Archive for June, 2016

Fallacies and facts on the two by-elections

Kim Quek
21 Jun 2016

COMMENT Bombastic assertions abound since the conclusion of the by-elections in Sungai Besar, Selangor and Kuala Kangsar, Perak. Chief among these are Malaysians’ resounding endorsement of PM Najib Abdul Razak’s otherwise precarious leadership and the allegedly corrupt rule of the Barisan Nasional government, as well as a huge shift of Chinese support to BN.

These claims are in reality more fallacy than fact. Read the rest of this entry »


Asia University Rankings 2016: Malaysia must refocus to develop as a higher education power

By Ellie Bothwell
THE World University Rankings
June 20, 2016

The country spends more on higher education than many of its regional neighbours, so why isn’t this reflected in the Asia University Rankings?

Malaysia aims to be the “education hub” of South-east Asia, says Wahid Omar, vice-chancellor of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

“Higher education is the catalyst for innovation for the country and the key agent in revolutionising the lives of the community as a whole,” he says.

While Singapore is the strongest country in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in the rankings, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia are also home to some of the continent’s top-ranked universities.

Thailand leads on the number of representatives, with seven, but the highest-ranked institution in the region outside Singapore is Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, in joint 70th place.

Jamil Salmi, former coordinator of the World Bank’s tertiary education programme, says Malaysia has “more consistently focused on excellence in its university sector” than Thailand and Indonesia and has “one of the highest levels of public spending on tertiary education in the world”.

But Simon Marginson, professor of international higher education at the UCL Institute of Education, says that as Malaysia has “two-thirds of the gross domestic product per head of Korea”, it “should be doing much better”, and he questions whether the country is “paying the price for being a resource-rich economy”.

“This can lead governments to ‘coast’ and underperform in higher education,” he says. Read the rest of this entry »

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The June by-elections and the politics of losing

Bridget Welsh
21st June 2018

COMMENT The by-election results for Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar are in. Umno held onto their seats, and increased its majorities.

Given the tragedy surrounding the polls stemming from the helicopter accident in Sarawak last month, the fact that by-elections disproportionately favour those with access to resources, and the reality that these contests were three-cornered fights with a divided opposition, these results are not unexpected.

The important implications of these by-elections lies less in the winning, but in the losing – as the shifts in campaigning, voting and political alignments reveal that old dreams are gone. Malaysian electoral politics is shifting, and all indications are that the direction is not toward a stronger, more vibrant polity that offers meaningful choices to the electorate. Read the rest of this entry »


Will Muslims lose their freedom of religion without hudud?

Malay Mail Online
June 19, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — Assertions that Malaysian Muslims will be denied their constitutional right to practise Islam without hudud have no basis either in law or the religion, two scholars have said.

Hudud proponents, notably from PAS, seeking to sway Muslims to their side have long argued that the harsh Islamic criminal code is a divine law but Muslim intellectual Dr Chandra Muzzafar said it is not an integral component of the Quran.

“I do not think that if a society does not have certain forms of punishments, penalties for certain offences, it cannot be regarded as the criterion for determining whether the person is able to practise his or her faith,” the president of the International Movement for Justice told Malay Mail Online in a recent interview.

“The essence of faith in Islam is tawhid, which is the oneness of God and if you can live according to that principle in terms of the conduct of your life, I think you are living as a Muslim. Tawhid doesn’t include this notion of certain forms of punishments,” he added.

Tawhid in Arabic means believing in the oneness of God. It is the most crucial aspect of the aqidah (belief), which in turn defines a Muslim.

Tawhid is professed in the shahadah, which is the first of the five pillars of the Islamic faith. The other four are: performing prayers; helping the poor by giving alms; fasting in the month of Ramadan; and performing the Haj or pilgrimage to Mecca, depending on affordability.

As long as Muslims can observe the five pillars — and Muslims in Malaysia have been able to without interference — they are considered to be practising the religious lifestyle required of them in the Quran, Chandra said.

