Archive for category Islam

Najib should speak up on behalf of all Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, to deplore US President Trump’s Islamophobic tweets

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, should speak up on behalf of all Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, to deplore United States President Donald Trump’s Islamophobic tweets.

The is the time for Najib to rescue his “wasatiyyah” preachings in promoting the Global Movement of Moderates from utter irrelevance and inconsequence. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Saudi Purge Isn’t Just a Power Grab

By Peter Waldman and Glen Carey
Bloomberg
November 9, 2017

It’s a go-for-broke upheaval. The question now, for hopeful investors, is whether the crown prince follows his corruption crackdown by opening up an economy dominated by plutocrats and royal cronies.

It makes sense to be cynical about Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ostensible crackdown on corruption in Saudi Arabia.

Among the 11 princes, 4 ministers, and dozens of well-known businessmen arrested were some of the 32-year-old’s last potential rivals to the Saudi throne.

The move also smacks of an asset snatch. Police nabbed 3 of the Arab world’s 10 richest men, including investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the billionaire best known for rescuing Citicorp in 1991 and making big bets on Apple Inc. and 21st Century Fox Inc.

But was it only a Machiavellian power play? Or is this the start of a dramatic, go-for-broke attempt to transform a country that’s resisted change for decades? Read the rest of this entry »

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Call for a Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights whose terms of reference would include reviewing the ban of over 1,600 books in the past 40 years

It is an honour and privilege to be here to take part in the dialogue on “Maju Malaysia: Buku Sumber Kebijaksanaan atau Penggugat Keharmonian?” at Summit USJ Mall organized at the initiative of the Office of Hannah Yeoh, Selangor State Assembly Speaker and to have such a distinguished panelists of discussants, namely Pak Samad Said, Dr. Ahmad Farouk Musa, Art Harun and Al-Mustaqeem Mahmud Radhi.

Recently, there had been a spate of bans on books and publications, but the most shocking was the ban in July on the book produced by G25 titled “Breaking the Silence: Voices of Moderation ― Islam in a Constitutional Democracy” in a country founded on the principles of moderation, tolerance, openness and inclusivity and whose Prime Minister has gone to the United Nations General Assembly three times since 2010 to sell his international initiative of a Global Movement of Moderates, which has proved to be neither global, a movement nor moderate.

Early this month, the government banned the latest work of Malaysian cartoonist Junar, whose book “Sapuman: Man of Steal”, making a mockery of Malaysia’s commitment to human rights and freedom of expression. This follows earlier bans on Zunar’s other cartoon books – Gedung Kartun, 1 Funny Malaysia, Isu Dalam Kartun (Vol 1, 2, 3), Conspiracy to Imprison Anwar, Perak Darul Kartun and Pirates of Carry-BN. Zunar’s Ros in Kangkongland and other titles are also investigated under the Sedition Act.

Malaysia also banned the international best-seller “Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty” published in United States in 2011, just after an unpleasantly-enforced end to a lecture tour by Turkish author Mustapha Akyol, who suddenly found himself a “persona non grata” by the religious authorities in Malaysia, subjected to harassment and detention. Read the rest of this entry »

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I will return Saudi Arabia to moderate Islam, says crown prince

Martin Chulov in Riyadh
Guardian
Tuesday 24 October 2017

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has vowed to return the country to “moderate Islam” and asked for global support to transform the hardline kingdom into an open society that empowers citizens and lures investors.

In an interview with the Guardian, the powerful heir to the Saudi throne said the ultra-conservative state had been “not normal” for the past 30 years, blaming rigid doctrines that have governed society in a reaction to the Iranian revolution, which successive leaders “didn’t know how to deal with”.

Expanding on comments he made at an investment conference at which he announced the launch of an ambitious $500bn (£381bn) independent economic zone straddling Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, Prince Mohammed said: “We are a G20 country. One of the biggest world economies. We’re in the middle of three continents. Changing Saudi Arabia for the better means helping the region and changing the world. So this is what we are trying to do here. And we hope we get support from everyone.

