31 March, 2009

It was a multi-racial effort that won independence !

In 1954 Abdul Rahman led a delegation to London to seek independence for Malaya, but the trip proved to be unfruitful. The British were reluctant to grant independence unless there was evidence that the different races in Malaya were able to work together and cooperate in a new and independent country.

Race relations was the cause of Onn Jaafar stepping down. He wanted UMNO to be open to the Chinese and Indians but UMNO members were not ready to accept this. His successor, Abdul Rahman saw a way around this by forming a political alliance with the Malayan Chinese Association called the Alliance Party. The coalition proved to be popular among the people. The Alliance was later joined by the Malayan Indian Congress (MIC) in 1955, representing the Indian community.

In the same year, the first federal general election was held, and the Alliance Party (Perikatan) won fifty-one out of the fifty-two seats contested. Abdul Rahman was selected as Malaya's first Chief Minister.

Later in 1955 Abdul Rahman made another trip to London to negotiate Malayan independence, and 31 August 1957 was decided as the date for independence. When the British flag was lowered in Kuala Lumpur on independence day.

During 1955 and 1956 UMNO, the MCA and the British hammered out a constitutional settlement for anciple of equal citizenship for all races. In exchange, the MCA agreed that Malaya’s head of state would be drawn from the ranks of the Malay Sultans, that Malay would be the official language, and that Malay education and economic development would be promoted and subsidised.

In effect this meant that Malaya would be run by the Malays, particularly since they continued to dominate the civil service, the army and the police, but that the Chinese and Indians would have proportionate representation in the Cabinet and the parliament, would run those states where they were the majority, and would have their economic position protected.

The difficult issue of who would control the education system was deferred until after independence. This came on August 31, 1957, when Tunku Abdul Rahman became the first Prime Minister of independent Malaya.

MCA: It was a multi-racial effort that won independence

The country’s independence was forged through the close cooperation of leaders of the Alliance party and was not the sole effort of Umno, said MCA central committee member Lee Wei Kiat.

He pointed out that it was the leaders of MCA, Umno and MIC in the Alliance, which preceded Barisan Nasional before Merdeka, who were all influential in negotiating with the British for independence.

“MCA will not allow efforts from any party in trying to rewrite facts of history or denying the efforts of the other races in helping to fight for the country’s independence 52 years ago,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Lee was commenting on Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein’s statement at the party general assembly that the process of independence and later developments were forged by “Umno and our Malay Rulers and no one else”.

Lee said: “If we look back at history in 1954, Tunku Abdul Rahman led a three-man Alliance delegation comprising himself, Tun Abdul Razak and Tan Sri T.H. Tan from the MCA to England to hold talks with the colonial authority.”

He said that Tunku Abdul Rahman also led an Alliance delegation to London to hold independence talks with the British with MCA represented by Tun H.S. Lee and Tan.

Lee, who is MCA information and communications bureau chairman, said the negotiations led to mutual consent for a draft constitution.

“We hope that Hishammuddin’s remarks are not aimed at gaining political mileage for himself after winning the Umno vice-presidency on March 26,” Lee said.

He urged the minister to show that he was a leader of all Malaysians and not just an Umno leader.

“Any deviation in history will not only affect the country’s harmony currently enjoyed by the various races but also hinder the government’s efforts in fostering racial unity between different ethnic groups,” he said.

He said Malaysian children must understand clearly that all races had to be equally recognised for their efforts and contributions to the country’s development.

- The Star Online.

Recognise role of Chinese in history: Tee Keat

The role of the Chinese community in Malaysian history should not be "diluted", says MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat.

"Historical facts are historical facts. We cannot add to them or put a spin on them or ignore them. I speak generally of the commitment of MCA in its efforts to inform of the efforts of the Chinese community in the fight for independence and in nation building," said Ong, who pointed out that the struggle for independence ultimately involved all races.

"All parties are aware that in the struggle for independence, some communities rose up first, and others followed. This is a fact. But at the same time, the outcome of the struggle for independence was a united effort. If all the races were not involved, it would have been impossible for us to achive independence.

"Whether we like it or not, many historical facts, especially those that involve our multiracial society and the Chinese community look more diluted (on record and books)," he said.

"MCA was working actively to preserve the history of Chinese's contributions to the Merdeka struggle and nation-building."

"As part of my role as MCA president, I appointed a MCA leader to head the Historical Documentation Bureau. At the time, there were those who made fun of it, and questioned its priority. But history is important to a community and a nation," he said, adding that studies had been conducted on the matter.

Asked whether this was in response to statements made yesterday by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that it was the Malays who first sought for independence, Ong said: "I have already made similar statements in the presence of Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin when asked by the press.

"In a way, yes this is a response to the PM's statement. But I said this even earlier when Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and I were asked while campaigning in Bukit Gantang yesterday."

- Sun2Surf.


30 March, 2009

Chicken Wings - Its Dangerous ?

Just received this e mail:"Chicken Wings - Its Dangerous"

Avoid eating chicken wings frequently - ladies, especially; a true story...!

A friend of mine recently had a growth in her womb and she underwent an operation to remove the cyst.

The cyst removed was filled with a dark colored blood. She thought that she would be recovered after the surgery but! she was terribly wrong.

A relapse occurred just a few months later. Distressed , she rushed down to her gynecologist for a consultation.

During her consultation, her doctor asked her a question that puzzled her.

He ask if she was a frequent consumer of chicken wings and she replied yes wondering as to how, he knew of her eating habits.

You see, the truth is in this modern day and age; chickens are injected with steroids to accelerate their growth so that the needs of this society can be met.

This need is none other than the need for food..

Chickens that are injected with steroids are usually given the shot at the neck or the wings.

Therefore, it is in these places that the highest concentration of steroids exists.

These steroids have terrifying effects on the body as it accelerates growth..

It has an even more dangerous effect in the presence of female hormones, this leads to women being more prone to the growth of a cyst in the womb. Therefore, I advise the people out there to watch their diets and to lower their frequency of consuming chicken wings!

People, who receive this email, please forward it to your friends and loved ones. I am sure no one wants to see him or her suffer!


Sharon How
Singapore Medical Association


29 March, 2009

Monkey Business !

Start with a cage containing five monkeys. In the cage, hang a banana on a string and put a set of stairs under it. Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the monkeys with cold water. After awhile, another monkey makes an attempt with the same result. Pretty soon, when any monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.

Now, turn off the cold water. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his horror, all of the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted. Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm. Again, replace a third original monkey with a new one. The new one makes it to the stairs and is attacked as well. Two of the four monkeys that beat him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs, or why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.

After replacing the fourth and fifth original monkeys, all the monkeys which have been sprayed with cold water have been replaced. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs. Why not? Because that's the way it's always been around here. And that's how company policy begins............


28 March, 2009

Politics in an age of unreason

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak wants people to judge him by his actions and not to prejudge him based on perceptions and lies.

"Please be fair to me first, give me a chance to take office first. I only ask to be treated fairly," he said at a press conference at the end of the party's annual general meeting Saturday.

