Archive for September 14th, 2015

Is UMNO through its Kota Baru division, spearheading an inter-cultural and inter-religious fusion, with Kota Baru division enacting Taoist rites of effigy-burning and setting up of an altar, complete with joss sticks and fruit offerings

The first thought that came to me when I saw the Kota Baru UMNO Division video on Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan and me was whether UMNO, through its Kota Baru division, is spearheading an inter-cultural and inter-religious “fusion” with Kota Baru Division enacting the Toaist rites of effigy-burning and setting up of an altar, complete with joss sticks and fruit offerings.

The second thought was the actual role of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak in this video episode as his former political secretary and Kota Baru UMNO division chief, Fatmi Che Salleh, was the key character in this “inter-cultural and inter-religious fusion”.

Probably I should feel flattered as the UMNO leaders and propagandists are attributing to me super-human powers, not only able to lead UMNO through Kota Baru UMNO Division leaders to spearhead an inter-religious “fusion” with Kota Baru UMNO leaders participating actively in the last day of the Month of the Hungry Ghosts, but also to “mastermind” the Bersih 4 overnight rally on August 29 and 30 although I had nothing to do with it. Read the rest of this entry »


If Najib could set the example of walking the talk, Malaysia will be more united, successful and win greater respect and credibility in the international arena

If the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, could set the example of walking the talk, Malaysia will be more united, successful and win greater respect and credibility in the international arena.

The latest example of Najib not walking the talk can be found in his prepared speech for the 32nd Chinese Cultural Festival in Kuantan on Saturday night, which the Prime Minister did not deem it important enough to personally attend.

In his prepared speech, Najib rightly said that the multi-racial population of Malaysia is not an obstacle but a source of strength for the country. Read the rest of this entry »


UMNO leaders should not count chicken before they are hatched expecting UMNO/BN to replicate Singapore PAP’s rebound and resounding election victory in 14GE in Malaysia

Strangely enough, many UMNO leaders are celebrating Singapore PAP’s general election results last Friday on 11th September 2015 as if the UMNO/Barisan Nasional would be able to replicate Singapore PAP’s rebound and resounding general election victory in the 14th General Election in 26 – 32 months’ time.

In Singapore PAP’s resounding victory, the Singapore ruling party scored 69.9% of the popular vote, up from the record low of 60.1% in the previous general election, and won 83 of 89 parliamentary seats.

It came within a hair’s breadth of taking five more seats in one hotly contested district where a recount was held.

Last Friday’s mandate is Lee Hsien Loong’s strongest since 2001.

What of Malaysia?
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Malaysia’s troubles just beginning

Andrew Harding, NUS
East Asia Forum
11 September 2015

As it tussles with multiple crises of political legitimacy and governance, Malaysia has reached a decisive point in its more than half-century history as an independent nation. What started as a shocking but not exceptional scandal has turned into a political crisis of unprecedented proportions. This was underlined by the Bersih 4 protests on 29–30 August in Kuala Lumpur, attended by an estimated 250,000 yellow-T-shirted Malaysians.

First, it was discovered that a development agency, 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), set up by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak in 2009, was in debt to the tune of RM42 billion (US$9.6 billion). Where, it was asked, did this vast sum of money go? What mismanagement or corrupt practices led to such a meltdown?

Then it was reported that the sum of RM2.6 billion (US$700 million) had shown up in Najib’s personal bank account. It has been admitted— in instalments —that this money was indeed placed in that account, but it is claimed to have been ‘donated’ from Middle Eastern sources as recognition of Malaysia’s role in fighting ISIS and maintaining Sunni Islam. Given the timing (just before Malaysia’s general election in 2013) and Najib’s claim that the funds were used for party political purposes, the money was clearly intended and used to ensure victory for the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, led by Najib’s UMNO (United Malays National Organisation) party.

Najib claims that nothing about this was illegal, given the current lack of statutory control over campaign spending, maintaining that he held the funds in trust for his party. But since BN won the election with a clear minority of votes, yet a majority of the seats in parliament, the legitimacy of the result was already in serious question even before the donation scandal came to light.

