Archive for category Sarawak

Condolence messages flood Twitter following Adenan’s passing

11th January 2017

Messages of condolences flooded social networking site Twitter following the passing of Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem.

Adenan, who was recently warded at Sarawak General Hospital Heart Centre in Kota Samarahan, died at the age of 72 this afternoon.

Among the earliest to express their condolences were Umno leaders Mas Ermieyati Samsudin and Khairy Jamaluddin.

Khairy in his tweet, expressed his condolences to Adenan’s widow, Jamilah Anu, his family, as well as the people of Sarawak over Adenan’s passing.

Soon after, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak also took to Twitter to express his sorrow over Adenan’s death.

“I will be going to Sarawak to pay my last respects,” he tweeted.

Stating how Adenan had contributed greatly to Sarawak, Malaysia, Najib added that Malaysia had lost a respected leader.

Other Barisan Nasional leaders who expressed their condolences were Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Tengku Adenan Tengku Mansor, Razali Ibrahim, Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Bung Moktar Radin, Liow Tiong Lai, Ahmad Maslan, Tan Keng Liang, P Kamalanathan, Mary Yap and Azalina Othman Said.

Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said today was a “sad day for all, especially Sarawak”.

“(We have) lost a leader who had contributed a lot and he is also someone I respected. May his soul rest in peace among the pious,” tweeted Hishammuddin.

Opposition leaders also tweeted their sorrow over the passing.

Among them were Azmin Ali, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Lim Kit Siang, Mohd Shafie Apdal, Mahfuz Omar, Fuziah Salleh, Darrell Leiking, Charles Santiago, M Kulasegaran, and Hannah Yeoh.

Azmin in his tweet, prayed for Adenan to be granted “husnul khatimah” (good end) and to be placed in heaven.

Lim, on the other hand, expressed his “deepest condolences to the bereaved family”.

“Malaysia and Sarawak have lost a great visionary leader,” he tweeted. Read the rest of this entry »

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Game Changers for 2017

Koon Yew Yin
31st December 2016

As we enter into 2017, I am hopeful that the new year will finally bring positive change to Malaysia. But this positive change must begin with voting out the BN government and the installation of a new government.

For now, we see the BN big guns using the media to criticise the opposition for being divided and lacking cohesion. They also allege that there is no agreement on who is to be Prime Minister if the opposition wins. Or which opposition party will take over which portfolio.

Frankly, I do not see these as being big issues or problems. In fact by raising them, it shows how frightened the BN is over the prospect of losing power so that they will use all kinds of scare tactics.

Don’t forget that in the last GE the opposition won more than 51% of total votes. BN ended up with more state and parliament seats because most of the Malay rural areas voted for UMNO. But in the next GE, we have Pribumi, headed by Dr. M, Keadilan headed by Anwar and Amanah headed by Mat Sabu and the PAS moderates.

I believe PAS will eventually work with the opposition when they realise UMNO is making use of them to win. In any case we will definitely have more Malay parties competing for the rural seats. Read the rest of this entry »


The battle lines in the 14GE is “democracy vs kleptocracy” and the political challenge is to create an united opposition coalition committed to constitutional and democratic reforms in Malaysia

Former PAS leader and Kelantan State Assemblyman for Salor Datuk Husam Musa has predicted that the 14th general elections is likely to be held in March or April, as he expects PAS President Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s private members’ motion to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Juriseiction) Act 1965 or Act 355 to be debated only after the 14th general election.

Husam sees the move by Hadi to table and defer his private member’s bill motion for a second time on the last day of the 25-sitting budget meeting on Thursday as a ruse and “effective gambit” to create a “win-win” situation for both PAS and UMNO – where PAS can show that its “355” gambit was not a failure, and where UMNO can “milk” political capital from the issue not only in next week’s UMNO General Assembly but also in the 14GE.

Husam may be right, but there is another possible scenario – with Parliament meeting in March, but no debate on Hadi’s private member’s motion.