He pointed out that his actions would be seen in due course and he had not even taken office of Prime Minister yet.

Najib was responding to a spate of questions that he was going to clamp down on media freedom and other civil liberties.

Najib turned to the local and international media and asked:

"Why are you resorting to a certain line of questioning?" following a question whether his family and friends would play a major role in his administration.

"I will make changes and I will reform. I am aware people expect me to make certain reforms and we will do it,"

Najib said that the focus was on rebuilding the party and the economic agenda.

"There is a general feeling that there is too much politics in Malaysia which will sidetrack the economic recovery."

On race relations in the country, he replied: "I don't think we have come to the point where it is very tense. I think it can better. Issues tend to crop up from time to time but basically Malaysians are more mature, they know that they have to live in peace and harmony.

"You can have differences of opinion on sensitive issues but at the end of the day, we must find a way to resolve them and move on to nation building. I believe in the concept of One Malaysia, which I will expound on based on policy and programmes," he added.

Politics in an Age of Unreason

Faced with an economic crisis of gargantuan proportions, we are a nation in denial and unable to address the realities of the world face-to-face. Running to the bomoh and hiding behind the rhetoric of racial exclusivism are the same thing: A pathetic attempt to escape from the real issues that may make or break this nation, writes Farish Noor.

So now the bomohs (witch doctors) rule the roost it would seem. The news that a magic charm or spell was found hidden surreptitiously under the desk of none other than the Prime Minister of Malaysia does not bode well for the future of this country of ours. It may make the headlines under the ‘Strange but True’ column of foreign papers, but this historian has grown somewhat jaded by now by such ridiculousness dressed in the garment of wonderment and fantasy. No, this was no laughing matter (and if we did laugh, it was a pitiable laugh at best).

One recalls the blanket order issued by some political parties last year just before the general elections of March 2008, to the effect that politicians should refrain from calling upon the services of such practitioners of the ‘black arts’. That political parties have to issue such warnings in the first place speaks volumes about the state of Malaysian politics today, a primordial politics that is being enacted in an age of unreason.

As a scholar in Britain in the 1990s I remember reading a report about a Latin American country that had fallen into an economic tailspin of unprecedented proportions. As inflation rose to the level of more than a thousand percent, the hapless citizens of that unfortunate country wondered aloud about how their country’s economy could have fallen apart in so short a space of time.

It later transpired that the Cabinet Minister in charge of Economic Development and Finance had consulted a Latin American equivalent of a bomoh too. In the middle of the night he had snuck out of the capital in his air-conditioned luxury car to meet up with the half-naked savant in the steamy jungle. In the witch doctor’s primeval hut a chicken was readied for the task. The fowl’s belly was split open and the entrails were laid out for inspection. The witch doctor took a look at the shape and form of the animal’s liver, kidneys and intestines, and then gave his expert opinion as to how the country’s economy should be managed over the rest of the fiscal year. The Cabinet Minister dutifully took down notes and made the necessary changes to the budget. In a week’s time the economy had crashed and in this case at least we cannot blame the chicken for the economic collapse. The rest is history, and a sad one at that…

I shudder at the thought that Malaysia today may be heading in the same direction. We pride ourselves with the thought that we have the most beautiful international airport in the region; and that our capital boasts of having one of the tallest buildings in the world. But the word on the street is that one should not linger too long on the forty-first floor of the KLCC tower for fear that one may bump into the resident ghost who tarries along the corridor in the dead of night. And of course magic spells have the tendency to end up under your table if you happen to be the Prime Minister as well.

My despondent character is hardly improved by these revelations. Indeed it brings me closer to suicide every time I read of such nonsense that passes as politics in our benighted country.

Malaysian politics is in dire need of a heavy dose of reason and rationality. For too long we have become accustomed to a primordial politics based on sentiment and couched in narrow essentialisms of race, ethnicity, language and religious differences. Yet to build a modern nation-state and to engage in the effort of nation-building, it is our rational critical faculties that we need to draw upon. The abstract idea of a plural and democratic Malaysia is not the result of the bomoh’s arcane craft, but rather the result of careful planning and micro-management of a host of social and cultural variables.

Looking at where we are today, with a country that continues to be split along ethnic, racial, linguistic and religious lines, one is compelled to ask: Can Malaysia survive the next 50 years and will we remain on the map? The recent calls for the protection and promotion of exclusive racial interests that were uttered prior to the UMNO general assembly all point to the return of primordial politics with a vengeance. Worst of all, almost all of the politicians in this country have retained the ethnic-communitarian card til today.

This, my friends, is the real danger we face in Malaysia at the moment. Faced with an economic crisis of gargantuan proportions, we are a nation in denial and unable to address the realities of the world face-to-face. Running to the bomoh and hiding behind the rhetoric of racial exclusivism are the same thing: A pathetic attempt to escape from the real issues that may make or break this nation, while we perpetuate our collective conceit that we are a developing state-in-waiting. For our sake, and for the sake of the future generations of Malaysians, reason and rationality will have to make a comeback in no uncertain terms.


27 March, 2009

Dr M calls Umno Youth corrupt for electing Khairy

Dr M, written on his blog post, said that he did not attend the opening of the Umno general assembly because Umno Youth openly sanctioned money politics by electing Khairy.

"They picked as their leader someone who was found guilty of using money and other inducements in his effort to get elected as the head of Umno Youth…Never before has a person who has been acknowledged as corrupt by the party disciplinary board, by the party and the public being elected and hailed as the leader.

"Pemuda has sullied the image of the party and the Malays. It appears that money is more important than one's race and country, '' said the former party president, who wondered whether the rest of Malaysia would accept a leader like Khairy.

Dr Mahathir also added an element of conspiracy into the youth elections, questioning why it took six hours to count 790 votes.

"Didn't they know how to count? Or was there an attempt to ensure victory for the son-in-law of the Prime Minister?


1. Ramai kenalan saya yang fikir saya tidak hadir pembukaan mesyuarat Perhimpunan Agung UMNO kerana anak saya Mukhriz kalah pertandingan Ketua Pemuda.

2. Memanglah saya terasa sedih kerananya.

3. Tetapi sebab yang sebenar saya tidak hadir ialah oleh kerana Pemuda UMNO secara langsung dan terbuka merestui politik rasuah.

4. Mereka memilih sebagai ketua mereka seorang yang telah didapati bersalah menggunakan wang dan sogokan dalam usahanya untuk dipilih sebagai Ketua Pemuda. Samada dia dibenar bertanding atau tidak, tidak menidakkan dianya adalah perasuah.

5. Hukuman yang dijatuhkan kepada orang ini tidak setimpal dan adil kerana orang lain yang didapati bersalah sama sepertinya tidak dibenar bertanding.

6. Tidak pernah terjadi orang yang dikenali dan diakui umum sebagai perasuah oleh Lembaga Disiplin, oleh parti dan oleh orang ramai dipilih dan dijunjung tinggi sebagai ketua. Tetapi inilah yang dilakukan oleh Pemuda UMNO yang dahulu terkenal sebagai barisan hadapan dalam perjuangan UMNO.

