Archive for category Merdeka 50th anniversary

A week to 51st Merdeka anniversary – completely devoid of National Day enthusiasm

A week to go for the 51st Merdeka anniversary on 31st August.

Never before is the country so devoid of National Day enthusiasm.

This the point I tried to make during question time in Parliament on Wednesday but it ended up in a pandemonium. (video)

The Sun report on the parliamentary proceeding as follows:
Read the rest of this entry »


No Glitter to Merdeka’s Golden Anniversary Year

by M. Bakri Musa

By right Malaysians should still be relishing the afterglow of their 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations. Alas, the much-anticipated euphoria was short lived; the grim realities of Malaysian life quickly intruded.

Even the mainstream media carry daily headlines of gory crimes. If those were not scary enough, residents now live in fear that their basic freedom is being threatened, not by some external enemy rather by their very own government. Malaysian leaders mistook their electoral mandate for a license to trample on citizens’ basic rights, as in the rights to free assembly and the freedom of conscience.

Those breaches of course did not grab the headlines in the mainstream media; you have to read the alternative media or international publications to get the real news. The mainstream media instead highlighted Prime Minister Abdullah’s “small” wedding to his “downstairs lady.”

The images of Malaysia projected onto the world stage towards the end of the year were not of a modern nation poised for Vision 2020, rather the typical backward Third World state with a stubbornly bumbling warden as its leader.

The scenes on Al Jazeera and CNN were of the police wildly tear-gassing and firing water cannons upon thousands of peaceful citizens who dared exercise their basic rights to a free assembly. If those images were not ugly enough, there was Minister of Information Zam in a fit of latah in front of the television cameras for the whole world to see.

Zam is a poor imitation of Saddam Hussein’s Information Minister “Comical Ali.” At least Ali entertained us with his outlandish bravadoes; Zam nauseated us with his blabber.

Just as we thought it could not get worse seeing that it was already November when Zam was blabbering in front of an international audience, there was Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum declaring that only Muslims are entitled to use the word “Allah” (God). He threatened banning the Malay version of the Catholic Church publication that dared use the word “Allah.”

The startling observation was that this moron of a minister could get way with such idiocies. By his silence, Abdullah reveals that he is equally moronic.

How did a nation that was so full of bubbly confidence as encapsulated in its “Malaysia boleh!” spirit only a few years ago descended so fast and so far, and with so few of the elite class protesting?

To be sure, Malaysia is still far ahead of Pakistan or Zimbabwe. Unfortunately, far too many, especially the leaders, take comfort in this. Read the rest of this entry »


Hari Raya message – four things to make Hari Raya on 50th Merdeka anniversary most meaningful

Hari Raya this year coincides with the nation’s 50th Merdeka anniversary.

Celebrating this year’s Hari Raya on the occasion of the nation’s 50th Merdeka anniversary will be most meaningful if there is a national resolution and government political will to achieve four things:

  • A low-crime Malaysia where everyone, whether citizen, tourist or investor can feel safe again in the streets, public places and the privacy of the homes and where the fundamental rights to be free from crime and fear of crime are not just empty and meaningful words.
  • Zero tolerance for corruption, abuses of power and financial scandals.
  • Restore national and international confidence in a truly independent judiciary and a just rule of law, which will go a long way to enhance Malaysia’s international competitiveness which has suffered considerable erosion in recent years; and
  • A Malaysian national consciousness and identity transcending racial, religious or political differences.

Selamat Hari Raya to all Muslims in Malaysia.


Rukunegara-reciting/Constitution-waving – pathetic proof of impotence and irrelevance of Gerakan/MCA

The 50th Merdeka Anniversary has seen a most unusual political phenomena — the MCA and Gerakan waving the Malaysian Constitution and reciting Rukunegara at their respective meetings in response to the keris-waving by the Umno Youth leader, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein at the earlier Umno Youth general assemblies.

It is a pathetic proof of the impotence and irrelevance of the MCA and Gerakan in the Barisan Nasional, whether at the national, state or local government level, that they have been reduced to waving the Constitution and reciting Rukunegara at their respective meetings instead of ensuring that the Cabinet and the government at all levels uphold the core nation-building principles of the Merdeka “social contract” which have found expression in the Malaysian Constitution and Rukunegara.

Why wave the Malaysian Constitution and recite the Rukunegara principles when MCA and Gerakan Ministers and leaders are unable:

  • firstly to ensure that Umno and other Barisan Nasional Ministers and leaders fully understand, respect and uphold the fundamental nation-building principles spelt out in the Merdeka social contract, the Malaysian Constitution and the Rukunegara; and
  • secondly, to set the example of themselves standing firm, true and loyal to the Merdeka social contract, Malaysian Constitution and the Rukunegara by refusing to betray these fundamental nation-building principles even if they fail to convince Umno and other Barisan Nasional Ministers and leaders to do the same.

