30 December, 2009


Message from William Leong, PKR Treasurer

This message below is directed to All Malaysians.

If you are not a Malaysian, then take it for information sake. Politics itself is not dirty, but it's people who make it dirty....so it depends on which side of the fence you are in.

Thanks to my reader for forwarding and sharing this article by William Leong.

(William Leong is the treasurer of PKR and younger brother of ex minister, Paul Leong. Practising in law for 20 odd years before going into politics.)

All Malaysians are duty bound to help each other to achieve a better life in our country. With the performance of the UMNO/BN for the last 52 years, especially the last 28 years, the country has been raped by politicians and their cronies. You know how arrogant they are, let us have look.

1. They are extending the APs to 2015. They are giving themselves free money. This is daylight robbery. We are talking big bucks, billions

2. The taxes and duties on cars continue to be high to protect Proton but we the public pay through our nose. If the PR government comes into power we can
expect prices to drop by at least 50% for imported cars. Why are we paying these cronies our hard earned money so that they can drive around in their new and latest Ferraris, BMWs etc.

3. Have you noticed that they appoint themselves to high paying jobs and positions where they can also earn additional side income. Again these side income run into billions.

4. The Accountant General reported that RM 28B was wasted by you know who and for who. These figures probably do not involve the highly secretive arms contracts which run into billions.

5. Look at the way they snatched the Perak State government.

6. Look at the way they treated Teoh Beng Hock

7. Look at the way they are trying to get Anwar

8. Look at the Lingam's Royal Commission

9. Look at the PKFZ delaying tactics, get one report after another, and then another and if necessary another and then only the small fish get caught and hauled to Court.

What a way to fool us? Either they are stupid or we are stupid. The abuse and cheating has been going on for far too long. Only you and I and together with all Malaysians who care can stop them. Between now and the next General Elections we have to campaign now as if the GE is just 6 months from now. Not only do we campaign, we must get our friends to get others and others to do the same. Let us not be fooled again and again.

Please start now, if 10 of us can each get 10 we will have 100 and if each of the hundred gets 10 we will have 1000. If we keep going, we will reach more than 10M active Malaysians to force a change. This is a legacy we must give our children/grandchildren, they deserve better. The alternative is too horrendous to look at.

Look at Indonesia, Japan, S. Korea and Taiwan, all their old and corrupt parties have been replaced, Malaysia is next.

What Independence? On this August 31st, we shall celebrate the 52nd anniversary of the British leaving our country. I did not say we are celebrating the 52nd anniversary of our independence. This is because our people have not enjoyed real liberty, democracy or justice. Without liberty,democracy or justice there is no independence.. In these 52 years the oppressive rule of a foreign colonial master has been replaced by the oppressive rule of a local master. The rule with an iron fist.

They use the same instruments of oppression as the British did. They use the ISA, the Sedition Act, the Printing Press & Publications Act and detention without trial. The freedom of assembly, the freedom of expression and the freedom to live a life of dignity free from fear and oppression are illusions.

In these 52 years the yoke of a foreign colonial master has been replaced by the yoke of a local master. They use the same policy of “divide and rule”. They survive by feeding off racialism. They survive by fostering divisiveness. They survive by preaching religious intolerance.

What Teoh Beng Hock died for Malaysians will not know real independence, will not be free and will not enjoy democracy unless this oppressive regime is thrown out.

They must be thrown out just like Teoh Beng Hock was thrown out from the 14th floor of the MACC office.

We must not forget Teoh Beng Hock. We must not forget what he stood for. More importantly, we must not forget what he died for. He lived to help Malaysians in the struggle against corruption and oppression. He died so that our struggle can live. He died fighting for justice.

What Justice? Without justice we cannot say we have liberty or democracy or equal rights. We cannot say we have liberty or freedom when Tamil schools
have no tables and chairs.

When in Sabah and Sarawak, schools have no electricity. A child that is illiterate is not free. We cannot say we have democracy or equal rights for women, when a Chinese girl with 9A1s cannot enter a university.. A girl without a job has no rights. We cannot say we have freedom of choice when a man cannot feed his family.

A starving man has no choice. Liberty, democracy and freedom are meaningless words when there is no justice. Justice is political liberty. Justice is economic independence. Justice is equality. There is no political liberty when you vote out of fear. There is no economic independence when you give your support out of fear your son’s scholarship will be withdrawn or your license will be withdrawn.

There is no freedom of choice when you elect a party out of fear for your contract or your business. This is what has been happening in these 52 years and this will continue if we do not act. There will be many more Teoh Beng Hocks and many more Port Klang Free Zones if we do not stop them.

What One Malaysia ? Najib says he wants One Malaysia.

Teoh Beng Hock’s death has shocked us back to reality. We cannot just listen to rhetoric. We must look at the deeds. When we look, we see what has been done, is a far cry from what has been said. The Perak government has been stolen from its people.Najib has now declared his intention to grab the Selangor government.
The MACC is a tool. It is used to de-stabilize the Pakatan Rakyat government. Teoh Beng Hock was interrogated throughout the night.

He was grilled for buying RM2,400 worth of Malaysian flags. No one has been grilled when PKFZ loss RM12.6 billion.

The MACC officers are raiding the Pakatan Exco members’office so often they are becoming fixtures. Cars and cows and Malaysian flags have become a fixation of the MACC.

MACC has not shown the same enthusiasm when it comes to BN assemblymen who used up their annual allocation of RM500,000 in 2 months before the general elections.

The MACC has also not shown any interest in the trips by the former chief minister and his family to study the river system in Disney Land.

There is no investigation into how the former chief minister can afford to purchase a multi-million ringgit mansion that is beyond the means of a chief minister’s salary.

Barisan Nasional machinery is now on the move.

Books attacking Anwar Ibrahim and Khalid Ibrahim are being distributed.The authors of these books are sowing the seeds of hatred and contempt.

They desecrate the Hindu’s sacred cow in a protest filled with bigotry.They protest against a Hindu temple built 150 years ago when the area was a plantation that today, just like its devotees, the estate workers, had been left behind by development.

They have forgotten Muslims were invited to practice their religion amongst the people of Yathrib. They are beating the drums of race and religion and the tone is becoming harsher with each beat. The people must now decide. There cannot be any fence sitters. There is no middle ground.

When Teoh Beng Hock was thrown out, the people of Malaysia was thrown together with him into the sea of political troubles. Whether Malaysia will sink or swim is now up to the people. The people must decide once and for all what is right and what is wrong. There cannot be a neutral ground.

Dante said: “The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of moral crisis.”

Today in Malaysia there is no place for neutrality. Malaysians must make their choice now. If we want to know what is evil and what is right, we must use our moral compass. It is only when we know the direction where justice lies can we know where we must stand.

Do we want to choose liberty and justice which are always right or do we want to choose corruption, hatred, arrogance and oppression which are always wrong?

The choice is clear. Every Malaysian must make his stand. When you stand for liberty we stand with you.I want to tell you that when you stand for liberty, we will stand with you. When you defend democracy, we will be your shield. When you fight for justice, we will be your sword. We will always be with you.

They assaulted Anwar Ibrahim. They threw him in jail for 6 long years. They call him a traitor and worse. But Anwar will always be here to fight for you. They hounded and harassed Lim Kit Siang. They detained him in Kamunting.. But Lim Kit Siang will always be here to stand by you. They attacked Tok Guru Nik Aziz and tried to humiliate him. But Tok Guru Nik Aziz will always be here to protect you. We have been tested. They have thrown everything they have at us but we are still standing and we are still here.

We were here in November 2007 when a sea of yellow marched for a free and fair election. This was *BERSIH*.

We were here in December when thousands in orange marched for equality. This was *Makal Sakthi*.

This was the ripple that started the tsunami. Barisan Nasional was swept out of 5 states. Since then Barisan Nasional has become more extreme in their policies.

They have become more brutal with the people. When we Hope So on 1st August, the lovers of justice and liberty marched again. Again Barisan Nasional responded with violence and brutality. 638 people including women and children were arrested.

Despite the police shutting down the city, despite the many road blocks and barricades, despite the arrest of those wearing black, the number who succeeded in gathering far exceeded my expectations.

But the size of the gathering cannot be bigger than my hope for Malaysia. My hope is for every one that braved the tear gas and water cannons there will be many thousands more. We want hundreds of thousands to march with us. We will march from under the shadow of fear into the light of justice.

My hope is that the flame burning in each who gathered that day will kindle the hearts and minds of many thousands more. Malaysians will find the courage to standup for principles and convictions.

We must stand up for what is right. This is my hope and this is the hope of all Malaysians.

Truth, love and justice will prevail over the forces of hate and oppression.

This will only happen when the silent majority refuses to remain silent anymore.

This will only happen when the voice of the majority is finally heard.

We must be confident that oppression and corruption cannot endure. We must take comfort that truth and justice will always prevail.

