Monday, May 31, 2010
I had rushed from a meeting KL hoping to attend the forum but was grossly delayed by KL golden triangle traffic jam. Nevertheless, I will be getting a copy of Barry's book very soon. It was a great pleasure to meet up with him and fellow discussants after the forum.
Apparently, an UMNO minister Khaled Nordin is not pleased with the forum. He alleged that certain individuals had used the forum held at University Malaya (UM) campus to attack Dr Mahathir, Umno and the Malays.
Khaled said the ministry had directed UM to prepare a comprehensive report on the forum as it was inappropriate and aimed at destroying credibility of a statesman who had contributed much to the country's development.
He urged universities to create guidelines to ensure that programmes were academic in nature to avoid being used by certain individuals as platform for personal interest.
If Khaled is so sure that Mahathir is beyond any fault, is he prepared to face Barry Wain in a public debate? I am more than happy to offer myself as the moderator of the event. I am sure many of us, Malaysians and ex-UMers, would be glad to participate in highly intellectual and factual debate on the contribution of Mahathir to Malaysia.
Post-premiership, Mahathir is contributing even greater to national disunity by supporting the call of a right winged organisation such as Perkasa which has made outrageous demands in an attempt to derail genuine reforms in the country.
Khaled and his party should be made to explain to fellow Malaysians why leaders and ex-leaders of his party are offering their support and act as a front for the right winged coalition led by Perkasa?
It is arrogant and distasteful for asking a premier university why it should allow a forum such as Barry Wain's to be held in the campus. Khaled should have attended the forum and take Barry to task for 'trying to destroy' Mahathir's credibility.
If Mahathir is really credible, any attack on him will have a disastrous reverse effect. Try doing the same to Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela and other great leaders.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
By sacking his secretary-general Murugessan, his action is pushing himself to the brink. The expulsion of Murugessan shows how insecure Samy is about the prospect of losing power. Unfortunately, the MIC chief is losing goodwill and respect faster than he could imagine.
The sign is clear and it shows that the Anti-Samy protest (GAS) has the support of some higher echelon in the country. If not, the group's gathering would have been able to obtain a police permit to gather and condemn a leader of Barisan component party.
Vel Paari's apology to UMNO was an attempt not to further anger some factions in UMNO who may want to oust his dad.
Samy is a politician who has outlived his time. Dr Mahathir had given him a good advice - do not overstay his usefulness. But Samy must do better than Mahathir in preserving his legacy after his retirement.
MIC is a party in decline. The state of MIC mirrors that of the community. Indians in Malaysia are a neglected lot similarly other minorities are often not featured or considered in any mainstream development.
The fate of Indian Malaysian community lies with the mindset of the community itself. They should start to exercise their democratic rights by choosing good governance over some lame communal promises made by any politicians.
A lack of political awareness amongst the Indian Malaysian community is a sad thing. The community needs something which none of the political parties in Malaysia is able to deliver - some direction, leadership and sincerity in putting the community's needs, issues and insecurities in the right perspective.
How long since have we heard of any Indian Malaysian who had excelled in a certain field since Dr Jegathesan?
This is a wake up call for the community. It is time to break out of their communal shell.
Before we even start to debate the merit of dismantling these subsidies, we should look back at its historical background. Handing out subsidy was an easy way out to momentarily address issues of inefficiency, incompetence and inability to move up the higher value chain.
The government should have helped to address the issues through various capacity building programmes. The nation could have been prepared to go on a higher value chain and to be more productive and competent.
Unfortunately, for decades the government had lost various opportunities to revamp, reinvent and reenergize our socio-economic policy direction. The government never had the political will to implement any real reform. It looks like history is going to repeat itself again especially after the protest of 70 odd Malay NGOs against the NEM. Najib may yet again retreats from his policy like his predecessors.
Policy flip-flops and inconsistencies had ruined many good and well thought out policy vision including the Vision 2020 and the effort to become a knowledge economy.
Hence, dismantling the subsidy system which is sucking this country's resources dry must come with a steely political will to end mediocrity, cut wastage and adopt financial prudence. The government cannot expect the people to accept higher prices without first tackle its own financial mismanagement, wastage and internal corruption.
With limited resources, this government should be ashamed of itself for trying to use the same resources to buy votes at the by-elections in Hulu Selangor an Sibu.
