Friday, 26 June 2009

Michael Joseph Jackson (29 August 1958 – 25 June 2009)

Michael J is no more. He was the original "Phenom" [with due respect to the original Ronaldo (no not Cristiano)] and at the height of his popularity, was the most well-known person on Earth. Today, the day of Michael Jackson's passing CNN and most other major news networks have been running non-stop specials on him and his legacy. Yet most people should be ashamed for the hypocrisy just because he has died; why must his achievements (some say greatness) only now over-shadow the negative publicity aspects of his life? Not too long ago many were calling him a host of names...wierdo, whacko, psycho, pedophile, plastic man, etc. and he was the brunt of so many jokes.

Being almost of the same age as Michael Jackson, I watched the Jackson 5 on the Andy William's Show in the early 70's and was always aware of Michael Jackson throughout his career, yet at his mid-90s live concert in KL, I got Jeannie a near front-row ticket but was not interested enough to attend. It was the most memorable of the numerous concerts she had ever attended, even since. I am not a MJ fan but an admirer of his obvious talents.

I think most of us should look within and remember how we have judged him; make his sudden demise a lesson in humility. I like this song:



Friday, 19 June 2009

They Remember...

The Chin Peng debate continues in the media and cyberspace. Obviously, those who have tried to spin it into a racial issue have failed; not for lack of trying but because it simply is not one! Similarly for those who paint a Chin Peng return as a harbinger of communism revival in Malaysia. The limelight has made many Malaysians re-look at this aspect of the nation's history at a time when we need to decide what is best going forward.

For young Malaysians who have the slightest interest, all sorts of opinions are now available that present perspectives that are probably not in their secondary school history books. The following excerpts are from threads in my alumni eGroup and personal email correspondences on the subject. Notably, the opinions of two eminent Tigers, Datuk Seri Yuen Yuet Leng and Colonel (Rtd) Mike Naser are pertinent, not only because they were from the Malaysian Police and Army respectively but because they speak with experience and tempered realism.

It started with this post:

From: []

On Behalf Of Cheahs

Sent: Thursday, June 11, 2009 12:25 PM

Subject: DS Yuen and Mike: I Remember...

Dear DS Yuen and Mike, would you care to comment on the subject?



From: Mike Naser Taib

Sent: Thursday, June 11, 2009 5:51 PM

To: Cheah Keat Swee

Subject: The Chin Peng Melodrama

Dear Ah Swee,

I was tempted to write a dissertation on the values of a soldier vis-a-vis Chin Peng, If the egroup members do not even bother or have the self-respect to answer invitations to their own birthdays, it will be, as usual, a worthless effort on a one way street without joy!! Anyway, a quick summary for you.When I was a soldier I never fought for the King & Country. I never even thought about it. I fought for my Regiment and my officers and men. If you ask an Iban paratrooper if he is fighting for the Agong, Najib and Malaysia, he will laugh at you and think that you are mad. He fights for his Regiment and his mates. We never thought about death, we prayed for the next fight.

You must think that I am odd. I did too until I was posted to the Armed forces Staff College as a lecturer, and while browsing in the library I came across a book by Broom & Selznick, "Sociology: A text with adapted Readings." I cannot remember the printer or the year. I am not quite sure, as it was a long time ago when I was young, but I think it was on pages 84 or 134, there is a chapter on the Allied interrogation of German POWs after WW2. The American interrogators, who were sociologists, discovered that the POWs from famous regiments including the Waffen SS fought with great tenacity when defeat was obvious not for Hitler, the motherland or the Ruhr but for their regiments and divisions. It is the same in the Brit Army and I was fortunate to have served in the 1st Royal Dragoons in Detmold,Germany, which amalgamated into the Royals& Blues where the future King of England is serving. My brother served in the Grenadier Guards in Berlin.

The Sikh, the Rajputs, the Gurkhas of the Indian Army do not fight for the Indian President and India, they fight for their famous selves and regiments.

It is indeed nice sounding for a general to say that he is fighting for King & Country in a cocktail party, its a step nearer to a Tan Sri-ship!!Chin Peng was a good soldier. It took the might of the troops of the Commonwealth to drive him over the border into South Thailand. His defeat, in actuality, was self-inflicted. His 8th and 10th Regiments above the Betong Salient slaughtered each other over schisms in Communist dogma either Marxism or Leninism. The 12th Regiment beyond Batu Melintang across the border, under Rashid Mydin was ostensibly the Malay unit. Most of the recruits were Thai Malays looking for work and had no definitive belief-system. It was a useless unit almost without any combat-efficiency. Chin Peng knew it was a non-winnable situation. He gave up. So we got really busy telling the world how we won the war!!

My attitude towards Chin Peng is based on the ethos that was drummed into me as an officer cadet in the military college/academy. In victory, treat your prisoners with magnanimity. Do not do to your prisoner what you do not wish for yourself.

The fierce Ibans have never treated captured enemy personnel cruelly. The Ibans will laugh and say, "You fark-up this time!!" In WW2, the Brits brought Germans POWs back to UK and they were allowed to live with the locals and work.

If I were the PM, I'll get Chin Peng an NRIC and a passport as he is a Brit citizen, and welcome him back to Sitiawan and see to it that he is okay.