What is the use of waving the Malaysian Constitution and reciting the Rukunegara principles at the MCA and Gerakan meetings when MCA and Gerakan Ministers and leaders dare not wave the Constitution or recite the Rukunegara principles in Cabinet, Parliament, national, state and local governments to ensure that every government policy, decision and action is informed by the core nation-building principles agreed by the forefathers of the major communities and spelt out in the Constitution and the Rukunegara? Read the rest of this entry »


Why Malacca State Excos of MCA and Gerakan must resign from Ali Rustam government

The Cabinet tomorrow should censure the Malacca State Government and the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as Barisan Nasional Chairman should remove Datuk Seri Ali Rustam as Malacca Chief Minister for defiance of Cabinet decision on the formula to end the pig-rearing crisis in Malacca as well as spoiling the national mood and spirit of celebrations of 50th Merdeka anniversary in the whole country by all Malaysians.

It is shocking that Ali Rustam and his State Government were allowed to defy the Sept. 5 decision of the Cabinet that there should not be any destruction of pigs and the two-point formula to resolve the pig-rearing crisis in Malacca, viz: the Malacca state government to allow the pig rearers to change the use of the land and secondly, pig rearers allowed to get bank loans for waste disposal systems with the state government giving the guarantee that it would not revoke TOL to ensure security of the industry to justify such investments by the pig-rearers.

With such a Cabinet decision two weeks ago, why was the Malacca Chief Minister and his gang allowed to go through the charade and their “terror tactics” of forcing the pig rearers to comply with the unreasonable and impossible target to cull or reduce 97,000 heads of pigs in 17 days by Sept. 21, or face another “show-of-force” like the Sept. 4 confrontation in Paya Mengkuang against defenceless men, women and children by 2,000-strong personnel including fully-armed police FRU, enforcement squads from multi-agencies including immigration, state and local authorities together with personnel in “space suits”, tear gas, water cannons, and a hovering helicopter?

What is most shocking is that such arrogant, high-handed and coercive tactics employed by the Malacca state authorities violate every concept of a good and democratic governance, with the elected government shamefully treating law-abiding citizens making a proper and honourable living from the pig-rearing industry like criminals and even terrorists!

What is even more shocking is that the MCA was a party to the whole charade, as the actions taken against the pig-rearers in the state was not that of Umno Malacca State Government but that of the Barisan Nasional Malacca state government, comprising MCA and Gerakan state excos.

It is utterly disgraceful that 50 years of Barisan Nasional “power-sharing” has totally changed character from “equal political partners” of Barisan Nasional component parties to “UMNO political rulers and MCA and Gerakan subjects” in the State Government, with MCA and Gerakan state exco members denuded of any right to participate in the state government decision-making process.

It is very sad that 50 years after Merdeka and the “social contract”, MCA and Gerakan state excos in Malacca have been reduced to the status of “petition-writers” whose role is to appeal to the Chief Minister, Umno State Exco members, State Secretary and even Umno parliamentary secretary to try to modify harsh and unreasonable decisions instead of ensuring that such decisions are not taken in the first place. Read the rest of this entry »


Over RM100 million spent by Federal govt for 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations


The Federal Government has budgetted over RM100 million for the 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations.

This was finally admitted by the Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Dr. Awang Adek this evening during the winding-up of the two-day policy debate on the 2007 Supplementary estimates.

At first Awang said the original estimates for the 50th Merdeka Anniversary celebrations under the Prime Minister’s Department was RM74 million, and with the additional supplementary vote of RM18.25 million requested, making up a total of RM93 million. The government spent RM38 million for the Merdeka anniversary in 2006 and RM35 million in 2005.

He said the expenditure of RM93 million for the 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations were proper and justified once in 50 years and in creating a sense of national unity for the occasion, which was priceless.

Seeking clarification, I asked firstly, whether these are the “final” and “absolute” figures or whether there would be other expenditures for the 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations which would come before Parliament in future supplementary estimates.

Secondly, I pointed out that in the 2007 supplementary estimates there were at least two other items of specific expenditures for the 50th Merdeka anniversry celebrations in other minisries, viz RM7.2 million for all parliamentary constituencies for the 50th Merdeka anniversary under the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage and RM8 million under the Ministry of Youth and Sports for Youth Day programme in connection with the 50th Merdeka anniversary.