Our workforce is suffering from a middle income trap. Our average income per capita has not grown that much since 1997 compared to other countries in the region. At USD7000, it has barely made a jump from USD5,600 more than a decade ago.
Any increase in the essential items, oil & gas, toll rates, sugar and others will trigger higher inflation.
What is the government plan to help boost per capita income of the people? What has the government done to create more higher paying jobs for the people?
What has the government done to tighten its own financial management, cut wastage, combat corruption and leakage?
It is important for Idris to realize that subsidy cut is not the only solution to avoid this country from becoming bankrupt. Barisan needs a total overhaul and we need more trustworthy people running the country.
Give us some action on the PKFZ. Why the deafening silence?
If Barisan cannot balance the book, perhaps others should be given a chance to try since we running out of time.
Why must only the people suffer for the mismanagement?
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
In its book 'Reforming Political Financing in Malaysia' launched on Sunday, the corruption watchdog recommended the enactment of a Political Parties Act to provide full disclosure of the sources of funds to political parties and to regulate such sources.
Under the Act, political parties would not be allowed to own businesses, as this is deemed to open the floodgates to nepotism, patronage, conflict of interest and abuse of power.
This would overcome problems with the Societies Act and Elections Offences Act, which are riddled with loopholes that can and have been exploited by political parties, it said.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
MCA President Chua Soi Lek wants his party to champion the rights of Chinese Malaysian community. Chua said MCA has been too conservative, which has led to the wrong impression that the party "does not dare speak out".
As usual, the party sends a 100-page memorandum to the PM articulating the needs of the community. Chua said that he was willing to risk being scolded for requesting RM1 billion for vernacular Chinese schools and new villages.
The proposals in the memorandum include:
- RM15 million in development funds and RM15 million in maintenance allocation for Chinese Independent High Schools
Recognition of the UEC certificate
- Build 10 new Chinese primary schools and identify 15 sites for the relocation of such schools
- RM500 million for new villages, for local development, and activities to bridge the gap between the government and Chinese Malaysian youth
- List all sub-service areas that don't require the 30 percent bumiputera quota, and prevent civil servants from imposing this restriction privately
- Implement a minimum wage for various industrial sectors
- Set a limit on foreign workers in various industries, based on needs
- Reshape the subsidy mechanism, assuring that only the poor benefit from this
- Draft a law stating that marriages under civil law can only be relieved under civil law, thereby preventing disputes arising from religious conversion
- Amend the Universities and University Colleges Act to allow students to participate in politics, although they should be prevented from holding party posts
The content of the memorandum suggested that Chua and his party are outdated and are still stuck in Politics 101.
Chua should be ashamed of his leadership if he gets a tongue lashing from the PM for requesting a miserable sum of RM1 billion. It is minuscule compared to the PKFZ financial fiasco which allegedly involved a number of MCA top leaders. Ironically, Chua was successful in the party power grab when the incumbent president was toppled partly for his role in trying to unmask those who were involved in the scandal.
MCA should not even send a memorandum. It should send an ultimatum to the coalition government which it is enjoying a cozy power sharing with UMNO. Ignore the Chinese Malaysian community at UMNO's peril.
The items contained in the memorandum had been repeated in many other memorandums in the past. These requests are as outdated as the party, MCA.
If Chua is bold enough, he should demand for equality and justice for all. He should call for the abolishment of 'Bumiputeraism' and not merely asked to identify those sectors which do not require the 30 percent Bumi rule.
We have gone one up. We are beyond the speak out mode. MCA should walk their talk. They should learn to bite and not just bark.
Both Hulu Selangor and Sibu by-elections should give Chua a clear signal to do better than the 100-page memorandum. If MCA is part of the government, why send memorandum to itself? Can't 4 MCA ministers speak up in the cabinet?
Malaysia's per capita income of USD7k per annum in low compared to its aspiration to become a fully developed country by 2020. The government wants to double the per capita income by 2020 but fall short of spelling out the steps to be taken.
Ironically, the cabinet is supposed to meet up on Wednesday to approve cuts in various subsidies e.g. sugar, flour, oil, gas etc.
It may be wise to reduce the government's spending on subsidies but at the same time these savings must be channeled towards real capacity building to enhance the per capita income of Malaysians.
