Archive for category Augustine Anthony

Anwar Ibrahim in Kajang state seat is good for Malaysia

By Augustine Anthony

When Dato’ Sri Anwar Ibrahim’s decision to run for the now vacant Kajang state seat in Selangor was announced by Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, the current Mentri Besar of Selangor, the extent of criticism against Anwar Ibrahim, PKR and Pakatan Rakyat as a whole ranged from thumbs down and negative to downright hostility.

The looks on the ordinary and mostly educated middle class people whenever this issue was raised was one of disgust.

You cannot defend the indefensible and, in this case Anwar Ibrahim’s candidacy for the Kajang state seat, is the general feeling. A betrayal of voters’ hopes, aspirations and confidence is no small matter and such an act must bear the full brunt of the nation’s backlash.

But there was an unusual landscape during the announcement by Khalid Ibrahim. Not as picturesque as anyone would have expected and not quite like the time during the 13th General Elections and the accompanying euphoria whenever opposition candidates names were announced.

Amidst the gloom, there sits “THE” towering figure in the Malaysian politics. His appearance cleverly hides the depth of his experience, knowledge and understanding of the Malaysian political, social, as well as matters of national policies. The honourable Lim Kit Siang sits on the right side of Anwar Ibrahim while Khalid Ibrahim sits on the left side of the Opposition Leader. That caught my attention.

From the time of my childhood days I have admired Lim Kit Siang. He is a Malaysian success story and richly deserving too. A success story imagined, engineered and achieved not by sheer luck but by unrelenting pursuit and single mindedness of the goal ahead. Read the rest of this entry »


Hishammuddin’s Excuses

Hishammuddin's Excuses by Zunar

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Orang Asli call for recognition of their Ancestral Land

By Augustine Anthony & Bah Tony William Hunt

On 04.12.2009 it was reported in the New Straits Times that some 19,990 Orang Asli families will receive freehold land titles. 

It would generally be expected that the Orang Asli communities will be elated with this announcement but strangely far from being overjoyed with this news, the Orang Asli communities are unhappy and restless.

They ask whether the “receiving” of freehold land titles from the government would mean that they are seen as abandoning their struggle in calling for the government to formally recognize their ancestral lands which they had occupied for generations.

Other concerns of these communities with this government initiative includes the likely breakdown of their traditional communal lifestyle where the land hereon will be treated as individual ownership as opposed to the long entrenched communal ownership  practised by them.
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Seedless Slogans

By Augustine Anthony

People love seedless fruits. It is convenient for our consumption. The value of the fruit ends the moment it enters our digestive system. But a fruit with seeds can maintain continuity if placed in the hands of a creative and resourceful owner.

Just imagine if we pick up the seed and visualize the beginning and the end of what the seed can become, we will see many things that the mind had not thought or perhaps had taken for granted. We will begin to see the seed becoming a shoot, a little plant, then a tree after which it will bear fruits and we get to enjoy the fruits. More fruits mean more seeds and more seeds mean more trees and the cycle continues. Of course we can expand this simplistic explanation into a complex and endless discourse. But in short, in the miniature seed we are able to glimpse the continuity of a grand scheme of things.

Play the concept forward and then play it backward, play the idea from the seed to the fruit and fruit to the seed. We will see nothing but harmony and purpose. The seed has a purpose for which it must grow as a tree to bear fruits and the fruits have a purpose to produce more seeds and the end result is continuity of purpose.
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Entertainment vs Empowerment

By Augustine Anthony

A few of us were chatting and one in the group quipped, “Hey did you see the video footage of that parliamentarian?” To this curiosity, another friend seated next to us immediately raised his voice, “THAT goon? If he can become our parliamentarian, then Popeye can also become our Prime Minister”. Before anyone rushes to think that that reference must always be reserved for the Barisan Nasional politicians, please hold your horses for it was a sharp riposte against one of the opposition parliamentarians.

Entertainment: The art in which even garbage can be glamorized

With our football standards declining to a state where very soon the remote pacific island of Vanuatu might give Malaysia a good drubbing, the disappointed Malaysians can now hope on our politicians for a good weekend entertainment. And have faith and believe that our politicians can truly deliver.

The habit of distracting the nation with entertainments is not something new. It has been happening for as long as we can remember. The only thing is, the methods employed keep changing to suit the flavor of the day.
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Idealism: The heartbeat of a nation

By Augustine Anthony

There are those who subscribe to the principle that to live is everything and by this they believe that we are all here to survive and in order to survive we just have to be practical (realism). On the other hand there are others who subscribe to the principle that a life without idealism is devoid of greatness thus such existence means little. Both are acceptable principles depending on the tint of the glass through which we look at things.


The greatest of the leaders who have had captivated and captured the imagination of any movement or nation with their idealism are people with an aura of simplicity of life and a complexity of mind. In these leaders idealism manifested in all the greatness and glorious honesty to the point where people were passionately attracted to and magnetically drawn to these leaders to wholeheartedly support their cause even to the point of great cost to the personal well being of people .