But this can only be achieved if we fight for it. We must fight today for a better tomorrow.

Looking Back in the Future Do not let our children look back and say that these are dark days. Let them say that these are great days.. These are the most glorious days that our country ever had. These days will be remembered as the days when we were called, we answered.

We stood up. We stood together shoulder to shoulder irrespective of race or religion. We fought and we prevailed. Each of us played our part according to our strengths.

Our children and their children will look back on these days and celebrate it as the days we became *ONE NATION*. These days will be etched in our Nation’s history as the days we won over injustice and oppression.

These will be the days we celebrate *THE TRUE MERDEKA.*

Thank you, Xie xie , vanakam..

Have a blessed day.

- William Leong

Thursday, December 17, 2009


29 December, 2009

What ? 1Malaysia racing team ?

Lotus F1 team chief executive Riad Asmat says he is disappointed with the decision by national oil company Petronas to sponsor the Mercedes Formula One team instead of the Malaysian-backed team.

Riad said Lotus F1 had hoped to ensure an all-round Malaysian involvement in the team, but now had little choice but to look for foreign sponsorship.

“As a Malaysian, it is disappointing. However, I understand their business decision regarding this matter,” Riad told The Malaysian Insider yesterday.

He asserted that the team had gone through proper procedures and had submitted a proposal to Petronas, but it was “unfortunate” sponsorship was not secured from the national oil company.

“Lotus F1 Racing is a legitimate team. We have a responsibility as a team to compete in the opening race at Bahrain in March 2010 and we will move on.

“Sponsors come and go. Everyone makes their own decision,” said Riad, who took great pains to explain that the “minor setback” would not affect the team in the long run.

It is understood that Petronas’ decision was not made without sanction from the administration of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

According to industry sources familiar with the deal, Petronas chief executive Tan Sri Hassan Merican had made a strong argument for backing the Mercedes team to the government.

Petronas had considered the relative value to the company’s future plans and decided Mercedes would fit into its plans better than Lotus.

Petronas is hoping that through its collaboration with Mercedes Formula One, it will be able generate business growth in the lubricants market.

Hassan and the Petronas management are understood to have argued that while the Lotus brand had huge historical significance, it did not sell many cars compared to Mercedes.

While the Lotus F1 chief executive attempted to put on a diplomatic front over the Petronas decision, other sources in the team contacted by The Malaysian Insider were quite critical about the Mercedes deal.

A source familiar with the Malaysian team’s operations claimed that Hassan had not considered national interests and had made the decision on his own.

The source also claimed Petronas never sat down with Lotus F1 to negotiate a deal.

“Lotus could have given them so many deals, with Aston Martin, Jaguar and Cadillac for example, plus more benefits, but [they] never came back to us,” he said, making reference to some of the Lotus’s clients.

“What is Mercedes offering them? Mobil is the global supplier for Mercedes, so Mercedes engines work better with Mobil oil, not Petronas. Was there due process in making this call? Or was it one man’s decision?”

Speaking to The Malaysian Insider , the Lotus F1 CEO Riad said the team was now looking for overseas sponsors for the team.

He said it would not be a difficult task to undertake as international sponsors have more “experience.”

“It would be less of a challenge as foreign sponsors have had more experience in the field. You will definitely face challenges along the way, but it is part and parcel of the game.”

The Petronas decision has piled the pressure on Lotus F1 boss Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes, who also controls AirAsia, to bring in the funds needed for his team.

Fernandes had hoped to bring Petronas on board given that his team has government support and his airline is a major purchaser of aviation fuel. The Lotus car company is also owned by government-linked Proton.

Lotus F1 was understood to have been seeking US$85 million (RM297 million) in funds from Petronas.


28 December, 2009

A Riddle to share !

This is an unusual paragraph.

I'm curious as to just how quickly you can find out what is so unusual about it.

It looks so ordinary and plain that you would think nothing was wrong with it.

In fact, nothing is wrong with it!

It is highly unusual though.

Study it and think about it, but you still may not find anything odd.

But if you work at it a bit, you might find out.

Try to do so without any coaching or googling, enjoy!

Scroll down for answer ......

The letter 'e', which is the most common letter used in the English language,
does not appear even once in the paragraph :)


26 December, 2009

Is Singapore more like Zimbabwe than Malaysia ?

Malaysian constitutional law expert Abdul Aziz Bari sparked a furore lately for likening the state of “lawlessness” in Malaysia to that in Zimbabwe which was echoed by former Law Minister Zaid Ibrahim.

“Nothing will change unless those who know rise up to expose the vermin (that are) eating and destroying our national institutions and democratic values.”

Political analyst Abdul Aziz Bari likened those who hold the reins of power in Malaysia to a bunch of 'thugs'.

According to him, these individuals do as they please without proper regard for the law of the land and the percepts laid down in the federal constitution.

"We are like Zimbabwe, just with another name!" stressed the law expert.

If Abdul Aziz or Zaid , both lawyers by profession, had repeated the same remarks in Singapore, they would probably be sued for defaming the government and disbarred with their careers destroyed.

Besides no former Law Minister in Singapore will ever dare to criticize the system after being “retired” with a plume job in some government-linked companies to keep their mouths shut.

In a way, Singapore bears a closer resemblance to Zimbabwe than Malaysia is under the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) and we are not talking about the economic but the political situation in these two countries.

Of course in terms of economic progress, Singapore is way ahead of Zimbabwe and Malaysia, but our archaic, obsolete and repressive political system is not too far behind Zimbabwe.

In fact, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe should learn from Singapore’s Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew on the art of masquerading a dictatorship as a “democracy” without incurring the wrath of the free world.

By and large, Mr Mugabe is shunned by the international community for being a despot. His ruling party is nothing more than a band of thugs who resort to harrassment, intimidation and even murders to silence the opposition.

On the other hand, Lee is no less a despot than Mr Mugabe, but he is welcomed by the international community everywhere he goes. Even President Obama granted him a rare audience at the White House lately though he is officially not the leader of Singapore.

The opposition is allowed to exist in Singapore provided it stays “constructive” (a Singapore euphemism for “doing nothing”) most of time and avoid crossing the path of Lee in the event of which they will be fixed, arrested and bankrupted till they “fall on bended knees and beg for mercy.”

The effectiveness of both methods is clear for all to see: Mr Mugabe’s rule is wobbling towards the end of his reign and he had to share power with his adversary in order to maintain his grip on power.

Lee does not have to concede any ground to Singapore’s non-existent opposition. Still being revered by some as the “founding father” of Singapore, he can win a free and fair election easily hands down anytime.

But Lee is not merely interested in winning elections, he wants an “overwhelming” mandate which means winning all the seats in parliament and if not, losing no more than two in the exising opposition wards.

Lee’s ruling PAP has won 10 consecutive elections from 1959 till 2006, a feat not seen or achieved in any other democracies in the world.

Of course one can argue that Singapore isn’t a democracy to begin with, but the fact remains that relatively free elections are conducted on a regular basis and though there are rampant gerry-mandering and unscrupulous practices such as the use of the state media to discredit and demolish the opposition, there were few complaints of fraud or vote-buying.

Now back to Malaysia – it may not be as developed as Singapore economically, its GDP per capita is much lower than ours and it ranks a pathetic 56th position by Transparency International compared to Singapore’s position as the 3rd least corrupt nation in the world and yet its people enjoy more political freedom than Singaporeans.

The Malaysian Bar Association can criticize the government freely and protest against decisions made by the Chief Justice without any repercussions.

The Singapore Law Society is muzzled by a law which disallows it to comment on legislation and policies unless its opinion is specifically sought after by the government.

Singapore lawyers are expected to toe the official line. Few would dare to go against the Chief Justice or Attorney-General openly. A former Singapore citizen Gopalan Nair questioned a decision made by then Attorney General Tan Boon Teck in the 1980s and was disbarred for two years.

The Malaysian opposition can lambast the Prime Minister openly without being sued for defamation. Democratic Action Party (DAP)’s Tony Pua, who slammed PM Najib recently over his GST proposal would have been bankrupted a long time ago had he been in Singapore.

Another voracious critic Lim Kit Siang, who hammered the government relentlessly would probably be detained under the Internal Security Act by the PAP and exiled elsewhere like Singapore’s former Solicitor-General Francis Seow, once Lee’s blue-eyed boy who had fallen out with him.

For all his diatribes against Dr Mahathir, Badawi and Najib, Lim should consider himself fortunate that he is still able to speak his mind relatively freely in Malaysia. Lee would never tolerate such public show of dissent against him.

The irony is: DAP was an offshoot of the PAP, regrouped from the Malaysian branch of the PAP after Singapore was booted unceremoniously out of Malaysia in 1965.