If we continue to remain a low salary and low cost destination, the cuts will bring more destitution to the people. Standard of living will continue to drop due to lower consumption power and higher goods and services costs.
Moreover, the government is trying to create more outlets for people to 'try their luck' when everything else looks gloomy. Azly said "In the name of progress and development, Malaysia hopes to create a nation of gamblers by approving soccer gambling licenses."
I totally support Azly's call to stop giving out more gambling licenses. More people who may not have access to illegal betting syndicates can now become legal punters.
It appears that Najib's economic policy and market liberalisation has confused more people than provide enlightenment.
He should help to address critical issues such as skills and brains deficit, low income level, corruption, wastage of public funds, civil service transformation and others.
The most important liberalisation he has failed to undertake is to provide a comprehensive review of the NEP and to introduce meritocracy into the system.
Liberalisation is not by giving more soccer gambling licenses. I agree with Azly that it is a new social cancer which is waiting to wreck many households.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
This follows the discovery of RM964 million in cost overruns from four energy and utilities projects, including the Bakun dam project, racked up by the company during his tenure.
Subsequently, Sime Darby chairman Musa Hitam said he will resign if necessary following the conglomerate’s huge losses of nearly RM1 billion for this quarter arising from cost overruns in four projects.
“Resignation is no big deal... When I have made my own assessment, if necessary. Yes, I am prepared. Needs to be sacked? Yes. Needs to be suspended? Yes. The whole board or anything,” he said in response to concerns about the board of directors’ failure in supervision.
If Musa and his board members leave, it will set a new precedent for accountability in Malaysia. Not only executives in GLCs have to be accountable for their performance, the same standards must be adopted by other professionals, politicians and policy makers too.
However, no stones should be left unturned to find out why the conglomerate had recorded such huge cost overruns. Action must be taken against any irresponsible or unscrupulous attempts to put the conglomerate under tremendous financial stress.
We want all GLCs to publish disclosures at least twice yearly to ensure that their operations are sound and well managed.
Malaysia must start to take the quality of governance and leadership seriously if it does not want to continue the slide.
For now, PM Najib has to focus on delivery and not more rhetoric. Perhaps he should sack his current batch of advisers who had made him announced so many slogans and grand policies but with little results to show.
For 1Malaysia to work, there must also adherence to world-class governance standards. Not sweeping things under the carpet and keep defending the indefensible.
Now, can we have the IPCMC?
Monday, May 17, 2010
He highlighted reactions from several bloggers who blamed the Chinese for causing Barisan's defeat. One of them even admitted to the PM's attempt to "buy" support from the Chinese voters.
"Big Dog's PM Najib wajar henti beri habuan kepada minoriti yang sombong, the blogger says Najib should stop trying to buy the loyalty of the Chinese voters. The RM18 million he pledged to this community would have served Sibu's indigenous people in the rural areas who are in greater need of help than the relatively wealthy Chinese."
It is a fact that the indigenous community did support the Barisan for fear of being further marginalised and neglected. It is a shame that the leaders of Barisan especially PBB leadership in Sarawak continue to allow the rot in the community. Remember the Penan women sexual abuse and exploitation issue? Who attempted the cover up? Barisan government.
It is a shame that this blogger (a newly minted Datuk) is trying to frame it as a racial issue. The years of threats and talk down had reached the bottleneck long before the 2008 general election.
Re delineation of constituencies will not help to prop up a regime which does not provide justice and fairness to the people. A stable government will have to depend on its solid foundation - the people's support.
Without their support, the government may have to use coercive instruments and money to force or entice support.
It is the government's duty to promote socio-economic development of the nation. The people have the right to choose their elected representative. Why must they choose a coalition who would not carry out its responsibility to govern and do it fairly?
I would like to ask the bloggers: who neglected the indigenous people? who threatened the Chinese?
For all the racist rhetoric, threats and tantrums, why should we vote for your party?
Can UMNO/Barisan learn?
The Sibu by-election defeat is a wake up call for PM Najib. He should take note that vote buying and promise of funds for votes will not work anymore. This method is outdated and outmoded. As a PM who wants to ride on the reform platform, Najib should have promised the voters more reforms in UMNO and Barisan.
