Sabah is the establishment of the Working Committee on the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Illegal Immigrants in Sabah (RCIIIS) Report under the chairmanship of the Sabah Deputy Chief Minister and Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) President Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan to “peruse and study” the RCIIIS Report.

And true to form and substance as the latest merry-go-round, up to now, nearly 40 days after its first announcement by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak in mid-November when he visited Sabah, nobody knows whether the RCIIIS Report Working Committee has started to operate, as nobody could say whether Joseph Pairin has accepted the appointment as Chairman of the Working Committee.

The last public statement by Joseph Pairin was on Dec. 3, the day the RCIIIS Report was made public in Kota Kinabalu by the Chief Secrertary Tan Sri Hamsa Ali and the Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail.

Joseph Pairin complained that he had yet to receive his appointment letter although it was nearly three weeks since Najib’s announcement of the Working Committee and his appointment.

Since then, the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who together with the Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, is co-chair of the Permanent Committee of the RCIIIIS Report, had visited Sabah in mid-December and announced the five terms of reference of the Working Committee. Read the rest of this entry »

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Let Malaysian Christians and all patriotic Malaysians reaffirm on Christmas 2014 to provide greater support to policies and politics of inclusion where all Malaysians, regardless of politics, race, religion, gender or age can stand as one to promote tolerance, harmony and unity

Christmas 2014 Message

I had hoped that the police return of the 31 Christian hymnals meant for Orang Asli parishioners to Catholic priest Father Cyril Mannayagam in Tangkok, Johore on December 18 would start a virtuous cycle of inter-religious respect, tolerance and acceptance of Malaysia as a plural nation to end the rhetoric and politics of hate, extremism, intolerance and bigotry which had recently hounded, haunted and disgraced Malaysia.

But this was not to be, and there had been no surcease or let-up in the rhetoric and politics of extremism, intolerance and bigotry, as evidenced by the ISMA demand that Muslims should not wish “Merry Christmas” to Christians, the warning that Christmas celebrations were only a ploy by the Christian community to proselytize among the Muslims, and the tearing up by a Perkasa protestor of a DAP banner wishing “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” in front of the Perak DAP headquarters last Friday.

But Malaysian moderates of goodwill and reason must not despair by such setbacks but must persevere in their mission for harmony, tolerance and moderation in the country.

Let Malaysian Christians and all patriotic Malaysians reaffirm on Christmas 2014 to provide greater support to policies and politics of inclusion where all Malaysians, regardless of politics, race, religion, gender or age can stand as one to promote tolerance, harmony and unity.
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Finding ‘dirt’ on the 25 is dirty, to say the least

-Dr Azmi Sharom
Rakyat Times
22 December 2014

Ah, Awang Selamat.

One can always depend on you to say the most ridiculous things.

Today, I read that this ‘person’ (in reality the collective editorial voice of that paragon of journalistic virtue: Utusan Malaysia) wants the 25 Eminent Malays investigated.

Their backgrounds and lifestyles should be put under the microscope, they say.

I guess this is so that the erstwhile ‘newspaper’ can find out any “dirt” on the 25 and then they will be able to dish it out with orgasmic glee.

In this way they can detract from the fact that respectable individuals, who are essentially conservative people who have served the nation all their working lives, and who I am sure would be happy to spend their retirement in peace with their grandchildren, have felt that this country is in such a poor state that even they have to say something about it. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 29 Kelantan State Assembly special sitting to implement hudud will be a point of no return for both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat

The December 29 Kelantan State Assembly special sitting to implement hudud will be a point of no return for both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat.

The stand of the first three Prime Ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein Onn were crystal clear, that hudud laws are at variance with Malaysia’s Constitution that Malaysia is a secular state.

This was also the position of the other MCA and MIC founding fathers of the nation, Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Tun Tan Siew Sin and Tun V.T. Sambanthan – as well as Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu who was the second MCA President in 1958 and subsequently left MCA and became the second President of Gerakan from 1969 – 1980.

Indisputably, this was also the position of all the founding fathers of Malaysia from Sabah and Sarawak.