The three opposition MPs in Singapore’s parliament are largely ineffectual and dare not challenge the ruling party. When asked point-blank by PM Lee last year if Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng should resign over the escape of terrorist Mas Selamat, opposition MP Low Thia Kiang was stunned into silence, earning him the nickname “Silent Low” among netizens....more


25 December, 2009

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

We wish you a Merry Christmas;
We wish you a Merry Christmas;
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Good tidings we bring to you and your kin;
Good tidings for Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Oh, bring us a figgy pudding;
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding;
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer
We won't go until we get some;
We won't go until we get some;
We won't go until we get some, so bring some out here

We wish you a Merry Christmas;
We wish you a Merry Christmas;
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


24 December, 2009

Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew :“good thing” to welcome so many Chinese immigrants as Singaporeans have become less “hard-driving”

In an extensive interview with the National Geographic, MM Lee Kuan Yew continues to support the ruling party’s liberal immigration policies though he is aware that many Singaporeans are unhappy with the influx of immigrants.

“Over time, Singaporeans have become less hard-driving and hard-striving. This is why it is a good thing that the nation has welcomed so many Chinese immigrants.” Lee was quoted saying.

Lee describes the country’s new subjects as “hungry,” with parents who “pushed the children very hard.”

“If native Singaporeans are falling behind because the spurs are not stuck into the hide, that is their problem,” he quipped.

Desperate to boost Singapore’s flagging birth rate, the government opened the floodgates to immigrants which have changed the island state’s demographics radically over the past few years.

Foreigners now make up 36 per cent of the population, up from 14 per cent in 1990.

According to Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng, there were over 90,000 PRs and 20,000 new citizens last year.

A majority of these newcomers hail from China and India with Malaysians, Filipinos, Indonesians making up the rest.

There are few immigrants from developed countries like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia or New Zealand.

Even for Chinese immigrants, most of them originate from the poorer inland provinces instead of affluent coastal cities like Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Tianjin.

In a recent poll conducted by Gallup in July, Singapore is not even featured among the top five destinations for immigration for college students. Their first choice is United States, followed by France and South Korea.

Due to the difficulty in attracting the most talented immigrants to settle in Singapore, the ruling party has “lowered” its standards to such an extent that even construction workers, cleaners and masseurs are offered PRs and citizenship.

The state media reported a Chinese construction worker whose son just passed out as a SAF officer. He became a PR and citizen within 12 years of arrival in Singapore.

Another China national and Singapore PR, Mdm Song Jin, was sentenced to nine weeks imprisonment for torching the fish farm of a lover.

It is not sure how these China nationals are classified as “talents” in the first place and if they are really “hungrier” than locals.

Lee has long eschewed social welfare benefits, claiming that it will create a “crutch” mentality which will cause Singapore to go down the slippery slope of Western-style “welfarism”.

Under Lee’s draconian rule, Singaporeans are expected to work for as long as they can to support themselves without burdening the state.

On the other hand, the government is flushed with cash accumulated from years of budget surpluses.

Lee is the Chairman of Government Investment Corp and his daughter-in-law Ho Ching is in charge of Temasek Holdings, both of which are giant sovereign wealth funds owned by the Ministry of Finance.

A Wall Street Journal article in September reported that “Government of Singapore Investment Corp suffered a loss around 59 billion Singapore dollars (US$41.6 billion) in the fiscal year ended March.”

Public opinion counts little for Lee who always thought of himself as the only person fit to govern Singapore.

As early in 1962, he warned Singaporeans of what to expect under his one-man rule:

“If I were in authority in Singapore indefinitely without having to ask those who are governed whether they like what is being done, then I would not have the slightest doubt that I could govern much more effectively in their interests.”

Lee’s authoritarian style of governance can only survive in Singapore. He would have been booted out of office a long time ago if he was in Hong Kong, Taiwan or Malaysia.

In a famous quote, Lee said,

“If you are going to lower me into the grave, and I feel something is wrong, I will get up.”

He should know that this is impossible even when he is being taken care of by the best physicians in Singapore.

The National Geographic also interviewed renowned Singapore psychiatrist Calvin Fons who gave an interesting analogy:

“When the country was young, there was a need for wise oversight. A firm hand. Now we are in adolescence, which can be a questioning, troublesome period. Coming into it without the presence of the patriarch will be a test.”

Young Singaporeans are ready to show Lee what they really think of him and his rubber-stamped party. The question is whether he will still be around then to witness Singapore’s very own “political tsunami”.

- Source

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23 December, 2009

'Shame' at Petronas/Mercedes tie-up

Petronas' sponsorship agreement with Mercedes Grand Prix for F1 2010 has left ex-Minardi ace Alex Yoong filled with a sense of 'shame' - and cast doubt over the financial viability of Lotus to make the grid next season

Alex Yoong has revealed his disbelief that leading Malaysian oil and gas supplier Petronas has elected to shun Lotus in favour of sponsoring Mercedes Grand Prix in F1 2010 – just days after the state-owned company had hinted that it would have no involvement with any team at all next season.

It was officially confirmed Monday that Petronas and Mercedes – formerly Brawn GP, double F1 2009 World Champions – are to join forces in a 'long-term' title sponsorship agreement, coming as something of a shock to paddock observers, with the conventional wisdom being that if it were to back any team, it would most likely be either Malaysian-funded 2010 newcomer Lotus or else Sauber, with whom it has been involved at the highest level now for over a decade.

“Petronas signs with Mercedes GP – words fail me,” former Minardi ace Yoong, now heading up Lotus' driver development programme, wrote on his personal Twitter page. “Mercedes is a good team, no doubt, but what Lotus is doing is completely ground-breaking and brave – and Petronas not seeing that fills me with shame.”

Petronas will also continue to officially sponsor the annual Malaysian Grand Prix held at the Sepang International Circuit, and the dual involvement betrays the statement made by chairman and president last week.

“Petronas started F1 as a branding programme,” he is quoted as having said by the Malaysia Star newspaper, “but we have since moved into the business. We had a very good relationship with Sauber that exposed our brand and gave us the opportunity to go global with our lubricants.

“It was also timely when BMW took over Sauber, and that gave us an opportunity to partner with an original equipment manufacturer. The years we were together with BMW and Sauber, we benefited from the lubricant business. Next year, we have no team and the only reason for us to go back into Formula 1 is on a business deal, for the lubricant business.”

The news also represents a worrying development for Lotus F1, with sources close to Crash.net suggesting that the funding behind the Norfolk-based outfit is looking increasingly shaky and insecure. The team has signed up former grand prix-winners Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen to constitute its driving strength for its maiden campaign of top flight competition.

- Crash Net


22 December, 2009

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who is the Fairest of them all?

Ali, Ah Kow, Arumugam, Ajan and Aidee, all friends, may look into the mirror and ‘see’ five normal lads.

But according to the establishment, Ali belongs to the supreme race. The reflection reveals an underlying reality which is different and damaging.

Can someone satisfactorily qualify ketuanan Melayu? Why is Ali superior? Birthright? But they were all born in Malaysia, and their fathers and grandfathers, too.

Is it because our sovereign rulers are Malay? But all Malaysian citizens swear allegiance to King and country. Is patriotism confined only to the Malays?

Malaysia is at a crossroads

Is it because the Malays arrived a few hundred years prior to the Chinese and Indians? So why is there positive discrimination against Aidee, the Orang Asli and Ajan who is Kenyah? These 'original' people are denied many of the rights accorded to the Malays. They are prevented from practising their own culture or religion and are hounded from their ancestral lands.

Malaysia is at a crossroads and the reflection in the mirror is cracking.

Our politics has always been mired in controversy. And since its beginnings, has been race-based. After decades of so-called unity, we risk throwing it all away. Recent events are disturbing. It seems like we never knew each other at all.

Some would like to forget the last 52 years or at least the period from the 70s. Others would simply like to rewrite our history.

The majority race in Malaysia acts like it is a minority under siege. They are full of demands. They want respect. But they conveniently forget that respect has to be earned.

Politicians sidestep these prickly issues, whilst some deliberately provoke dissension.

It is an extraordinary travesty that significant numbers of Malays believe in ketuanan Melayu, which is based on perception. The poor, underprivileged Malay perceives, or is conned into thinking, that power in the hands of the non-Malay, will be abused to remove whatever little wealth he possesses. Petrified and overwhelmed by what he is told, the poor Malay clings even harder to the concept of ketuanan Melayu.

Malaysians are not treated equally

Before everyone can share, fairly, in Malaysia’s growth, difficult choices have to be made. We need to rebuild public confidence and regain trust.

Malaysians are not treated equally. The non-Malay is denied education, housing, health care, scholarships, job opportunities and wealth creation.

Unfortunately, our leaders put off difficult decisions, like confronting racism head-on. Successive generations leave it to the next lot of political leaders to tackle the problem. When they did not, we were left mired in confusion and contempt for each other.

Politicians act irresponsibly by not mapping our course of direction. And are hypocrites by not coming down hard on those who are stoking the fires of racism.

