Archive for February 3rd, 2016

Unsolicited Advice to Young Malaysians

M. Bakri Musa

I enjoy giving talks to Malaysian students. It is invigorating to be with the young; their passion, enthusiasm and idealism do rub off on me.

My hope is that when they become leaders they will hold as role models the likes of Hang Nadim and Hang Jebat, and emulate the giants in our history like Munshi Abdullah and Datuk Onn. I also hope that they will be as innovative as Ungku Aziz and Raja Petra, and like them, not be trapped by the conventional wisdom. Most of all I hope they will be as diligent and resourceful as Badri Muhammad.

In my advice to students, I remind them that their future is in their own hands. No one, not their parents, advisors on campus and the embassy, or sponsors back home, knows what is best for them. I tell these students that those other people may be sincere when offering their advice but they have not traveled the same path you have taken or experienced the challenges you have faced.

Most of all they will not be the ones to bear the consequences of your decision. By all means listen to their counsel, but in the end the decision is yours. About all the others could do after offering their advice would be to also offer you their prayers and best wishes. They should support, not veto your decision. Read the rest of this entry »

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The world is closing in on Malaysia’s insular ruling elite

by Greg Earl
Australian Financial Review
Feb 3 2016

There was a time when a Malaysian leader only had to slug it out in the opaque but tough forum of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) to remain in power.

And tough it certainly has been, with a leader or rising deputy ruthlessly shoved aside usually amid outbreaks of Malay chauvinism about once a decade during the almost 60 years UMNO has been in power.

Prime Minister Najib Razak produced a masterful performance at the party conference late last year drawing on Malay feudal notions of loyalty and more modernist Islamic principles to fend off a corruption scandal, a weak economy and criticism by his deputy.

Last week the Attorney-General Apandi Ali seemed to take his cue from the conference and declare that there was nothing more to investigate about one of the world’s most amazing political funding sagas in which the Saudi royal family put US$680 million in Najib’s private bank accounts in the run-up to the 2013 election. And after a budget adjustment to cope with the emerging market uncertainty, the attorney-general appeared to clear the way for the prime minister to celebrate his 40 years in politics. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia’s 1MDB Scandal: You Couldn’t Make It Up

Barron’s Asia
February 3, 2016

While Swiss and Singapore officials turn up the heat, Prime Minister Najib Razak hides his head in the sand.

I don’t know who Najib Razak’s friends are in Saudi Arabia, but I sure want a few.

Who wouldn’t covet a pal or two willing to toss you $700 million as a “gift,” no strings attached? That’s at least the Malaysian prime minister’s story, and he’s sticking to it. Politicians overseas, meanwhile, would sure love to have Najib’s electorate. Since the Wall Street Journal broke news of his good fortune, Najib has displayed a fatalistic willingness to take an entire economy down so he can stay in office. And his party harbors little fear of losing power.

There’s the “Twilight Zone” and there’s the “Malaysia Zone,” and just try discerning the difference. Najib-gate grew even more surreal last week when Malaysia’s attorney general suddenly cleared him of criminal or corruption charges. In a hastily-arranged press conference, Mohamed Apandi Ali said Najib had returned all but $61 million of that “donation” from the Saudi royal family. Somehow, Apandi kept a straight face as he declared the matter closed. Read the rest of this entry »


Chinese New Year medley (A Cappella)

Pleasantly surprised to receive a video by very passionate Malaysians and musicians who produced a Chinese New Year: A Cappella Medley, by Kong Xian Ming and Colour of Voices (A Malay cappella group).

What a great and creative way to usher in the celebration of Chinese New Year the Malaysian way.

This is what makes Malaysia different.

We are a nation with a confluence of different races, languages, cultures and religions, where Malaysians celebrate the diverse ethnic and religious festivities not in an exclusive but in an inclusive Malaysian manner.

Just as Chinese in Malaysia celebrate the Chinese New Year together with Malays, Indians, Kadazans and Ibans; Muslims celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri together with non-Muslims; Hindus celebrate Deepavali and Thaipusam with non-Hindus and Christians celebrate Christmas with non-Christians – without fear of losing our respective ethnic or religious identities.

This make Malaysians unique and distinct from other peoples in the world!

Let us continue to celebrate Malaysia’s diversity, an asset which could lead to Malaysia’s greater achievements as a people and a nation.

Kudos to Xian Ming and Colour of Voices for blazing the way

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Cabinet today must take cognisance and act on the government failure to resolve Najib’s twin mega scandals by end of last year and the national and international firestorm over Apandi’s decision to exonerate Najib

The Cabinet at its meeting today must take cognisance and act on the government’s failure to resolve Najib’s twin world-class mega scandals by the end of last year and the national and international firestorm over Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali’s decision to exonerate Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak of any wrongdoing or crime and that no charges would be brought against him in both the RM2.6 billion donation and RM42 million SRC International scandals.

Far from Najib’s upbeat forecast in his 2016 New Year Message that his twin world-class mega scandals had been resolved and no more issues in the country, the very opposite occurred as his RM2.6 billion “donation” and RM55 billion 1MDB twin mega scandals have in the month of January 2016 mushroomed to unprecedented levels.

As a result, both Najib and Malaysia’s credibility and image have never suffered such serious dent, both nationally and internationally.

Four months ago, in a historic statement on Oct. 6, the Malay Rulers directed Putrajaya to ensure that 1 Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal was thoroughly investigated and for those found guilty of wrongdoing to be punished.

The Malay Rulers also said that investigations must be made public in order to show that nothing was being hidden in the probe on the state-owned investment firm.

The Malay Rulers joint statement said: “The findings of the investigation must be reported comprehensively and in a transparent manner so that the people will be convinced of the sincerity of the government which shall not at all conceal facts and the truth.”

But none of the Malay Rulers’ concerns has been addressed, and not a single person had been punished for the world-class twin mega scandals which have given Malaysia the ignominious third ranking in the world’s “worst corruption scandals in 2015” and caused Malaysia’s ranking in the Transparency International’s 2015 Corruption Perception Index to plunge four places to No. 54 from No. 50 last year.

And nothing has been revealed to Malaysians about the investigations into the twin mega scandals “so that the people will be convinced of the sincerity of the government which shall not at all conceal facts and the truth”!

The promise by the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi, who responded to the Malay Rulers’ Statement with the pledge that Putrajaya was taking proactive measures to address concerns raised by the Malay Rulers over 1MDB, have come to nought.

Hence the national and international firestorm over Attorney-General Apandi’s decision. Read the rest of this entry »