Archive for June 7th, 2015

Pandikar should agree to an urgent motion in Parliament to allow televised PAC hearings on 1MDB scandal as a first step to parliamentary reforms in Malaysia

Members of Parliament from both sides of the House are in full support of the Speaker, Tan Sri Pandikar Aman Mulia to push for parliamentary reforms to eradicate Parliament’s negative image of “rubber stamp” of the Executive and to ensure separation of powers is in place.

The Speaker should not wait until next year to test out whether proposals for parliamentary reforms could be accepted and implemented by the Executive, as parliamentary reforms which meet immediate public needs should be carried out without any delay.

One such immediate parliamentary reform is for the Public Accounts Committee hearing particularly on the biggest scandal in the country – the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal – to be held in public and to bde televised live, as is the position of Dewan Rakyat proceedings. Read the rest of this entry »

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Stop all pretences – Najib should exorcise the haunting presence of Jho Low in the 1MDB scandal by giving a full account to Parliament of the latter’s role and influence in the nation’s biggest financial scandal

In his TV1 interview on “1MDB – Where is the money?” on Wednesday night, which failed to answer the subject of the topic but piqued greater public interest and concern about the whereabouts of the 1MDB billions, the second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah coyly avoided giving answers on Jho Low and his involvement in the debt-ridden 1MDB, asking “What’s the point of glamorising his name?”

Husni should know that he is incapable of adding to Jho Low’s glamour, as the Penang-born businessman has achieved what the second Finance Minister is incapable of – being the top attraction of a five-part feature by New York Times in February on the influx of global money which had fuelled the American city’s high-end real estate boom. And this is without mention of Jho Low’s life in the high society of the West.

The issue at hand is not about Jho Low’s glamour but the government’s accountability and transparency in the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal, particularly about Jho Low’s role and influence.

Until recently, the Cabinet, Parliament and nation were kept in the dark about the most important facet of the 1MDB scandal – that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak had right from the beginning of the establishment of 1MDB in 2009 been the final approving authority for all 1MBD deals, transactions and investments, which means that the Save 1MDB Roadmap passed by the Cabinet on May 29 was really a Save Najib Roadmap!

Another important facet of the 1MDB scandal was Jho Low’s role and influence not only in the creation of the 1MDB, but its ballooning in six years to pile up a debt of RM42 billion. Read the rest of this entry »

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PAS moving to the dark side

By Bridget Welsh
May 29, 2015

COMMENT As PAS prepares for the most divisive and decisive muktamar in its history next week, serious questions are being asked about the Islamic party’s direction.

The media has focused heavily on the troubled relationship with Pakatan Rakyat, with the frayed relationship between DAP and PAS over hudud taking centre stage. Others have focused their analyses on PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang who has brought the party to its current state.

The issues go much deeper than personality and policy differences – they go to the core of PAS as a religious political party, revealing that PAS is losing its moral foundation.

The 61st muktamar election will determine whether PAS will move to the dark side, namely further away from the principles and integrity that has given the Islamic party a comparative advantage in winning support from Malaysians. Read the rest of this entry »


The failure of Vision 2020

Syerleena Abdul Rashid
The Malaysian Insider
5 June 2015

Sometime in 1991, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed envisioned “Malaysians of all colours and creeds are free to practice and profess their customs, cultures and religious beliefs and yet feeling that they belong to one nation”. This dream was the essence of Vision 2020, or Wawasan 2020, as it is known in the national language.

Vision 2020 called for a united Malaysian society; one that indicated a progressive society where all of its citizens were more than able to embody compassion, civility and ethnic labels were a thing of the past. Malaysia in the year 2020 boasted an economy that was sound and healthy; there was fair and equitable distribution of wealth and development was spread out evenly throughout the Federation.

Now with only five years left before this vision becomes a reality, many of us can see how far off we really are. With only five years left, the vision of a colourless society seems far beyond our reach. Five years of catching up to a vision that has become some sort of a utopian concept that has lead this nation into a bitter cycle of suspicion and passive aggressive hostility.

The saddest part of humankind is that most of us are unable to shake off the “us and them” mentality and the harm we inflict upon other fellow Malaysians – be it physically and verbally, this is due to our own insecurities, humiliation and pain. Such feelings stem from our inability to understand human diversity – we want them to be like “us” and if they aren’t, there is no way we can accept them into our fold. Read the rest of this entry »

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Questions after the ulama tsunami in PAS

Abdar Rahman Koya
The Malaysian Insider
6 June 2015

Abdar Rahman Koya works for The Malaysian Insider. He considers himself to have all the qualities of an ordinary Malaysian, a practising Muslim, and an incorrigible cynic.

The much anticipated battle between the so-called ulama and professional factions in PAS, symbolised by the showdown between the two Awangs, has ended.

As expected, the ulama have won. The professionals are defeated, turfed out of almost all leadership positions in the party, in what can be aptly described as the ulama tsunami.

But who are these factions, these so-called ulama and professionals? This is the question few – whether supporters or opponents of PAS – have bothered asking.

The ulama are so called not necessarily because they fulfil the criteria of knowledge and piety, but because they have claimed that title for themselves.

So what defines them? Is it just that they are the ones in robes and turbans whose last names mysteriously have the Arabic “al-“ prefix, even though their looks show no trace of non-Malay heritage?

And even if their birth certificates show nothing more than the standard “bin” required by our guardians of Malay-Muslim demography?

Or are these ulama those whose pictures adorn packs of raisins and other nutritional products, blessed by their special prayers and mantras so that the weak-brained masses will buy them to help pass school exams and supply energy in their daily Islamic rituals?

Perhaps these ulama are simply those who religiously pay their subscriptions to Dewan Ulama of PAS, or some other organisation whose name includes the word “ulama” — such as, ironically, the Ulama Association of Malaysia, once led by none other than Ahmad Awang who is now grouped in the non-ulama faction?

Or – radical though it may be to suggest it – are the ulama actually those who have gained a deep knowledge of religion, even though their formal qualifications are in some other fields?

Those who have thought about and critiqued society, proposed practical solutions to modern-day problems in the light of their religious learning, and earned the recognition and respect of the masses despite failing to ostentatiously clothe themselves in garb assumed to emulate those worn by Arabs in the desert sun? Read the rest of this entry »

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