We are faced my bro, and we are afraid to say it, with outright racism and mind-boggling double standards.

If the Garmen does not like you, it will label you - in the early days you would be a communist and today, you are a sodomite!!

It is almost impossible to find an officer and gentleman in BN, warlords, cronies and running dogs.


From: []

On Behalf Of Kooi Chuar Heah

Sent: Saturday, June 13, 2009 10:01 PM

Subject: Re: FW: The Chin Peng Melodrama

Bro. Mike,

Yo, and well said man!


From: []

On Behalf Of muzaffar mohamed

Sent: Monday, June 15, 2009 6:41 PM

Subject: Re: The Chin Peng Melodrama

Dear KS,

But then, the Communists had inflicted death and injuries across all Malayans/Malaysians, whether Chinese, Indians, Malays, Europeans etc.

The sentiment against Chin Peng, could not be just come from the Malays only. What about the others?

I remember I read an article (about the Emergency) written by a Chinese boy from a school in Ipoh. How bitter he felt about the loss of his father, a school teacher murdered by the CT, while Chin Peng's son was walking freely in the same school as he was.

What would this same man think of Chin Peng now?



From: []

On Behalf Of Cheahs

Sent: Monday, June 15, 2009 8:04 PM

Subject: RE: The Chin Peng Melodrama

Hi Muz,

My point is precisely that! All races were affected so why are only mainly the Malays making noise and beating the drums about Chin Peng’s return. Is it that their sentiments are so easily stirred? Who is stirring and under what guise? Why cannot be more magnanimous? I think if you ask most Chinese about CP you will find they can’t be bothered. It has nothing to do with race but it is being played us as a race thingy…and that communist in Malaysia are only Chinese. If you just look at who will benefit most from this shit stirring, you will find out who is stirring the shit.



From: []

On Behalf Of Cheahs

Sent: Monday, June 15, 2009 9:59 PM

Subject: RE: The Chin Peng Melodrama


I think this article by RPK is the perfect answer to your question.




From: []

On Behalf Of Nicholas Ong

Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 12:05 AM

Subject: Re: The Chin Peng Melodrama

ah... the mad story teller has spoken again...


From: []

On Behalf Of datuk yuen

Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 5:00 PM

Subject: Re: The Chin Peng Melodrama

Dear All,

I spoke yesterday morning live through Astro Awani (Channel 501) within the minutes given over the phone from Teluk Intan. In summary they are similar to what is elaborated in my book, "Nation Before Self" (MPH). My perspectives are personal, as they also derive from my professional and apolitical national security SB past. They are in terms of the nation's past, present and future. This may not necessarily be completely inimical with current subjective partisan politics which afflict our nation and confuses all spectrum of our varied society.

The return of Chin Peng is controversial at best. I shall just mention the crucial realities.

Admittedly there seems to be an apparent degree of moral insincerity in application of the spirit of the Peace Accord. But incumbent government is not illegal. The CPM’s unchanging stand is one reason. However, it is a fact that more than a hundred ex-members of the CPM’s Malayan National Liberation Army (MNLA or MPLA) had been allowed to return to the country even though a number of them, I believe, are still party members of the Communist Party of Malaya. They include a Chinese majority and a few Malays.

Although MPLA, the armed wing of the party was disbanded for “PEACE” to be achieved, the CPM as a party was not dissolved. Claimed dormant it continues at least to co-ordinate their disbanded army personnel and of course, card carrying members of the Party itself, old and new in Thailand or in Communist China. Chin Peng is still Secretary-general of a party that by constitution of manifesto still advocates a republic which conflicts legally with our constitution which provides for a constitutional monarchy. How do we reconcile this with just an old man wanting to return to his country of birth to live out his final days? An irrevocable declaration of no more armed struggle like the IRA could be comforting.

The local CPM was tailored on Mao Tse Tung’s China Communist Party working on a continued China republic and in the process espousing armed struggle or constitutional struggle or both is isolation or both in complement depending on the situation at the time and what was expedient at any time – the ends justifies the means, whether legal or illegal, criminal or otherwise. It is quite different from countries with legal communist parties like Great Britain, Australia or Canada or republics like France and the United States whose communist parties do not espouse armed struggle or violence.

However, the real and future threat by a nationally malignant CPM will not be posed by its existent dominant Chinese elements. It will and has to be, if the party is to make headway in nation, to be from a necessary increased Malay leadership presence and Malay membership. That is why a CPM blog had recently arisen on the Internet and the initiative has been taken not by the once Chinese 12 Regt at the Thai border but now by the former Malay 10th Regiment to initially reclaim some credibility for their cause as a prelude to a political future. There had been wishful more Malay membership in the past although most were nationalist republicans. If they did not succeed it was more because of good British SB policing and containment. These were Malays of courage and determination, born leaders and not what some would like to think, were being used by communists. One diehard Malay communist Jernain who at one stage wanted to set up an independent “Malay” CPM because of the heavy Chinese presence during the Liberation, moved to Indonesia to join the Communist Party of Indonesia.