7. Pemuda telah merosakkan imej UMNO dan imej orang Melayu sendiri. Rupa-rupanya duit lebih utama daripada bangsa dan negara. Apakah rakyat akan terima dipimpin oleh tokoh rasuah yang terkenal? Perbuatan merestui rasuah adalah satu pengkhianatan kepada bangsa Melayu dan negara Malaysia.

8. Juga saya hairan kenapa untuk mengira hanya 790 undi mengambil masa lebih dari enam jam?

9. Apakah pengira undi tidak tahu kira? Atau apakah sesuatu sudah diusahakan untuk menjayakan menantu Perdana Menteri. Ini menjadi soalan bukan daripada saya seorang tetapi oleh semua orang ramai. Tak usahlah Perdana Menteri bercakap berkenaan dengan menolak rasuah kerana menantu yang perasuah diberi keistimewaan luar biasa.

10. Ini juga menghakiskan lagi kepercayaan rakyat kepada UMNO.

11. Inilah sebab-sebabnya saya tidak hadir. Saya rasa diri saya akan tercemar jika saya berada dalam majlis yang disertai oleh orang yang mendukung amalan rasuah.

- Dr M

Meanwhile, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he is happy with Khairy Jamaluddin's election as the new Umno Youth chief, saying the Rembau member of Parliament had worked hard for the victory.

"He (Khairy) worked very hard, he really worked very hard, that is the truth, I know... because when I went to see my grandchildren and asked Nori (Abdullah's daughter) where is Khairy, she said he had gone campaigning and meeting the Umno Youth.

"So I said, he must be working very hard and she herself agreed that he did work hard... everyday going around.

"I think he deserves it after working so hard,"

On the other hand, Khairy Jamaluddin, the Son in law is no stranger to controversy and has become used to it. And now that he has been elected to Umno Youth's highest position, the detractors are making sure he is kept on his toes.

He has much to do to clear his name over the money politics controversy surrounding the contest for the wing’s top post.

After all, the disciplinary board found him guilty of involvement in money politics by association, but decided to just issue him a warning.

Asked to comment on allegations of money politics being leveled against him, Khairy said: "It’s just the usual stuff, usual expression of views during the debates."

"I’m used to it, this is my ….I can’t remember how many general assemblies I have been to," he said.

"It does not unfazed me at all; it’s something I have to deal with. I’ve been having to deal with this for quite a while now, so I just continue with my work and continue with the by-elections that are coming up where I can reach out to more party members and the public as well."

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26 March, 2009

He who laughs last, laughs best !

Abdullah Badawi, the supreme leader that Dr Mahathir hammered and Umno openly discarded, may start to have his last laughs.

Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil unseated Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz easily while Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin won the Youth chief’s post, defeating two other strongmen.

Shahrizat got 507 votes compared to Rafidah’s 280.

Khairy obtained 304 votes while former Selangor mentri besar Datuk Seri Dr Khir Toyo got 254 and Jerlun MP Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir trailed behind with 232.

Party insiders say the results showed that delegates also voted in those aligned to the new chiefs.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad has not show up for the opening of the Umno general assembly despite saying earlier he would.

His aide Sufi Yusoff was quoted as saying that he has decided to skip the function.

Mahathir's snub has probably got to do with the defeat of his son, Mukhriz, last night. Despite being regarded as a front runner, Mukhriz finished third in the Umno Youth contest.

He lost to Khairy Jamaluddin and Khir Toyo. Some Mukhriz's supporters took the defeat badly, staging a noisy protest at the PWTC but Mukhriz said he accepted the defeat, saying in all contests, there would be winners and defeats.

Malaysia's longtime ruling party is meeting to select a new crop of leaders after a series of electoral setbacks. But it faces a stiff challenge to reverse a rapid slide in popularity at a time when Malaysia's trade-dependent economy is sinking into recession.

At stake is the stability of a political order that has guided the multiracial country for five decades. The United Malays National Organization (UMNO) leads a coalition government that has delivered economic development but appears unable to tackle increasing racial tensions and calls for greater freedom.

At the four-day convention, which began Tuesday, UMNO officials have hammered a message of reform and renewal in order to win back voters. But a scandal over delegate vote-buying, which led to the disqualification of several candidates, has only added to the public perception of an organization that is mired in graft and out of touch with ordinary voters.

Seizing on this weakness, opponents are turning up the heat on Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is due to replace outgoing Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi next week.

Highlight of Abdullah speech :"The Future and Survival of the Party

On need for change

Sadly, there are still those who feel we do not need to pursue reforms. They believe that Umno will regain its glory if we revert to the old ways -- the old order, by restricting the freedom of our citizens and by silencing their criticism. They are of the view that Umno can continue to be in power if they safeguard the interests of certain individuals and give in to the demands of certain groups. Reverting to the old path would only take the party to regression and decay and hasten its demise.

On being leaders for all

Umno should not turn its back on its responsibility towards safeguarding the position of the Malays and the Bumiputras. At the same time, it must never adopt racial and religious positions that are extremist. It must never practice discrimination to the extent that non-Malays view it as a racist party. The rights of all citizens must always be protected, guaranteed and respected.
On Najib

I pledge to give my undivided support to the new President of Umno – to the new Prime Minister of Malaysia. The responsibilities that come with the job are immense. There are times when a decision creates controversy; when a decision will not receive the support of all. Despite any reservations we may have, our leader should be given the trust and stability of mind to allow him to continue to remain rational and objective. If we choose to attack him and assassinate his character, we would be responsible for weakening our party and toppling our leader who sits in the Prime Minister’s chair.

On making mistakes

In my years of public service, there have been times when I have erred. I too had not been able to fulfill all my promises. I acknowledge that the weaknesses and imperfections are my own; and today, I seek your forgiveness for those weaknesses and imperfections. I have tried to carry out my responsibilities with sincerity and honesty.

On the Barisan Nasional formula

We must re-emphasise the formula of power-sharing. Recently, the Malays have begun to feel threatened by demands which are seen to be extreme and unreasonable by non-Malays upholding the Malaysian Malaysia slogan. At the same time, non-Malays – including our friends in the BN – feel compelled to speak out more stridently, feeling themselves marginalized and sidelined as a result of slippage in the implementation of certain government policies. Both parties are harbouring mistrust and doubt. If we allow this to continue, it will erode the spirit of cooperation and destroy the unity that we have built. We must rediscover the cooperation that formed the basis of our national unity.

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25 March, 2009

Hishammuddin vows to fight agent provocateur

In his last speech as Umno Youth chief, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein went on the offensive against a power-crazy agent provocateur, saying the movement will fight to the end to defeat his dirty and cruel politicking.

Without naming the person, the outgoing Youth chief said this person was willing to “sow the seeds of hatred, collude with the enemy, insult the nation in various world forums, deny the rights of his own race, and mock the institution of rulers”.

He said whatever this person did or say will be forever etched in history as the work of a peson who wears different masks and is full of pretense and who is a liar and manipulator.

Hishammuddin said the movement would defend the rule of law, the rights and privileges of the Malays and bumiputera, the sanctity of Islam and the institution of the Malay rulers.