His party men and leaders have been anything but respectful and humble. Najib must state his stand on various issues and challenges brought out by his men and supporters. We want to know his stand on Perkasa, the May 13 gathering, Dr Mahathir's stand on Malay supremacy, a fair and just society and the rule of law.
Najib should know better than trying to entice voters with development funds. His gesture was seen as insincere and arrogant. It is unacceptable for the federal government to ignore the needs to Sibuans for more than 2 decades especially amenities and facilities upgrade and flood mitigation.
Sarawak is at the crossroads. The people are sick of elitist rule where everything revolves around a few aristocrat families.
Najib must heed the call for reforms by:
1) Truly implementing the spirit of his 1Malaysia slogan - fair and equality for all
2) Reject racism within his party and declare his opposition against organizations and individuals such as Perkasa, Dr M and other right winged leaders
3) Combat corruption and not doing it himself
4) Respect the rule of law
5) Implement real political reforms
Pakatan needs to pull up their socks too. The coalition can deliver if they stick together and work closely. However, PKR should review its entire leadership structure and strategy. The party must prepare to ride out of Anwar's shadow and the latter must accept an advisory role by helping to groom good and calibre new and untainted leaders.
Sibu had voted for change. Both coalitions must deliver their reform promises.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
But Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minister admitted that governance would have been easier if he was a dictator.
“In Malaysia, the opposition said that we are a totalitarian state because we have had the same party ruling the country since independence but we have seen that the opposition have the chance to win at all levels of election and they are also able to form governments.
Mahathir is right to say about Malaysia not being a totalitarian state. It is overly exaggerated but it is fair to say that this government will do anything, especially manipulating the institutions and legislation, to get what it wanted including clinging on to power.
Mahathir was not a dictator. Not because he did not want to become one but the country's socio-economic structure did not allow him to become fully dictatorial. We were/are an open economy. Most totalitarian states e.g. Burma, North Korea and a few African nations are closed economy and ignored by investors (an exception if they are oil producing nations).
However, this government is racially discriminative. It practices a class divide policy which was subtly inherited from the colonial masters.
Even Mahathir sees no wrong for his party (UMNO Baru) to perpetuate racial politics and focus only on the Malays. He supported and endorsed a right-winged Malay group, Perkasa, and defended their role and extreme views on race relations.
This country, its policies and political landscape were sculptured by Mahathir.
Yet, Mahathir thinks that same sex relationship is worse than corruption, power grab (Perak), insubordination (IGP Musa), racism (Perkasa), power abuse, custodial deaths, racism and other ills.
He was able to achieve all these ills through the customary two-thirds parliamentary majority enjoyed by his party. Malaysians should take some blame for being so gullible too.
The fact is same sex relationship does not hurt anyone. Corruption, racism, power abuse and others do hurt us.
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Musa was infamous for ordering his men to stop political rallies, opposition gatherings and hauling up opposition members and their assistants for investigations which usually did not end up anywhere.
Musa's willingness to do such works was allegedly seen as the main reason for his contract renewal. This is not a healthy trend. The government should appoint IGPs from those who fall within the age limit and not those who have passed the retirement age limit like Musa Hassan. This gives an impression that we do not have any qualified candidates in the police force to be promoted to the top position.
Musa is not an ordinary and apolitical police officer. He knows the web of politics as well as the lines on his palms. When his tenure was expected not to be renewed beyond September and growing calls for his early departure, he reacted by alleging interference from powerful third parties. He could only be referring to those politicians in the ruling regime.
However, his reaction to the controversial killing of a 14 years old boy suspected as a robber was way out of bound. Musa wanted to pull out his force from patrolling the streets if "that is what the people wanted" is a call bordering a serious breach of duty.
If he was not scratching the back of some politicians, his head would have been chopped!
Musa's attitude is a microcosm of the larger picture. The people in authority and holding great power do not understand the meaning of responsibility and rule of law. They are not the law.
Musa is accountable to his clients and bosses - the public. He is entrusted to keep and secure public safety and not trying to defend some bad hats in his force. He has no business to accuse anyone of being unfair to his force before running a thorough investigation on what actually happened.
It is fair to note that the police are capable of committing crime too. The best example is the murder of Altantuya Shaaribu. Musa should stay independence and impartial. He should contribute to enhance the quality of his force. This way, his contributions would be better remembered and appreciated.