I asked for the ‘grand total” of all expenditures for all Ministries in connection with the 50th Merdeka annivesary celebrations and not just the allocations for the Prime Minsiter’s Department.

In his reply, Awang admitted that there were other items of expenditures outside the Prime Minister’s Department like the RM7.2 million figure (he did not touch on the RM8 million item) which would bring the total to RM100 million. He said he could not give a categorical answer that there would not be other figures but as far as he knew these were the substantial sums, and if there were other items they would not be major ones.

He said with 26 million population, the RM100 million tag worked out to about RM3 or RM4 per person once in 50 years, symbolising the peace, harmony and welfare enjoyed by the people. Read the rest of this entry »


How much government budgetted for 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations?

Believe it or not, this question raised Barisan Nasional ire in Parliament yesterday.

When yesterday’s sitting started and Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Dr. Awang Adek presented the 2007 supplementary operating and development estimates totalling RM11.9 billion and explaining the details of the supplementary requests to the original 2007 estimates of RM159 billion, I stood up to ask for clarification.

I pointed out that under the Prime Minister’s Department, there was a request for an additional RM18.2 million expenditures for the 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations. However, unlike many other items where supplementary estimates were being requested, it was not possible to find out from the Treasury memorandum tabled in Parliament what were the original estimates which had been budgeted for the Golden Jubilee Merdeka celebrations.

I asked Awang what was the original estimates to which an additional RM18.2 million allocation was being requested.

Who would have thought that such a simple-and-straightforward question nearly brought down the House, with the Deputy Minister stubbornly refusing to do so and even threatening to refuse to give way to me to seek clarifications when delivering his winding-up speech the next day, with Barisan Nasional MPs creating a din and demanding that I should cease and desist and stop posing such a question as if I had committed something sacrilegious in Parliament.

I rejected Awang’s argument that he would give the answer during his reply as such information should be at his finger tips unless there were reasons why he was not prepared to be forthcoming about the original estimates budgetted by the government for the 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations.

I rebutted Awang’s argument that I was already debating the supplementary estimates in posing the question, as what I wanted was the most basic information so that an informed debate on the supplementary estimates could be conducted by MPs from both sides of the House.

In the event, the brute majority of the Barisan Nasional in Parliament prevailed and Awang did not enlighten Parliament as to what were the original estimates budgetted for the 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations and the BN MPs were very happy about their ignorance! Read the rest of this entry »


Seven shouts of “Merdeka” in Parliament this morning without support from a single BN MP — does it mean BN MPs disloyal, anti-national and unpatriotic?

I started my speech on the supplementary estimates this morning calling on MPs to stand up for seven shouts of “Merdeka” to uphold the Malaysian Constitution as the country is still celebrating the 50th Merdeka Anniversary.

Only DAP MPs stood up, with me shouting “Merdeka” and the DAP MPs responding “Secular Malaysia” seven times.

Not a single Barisan Nasional (BN) MP, whether Umno, MCA, MIC or Gerakan stood up to shout “Merdeka”.

In my speech, I said I had called for seven shouts of “Merdeka” for two purposes: firstly, to demonstrate that the loyalty and patriotism of DAP MPs to the country is second to none to anyone from Barisan Nasional in Parliament, whether minister, deputy minister or parliamentary secretary.

Secondly, to highlight the ‘farce” of patriotism staged by certain BN MPs last Wednesday who disgraced Parliament and demeaned the 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations just to score cheap political points against Opposition MPs.

The BN MP for Jasin, Datuk Mohd Said Yusof growled from his seat that my seven shouts of Merdeka in Parliament was “cheapening” its meaning. I must thank him for helping me to illustrate my point about the “farce” of patriotism staged by him and other BN MPs in Parliament last Wednesday. Read the rest of this entry »


Tall buildings, narrow minds – Malaysia at 50

From The Economist
Aug 30th 2007

After 50 years, Malaysia should stop treating a third of its people as not-quite-citizens

THE government of Malaysia has laid on all sorts of grand pageantry this weekend, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Malay peninsula’s independence from Britain. There is much to celebrate. Living standards and access to education, health services, sanitation and electricity have soared during those five decades of sovereignty. The country’s remarkable modernisation drive was symbolised, nine years ago, by the completion of the Petronas twin towers, in Kuala Lumpur, then the world’s tallest buildings.