“As long as you are able to live an honest life, you’re upright, you are fair to other human beings, you can pray, you can fast, you can pay the zakat and perform the haj, I suppose you are able to live as a Muslim,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

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If Hadi is right, it must be Allah’s will that 65-year-old PAS is defeated by nine-month-old AMANAH and crushed in Sungai Besar by-election securing one per cent of Chinese votes when it received 75% Chinese voter support in 2013GE

This must be the first time that the UMNO President has beaten PAS President in claiming divine intervention for an electoral victory.

On Saturday night, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said he had turned to God for answers if he was on the right path or whether he had really strayed, and Barisan Nasional’s “thumping victories in Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar by-elections was God’s answer to his prayers”.
Najib said:

“I don’t reply with harsh words. I only want to work. I prayed to Allah, if I am right, then show it.

“(Then) God gave us victory beyond our expectations.”

It will not be long before there will be claims that Najib’s RM55 billion 1MDB and RM2.5 billion “donation” twin global scandals have received God’s blessings as well.

In the two by-elections, the student has outshone the teacher, as the “adviser” took two full days to recover from PAS’ stinging defeats in the two by-elections and to urge PAS supporters not to despair as it is in Allah’s powers to dictate victory for all who uphold Islam.

If the PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang is right, it must be Allah’s will that the 65-year-old PAS is defeated by nine-month-old AMANAH and crushed in Sungai Besar by-election, securing one per cent of Chinese votes when it received 75% Chinese voter support in 2013GE. Read the rest of this entry »

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Let Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections be the last battles for the politics of race and the opening salvoes for the battle for the new politics of good governance, democracy and nation-building

The two Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-election results on Saturday have given rise to ecstasy and euphoria on the one hand and gloom and doom on the other.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib was so elated by the twin by-election results that he even proudly embraced Tun Mahathir’s description of him in Jerlun two days earlier and proclaimed that “Idi Amin of Malaysia is more popular” than Malaysia’s former longest-serving Prime Minister.

UMNO/Barisan Nasional leaders celebrated the “return” of the Chinese voters to Barisan Nasional and there is talk of an earlier 14th General Elections next year although it was scheduled for 2018.

UMNO/BN virtually proclaimed a new political dawn with the mythical “skyrocketing” majorities in two by-elections – 9,191 votes in Kuala Kangsar and 6,969 votes in Sungai Besar.

But as the former Batu Kawan Umno vice chief Khairuddin Abu Hassan has rightly pointed out, BN’s majority was not that big once all the votes for the opposition were taken into account.

If the Amanah and PAS votes are combined, BN’s majority is reduced to 2,086 in Kuala Kangsar or 8.73% of the total votes cast and 2,289 in Sungai Besi or 7.31 per cent. Read the rest of this entry »


Najib sticks it to nemisis Mahathir with twin byelection victories

Amanda Hodge
The Australian
JUNE 20, 2016

The party of Malaysia’s scandal-tainted Prime Minister Najib Razak has won two by-elections in a landslide, further strengthening his rule despite corruption allegations.

Malaysia’s Teflon-coated Prime Minister Najib Razak has claimed a key victory over political mentor-turned foe Mahathir Mohamad with landslide wins in two weekend by-elections.

Mr Najib has survived not only an international scandal over an alleged misappropriation of ­billions from his pet 1MDB state development fund, but also allegations he profited by as much as $US1 billion from the fund, which he denies.

Mr Najib’s Barison Nasional coalition held the west coast seats of Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar on Saturday with increased majorities. Though the victories were expected, the by-elections had been billed as a test of Mr Najib’s ability to lead the party, which has ruled Malaysia for 57 years, back into government at the general election.

On Saturday night, Mr Najib took aim at Dr Mahathir, who referred to the Prime Minister as the “Idi Amin of Malaysia”.

