Archive for category General

MARA under Annuar Musa’s chairmanship is the third example of the kleptocratic culture after the international multibillion dollar 1MDB money-laundering scandal and Felda

Yesterday, at the Pakatan Harapan FELDA Convention in Shah Alam, I spoke of the curse of the “kleptocratic culture” which has resulted in Malaysia becoming the object of world-wide scorn and ridicule as a “global kleptocracy” because of the international multi-billion dollar 1MDB money-laundering scandal.

This “kleptocratic culture”, for which the sixth Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak must bear full responsibility as it was non-existent under the first five Prime Ministers – Tunku Abdul Rahman, Razak, Hussein Onn, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and Abdullah Ahmad Badawi – is not just about the country’s largest global kleptocratic money-laundering scandal, but the cause of FELDA succumbing to the curse of kleptocracy.

When a person removed as a Minister for money politics and corruption could be appointed as FELDA Chairman for five years, it is no surprise that FELDA succumbed to the culture of kleptocracy, resulting in a slew of FELDA problems not only about corruption among FELDA bureaucrats, but increasing woes of 1.5 million FELDA settlers and their dependants, whether concerning Felda Global Ventures (FGV), Perumahan Generasi Kedua, GSA, education, etc.

But the 1MDB scandal and FELDA are not the only examples of the curse of the culture of kleptocracy which has permeated into all aspects of national life, which is why Malaysia’s 2016 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) of Transparency International (TI), both in ranking and score, are even worse than 22 years ago, when TI CPI first made its annual appearance in 1995.

Other countries like China, India and Indonesia have been impressive strides in the anti-corruption campaign in the past two decades, but Malaysia’s ranking and score of the annual TI CPI are even worse than two decades ago. Read the rest of this entry »

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Reforming and rethinking public universities in Malaysia

Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi
UCSI University

The purpose of this short writing is to help the Ministry of Higher Education reform and rethink public universities to answer some of the problems that educational bodies and the public has raised.

Firstly, there was a scathing report that said the budget for Malaysian public universities in the last few years have been on par with other developed nation but its performance in research output, employability and enrolment leaves much to be desired. Secondly, the Ministry is facing criticism to justify its massive budget cuts.

The Ministry’s weak response on university’s over dependence on public funding is at best confusing. My answer to these problems is to reexamine the role of public university and make it more relevant to our own social and economic development.

In case one has not noticed, our social fabric is in a complete shambles with racial tensions, religious bigotry and extremism, crime, health issues, drug addiction, institutional failures and mistrust and many others. Not one in many of these issues do I find any serious attention by local academics.

If we can reinstate the primary role of universities to be part and parcel directly in social development, at least we can settle 75% of our problems. We would not need any silly ranking by some dubious body to tell us whether we have addressed the issues plaguing our country. We could see ourselves how we are doing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Do People Hate China’s Dancing Grandmas?

By Sky Gidge
thatsmags.com
December 12, 2016

Few have less reason to dance than the older women who flood China’s parks, pavilions and parking lots daily, occupying public spaces with shimmying bodies and ear-ringing music.

They are what one researcher termed “the first generation of lonely mothers” in China’s history; products of economic reform, social change and the one-child policy.

They are left with few social outlets, a limited family circle and no employment, while living in a nation radically different from the one they grew up in.

But to tech worker Vanessa Wu, 28, they are mostly just annoying. Wu doesn’t enter her bedroom until 10pm, when the music finally stops. It begins again in the morning, sometimes as early as 6.30am, echoing from the small square across the street where groups of women dance in front of speakers they wheel in twice daily.

“I get it. It’s their way of keeping up with friends,” says Wu. “It just doesn’t need to be so noisy.”

In the apartment building’s common room, Wu’s words are met with nods from other middle class 20-somethings.

The music and the dancers, estimated at 100-million strong by state media, rattle windows and nerves across China every day. Read the rest of this entry »

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Good wishes to Harith Iskander to become the world’s funniest person in the final of the international competition, Laugh Factory Funniest Person in the World, in Helsinki tonight

Malaysians send good wishes to the country’s stand-up comedian Harith Iskander to become the world’s funniest person in the final of the international competition, Laugh Factory Funniest Person in the World, in Helsinki tonight.

Although Harith, 50, will be facing stiff challenge from four others, Katerina Vrana (Greece), Mino Van Nassau (India), David Kilimnick (Israel) and Alex Calleja (Philippines), he stands a good chance of winning the final as he topped the chart among the 20 semi-finalists last Sunday.