We should not have any morbid fear of a Chinese or Malay communist revival. The strength of the communists is not in itself. It is in the strength of the misery of the rakyat and the common people. For so long as our basic national policies are people-orientated and non-communal we are strong enough to socially counter any communist overtures. We certainly have to eliminate wide-spread corruption, political decadence and ensure that the “capitalist” types do not monopolise and control politics. At the same time we do not want to encourage the complete “proletariat” type without guided economic corporate development. Otherwise, we will fail like all totalitarian communist regimes. Communist China is wise enough to think outside the old communist box. The CPM has not awoken openly to this. UMNO in particular, should take note of this if it sincerely wish to reform for all.

We must remind ourselves that the quality and psychology of life does not depend entirely on the environment or on the material standard of comfort. Poverty is also not merely a physiological situation but critically, is an emotional state of mind which is intensified by material destitution or extreme material, social or political deprivation or apparent suppression; differences or differential gaps. When these exist in the same country side by side, within close proximity or consciousness, the problems are further accentuated.

When certain groups enjoy all or so much of the benefits of development while the so many others or a critical major community get comparatively the little which appears to be the crumbs, the quality of life of broader nation is reduced not so much by the apparent excess of riches in the luxury hotels and grand mansions or by the abject poverty in the backstreets, slums and remote rural areas, as by the psychology of emotions and feelings of inequality and injustice, incomprehension, contempt and fear on the one side and the impotence, envy and indignation on the other.

Coupled with all these are often the subjectivities of political manipulations and the indoctrination of ill-considered and socially non-perspective police or other law enforcement rigidity bordering on ignorance or even stupidity which serves to perpetuate social or moral injustice in the name of legal justice- a most paradoxical situation.

I personally feel strongly as I read ongoing developments that the PM is sincere in his quest for One Malaysia. I believe that the Opposition believes that too. For the nation to succeed in this direction both divides should declare their support for this vision and each in their own way actualize this in substance. Why do any divide have to be completely different in everything? Work on common positive similarities even if any have to continue to disagree on other dis-similiarities. Much as so many may have forgotten, the BN had done much in national development and economy and in spite of corruption and political decadence the nation had moved forward. The continuing and more serious threat is more to BN itself rather than nation itself for if BN does not reform sufficiently the new generation of Malaysian of all communities will take their electoral choice to the Opposition. This will include even the electorate who are basically pro-BN but will not return unless reformation is distinctively impressive. Even if the Opposition continues to wait on the wings, there is no guarantee that they will not get into the same mess with political and economic opportunity.

One last thing about Chin Peng and the CPM. As a police officer I had been shot by communist terrorists in combat. My whole life in service, I have been shot and wounded and a continuous target for assassination. I can appreciate the feelings of those who had suffered grievous hurt at the hands communist terrorists and how hard it is to forgive and forget. Some of our families will never do. There are also those on the CPM’s side who may feel the same thinking they were also in their own right. As pointed out recently in a newspaper article, they were in pragmatic truth on the wrong side of history and their type of communism was definitely not suitable for the MALAYAN AND MALAYSIAN ENVIRONMENT which was exclusively for the China environment. In the process too they defaulted in specific areas – they continue to fight an independent government . The strength of pride was their weakness rather than focused recognition that their armeds struggle was already lost except to their hardcore and unyielding leaders. Chin Peng I do not feel was one of those as he was not hardcore enough. It would be ideal that sometime in the future we will all learn to reconcile and unite better according to the tenets and spirit of the constitution rather than to continue without end negative but understandable emotions into the future still on opposing divides.

I would also like to say, though few know this, that from the early years of the 1st Emergency I had worked with former very senior leaders of the CPM. They were alongside us fighting the CPM and helping us to develop our strategies and tactics to counter communist terrorism in the short and long term. In later years more were convinced tnrough Special Branch projects to get on board guided by our national constitution which basically is fair to all communities when interpreted and implemented in proper spirit and sincerity. A number were assassinated with their background mostly unknown to the public. Some had retired and migrated overseas for continued safety and security. We are all not perfect creatures but we should know where our national direction, responsibilities and patriotism should be - evolving around the constitution and not racism or chauvinism.

Yuen Yuet Leng.


From: []

On Behalf Of muzaffar mohamed

Sent: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 5:29 PM

Subject: Re: The Chin Peng Melodrama

Dear Dato Yuen,

Good to read this input from yourself.

From the book about the late Tan Sri CC Too, he did not advocate the Peace Accord with the MCP (Malayan Communist Party) unless only Chin Peng denounce communism and declared the Party desolved. In his opinion, while the MCP still exist, their members will find other means to penetrate or influence the newer generations of all societies to support them - via NGO, citizens movements or even legitimate political parties.

Some quarters have the opinion that he was an eccentric old man but I believe he was right.



From: []

On Behalf Of datuk yuen

Sent: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 6:13 PM

Subject: Re: The Chin Peng Melodrama

Dear M,

Tan Sri CC Too was a direct, honest and very imtuitive analyst of the CPM and could anticipate their tactical and strategic moves. He did not believe in deceptive open arms sincerity and smiles with hidden booby traps when he it comes to implementation. I agreed with him even though I attended the Peace Accord as an invited observer. I had already retired for more than 5 years. Tan Sri Rahim Noor comments differently now. I anticipated the present would happen. The mousedeer shortchanged the grizzly bear! But everything was cleverly and legally documented.
CP was honestly naive but I think Peking had ordained "peace" I am basically a soldier and would have negotiated as an intrinsic honourable one. CP knew he could not go on fighting forever.