Instead, the UMNO/BN government will take over Hadi’s private member’s bill, which had not even reached the “first reading” stage in Parliament, and present it to Parliament as a government bill for first reading. An all-party Parliamentary Select Committee will then be formed in the March meeting of Parliament to study the UMNO/BN government’s “takeover” of Hadi’s private member’s bill for a report to be submitted to Parliament, whether in the July/August or October/November meetings of Parliament. Read the rest of this entry »

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Are there enough patriotic BN MPs to come forward to join hands with patriotic Opposition MPs to save Malaysia from the infamy and ignominy of being regarded worldwide as a “global kleptocracy”?

As the longest-serving Member of Parliament in the present House, having served as a MP for more than 43 years covering 10 of 13 terms from 1969 to the present – except for the ninth Parliament from November 1999 to February 2004 – it gives me no pleasure but great pain and anguish to declare that in my 43 years as a MP of Malaysian Parliament, I have never felt so ashamed and outraged that the country which is the sole object of my love and patriotism, and for which I am prepared to sacrifice my liberties and even my life, have fallen so low that Ministers and MPs are not perturbed at all that the world regards Malaysia as a global kleptocracy.

What has happened to Malaysia? Have the Ministers and MPs in Parliament and the leaders in the country totally lost the moral compass, although MPs start with the following prayer before each parliamentary sitting:

“Almighty God, who in Thy Wisdom and Goodness hast appointed the Office of Rulers and Parliaments for the welfare of society and the just government of men: We beseech Thee to behold with Thy abundant favour us Thy servants whom Thou hast been pleased to call to the performance of important trusts in these lands: Let Thy blessing descend upon us here assembled, and grant that we may treat and consider all matters that shall come under our deliberation in so just and faithful a manner as to promote Thy Honour and Glory and to advance the place, prosperity and welfare of Malaysia and its inhabitants: Amen. “

Has this Prayer lost all meaning?

Have we all become hypocrites that we have totally forgotten our prayer at the start of every Parliament sitting that we can be unmoved, not to be ashamed and/or outraged for the nation to be regarded world-wide as “a global kleptocracy” – a country ruled by PPP, Pencuri, Perompak and Penyamun.

What is a kleptocracy? It has been defined as a rule by a thief or thieves.

Is this what we have become, what the Fathers of Independence and Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman. Tun Razak, Tun Tan Siew Sin, Tun V. Sambanthan, Tun Fuad, Tun Mustapha, OKK G.S. Sundang, Temenggong Jugah, Datuk Haji Openg, Ong Kee Hui, Ling Beng Siew and James Wong envisaged and dreamt when Malayan Independence was achieved in 1957 and the Malaysian Federation formed in 1963?

Should we be proud that Malaysia is now known world-wide not only as a kleptocracy, but a global kleptocracy, a country ruled by PPP – Pencuri, Perompak and Penyamun? Read the rest of this entry »


Three tasks for the 47 BN Sabah and Sarawak MPs to be kingmakers, uphold the secular basis of the nation, defend the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and save Malaysia from a “global kleptocracy”

For over four decades, the Members of Parliament in Sabah and Sarawak had been taken for granted by the UMNO/Barisan Nasional Federal Government, regarded as useful “cannon fodder” to make up the numbers to ensure UMNO’s increasing hegemony in the Federal Government but not critically important, as the ruling coalition had always won with two-thirds majority in Parliament.

The political landscape and electoral equation began to change in the 12th General Election in 2008, when the UMNO/Barisan Nasional Federal coalition government lost its two-thirds parliamentary majority for the first time in Malaysian history.

But the 57 Parliamentary seats from Sabah and Sarawak became critically important only in the 13th General Election in 2013, when the 47 Barisan Nasional MPs saved the UMNO/BN coalition from going to the opposition ranks.

This was because the UMNO/BN coalition only won 86 parliamentary seats in Peninsular Malaysia, which was not enough on its own to constitute the simple majority out of a Parliament of 222 seats to form the Federal Government in Putrajaya.