If the Kelantan UMNO Assemblymen are allowed to vote in support of the proposal to implement hudud at the Kelantan State Assembly special sitting on Dec. 29, the whole character and basis of Barisan Nasional would have undergone its most radical transformation in the history of the ruling government coalition in the country.
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RCIIIS gone full circle – from skepticism of the public when announced, to high hopes raised during public hearings, to dashed hopes and back to even deeper skepticism after RCIIIS Report

The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Illegal Immigrants in Sabah (RCIIIS) has gone full circle.

It was met with skepticism from the public when the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced the setting up of the RCI, taking seven long months from the Cabinet decision on 8th Feb. 2012 to set it up for the RCI to be appointed with its eight-point terms of reference.

But high hopes were raised that the RCIIIS would not be a “white-wash” when the RCI conducted its public hearings from January to September 2014, with explosive testimonies from some of the 211 witnesses, confirming long-held negative public perceptions that the influx of illegal immigrants in Sabah and the issue of hundreds of thousands of fake identity cards and voting rights particularly under “Project IC” was part of a political conspiracy to change the political demography in Sabah, reducing native Sabahans into strangers in their own land.

When the Report of the RCIIIS was finally made public on Dec. 3, after being put in the cold-storage for more than six months after submission to the Yang di Pertuan Agong on May 14, 2014, public disbelief, dismay and disquiet enveloped Sabahans – with “dashed hopes” and the return of even deeper skepticism. Read the rest of this entry »


Despite Pakatan’s hudud row, grass not greener on BN’s side, analysts say

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
The Malay Mail Online
December 23, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 23 ― A public and intractable row over hudud is raising questions over the viability of Pakatan Rakyat (PR), but Barisan Nasional (BN) faces equally awkward problems despite its calmer surface, according to several political analysts.

They believe that while PR’s public disagreements ― especially between DAP and PAS ― could affect the pact’s future, the disputes were reflective of the equal footing the two parties have along with PKR.

The same cannot be said of BN where Umno stands above and apart from the rest of its coalition partners, the analysts added, citing issues such as Malay rights and even the same Islamic penal code that is giving PR such grief.

BN’s apparent calm was the result of Umno asserting its dominance and political agenda at the expense of the ruling coalition’s weaker component parties. Read the rest of this entry »


New Year’s resolution: are all Malaysians ready to stand up for it?

– J.D. Lovrenciear
The Malaysian Insider
22 December 2014

The year 2014 is soon going to be left behind as we gear up, joining the world for another year of hope. We will join billions around the globe come January 1, 2015, with hopeful hearts in prayer and as we celebrate with joy our determination to end pain and drown fears.

For Malaysians, 2014 was indeed a painful year punctured with fears as hopes and joys kept swaying and wilting in the rage of race and religion battles that hogged the media every other day.

2014 was also a year where political parties put their survival above happiness, peace, tolerance and acceptance. It was one of “it is our way or no way”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Joseph Pairin should stop procrastinating but get cracking as RCIIIS Report Working Committee Chairman or declare he will decline appointment

More than five weeks have passed since the announcement by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak that Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan will be Chairman of the Working Committee of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Illegal Immigrants in Sabah (RCIIIS) to make recommendations on the RCIIIS Report, and some three weeks have passed since the public release of the RCIIIS Report in Kota Kinabalu on Dec. 3.

But there is no sign of urgency or even a sense of responsibility on the part of Joseph Pairin as nobody knows whether the full Working Committee had been formed or whether Joseph Pairin had chaired the first meeting of the Working Committee. In fact, nobody knows whether he is going to accept the appointment as there had been contrary noises from his party leadership.

One would have thought such developments would be important news in Sabah but there has been total silence on the Joseph Pairin front.

Under the circumstances, Joseph Pairin should stop procrastinating but get cracking as RCIIIS Report Working Commtitee Chairman or declare that he will decline appointment as the Working Committee Chairman.

The first thing Joseph Pairin should do as Working Committee Chairman is to express the Working Committee’s disappointment and even censure of the RCIIIS Report for failing in its duty to come to any concrete or conclusive finding or recommendation on the basic issues about the four-decade long illegal immigrant nightmare in Sabah, whether about the existence of the ‘Project IC’, the number of illegal immigrants on Sabah’s electoral roll or the number of illegal immigrants in Sabah.