"We will not allow these pillars to be uprooted in this beloved homeland of ours," he told the 793 delegates to the Youth General Assembly here.

Hishammuddin is not defending his post as the movement's chief but is vying for a vice-president’s post at the main assembly.

At the opening of the assembly, Hishammuddin continued the tradition of carrying the keris called Panca Warisan into the Tun Hussein Onn Hall. He unsheated and kissed it and put it back in its case, avoiding the act of holding it aloft with an outstretched arm which had invited criticism.

The keris was later presented to him at the end of his speech. Hishammuddin was seen in tears as he was loudly cheered by delegates.

His 50-minute-long speech also reminded opposition parties not to abuse freedom of expression to stoke the fire of racism as this could destroy the nation.

"To these irresponsible people, don't ever attempt to take advantage of the situation to show off courage and to ramble under the immunity provided by the Dewan Rakyat and make wild allegations."

He said the opposition was engaging in organised attempts to undermine the country's pillars, which formed the basis of the nation's sovereignty.

"They are questioning the social contract and the special position of the Malays and bumiputera in a very arrogant manner. The social contract is deliberatly misinterpreted to fan racial sentiment," he said.

Hishammuddin also said he had never betrayed the Malays throughout his 11-year tenure as the movement's chief.

"I'm aware that there are all sorts of text messages and poison-pen letters being circulated to attack my character but I leave it to God to judge.

"I will never betray the struggle which we inherited from my grandfather (Datuk Onn Jaafar) and father (Tun Hussein Onn). I will never betray the Malay struggle," he said.

He called on the new Umno Youth leadership to woo the young to join the party and to get closer to the people. He also told the delegates to choose leaders who are honest and sincere and able to chart the movement's future.

- Sun2surf

Meanwhile, Permodalan Negri Selangor Berhad (PNSB) chief executive officer Datin Khairiyah Abu Hassan testified before the legislature today that the state subsidiary was ‘instructed” to pick up the cost to Melbourne for the wife of former menteri besar Datin Zahrah Kechik to visit their son who was studying there.

Khairiyah told the Special Select Committee for Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) that she received the instructions directly from Zahrah and was “told” to accompany her on the three day visit, in 2007.

Over RM14,000 was spent to purchase return business class and economy class tickets sometime in December 2007.

Khairiyah says she remembers travelling in business class with Zahrah but could not explain the discrepancies in the invoices for travel which was provided to the committee.

She admitted that the trip was not an official visit and Zahrah used the time to visit her son and to buy souvenirs.

Selangor Speaker Teng Chang Khim, who is heading Selcat’s probe into the now defunct Wives of Selangor Elected Representatives Charity Organization (Balkis), remarked that the trip may have not been official but the cost was.

However Khairiyah said Zahrah paid for the hotel accommodation while in Australia.

The startling revelations could not come at a worse time for Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo, who is contesting the Umno Youth chief’s in the party’s general assembly.

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24 March, 2009

Speak up against attempts to silence opposing voices !

Former de facto Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim has hit out at the suspension of two opposition party publications and said that Malaysians should denounce attempts to silence opposing voices.

Zaid said that he was not surprised by the suspension of opposition party owned newspapers Suara Keadilan and Harakah and added that the only way to prevent more such attempts was if more people would stand up and criticise the move.

"We're all vulnerable," he said. "Those who think they are safe are mistaken. No matter how much you try to play safe, you are never safe. If more and more people stand up, then the people in power will probably think twice."

The suspension of Harakah and Suara Keadilan is not part of a crackdown on Opposition political parties because of the coming by-elections, said Deputy Home Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung.

However, it is widely perceived as a move to stifle the reach of opposition parties and bolster the chances of the ruling party in three critical by-elections next month.

In another move that is seen as an attempt to tighten its grip on the media landscape, Umno, the party that forms the backbone of the government, also barred six internet based media from covering its annual general assembly this week, including Malaysiakini, as it is not friendly to UMNO.

Anwar Ibrahim: Najib…’unleashes his brutality and violence on the people’

A phase of repression descended on Malaysia as Najib Razak seizes control of the reins of power, even before officially taking over as Prime Minister, and unleashes his brutality and violence on the people.

Last night, a rally of about 10,000 people from all races was mercilessly attacked by the police with tear gas and acid-laced water cannon minutes after I began my speech in Bukit Selambau. Scores of people were arrested including my chief of staff, MPs, and senior aides to the Chief Minister of Kedah.

To justify their iron hand tactics and blatant violation of the people’s fundamental liberties, the police have claimed that the rally was illegal. These are baseless claims as the event took place on private property and adhered to the rules.

Last night’s show of brute force is but the latest in a series of harsh and dictatorial action by the government under Najib against the people. Also yesterday Suara Keadilan and Harakah were banned by the Home Ministry without any justification. These events only too starkly remind us of the cruel and authoritarian style of leadership under which Malaysians suffered for many years. The police force has become a band of marauders. The press is muzzled and those who speak the truth about the abuses carried out by the ruling clique are arrested, beaten and bullied.

The institutions of governance serve the interests of an elite clique which will exceed all boundaries of the law to retain power. A return to that era would be a disaster for this country and people of conscience around the world should condemn these unscrupulous actions.

It is quite clear that despite his superficial offers for cooperation and bipartisanship, the olive branch which Najib Razak extended to the opposition early this month is really a dagger in disguise.

In two weeks Malaysians will once again return to the polls in three important by-elections. Once again all forms of trickery, cheating and bribery will be employed by the UMNO led BN government in order to defeat the opposition. But we are confident that Malaysians will register a referendum, much like they already have done in Kuala Terengganu and in Permatang Pauh, against the brutal and inhumane policies of the government. The movement for change and reform in Malaysia will push forward and will succeed.


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23 March, 2009

Harakah, Suara Keadilan banned 3 months !

The Home Ministry has suspended the organs of two opposition parties - PAS' Harakah and PKR's Suara Keadilan - for three months, effective immediately, no reason given.

- Malaysiakini

Harakah digantung tiga bulan

Kementerian Dalam Negeri (KDN) hari ini menggantung permit akhbar pembangkang berpengaruh Harakah dan Suara Keadilan masing-masing selama tiga bulan berkuatkuasa serta-merta.

Tindakan secara langsung menghalang kempen media kedua-dua parti bagi menghadapi tiga pilihanraya kecil pada 7 April ini - kawasan parlimen Bukit Gantang di Perak, DUN Bukit Selambau di Kedah dan DUN Batang Ai di Sarawak.

Menurut surat arahan yang dikeluarkan oleh Setiausaha bahagian Unit Kawalan Penerbitan dan Teks Al-Quran KDN Che Din Yusoh tidak memberi sebarang alasan tindakan tersebut dan arahan terbabit telah difaks kepada Harakah hari ini.

Sementara itu arahan turut dikeluar kepada akhbar KeADILan yang dialamatkan kepada Presiden KeADILan Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail kira-kira 5 petang ini yang berkuatkuasa serta-merta.

