Archive for category Kee Thuan Chye

What Now After the Umno Elections?

By Kee Thuan Chye

Mohd Ali Rustam lost badly in his bid for a vice-presidency at the Umno party elections last weekend. He managed to win only seven votes out of a possible 191. With the new system of electoral colleges, this means he got votes from seven divisions, as each division made up one electoral college.

In terms of number of votes from individual delegates, he obtained 15,294, which works out roughly to only about 10.4 per cent of the total of 146,500. Significantly, the people who voted are Malays, so Ali Rustam can’t blame the Chinese for his loss this time, as he did for his loss at the recent general election (GE13).

Not only is this poetic justice; it is also a vindication of the fact that the outcome of GE13 was not, contrary to what Umno President and Prime Minister Najib Razak claimed, due to a “Chinese tsunami”. Barisan Nasional (BN) did worse at GE13 because other races rejected it, including the Malays.

In Ali Rustam’s case, he stood in the parliamentary constituency of Bukit Katil, which was made up of 53 per cent Malay voters, 41 per cent Chinese and 6 per cent Indian. So for him to blame the Chinese was simply unfair as the majority of the voters were Malays.

For his Umno vice-presidency defeat, whom is he going to blame? The delegates who didn’t vote for him? Because they might have considered that in 2009, he was disqualified from contesting the same position for engaging in money politics? And that last year, he threw a lavish wedding for his son and incurred a hefty food and beverage bill of RM600,000, which prompted investigations by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC)? Read the rest of this entry »


Chua Should Keep His Word and Quit

By Kee Thuan Chye

Chua Soi Lek is being extremely unreasonable in telling his deputy, Liow Tiong Lai, to quit the leadership of the MCA before he himself will step down. And his push for an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to overturn the party’s resolution not to take up government positions in light of its poor performance at the last general election (GE13) is a betrayal of his pre-GE13 promise.

On these two issues alone, he has lost all dignity and should just slink into a corner and disappear. He should not be blustering like he is doing in order to try and get things his way. It only makes him appear more and more like a dictator, and an irrational one, to boot.

No wonder there are groups within the party campaigning to bring about his downfall. Like the Save Party Committee 3.0 and the ABC (Anything But Chua) movement. The latter was initiated by newly-elected central delegate Lee Hwa Beng, who was summarily sacked from the party last week at a meeting chaired by Chua, clearly to get rid of the latter’s opponents. Read the rest of this entry »


Kill National Service Before It Kills Again

By Kee Thuan Chye
3rd October 2013

Let me be upfront about this. I’ve never been in favour of our National Service (NS) programme, and I think it should be scrapped immediately.

From the day it was implemented in December 2003 – in fact, even when it was first proposed about two years before that – I had thought of it as nothing but a propaganda opportunity for the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government, as another medium it could exploit to pollute young minds with its warped ideas about nationalism and patriotism. And goodness knows what else.

In fact, one of its declared objectives is – brace yourself for it – developing a generation that is obedient and loyal to the Government. Read the rest of this entry »


A-G Spot-on, IGP All at Sea

By Kee Thuan Chye
Yahoo! News
5th October 2013

The Auditor-General’s report for 2012 is alarming. And this is so not only because it exposed huge wastage committed by government departments last year, but also because nothing seems to have changed all these many years.

Year after year, the A-G tells us of cases of improper payment; of purchases made at astronomical prices; of unreasonable project delays; of poor asset management; of non-adherence to procedures, etc, etc. But year after year, nothing is done to address the shortcomings.

It seems as if our civil service just continues to plod on, continues to waste, continues to be inefficient, continues to make corrupt transactions. And the overriding controller – i.e. the Government – just lets it be.

The Government knows from the A-G’s reports that corruption is rife in the civil service, but it probably realises it doesn’t have the moral standing to haul in the culprits. After all, the civil servants are following the example of the country’s leadership. And since the Government has also not shown itself to be accountable for a lot of things, how can we stop the rot? Read the rest of this entry »


Mind Your ‘Transformation’, Please!

By Kee Thuan Chye
Yahoo! News
30th Sept. 2013

“Transformational” is getting to be a hollow word. And the Cabinet ministers who brandish it at will don’t seem to understand its meaning. Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi just showed he doesn’t when he said the bringing back of detention without trial in the newly proposed Prevention of Crime (Amendment and Extension) Bill was “transformational”. Was he using it simply to be in fashionable sync with the Government Transformation Programme?