“He called me the Idi Amin of Malaysia. (Well) the Idi Amin of Malaysia is more popular,” Mr Najib told party loyalists. Read the rest of this entry »


Election victories bolster scandal-tainted Malaysian leader

Daily Mail
19 June 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The party of Malaysia’s scandal-tainted Prime Minister Najib Razak has won two parliamentary by-elections in a landslide, further strengthening his rule despite corruption allegations.

Najib’s United Malays National Organization retained the Sungai Besar seat in central Selangor state and Kuala Kangsar in northern Perak state in the elections Saturday with much larger majorities. The elections were triggered after the deaths of the incumbents in a helicopter crash.

The victory was expected due to a fractured opposition, as well as the ruling coalition’s well-oiled machinery and money. Voters in the two rural constituencies are mostly ethnic Malays, the bedrock of support for Najib’s Malay party.

Najib said the victory showed that the people rejected “politically-motivated slander” against his government. Last month, he also secured a major win for the coalition in a state election. Read the rest of this entry »


Embattled PM wins by-elections in Malaysia

Bangkok Post
19 Jun 2016

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s ruling party won two parliamentary by-elections Saturday that were closely watched for indications of whether graft allegations hounding Prime Minister Najib Razak were affecting his governing coalition’s support.

The results in two mainly rural constituencies were largely expected, as support typically runs strong in such areas for the dominant United Malays National Organisation (UMNO).

The UMNO-led ruling coalition also enjoys huge advantages in money and machinery over a splintered opposition.

UMNO candidate Budiman Mohamad Zohdi won the parliamentary seat of Sungai Besar of west-central Malaysia, while Mastura Mohamad Yazid won the Kuala Kangsar constituency seat in the country’s north, the election commission announced.

Both candidates also pulled off a thumping victory as predicted. Read the rest of this entry »


Citizens’ Demands on 1MDB and Najib’s US$1 billion “donation”

The 1MDB Colloquium held in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar on 11th and 12th June 2016 respectively, which was graced by many distinguished speakers have raised many pertinent issues with regards to the Government’s complete lack of accountability with 1MDB.

The recent global developments over 1MDB made it even more imperative for Dato’ Seri Najib Razak to explain what he has refused to explain for more than a year.

We, the undersigned, are citizens of Malaysia demanding clear and direct answers by the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak and his Cabinet on the following pressing questions on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and Najib’s US$1 billion deposits into his personal bank account:

1. Who will pay if 1MDB loses the arbitration case with Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC)?

On 14 June 2016, IPIC has filed its US$6.5 billion worth of claims against 1MDB in London’s Arbitration Court. IPIC is seeking US$3.5 billion bond plus interest that amounts to US$4.8 billion, the US$1.2 billion loan plus interest, and about US$481 million owed to its subsidiary, Aabar Investment PJS.

The above claims followed the discovery that 1MDB has made as much as US$3.5 billion of payments to a fraudulent British Virgin Island incorporated entity, Aabar Investment PJS Limited, which IPIC has denied ownership. Read the rest of this entry »


Twin Malaysia By-Elections to Reveal Level of Support for Najib

by Shamim Adam
June 18, 2016

Voters in two Malaysian districts head to the polls Saturday in by-elections that will indicate the extent of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s hold on his party.

More than 42,600 people in Sungai Besar in Selangor state and 33,000 in Kuala Kangsar in the northern Perak region will pick new lawmakers after a helicopter crash last month killed incumbents from Najib’s United Malays National Organisation, or UMNO.

The vote is the first test of public support for Najib on peninsular Malaysia after a year of political turmoil over funding scandals. Losses or narrower victories could spur concern in UMNO about his ability to steer it to another win in a national election due by 2018. Equally, a strong win for seats already held by UMNO would bolster his grip.