"Dukacita dimaklumkan bahawa kementerian ini telah membuat keputusan untuk menggantung permit penerbitan akhbar Suara Keadilan selama tempoh tiga (3) bulan berkuatkuasa serta-merta," surat KDN dipetik.

- Harakahdaily

Meanwhile, KeADILan Youth will spearhead a nationwide campaign aimed at giving Malaysians a platform to jointly express their rejection of incoming Umno president Najib Abdul Razak as the sixth prime minister of the country.

Entitled ‘Say NO to Najib’, the idea for the campaign was initiated by youths from different parts of the country.

“This fact cannot be denied - there is a big NO in the hearts of many Malaysians,” said. Pakatan Rakyat leader and KeADILan information chief Tian Chua.

“Even as he is trying to secure a smooth ascension to the No 1 job in the country, the nation is getting more and more anxious. The people are waiting and hoping for a last-minute change from Pak Lah.”

Najib is slated to take over from Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on April 3, according to an internal power transition knocked out by a group of Umno leaders aligned to him. Abdullah, or Pak Lah, was forced to accept early retirement even though his term officially ends only in 2013.

Youth wings of the Pakatan Rakyat are due to deliver a memorandum to the Palace appealing to the King to reject any proposal to appoint Najib as the next premier.

“I am finalising discussion with other Youth leaders from PAS and DAP to get this memorandum sent to the Palace as soon as possible,” said Shamsul Iskandar Akin, KeADILan Youth chief.

“The choice of Najib as prime minister is a huge mistake. Never before in our history has a leader with such a scandalous past record been appointed Prime Minister of Malaysia. It will bring great shame to us all.”

Scandalous past and present

According to Shamsul, Najib has never challenged any of the graft allegations brought against him throughout his 33-year political career - including the latest news report published by well-known French paper Liberation.

The Liberation had linked Najib to the sensational commission-and-murder case of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu, an alleged a go-between in Malaysia’ one billion euros purchase of three submarines, including two Scorpenes, during Najib’s tenure as defence minister.

Two special unit police officers, previously detailed as bodyguards for his wife Rosmah Mansor, have been charged for her brutal murder in Malaysia in 2006.

The beautiful 28-year old was alleged to have been Najib’s mistress before she met and became the lover of Abdul Razak Baginda, his close associate and alleged intermediary for the 114 million euros commission paid by French shipbuilder Armaris for the acquisition.

According to the Liberation, a jealous Rosmah refused to pay Altantuya a cent of her US$500,000 share of the commission. That left Altantuya with no choice but to pester Razak Baginda, and this eventually led to her killing.

“I challenge Najib to charge me if all the reports that I have lodged with the police are false,” said Shamsul, who on Mar 7 lodged a report against Najib and Rosmah for their alleged involvement in the murder.

Read also :

"Murder of 'Far Eastern Mata Hari' linked to Malaysia's PM-in-waiting "

"Malaysia ruling party polls hint at turbulent times ahead"


21 March, 2009

Malaysia is roiled by a crisis of democracy

A slew of political scandals gripping Malaysia and a transfer of power fraught with uncertainty have embroiled the elite here with exquisitely poor timing.

As a major trading nation, Malaysia is being slammed by the global downturn, its exports collapsing by nearly one-third and current projections showing that its economy will shrink by as much as 5 percent this year.

Yet the main preoccupation of the government and opposition parties appears to be what analysts are describing as an increasingly dysfunctional political system: The man who is in line to become prime minister is linked to the murder of a Mongolian woman whose body was obliterated with military-grade explosives. The opposition leader awaits trial on sodomy charges in a highly politicized case. The government is using draconian laws, including those against sedition, to prosecute opposition figures, and this week it banned a member of Parliament for one year after he called the prime-minister-in-waiting a murderer.

Meanwhile, the Legislature of one of the largest states in the federation has been paralyzed for six weeks over a dispute over who should govern.

“At the rate things are going, we’re going to be a failed state within a decade,” said Salehuddin Hashim, secretary general of the People’s Justice Party, the largest opposition party. “I’m at a very low point in what I expect for my children.

”For an oil-rich country with a gleaming, cosmopolitan capital and a large, well-educated middle class, the pessimism may seem hyperbolic. But analysts say the current political woes strike at the heart of the functioning of government, damaging core institutions like the royalty, the judiciary, the police and the news media.

”I see a rough ride ahead for the country,” said Zaid Ibrahim, the founder of Malaysia’s largest law firm, who resigned as law minister in September over the government’s practice of detaining its critics without trial. “The institutions of government have become so one-sided it will take years to restore professionalism and integrity.

“Much of the anxiety in Malaysia is focused on the rise of Najib Razak, a veteran politician in line to become prime minister sometime after the governing party’s annual general assembly next week.

No date has been set, and some Malaysians speculate that the current prime minister, Abdullah Badawi, will hold onto power, although he has said repeatedly that he would step down.

Mr. Najib’s supporters say he will reverse the sagging fortunes of the governing party, the United Malays National Organization, and offer decisive leadership, a contrast to the languid style of Mr. Abdullah, who is from the same party.

But Mr. Najib lacks popular support, and many expect further crackdowns on his opponents if he becomes prime minister.

Both Mr. Najib and his spokesman, Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad, declined to comment for this article.In a speech on Wednesday, Mr. Zaid, the former law minister, called on Malaysia’s king to reject Mr. Najib if the party puts him forward as prime minister and to appoint someone who would “bring us back from the brink.”

The most high-profile scandal to tarnish Mr. Najib’s reputation is the murder of the Mongolian woman, Altantuya Shaariibuu, the mistress of Mr. Najib’s foreign policy adviser. Her life and death, a mix of soap opera and horror movie, have captivated and shocked the public.

Prosecutors say Ms. Shaariibuu was killed in October 2006 by government commandos who also serve as bodyguards to the country’s top leaders.

Mr. Najib has not been charged with any crime, but lawyers say the handling of the case has been irregular and criticize the prosecution for failing to call Mr. Najib to testify.

When she was murdered, Ms. Shaariibuu was reportedly seeking her share of a commission — the opposition calls it a bribe — worth €115 million, or $155 million, paid by a French company as part of the government’s deal to buy submarines. Mr. Najib, who is defense minister as well as deputy prime minister, handled the submarine purchase.

The huge size of the commission — about 10 percent of the total cost of the submarines — is not being investigated despite an official acknowledgement by the Malaysian government that it was made to a company linked to Mr. Najib’s aide, who was acquitted in connection with Ms. Shaariibuu’s murder.

Perhaps more worrying for the country is the standoff in Perak, a state where since early February the police have barred lawmakers who oppose the governing party from entering government buildings.

Mr. Najib spearheaded an effort to install a new chief minister in Perak by claiming that he had enough defectors from the opposition coalition, the Pakatan Rakyat, which last year took control of the State Assembly for the first time since independence from Britain in 1957.

Both sides remain at an impasse, and the sultan of Perak has rejected a plea by the speaker of the Assembly for a new election, which polls indicate would probably restore the opposition coalition to power.Ibrahim Suffian, director of the Merdeka Center, an independent polling agency, said that as the governing party’s popularity wanes, Malaysia is failing a key test of any democracy: the peaceful transfer of power.