In fact, the RCIIIS was so irresponsible, remiss and negligent in carry out its duties that it had absolutely nothing to say about its eighth term of reference, viz: “ (h) to enquire into the number of immigrants in Sabah who were issued blue identification cards or citizenship by taking into consideration their status as stateless persons”.

The RCIIIS has absolutely nothing to say about its eighth term of reference. How more irresponsible could the RCIIIS be? Or has the RCIIIS completely forgotten about this term of reference? Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on Najib and Cabinet to endorse the Open Letter of 25 Eminents to send a clear message to the nation and the world that Malaysian government fully committed to moderation against intolerance, extremism and bigotry

The Open Letter by 25 Malay former top civil servants and personalities on December 8 asking the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to show leadership against festering extremism and intolerance is undoubtedly the No. 1 News Event of the Year.

Never before has an Open Letter by the citizenry struck such a resounding chord in our multiracial, multi-cultural and multi-religious nation, as evidenced by the enthusiastic support from all groups of Malaysian society, not confined to Malays and Muslims, like ‘I am #26’ online petition with over 5,000 supporters; “KamiJuga25” (We, too, are 25),signed by over 1,600 supporters; 95 NGOs in Malaysia, 22 Muslim activists and a multitude of support demonstrated by diverse groups and strata of Malaysian society in the past fortnight.

But the reaction has started, and the assaults on the 25 Eminents will escalate in personal attacks, character-assassination and viciousness employing the full resources of the intolerant and extremist media and social as we witnessed in the past two days.

This is the time for all moderates, crossing race, religious, gender, age and even political party lines to take a stand for moderation and marginalize, isolate and defeat intolerance, extremism and bigotry which are the greatest threats and enemies of a plural society like Malaysia.

This is the time for the positive politics of inclusion to replace the negative politics of exclusion! Read the rest of this entry »

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Dr M fear-mongering, playing race card to keep Umno in power, say analysts

by Eileen Ng
The Malaysian Insider
22 December 2014

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s warning that the Malays are losing political dominance and may end up being left behind was meant to strike fear into the community and ensure that Umno remained in power, analysts said.

Observers said the former prime minister was also looking at matters through a racial lens, which was ironic considering that he was a proponent of Bangsa Malaysia policy of an inclusive national identity.

Professor James Chin said it was impossible for the Malays to lose power to the minority races in the country as all the top positions, from the Malay rulers to the civil service, were dominated by that community.

Citing examples, the academic with Monash University Malaysia said the posts of prime minister and deputy prime minister, at least half the Cabinet postings as well as senior positions in the government service were held by Malays.

“He is stating that to play up the racial card and to scare the Malays to ensure Umno remains in power,” Chin told The Malaysian Insider. Read the rest of this entry »


The hardest word

– Mariam Mokhtar
Rakyat Times
21 December 2014

The day Malaysia makes history will be the day our leaders apologise for their shortcomings, say ‘sorry’ for the failures of their staff, and express regret for the abuses of power by their children. Malaysians have much to learn from South Korea, and our leaders should learn the lesson from the ‘Nut Rage’ scandal.

Cho Hyun-ah, daughter of the chairman of Korean Air, apologised for losing her temper with a First-Class air steward at New York’s John F. Kennedy (JFK) airport on Dec 5. Cho, who was a senior vice-president and head of cabin service for Korean Air, had been served nuts in a bag and not on a plate. The plane had been waiting to take off when she ordered the captain to return and drop off the offending cabin crew member.

The contrast in her behaviour, a few days later, could not have been more stark. Cho was brought back down to earth with a bump. Her arrogance, that of someone with the power to overrule the pilot, was gone. In a faint, trembling voice, Cho issued her grovelling public an apology. Dressed in black from head to toe, with her hair shielding her face from the cameras and onlookers, she avoided eye contact and bowed her head in shame.

Hours earlier, her father Cho Yang-ho, also the chairman of Korean Air, had apologised and bowed before journalists at the airline’s head office. He expressed regret for his daughter’s actions and said, “It’s my fault. As chairman and father, I ask for the public’s generous forgiveness.”