“What happened in the last 30 years is not Saudi Arabia. What happened in the region in the last 30 years is not the Middle East. After the Iranian revolution in 1979, people wanted to copy this model in different countries, one of them is Saudi Arabia. We didn’t know how to deal with it. And the problem spread all over the world. Now is the time to get rid of it.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Before Annuar continues with his tirades and lies about the DAP being anti-Islam, he should ask himself whether he is worthy to be a “warrior of Islam” when he is a walking example of the “curse of kleptocracy” in Malaysia?

Before the UMNO Information Chief Tan Sri Annuar Musa continues with his tirades and lies about the DAP being anti-Islam, he should ask himself whether he is worthy to be a “warrior of Islam” when he is a walking example of the “curse of kleptocracy” in Malaysia?

In recent years, Malaysia has suffered from the curse of the “kleptocratic culture” which has resulted in Malaysia becoming the object of world-wide scorn and ridicule as a “global kleptocracy”.

The most egregious example of this curse of kleptocratic culture is undoubtedly the international multi-billion dollar 1MDB money-laundering scandal.

Although not as egregious as the 1MDB scandal, the MARA and Felda/FGV scandals rank high on the list of corruption scandals constituting the “curse of kleptocratic culture” in the country which will be the subject of root-and-branch investigations by a Pakatan Harapan Federal Government if Pakatan Harapan can topple UMNO/BN in the 14th General Election. Read the rest of this entry »

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Kassim Ahmad: The passing of a great Malay intellectual

Rosli Dahlan
Free Malaysia Today
10th October 2017

Today, we mourn the passing of a great Malay intellectual, a towering Malaysian who stood firm in his belief to his last breath. At 10am on Oct 10, Kassim Ahmad passed away in Kulim Hospital after slipping into a coma two days ago.

Kassim was known as a non-conformist thinker, who was seen as being highly critical of the religious authorities, and more recently of Jabatan Agama Wilayah Persekutuan (Jawi).

His books were banned and Jawi considered him to be a heretic. It is unknown to many that Kassim who was born on Sept 9, 1933 was the son of an Islamic religious teacher, Ahmad Ishak. Kassim’s religious knowledge therefore was not skin deep.

On Feb 16, 2014, Kassim was invited to speak at the Perdana Foundation in Putrajaya. The topic was “Hadis: Satu Penilaian Semula” and “Hadis: Jawapan kepada Pengkritik”.

The media reported about his speech. And following the media coverage, Jawi proceeded to persecute Kassim relentlessly. On March 26, 2014, Jawi officers raided Kassim’s house in Kulim, Kedah. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysian launderette owner stirs Asian hornet’s nest

By James M. Dorsey
Huffington Post
09/28/2017

Uproar about a launderette owner’s decision to bar non-Muslims from using his service has focused a spotlight on broader discriminatory attitudes in Malaysian society as well as elsewhere in Asia that are reinforced by Saudi-inspired ultra-conservative interpretations of Islam.

In contrast to many Asian leaders who have been reluctant to confront-ultra-conservatives head-on, Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Sultan Iskander, the sovereign of the Malaysian state of Johor, did not mince his words in forcing the launderette owner to rescind his ban on non-Muslims and insist that Johor was “not a Taliban state.”

The silver-lining in the launderette owner’s controversial move is the fact that it sparked debate about discrimination in Malaysia. Malaysian opposition member of parliament Teo Nie Ching announced that she was considering introducing legislation to strengthen anti-discrimination in the country’s legal code. It was not immediately clear whether she would tackle Malaysia’s banning of the use of the word Allah by Christians and repression of the country’s miniscule Shiite community in any proposed legislation.