But in our country today, what kind of leaders are we blessed or cursed with? Far from the simplicity of life and complexity of mind, these leaders manifest the blemished opposite which is a caustic complexity of life and simplicity of mind where superfluous needs takes center stage.
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Change that does not short-change the nation

By Augustine Anthony

The Prime Minister, Chief Ministers and Menteri Besar(s) are prisoners of our archaic system of governance that will turn even the most honest man into a political beast. How sad, indeed.

The system of governance is akin to a vehicle. If you give Lewis Hamilton a 1965 Morris Minor do not expect him to win the Formula One race against our local hero who sits in the latest McLaren-Mercedes car but I am also mindful of the saying that if you give a trainer a horse he might train it to be a race horse but if he is given a mule, do not expect the coveted Kentucky Derby roses.

The politicians are screaming for change. Echoes of these screams for better race relations, a system free of corruption, a nation nurtured with sound education inculcating a knowledge based society and equal opportunities for all but sensitive enough to the welfare of the poor are some of the tantalizing themes often heard everywhere but a theme devoid of tenacity may never clear the path for a national illumination.
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Grassroots – The other definition, the destructive definition

by Augustine Anthony

This is awful!

And I mean awful by the decision of UMNO and Barisan Nasional in fielding Isa Samad (Tan Sri) as the candidate for the Bagan Pinang constituency by-election. I will say no more about the Barisan Nasional candidate or the Bagan Pinang by election but let us explore election time in Malaysia in general.

During election time, it is common to see and hear voters being promised with all kinds of frills in the coming days before polling. It will be the same re-run of the past election campaigns with no thrills of a nation building agenda. For too long, too many politicians from the ruling coalition have engaged Malaysians in this primitive barter trade shamelessly. “You give me the votes and I will give you the roads, boats, goats, dough in loads etc. etc. etc.” This scheming scheme had even turned some opposition politicians into tricky toads.

And the usual ceramahs with a generous dose of hate message. One will be disappointed if the expectation is that the speakers will engage in topics of nation building issues like creating new leaders out of the younger generation, eradication of corruption, improving the system of governance, encouraging better race relations, a promise of better education for our children, assurance of more job opportunity for voters that brings security for families, dedication in fighting escalating crimes, etc. Read the rest of this entry »


Hope lives on in Malaysia: The Hassan Mat Yaacob story.

By Augustine Anthony

Rural folks have many land problems. The safest way to find lasting and meaningful solutions to their problems is to first eliminate all the politicians, bureaucrats and even the office boys who behave like lords of the lands, lording over many of these rural folks who lack confidence to confront them.

Those who had abused the existing laws, particularly the land acquisition legislations with utter disregard for the welfare of the affected people must never forget that their tryst with insidious tyranny has a half life that will soon end.

I say this with confidence not because of the many stirring speeches of great leaders and orators but inspired by the display of resilience by ordinary village folks who are now awakening to a belief system that they can stand up for their rights even as they journey to free themselves from a state of mind that had been shackled by a long train of abuses and usurpations.

One such inspiration is Hassan Mat Yaacob, a padi farmer who refuses to take ‘no for an answer’ to reclaim what was legitimately his.
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A nation ripe with fear

By Augustine Anthony

Wing collar with bands, wearing a black jacket and holding my robe, my brisk stride to the usual work place came to a momentary halt by a gentle voice coming from the back me. “Bos boleh menang kah… ini BN Ooh

In a short given moment, that gentle voice had many misgivings about the state of affairs in our country, but then I had to go or else I will be late. Then with a tinge of despair the parting words came from that gentle voice. “Tapi apa boleh buat, kita mesti undi dia”.

From his attire and the way he spoke my reading is, he must be a civil servant.

Later that evening, I sat down and thought about the words of that gentle voice that were spiked with sadness. There were no hidden meanings to decipher. The emotions were simple and clear to understand. I know. And so let us talk about fear. And not just our fear but of those who are opposed to our thoughts and actions.
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Politicians are rats from gutter. And people?

By Augustine Anthony

I remember watching a movie sometime ago in which two friends were engaged in a conversation of a peculiar topic. The woman comes from an ideal family as opposed to the man who is from a family that has gone through indescribable hardship.

In the conversation the woman poses a question to the man,

The woman: If a wolf enters a house of a farmer and takes the farmer’s child away into the woods and eats up the child, do you think the wolf is bad?

The man: The answer depends on the question asked. Since the question is about the character of the wolf, you need to be a wolf yourself to get the right answer.

Perhaps in law one will call this a subjective test rather than an objective test as absolute certainty in human affairs is an unreliable guide thus a dangerous master.
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Acceptance over Tolerance : The severed head of sacred cow.

By Augustine Anthony

I must thank a local TV Channel for reminding me about the 8 values of 1 Malaysia in their talk show on the 52nd Merdeka Day with Lee Lam Thye (Tan Sri) and Dr. Chandra Muzzaffar as their guests.

Something that one of the hosts said attracted me more than all other insignificant murmurings and mutterings. The body languages of everyone present seem to suggest that one of the 8 values and that is “Acceptance” as opposed to tolerance should be the new approach that all Malaysian should embrace.