BTN, ketuanan Melayu and other racist connotations are wrong. Most right minded people can see this. But our politicians are digging a hole deeper by refusing to acknowledge that it is harmful, divisive and politically motivated.

Sadly the mirror also reflects other profiles of the truly ugly Malaysian.

We have scandals involving the police, judiciary, MACC, politicians siphoning taxpayers’ money. We can’t even decide which languages are important in our education. We classify non-Malays as second-class citizens but are encouraged to learn Mandarin. What sort of mixed message is that?

Politicians with no morality

The mirror reveals even more.

We have unscrupulous people profiting from baby factories. We have polygamy being promoted with little regard for the rights of women. We have inequalities and lack of safety in the workplace. We ignore human rights with detainees resorting to eating grass. We have high HIV rates among married women, even when religion education was supposed to have ‘guided’ the people. We have numerous abandoned babies. We are swamped by drug abuse. We are punished for the actions of a few Malaysians who overstay when abroad.

We know of those who are in charge of the public purse but who have no morality, no idea of responsibility, no clear principles and who to this day have not been charged for any wrong-doing.

We’ve had glimpses into their lifestyle, their gaudy mansions, expensive visits abroad, first-class travel. All of these make us feel uneasy. Do these politicians have an insight into what it is to be ‘normal’?

We’ve had several millions spent on projects, or quietly siphoned away. Despite the NEP, the Malays comprise the majority of the poor. The gulf between the rich and poor is bad for everybody. And the gap between the rich and poor Malay has grown even wider.

These ‘fat-cats’ grow more wealthy, yet little, if any money filters down to the poor and deprived Malay. These vulgar, ultra-rich Malays are not stupid to relinquish their hold on power and prestige. They are the ones who champion the BTN, NEP, ketuanan Melayu etcetera. They have little regard for the poor man who when applying for welfare aid is given a difficult time with umpteen form-fillings, to satisfy a ludicrous selection criteria.

Improve our reflection in the mirror

No. We cannot afford to give more money away. And yes, we have to improve our reflection in the mirror.

Our leaders fail to understand the scale and magnitude of the problem. What they do not see in the mirror is a country that is beset with gross inequality in income and a disparity in assets.

These will inevitably cause social breakdown which has already manifested itself in violent crime, physical and drug abuse. The evidence is overwhelming. The challenges are immense but the response from our politicians has been puny.

Drastic and massive policy changes are needed now. Politicians must appreciate that they can be part of the solution.

Maybe our leaders should look into the Mirror of Erised, the magic mirror in Harry Potter, which shows the ‘deepest and most desperate desire in the hearts of those who look at it’. Maybe then they will see themselves as leaders of a Malaysia, that is a freer and fairer society. Only then, we can truly call it ‘1Malaysia’

- Mariam Mokhtar

MARIAM MOKHTAR has a passion for people, places and plain speaking. Don't suffer fools gladly

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21 December, 2009

Utar turns down RM30m , what the F**k ?

KUALA LUMPUR – Plans by renowned philanthropist Koon Yew Yin, who has offered scholarships to Utar students to further alleviate their problems have hit a caveat.

Koon made a RM30mil donation offer in August this year to build hostels at the Utar Kampar campus to help students “because all the poor students who have taken my scholarships have been complaining that their room rental keeps going up and up.”

According to Koon, there are about 10,000 students in Utar Kampar and the university has no plan to build any accommodation for students.

In a letter to the media, Koon vented his frustration saying the Utar “was not willing to accept my RM30mil donation and to allow me to have control of a task force to oversee the spending of my money for building hostels within the Utar campus.”

“The housing developers are making hay while the sun shines. They just cannot build fast enough to meet the rapid increase of about 2,000 students per year,” said Koon.

As a result, room rentals in the campus town are going up with a twin sharing room going at RM420 a month, he claimed.

Koon who met MCA president Ong Tee Keat during a meeting earlier, said that the MCA leader was shocked that Utar was not willing to accept his RM30mil donation and to allow him to have control of the task force.

Koon said that Utar has 1,300 acres of land and he only requires 30 acres to build the hostels.

He alleged that Utar had insisted that he could build hostels to accommodate only 5,000 students so as not to “upset the current property rental market outside the campus.”

All terms agreed

Koon also said that he had accepted all terms by Utar, including donating the money directly to the university account.

However, Koon said in his letter that now, the Utar board of trustees chairman, Lau Yin Pin has written to him saying that they were willing to forego my RM30mil if he (Koon) insists on having control over the task force to manage the money he has donated.

“Their letter of rejection is disingenuous to say the least. In the first place, they are willing to accept my proposed donation (according to all except one) on the basis of the conditions that I have set out,” he said.

Koon said that the letter to him states that “the Trustees and the Council will ensure that your donation will be utilised specifically for the purpose stated by [me]” and “the returns from the hostel will also be utilised according to [my] wishes.

Koon wants 50 % of the returns to go to the Koon Yew Yin Scholarship and Loan Fund to be managed by Utar and the balance 50% of the returns for new hostel construction at Utar.

“However, in the same letter they state that ‘from the date of its inception on Aug 13, 2002, Utar has been receiving donations from various people and organisations including a launching grant of RM50mil from the Federal Government.

None of these donors have imposed any terms or conditions on Utar," said Koon.

Koon said that just because past donors have not insisted on conditions on their donations should not be used to reject his offer.

“This so-called tradition is being used to reject my condition for control of the task force and is quite frankly, absurd and unacceptable. It is clear to any observer that if the Utar management agrees to the other conditions I have set out, they are already breaking the so-called “practice and tradition” of unconditional donations.”

No vested interest

Koon insisted that his main concern in asking for control of the task force is to protect both the interests of the students and Utar.

“As a result, more students will be attracted to Utar Kampar which will also benefit the various property owners that are currently enjoying the benefits of the abnormally high rental market in Kampar at the expense of the students. “

In his letter of appeal to the MCA president, he urged the party and leaders to share his concern and to oppose “Utar members who may not be so scrupulous on observing their basic fiduciary duty to protect the interests of the students and university.”

In the mean time, I have to remind all the members of Utar Council and the Board of Trustees of their fiduciary duty.

Koon lamented that to stop him from building hostels on the basis of a “weak, illogical and unjustifiable pretext is surely against the interest of thousands of students and the university institution.”

“I would like to stress that the net income from the rental of RM30mil invested in hostels and associated facilities will help thousands of students. You must not forget that the net income will be recurring which will help many more future students,” said Koon.

- Malaysia Mirror


19 December, 2009

Smile, 1Malaysia, you are on candid camera.

'Smile Smile 1Malaysia' aims to get us into Top 10 :)

The government targets to be among the top 10 countries whose people smile the most in 2010 based on a independent body's findings, said Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, T Murugiah :)

He said several campaigns had been carried to eventually place the nation at the 26th spot this year but that was far short from the position of neighbouring Indonesia which was at number one :)

"I am now in the process to complete the working paper for 'Smile Smile 1Malaysia' and this will be forwarded to the minister before being tabled to the cabinet :)

The working paper will also be closely related to and add value to the concept of 1Malaysia," he told reporters in Ipoh yesterday :)

He said a study conducted by an independent body in Spain revealed that Malaysians smiled more at foreign tourists than local folks :)

And, here's a joke to make you smile:

A nurse was on duty in the A&E when a young woman with purple hair styled into a punk rocker Mohawk, sporting a variety of tattoos, and wearing strange clothing, entered.

It was quickly determined that the patient had acute appendicitis, so she was scheduled for an immediate operation..

When she was completely disrobed on the operating table, the staff noticed that her pubic hair had been dyed green, and above it there was a tattoo that read ..
'Keep off the grass'

Once the surgery was completed, the surgeon wrote a short note on the patient's dressing, which read:

'Sorry . . . had to mow the lawn.'

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18 December, 2009

Royal Malaysia Police - Use Facebook as an alternative approach to solve criminal cases !

National Key Result Areas (NKRA) for crime prevention laboratory leader Abdul Aziz Md Noor said the social networking site, which is widely used by the community, could help the authorities fight crime.

“We previously used the short-message service (SMS) through the Rakan Cop programme (to fight crime), but with this new approach we hope to solve cases faster.

“For example, by displaying photos of suspects on Facebook, the public could indirectly channel information regarding the case to the police,” he said .

Besides helping the police, he said the social networking site would also help foster a closer relationship between the PDRM and the people.

Abdul Aziz said the public could also file reports and complaints on crime to police through the website.

“It is difficult for the police to control crime without the help and support of the community.

“If the public helps to report all criminal activities to the police, we believe the target to reduce crime by 20 per cent by the end of 2010 is possible,” he said.


17 December, 2009

Publishing photos of the "Cow Head" protest was "detrimental to public interest" and akin to inciting racial tensions.?

Noose tightens, print media fights back

The Home Ministry has drawn up a new set of comprehensive guidelines masked as 'self-regulation' for an already restricted newspaper industry - but it is fighting back.