Former leader Mahathir Mohamad has recently lost traction in his bid to convince party officials that Najib is a liability and will cost them a reign unbroken since 1957. Most UMNO divisional chiefs back the premier, even amid concerns about slowing growth and its impact on ethnic Malays, the cornerstone of the party. Convincing wins would help Najib silence the Mahathir-led murmurings about his leadership. Read the rest of this entry »


It is still not too late for every voter, especially outside Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar, to make the historic trip home to vote in the two most important by-elections in nation’s history

The 13-day campaign for the Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar by-elections are over and it is for the 32,632 voters in Kuala Kangsar and 42,365 voters in Sungai Besar to decide the outcome of the two historic by-elections today.

For the past two weeks, I had been shuttling between Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar, and it is my hope that on the 50th anniversary of my political work in Malaysia, I can get a big present – a historic and miraculous victory in the Kuala Kangsar and/or Sungai Besar by-elections.

Can we “write history, create miracle” today?

I confess to be disheartened by a good round-up article in Malay Mail Online, “As poll looms, Sungai Besar voters ask: Should I bother?” by its reporter, A. Ruban, quoting several voters who were staunch supporters of the now defunct Pakatan Rakyat in two minds about casting their ballots in the Sungai Besar by-election. Read the rest of this entry »


A Pakatan Harapan Federal Government will promote Sekinchan as an international tourist destination just as Suee Lin has succeeded in making Sekinchan a top national tourist spot in Malaysia

The Sungai Besar by-election on Saturday will have far-reaching implications and consequences for Sekinchan, Sungai Besar as well as Malaysia, and those who think that the by-election is just about who will be the new MP for the area and will have no other larger meaning or importance cannot be more wrong.

Although both the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections cannot materially change the respective parliamentary numbers and strength of the political parties, a defeat by UMNO in the sixty-year-old UMNO traditional stronghold of Sungai Besar and/or Kuala Kangsar would have an traumatic effect which will affect the future of Datuk Seri Najib Razak as Prime Minister – whether immediately, in the next 24 months or during the 14th General Election by 2018.

In fact, a defeat for UMNO in Sungai Besar and/or Kuala Kangsar will be world news and make history for by-elections in Malaysia, for it would tally with international perceptions and sentiments about the1MDB global scandal hounding and haunting the Malaysian Prime Minister and government, and a clear signal that even Malaysians in semi-urban areas are not politically apathetic or unconcerned about global scandals, good governance and the great questions of right and wrong in public affairs as many had thought. Read the rest of this entry »

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Five “atomic bomb” issues for the AMANAH candidates to hurl at Najib in Parliament if they are elected as MPs on Saturday

PKR Secretary-General and MP for Pandan Rafizi Ramli created quite a stir when at a Kuala Kangsar by-election ceramah, he said that if the AMANAH candidate, Ahmad Termizi Ramli, who is a nuclear physicist, is elected, he would be asked to hurl an “atomic bomb” at the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak in Parliament.

Everybody had a good laugh as they knew that it was a figure of speech, meaning that Ahmad Termizi would be raising in Parliament mega Najib scandals and wrongdoings, as it would be physically impossible for any human being to “hurl” any atomic bomb at anyone in Parliament – as an atomic bomb will be too heavy for any human being to hurl it around as if Termizi is a superhuman weight-lifter. For example, the two atomic bombs, “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki which ended the Second World War in Asia-Pacific in 1945, weighed more than 10,000 pounds each!

But there are cretins who took Rafizi literally as even to lodge police reports as if
Rafizi was issuing a grave threat threatenning the life and limb of the Prime Minister (if so, even DAP leaders will be the first to deplore Rafizi’s speech) and what is even more shocking, the Police took the police reports of the cretins so seriously that Rafizi had been questioned by the police and there is even a possibility that Rafizi may be charged in court for an action which would be the first in the world – for issuing a threat through use of figurative language.