It gets worse. Najib’s response to attempts to get to the bottom of these matters has raised further questions about accountability and governance in Malaysia under BN rule. At first he was reluctant to give any explanation. Ultimately, denials followed by evasive answers raised many further questions. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia Hosts Anti-Corruption Conference as Government Faces Its Own Corruption Scandal

By Ghazala Irshad
Huffington Post

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia — The irony that leaders of the country hosting an international gathering against corruption are themselves embroiled in an embezzlement scandal provided unprecedented drama for 30 million Malaysians and a rare live case study for more than 1,000 anti-corruption conference delegates who visited Malaysia last week from around the world.

Leaked documents implicating Prime Minister Najib Razak in the embezzlement of $700 million from a state development fund prompted protesters nationwide to don yellow and call for his resignation, ahead of the 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) last week.

The scandal was the proverbial elephant in the room on the opening day of the IACC hosted by Malaysia on September 2. Then Jose Ugaz, president of global corruption watchdog group Transparency International, boldly addressed it head-on.

In a fiery speech introducing the new keynote speaker, the Malaysian minister of governance and integrity — who replaced Razak at the last minute — Ugaz clearly outlined all of Razak’s ethical violations and demanded specific answers from an independent probe.

“There are unanswered questions about the $700 million that made its way into the Prime Minister’s personal bank account,” Ugaz said, as the conference hall thundered with applause and cheers.

“In recent weeks we have seen the attorney general who was critical of the government suddenly replaced, the [state development fund] task force suspended, investigators at the Anti-Corruption Commission arrested or transferred, and newspapers suspended for reporting on the matter,” Ugaz continued.

“These are not the actions of a government that is fighting corruption. Malaysia is facing a corruption crisis.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Malay Pride Rally Stokes Race Politics in Malaysia

By Mong Palatino
The Diplomat
September 11, 2015

Another troubling sign that the ‘race card’ is being exploited in the country’s politics.

More than 250 licensed non-government organizations in Malaysia are planning to mobilize 30,000 people on September 16 to protect and promote Maruah Melayu (Malay dignity). The event also aims to show support for the beleaguered leadership of Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is being implicated in a corruption scandal.

The event was clearly organized to counter the Bersih (which means ‘clean’ in Malay) protest last August 29 and 30, which gathered more than 100,000 people in Kuala Lumpur. Some leaders of the Malay Pride Rally have ridiculed Bersih as a Chinese conspiracy. To prevent the Chinese protesters from undermining the government, they urged their fellow Malays to join the September 16 gathering and to wear red in order to oppose the yellow color of Bersih.

This framing of the issue is rejected by many who insist that it is a distortion of the real politics of Bersih. While it is true that Chinese protesters were present during the Bersih protest, they were joined by Malays and other citizens who believe that Najib must resign and that a clean election is needed to promote good governance in the country. Last month’s Bersih, and the three previous Bersih protests, didn’t pit the Chinese versus the Malays, although some allies of the government wanted the public to believe that racial sentiments are undermining the country’s stability.

From the beginning, the issue was about corruption and abuse of power by the ruling coalition, which has been in power since the 1950s, yet leaders of the Malay Pride Rally continue to speak about Chinese machinations. Read the rest of this entry »

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European Intrusions Into The Malay World

M. Bakri Musa
Sept. 7, 2015

[After last weekend’s mass protest against the nation’s entrenched corrupt and incompetent leadership, I reflect on a moment in our colonial history. If Merdeka has any meaning it is this – our freedom to express our views. We have to remind ourselves and our leaders of this, and often, lest it be forgotten. As we celebrate the nation’s 58th anniversary of independence, I salute those brave Malaysians of Bersih 4. May you succeed! Your courage humbles and inspires me.]

The Europeans entered the Malay world a few centuries after the arrival of Islam. First were the Portuguese in 1509, followed by the Dutch and finally the British.

Unlike those early Muslims, the Europeans came not to trade, at least initially, but as explorers during their Age of Discovery. Only when they saw the abundance of the rich natural resources of the land did they go beyond mere exploring.

With their primordial form of capitalism of the heartless and exploitative variety so well captured in Dickens’ many novels, it did not take long for their greed to manifest itself and be all-consuming. Like all capitalists, they were obsessed with domination, and that quickly expanded beyond mere trading. Colonial aspirations soon followed.

Preoccupied with commerce, those ancient Portuguese were not interested in converting the natives though that was the penchant with old-world Catholics. Yes, there were priests hauled along to bless their mission, if nothing else. Consumed as they were with profits they could not be bothered with the salvation of the heathens. Either that or those Europeans were aware of the fate of the crusaders and knew better than to try and convert the already Muslim natives. Read the rest of this entry »

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