It is fortunate that last year Harith survived the threat posed by UMNO/Barisan Nasional Ministers and Deputy Ministers to stand-up comedians, as UMNO/BN Ministers and Deputy Ministers at the time like Ahmad Maslan, Abdul Rahman Dahlan, Paul Low and even the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, were competing with them to run them out of their jobs with their own comic and clownish statements and actions.

This was why I had occasion to remark last December that very soon, comedians like Harith would have to call it a day because Ministers and Deputy Ministers like Ahmad Maslan, Abdul Rahman Dahlan, Paul Low and even Najib would have taken over their jobs; leaving the professional comedians probably with the option of venturing into politics to encroach into the protected domains of the Ministers and deputy ministers! Read the rest of this entry »

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The evolution of the hudud debate

By Wong Chin Huat
1 Jun 2016, 7:55 am
Malaysiakini

What is misconstrued and misrepresented as hudud in public discourse in Malaysia may be better termed or understood as expansion of syariah law.

Syariah expansion has two dimensions: first, expansion of the jurisdiction of the syariah court to go beyond personal and family matters into hudud and qisas offences, so named after their punishments; and second, expansion of the court’s power to mete out hudud (fixed) and qisas (retaliatory) punishments.

Should syariah law cover non-Muslims?

While the second dimension has reduced the issue to ‘hudud’, the first dimension has defined the public debate so far because some hudud offences (theft and robbery) and all qisas offences (homicide and bodily injuries) may involve non-Muslims as criminals or victims.

This is where the dilemma lies: imposition of syariah law on non-Muslims would mean outright violation of non-Muslims’ religious freedom, while exclusion of non-Muslims would mean inequality by religion between Muslims and non-Muslims.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Jerantut the 95th parliamentary constituency I am visiting to get public feeback on “Mana RM2.6 billion?” and 304 Citizens’ Declaration to Save Malaysia on 4th March 2016

Jerantut the 95th parliamentary constituency I am visiting to get public feeback on “Mana RM2.6 billion?” and 304 Citizens’ Declaration to Save Malaysia on 4th March 2016
Jerantut is the 95th parliamentary constituency I am visiting since my six-month suspension from Parliament on Oct. 22, 2015.

I started off to get public feedback to the two greatest financial scandals in the country, which have brought shame and stain to the nation, hogging international news that Malaysia is topping the world as among the most corrupt nations in the world.

However, since the past two weeks, I am also seeking public feeback on another important national development – the March 4 Citizens’ Declaration to Save Malaysia, which was signed and proclaimed by 45 politcial and civil society leaders, including former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir, former Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, and former Cabinet Ministers.

Many people had asked how Mahathir and I could sit on the same table in view of our past history and the great differences between both of us down the decades. Read the rest of this entry »

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Semangat Rocket

(Speech by DAP Acting National Chairman Tan Kok Wai at Kit Siang’s 75th birthday celebrations at Equatorial Hotel, Penang on 20th February 2016)

Let us salute Sdr Lim Kit Siang. Not just for his 50th birthday but for all the achievements and sacrifices he has made to make Malaysia a better country for all.

We are here to celebrate the birthday of a great Malaysian, a statesman, a legendary hero of the people, as DAP’s parliamentary leader.

And we are very happy to see that Sdr Kit Siang is still going strong. Read the rest of this entry »

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Dedicating his life to Malaysia

(Speech by Allan Goh Chay Foo on behalf of the Class of ’59, High School, Batu Pahat)

Mr. and Mrs. Lim Kit Siang, Classmate Extraordinary,
All Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

A very happy and auspicious new year to you. I am greatly honoured to be chosen to speak on behalf of the classmates of Lim Kit Siang to say a few words on this happy occasion.

The last time I made a speech was when I got married some fifty years ago. Since then, like all good husbands, I have been at the listening end, so I am hopelessly out of practice.

Emerson once said: “our greatest glory is not never failing, but rising up each time we fail.” I think he was referring to Lim Kit Siang.

In his long political career, Lim Kit Siang has fallen many times, often painfully, pursuing his dream of a free and equal Malaysia. Believe me, his efforts are never in vain, because thousands and thousands of like-minded Malaysians are dreaming the same dream right now. And that dream will come true one day!