We will wait to see what the Police and the Attorney-General will do in this case, but there is no doubt that if Azhar Shukor and Ahmad Termizi Ramli are elected as MPs in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar respectively, they will be expected to raise issues and scandals of “atomic-bomb proportions” in Parliament. Read the rest of this entry »


820 Indian voters in Sungai Besar will be king-makers in the by-election on Saturday if the contest between the UMNO/BN and AMANAH/PH candidates is a close battle

The Sungai Besar by-election on Saturday is expected to be a close fight between the UMNO/Barisan Nasional and AMANAH/Pakatan Harapan candidates with the PAS candidate taking a poor third position.

If the Sungai Besar by-election is a close battle with the victor winning by a very slim majority, then the 820 Indian voters in Sungai Besar will be the “king makers” who will decide whether Pakatan Harapan candidate Azhar Shukor or Barisan Nasional candidate Budiman Mohd Zohdi is elected as MP for Sungai Besar on Saturday.

I call on every single voter, whether Malay, Chinese or Indian to come out to vote so that there is an even higher voter-turnout than during the 13th General Election in May 2013 when over 88% of the voters cast their votes.

Voters should cast their votes, not as Malays, Chinese or Indians, but as Malaysians to ensure tolerance and harmony among the diverse races, religions, languages and cultures as a fundamental principle for the creation of an united, democratic, just and prosperous Malaysian nation.

Malaysia will be destroyed if we allow the politics of race and religion to create distrust and hatred among the different races and religions, which is why it is important that we educate every Malaysian to respect the diverse races, religions, languages and cultures in Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »

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Was ransom paid or not to Abu Sayyaf for the four Sarawakian hostages? Why has Purtrajaya lost the capacity to guarantee the safety and security of Malaysians in their homeland and waters whether from Abu Sayyaf or Indonesian authorities?

Something is wrong with the governance capability in Putrajaya after some six decades of UMNO/BN government.

When will the soul of Malaysia find peace and tranquility?

The latest trauma to hit Malaysians is today’s report from the Philippines media in Tawi-Tawi that another four Malaysian nationals had been kidnapped off the coast of Sabah and brought to Sulu.

Has the Malaysian government lost the capacity to ensure safety and security for Malaysian nationals in their homeland and waters? Read the rest of this entry »


The SOPA awards for WSJ and Tom Wright for their investigative reports on the 1MDB scandal is “a slap in the face” and as good as an international vote of no confidence in Najib as Prime Minister

Another world recognition for Wall Street Journal’s (WSJ) reporting on the 1MDB global scandal in Malaysia is another nail in the coffin of Malaysia as the new kleptocracy in global society.

In fact, the Society of Publishers in Asia (Sopa) awards for WSJ and its Asian edition economics editor Tom Wright for their investigative reports on the 1MDB scandal is “a slap in the face” and as good as an international vote of no confidence in Najib as Prime Minister.

Unless the Prime Minister himself can conduct town-hall meetings in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar these two days and give full and satisfactory accounting on the nations’ first global financial scandals – the RM55 billion 1MDB and RM4.2 billion “donation” twin scandals – and why there had been a string of adverse international developments and censures for Malaysia over the 1MDB’s global embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption, the voters of Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections on Saturday should stand up and speak with one voice on behalf of 30 million Malaysians to reject the UMNO candidates to send a clear and unmistakable message, viz:

“Enough is Enough. Malaysians have enough of the endless adverse international developments over the 1MDB scandal and want Najib to bring a closure to all the allegations of 1MDB embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption before the 59th National Day on August 31, 2016 or he should step down as Prime Minister on the 59th National Day!” Read the rest of this entry »


Ismail Sabri reminded of my three tweets to him that I am prepared to forgive him but he must apologise for his nefarious lies about me or I will pursue the matter and not let matter rest

Earlier today, I sent three tweets to the Minister for Rural and Regional Development, Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakub, as follows:

1. @IsmailSabri60 You can run, you cannot hide. Where are your examples to substantiate your allegation that I had been anti-Malay anti-Islam?

2. Most shocking in this holy month of Ramadam @IsmailSabri60 can still tell such nefarious lies. Am prepared to forgive you if you apologise.