From: []

On Behalf Of datuk yuen

Sent: Thursday, June 18, 2009 7:36 AM

Subject: Re: The Chin Peng Melodrama

Dear Muz,

You now know why I stated "deceptively sincere" but we were "legally right" as they had to follow procedural documentations like any other citizen. In Sarawak during Op Sri Aman, we facilitated and assisted positively returning ex-NKCP members. It is sad in such matters with international relevance, we could have been more magnanimous. Internally in nation, we have to be careful we do not with similar mind, perpetuate social and moral injustice in the name of legal justice. Otherwise, the political and by implication, our national character will be perceived that we talk with fork tongue. It will dangerously confirm that in spite of our nice feathers, we are still led by primitive kampong and new village types. How can One Malaysia that so many of us want succeed unless more of us find the national, political and individual will to do it and this, more than anywhere else or anything else, must come from UMNO and BN. I trust our present PM can do it.



From: datuk yuen

Sent: Friday, June 19, 2009 9:08 AM

To: Cheah Keat Swee

Subject: Chin Peng Melodrama

Dear KS,

I just came across what I wrote to the Press in 2005 on Chin Peng which was published subjectively in part as usual which is understandable. I was somewhat surprised that I gave so much thought on the matter at the time. The last part is interesting:

"There are undoubtedly also developing sentiments of race and class. The younger generations of non‑Malays feel they are discriminated against and strongly that the policy of racial preference should be revised or even cease. Young Malays and non‑Malays are disenchanted by what they perceive as corporate dominance, the weight of its social and economic presumptuousness and the decadence of political and social corruption which pervades both government and society ‑a convenient scenario for class struggle. Policy of government cannot just continue to talk or look fair. It must be fair and seen to be fair in substance of implementation. The success of communism is not on the strength and numbers of its party. It is the total strength of the weakness, the malpractice, the racism and chauvinism and in the end the hopelessness of the impotence that will self‑destruct a government that was once the multiracial hope of nation."

You will appreciate now why the BN is so worried about Chin Peng for they had created the environment which Malay communists will endeavour to exploit with outwardly superficial moral Chinese communist support. BN and importantly UMNO really have to change because their elite (class) politics and racial and religious polarization made worse by corruption are the reasons and cause which will enable a communist return and the CPM's wisdom will tell them that in the future "armed struggle" is out of date and it has to be a constitutional and legal struggle again. However, if BN government in frantic desperation and fear, react too heavily and drastically and see a communist and united front behind every tree, this could contribute to a possible complementary armed struggle. The answer and pre-emption is with BN that is if and they want or can reform. Can the wise overpower the extreme and the greedy who see nothing but race? That is why I say give Najib a chance. Support him when he walks with substance in the right direction. Of course, there are those within his party will do their best to unite their community in the name of race and not nation. However, when the additional threat to them comes from a Malay led communist party the cry can no longer be continued fear of the Chinese. As I said it is still not too late if BN wakes up if it wants to or can do so.


DS Yuen's letter to the Press dated 20th June 2005 as attatched:


The evolved legal controversy around Chin Peng's case on what is specific performance in the Peace Accord agreements we do not wish to be entangled. That we leave to the courts in due course.

However, we have to be fair to Chin Peng the man who had with idealism and motivations of youth just as we must recognize that many of our non‑communist youths nurturing similar idealism and motivations also pursued the same objectives but in different manner and method.

The difference was non‑violence with peaceful political engagement as opposed to organized violence, assassination and destruction which had caused much too much death, blood, pain and agony, and memories of which are unforgettable in many on both sides.

Chin Peng has written his "My Side of History" and his side of story has stimulated some measure of romantiscm in the minds of our idealistic youth who hopefully will continue to nurture their idealism and work for people and society in their later years without demagogue violence and yet not allow political opportunity to deviate them into subjective corruption, malpractice and mis‑governance under a non‑transparent shroud. We need to represent our side of the story too on his side of history.

The myth surrounding Chin Peng and its poetic romanticism has impacted on some of our inadequately informed intellectuals and youths. One even wishes to make a film to glorify the man who allegedly “led the CPM for 50 years surviving heroically against unceasing attacks from our incumbent security forces in the country for a free Malaya” This, however, needs to be put into better perspective.
Chin Peng actually spent only the first 5 of the 12 long Ist Emergency years (1948‑1960) on Malayan soil. In 1953 he and his Central Politburo had relocated themselves to relative safety in South Thailand. His residential guerilla units fought on for another 7 years during which period they were progressively demoralized and decimated by Security Force and Special Branch operations. Their remnant few hundred survivors from an original 6000 force withdrew across the border by 1960 when the Emergency in Malaya was officially declared over.

The following year(1961) Chin Peng handed over operational control of the "Front" to a resident Central Committee group at the Thai border and left for Communist China where he was to stay almost 30 years.