Yet there will be a hollow ring to the festivities. Malaysia’s 50th birthday comes at a time of rising resentment by ethnic Chinese and Indians, together over one-third of the population, at the continuing, systematic discrimination they suffer in favour of the majority bumiputra, or sons of the soil, as Malays and other indigenous groups are called. There are also worries about creeping “Islamisation” among the Malay Muslim majority of what has been a largely secular country, and about the increasingly separate lives that Malay, Chinese and Indian Malaysians are leading. More so than at independence, it is lamented, the different races learn in separate schools, eat separately, work separately and socialise separately. Some are asking: is there really such a thing as a Malaysian? Read the rest of this entry »


Merdeka Golden Jubilee – National anniversary or Barisan Nasional anniversary?

A fortnight ago, the Sultan of Selangor called on politicians regardless of parties to put politics aside and to celebrate the once-in-a-lifetime event, the 50th Merdeka anniversary, as one people.

He said: “The politicians, regardless of their parties, can have all the time they want to talk about politics after National Day but for now, I do not want to hear any issues that can hurt the feelings of any community.”

It is very sad that the Sultan of Selangor’s advice was completely ignored, as the two weeks before the 50th Merdeka anniversary had produced an unusually big crop of divisive and contentious issues which further divide rather than unify Malaysians as well as undermining public confidence in the independence and integrity of national institutions — not to mention the farce of patriotism staged by some Barisan Nasional MPs on August 29, which disgraced Parliament and demeaned the Merdeka Golden Jubilee celebrations.

After the Ambang Merdeka at the Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur culminating in the 50th Merdeka Anniversary countdown to midnight of August 30, many Malaysians asked whether it was a national anniversary or a Barisan Nasional anniversary.

Instead of uniting all Malaysians, regardless of generations, race, religion, territory or political party affiliations, the Ambang Merdeka programme polarized Malaysians between those in the Barisan Nasional/Alliance and the rest of Malaysians!

Although the Merdeka Parade at Dataran Merdeka yesterday morning and the Merdeka Mammoth Celebrations at Stadium Merdeka last night were not as blatantly “Barisan Nasional” as the Ambang Merdeka programme, the tone and motif of the official celebrations had been set and it is no exaggeration to say that many Malaysians were turned off by the anniversary programme for failing to be a powerful agent of Malaysian national unity for the country to face up to the many grave challenges of the next half-century. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia at 50: So far, so good

By Philip Bowring
International Herald Tribune
August 28, 2007

HONG KONG: There is much celebration in Malaysia this month to mark the day 50 years ago when the new nation was born out of the British-ruled states of the Malay peninsula. But was it?

On Aug. 31, 1957 it was actually Malaya that became independent. Malaysia was not created until September 1963, when the Malaya states were joined by Singapore (briefly) and the British-ruled territories in Borneo, Sabah and Sarawak.

The difference between Malaya and Malaysia is not a semantic quibble. It lies at the heart of the nation’s identity issues which in turn are reflected in the racial and religious basis of its politics.

Is this a Malay/Muslim country, where the non-Malay 50 percent and non-Muslim 40 percent must accept a somewhat subservient position whether they are immigrant races (Chinese and Indians) or the non-Malay but indigenous majority in Sabah and Sarawak? Or is this a nation forging a common Malaysian identity from its disparate origins? Read the rest of this entry »


Just imagine that…

August 31, 2007
Malaysian PM Very Constructive Force For Region, Says Bush

By Salmy Hashim

WASHINGTON, Aug 31 (Bernama) — President George W. Bush has described Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s leadership as a very constructive force for Southeast Asia.

He said Malaysia was an interesting example of how a free society could deal with movements that could conceivably change and alter the nature of the free society.

“I respect the way the prime minister has used freedom and the openness of society to deal with frustration. I mean, all societies have frustrated people. The question is will the outlet of that frustration lead to violence or peace,” Bush said in a rare roundtable Thursday with five journalists from Asia Pacific, including Bernama.

“Malaysia is an example of a country where frustrations have been channelled in a positive way.

“I respect Prime Minister Badawi, admire his leadership,” Bush, who met Abdullah at the White House in 2004, said when commenting on Abdullah’s leadership in handling extremism and terrorism in the country.

Abdullah is a proponent for moderation, advocating Islam Hadhari (Civilisational Islam) in Malaysia and everywhere he goes.

The camaraderie between the two leaders could be seen when the president said: “When his wife (the late Datin Seri Endon Mahmood) died, I tried to call him early just to let him know I cared about him.”

When told that Abdullah had remarried, Bush appeared surprised and said: “Has he? Good. I’ll congratulate him. Thanks for giving me that heads-up. I’m going to congratulate him. That’s neat.

When told by his aide that he did congratulate the prime minister, Bush laughed at his memory lapse and said: “Exactly. I’m going to congratulate him again. I’ll double the congratulations.”

He later admitted that he forgot and asked his aide whether he had called or written a note to the prime minister. He was told that he had written a note.