News agencies like Reuters and Associated Press had reported that the South Koreans had been outraged by the behaviour of the children and grandchildren of the founders of big business empires. Cho was dubbed a “princess” for shaming the nation. Read the rest of this entry »


A Christmas message to my nation

— Charles Ganaprakasam
The Malay Mail Online
December 21, 2014

DECEMBER 21 — On this stunning, life-giving harmonious day, I would like to convey my Christmas wishes to my fellow brothers and sisters who are rejoicing this holy day as a birth of Jesus on earth to redeem us from our sin which we committed by God given free will.

We should not celebrate Christmas without knowing the proper mode of celebrating it. Some celebrate this pure delightful day solely with their friends and family gathering with gleaming smiles and once it’s done, then Christmas is over and they are glad of it.

The most wonderful and meaningful way of celebrating Christmas is through serving the deprived people with pure heart and remembering them as one of our brothers and sisters. We should serve them notwithstanding by where they belong racially, culturally and religiously.

Whether the underprivileged person is in someone’s own neighbourhood or in a distant area, we must not neglect our duty to serve them. Man’s responsibility to help his fellow beings is the central essence of teaching by Jesus Christ.

The notion of serving others not only mentioned in Christianity by Jesus, but also in the teaching of Buddhism and Islam. In Islam it’s compulsory for every Muslim to pay a certain amount of money from their earning as “zakat” for the poor people. Additionally, the Hindu religion traditionally believes that act of serving the needy is for repentance for their sin in this or their previous lifetime to discharge them from cycle of death and rebirth. Read the rest of this entry »


Tunisia caught between fear and stability

Noureddine Jebnoun
19 Dec 2014

Tunisia might be making progress with elections, but internal political polarisation is reaching dangerous heights.

The Tunisian transition is perceived as exceptional in the light of the instability in the rest of the region: return of authoritarianism, spread of sectarian and ethnic violence, chaos and civil war. L Carl Brown recently praised the “Tunisian exception” for providing a “less hectic and less bloody revolutionary transition” in the Arab world.

But a closer look at Tunisian politics shows that the perceived exceptionalism of political developments in the country is somewhat overstated and necessitates a more nuanced analysis.

Political fatigue

Three years after Bouazizi’s immolation set off the Arab uprisings, Tunisia is living in the rhythm of elections. Most recently, parliamentary elections where held on October 26, followed by the first round of presidential elections. On December 21, Tunisia will have its presidential runoff between Beji Caid Essebsi of Nidaa Tounes (Call of Tunisia) and the incumbent interim President Moncef Marzouki. The outcome of these elections will provide the country with its first democratically elected permanent institutions.

But as much as the world is praising these elections, Tunisians do not seem as enthusiastic. While the number of registered voters surpassed 5 million out of more than 8.2 million Tunisians of voting age, barely 3.3 million turned up at the voting stations for the first round of the presidential elections. This indicates a low voter turnout particularly among youth, the most disenfranchised social group whose mobilisation was decisive in the fall of Ben Ali’s dictatorship. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Conventional Wisdom On Oil Is Always Wrong

By Ben Casselman
Five Thirty-Eight
Dec 18, 2014

In 2008, I moved to Dallas to cover the oil industry for The Wall Street Journal. Like any reporter on a new beat, I spent months talking to as many experts as I could. They didn’t agree on much. Would oil prices — then over $100 a barrel for the first time — keep rising? Would post-Saddam Iraq ever return to the ranks of the world’s great oil producers? Would China overtake the U.S. as the world’s top consumer? A dozen experts gave me a dozen different answers.

But there was one thing pretty much everyone agreed on: U.S. oil production was in permanent, terminal decline. U.S. oil fields pumped 5 million barrels of crude a day in 2008, half as much as in 1970 and the lowest rate since the 1940s. Experts disagreed about how far and how fast production would decline, but pretty much no mainstream forecaster expected a change in direction.

That consensus turns out to have been totally, hilariously wrong. U.S. oil production has increased by more than 50 percent since 2008 and is now near a three-decade high. The U.S. is on track to surpass Saudi Arabia as the world’s top producer of crude oil; add in ethanol and other liquid fuels, and the already on top. Read the rest of this entry »

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