Archive for January 11th, 2016

The truth hurts

by Mariam Mokhtar
11th January 2016

Just because a Malay talks and writes about the injustice meted out to non-Muslims, it does not mean that the Malay is bashing his own race, nor is he denigrating Islam. Malays, in particular, refuse to acknowledge that most critiques are not about the religion, but are in fact criticisms of the Malays who have misinterpreted a particular phrase, or religious edict.

If PAS, Umno Baru and the respective religious institutions are critical in stopping alleged conversions of Malays to Christianity, why were there no mass conversions of Malays during the colonial era, when none of these political parties nor institutions existed?

Many Malays appear to see the conversion issue as a numbers game. Many Malays are also religious hypocrites. Read the rest of this entry »


Moody’s Cuts Malaysia Credit-Rating Outlook on Weaker Finances

by Shamim Adam
January 11, 2016

Moody’s Investors Service lowered its credit-rating outlook for Malaysia, citing an external environment that has crimped government revenue despite Prime Minister Najib Razak’s efforts to improve the country’s finances.

The ratings company cut the outlook on the A3 sovereign rating to stable from positive, it said on Monday in a statement. The move brings its outlook into line with that of Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings, with all three companies ranking Malaysia at their fourth-lowest investment grades.

Since Moody’s assigned a positive outlook in November 2013 the government has sought to improve its finances, rationalizing fuel subsidies and putting in place a goods and services tax, the ratings company said. But the impact on the government’s balance sheet has been limited and will remain so, in part due to changes in the external environment, it said.

“Those environmental changes have also undermined Malaysia’s external position, with large capital outflows, a falling current account surplus, sharp exchange rate depreciation and falling reserves,” Moody’s said.

The ringgit, which was already weaker prior to the Moody’s announcement amid general risk aversion related to China, was 0.6 percent lower at 4.4120 a dollar as of 2:05 p.m. in Kuala Lumpur. The yield on the 10-year government bond was up three basis points to 4.25 percent. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib and UMNO propagandists are giving the Malays the supreme insult doubting their intelligence and capability when they spread the canard that the Malays will lose political power to the DAP and Chinese if Najib and UMNO lose in next general election

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and UMNO propagandists are giving the Malays the supreme insult doubting their intelligence and capability when they spread the canard that the Malays will lose political power to the DAP and Chinese if Najib and UMNO lose in the next general election.

There is no doubt that Najib and UMNO are facing the greatest crisis of survival in their lives, for a recent poll has shown that the popularity rating of the Najib UMNO-led government is at an all-time low – below the 50 per cent mark for the first time, down to some 30 per cent.

Even UMNO leaders accept the real prospect that Najib can lose not only the popular vote (which UMNO/Barisan lost in the 2013 general election securing only 47% of the total votes cast) but also the majority of the parliamentary seats (which through an undemocratic electoral system, enabled Najib to secure 60 per cent of the parliamentary seats in the 13GE although with 43% of the votes, and therefore entering Malaysian history as the first minority Prime Minister in the country).

If the 2013 General Election had been fair and democratic, where the principle of “one man, one vote, one value” is the abiding feature of the electoral system, the Prime Minister after the general election in May 2013 would have been Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and not Najib Razak, and Anwar would not be in Sungai Buloh prison today.

It is a national tragedy that instead of redeeming his position as the first minority Prime Minister of the country, by heading a government which really cares for the people and nation, which is clean, incorruptible, consultative, democratic, fully guided by the principles of accountability, transparency and good governance, Najib had done the reverse, which is why there are Najib’s RM2.6 billion and RM55 billion 1MDB twin mega scandals giving Malaysia a bad name not only locally but in the international arena as well. Read the rest of this entry »


Saudi Arabia has bigger problems than Iran

— Tobin Harshaw
Malay Mail Online
January 8, 2016

JANUARY 8 —Saudi Arabia’s feud with Iran over the beheading of a prominent Shiah cleric led to a lot of overwrought speculation about Sunni-Shiah tensions rising to tear up the Middle East. Those more steeped in regional affairs point to the other 46 men beheaded, almost all of whom were Sunnis charged with terrorism.

The theory here is that the execution of the preacher, Nimr al-Nimr, was less about provoking Shiahs than pre-empting domestic outrage over the deaths of so many Sunnis, who make up 85 per cent of the country’s population. The kingdom has rarely been concerned with domestic opinion in its 90 years of statehood. Does Saudi Arabia now fear unrest among the masses? Should it?

Outside of North Korea and the New England Patriots, few institutions are more opaque than the Saudi royal court. But over the last year, the first in the reign of 80-year-old King Salman, the famously hidebound monarchy has undergone a shocking and risky makeover.

Salman, who took over last January 23 on the death of his half-brother King Abdullah, was widely expected to be just a caretaker. Instead, he took care of business. Within months, he replaced the anointed crown prince with his nephew Mohammed bin Nayef, the longtime interior minister. Yet he also watered down this new heir’s influence by dismantling the crown prince’s previously independent court.

The real winner was the king’s young son, Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman, who became deputy crown prince and gatekeeper to those seeking the king’s attention. The prince was named head of the new Council of Economic and Development Affairs, which took over many powers of the finance ministry, and was given control over Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil monopoly. (Yesterday, he suggested that the kingdom may consider selling a stake in the oil giant.) Read the rest of this entry »

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10 things about: Steven Sim, the computer engineer turned MP

by Opalyn Mok
Malay Mail Online
January 10, 2016

GEORGE TOWN, Jan 10 — Steven Sim Chee Keong was relatively new in DAP when he first stood for elections in 2013 for the Bukit Mertajam parliamentary seat and won.

Prior to that, he was the Seberang Perai Municipal Council councillor and had been helping his predecessor Chong Eng and later, Berapit state assemblyman Lydia Ong Kok Fooi with party matters.

Ever since he won the seat, the 32-year-old has been using technology to try and improve governance and delivery to the people, particularly his constituents in Bukit Mertajam.

He is the one behind the introduction of a user-friendly application called “Citizen Action Technology” for the public to lodge complaints to the local authorities.

He also wrote a book titled The Audacity To Think: An Invitation To Rethink Politics which is his take on political concepts based on his experience.

It is hard to imagine that this young energetic politician used to be a chocolate entrepreneur before calling it quits to continue his studies in computer science. Read the rest of this entry »