Is something retrogressive transformational? Is a return to the provisions of the repealed draconian Emergency Ordinance (EO) and Internal Security Act (ISA) transformational? If it is so, then Malaysians are in for a big surprise. And a nasty one too.

Both acts were considered reprehensible to the public, and therefore the Government was forced to remove them. But that was before the 13th general election was called. Now that it’s over, the Government apparently sees no more need in appeasing the public. Pre-election pledges have gone out the window.

A government that is transformational would not hark back to the dark days of Mahathir Mohamad’s reign, when fear was the instrument used to keep people in line. It should instead be demolishing Mahathirism and restoring the damage done to our institutions. No wonder Mahathir is applauding the Bill and blaming the public for “not (being) that developed or educated to appreciate that the law is for their own good”. But then, that’s Mahathir. Always blaming other people. And always asserting that might is right.

The new Bill proposes detaining a suspect for an initial two years, after which period if a review finds that the suspect should be detained further, he will be held for a further two years. This could go on indefinitely in a series of two-year periods. In this sense, it is no different from the EO and the ISA. Read the rest of this entry »


Chin Peng Deserves a Place in His Country

By Kee Thuan Chye
Yahoo! News

The pettiness of the Government has not been so clearly exposed as it is now over the issue of whether the former Communist leader Chin Peng’s ashes should be allowed into Malaysia to be buried in the land he loved and fought for. Even the police – who should have better things to look out for like the increasing incidences of crime – are putting out alerts to prevent the ashes from being brought back from Thailand, where he died. As if these ashes were lethal and could, by some preternatural means, maim the Malaysian populace.

Imagine this. Police personnel stationed at every entry point into Malaysia from Thailand, including at airports, going through the bags of everyone coming in. As if they have nothing better to do. But then, for all we know, the ashes might have been sent to someone in, say, Indonesia instead, and this person comes into Malaysia with it, unchecked. How stupid can it get?

Meanwhile, the authorities still quibble over the trivia that Chin Peng was not Malaysian because he could not produce the necessary documents to prove he was so, but it seems more likely that they did not want to let him return, full stop. Read the rest of this entry »


Not Yet the Real Merdeka

By Kee Thuan Chye
Yahoo! News

As we prepare to commemorate Merdeka Day this Saturday – notice that I do not say “celebrate” – it would be timely to acknowledge that the real “Merdeka” has not happened yet.

I say this because we are still not free. We are still under the thrall of the masters who took over from the colonial ones in 1957. They are no different in their intent to oppress us. In fact, over the last few decades especially, they have proven to be even more oppressive. And if the British imperialists divided us in order to better rule over us, the current masters have outdone them in this respect by employing the mechanism of religion on top of that of race.

The current masters also continue to use the instruments of power inherited from the British to control us, such as the Sedition Act, the Printing Presses and Publications Act, the Official Secrets Act, and the Internal Security Act (ISA) which was replaced by the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act and the Public Assembly Act.

In terms of freedom, we have hardly progressed. When I look back on my growing-up years in the 1960s, I find little difference between then and now. People viewed as Communists (even if they were not) or political threats were taken in under the ISA. Youngsters barely out of school were arrested, and some were robbed of their youth for as many as a dozen years. Read the rest of this entry »


The Government Doesn’t Understand Patriotism

By Kee Thuan Chye

I would like to talk about patriotism. Not just because Merdeka Day is coming up this Saturday, but also because the Government has lately shown its lack of understanding of what patriotism means.

It doesn’t mean flying the flag during the Merdeka month or at any time. That’s put-on patriotism and counts for nothing. It doesn’t mean playing the national anthem at cinemas and getting people to stand up for it.

Patriotism is what you carry in your heart – your love for your country, if you want to put it that way. It is something that makes you decide you will fight to protect it, perhaps even die for it. It is not something for you to shout out and tell the whole world about. Not even in Malaysia, which has a habit of wanting to show off and grandstand – for example, by sending to the prime minister last Merdeka Day the highest number of twits … sorry, tweets.

Patriotism is also about showing concern for your country. At no time was that kind of patriotism more evident than during the run-up to the last general election, on polling day and even after the results had been announced. At no time before had so many Malaysians shown their concern for the country in expressing their reasons to save it from its current corrupt mess. They cared enough for the country to want to see it improve and stop it from going the wrong way.