“Malaysian democracy hasn’t fully matured in the sense that those who lost the elections are unwilling to accept the results,” Suffian said. “There’s still some lack of acceptance of how democracy works.

”The United Malays National Organization has governed Malaysia since independence but came close to losing power in elections last March, a watershed that put into question the country’s ethnic-based party system.

Mr. Zaid, the former law minister, traces the roots of Malaysia’s current troubles to the privileges given to the country’s dominant ethnic group, the Malays. Governments led by the United Malays National Organization have provided contracts, discounts and special quotas to Malays through a far-reaching affirmative action program.

”We have sacrificed democracy for the supremacy of one race,” said Mr. Zaid, who himself is Malay. “It’s a political hegemony.

”The other two major ethnic groups in the country, Chinese and Indian, have increasingly withdrawn their support for the governing party in recent years and now largely back the opposition. Only 18 percent of Chinese voters and 28 percent of Indian voters polled by the Merdeka Center in December and January said they thought Mr. Najib would make a good prime minister. Mr. Najib had the support of 57 percent of Malays in the poll.

Declining support for the governing party has heightened the personal rivalry between Mr. Najib and Anwar Ibrahim, the opposition leader facing sodomy charges. In a measure of the political nature of the case, Mr. Anwar’s accuser met with Mr. Najib before going to the police.

”Our position vis-à-vis Najib is clear,” Mr. Anwar said in an interview. “He has become so repressive and crude in his methods.”

"There’s no way we will have any dealing or respect for him,” he added.

By Thomas Fuller
International Herald Tribune.


20 March, 2009

MB vs MB - a tale of two MB

The Court of Appeal has unanimously decided in favour of referring some constitutional issues that arose in the suit by Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin to challenge the appointment of Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir as Perak Menteri Besar to the Federal Court.

"We are of the view that the learned trial judge was right in interpreting Section 84 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964.

"We are of the view that the questions framed will answer the relief sought by the appellant in the judicial review application," said Justice Datuk Md Raus Sharif who sat with Datuk Abdull Hamid Embong and Datuk Ahmad Maarop here today.

“We agree the word ‘constitution’ under Section 84 is not confined to the Federal Constitution but includes the state constitutions,” Md Raus announced in open court this afternoon, referring to the section of the law under the Courts of Judicature Act (CJA).

“As such, the High Court was not wrong to refer the question to the Federal Court.

“The appeal is therefore dismissed,” he said.

Nizar’s lawyers, led by Sulaiman Abdullah, had earlier argued that Lau had misinterpreted the law under Section 84 of the CJA to mean she had the discretion to refer the constitutional conundrum to the apex court.

Sulaiman contended that Section 84 provides for the judge’s discretionary power to do so only if the dispute related specifically to the Federal Constitution and not to state constitutions.

But Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail countered that the definition of the word “constitution” must include a more “liberal and proper meaning” to include state constitutions.

The Court of Appeal granted leave to Nizar’s judicial review, which had been neglected earlier at the High Court level.

With that order, Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir, the de facto Perak menteri besar, is now a party to the proceedings.

Zambry’s new lead lawyer, Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin, who was present in court today, told reporters he had no problems with the four referral questions framed earlier by Lau.

The four questions to be answered by the Federal Court are:

1. “Whether the withholding of consent to a request for the dissolution of the State Legislative Assembly of Perak under Article XVI (6) read together with Article XVII (2) (b) of the Constitution of Perak by His Royal Highness the Sultan of Perak is justiciable?

2. “If the answer to the first question is in the affirmative, the following question is whether the withholding of consent by His Royal Highness the Sultan of Perak is lawful.

3. “Whether the appointment of the new menteri besar under Article XVI (2) (a) read together with Article XVII (2) (a) of the Constitution of Perak by His Royal Highness the Sultan of Perak is justiciable?

4. “If the answer to the above question is in the affirmative, the following question is whether the new menteri besar is validly appointed?”

Firoz noted the questions will resolve the main issues at the heart of the Perak constitutional crisis, which is related to the “justiciability” of the Sultan of Perak, that is whether the court can question the Ruler’s decision to appoint a new menteri besar.

But Nizar’s lawyers argued otherwise.

“We are not challenging the Sultan of Perak in any way. Nobody is challenging the Sultan’s decision,” one of Nizar’s lawyers, Leong Cheok Keng, told reporters outside the courtroom.

“We are just saying Nizar has not resigned, no vote of no confidence has been taken against him, how can there be a new menteri besar?” Leong said, pointing to the demands in Nizar’s original suit.

In part 1(b) of the suit filed on Feb 18, Nizar asked the High Court to decide if the menteri besar’s post can be considered vacant, based on Article 16(6) of the Perak State Constitution, when:

(i) The menteri besar had advised the Ruler on the dissolution of the State Legislative Assembly;

(ii) There was no dissolution of the Assembly;

(iii) There was no motion of no-confidence taken or passed against the menteri besar in the Assembly;

(iv) The menteri besar did not resign.

Meanwhile, more Perak assemblymen will be called in to give their statements to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over the state assembly’s Rights and Privileges Committee decision on Feb 18 to bar its Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abd Kadir and his six exco members from the assembly.

According to MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan, statements by the state assemblymen were expected to provide a more complete account of the issue.

“As far as we are concerned, there are elements (for abuse of power)."

“When I talk about this, people will get angry, but for us, there are such factors. So, MACC conducts a probe,” he added.

On calls by the opposition for the commission to investigate Umno vice president Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam who was barred to contest in the coming party polls, Ahmad Said said MACC would not be involved as the offence was infringement of party ethics.

He, however, added that anyone was welcomed to lodge a report but one must know that violations of party ethics and disciplinary problems were not criminal in nature.

“As such, we do not probe into the case but we will move in if it involves corruption,” he said.

Meanwhile, state director Datuk Shukri Abdullah said he had yet to get reports pertaining to several Umno members in Pahang who were among those penalised by the party’s disciplinary board recently.

He reminded anyone who wished to make a report to do so by giving the right facts and solid evidence and not merely based on ‘empty talks’ or rumours because it would not help in getting a conclusive investigation.


19 March, 2009

Burma: Free Aung San Suu Kyi

Burmese pro democracy leader and Nobel peace prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, has spent 13 years detained by the Burmese military junta. She and thousands of fellow monks and students have been imprisoned for bravely challenging their brutal regime with calls for democracy. This week a glimmer of hope has risen for their release, and it's time for us to stand with them.

Risking danger to speak out for their jailed friends, Burmese activists this week demanded the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners and called on the world to help. As the global economic crisis makes aid flows more essential, Burma's generals are becoming more vulnerable to international pressure, but we need a flood of petition signatures to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon to make this a top priority. Follow the link to sign the petition, and forward this email on to make sure she and her fellow prisoners are freed:


The Burmese organizers have set a goal of 888,888 signatures. The number 8 is powerful in Burmese culture, and the ruling junta is extremely superstitious - such a large and significant number might have a special influence on them. But this issue isn't in the headlines, so to build our numbers we need to forward this email and persuade our friends to help.