Similarly, Malaysian lawyer Syahredzan Johan asked on Twitter what the difference was between what the difference was between a launderette owner refusing to service non-Muslims and Malaysian Chinese accepting only Chinese roommates or Malaysians refusing to rent properties to Africans. Read the rest of this entry »

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From My Detention in Malaysia, Thoughts on Islam and Tolerance

Mustafa Akyol
New York Times
SEPT. 28, 2017

I am writing this column from an airplane, on my way from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to my new home, Wellesley, Mass. I’m in a comfortable seat, and I’m looking forward to getting back to my family. About 12 hours ago, though, I was miserable, locked in a holding cell by Malaysia’s “religious police.”

The story began a few months ago, when the Islamic Renaissance Front, a reformist, progressive Muslim organization in Malaysia, invited me to give a series of lectures on Islam, reason and freedom. The group had hosted me three times before in the past five years for similar events and also published the Malay version of my book “Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty.” I was glad for the chance to visit Malaysia again.

I arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Sept. 22. The next day I gave my first lecture on the suppression of rational theology by dogmatists in early Islam, making the point that this “intellectual suicide” still haunts Muslim civilization. Read the rest of this entry »

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A recent upsurge of race and religious issues over beer, shorts, launderette and Christianisation to compensate for the disastrous flops over Najib’s meeting with Trump and RCI on forex losses to target Mahathir and Anwar

There has been an upsurge of race and religious issues over beer, shorts, launderette and so-called Christianisation to compensate for the propaganda setbacks suffered by UMNO/BN over the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s meeting with US President Trump and the failure of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to target former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and former Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The Cabinet should take heed of the call by the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) Chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail – whose distinguished diplomatic service included a year as President of the United Nations General Assembly – that Putrajaya should “take stock of the drift towards religious extremism”.

The prospect of creeping Talibanisation is the concern of all moderate and patriotic Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, culture or region, who love Malaysia and want the country to be an oasis of peace and harmony in a very troubled world and be an example to the world of how a plural society formed out of diverse races, religions, languages and cultures could unite to build a harmonious, tolerant, moderate and modern nation which is just, democratic, progressive and prosperous. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib has recently developed very Trumpish habit with a special appetite for chest-thumping about the greatness of his premiership but why has he studiously avoided the subjects of Malaysia turning overnight into a global kleptocracy and the creeping Talibanisation in the country?

Najib has recently developed very Trumpish habit with a special appetite for chest-thumping about the greatness of his premiership but why has he studiously avoided the subjects of Malaysia turning overnight into a global kleptocracy and the creeping Talibanisation in the country?

Recently, since his return from his visit to the White House and meeting with US President Trump, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has developed very Trumpish habit with a special appetite for chest-thumping about the greatness of his premiership, but why has he studiously avoided the subjects of Malaysia turning overnight into a global kleptocracy and the creeping Talibanisation in the country?

Examples of such Najib’s “Trumpish” chest-thumping, which started with his return from his White House visit ten days ago, are: Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia police say beer festival axed due to security fears

ABC
United States
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Sept 21, 2017

An annual beer festival in Kuala Lumpur has been axed due to information that militants were planning to sabotage the event, police said Thursday.

The Kuala Lumpur City Hall on Monday banned the “Better Beer Festival,” scheduled for Oct. 6-7 in a shopping mall, without giving any reasons. It followed protests from an Islamist party that called it a vice festival that could lead to criminal acts, rape and free sex.

The festival, which features craft beers from 43 breweries worldwide, has been held in Malaysia annually since 2012. The cancellation has angered many Malaysians, who slammed it as a sign of growing Islamization in the country.

National police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun said police have information that unidentified militants were planning to sabotage the event because it was deemed to be against their struggle. He said that several other parties, which he didn’t name, were also planning to create chaos at the festival.