This was not something forced on them, unlike what the Government is doing now by getting cinemas to screen videos from Aug 28 to Sept 3 to remind people about the significance of independence, and to get cinemagoers to SHOW that they are patriotic by standing up at the end of the videos when ‘Negaraku’ is played. Read the rest of this entry »


We Want to Know Who Killed Altantuya

By Kee Thuan Chye
Yahoo! News

The Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case has taken another appalling turn. First, political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, who seemed to have more of a motive for killing the Mongolian model, was acquitted in 2009, without his defence being called. Now the Court of Appeal has freed the two police commandos convicted by the High Court of actually killing her and blowing her body up with a C4 explosive.

The Court of Appeal acquitted Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar because it ruled that the judge who heard the case in the High Court committed serious misdirection. Among other things, he did not allow then deputy prime minister Najib Razak’s aide-de-camp, DSP Musa Safri, a key witness, to be called to testify, and he failed to establish how the two accused came to possess the C4 and whether there was common intention between them to commit murder.

The Malaysian layman, however, doesn’t want to know the legal implications. He is concerned only with the moral aspects. He knows that Sirul made a cautioned statement describing what he and Azilah did to Altantuya that fateful night, and that he mentioned the offer of a reward of RM50,000 to RM100,000 for killing her.

This cautioned statement was ruled not permissible as evidence by the judge, Mohd Zaki Yassin, and the two commandos were never asked during the trial as to who made that offer to them. But it seemed clear that Sirul and Azilah were merely hitmen. They didn’t know the victim. If they had a motive to kill her, it would appear to be only to collect the reward.

That being so, it was, however, never asked in court who instructed them to kill Altantuya. To the layman, it is extremely strange that the prosecution did not ask that crucial question. Read the rest of this entry »


Will There Be Justice for Sabah?

Kee Thuan Chye
20th August 2013

The recent testimonies at the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants in Sabah have certainly been revealing – to some of us, shocking.

To be sure, prior to the RCI, we had heard rumours and allegations of identity cards being given to illegal immigrants, under what has been called Project IC or Project M (after ex-prime minister Mahathir Mohamad), so that they could vote for the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) and keep it in power, but hearing it now from the mouths of people involved in the project confirms our fear that our country’s citizenships have indeed been given away cheaply and illegally.

One of the witnesses, former Sandakan chief district officer Hassnar Ebrahim who first gave out forms in 1981 to Filipino and Indonesian illegal immigrants to allow them to apply for ICs, gave damning indication that Mahathir must have given his approval to the project because an enterprise of such a magnitude would have required it.

Besides, Hassnar said he attended a “secret meeting” in the 1980s that involved officers from the Prime Minister’s Department, the Immigration Department and the police, and at this meeting, then home affairs minister Megat Junid Megat Ayub said Mahathir had approved the project.

It was proposed that 130,000 to 150,000 names be added to the Sabah electoral roll to boost the Muslim vote. Although there were protests from one of the officers present, the proposal was passed. Hassnar himself was given 30,000 HNR3 forms to take back to Sabah. These forms were for the immigrants to apply for blue ICs. Read the rest of this entry »


Have a Safe Hari Raya

By Kee Thuan Chye
Yahoo! News
August 8, 2013

DO and RE: Selamat Hari Raya, Mi.

MI: And the same to you both.

DO: How has it been?

MI: I think this Raya is not like many other Rayas of the past.

RE: I know what you mean. I feel the same.

MI: Sorry to bring this up on this festive occasion, but things are looking bad.

DO: We must try and look on the bright side, no?

MI: Hard to ignore the bad. My son’s university fees have to be paid soon. You know he’s in the U.S. And the ringgit is getting more and more weak against the U.S. dollar. It’s like after GE13, the ringgit just lost control.

RE: It’s also depressing the Fitch Ratings revised Malaysia’s outlook to negative. The Government has been spending too much and not getting enough revenue. Our credit fundamentals are weak. Read the rest of this entry »

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Has Suaram Done Wrong in Seeking the Truth?

By Kee Thuan Chye
7th August 2013

What wrong has Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) committed for the Government to hound it so doggedly? Why is it now being investigated under the Sedition Act, the act that has been getting a noxious name of late for the fact that numerous people have been charged under it for apparently displeasing the Government?