Lim Kit Siang’s political journey has always been rooted in “otherness”. It was never about self-aggrandizement. It was never about self-enrichment. That path started in a little place called the Batu Pahat High School where Malay, Chinese and Indian classmates rubbed shoulders in equality. Back then, there was never a lesser son under the Malayan sun. Read the rest of this entry »

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“It is no shame for a child to be afraid of the dark, the real tragedy is when a man or woman is afraid of the light”

(Speech by Penang Chief Minister and DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng on the occasion of his father Lim Kit Siang’s 75th birthday celebrations in Equatorial Hotel, Penang on 20 Feb 2016)

This is one of my most emotional speeches I am giving on behalf of my family, my party the Democratic Action Party and many Malaysians to pay tribute in commemoration of Lim Kit Siang’s 75th birthday party.

I am also speaking as a son, the first-born to his father, a son who gave him much anguish and anxiety as well as I hope joy and pride.

I wish to start as a son together with my two sisters Hui Ming, Hui Ying, my brother Dr Lim Guan Choon and also my dearest Mom.

No words can express our honour and blessings to have you as our father principally because we never have to doubt nor question your love for us.

You were always giving and generous and unstinting in your love that we know that even if the whole world was against us, you were always there for us.

Yes, you were never always there for us but your presence brought both solace and comfort, courage and strength to continue and the inner confidence that doing the right thing is the only thing that matters. Read the rest of this entry »

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“My father’s courage, steely determination and endurance in fighting for what is best for the country”

(Speech by Dr. Lim Guan Choon, Lim Kit Siang’s youngest son and fourth child, at Kit Siang 75th birthday party at Equatorial Hotel, Penang on 20 Feb 2016)

A very good evening distinguished guests, dear family and friends, including my father’s classmates from Batu Pahat Year 1959.

On behalf of my family, I would like to thank all of you for coming.

We are gathered here today to celebrate a very special occasion: my father’s 75th birthday.

We were in this same venue five years ago, and we hope to see you again in five years’ time for his 80th birthday party. Read the rest of this entry »

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“…to make many stop crying in despair”

(Speech by eldest daughter of Lim Guan Eng, Rachel Lim on Lim Kit Siang’s 75th Birthday celebrations at the Equatorial Penang on 20 Feb 2016)

My name is Rachel Lim Shay Wan and I am the eldest of Grand Dad Kit Siang’s seven grandchildren. On their behalf, I wish my Grand Dad “Happy Birthday – May you deservedly enjoy a happy, loving, long lasting healthy life!”

We do not know what to give you for your 75th birthday present because you have never cared for material gifts.

If you have, you would not have gone to prison twice or deprived yourself or suffer the painful trauma of seeing your own son, my Dad, go to prison twice.

That is why we never begrudged you when you did not shower us with rich material gifts, when you have nothing yourself. Read the rest of this entry »

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Street racing is a public safety issue

Syerleena Abdul Rashid
22nd February 2016

According to Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor, the government may close several city roads to allow illegal racers or “mat rempits” to race in Kuala Lumpur. Our problem with illegal street car racing is nothing new. In the past decade, numerous reports of vehicle accidents and various gang related activities have been closely linked with the Mat Rempit culture. It is pathetic that until today, the government is unable to address this issue effectively. Instead of conducting research to ascertain best practices to prevent this social ill from escalating further, the government is proposing to sanction illegal street racing.

In general, humans can become easily discouraged when certain expectations or self goals are not met. This feeling of frustration may lead them to drug or alcohol abuse because of the overwhelming problems they face. Peer pressure, deterioration of family values, lack of solid familial structures, lack of discipline and boredom have also been identified by scholars as influencing factors of harmful activities – illegal street racing being one of them.

Strict and effective enforcement is crucial as this can dissuade them from partaking in such activities. On the other hand, softer approaches such as identifying psychological factors should also be carried out as this can provide the long term solution our society needs. Read the rest of this entry »

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Class of ’59, High School, Batu Pahat grieves the loss of another classmate with the passing Dr. Hee Tien Lai in Penang early this morning after attending my 75th birthday reunion last night

(Condolence Message at the death of former Deputy Speaker (MP for Ayer Itam), Datuk Dr. Hee Tien Lai at Lam Wah Ee Hospital on Sunday, 21st February 2016)

The Class of ’59, High School, Batu Pahat grieves the loss of another classmate Datuk Dr.Hee Tien Lai from heart attack in Penang early this morning, after attending my 75th birthday reunion last night.