“To avoid any incident beyond our control, police have to be proactive by objecting to the organizing of the festival in order to ensure public safety and security,” he said in a brief statement. Read the rest of this entry »

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DAP supports Islamisation based on Constitution which promotes a nation-building process based on tolerance and mutual respect in a plural society and not one which engenders bigotry, hatred and extremism

I was attracted to a commentary by the former ASEAN secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan, a Thai Muslim who is former Thai foreign minister, who was in Kuala Lumpur yesterday for a regional conference entitled “State of Democracy in Southeast Asia: Achievements, Challenges, Prospects”.

Surin said right up to the 80s, Islamisation used to be a good word where people integrated Islamic values and norms into every aspect of their life including in education, work and economic development.

However, now he said the meaning has taken a turn to becoming more restricted, less tolerant and complicating the efforts in governing a diverse country like Malaysia and other countries in the Islamic world.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Restrictive education against spirit of Islam, says ex-Asean chief

Minderjeet Kaur | September 2, 2017
Free Malaysia Today

Former Asean secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan says until the 80s, Islamisation meant good Islamic values but now it has turned to mean more restrictions, less tolerance.

KUALA LUMPUR: The former secretary-general of Asean, Surin Pitsuwan said a restrictive and limited form of education was generating a shallow mindset among Muslims.

“There is an emphasis on the fundamentalist message that it has to be interpreted in one way and no other way.

“I don’t think that is the spirit of Islam. The spirit of Islam is to allow individuals with his or her own intelligence to be able to make judgements on some of the issues with the spirit of Islam in mind.”

He said when it is interpreted so literally, which is the fundamentalist approach, there is a tendency to limit mindset, and limit space in interaction with the world.

“The world is a diverse space. Everyone is a minority in the globalised world. We are not living on the planet alone. If our way is the only way exclusive of the rest, then that will turn us into an island.

“An island of insecurity and lacking confidence in interacting with the world,” Surin told FMT. Read the rest of this entry »

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Let Hadi appear before the Memali tragedy RCI to testify the impact of Amanat Hadi on the loss of 18 lives in 1985 and how he could reconcile Amanat Hadi with his present intimate relationship and defence of Najib, 1MDB scandal and Malaysia as a ‘global kleptocracy’

Former Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Rahim Noor said in an interview with The Malaysian Insight today that he did not understand why the PAS President Datuk Seri Hadi Awang would want to resurrect the Memali tragedy in 1985, as “it will emerge that he had played a role in it”.

Rahim said that if a Royal Commission of Inquiry is to be held into the Memali tragedy, “we won’t be able to avoid the fact that the ‘Amanat Hadi’ had played a role in causing the Memali incident”.

“Amanat Hadi” refers to Hadi’s speech on April 7, 1981, in which he declared Umno and Barisan Nasional an infidel government who ruled like colonialists.

In “Amanat Hadi”, Hadi, the then PAS Terengganu commissioner had said: Read the rest of this entry »

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In Barcelona, a heartening rejection of Islamophobia

By James McAuley
Washington Post
August 20, 2017

Spain investigates large-scale terrorist plot

BARCELONA — In the aftermath of Europe’s latest terrorist attack, a set of familiar tensions clouded this sunny, vibrant city Sunday.

Some here insist that Barcelona is a state of mind, a nonstop celebration of the good life where anyone is welcome and anything goes. But then came the almost predictable events of last week. In a scheme that resembled recent assaults in Paris and Brussels, a group of young, local Moroccan Muslim men — some of whom spoke Spanish and Catalan better than Arabic — staged Spain’s deadliest attack in more than a decade. The Islamic State later claimed responsibility for their actions.

Suddenly, Barcelona — and the surrounding region of Catalonia — is being put to a test that has faced not just Paris and Brussels, but also Nice, Berlin, Stockholm and London in the past two years. At stake is the place of the region’s Muslim community, the largest in Spain. Read the rest of this entry »

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If in 14GE, PH can draw away a further 10% Malay voter support and 5% non-Malay voter support in Peninsular Malaysia as compare to 13GE, a new PH Federal Government will be formed in Putrajaya

Disaster for Malaysia has struck three in a row – to the detriment of Malaysia as a favourite foreign investor haven and the pride of Malaysians about the international reputation, standing and ranking of Malaysia in the international community of nations.