“That’s right, yes. (I also) sent him a couple of flowers,” Bush said. Read the rest of this entry »


50th Merdeka anniversary – “Feel good” euphoria absent; instead a stifling “feel worse” sentiment among Malaysians

50th Merdeka Anniversary Message

Unlike previous years, on the occasion of the 50th Merdeka anniversary, I am issuing a message on the day itself instead of the usual practice of on its eve.

Just one or even two months ago, no one would have predicted or expected that Malaysians would be troubled by many national issues of import come August 31 when the nation celebrates its Merdeka golden jubilee — whether about the Merdeka “social contract” on the fundamental cornerstone of Malaysian nation-building; racial and religious polarization; the independence and integrity of national institutions like the Cabinet, Parliament, Judiciary, Police, Anti-Corruption Agency, Election Commission, the public service; plunge in educational standards and international competitiveness; decline in quality of life with unchecked rise in crime; increasing intolerance towards dissent, press and internet freedom; or a host of other major concerns..

With the 50th Merdeka anniversary, the “feel good” euphoria in Malaysia should be even more effusive than in 2004 which gave Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi the unprecedented landslide general election victory, sweeping over 90 per cent of the parliamentary seats, a feat which had eluded all the four previous Prime Ministers.

In actual fact, the “feel good” euphoria is singularly absent in the country on the occasion of the 50th Merdeka anniversary. Instead of the “feel good” euphoria, there is the “feel worse” sentiment among the people which is even more prevalent and acute than at any time during previous Mahathir administration. Read the rest of this entry »


Makna Merdeka 50

Makna Merdeka 50

Merdeka negara! Merdeka bercita!

Bebas negara! Bebas bersuara!

Merdeka bukan hadiah penjajah

Kebebasan insan hasrat Allah.

Alam ku luas, borkat Illahi

Rezki ku Tuhan yang mengsukati.

Laut, gunung, sempadan tanpa ku segani

Gelombang dunia berani ku layari!

Kampong halaman bukan nya sauh

Ingin ku menghilir merantau jauh.

Di mana bumi ku pijak, di sana langit ku junjong

Selagi hati berhajat, cita ku jangan di kandong.

Hidup, bebas, bahagia, hasrat Allah

Pantang celaka lah jika di ubah.

Raja dan menteri mesti mempatuhi

Jangan kau mungkir perentah Illahi.

Rakyat negeri bukan nya kuli

Untok di kerah ka sana sini.

Zaman purba tak akan kembali

Mungkin menteri yang di buang negri!

Renungkan nasib si Idi Amin

Yang Shah Pahlavi pun tak terjamin.

Pemimpim negri mesti menginggati

Rakyat — bukan raja — yang di daulati.

Tidak ku sangka songsang

Anak dagang di negri orang.

Orang kita/orang sana, tidak bermakna.

Takkan Melayu hilang di dunia

Bukan kah itu gesa Laksmana?

Urat ku mendalam di bumi asing

Loghat ku pun ikut sama mengiring

Sambal belacan dah berasa lain

Teras ku tetap Melayu tulin! Read the rest of this entry »


Farce of patriotism by handful of BN MPs – black chapter for Parliament and blot for 50th Merdeka anniversary

A handful of irresponsible Barisan Nasional MPs had disgraced Parliament and demeaned the 50th Merdeka anniversary by staging a farce of patriotism in Parliament yesterday just to score cheap political points to catch Opposition MPs off-guard.

Yesterday’s Parliamentary sitting started at 10 am with the Speaker, Tan Sri Ramli Ngah making a statement on the 50th Merdeka anniversary before the start of the question session, which was quite unusual as the Speaker represents all MPs, both government and opposition, and should only make pronouncements unrelated to the duties of his office after consultation and mandate of both sides of the House.

Opposition MPs were completely unaware that the Speaker was going to make any such announcement on behalf of Parliament, and that was why I was not in the House at the time. Not only the majority of Opposition MPs were not in the House, this applies to the majority of BN MPs — resulting in the Speaker making an important announcement to an empty House!

What was clearly out of order was that the Chairman of the Barisan Backbenchers Club Datuk Raja Ahmad Zainudin Raja Omar (BN — Larut) followed up with a speech which he read from a prepared text (proof of prior knowledge and pre-planning) ending up with his call to MPs to emulate Bapa Malaysia Tunku Abdul Rahman 50 years ago with seven shouts of Merdeka in Parliament.

The farce ended with the BN MP for Kinabatangan Datuk Bung Moktar Radin deriding the Opposition benches and asking offensively whether the two Opposition parties did not celebrate Merdeka. Read the rest of this entry »