Tien Lai was former Deputy Speaker of Malaysian Parliament in 1982 and three-term Barisan Nasional MP for Ayer Hitam in Johore.

The Class of ’59 produced three Members of Parliament, Tien Lai, Datuk Mustapha Mohamad former Minister, Ambassador and MP for Sri Gading and myself. Read the rest of this entry »

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The RM7 bil PetroSaudi caper

By P. Gunasegaram | Kinibiz
DECEMBER 19, 2015 10:30AM

First, it was a JV, and some US$700 million out of US$1 billion initial capital ended up in an unrelated company linked to Jho Low. And then it became a loan, and then it became an equity stake and an option which was subsequently sold and invested, over RM7 billion, in the Cayman Islands and redeemed. As much as RM4.2 billion could have gone into extinguishing an option. The rest is still somewhere out there.

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The first major investment that 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) made – an injection of US$1 billion into a joint venture (JV) with PetroSaudi Holdings (Cayman) Ltd, 1MDB-PetroSaudi Ltd – ended in tragedy as US$700 million was immediately siphoned off to a company allegedly related to Jho Low, Good Star Ltd.

Basically, 1MDB injected US$1 billion cash into the JV but PetroSaudi’s share was an asset dubiously valued at US$1.5 billion. The valuation report was presented on the day the valuer was appointed.

While 1MDB was supposed to have injected the US$1 billion into the JV, the JV inexplicably received just US$300 million, with the remaining US$700 million being transferred to a company which was totally unrelated to the JV. Leaked emails indicate that the company, Good Star Ltd, was related to Jho Low.

This was one of the most shocking revelations about 1MDB and although it happened way back in 2009, some six years ago, this was revealed in reports only this year.

Sources say the 1MDB board was extremely unhappy with this then and instructed the management to get the US$700 million back but this was not done. Two board members, Mohd Bakke Salleh and Azlan Mohd Zainol, resigned because of this, the former in October 2009 and the latter in January 2010.

For the first three years of its life since 2009, 1MDB’s sorry role was to put money into the JV and fund PetroSaudi. As at end of Mar 31, 2012, its financial year-end, 87 sen of every ringgit borrowed of RM7.9 billion, or some RM6.9 billion, went into the JV. Read the rest of this entry »

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The colourful family and friends of 1MDB

BY KHAIRIE HISYAM | KiniBiz
DECEMBER 15, 2015 8:00AM

From its inception to the present-day state of disarray, 1MDB counts an interesting – and colourful – group of people who are either directly involved in its operations or who are linked to the company in some manner.

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Controversial 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) has a “triple-tier” corporate governance structure, with a board of advisors chaired by the prime minister himself in addition to having a board of directors overseeing the senior management team.

That adds another shade of perplexing contradiction in light of the company’s dodgy dealings and controversial decisions in the past. KINIBIZ examines in no particular order some important characters involved:

Jho Low, the dealmaker Read the rest of this entry »

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Justice, Truth and Reconciliation for the Tamils in Sri Lanka

The latest development in the decades-old tragedy of the Tamils in Sri Lanka was the one-day hartal last Sunday in the whole of the entire northern province of Sri Lanka, an area mainly inhabited by Tamils, which was brought to a standstill in support of about 300 Tamil prisoners in Sri Lanka who had renewed their hunger strike for the immediate release of all prisoners of war and political prisoners involved in the Tamil war of independence.

All private and public activities, except for medical services, came to a standstill. Students did not attend schools. Roads remained deserted except for the army and police.

The 300 Tamil political prisoners had suspended their hunger strike launched on Oct. 13 demanding freedom for all prisoners at the request of Tamil National Alliance members of parliament, who had urged them to give the government more time to respond to their demand for freedom.

The “War of independence” refers to the armed campaign by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam for an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka. The LTTE was defeated in 2009, but alleged LTTE members are still being held in prison, many of them detained without trial. Some have been detained for up to 20 years. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s ‘strongman’?

BY BRIDGET WELSH

As Malaysia’s premier Najib Tun Razak holds onto power the crisis surrounding the country’s sovereign development fund, 1MDB, has deepened.

In preparations for the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) General Assembly next month, there are moves afoot to purge critics from the party. It had become apparent that Najib will do everything to stay in power.