It was only with the 47 Parliamentary seats won by the UMNO/BN coalition in Sabah and Sarawak that Datuk Seri Najib Razak could continue as Prime Minister with 133 parliamentary seats, though as the first minority Prime Minister of Malaysia as UMNO/BN coalition only won minority popular support of 47% of the national voter turnout.

The 47 Barisan Nasional MPs from Sabah and Sarawak were therefore the kingmakers of the UMNO/Barisan Nasional Federal Government after the 13th General Election in 2013, but unfortunately, they have so far failed to exercise their proper influence, role and input on national policy direction and developments.

Without the support of the 47 Barisan Nasional MPs from Sabah and Sarawak, Najib’s Federal Government in Putrajaya will fail and fall. Read the rest of this entry »

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Support for the appointment of Malanjum as the next Chief Justice, creating history as the first from Sabah/Sarawak to head the Malaysian judiciary in half a century

I support the proposal by the Sarawak PKR chairman Baru Bian for the appointment of Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak for over a decade since July 2006, as the next Chief Justice.

This will create history as Malanjum will be the first Malaysian from Sabah/Sarawak to head the Malaysian judiciary in half a century.

The present Chief Justice, Tun Arifin Zakaria will end his tenure in March next year after it was extended from October 1 this year.

Malanjum holds the distinction as the longest-serving judge, whether of High Court, Court of Appeal or Federal Court in the country. Read the rest of this entry »

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Has Barisan Nasional consensus degenerated from the original meaning of agreement by all 13 BN component parties into a perverted and corrupt version of what is unilaterally and arbitrarily decided by UMNO even in the face of objection by the other 12 BN component parties?

An UMNO-owned mainstream media reported today that PAS President, Datuk Seri A Abdul Hadi Awang’s hudud-enabling private member’s bill would be tabled and debated in Parliament next week.
In the circumstances, the continued silence of the Presidents of MCA, Gerakan, MIC and Sabah and Sarawak component parties of Barisan Nasional on whether they have agreed on a Barisan Nasional consensus for Hadi’s private member’s bill to be given priority over official business in the budget meeting of Parliament to be debated and voted upon is no more tenable.

The time has come for all the Barisan Nasional component parties to break their silence on Hadi’s private member’s bill.

Early this month, the UMNO and Barisan Nasional secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said that BN has arrived at a consensus regarding Hadi’s private member’s bill. Read the rest of this entry »

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A question for Malaysians to ponder while commemorating 53rd Malaysia Day – Is Najib’s 1Malaysia Policy dead or alive?

I dedicate a question for Malaysians to ponder while commemorating the 53rd Malaysia Day – is Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia Policy dead or alive?

If Najib’s 1Malaysia Policy is still alive, why are UMNO leaders spearheading a national campaign of hate and lies drumming up racial and religious politics, the latest example being the Minister for Rural and Regional Development, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who alleged that Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s new political party is a proxy for DAP to divide the Malay community – just like PKR and Parti Amanah Negara?

DAP shared the same platform as the first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman and veteran UMNO leader, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah when the latter led Parti Semangat 46 in the 1990 General Election to bring about electoral and institutional changes in the country.

Were Tunku and Razaleigh traitors of the Malay community or pioneers of Malaysian nationalism and patriotism?

Is Najib and UMNO’s survival justification enough to abandon the 1Malaysia Policy to promote racial and religious hatred and animosities based on lies and falsehoods? Read the rest of this entry »


Call for Anwar Ibrahim to be given the royal pardon and freed from Sungai Buloh prison on Malaysia Day as a first step to make Malaysia Day a National Day for all Malaysians and not just in Sabah and Sarawak

The time has come for the Malaysian Government to make Malaysia Day on September 16 a National Day in the genuine sense of the term for all Malaysians and not just in Sabah and Sarawak.