Musa is going to retire soon and he will fade into oblivion. His name and legacy will be viewed with a highly critical lenses. Musa's public image does not stand a chance under public scrutiny.
For what? Money and power? What's the use in his old age?
Musa should return justice to the souls of Altantuya, Teoh Beng Hock, Kugan, Aminulrasyid Amzah and thousands who died during custody.
Meanwhile, this government should stop defending the obvious. The rate the ministers and leaders from Barisan especially UMNO jumping in to defend the public institutions e.g. police force, Election Commission, judiciary and everything else seems odd to me.
As a government of the people, they should ensure that these institutions remained independence, fair, just and steadfast in serving the people.
Their current action cannot help but giving us an impression thah the regime is colluding with these institutions.
Hence, I would like to urge the government to keep a clear cut line between their administration and the public institutions.
I have to agree with KJ John that the IGP had acted in a distasteful manner.
Blogger Kickdefella, Syed Azidi Syed Abdul Aziz, alleged that PAS was involved in a three-year smear campaign against the Abdullah administration and it was behind a RM4million plot to topple former prime minister since 2004.
PAS has denied the allegation and called the blogger a political mercenary.
Funny, I did not know so much money was needed to topple Abdullah. If this blogger was getting millions, how much did Mahathir get for doing a much better job than this guy at destroying the former PM?
If RM4 million was needed to topple and discredit a flip-flop PM like Abdullah, I am wondering how much is needed to destroy Anwar Ibrahim?
Brudder Kickedefella, any tips on how to earn millions? Maybe this blogger needs a little guidance and advice.
Monday, May 03, 2010
Hulu Selangor's statistics should have given both Hisham and Dr Chua Soi Lek the clearest indication that the coalition must change or face continuous alienation from the community.
Unlike UMNO, the party (MCA) does not have any arsenal or propaganda to attract the community. MCA cannot call for Chinese supremacy without offending UMNO. It is natural for the most dominant race based party to erode the importance and relevance of other racially based parties in a coalition.
MCA should study its own political relevance if it continues to be meek and quiet. The community wanted to be treated as Malaysians of equal rights. The way they get to exercise their votes is the best chance to prove their equality - one man one vote!
Chua should understand that making some noises alone won't help his party. He needs to make a choice between being an equal partner to UMNO (which is difficult because UMNO wants to take the lead now) or to go multiracial.
Time is ticking on MCA.
If Perkasa truly defends the sovereignty of the constitution, Ibrahim Ali would have respected the right of Malaysian Chinese voters in Hulu Selangor to cast their votes for any candidate they believed best fit their aspiration. Ibrahim should not have accused the voters of being 'ungrateful' and asked them to 'repent' for not voting for a BN candidate.
If Ibrahim is not racist, like Puad, he must be an E.T. since he does not understand basic human rights contained in the constitution. He sounds like a Malay, acts like a Malay but not really a Malay because many Malay leaders in PAS, PKR, DAP and those who are non-partisan think that Ibrahim is either a racist, an opportunist or a nutcase. If he is not a racist, Puad should consider the other two options.
Mohd Puad said what was being championed by the organisation was not aimed at bringing down or stealing the rights of any group but to uphold what had already been enshrined in the constitution.
I would like to ask Puad again, what is enshrined in the constitution which suggests that Malay is a supreme race and other races should be grateful for being granted citizenship. Where is the term 'bumiputera' in the constitution? Where is the social contract?
"Perkasa is not a 'racist' (organisation)... there is no such word as racist in the Malay culture, 'racist' only exists in the West because we had never carried out any 'ethnic cleansing'.
I sincerely hope there is no such word as racist in the Malay culture. Hence, it is important to sound out those in Perkasa for acting very 'un-Malay' by not respecting the rights and status of all Malaysians regardless of race or religion. A society does not need to carry out ethnic cleansing to be seen as racist. By refusing to accept equality amongst all citizens is enough to be deemed as racist.
"When Perkasa defended Malay supremacy, it is actually a question of pride of the race and progress of the race," he said.
We, non-Malays, do have our pride and self worth too. It is best for both Puad and Ibrahim to take note of this.
For now, it makes sense to REJECT RACISM.
MCA should pursue its multiracial path and vision. It has lost its relevance today. Dr Chua Soi Lek should show courage to help change the Barisan mould.
Saturday, May 01, 2010
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