According to Suaram secretariat member Cynthia Gabriel, who on August 5 was served with a police summons, the investigation is connected to the dinner the NGO held on July 19 to raise funds for Suaram’s ongoing corruption suit in France.

In the suit, Suaram claims that when French naval defence firm DCNS sold two Scorpene submarines to Malaysia in 2002, it allegedly paid RM452 million in illegal commissions to Perimekar Sdn Bhd, a company partly owned by Abdul Razak Baginda, who was charged with the 2006 murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu but was subsequently acquitted.

Whether rightly or not, the murder came to be linked to the Scorpene deal. And as Razak Baginda was closely associated with Prime Minister Najib Razak, who was the defence minister at the time the Scorpene deal was struck – and who, according to a document found by French prosecutors, allegedly demanded that RM1 billion be paid to Perimekar by DCNS before it could meet with him – Najib is also implicated, again whether rightly or not.

Of course if Najib was not involved, he would surely want the truth to be known. He might even call for investigations to be conducted by our own Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). After all, isn’t such a case of great interest to the Malaysian public?

But has there been any move made by the MACC to investigate the matter? Read the rest of this entry »


How Can We Have Faith in the IGP?

By Kee Thuan Chye
July 1, 2013

In street parlance, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) is in deep shit.

Khalid Abu Bakar has been singled out by the judge who gave his verdict on the civil suit brought by A. Kugan’s family against him, the police force and the Government as having not told the truth about how Kugan died while in police custody four years ago.

Khalid was then Selangor police chief. In his first statement to the media at the time, he said Kugan collapsed and died after drinking water. In a subsequent statement, he said Kugan died of water in the lungs.

When an independent post-mortem initiated by human rights lawyer N. Surendran found that Kugan had suffered 45 external injuries and a wide range of internal injuries due to severe beatings, leading to his death from acute renal failure, Khalid did not clarify why its findings contradicted glaringly what he had said to the media.

Senior federal counsel Azizan Md Arshad, in the civil suit hearing, agreed with the judge that Khalid should have held a press conference to clarify the matter. “Only God knows (why this was not done),” Azizan is reported to have also said.

Indeed. There is a world of difference between dying of injuries sustained from being beaten and dying of water in the lungs. Read the rest of this entry »


What Happens Now to the Opposition and Change?

by Kee Thuan Chye
Yahoo! Malaysia

Now that the 13th general election (GE13) is over and Najib Razak has been sworn in as prime minister and his Cabinet has been formed, what happens to the Opposition Pakatan Rakyat and the massive numbers of people who wanted change, as reflected in the popular vote?
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has done the right thing in not accepting the result of GE13 on grounds of fraud, and he has been going around rallying support for his cause, but where this will lead is highly uncertain.

Meanwhile, PKR strategist Rafizi Ramli has announced that Pakatan is investigating the results of 27 parliament seats which were won by the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) narrowly. If he and his team are able to prove fraud or wrong tabulation of the votes, there might be a case made for them. But where? In the courts? Would they get the justice they seek? Read the rest of this entry »


This is a Democracy, You Understand?

by Kee Thuan Chye

Prime Minister Najib Razak blamed the Chinese for not voting for his Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition at the 13th general election on May 5 and ex-prime minister Mahathir Mohamad slammed the Chinese and the Malays who voted for Pakatan Rakyat.

Others from BN and its main component party, Umno, jumped on the bandwagon and said the same thing, accusing the Chinese of being ungrateful.

They all made it sound as if it was a great sin to vote for the Opposition.

What is so wrong with voting for the Opposition? Why is an Opposition set up in the first place? Isn’t it to provide competition to the ruling party? So if people are more persuaded by the case made by the Opposition, why shouldn’t they vote for it?
Read the rest of this entry »


Hail the Comrades for Change!

by Kee Thuan Chye
Yahoo! Malaysia

The purest and most heartwarming feature of this upcoming general election, predicted to be the dirtiest ever in Malaysian history, is the solidarity of the Malaysians who are calling for ubah (change) and proclaiming, “Ini kalilah!” (This is the time to do it!)

In the course of a year, it has swelled into a movement. Partly from the Bersih rallies that brought people closer together because they went through adverse circumstances together. Partly from the rallies organised by the Opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat, that gave hope of a viable alternative to Malaysians disenchanted by 55 years of Barisan Nasional (BN) rule. Read the rest of this entry »


Opinions: The Odds, they are a-Changin’

by Kee Thuan Chye
MSN Malaysia

As it looks, a few days past nomination day, the odds are changing to favour Pakatan, although at the time of the dissolution of Parliament, the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) seemed to have the upper hand: Kee Thuan Chye reports.

The Opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat must be very careful between now and polling day not to make any colossal mistakes that could deny it victory at the 13th general election. I’m thinking of something about the same magnitude as or greater than the faux pas made by Tengku Razaleigh in wearing the Kadazan headgear with a cross on it on the eve of the 1990 general election.

As it looks, a few days past nomination day, the odds are changing to favour Pakatan, although at the time of the dissolution of Parliament, the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) seemed to have the upper hand. Read the rest of this entry »


Who is the Leader, Who the Follower?

by Kee Thuan Chye
MSN Malaysia

If voters fall for the promise of more BR1M, it will show they are willing bribe-takers, that they are people who are prone to being dependent.

To woo Indian voters, BN pledges RM500 million in seed funding towards raising the equity of the Indian community to at least 3 per cent. Pakatan, however, does not pander to any ethnic community, preferring to take a broad multi-racial approach in its plans for the country’s future without favouring any particular race. This augurs well for a better Malaysia and shows up once again BN’s attempt at blatant vote-buying.

On the whole, the BN manifesto is nothing new. As a veteran economist who has served in the civil service notes, it is structurally the same BN manifesto that has been used in past general elections for decades. It is superficial and short-term, particularly in its focus on cash handouts. He would have wanted BN to tackle the key issues of improving education, for instance, and removing the fixation on the NEP and the accompanying idea of Ketuanan Melayu. Both of these are comprehensively addressed in the Pakatan manifesto. Read the rest of this entry »


The EC Must Address These Doubts

By Kee Thuan Chye | Saturday, 13 April 2013 17:19
Malaysian Digest

WHILE announcing the date for the 13th general election, the Election Commission (EC) also said that it would make the event “the best” ever held. In pledging this, its chairman, Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, reiterated what he had said on Feb 5.

But somehow the pledge rings hollow. Many Malaysians have lost too much confidence in the EC to believe that it will be, in Abdul Aziz’s words, “transparent” and that it “will not help any party to win”. Its actions and pronouncements have too often indicated the contrary.

Besides that, NGOs that have engaged with the EC know how frustrating the experience can be. The latter is notorious for not replying to pressing questions concerning the electoral process or improper conduct at elections. Its dismissal of Bersih’s demands for electoral reform compelled the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections to take its cause to the streets in July 2011.

The EC is also noted for its apparently cavalier attitude towards calls for cleaning the electoral roll. Instead of getting down to the task of doing it, it has been giving excuses – even though a Merdeka Center survey in April 2012 revealed that 92% of Malaysians in Peninsular Malaysia want the roll cleaned.
Read the rest of this entry »


Pakatan and Kit Siang Take the Offensive

by Kee Thuan Chye
from Yahoo! Malaysia

It looks like Pakatan Rakyat is driving the 13th general election. As this most crucial of Malaysian elections draws near, the Opposition coalition is the more gung-ho in leading the way into battle. It is initiating the charge, taking the offensive, scoring the psychological points.

While the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition is led by a leader who has been tardy in calling for the general election partly because he has been humming and hawing about wanting the rakyat to feel the effects of his transformation programmes first, Pakatan has already shown its preparedness by coming out with its manifesto a few weeks ago, way ahead of BN.

In football terms, this is like the away team, despite its disadvantageous position, taking the play to the home team and attacking its goalmouth. Sometimes, this can end in a victory for the outsiders.

DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang’s decision to stand in Gelang Patah – in BN’s impregnable state, Johor – is another courageous offensive. It is a risky move by the DAP veteran who has never fought shy of engaging in difficult battles.

In the most famous of his encounters, he took on Lim Chong Eu, the Chief Minister of Penang then, at Padang Kota in 1990 and won. Nonetheless, it was a huge gamble for Kit Siang, who has not always been victorious. He lost when he came out of his comfortable position as Kubu state assemblyman in 1982 to try and capture Bandar Hilir, and again when he took on the risky seat of Tanjung Bungah in 1995 against yet another chief minister, Koh Tsu Koon. In fact, throughout his political career, Kit Siang has lost five times. Read the rest of this entry »