What is being done by the Federal Government to make Malaysia Day a National Day of solidarity for the reaffirmation of the unity, integrity and sovereignty of Malaysia at two levels – firstly, of the diverse races, religions, languages and cultures which have come together to make Malaysia their home and an “Instant Asia” and secondly, the union of Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak into a new nation in South-east Asia in 1963 by smoothing out the knots and kinks of nationhood in the past five decades – in particular the legitimate grievances felt by Sarawakians and Sabahans about their neglect and underdevelopment in the past half century?

Malaysia Day last year was hijacked and desecrated by the UMNO-inspired “Red Shirts” rally when it should be an occasion for all Malaysians to strengthen national integration and counter the divisive and centrifugal forces seeking the division and disintegration of the nation.

Not only Malaysia Day, but Sabah and Sabah were virtually forgotten on Sept. 16 last year when national and international attention were riveted on the Red Shirt “Kebangkitan Maruah Melayu” rally in Kuala Lumpur.

More is expected of the Federal Government to give greater substance to the import and significance of Malaysia Day not only to the people of Sabah and Sarawak but also to the people in Peninsular Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »


SUPP President Sim Kui Hian failed big time although he is treated like a “conquering hero” to save MCA, Gerakan and even UMNO in the two by-elections in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar

SUPP President, Senator Sim Kui Hian failed big time although he is treated like a “conquering hero” to save MCA, Gerakan and even UMNO in the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar parliamentary by-elections on Saturday.

This is the first time in 43-year Barisan Nasional history that the SUPP President is regarded like a “saviour” to MCA and Gerakan which had fallen on “bad times”, as the SUPP President had always been regarded by the MCA and Gerakan as a “little brother” and never as a “saviour” in BN history.

But Sim did not act like a “saviour” for MCA and Gerakan, or he should have spoken up for the MCA President, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Gerakan President, Datuk Mah Siew Keong who are afraid of losing their Ministerial posts by making it clear to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak that the Ministerial motion in Parliament on May 26 to “fast-track” Hadi’s hudud bill is a fundamental breach of 43-year Barisan Nasional policy and consensus that hudud violates the Malaysian Constitution and not suitable for a multi-religious Malaysia where Muslims comprise 62% and non-Muslims 38% of the population.

Sim should have spoken up in support of the proposal that the Prime Minister and all the leaders of the 14 Barisan Nasional component parties should make a joint declaration three days before polling day, i.e. by 15th June 2016, to reaffirm the Constitutional principle and the 43-year Barisan Nasional consensus to reject Hadi’s hudud bill, as well as to state in no uncertain terms that the Ministerial motion by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said was a great mistake as it violated the Constitution and the Barisan Nasional consensus and to ask for her resignation from the Cabinet.

Sim should have warned that if the fundamental principles of the Malaysian Constitution, the 1963 Malaysia Agreement and the 43-year Barisan Nasional consensus are allowed to be violated with impunity, it could lead to the disintegration of the Malaysian Federation. Read the rest of this entry »


RM55 billion 1MDB scandal is so humongous that if divided among 42,837 voters in Sungai Besar, every voter would get RM1.3 million!

Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has achieved world-class notice for Malaysia which none of the five previous Prime Ministers, including his father Tun Razak, had ever done in five decades – international notoriety as one of world’s top countries infamous for global corruption.

Wherever one goes in the world, Malaysia is now equated with the notorious and infamous RM55 billion 1MDB scandal – which has been described last week by the international financial news agency, Bloomberg, as one of the “world’s biggest financial scandals”.

Everybody knows that the RM55 billion 1MDB scandal is huge, but how huge is it?

I myself cannot fully envisage how astronomical is RM55 billion and I believe that 99% of Malaysians cannot imagine how huge is RM55 billion!

How many zeroes do we have in our bank accounts? RM100 is two zeroes, RM1,000 is three zeroes, RM10,000 is four zeroes and RM100,000 is five zeroes.

The overwhelming majority of Malaysians will not even have five zeroes in their bank accounts, even if they have property or assets worth five zeroes.