3. If @IsmailSabri60 does not apologise, I will pursue the issue whether in Parliament or the courts. Ball in your court. Over to you.

There has been thunderous silence from Ismail who had pretensions that he is one of the most Internet-savvy Cabinet Ministers in the country.

Ismail had said that he can compile a whole book to prove that I am anti-Malay and anti-Islam and I had told him that the book can wait, but to cite an instance a day up to the by-election polling day on Saturday 18th June 2016 that I had been anti-Malay and anti-Islam in my 50 years in politics.

Three days have passed and Ismail already owed me three examples. Will he come up with one example a day today and tomorrow, to produce a total of five examples in time for the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections – which should be “chicken-feed” since he claimed that he could compile a book, which should have at least 100 examples.

I had hoped to make some money from Ismail but he seemed to have realised that he is on a slippery slope which would be very costly for him. If Ismail has now realised that he had wrongly defamed me, he should have the honesty and decency to publicly apologise for telling baseless lies and falsehoods about me – especially in this holy month of Ramadan. Read the rest of this entry »

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Arul Kanda’s unprecedented appearance in Sungai Besar a triple admission of the impact of the Colloquium on 1MDB scandal in Sekinchan, the lack and loss of credibility of government explanation on 1MDB scandal as well as 1MDB impact on Saturday’s by-elections

The unprecedented appearance of the 1MDB president and executive director Arul Kanda in Sungai Besar is a triple admission – the impact of the Colloquium on 1MDB scandak in Sekinchan last Saturday which was opened by former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, the lack and loss of credibility of government explanation on the 1MDB global scandal as well as the 1MDB impact on Saturday’s by-elections.

The 1MDB president and executive director’s programme in Sungai Besar showed that Arul Kanda’s job is more a PR one than to really solve the global financial scandal, especially as it is the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself who is sitting on top of the mountain of 1MDB debts and problems since the very start of the so-called national sovereign fund some seven years ago.

Why is Arul Kanda acting like “a thief in the night” refusing to comment when asked by the press whether he was campaigning for UMNO/Barisan Nasional in the Sungai Besar by-election, when his job should be to resolve Malaysia’s greatest global financial scandal in the nation’s history?

As 1MDB is a 100% government company, Arul Kanda is finally paid from the taxpayers’ monies and no more than a public servant.

As such, he should owe his loyalty to the 30 million Malaysians and not just to his formal employers – the 1MDB, the Ministry of Finance or the Prime Minister himself.

Can we expect Arul to give the 30 million Malaysians, who are his final employers, a full and unvarnished account of the woes of 1MDB, and how a “strategic” national sovereign fund should end up in such pathetic straits, threatening to drag the country to precedented debts and economic woes and liabilities? Read the rest of this entry »


High and low points in the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections

The Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections the last 10 days have seen ups and downs, high and low points, sublime commitment and lowly farce of the Malaysian community.

A high point in Kuala Kangsar – when a young Malay youth approached me during my walkabouts in Kuala Kangsar town, asked for a selfie assured me that I have his support and his friends in my advocacy for national unity, religious tolerance, good governance and healthy democracy in Malaysia. A young Malay who is proud to be a Malaysian!

A high point in Sungai Besar this morning – when a trader in Sekinchan related how she told off MCA telephone propagandists who phoned and warned her not to vote for AMANAH as they are no different from PAS, with her immediate rebuttal why UMNO is cozying up to PAS and why MCA dare not stop or oppose such a new political alliance? An ordinary citizen who is not as dumb as MCA propagandists think!

Both these “high points” in the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-election campaign restored my confidence in the future of Malaysia and my faith in ordinary Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region, and their ability to distinguish right form wrong, good and bad, however intense and saturated the propaganda offensives of UMNO/BN machinery.

But there were also low points and even low farce in the two by-election campaigns, like: Read the rest of this entry »