The draft was unveiled by senior ministry officials at a meeting on Monday with unwitting print media representatives in Kuala Lumpur.

Although a full day of discussions had been scheduled, the meeting broke down about noon, in the face of protests and heated debate by the media representatives.

Among complaints raised was the absence of representation from the Malaysian Press Institute and the National Union of Journalists .

The participants also said they were not given prior notice that the guidelines were to be discussed. They, however, have agreed to study the draft before another meeting is held.

Government representatives included Home Ministry secretary-general Mahmood Adam, his deputy in charge of security Ahmad Faud Abdul Aziz and publications control and Al-Quran text division secretary Abu Hassan Dahaman.

One participant claimed that the guidelines are an attempt to force the media's hand to accept the provisions as 'joint principles' and thus absolve the ministry of blame for tightening censorship.

"It is like giving us a noose, which we have to tighten ourselves. Previously, we could still challenge the ministry's restrictions because these were made unilaterally," the source told Malaysiakini.

Given the evolving nature of society, several participants felt the narrow boundaries being set in the draft guidelines would be detrimental to the news industry.

The draft covers two main categories - undesirable material and banned material. It elaborates on these over 13 pages and apply to articles, photos, documents, comics, magazines and advertisements.

The provisions were panned for their ambiguity, particularly on the topic of maintaining public order and materials that are against national interests.

Materials that "encourage actions which can cause disorder (pecah keamanan)" or are against "the public interest" are considered "undesirable".

The draft defines "undesirable" materials as including "news, articles or information that is exaggerated" and which can "confuse the public".

The controversial cow-head protest was raised as a case in point, with the ministry claiming that publishing photos of the protest was "detrimental to public interest" and akin to inciting racial tensions.

However, media participants disputed this, vigorously arguing that the incident and its visuals had merited publication....more.


14 December, 2009

" In Cold blood " - Last Chance for Justice in Malaysia


On the anniversary of the 1948 killing of 24 unarmed workers by British troops on a rubber plantation north of Kuala Lumpur, the victims’ families are once again calling for a full inquiry and compensation.

“We are calling for justice to finally be done,” said Quek Ngee Meng, a lawyer and coordinator of the Batang Kali Massacre Action Committee, a group representing the families. “It is very urgent that justice be done, too, as the survivors are getting old and frail. We are not looking for criminal prosecutions, either, as the survivors can forgive, although they cannot forget.”

The shootings on Dec. 12, 1948, at a settlement of plantation workers by the Batang Kali River, took place during the early days of the conflict known as the Malayan Emergency, when British and Commonwealth troops, along with their Malay allies, fought guerrillas from the Communist Party of Malaya.

The incident was at first praised by the British colonial authorities as a major military victory, with the plantation workers described as terrorists. British troops had been engaged in a weeklong operation in the area after receiving reports of Communist guerrilla activity there. The workers, like many of the Communist guerrillas, were ethnic Chinese, a community widely suspected of Communist sympathies by many in the security forces.

Even at the time, though, the account of a “victory” failed to ring true for many.

“I remember it very clearly when the report first came through that day at brigade intelligence,” said Anthony Short, who was a young soldier serving in Malaya at the time.

“I thought, ‘Christ, this is extraordinary.’ There was no report of prisoners taken or wounded, and no exchange of fire,” said Mr. Short, who later taught history at the University of Malaysia and was commissioned by the post-colonial government to write the official record of the Emergency (“The Communist Insurrection in Malaya, 1948-1960”).

A few weeks after the shootings, a brief inquiry was conducted under the supervision of the colonial attorney general, Sir Stafford Foster Sutton. It found that all the workers who were killed had been unarmed. Most were shot in the back. But it concluded that they had been shot while trying to escape.

Tham Yong remembers it differently, though. Now 78, she is one of the few surviving witnesses to what happened that day at Batang Kali.

“When the soldiers came that day,” she recalled in a recent interview at her home in Ulu Yam Bahru, “they were much more aggressive than we were used to, much more angry.”

When those soldiers left the village the following day, 24 of Tham Yong’s neighbors, family and friends — including her fiancé — lay dead. “I am still angry,” Ms. Tham Yong said. “Why shouldn’t I be? They killed these people. They killed them, and nothing was done.”

The men were separated from the women and children, and both groups were locked into different sides of a partitioned kongsi, or hut, for the night.

“The next day, the soldiers told the women to pack all their belongings and leave, because they were going to torch the village,” she said “They took us and placed us on a truck. Then I saw the men being led down from the other side of the kongsi and divided into three or four groups. The soldiers led them out toward the trees of the rubber plantation. Then I heard the gunshots from five different places. We knew they had all been killed.”

The revelations of U.S. military killings of unarmed Vietnamese civilians at My Lai in 1968 revived interest in Britain in similar episodes in their own earlier counterinsurgency campaign in Southeast Asia.

In 1970, Britain’s Scotland Yard opened another inquiry, after several of the soldiers who had been there that day — all members of the elite Scots Guards regiment — signed sworn testimonies that they had indeed killed unarmed villagers.

Their statements were printed in a now-defunct British tabloid, The People. “Once we started firing we seemed to go mad,” the People article quoted William Cootes, one of the soldiers, as saying in his testimony. “I remember the water turning red with their blood.”

Yet the commander of the patrol, Charles Douglas, a sergeant at the time, continued to deny that a massacre had taken place.

The 1970 inquiry ended, however, when the newly elected Conservative government said there was insufficient evidence to warrant further proceedings. A plan to send investigators to interview Malaysian witnesses was canceled.

Then, in 1992, a BBC TV documentary titled “In Cold Blood” re-examined the case, prompting the Malaysian authorities to open their own investigation.

This time, the Malaysian witnesses were interviewed, but the inquiry was also dropped before Malaysian detectives could travel to Britain to interview the surviving soldiers. The Malaysian attorney general’s office said that insufficient evidence had been found to charge anyone, and in 1997 the case was closed.

“What we want to do now is put the two halves of the puzzle together,” said Mr. Quek, the lawyer. “Half the inquiry has already been done in the U.K., and half in Malaysia.”

His group is petitioning the Malaysian authorities to release their files to Scotland Yard, and vice versa, creating sufficient evidence to warrant a new inquiry.

Rosalind Britton-Elliott, a spokeswoman for the British Ministry of Defense, said in an interview this month that the ministry stood by a statement it made to the families’ lawyers last August. The statement said that while the ministry recognized the seriousness of the allegations made by the Batang Kali Action Committee, “Very little documentary evidence survives and previous investigations identified concerns about the reliability of this evidence.”

The ministry statement said there were no plans to hold an inquiry, but it also noted that a final decision on whether any further action would be taken on the case had yet to be made. No date has been set for that decision, although lawyers for the victims’ families are planning to open legal proceedings in Britain, if the decision is not to their liking.

“There is no doubt in my mind that it was a massacre,” said Mr. Short. “It is also a disgrace that nothing has been done all these years.”

A frail Ms. Tham Yong — now using a wheelchair after a recent fall — agrees.

“I have been through a very difficult life,” she said. “We were not Communists. We didn’t even know what one was. All these people were killed, but we have never even had an apology.”

( Source: "Last Chance for Justic In Malaysia" )


12 December, 2009

Court documents must be in English in Sabah and Sarawak. The spirit of 1Malaysia ?

A Malaysian court's decision to reject opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's appeal on the ground that it was not filed in Bahasa Malaysia has been contested by two states which insist that they will receive court documents only in English.

Sabah and Sarawak states Friday said they were not affected by the Court of Appeals decision to strike out Ibrahim's appeal case because it was not drafted in Bahasa Malaysia, The Star said Friday.

'The position is the opposite in Sabah and Sarawak where any document filed in the courts shall be written in the English language (and may be accompanied by a translation in the national language) as required by the Rules of the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court,' Sabah Justices of Peace Council secretary Lawrence Thien said.

Ibrahim's suit claiming damages for defamation against former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad was rejected by a Court of Appeal headed by Justice Abdul Malek Ishak who termed Ibrahim's appeal 'defective' as documents were not submitted in Bahasa Malaysia.

The judge said the filing of the memorandum in the English language constituted an injustice to Dr Mahathir and that it was an abuse of the process of the court.

'The supremacy of Bahasa Malay-sia or the Malay language in our courts cannot be denied,' said the judge.

Joining issues earlier, a leading Malaysian Indian lawyer-lawmaker urged that the constitution should be amended to make English the second official language to enable its free use in courts. Karpal Singh, who is also the Democratic Action Party (DAP) national chairman, said while there was no doubt that Bahasa Malaysia united the people in the country, it was the English language which united nations throughout the world.

He said as a result of English not being given its rightful place in court proceedings, foreign investors, including multinationals, resorted to arbitration instead of referring disputes to courts in the country.

'This is not a step in the right direction as it reflects a loss of confidence in the judiciary,' The New Straits Times Friday quoted him as saying.