Having bank accounts of more than six zeroes (millionaires) will be beyond the reach of ordinary Malaysians, but RM55 billion or RM55,000,000,000 is to have 10 zeroes – a completely unthinkable sum of money.

Hidden in the RM55 billion 1MDB scandal is Najib’s RM4.2 billion “donation” scandal, and I don’t think there is a single leader in the democratic world that believes in democracy, good governance, accountability and transparency who has huge sums of money involving nine zeroes deposited into his private banking accounts and refusing to account for them!

The RM55 billion 1MDB scandal is so humongous that if divided among 42,837 voters in Sungai Besar, every voter would get RM1.3 million! Read the rest of this entry »

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Call for Joint Royal Commission co-chaired by a Sabahan and a Sarawakian to inquire into full implementation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) especially with regard to autonomy powers for Sabah and Sarawak

The month of Tadau Ka’amatan or Harvest Festival this year had not been as carefree as in recent past, with a dark shadow casting over both Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia.

This shadow is highlighted by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of national unity, Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, when in a most uncharacteristic warning going against his very portfolio of national unity, he cautioned Putrajaya that Sabahans and Sarawakians may demand to split from peninsular Malaysia if the proposed amendments to Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 are passed in Parliament.

What is most sad is that the Ministerial motion to give priority to PAS President Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill motion in Parliament on Thursday was proposed without the consent of the other non-UMNO parties in the 14-party Barisan Nasional coalition, the seconder of the Ministerial motion is a Sabahan Deputy Minister.

The time has come for a Joint Royal Commission co-chaired by a Sabahan and a Sarawakian to inquire into the full implementation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) especially with regard to autonomy powers for Sabah and Sarawak. Read the rest of this entry »


UMNO/BN can only be defeated in the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar parliamentary by-elections if there is a “game changer” giving the two by-elections unprecedented national significance and importance

After the 11th Sarawak state general election on May 7, the country is poised for the two Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar parliamentary by-elections next month.

Everybody’s first option is to have a one-to-one contest with UMNO/BN in the two by-elections, but this may not be a feasible or even the best political choice.

I have said that although the inability of Pakatan Harapan to campaign as one united team was a cause of great disappointment not only in Sarawak but also in Malaysia, the results of the Sarawak state general election showed that the multi-cornered contests involving Pakatan Harapan parties had not materially affected the outcome of the state election results.

Regardless of whether Pakatan Harapan had been able to present an united front, the results of the 11th Sarawak state general election results would have remained largely the same – Adenan Satam as Chief Minister of Sarawak, Barisan Nasional Sarawak forming the Sarawak state government with continuing two-thirds State Assembly majority and the question to be decided on the May 7 polling day was whether there could be a strong, effective and principled Opposition grouping in the Sarawak State Assembly. Read the rest of this entry »


Call for public inquiry into the tragic helicopter crash during the 11th Sarawak general election causing the death of six people, including a deputy minister and another MP

The 11th Sarawak state general election has ended on May 7 polling with fairly expected results, the re-election of Tan Sri Adenan Satem as Sarawak Chief Minister, the formation of the new Sarawak State Government by Sarawak Barisan Nasional and the failure to deny Adenan two-thirds majority in the 82-seat Sarawak State Assembly.

I had publicly predicted these three results after Nomination Day on April 25, and I was not greatly surprised by the outcome of the 11th Sarawak state general elections.

One of the disappointments of the 11th Sarawak state general elections was the inability of Pakatan Harapan to campaign as one team, and which saw multi-cornered contests even involving Pakatan Harapan parties, but the results have shown that it had not materially affected the results of the Sarawak state general election.