Short-term Najib has increased his chances for political survival, but in the longer term he has weakened his political foundation by narrowing his base of political support and undermining the political fortunes of his own party.

The following examines several key features that distinguish Najib’s management of the 1MBD crisis from those of earlier premiers. Responses to the scandal suggest that Najib has weakened his leadership.

Past crises

Political crises in Malaysia are not new. The most damaging ones have arisen from within UMNO, the political party that has controlled national government since independence.

From 1969 to 1999, each crisis has seen challenges arising from declining leadership confidence, fierce personalised battles for position, selective arrests of critics, damage of political institutions including the judiciary and the police as well as rises in racial tensions. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s Eventual Fall From Grace

STRATFOR Global Intelligence
Analysis
OCTOBER 22, 2015

Forecast

  • In the near-term, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will survive efforts to oust him over mounting corruption allegations.
  • Whether or not Najib holds onto power longer, the years leading up to the next general elections will be turbulent ones.
  • Political stability, crucial to Malaysia’s economic rise, will be challenged by demographic changes that stress the country’s delicate ethnic balance.

Analysis

A deepening political crisis in Malaysia is highlighting the country’s longstanding ethnic divides and its uncertain road ahead. Since early this year, Prime Minister Najib Razak has been caught in a scandal surrounding the heavily indebted 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) sovereign wealth fund. Among other points of controversy, Najib is struggling to explain the source of nearly $700 million deposited in his personal account.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on Information Department to print a million copies of the Rulers’ Statement on Oct. 6 on their concerns about 1MDB, rule of law and national unity for mass distribution to the public throughout the country

This is the fourth day of the Malay Rulers’ Statement of Tuesday, Oct. 4 expressing their concerns about three national issues causing the crisis of confidence battering Malaysia for the past several months – the 1MDB scandal, the rule of law and national unity in the country.

The UMNO/BN Government’s response to the Malay Rulers’ Statement has gone through various combinations and permutations in the past four days, viz:

*from the initial one of shock and attempt to minimise the adverse impact of the Malay Rulers’ Statement by virtually blacking out the statement in the UMNO-controlled media, printed and electronic;

*the daze-and-haze of the Cabinet at its Wednesday meeting where the Malay Rulers’ Statement was not discussed and no reciprocal action plan produced;

*the belated realisation that the Malay Rulers’ Statement was too potent to be ignored giving way to a campaign to defang its most biting and adverse effects;

*the first official response of the government by way of a statement by the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi more than 48 hours after the issue of the Malay Rulers’ Statement, stating on the one hand that the government viewed “positively” the Malay Rulers’ Statement while on the other dismissing the Rulers’ Statement by declaring that the government had already taken pro-active steps to address the issues raised by the Rulers;

*UMNO/BN cybertroopers using the social media to plant various versions to “defang” the adverse effects of the Malay Rulers’ Statement such as the message that Malay Rulelrs’ Statement was not directed solely at the Government but concerned all political parties and NGOs, to a revised strategy to suggest that the Statement was aimed at the Opposition and finally, postings to question the mala fide of the Malay Rulers by alleging that the Statement was solely the work of the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal without consultation with the Malay Rulers and was the handiwork of people associated with former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir.

The Ministers who have commented on the Malay Rulers’ Statement have also done themselves no favour. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ruling party leaders are dangerously disconnected from the grass roots.

Wall Street Journal
July 29, 2015

OPINION

The scandal engulfing Malaysian politics isn’t getting any easier for Prime Minister Najib Razak. On Sunday Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin broke ranks with his boss and urged him to answer questions swirling around state-owned investment fund 1MDB. On Tuesday the Prime Minister sacked Mr. Muhyiddin and also replaced the Attorney General leading an investigation into the fund.

The firestorm began July 3, when the Journal reported that Malaysian-government investigators found evidence that nearly $700 million linked to 1MDB transited through Prime Minister Najib’s personal accounts. Those documents can now be viewed on WSJ.com. The origin and ultimate destination of the money is not clear.

Mr. Najib’s office denied that the report was true and called it “political sabotage.” But that is not enough for Mr. Muhyiddin. On Sunday he warned that grass-roots support for the ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO) is evaporating because its leaders aren’t offering a public explanation for what happened with 1MDB. “We cannot explain properly because even we don’t know the real facts, so who is going to tell us the real facts, it should be the Prime Minister, true or not,” the Star newspaper quoted him saying. Read the rest of this entry »

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