Aung San Suu Kyi is the international face of the struggle for democracy in Burma. She has been detained over and over again since 1988. She is now under house arrest and is allowed no contact with the outside world.

But growing international pressure is working -- In December, 112 former Presidents and Prime Ministers from 50 countries sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urging him to press for the release of all political prisoners, and 20 political prisoners were released in February after a United Nations envoy visited the country.

Sources now say that the military regime is fearful of this unified and massive online call to the UN -- over 160 Burma exile and solidarity groups in 24 countries are participating in the campaign. But it will take all of us and all our friends signing this petition to get Mr Ban’s attention. Avaaz has done it before for Burma – we can do it again. Click here to stop the arrests and brutality:


This is one of those times where if enough of us act we can truly make a difference. Let’s join the courageous Burmese democracy activists in jail and in hiding and help end this violent repression.

In hope and solidarity,


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18 March, 2009

If truth be told, Najib can't be PM !

Malaysia's incoming leader Najib Razak faced a furor Wednesday over corruption charges against members of his party, while a former cabinet minister called for the king to block his appointment.

Former cabinet minister Zaid Ibrahim on Wednesday appealed to the king to block his appointment as prime minister because of "unanswered allegations" over corruption and a murder.

"The air must be cleared, it is thick with accusations and doubts which can only undermine the office of the prime minister if he were to assume it," Zaid, a maverick who was sacked from the party last year, said in a speech.

Is Zaid saying that Najib is involved in the Altantuya affair?

Najib has been forced to repeatedly deny any involvement in the 2006 murder of 28-year-old Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu, the lover of one of his close aides, whose body was blown up with military-grade explosives.

Datuk Zaid Ibrahim has made an impassioned plea to the King to not appoint Datuk Seri Najib Razak as prime minister, and instead appoint someone else from Umno "to bring us back from the brink."

The former de facto law minister urged the King to used his judgment to appoint as PM someone who is "beyond reproach in his dealings both official and private," in a scathing attack on his former Cabinet and party colleague.

"A prime minister must have the confidence of the majority of the rakyat…For this to be the case there cannot be anything in the mind of the greater public that, correctly or otherwise, associates him with matters of criminality, wrongful action, improper conduct or abuses of power," he said in a speech to the Rotary Club here today.

Zaid's remarks will certainly put pressure on Najib as he prepares to take power first as Umno president next week before taking over from Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi as prime minister the following week.

The former minister's comments also come a day after Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad also piled on the pressure on Najib by saying he did not shine as a deputy prime minister and acknowledging the baggage he carries into the job.

In his speech, Zaid also made reference to what has been described as the kind of baggage that no other Malaysian leader had on entering office.

He has been linked on the internet and by political rivals to the brutal murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu although he has firmly denied involvement and there is no evidence to tie him to the death.

Zaid said that while he did not intend any accusation, he felt that Najib was not beyond reproach in the collective mind of the rakyat.

"The rakyat has doubts, fuelled by the unanswered allegations against him. It is not a mere trifle in the minds of the rakyat that despite a direct challenge from a member of parliament recently, the deputy prime minister remained silent," he said.

Zaid also cited the RM400 million in commissions reportedly paid by the Defence Ministry while Najib was minister for the procurement of submarines, and pointed out that Abdul Razak Baginda, the DPM's friend was an agent in the deal.

The Altantuya murder was also cited by Zaid, who pointed out that there were many unanswered questions which the public deserved to be told about.

He also described the recent power grab in Perak as an unmitigated disaster.

"They (the public) now equate him with the high-handed tactics that were employed to seize power.

"With all of this and more, how are we not to feel anxious? How are we to sleep peacefully at night?"

Zaid said that while the King is required under the Constitution to appoint the person who commands the confidence of the majority of the members of parliament, it is a matter for His Majesty's judgment.

"There is no constitutional obligation on His Majesty to appoint the president of Umno as the prime minister.

"There are still well qualified members of parliament from Umno who can be appointed PM to bring us back from the brink."

If truth be told, Najib can't be PM - Malaysiakini

The following is the hard-hitting speech by former law minister Zaid Ibrahim at the Royal Rotary Club of Kuala Lumpur today.

This is the second time I have been invited to address a Rotary Club. Thank you for the honour. Given the times we live in, perhaps it might be appropriate for me to speak about the leadership transition that has been foisted upon us Malaysians.

I say ‘foisted’ because neither me nor anyone in this room had any role or say in the choice of the person who will lead Malaysia next. We were mere bystanders in a political chess game. And yet the transition is a subject of great consequence to the nation, one I would say is of great national interest.

Leadership is definitive; the individual who assumes the mantle of leadership of this nation, whomever that may be, is one who for better or worse will leave his mark on us. His will be the hand who guides us to greater success, or possibly gut-wrenching disaster.

Save for the dawn of Merdeka, never in the history of this country has the choice of prime minister been so crucial: Malaysia is in crisis. We are facing tremendous economic challenges with unavoidably harsh socio-political consequences. Our much undermined democracy is once again being assailed by those who would prefer a more autocratic form of governance.

Our public institutions are hollowed out caricatures, unable to distinguish vested party interests from national ones, unable to offer the man in the street refuge from the powerful and connected. Our social fabric that took us from colony to an independent nation and on through the obstacles of nation building has reached a point where it sometimes feel like we are hanging on by a thread. This is the Malaysia we live in.

PM’s resignation ill-fated

This is the Malaysia which Abdullah Ahmad Badawi leaves behind. Our prime minister will resign later this month - an ill-fated decision. I say ill-fated not because he has been a great prime minister and we would lose irreplaceable leadership, that is regrettably not the case as all things said and done, Abdullah could have done much more for Malaysia.

Rather, I say that his resignation is ill-fated because his departure will expose the country to forces which may take us down the road of perdition faster than ever. Much has been said of Pak Lah being a weak leader. However, what his critics have not adequately addressed are the consequences of replacing him as prime minister with the anticipated incoming president of Umno, Najib (Abdul) Razak.

It is an undeniable truth that the average Malaysian is anxious about the anticipated transition. Many would prefer it did not happen.

There are two reasons why this is so. The first has to do with the reasoning underlying Umno’s demand for the transition itself. The second has to do with Najib personally.

We must recall that after the 2008 general election - a great success for the nation but a fiasco for Umno – one of the chief complaints by the powers-that-be within Umno was that Abdullah’s feeble leadership led to the concept of Ketuanan Melayu being challenged and ultimately undermined.

His critics also lashed out at him for the latitude given to civil society, a move which they believed weakened a key aspect of Umno’s political leverage. It followed in Umno’s mind that in order to regain lost ground, it was necessary to reassert its ideology with greater strength.

There was nostalgia for Mahathir’s heavy-handed style of leadership and a return to the times when the party cowed many into subservience and submission.The conservatives in Umno yearned for a return to Mahathirism, hoping that it would become a cornerstone of the leadership transition plan. There has been much speculation and punditry on whether a return to the Mahathir era would be good for Malaysia.