First, Malaysia overnight became a global kleptocracy (I defined in Parliament as a government of 3Ps – Pencuri, Perompak and Penyamun), as result of the infamous international multi-billion dollar 1MDB money-laundering scandal, with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) filing the largest kleptocratic civil suit to forfeit some US$1.7 billion of 1MDB-linked assets in the United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland, naming 1MDB culprits including the easily identifiable “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” (“MO1”) and the Penang billionaire Jho Low; now superseded by DOJ’s latest decision to ask for its civil suits for the forfeiture of the 1MDB-linked assets to be put on hold while the DOJ and Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) focus on criminal invesgigations into the 1MDB scandal.

Second, we became a kakistocracy – a government by the worst people in the country, completely unscrupulous and unprincipled, where the various national instruments were wantonly abused to prop up kleptocracy in the country. An example is the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) arrest of Penang DAP Exco member, Phee Boon Boh, clearly not to fight corruption but to “whitewash” and distract public attention from the1MDB global kleptocracy scandal, “MO1” and the RM117 million 22-carat rare pink diamond necklace stolen from 1MDB funds and giv en to the “wife of MO1” as a gift by Jho Low.

But a third disaster was waiting to strike against Malaysia, and this happened today when international Islamic scholars and academicians, like Professor Zachary Abuza and Almad el-Muhammady, declared that Malaysia is not the moderate state that it used to be and that Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s “Global Movement of Moderates” initiative was nothing but a big bluff on the international stage. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ban on G25 Book on “Islam in a Constitutional Democracy” marks Najib’s break with five previous Prime Ministers and the rising influence of PAS President on government policy

I am very disappointed that the Cabinet had again proved to be an utterly incompetent and useless outfit, incapable of addressing the great issues of the nation.

I had suggested that the Cabinet meeting last Friday should speak up for a moderate Malaysia for a change, suspend the Home Minister’s ban on G25 book on “Breaking the Silence –Voices of Moderation: Islam in a Constitutional Democracy” and form a high-level committee to hold public hearings whether the book should be banned.

But the Cabinet, the latest personification of the traditional three monkeys with eyes that see not, ears that hear not, and mouths that speak not, completely ignored the issue and there was no statement post-Cabinet on the corrective measures on the shocking, ridiculous and illogical ban on the G25 book.

The ban on G25 Book on “Islam in a Constitutional Democracy” in fact marks Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s break with five previous Prime Ministers – Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, Tun Husein, Tun Dr. Mahathir and Tun Abdullah – on the basic cornerstone of the nation as enshrined in the Malaysian Constitution and reiterated in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the rising influence of PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang on government policy, with regard to Islamic matters. Read the rest of this entry »

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Cabinet today should speak up for a moderate Malaysia for a change, suspend the ban on G25 book and form a high-level committee to hold public hearings whether the book should be banned

The reported ban on G25 book on “Breaking the Silence –Voices of Moderation: Islam in a Constitutional Democracy” is so extraordinary and unbelieveable that the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi must confirm whether he had authorized such a ban and why.

This book is produced by G25, comprising former high-ranking Malay/Muslim civil servants, civic leaders and politicians first formed in December 2014 to call for a rational dialogue on the position of Islam in a constitutional democracy as they are deeply concerned over developments regarding race relations, Islam and extremist behaviour in Malaysia.

In the Open Letter in December 2014 signed originally by 25 prominent personalities, including former secretaries-general, directors-general, ambassadors, judges and prominent Malay individuals who have contributed much to Malaysian society, their spokesperson, Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin, former Malaysian Ambassador to the Netherlands, said she and the others were “deeply concerned about the state of the debate on many issues of conflict on the position and application of Islamic laws in Malaysia”.