Karpal Singh noted: 'It is curious that in emphasising the supremacy of the Malay language in the courts, he has written his judgment in English.

'I would have thought that there was more than a need for him to have written his judgment in Bahasa Malaysia in view of the strong language he used in support of it.'

Malaysia was a British colony with widespread use of English before becoming independent in 1957. Besides English, Malay, spoken by the majority population, Chinese and Tamil are in use in the multi-ethnic society.

- Malaysia Sun


11 December, 2009

Is Tiger Woods Addicted To Sex?

Addictions are characterized by behavior that is unhealthy that becomes compulsive. The addict returns to their addictions even if it means destroying relationships, careers and reputations. The cycle of addiction is usually only broken when the addict gets caught of hits their own "rock bottom."

(PRWEB) December 10, 2009 -- It appears that Tiger Woods was not only unfaithful, according to seven-- and still counting-- women who have come forth with lurid details, alleged pictures, and copies of sex texts all from trysts between Woods and mostly younger women in the food service industry.

When is it an affair, and when is it a sexual addiction? Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil, PhD, author of Adultery, the Forgivable Sin and Make Up Don't Break Up, says that infidelity falls into the category of addiction when there is a repetitive pattern. "A man has an affair to feel good, the feeling is temporary, and he goes back for more. When he is risking his reputation, career and marriage, the thought process is not logical or prudent."

"The more powerful a person feels in their job, the higher the stress. Adultery provides a biochemical craving for connection, along with the high and thrill of a new romance. These high- risk behaviors are addictive. What begins with a desire to relieve stress or mute depression easily progresses to a preoccupation with where their next "fix' will come from, and often involves a strong desire to create rituals around obtaining the "high." This preoccupation becomes a compulsion--to use drugs, alcohol, or to have sex, followed by depression and despair as the effects wear off, leading to the start of the cycle all over again," explains Dr. Weil. Getting caught in the loop of the compulsion usually ends when they get caught.

This pattern seems to fit the reports about Tiger Wood's alleged infidelity. As with all addictions that spin out of control, Woods now appears remorseful, apologetic (on his website) about his "transgressions," and making efforts to repair his business and personal reputation.

( Source: " Is Tiger Woods Addicted To Sex? When Infidelity is an Addiction" )


10 December, 2009

Malaysia's human rights record has deteriorated under new premier Najib Razak !

Malaysia's human rights record has deteriorated under new premier Najib Razak, a leading rights group alleged, saying he was more intolerant of dissent than his predecessors.

Launching its annual report, Voice of the Malaysian People (Suaram) criticised Najib's performance since he took office in April, including the arrest of nearly 600 people in a protest against internal security laws.

It also cited the arrest of 167 people in May "for holding candlelit vigils" during a political crisis over the control of a northern state.

"We warned the new leadership of Najib might herald a new era of stronger authoritarianism compared to previous prime ministers, and what we see so far is the exact thing we thought would happen," said Suaram coordinator John Liu.

Najib came to power vowing to heal race relations in the multi-ethnic country, and to review a tough Internal Security Act (ISA) which allows indefinite detention without trial.

Suaram demanded the ISA be abolished, saying there had been seven new arrests under the law this year even though 39 detainees were freed. Currently nine people are still being held under the ISA.

"We don't think there is any improvement on human rights. Out of a ranking of 1-10, I would give Najib a score of three to four," Suaram director Kua Kia Soong told a press conference.

In the report, Suaram said Najib has displayed an "increased level of intolerance" towards dissent and was "seriously undermining the freedom of speech, expression and assembly".

Institutions such as the judiciary and police continued to suffer a "serious crisis of public confidence", the group said.

It also said it was "very concerned" about the plight of indigenous people, amid arrests over land claims and rape allegations that have been the subject of a government investigation.

The report said Malaysia continued to be listed as one of the worst places for refugees by a US watchdog, and had been reinstated by the United States on a human trafficking blacklist.

Suaram also urged the government to approve a freedom of information act, noting the country only scored 132 out of 173 on the Reporters Without Borders' global press freedom index.



09 December, 2009

Document is in English, so Anwar's suit struck out ?!!

According to a Malaysiakini report, the Court of Appeal has ruled that all court documents must be filed in the national language, as the supremacy of Bahasa Malaysia is enshrined in the federal constitution.

Justice Abdul Malek Ishak, who on Oct 20 had dismissed Anwar Ibrahim's appeal in his defamation suit against former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said the courts are required to strictly enforce the procedure.

In his 31-page written judgment made available today, the judge said failure to satisfy the ruling would result in applications being dismissed.

Anwar's lawyers had filed the memorandum of appeal in English rather than use the normal procedure of filing it in Bahasa Malaysia and English.

His lawyers then sought an extension of time to file the necessary documents when Mahathir's application to strike out the suit is heard, but this too was rejected.

"We have seen the memorandum and it is obvious it is not drafted in Bahasa Malaysia," Abdul Malek said.

"The failure to do so amounts to blatant breach that would compel us to conclude no memorandum has been filed at all."

Anwar, he said, should have filed the memorandum of appeal in the national language as "no other language will be entertained".

"This is ordained in the laws of this country. The filing of the memorandum of appeal in the English language constituted an injustice to the respondent (Mahathir) and it was a pure and simple abuse of the process of the court," the judge said.

"Article 152 of the constitution, read together with the National Language Act, states all proceedings other than the giving of evidence shall be in the national language."

In January 2006, Anwar had sued Mahathir for RM100 million over allegedly defamatory remarks the latter had made at a Suhakam conference four months earlier.

In July 2007, the Kuala Lumpur High Court struck out suit without hearing the merits of the case, leading to an appeal being filed.

On OCt 20 this year, a three-member bench of the Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed the appeal and ordered Anwar to pay costs.

Sitting with Abdul Malek were Justice Azhar Ma'ah and newly-elevated judge Syed Ahmad Helmy Syed Ahmad.

( Source:"Anwar's suit struck out because document is in English" )


08 December, 2009

Protectionist policies must go !

You know something is not right if for a rice-growing nation, the cost of producing this staple is 30% more than other rice-producing countries.

SEVERAL weeks ago, a delegation from a major European company held a no-holds barred meeting with our government officials.

The discussion centred around opening up markets, free trade agreements and protectionists policies. Needless to say, this was not the first time that the company officials had dealt with our bureaucrats. But what was different this time was that the usually polite and diplomatic Europeans had no time for niceties.

The gloves came off and they made it clear that Malaysia’s flip-flopping on its protectionist policies and the culture of the "enrichment" of certain groups at the expense of fair trade and the absence of a standard trade guideline was not the way countries in the European Union (EU) did business. There is no "kautim" mentality or "special arrangements". All’s fair in capitalism.

Of course critics of the World Trade Organisation will have their own opinion on capitalists, but what this delegation was cheesed off with was the fact that our inconsistent business policies was costing them money.

It was getting expensive to do business in Malaysia because it was difficult to plan. For instance, the phasing out of the approved permits (AP) system under the National Automotive Policy is supposed to begin next year, culminating in 2015, following which we all hope imported cars will be cheaper by at least RM50,000 (current rates).

However, now we hear that the government may give in to requests from Malaysian dealers and rent seekers to extend it until 2020 to allow the creation of more millionaires. And mind you, we are not just talking about cars. Most imports, including sugar, carry APs. This invariably makes the cost of doing business in Malaysia higher than our neighbours’, which is why we are losing out to others in the region.

In his exit speech in 2007, EU ambassador to Malaysia Thierry Rommel made some remarks that did not go down well with our folks here. Rommel among others charged that some of the government’s policies were designed to practise significant protectionism of Malaysia’s own market covering the automotive sector, steel, consumer goods, agricultural products and services.

Rommel may have had his own agenda but he was merely articulating how the outside world – Europe at least – feels about doing business with us.

While trade last year was RM140 billion, Rommel’s successor Vincent Piket forecasts trade with Malaysia will drop by RM35 billion this year. We can attribute some of that to the global economic downturn. But it is during times like this that we need to up our game, call a spade a spade and be proactive in getting rid of old habits or risk having foreign investors look elsewhere to spend their money – as was the case with the European company at the beginning of this column.

You know something is not right if for a rice-growing nation, the cost of producing this staple is 30% more than other rice-producing countries. So if even Malaysians have to pay more for the rice we eat, then who’s benefiting? Certainly not the people. The sole company awarded the contract to import and distribute rice, perhaps?

In any case, to move forward the government must show its sincerity in protecting all Malaysians. Its policies must be all-encompassing and attractive to those whom we wish to do business with.

It is laudable that the government has abolished import duties on over 2,000 items as part of its commitment to the Asean Free Trade Area (Afta) which comes into play next year. Hence, opening up the markets may also make such items as rice cheaper as import duties for rice will also be reduced.