Difference between then and now

Let me offer some of my own insight to this debate. The major difference between then and now is this: in most instances, Mahathir was harsh and dictatorial if he believed it was good for the country. But an authoritarian style of government under anyone else would be dictated by the need for self preservation and very little about the country’s interest.

The evidence is all around us. After March 8, (2008) when the prime minister ceased being the home minister, the threats of reprisal have escalated and a climate of fear re-cultivated. The detention of Raja Petra Kamarudin, Teresa Kok and Tan Hoong Cheng exemplify this turn for the worse, this appetite to use the sledgehammer.

The shameful power grab in Perak and wanton disregard for public opinion over how BN wrested control of the silver state make many people shudder at the prospect of a return to the dark days. If that was not depressing enough, we have had to bear witness to the police and the newly-minted Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) displaying their allegiance and support to the BN when all we needed and craved for were honest brokers.

It stands to reason that in the mind of the average Malaysian, having suffered a significant loss last March, Umno is on a rampage to regain what it lost by any method available and the man who is expected to lead it to victory is the man who succeeds Abdullah: Najib (Abdul) Razak.

A prime minister must have the confidence of the majority of the rakyat. In order for this to be the case, his integrity must be beyond question; not only must he be such a person character, he must be seen to be such a person. The office of prime minister is one of great trust, he who holds that office cradles the nation in his palms.

For this to be the case, there cannot be anything in the mind of the greater public that, correctly or otherwise, associates him with matters of criminality, wrongful action, improper conduct or abuses of power. In short, he must be beyond reproach in his dealings both official and private.

Without intending any accusation, it is regrettable that in the collective mind of the rakyat, Najib is not such a person. If a referendum were to be conducted on the subject or if the prime minister was to be elected directly by the rakyat, I do not think Najib would succeed. The reason for this is obvious: the rakyat has doubts, fuelled by the unanswered allegations against him and his unwillingness to confront these allegations.

It is not a mere trifle in the minds of the rakyat that despite a direct challenge from a member of parliament in the august House recently, the deputy prime minister remained silent, not even denying the implicit accusation made against him and demanding that it be repeated outside the chamber in the tried and tested method of refutation employed by parliamentarians throughout the world.

It has not assisted the cause of the incoming prime minister that the MP concerned was suspended for a year on a motion tabled by a fellow minister without the member having been afforded an opportunity to defend his position.

Evidence of SMS text-messages

Consider this. Commissions were paid to an agent for the procurement of submarines through the Defence Ministry, Najib (then) being the defence minister. It is unthinkable that he had no knowledge that the agent was his adviser and aide, Abdul Razak Baginda. The commission paid out was exceedingly large, in excess of RM400 million.

The defence minister was dutybound to direct enquiries to see if there had been any impropriety in the way the contracts were awarded when news of the commission surfaced; after all the price of the submarines would be considerably lower without the need for such commissions.

Taxpayers, you and I, have paid for those submarines at a price that in all probability factored in the commission. Taxpayers are yet to be told of an inquiry let alone the result of such an inquiry.
Consider the Altantuya Shaariibuu affair. A young woman was brutally murdered, her corpse destroyed by explosives.

These explosives are not the usual type of explosives, yet no inquiry was held to determine how they were available to these killers. Those accused of her murder are police officers serving in the Unit Tindakan Khas, a highly specialised unit who amongst other things serve as bodyguards to the prime minister and the deputy prime minister.

Amidst evidence that the accused were employed to protect the PM and the DPM, they were directed to (Abdul) Razak Baginda through the aide of the deputy prime minister. Amongst other things, we have heard of the senior investigating officer admitting that the deputy prime minister was an important witness and yet no statement was taken.

It is not unreasonable to think that this is irregular, more so when evidence of SMS text-messages from the deputy prime minister concerning material matters have surfaced. The text-messages cannot be ignored, proverbially swept under the carpet.

Even if they do not establish - or are not capable of establishing - any culpability on the part of Najib, these issues must be addressed.

The air must be cleared, it is thick with accusations and doubts which can only undermine the office of the prime minister if he were to assume it. The deputy prime minister’s cause has not been aided by the fact that charges were preferred against (Abdul) Razak Baginda only after public outcry, the manner in which the prosecution was conducted and the decision of the High Court acquitting (Abdul) Razak Baginda not having been appealed.

Power grab an unmitigated disaster

The Perak affair was an unmitigated disaster for the nation. It is no secret that Najib led the charge there and is still overseeing matters.

In the minds of Malaysians, Perak is synonymous with the deputy prime minister. They now equate him with the high-handed tactics that were employed to seize power, tactics that included the disappearances of the three crucial assemblypersons and the blockading of the legislative assembly by the police.

In doing so, they equate the DPM with the hijacking of democracy, the only persons saying otherwise being those persons who have associations with Umno. In their minds, no responsible leader would allow for the undermining of the institutions of state and the constitution of this nation.

They ask, rightly so, whether this is the kind of leadership that Malaysians can expect from Najib when he becomes the prime minister.

With all of this, and more, how are we not to feel anxious? How are we to sleep peacefully at night? I know that I cannot. The situation is desperate and the air is pregnant with tension. We need the state of affairs to be resolved in a way that is in the best interests of the nation and the rakyat.

To an extent, this is a matter for the Barisan Nasional. I urge its members to put politics aside and think things through. We all want a better future, a safer and more prosperous life for our children, all of them, a Malaysia where our children can reach for the stars with the certainty that there is nothing to stop them from being the Malaysians they want to be.

Let the king be kingmaker

I do not believe that the Barisan Nasional will do what is necessary. Politics has a tendency of making those who embrace it cynical. The answer lies elsewhere, with His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

In this case, His Majesty plays the role of ‘kingmaker’. The discretion to appoint the prime minister who succeeds Abdullah lies with His Majesty. Though His Majesty is required under the constitution to appoint the person who commands the confidence of the majority of the members of parliament, it is a matter for His Majesty’s judgment.

Never before has such a heavy burden being laid on His Majesty to make a brave and correct choice.

For King and country, I urge His Majesty to take into consideration the prerequisites to appointment and the concerns of the rakyat. There is no constitutional obligation on His Majesty to appoint the president of Umno as the prime minister. There are still well qualified members of parliament from Umno who can be appointed PM to bring us back from the brink.

Malaysia needs someone who the rakyat can throw their weight behind without reservation. Someone they can trust and respect. Someone who has no scandal to distract him and thereby gain respect from the international community.

These are difficult times and be prepared for worst times to visit us. Malaysia needs a leader who will unite the country in the face of the adversity. Divided, we are weak. I am loath to say it, but for the reasons I have set out am compelled to say that Najib will most certainly divide us and in doing so, will nudge us closer to the edge.

Some of you may say that all efforts to promote the national interest are at this stage an exercise in futility. If truth be told, I am tempted to slip into cynical hopelessness too. I am fighting the temptation to give up for one simple reason: Malaysia and all that it represents. This is a blessed country, a country too valuable for us to turn our backs on.