Meanwhile at the Thai border “front” their de‑facto Central Committee implemented a demobilization of the old and feeble, waverers and those who wished to return to China. Party re-indoctrination schools were organized for those who remained as the CPM launched the phase of open and legal struggle in Peninsular Malaysia. A campaign of recruitment was launched to introduce fresh blood into the organization.

Soon after the CPM Central Committee at the Thai border committed its greatest blunder to arbitrarily execute 200 of its new recruits on bloated fears of SB penetration. Dissenting veteran party members and at least one CCM were also executed. Chin Peng endorsed the decision. The campaign led to fragmentation of the CPM along the length of the border and resulted in the establishment of two separate factions of the party.

The new form of struggle in the country was underscored by subversion and political agitation through united front activities which was transformed in earnest into another armed struggle following the 1969 May 13 incident. The 2nd Emergency as it was called by government was to continue another 20 years but was countered by a still very effective and dedicated Special Branch again.

The SB in spite of the assassination of a number of its officers, more than any other service, played a very distinctive and courageous role in effective containment and systematic neutralization of the threat posed by the CPM through a mixture of urban, rural and jungle terrorism.

In 1987, the two new factions of the CPM, CPMRF and CPMMLF laid down their arms to the Thai government, In 1988 a peace plan was brokered to Chin Peng’s CPM by the Thais and negotiations in early 1989 led to a tripartite agreement between the Thai/Malaysian/CPM to cease hostilities. Chin Peng returned from China in December,1989 for the official signing of the Peace Accord. It may be said again that Chin Peng as Secretary General of the CPM, spent only 5 of his 50 years on Malayan/Malaysian soil which somewhat deflates the myth around the man.

Whatever CHIN PENG have said during the 1989 Peace Accord, since then and in recent times, there is one indisputable truth in all his utterances. He has not really spoken lies but neither has he always told the whole truth. He had given a number of half truths. He knew for certain that Lee Meng, the grenade girl was head of his open communication network as when saved from the gallows she was repatriated back to China where she married CCM Chin Tien. One important half truth is that he was fighting the British for liberation of the Malayan races. He did not tell the other half of the truth that he fought under guise of national liberation in order to subsequently set up a Communist Republic of Malaya. This the CPM had been planning from the 1930s, was still planning throughout and after the Japanese Occupation and this remained their objective during the entire 1st and 2nd Emergency. Their wartime alliance with the British was just a temporary marriage of mutual convenience but well understood by both sides. His self revelations especially in hindsight indicate mixed, confusing and contradictory feelings and views at different times. He also could not but admit vital strategic errors in judgement and policy.

Undoubtedly Chin Peng had sincere motivations of youthful idealism and service to society. This he found not that easy to follow and even harder to prosecute in the arbitrary harshness and demagogue communist doctrinaire and discipline of the party.. Given any choice he would prefer to succeed within the rule of law. He did not and could not as he was secretary general of the party had been caught too long and too deep in Maoism and its belief that armed struggle is the highest form of political struggle and had to continue at any cost and by any means. If he is indeed a man of nation and still the man of his youth, he has to succeed or fail again within the rule of law and still remain Chin Peng the youth and the re‑discovered man.

Many including some in the media do not realize that it was only the armed wing of the CPM, the so‑called Malayan Peoples Army (MPA) operating under their party direction and comprising party and nonparty members, that and only the MPA that was disbanded, NOT the CPM where all its demagogue doctrinaire remains still embedded.

A paradox now exists by virtue of the Peace Accord which tactically succeeded in achieving the main objective of restoring peace in the interest of both parties but importantly, the central interest of the masses who had endured so much pain, hurt and even death for so many decades.

Ex‑members of the MPA and CPM party members can within the provisions of appertaining laws and covenants, qualify and obtain residence again in Malaysia and eventually activate like all other citizens in any activity provided they remain within the rule of law and the Constitution. Hopefully they will now attest to this not only in words but by demonstrated more substantive content.

Chin Peng the man and the SG holds the key to the answer of what is essentially a common dilemma. In the meantime there is much he has to clarify to the people not by hiding in shadows of gray areas which were not sufficiently addressed at the time of the 1989 Peace Accord if only for "peace" to succeed further. There are still distinctive and controversial areas which should now be addressed .

Certain statements made by him in his book published in 2003 many years after the Accord reflecting on the 1955 Baling Talks read:

" if we (in 1955) could achieve a reasonable peace settlement with the incoming party (Alliance) following the elections, perhaps we would face five or ten years in the political wilderness. That would be acceptable.. During this time we would lie low and regroup. After that we would re‑emerge and fight again ‑ this time not with arms but within the constitutional framework ‑ for the creation of a (communist) socialist state. Had the scenario worked, I would never have contemplated returning to armed struggle."

His Dy Secretary General CCM Yeong Kwo in a personal and secret document recovered by security forces in 1956 stated,

" We are no believers in legality and are certainly not content with an open and legal struggle. Our aim is to cover up and support an illegal struggle by means of open and legal activities."