Stressing that it was time for moderate Malays and Muslims to speak up, and that “extremist, immoderate and intolerant voices” do not speak in their name, she said:

“Given the impact of such vitriolic rhetoric on race relations and political stability of this country, we feel it is incumbent on us to take a public position and urge for an informed and rational dialogue on the ways Islam is used as a source of public law and policy in Malaysia”.

She also urged more moderate Malaysians to speak up and contribute to “a better informed and rational public discussion on the place of Islamic laws within a constitutional democracy and the urgency to address the breakdown of federal-state division of powers and finding solutions to the heart-wrenching stories of lives and relationships damaged and put in limbo because of battles over turf and identity”.

Now with the ban of G25’s book, what does it imply?

Will G25 itself, comprising former top prominent Malay/Muslim civil servants and public servants and which has since expanded to double its original number but has decided retain the name of “Group of 25” or “G25”, as this is the name that the Malaysian public is familiar with, be next to be banned, signifying a major setback for the cause of a moderate Malaysia and the triumph of extremist and intolerant forces in the country?

Does the ban of G25’s book signify a far-reaching and even seismic transformation in the nation-building directions in the country, where what had been regarded as being in the “out-boxes” for the past six decades have made a grand entrance into the “in-boxes” and what had been in the “in-boxes” under five Prime Ministers from 1957 to 2009 under Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, Tun Hussein Onn, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Abdullah Badawi have now been relegated to the “out-boxes”? Read the rest of this entry »

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MCA can be reduced from a 7/11 party into a ¾ (tiga suku) party in the 14GE if it continues to allow UMNO President to play footsie with Hadi on the RUU355 bill

MCA can be reduced from a 7/11 party (winning only seven parliamentary and 11 state assembly seats) in the 13GE into a ¾ (tiga suku) political party winning only three parliamentary and four state assembly seats in the 14GE if it continues to allow the UMNO President to play footsie with PAS President, Datuk Seri Awang Hadi on the RUU355 Bill.

Malaysians have been watching the stance of the MCA Ministers and Members of Parliament on Hadi’s RUU355 Bill for the past year, and whatever the MCA protestations and public postures, the undeniable fact is that MCA is part of the Barisan Nasional government coalition that has allowed Hadi’s RUU355 Bill, which goes against the very basis of the Merdeka Constitution 1957 and Malaysia Agreement 1963, to get thus far in Parliament.

In fact, without the consent and approval of the Barisan Nasional government and coalition, Hadi’s RUU355 Bill would not appear as the 10th item in the Parliamentary Order Paper when Dewan Rakyat reconvened yesterday.

The question is whether MCA Ministers and MPs will continue to shut their eyes, ears and mouths when the Prime Minister and UMNO President, Datuk Seri Najib Razak continues the playing a long-running “footsie” with Hadi, allowing RUU355 Bill to take priority over all government business and presented to the House but no debate, then amended but postponed to the present meeting without general debate or voting? Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib’s ‘Global Movement of Moderates’ is a failure

Athena Angel
24th July 2017
The Malaysian Insight

SEVEN years after its creation, Najib’s Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) has been spectacularly unsuccessful— being neither global, a movement nor moderate.

At the Najib-sponsored GMM Foundation’s www.gmomf.org, there are also no mission or vision statements, no quantitative or qualitative targets to reach, no quarterly or annual progress reports, and no financial reports to show how GMM is spending Malaysian taxpayers’ money.

It attempted to start a journal with the purpose to “encourage and stimulate serious thinking about aspects of moderation in public policy and related issues of current public interest,” but is still stuck on Volume 1, Number 1, 2014. The foundation’s last newsletter was also published in 2012.

Instead, GMM’s primary purpose seems to be the financing of its CEO Mat Isa to rub shoulders with high-level international dignitaries, shake hands, deliver a couple of half-hearted speeches, sign some non-committal memoranda of understanding where nothing and not much else happens. Read the rest of this entry »

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