Archive for March 10th, 2016

Fears Over Malaysia Mecca Fund Test Najib’s Main Support Base

Shamim Adam
March 10, 2016

For Malaysia’s 18 million Muslims, the ultimate in holy duty is to travel to Mecca, a pilgrimage that can require decades of saving. Now the fund that holds much of their money is under a cloud, a fresh challenge for a scandal-hit government.

Concerns over unpopular and unprofitable investments at the government-linked fund may erode loyalty to Prime Minister Najib Razak among his main supporters — rural-based ethnic Malays — and potentially do more damage than a clutch of political funding probes that have been running for months.

The premier has so far weathered the fallout from a $681 million donation investigation and alleged financial impropriety at state investment company 1Malaysia Development Bhd. But controversy over the Hajj fund known as Lembaga Tabung Haji — a statutory agency under the Prime Minister’s Department — cuts to the heart of religion in the secular Muslim nation, and the fund has almost 9 million depositors. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on youths and students to make the ban on Asia’s best debater, Syed Saddiq 23, in public universities the cause célèbre in Malaysia to demand academic and democratic freedom for youths and students

Asia’s best debater, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, 23, has been banned from a third public university, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), after he had earlier been banned from Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (Usim) and Universiti Tenaga National (Uniten).

The Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh had passed the buck of responsibility for the ban on Syed Saddiq by Usim and Uniten to the public universities concerned, claiming that the ban was because of the autonomy which his Ministry had devolved to the public universities.

Idris cannot wash his hands from responsibility for the ban on Syed Siddiq so easily.

Everybody knows that Idris was evading his responsibility as Higher Education Minister and was trying to pass the buck of the ban by Usim and Uniten to the public universities concerned.

But the third ban on Syed Siddiq by Unimas provides irrefutable proof that there was a directive from the Higher Education Ministry to all public universities to declare Asia’s best debater as persona non grata in the campus of all public universities. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Chinese view of the Citizens’ Declaration

Rama Ramanathan
The Malaysian Insider
10 March 2016

Last week 45 prominent persons signed “a Citizens’ Declaration”. They signed in their personal capacity. However, when we see many of them, we immediately recall the organisations or histories they represent.

The organisations include Bersih 2.0, the coalition for free and fair elections which has evolved into a movement to restore parliamentary democracy, and C4 (Centre to Combat Cronyism and Corruption).

The histories include victims of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s use of the Internal Security Act (ISA) to silence those who criticised his reign which was characterised by cronyism, corruption and erosion of public institutions. Even, Lim Kit Siang of DAP and Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu (who was formerly of PAS) signed.

They signed the declaration at the invitation of Dr Mahathir. The declaration called for the removal from office of Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Some have denounced those who signed. They’ve given many reasons. I’ll list just six: Read the rest of this entry »


Parliamentary Reform in Malaysia a most peculiar animal when other countries see parliamentary democracy taken to a higher stage of development but in Malaysia we are trying but failing to achieve what had been parliamentary practices in early decades of nation-building

Yesterday, the Speaker of Parliament, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia announced three of his four proposals for parliamentary reforms, viz. Minister’s Question Time on Tuesday and Thursdays, reduction of the period for submission of questions from MPs to 10 days from the existing 14 days and a second Chamber to deal with emergency motions tabled by lawmakers.

The Speaker’s announcement was followed by a statement by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said pledging that the government is committed to the successful implementation of Parliament’s transformation, and disclosing that the Cabinet had agreed to three of the four proposals at its meeting on Jan. 20.

She thanked the Speaker for clarifying to the media on any misunderstanding that the executive was interfering into the affairs of the legislature.

What an irony! Azalina did not realise that she had just publicly confessed to the sin of executive interference in parliamentary affairs when the Cabinet had to give the final approval on Jan. 20 to three of the four parliamentary reforms.

This is March 10. Why have the proposed parliamentary reforms not be tabled in the House? This does not bespeak of efficiency of Parliament or the Speaker’s Office.

Parliamentary reforms should be the sole prerogative of Parliament and not contingent on Executive or Cabinet approval. Read the rest of this entry »

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The imprisoned Malay mind

– M. Bakri Musa
The Malaysian Insider
9 March 2016

In my first three essays I pointed out that the Malay problem is real and not a mere myth. It is also solvable and not unique unto our community. Thus there is much that we can learn from others.

I posited that the four critical foundations of society – leadership, citizenry, culture, and geography – interact with one another in a feed-back loop mechanism. Where the interaction is positive, that society would advance fast; where negative, it would be in a quick downhill slide.

Of the four, only geography is immutable. Of the remaining three, leadership is the easiest to change; culture, most difficult. Read the rest of this entry »


Mahathir And Anwar Vs Najib: How Will It End? – Analysis

By Yang Razali Kassim
MARCH 9, 2016

Malaysia’s rambunctious politics has entered an even more unpredictable phase with political foes Mahathir Mohamad and jailed Anwar Ibrahim joining hands to unseat Prime Minister Najib Razak and push for systemic change. Where will all this lead?

The unthinkable is happening in Malaysian politics. It is triggered by the deepest political crisis the country has ever known, at the centre of which is Prime Minister Najib Razak. Forced by a common desire to end the turmoil by unseating Najib, two bitter foes – former premier Mahathir Mohammad and his jailed former deputy Anwar Ibrahim – have joined hands in what has long been thought an impossible alliance.

Aptly described as a sea-change in Malaysian politics, never before have such sworn enemies buried their hatchets for a common cause – and never before had that been a joint cause celebre to sack a sitting prime minister. By launching his rainbow “core group” of concerned citizens of various political stripes and leanings to “Save Malaysia”, Mahathir has once again thrust himself into the eye of the storm to redefine the political landscape. In the same vein, with Anwar in jail, all the disparate forces that have aligned themselves against Najib over the 1MDB investment fund scandal have finally found someone of stature to rally around in a marriage of convenience. It is ironic that the man who crushed the opposition while in power has remade himself in retirement as the de facto leader of what in essence is a citizens’ revolt. Read the rest of this entry »