However, I am expecting the government to flip-flop again, especially when certain entrepreneur groups complain that Afta is hurting them. Soon before you know it, we will have more "special arrangements".

Emerging markets in Southeast Asia are giving us a run for our money. The only advantage we have over them is that English is widely spoken here – but even this is being threatened by politicians with hare-brained ideas of compelling the private sector to use the national language to enhance the usage of Bahasa Malaysia.

Such myopic views do not augur well for us and the future for a nation that aims to be a global player but is bogged down by decades’ old thinking and selfish priorities which will only succeed in reducing our competitiveness internationally.



07 December, 2009

DR M sees nothing wrong with BTN courses ?

There is no need to revamp National Civics Bureau (BTN) training modules as in the current form, they were fine for instilling the patriotic spirit among Malaysians, said Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Mahathir said he too had given talks at courses organised by the BTN and among the subjects touched on were Malaysian history.

"Sometimes, people cannot understand the underlying value of BTN courses. I do not see anything bad about it, it explains the nation's history," he said.

BTN: Divisive, racist, politically- motivated

For me, the seeds of poison were planted decades ago.

Just before I went overseas to study, I was sent for 'orientation' at a Mara hostel to ostensibly prepare myself for life abroad.

That weekend was a blur, and I recall four things:

1) Blocked toilets and flooded communal bathrooms.

2) Basic food, thus a friend's sister dropped off much needed rations of chocolates and 'kacang'.

3) How to wash your 'smalls' (underwear) in a cold country and have them dry by the next morning.

4) We assembled in small groups for out-of-door talks, in the school grounds. We were told that the Malays were the most supreme race in the world, we were God's chosen few, that the others were insignificant. We were warned about certain elements in our society and abroad, determined to undermine Malay excellence.

It was never meant to be a question-and-answer session and the lecturer omitted to qualify his contentious and contemptuous statements.

Just like my peers, my mind was focused on going overseas. In essence, we simply 'switched off'. Moreover, we hardly experienced any racial issues at our convent school.

Did I come out of that orientation a better person? Did I pick up new skills and ideas? Of the four things, the first two are just facets of Malaysian life; the third has been extremely practical, whilst the fourth left me disturbed and has lain fallow, until now.

After reading about the BTN (Biro Tatanegara or National Civics Bureau), I fear that much venom has been perpetuated. I may also have unwittingly experienced the inception of the BTN.

Ties have eroded

I am reminded by my grandparents and parents that after the last of the midnight chimes had heralded the arrival of Aug 31, 1957, everyone was ecstatic. It was a stirring moment.

Malays grasped the hands of Chinese, Indians embraced Malays. With 'Merdeka', Malaysians felt energised.

Fast forward to present-day Malaysia and the scene is stupefying. Malays eye the non-Malays with contempt and derision, whilst the non-Malays are consumed with frustration and resentment. A never-ending nightmare.

The ties that cemented us 52 years ago have eroded. Instead of acting as one, our differences have been emphasised; our similarities have all but diminished.

The new slogan, 1Malaysia, is a vain attempt to patch-up our differences. There is little point in using this sticking plaster to mend a wound that is deep and suppurating.

If we are instructed to be 'one', then something is wrong. If we are drilled to behave in a particular way, to be seen to be united, then this is a veiled and tacit acknowledgment that all is not well.

Somewhere after independence, we lost our focus. We took our eye off the ball.

We allowed ourselves to be massaged and manipulated into submissiveness by those who purported to lead us, but who have done us much damage - physically, spiritually, morally, financially, emotionally.

We are now a bunch of apathetic people who have to be led by the nose, who grumble only in private but hide any dissent in public. We are cowed into inactivity, resigned to our fate.

Why do we allow racism, corruption or inequality, practices which are unacceptable in the wider world, to prosper here? Why do we accept that when something goes wrong, no one is made accountable? Why is there a poor system of checks and balances? What happened to leadership by example?

The silent majority

The BTN is alleged to be divisive, racist and politically-motivated. The public is outraged; but politicians seem blind to these facts.

The deputy prime minister and the women, family and community development minister both deny the allegations. But what do ministers from the other component parties of BN say? Their silence speaks volumes.

Some ministers claim that the courses instil patriotism and are harmless. In their view, segregating participants into specific groups of race and ethnicity, followed by humiliation, is considered not divisive. They may need to reassess their values.

Others say that the BTN is being revamped. Or upgraded. Or changed. Whatever. The truth is, the BTN runs counter to the ideals of a united Malaysia. It is time we dispensed with our politicians' knee-jerk reactions in their pathetic efforts to ameliorate the breakdown in public confidence.

How can the Umno information chief assume the role of BTN programme head? This is a conflict of interest. How does he isolate his political affiliations? He cannot possibly assume neutrality.

I have not experienced the BTN programme and hope that I never will.

When questions with political and religious undertones are incorporated, that is reason enough for the BTN to cease to operate and function.

When non-Malay Malaysians are chastised for their 'immigrant' status and are condescendingly told to be grateful to the Malays, that is wrong.

When only the contributions of the Malays are recognised for bringing peace and prosperity to the nation, that is positively abhorrent.

When Malays are warned not to mingle with non-Malays, when only Muslims are to be respected, that is despicable.

It is a mockery that 1Malaysia has boiled down to mean 'belonging to only one race'. And the shocking thing is that many Western-educated middle class Malays believe it.

Like the vines of our jungles, the BTN is strangling the ideals, aspirations and uniqueness of all Malaysian peoples.

I have been accused of being a traitor to my race, and religion just because I state what is obviously unfair, undemocratic and lacking in morals and principles.

I suspect they disapprove of me, mostly because I am a woman and a Malay, and dare to speak up about prickly issues. But I admire these people. At least, they are willing to express their views, however vile they may be. Unlike, the silent majority.

For these are the ones I appeal to, and who I wish would make a stand and do more to champion change, if only for the good and love and future of our nation.

In the final analysis, '1' more person, might make all the difference.

MARIAM MOKHTAR is a non-conformist traditionalist from Perak, a bucket chemist and an armchair eco-warrior. In 'real-speak', this translates into that she comes from Ipoh, values change but respects culture, is a petroleum chemist and also an environmental pollution-control scientist.


06 December, 2009

Anwar Ibrahim:"MUSLIMS must tackle injustices and corruption in their own countries before they can point a finger at the West"

Muslims urged to accept minorities

December 6, 2009

MUSLIMS must tackle injustices and corruption in their own countries before they can point a finger at the West, former Malaysian deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim said in Melbourne yesterday.

''How Islam treats minorities is excessive, no question - Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, Jews. We cannot condone injustice. We must condemn atrocities against minorities in Muslim societies and against Muslims in Christian societies,'' he told the Parliament of the World Religions.

Now a leading opposition leader, Mr Anwar said Muslim countries faced huge Islamophobia, including an unequal American approach to Israel and Palestine and concerns about nuclear non-proliferation with some countries but not others (a reference to Israel).

But he told the key session on Islam and politics: ''You can't talk all the time about the injustice of the West if you have injustice in your own land, such as Christians and Hindus in Muslim countries.

''Muslims were upset about the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib [in Iraq], but what about conditions in Muslim prisons. If you refuse to talk about that you have no standing to talk about the first.''

Mr Anwar said there was no reason why Islamic parties should not contest elections. ''There is suspicion that Islamic political parties will use democracy as a vehicle and, when they come to power, marginalise other groups and cancel elections. There will be a 100 per cent vote, one time.''

But there were Christian Democrat parties, Hindu parties and Buddhist parties, while Muslim countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Turkey had clear constitutional guidelines. ''So why must Muslims have a secular fundamentalist position? What is important is to ensure that Islamic parties are not factional or unjust when in power.''

Abdullah Saeed, professor of Islamic Studies at Melbourne University, said the question of Islam and politics had been one of the most hotly debated topics for Muslims since the middle of the 19th century.

''At one end of the continuum is the view that it's absolutely essential for Muslims to establish an Islamic state, that Islam is a religion and a state, though Muslims have never experienced this ideal.

''At the other extreme, Islam is simply an ethical and moral system, a relationship between the person and God, with no need for politics.''

Professor Saeed said critics pointed out that an Islamic state was not a traditional idea but a 20th century construct, while Muslim governments tended to oppress women and non-Muslims, were autocratic and did not respect rights.

Tariq Ramadan, one of Europe's leading Muslim spokesmen, said democracy and Islam were fully compatible, but many Muslims misunderstood secularism as meaning no religion. Secularism in Muslim-majority countries did not mean democracy, but the opposite: dictators.

''It's a question of authority. When it comes to the private sphere, the authority God has over you is private. When it comes to the public sphere, it should be negotiated among the public.'' Dr Ramadan said the idea of collective negotiated authority went back to the prophet Muhammad, who more than once followed the majority against his own opinion.

Iranian delegate Mahdi Mostafavi said governments should fulfil the main purpose of man's creation and ensure society was obedient to God.