Can it be understood now that for our future generations why we need double‑assurance that the CPM will never ever take up armed struggle again? Maybe then a day may come when a more generous Malaysia in consonance with our multiracial communities and multiferous religions, cultures and creeds may perhaps not oppose the legalizing of an acceptable and re‑structured communist party without violence and no longer works on a premise that the end justifies the means ‑ any means with all the primitiveness of the jungle and like an animal of the jungle.

After all it is people, the individuals in power who make a good government, whatever their ideology and whatever the system. That is what really matters in the service, management and leadership of society and peoples.

The greater majority of our people whether in the BN or the Opposition have irrevocably chosen democracy and not communism for our way of life and government ‑ no matter what their differences may be in the democratic practice of government and politics.

They pointedly ask, "What Chin Peng, if you do not succeed again? Will you just write another book? You and your survivor comrades will in all probability be too old to fight another armed struggle BUT an unfettered and even now undissolved CPM can embark on armed struggle again and create yet another trail of death and blood again.

And paradoxically by virtue of the Peace Accord a number of de‑facto still party members of a legally illegal CPM have been allowed residence in Malaysia. We should not have to hold another Peace Talk to find a solution through another Peace Accord. True sincerity and honesty for nation can provide the perspective answer ‑ not presumptuous pride and dogmatism nor twisted conspiracy or insincerity on any side.!

The CPM must with fresh enlightenment realize that the age and era of the orthodox communist party of the past has gone with the developed evolution and advancement of human societies. Especially in developing countries like Malaysia there is no more place for the dogmatism of democratic centralism.

A new phase of socialism is evolving in Socialist China where yellow culture is no longer yellow. China is wisely moving forward with guided and more developed democracy both in form and calculated substance and lesser form of the rigidity and legacy of Mao Tse Tung that was. Even as an obsessive fighter against communist terrorism in this country, I had in service appreciated that communism had been good for China and its masses of impoverished population in the rural hinterland who were tough, willing to work and survived even if initially under a somewhat oppressive system.

During a sojourn in China in my tender youthful years, I saw a decadent KMT government of the times with despotic warlords, secret society support turn corrupted by self aggrandizement, greed, nepotism and cronyism. It had only to fall. It was not so much that Mao Tse Tung won China. It was degenerated and self inflated weakness of Chiang Kai Shek who lost China to Mao Tse Tung.

A wise Chou En Lai was asked by the CPM, flushed by the CCP victories over the KMT in China, whether the CPM should commence armed struggle in Malaya. Chou did not comment either way. He emphasized by inference that it was the intuitive understanding of the total situation, the environment, the people, their political consciousness and basic communal psychologies that would dictate a decision.

Chin Peng and the Central Committee, too enthusiastic and confident, failed to appreciate the complexities and differences in multiracial and still conservative Malaya. This was one of the reasons why the CPM lost the war because the armed struggle was planned on a China pattern, for a Chinese environment and by the Chinese mind ‑totally unsuitable for the completely different Malayan environment where the major Malay community with a proud history of racial pride and values had not even been effectively consulted .

There is one political reality that the present government must seriously consider. Chin Peng may truly and sincerely want to work politically within the framework of the law. He may even declare he will not espouse the option of armed struggle ever again. His asset thereafter will be very desirable to especially Opposition parties. It will be quite significant and to the Opposition Front he could be much more in decisive substance together with the Anwar Ibrahim factor.

There are undoubtedly also developing sentiments of race and class. The younger generations of non‑Malays feel they are discriminated against and strongly that the policy of racial preference should be revised or even cease. Young Malays and non‑Malays are disenchanted by what they perceive as corporate dominance, the weight of its social and economic presumptuousness and the decadence of political and social corruption which pervades both government and society ‑a convenient scenario for class struggle. Policy of government cannot just continue to talk or look fair. It must be fair and seen to be fair in substance of implementation. The success of communism is not on the strength and numbers of its party. It is the total strength of the weakness, the malpractice, the racism and chauvinism and in the end the hopelessness of the impotence that will self‑destruct a government that was once the multiracial hope of nation..

(Dato Seri Yuen Yuet Leng)

20th June 2005.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Zaid's Back From The Side!

Great piece of news today; Zaid's back! Not that Zaid Ibrahim was ever gone but since he was sacked by UMNO and no longer on that side, he has been on his own side i.e. on the side of Malaysia.

Yet, while his sporadic appearance in the media continued (latest being his broadside against Utusan Malaysia's racism) and he remained one of the best Prime Ministers Malaysia does not have (yet), he was on the sidelines nevertheless. Sideline political players this side of the world are hardly relevant unless you are a Tun Mahathir or a Lee Kuan Yew.

Now that he has joined PKR/PR he appears to have taken sides with the Opposition and Rocky Bru's take is that this maverick in UMNO is a maverick no more. I disagree. This maverick will be the much needed fresh air to a party where many in the higher echelons are stale/jaded mavericks (NGOnites) or pseudo-mavericks (UMNO/MCA/MIC wolves in PKR sheepskin). By joining opposition PKR (PR) Zaid has gained 85:137 Opposition is relevant any which way one wants to look!