A combined and united Pakatan Harapan in the Sarawak state general election would have found it difficult to regain the 15 state assembly seats won by DAP and PKR five years ago in the 2011 state general election, but there is no doubt that the failure to present an united front by Pakatan Harapan parties caused great disappointment all-round and should be a lesson to all Pakatan Harapan parties for the future. Read the rest of this entry »


Victory and insecurity – Sarawak results and trajectories

By Bridget Welsh
13 May 2016, 11:25 am
Malaysia Kini

With the ‘landslide’ results of the Sarawak election last week, it would appear on the surface that Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has been given a political reprieve. His close ally Sarawak’s Chief Minister Adenan Satem secured an overwhelming majority of 72 out of 82 seats, or 87 percent of the seats.

The Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition gained 8.3 percent of the popular vote, to a total of 63.7 percent compared to the 55.4 percent it won in 2011.

It would seem that the message sent across the world was that Sarawakians support the BN. They appear to care little for corruption, abuse of power, an electoral system that relies on massive vote buying, gross distortions of electoral constituencies and abuse of political position against opposition alternatives.

They were not moved by one of the most serious global money-laundering scandals. In fact, while this may be true for some of the electorate, this reading of the election is not complete.
Read the rest of this entry »


Johor should take over the baton from Sarawak to be the vanguard for political change in Malaysia

At the mid-point of the 11th Sarawak state general election campaign on April 30, I warned that seven of the 13 seats carved out of the 12 State Assembly constituencies won by DAP in last general election were in “danger list” for the May 7 poll.

A week later, on Polling Day, I was proved right when DAP could only win seven of the 12 seats won five years ago.

DAP Sarawak fought the 11th Sarawak state general election with two objectives:

(I) to defend and win the 13 State Assembly seats carved out of the 12 DAP seats
won in the last general elections; and

(2) to achieve a breakthrough in the Dayak-dominated seats to expand DAP support from the urban areas.

I had hoped that DAP candidate Modi Bimol could win the Tasik Biru state assembly seat, and that was why I was in Tasek Biru on Nomination Day.

But the combined artillery and firepower of the Barisan Nasional national and state “heavyweights” including the Sarawak Chief Minister and the Malaysian Prime Minister who led a long queue of State and Federal VIPS to descend on the constituency with monetary offers and other goodies, succeeded in foiling Modi from the DAP election breakthrough. In the event, Modi lost by 1,288 votes.

I had right from the beginning of the election campaign acknowledged that the 11th Sarawak state general election was not about deciding who would be the Sarawak Chief Minister and who would form the Sarawak State Government as both these questions had already been decided on Nomination Day – i.e. Adenan Satem as Sarawak Chief Minister and Sarawak Barisan Nasional as the Sarawak State Government.

I even said that the goal of denying Adenan two-thirds state assembly majority would be quite impossible, as it would mean the Opposition collectively electing at least 28 State Assembly seats in Sarawak. Read the rest of this entry »


S’wak’s Tasik Biru battle DAP’s litmus test of conscience

Mordi Bimol
12th May 2016

COMMENT On the nomination day for the Sarawak state election on April 25, 2016, Lim Kit Siang, who was present at the Tasik Biru seat nomination centre, described the battle in Tasik Biru between Henry Jinep of the BN and I, as the litmus test for DAP in the Dayak majority seat.

Tasik Biru is a constituency that comprises 68 percent Dayak, 26 percent Chinese and six percent Malay Melanau. BN eventually won with a majority of 1,288 votes, garnering 6,922 votes (55 percent) against the DAP’s 5,634 votes (45 percent).

Although we lost the seat in a straight fight with BN-SPDP, we made significant inroads in this Dayak majority seat.

In the 13th general election, I contested for the parliamentary seat of Mas Gading, which comprises two state assembly seats – Tasik Biru and Opar – and garnered 5,293 votes.

In this state election, we obtained more votes (5,634) in just one state assembly seat alone. At the micro-level, we won in four out of 20 Dayak villages, with one of them as high as 70 percent. We averaged at 40 percent votes for Dayak localities. Such an achievement was unimaginable three years ago.