He said Muslims should not be subservient to any power that went against the will of God, who gave governments their legitimacy.

''The government should strive for material prosperity but also for man's exaltation in his humanity. Unfortunately this is neglected by most governments. Within the framework of God's laws, people should be free.''

Questioned by a leading Melbourne Muslim, Rachel Woodlock, about the treatment of Baha'is in Iran, Dr Mostafavi simply denied that any minorities in Iran faced ill-treatment. Ms Woodlock replied: ''You have no credibility at all.''

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National economic outlook: Believe it or not?

At long last, is this the signal that the government is starting to acknowledge the folly of its economic policies?

Are the winds of economic reform finally blowing across our country? Or is this just another pretty but inconsequential speech delivered by someone who has spent much of his political career as an Umno insider, and one who many cynics will point out is part of the toxic system that is slowly but surely bringing the country’s economy to its knees.

Minister of Finance II Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah’s speech on the occasion of the ‘National Economic Outlook Conference 2010-2011’ in Kuala Lumpur last Tuesday (Dec 1) contains many of the right ideas and initiatives to restart our swooning economy:

* Boosting private initiative as the primary
engine of growth.

* Improving the dynamics of competition in the
domestic market place.

* Raising the private and social returns on

* Moving Malaysia away from its low-value-added, low-wage and low-productivity structure.

* Allowing meritocracy to prevail.

*Stressing transparency and adherence to the highest standards of governance.

* Encouraging greater participation from all races in the public institutions, where performance is the key measurement.

* Implementing better competition policies and fostering a better regulatory environment which can allow market forces to operate in an orderly manner.

Not new ideas

All these ideas underscore a tacit acknowledgment that the success of the nation’s economy must take precedence over the short term interests of a few protected groups.

They are not new ideas; many of them have been around for at least over 20 years since 1990 when the NEP was supposed to have come to an end. Instead what’s happened has been another two decades of retooling the NEP and in many cases even reinforcing its stranglehold on the economy for the sake of – as what the minister’s speech has correctly pointed out – “a few protected groups”.

In the next few weeks and months, we look forward to hearing more concrete details of how the long overdue changes to the country’s economy and society (and the related political and other key institutions) will come about. We will monitor these details and assess what they are worth.

Ahmad Husni’s exhortation in his speech that “1Malaysia equals inclusivity and [that] by being inclusive, we introduce competition” makes fine rhetoric but unfortunately we have been disappointed too many times before.

- Dr Lim Teck Ghee

(DR LIM TECK GHEE is director of the Centre for Policy Initiatives. )

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03 December, 2009

Iraqi women forced into sex slavery ?

Rising numbers of Iraqi women are being sold into sexual slavery every year because of the waning economy and dire security situation.

Human rights organizations are highlighting the plight of Iraqi women and young girls, sometimes as young as twelve, exploited by criminal gangs for profit.

"The women trafficking trade is at its height," Houzan Mahmoud, representative abroad of the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq said. "There has never been a situation as extreme, and it's frightening. Many of them have been trafficked to neighboring countries like Syria or the Gulf states or trafficked internally inside Iraq from one city to another."

The Baghdad Women's Organization estimates that at least 200 Iraqi women are sold into slavery every year, although the US-based Human Rights Watch estimates that the numbers are in the thousands. The organization warns that the figures may be higher if Iraqi refugee women in neighboring countries such as Syria and Lebanon are also counted.

"The situation has become much worse since 2003, after the US led invasion of Iraq," Nadya Khalife, a women's rights researcher for the Middle East and North Africa region at Human Rights Watch told The Media Line.

"More women have become widows and orphans and have turned to prostitution to simply make ends meet," she said. "There are simply no other alternatives for women who head households to locate other sources of income. In Syria and Lebanon, for instance, Iraqi families have simply exhausted their financial savings and some of these families have forced their own wives and daughters into prostitution."

Mahmoud said that since 2003 more than 70% of Iraqis have lost their jobs, a situation compounded by a lack of welfare provisions.

"We have more than four million widows in Iraq… who will provide for these women?" Mahmoud asked. "The situation created absolute poverty, particularly for women, and these women have virtually no other option but to turn to prostitution."

"There's nothing called choice in this," she stressed. "They are either being forced into it because of the economic and political situation or because of a lack of security, whereby women and young girls are being kidnapped."

With relatively few rights, the ability of Iraqi women to reintegrate into society after prostitution is limited. The women are often ostracized, attacked by their community and harassed by the authorities with charges of immorality.

"These women lack confidence, lose faith in themselves and blame themselves," Mahmoud said. "There are so many women who have been jailed for being involved in prostitution. They don't target the ring leaders for women trafficking - they actually jail the women. If the family finds out, they might kill her, or the neighborhood will shun her and she'll be stigmatized for her whole life."

Mahmoud argued that the Iraqi government and political elite have a hand in forcing women into prostitution.

"We're talking about party politicians who have numbers of women prostitutes in their mobile phones," she said. "We have to bring this to light. People in the Iraqi parliament and government are basically promoting women's prostitution and they won't be punished. As always, it's the woman paying the price because she's a woman and in that society and political climate, women are victimized everywhere."

While human rights organizations were working to expose the practice, Mahmoud said a more holistic approach was required.

"The Iraqi government is responsible for the lives and dignity of these women and children, who've been trafficked and forced into prostitution," she said. "The US and UK government [are also responsible] for occupying Iraq and creating such a miserable situation for the population, whose only crime is being Iraqi. They should be blamed and held responsible for this situation whereby people can easily kidnap you and sell you for money. It's absolutely outrageous."

( Source )

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02 December, 2009

Malaysia's Next Big Thing?

Published: December 1, 2009

KUALA LUMPUR — The threat of Dubai’s billion-dollar debt default is casting a shadow here in Malaysia, the would-be global center of the fast-growing Islamic finance industry. Islamic finance is designed to comply with Shariah law, forbidding interest on loans and investment in gambling, alcohol and other industries deemed unethical in Islam. It substitutes profit-sharing for interest, though profit shares can be pre-set to mirror interest on conventional loans.

It may seem unlikely that a country where only half the population is Muslim would seek to be the standard-setter in this field. But if Islamic finance keeps growing, Malaysia’s comprehensive system of products and regulation may enable it to become a significant trading center.

Islamic finance is estimated to be growing at over 20 percent a year, fueled partly by oil wealth but also by ethical demand. Some non-Muslim trading centers have created their own systems. London has been particularly active. France has changed some tax laws to enable some products to have equal footing, but efforts to allow sukuk, or Islamic bonds, have fallen afoul of the country’s constitutional court. The French Finance Ministry backs changes to help compete with London, but many secularists object.

Malaysia is now the leader in sukuk issues, with 60 percent of a global market of around $100 billion. It has little direct exposure to Dubai, but the prospect of a $4 billion default next month by Dubai’s Nakheel group is hurting the whole sukuk market and could weaken the attraction of Islamic products generally. One of the selling points behind the recent expansion of Islamic-based finance has been the belief that it remains rooted in the real economy, avoiding the derivatives and excessive leverage that undermined conventional banking. Though that remains true in principle, excessive exposure to over-ambitious Gulf countries could damage its image.

Moreover, beyond Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries, Islamic finance, despite its rapid growth, is still just a niche market. Even in Malaysia it accounts for only 20 percent of financial sector assets, despite efforts to promote it by the government-linked institutions that are major factors in this economy. But promoters see huge potential in Muslim and non-Muslim countries alike.

The surpluses of Muslim oil-exporting countries have been a major factor in its growth. But these surpluses have been dwindling; even before the Dubai shock some issuers of Islamic paper in the Gulf and Saudi Arabia had run into difficulty.

In some Muslim countries, poorly managed experiments have given Islamic banking a bad name. In others, many Muslims — including in Malaysia — seem not to be concerned about whether conventional banking is contrary to the Koran. Many argue that in practice so-called Islamic products simply copy conventional ones. Differing interpretations by Islamic scholars of what is permissible have created confusion and inhibited cross-border trading.

Nonetheless, Islamic finance seems likely to continue to spread in countries with significant Muslim minorities and in secular but predominantly Muslim nations like Indonesia and Turkey. Moreover, Japan, South Korea and other wealthy countries have been changing tax laws to encourage investment from Islamic countries.

In Malaysia, the industry has evolved from basic banking to bonds, insurance and fund management — all within a framework consistent with the same supervision as the conventional finance sector. The net result is that the biggest players in Islamic finance now include international names like HSBC. In mortgage finance, insurance and fund management there is competition between the systems based more on price and performance than piety. Many non-Muslims here buy Islamic products.

Whether Kuala Lumpur can truly develop as a major trading center is another matter. So too is the question of whether Islamic finance will ever be more than a minority system, even in most Islamic countries. But it seems likely that — despite the Dubai mess — the sector can bring rewards to Malaysia’s innovators.

-Source: "The New York Times"