I have blogged about Zaid numerous times here and the first time I met him in person was in August 25th, 2007 at a Bangsa Malaysia Merdeka Get-together at Bloghouse. He was one of the invited speakers that day and still the BN member of Parliament for Kota Bahru then...he certainly did not sound like a BN MP! One thing was also clear, he was a maverick with a cause, unlike fellow Kelantanese, Ibrahim Ali that Rocky forgot to mention in the same breath as UMNO's Shahrir Samad, Tun Musa Hitam, and Tun Mahathir.

It also appears PKR is trying to evolve and with the latest changes to its constitution:

  • Direct elections for divisional and central leadership positions.
  • Change of terminology for divisions and branches (from ‘bahagian’ to ‘cabang’, and ‘cawangan’ to ‘ranting’).
  • Implementation of a policy of 30 percent involvement of women in all levels of the party’s leadership.
  • Reduction of the age limit of the Youth wing to 35.
I think the timing for Zaid to join PKR is perfect and it adds more relevance to PKR which has now gained an acceptable alternative to Mr "Also Too Much Baggage" Anwar Ibrahim.

He Remembered...

Most of us have heard of the "six degrees of separation" idea and I have personally found it to be generally true (especially now with the Internet). Here is an example: the correspondences which I reproduce here are without permission from the individuals hence the names in abbreviation:

From: MNT To: MLH
Sent: Thursday, 11 June, 2009 6:00:30

Subject: Current Affairs - Chin Peng
Dear ML,
Please go to:

This is a letter written by my friend Cheah Keat Swee on Chin Peng and his family's experience. He has asked me to comment and I have done so. Once you have read his posting, I'll send you my comment, if you wish.

From: EM
Date: 2009/6/13
Subject: Fw: Re: Current Affairs - Chin Peng

Can ya hook Lynn with KS? Thanks ed

-----Forwarded Message----- From: LJ
Sent: Jun 12, 2009 12:20 PM
To: EM
Subject: Re: Current Affairs - Chin Peng


Thank you so much for this post.

I do not know Cheah Keat Swee, but I knew his father Chea Keat Hin. He was my headmaster in Kroh in 1968! He was the best of the best. And I still remember him well 40+ years later.

I will surely want to correspond with KS.

It is indeed a small world.

On On

From: LJ
Sent: Saturday, June 13, 2009 12:42 AM
Subject: It is truly a small world

Dear Cheah Keat Swee,

A friend sent me the address of your blog. I looked at it and quickly realized who you were talking about.

Your father, Chea Keat Hin, was my headmaster in Kroh in 1968! He was the best of the best. And I still remember him well 40+ years later. He taught me many lifelong principles. We had great times together, indeed he did get along well with military folks and Anchor as you wrote.

I was in the Peace Corps and posted to SMK Kroh, 1967-1969. I taught math. A place like Kroh is the best place for a young naive person like I certainly was then, if not now too.

I see you have travelled many places all over the world, but I saw no pictures of USA, maybe I missed them. We live in the Washington, DC area and would be most pleased if you consider staying with us, if you ever travel here.

I hope we can correspond.

It is indeed a small world.


From: Cheahs []
Sent: Saturday, June 13, 2009 10:41 AM
To: 'LJl'
Subject: RE: It is truly a small world

Dear L,

What a surprise!!! Indeed it is a small world!

Yes I do remember you and especially your name :o) We have met and I always thought your name was spelt Jewel…now I know. If I am correct, you had blond hair and wore metal rimmed glasses (or my memory could be playing tricks). When I saw the email with “LJ” as sender I told myself, “…this sounds like a name from the past…it couldn’t be the same person! Or could it?” There is so much spam these days!

There was another chap from the Peace Corp those days and I wonder whether you know him; James Huyer.

Thanks for the invite to be a guest at your home. You and your family are of course ever welcome to stay with us should you decide to visit Malaysia again. There are no photos of me in the US simply because I have never been there :o) My departed wife had been there a few times and we were supposed to visit the States and many more places together…

I would love to correspond and also know more about your time here and after. Take care!


Thursday, 11 June 2009

I Remember...

I remember growing up with words like communists, guerrillas, ambush, insurgency, booby traps, Special Branch, MCP (no, not the male chauvinist kind), Domino Theory, etc...and of course, Chin Peng. These words instilled fear and sense of foreboding and being a kid then, I did not understand what "their struggle" meant. Most of these words I heard in the adult conversations of my father and his friends.

That fear got closer to home when my father was posted to Kroh (Pengkalan Hulu today) for a year as headmaster in one of the secondary schools (probably the only one) there in 1968. The family was staying in Penang then and my father was home only on weekends. Kroh borders Betong in Thailand and the area was considered "hot" when the so-called (now anyway) "communist threat" was still very real in those days.

We worried for him as stories abound about communist guerrillas frequently emerging from their jungle domain to bother townsfolk. We particularly feared for our father because we knew he fraternized easily with members of the Armed Forces; due in no small measure to being a distinguished member of the beer drinking ilk and his excellent people skills. They were routinely executing Chinese Special Branch officers then and even assasinated Perak CPO Khoo Chong Teng in 1975 too! I also remember an ambush which killed a number of Royal Malay Regiment soldiers in Land Rovers along the Kroh-Betong road during that time.