We managed to make significant inroads into the Bidayuh heartland despite BN’s systematic pouring of cash handouts on the last day and use of fear tactics – the villagers were told that the government would cut their water, electricity and welfare aid if BN were to lose the seat! Read the rest of this entry »


Elections in Malaysia – Rumbles in the jungle

May 7th 2016 | KUCHING

A cakewalk in Borneo is a boon for Najib Razak— at least for now

IN A hut on stilts on the island of Borneo, a dozen skulls hang in a cage. They are those of long-dead victims of the Dayaks—indigenous tribes whose members make up the majority in Sarawak, a sprawling Malaysian state. Once thought to harbour protective spirits, the heads are now tourist curios. Few indigenous people still live in the communal dwellings such relics guard, and those who remain hang Christian crosses on their doors.

This month many Malaysians would like to see the Dayaks take one last scalp. Sarawak’s state election on May 7th is a chance for voters to rebuke Najib Razak, Malaysia’s unpopular prime minister, who has spent much of the past year denying that hundreds of millions of dollars which entered his bank accounts were wangled from an ailing national investment firm. Investigations into 1MDB’s dealings are under way in half a dozen countries; some of its borrowings are in default. Yet parties loyal to Barisan Nasional, Mr Najib’s coalition, will probably retain a crushing majority in Sarawak’s state assembly. That prospect illuminates the prime minister’s resilience, which outsiders find bizarre. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia’s Najib Has Little to Cheer Over Sarawak Triumph

By Luke Hunt
May 11, 2016
The Diplomat

The election win is rooted in local rather than national factors.

Victory for the incumbent at Malaysian state elections in Sarawak has been billed by the government-friendly press as a turning point for the embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak. The state poll was won by chief minister Adenan Satem and Najib was quick to claim the credit.

But any applause for Najib is misplaced and overlooks Adenan’s popularity, which was achieved on the back of promised reforms and his stand against corruption in the aftermath of his predecessor Taib Mahmud, who retired with his family ranked among the world’s richest following over three decades at the helm of Sarawak.

This weekend’s election was not a test of national policies. It was fought on local issues in a state, which legally is an equal part of a three-way Malaysian federation that encompasses neighboring Sabah and the Malaysia peninsula.

In the election, Barisan Nasional (BN), the ruling coalition which is led by the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) which Najib heads, secured 72 out of 82 seats. UMNO has been the dominant party within BN at the federal level ever since Britain told Malaysia it was time to evolve into a country in its own right. That was almost 60 years ago and ever since then, politicians have enjoyed conflating the two political outfits when it suits their political purposes.

In this case, it is quite clear that Najib attempted to steal the headlines and craft national-level spin for a local story written by Adenan, who had earned high marks after Taib stood down by promising to respect the rights of the long-marginalized indigenous tribes, crack down on corruption and “put the fear of god into people who are dishonest.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s Hobbled PM Taps Local Election Win For Support: Why It’s Not Enough

Ralph Jennings
MAY 10, 2016

Malaysia’s ruling coalition and embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak got some breathing room this month but aren’t out of the ICU.

Najib’s Barisan Nasional party won 72 of 82 state assembly seats in Sarawak on Saturday, indicating that the party’s coalition has a chance of holding parliament in national elections expected by August 2018. To carry on politically, Najib needs to rebuild his name. He has been suspected since last year of moving about $700 million from government-run development company 1MDB to personal bank accounts. The 62-year-old leader faces no formal charges, but based on suspicion alone a lot of people want him out after seven years as prime minister.

The state election, his party’s first contest since the bank account issue erupted, gives Najib a narrow margin to grapple his way back to good standing before the nationwide vote.

His continuation in power would mean more economic development, his thing all along. The well-off Southeast Asian nation of 30 million people relies mainly on resources such as gas and rubber but faces risks from drops in fuel prices and oil-related taxes that the World Bank says account for around 17% of public revenues. So it’s building up an Islamic finance sector, manufacturing (up more than 20% in 2014) and even a film industry.

The Sarawak victory is a quick fix for the leadership. It’s not necessarily enough to last through the national election, per analyst views. Read the rest of this entry »

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