A quick check on the prime minister’s website reveals the following:-


On the importance of acceptance over tolerance

I think there’s quite a big difference between the two (tolerance and acceptance). I think when you say you tolerate, you don’t quite like it, but you accept it because you have no choice. But if you talk in terms of acceptance, it indicates a state of mind that you are embracing something positively. I think it’s important for us to migrate from this concept of mere Read the rest of this entry »


Ipoh City Council , do not intimidate the people!

By Augustine Anthony; Chairman, Ipoh City Watch

The City of Ipoh has an approximate population of 710,000 people. Not all are well versed with legal principles to scrutinize and understand news report that may send panic and jittery feelings amongst the residents, especially if such news report touches on legal issues.

It is for this reason that those who are in positions of authority, when called upon to make an announcement in public or when called upon to give a press statement, exercise great care to prevent anxiety and anger amongst the residents.

Take for example the recent news report that appeared in the Star newspaper on 03.08.2009 under caption “Door to door collection” in which, the said news was carried in the following fashion:-

“Ipoh city folks who have defaulted in their assessment payments should not be surprised if they receive knocks on their doors from Ipoh City Council enforcement officers. Datuk Bandar Datuk Roshidi Hashim said the council had sent out enforcement teams to demand payment from defaulters.”

Read the full Star Online report here

If indeed the Mayor had said this as reported in the news paper, then one possessed with some legal knowledge would think of it as an irresponsible comment that is likely to send wrong signal to the public.
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Penan Starvation: People First, Performance Now?

by Augustine Anthony

Time and again I have said that our country is a land of milk and honey but we now suffer a well entrenched system of governance that betrays its own people.

The news report in Utusan Online under caption “Lebih 3,000 Penan kebuluran” is one by product of a system failure.

Malaysia is seen on many occasions as a generous contributor whenever there are calamities around the world. Some of the aids that are despatched are laudably swift, perhaps within days or weeks of such calamities.

Of course we welcome such generosity of Malaysia. But what about our own backyard?
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Repentance in retirement : The Badawi baffle

By Augustine Anthony

A very interesting behavioural pattern is emerging amongst the Malaysian politicians whilst in power and when they are no longer in power. Even prime ministers are not spared.

In Malaysia there are many repressive laws, legislations and stifling administrative procedures that are archaic and unworkable in a modern democratic system of governance.

Often we witness politicians within the ruling government, when called upon to state their views on these laws, governmental directives and administrative procedures, either support it openly or maintain a puzzling silence.

No matter what degree of public outcry, the response is akin to “you shout as much as you can, I am in power and I will decide the way I want it” seems to be the trend in response.

But once they find place in retirement, their views become somewhat perplexingly inconsistent to their earlier views. Suddenly they are now champions of human rights and fundamental liberties.
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Doing the nation a favour, the Najib way

by Augustine Anthony

First it was Yb Lim Kit Siang and now Yb M. Kulasegaran joining the concern few leaders of the opposition that prime minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak’s popularity is a warning to the bickering politicians within the opposition to put aside their differences and present a united and strong opposition or face irrelevance.

Beyond the warring ruling and opposition parties, it must be noted that the approval rating for the prime minister in reality augurs well for the nation as a whole for various reasons among others.

That such high approval rating of 65% within the first 100 days and the need to maintain a continuing rise in the approval rating of the prime minister throughout the period leading to the 13th general election will from now onwards be keenly observed by Malaysians.

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Sri Lankan Humanitarian Crisis Deepens. What can ordinary Malaysians do?

by Augustine Anthony
[email protected]

How much more should the Sri Lankan Tamils suffer before the Malaysian government responds decisively, consistent with its previous efforts in condemning the practices of human rights violations such as :-

1. Apartheid discriminating blacks and coloured in South Africa,

2. Genocide of Muslim population in Bosnia,

3. Atrocities against the Palestinians in the Middle East fighting for their homeland.

Almost three decades of civil war coupled with the aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami that displaced more than 500,000 people, the Sri Lankan Tamils had suffered unimaginable hardship.

But what awaits the Sri Lankan Tamils and the world in the aftermath of the Armed Forces perceived victory against the LTTE is about to explode into a major international crisis unless sooner averted. Read the rest of this entry »


Orang Asli in Perak and the 6th Bushido Code

by Augustine Anthony

I joked candidly that M. Kula, the Ipoh Barat Member of Parliament must have been an Orang Asli in his past life because of his concern and support for my work with the indigenous people of this country. He revved his 4WD on a precariously winding road in the secondary forest that was once ravished and ravaged by the greed of men and narrowly missed the ravine that would have taken all those in the vehicle into the river below.

“You need not be an Orang Asli headman in your past life”, M. Kula was quick with a reply without even looking at me. An instantaneous and poignant response expected of a man who confronts an assortment of rotting issues that emanates unwelcome stench in our midst.

I knew what he was trying to tell me.

The journey beyond that was a humourless exchange of thoughts about the promises and betrayal of Orang Asli for the last 52 years. Though living with physical independence but sadly chained and shackled with a mind of perpetual dependence. Read the rest of this entry »