Nevertheless, my earliest memories of stories about the Communists in Malaya/Malaysia came from my late father. Born in 1931, he was 10 years old when the Japanese invaded and occupied Malaya. He was in St Marks Primary school in Butterworth then and all of a sudden he was studying in Japanese. Being the smart guy that we was, he quickly learned the language. One day when he was about 12 or 13, a group of adults "plucked" him out of school and he found himself part of the Resistance movement against Japanese occupation. He was almost fluent in Japanese language and they needed an interpreter to interrogate prisoners! My father's "abductors" were communists. I have since learnt in secondary school History that the MCP was part of the resistence movement then.

My father recounted an incident that emotionally effected him for years after. Apparently, there was a captured fishing vessel purportedly crewed by Japanese collaborators. The captives denied their affiliations during interrogation and were about to be released. My father was on the boat and there was a storage hole in the deck filled with water; presumably to keep fish. Being a kid he sat at the edge of the hole with is feet immersed in the water...he felt something. It turned out to be a cache of firearms. He said he did not remember what happened to the captives after...perhaps he did not want to say. To me, as a kid when I heard his stories then it was like a adventure out of Biggles!

Looking back, I think my father became not so much a communist in ideology (perhaps he was a sympatizer) but he was clearly a socialist. His friends have recounted that fact to me since. I certainly grew up with a father who was Bangsa Malaysia to the core! I was born in 1959 and my father became a civil servant after the war upon completing his Senior Cambridge. My enduring memories of him was that he seemed very old for his age. I suppose like many of his generation who had experienced an uncertain childhood they grew up fast. They certainly had seen a lot! Indeed my own character has been moulded by his reticence.

Today, we hear of Chin Peng (the bugger does have a long life doesn't he?) wanting to return to his homeland to die. My own father has long since passed away (1985) and this old man in the twilight of his years wants to embrace his own death. He is as much a part of our nation's history as Tunku himself or for that matter Najib's dad, Tun Razak.

Most of us are of a different generation today; we are post May 13th 1969 which remains etched in our psyche. We do not even know much about the Confrontation years with Indonesia let alone the Japanese attrocities in WWII. We are current generations "fighting" our own internal issues as a people and as a nation, we we are now faced with a global economic war for competitivity and relevance.

Today, I see and understand why (but may not necessarily agree with) the reactions of the mainstream media to actions of politicians in politicizing and racializing an old man's request to die in his homeland. Malayans (and Malaysians) of every race had sons and daughters who sacrificed their lives for the country whether they were ordinary civilians, PFF or Army personnel, Special Branch operatives, or was part of nation building.

My own friends; Datuk Seri Yuen Yuet Leng was a famed "communist fighter" in the police force, my buddy Colonel (Rtd) Mike Naser commanded 1st Rangers, the most highly decorated regiment in the Malaysian Army and I guess they earned their honors fighting communists, and my business partner and ex-classmate, Major (Rtd) Haji Sofian cut his teeth in the communist infested jungles of Malaysia and as a young officer he did not know whether he would still be alive the next day. As protagonists, they were no less committed to their ideals of nationhood than the communists who were also made up of all races. Must history always be partial to only the victors? I understand why certain politicians today need to conveniently package Malaysian communism in Chinese silk rather than Malay batik...the end justifies the means. For goodness sake, we drive "Mitsubishi Protons" and the Japs probably killed more of us during their four years! They certainly made us suffer more!

Today, I am 50 and I have heard someone say after 40 it is time we prepare for our own deaths. In many ways, the forty year olds are no different from someone in his eighties like Chin Peng. I would think a man at his age would more likely be looking back at his times gone by rather than forward. I certainly do not think he would have the compunction nor the energy and means to spread "communist hegemony"...Najib would not have aped his father by aggrandizing himself in a visit to Communist China last week if that was possible! Also, the Chinese Communists are greater capitalists today!

Most of us know exactly what the Chin Peng issue today is really all about and allow the whole circus to play out. After all he is just an individual...and he can go meet his maker from anywhere in the world; what bloody difference is it gonna make?! Isn't his seeming need to die here appear to be a personal matter. Personally, I have no affinity to Chin Peng either and my own thoughts on death are already documented. As far as ideology is concerned do I need to flog the Samsiah Fakeh, Rashid Mydin, Abdullah CD, Ahmad Boestaman dead horse argument? They all believed they were freedom fighters too! Were they lesser communists than Chin Peng ever was?

But why am I sad? I am sad for my country. I am sad that my Prime Minister today, Najib Tun Razak has missed an opportunity to prove his sincerity with his slogan of an inclusive 1Malaysia. He is missing a golden opportunity to show his magnanimity and sow the initial seeds of possible greatness. Seize the moment so to speak! He seems unable to see the trees from the woods and I worry for my country. What better way to embrace China and win over Malaysian Chinese if it is true that we Malaysian Chinese "pendatang" were and are the rabble rousers. He should rein in his spinmeisters!

Perhaps he is waiting for Chin Peng to die first before allowing the latter's body to be buried in his beloved Sitiawan, Perak. By then it would be obvious Chin Peng would not be able to promote Communism here. Well, Najib had better hope the old man dies before Perak becomes Najib's Waterloo!!!

I would like to reproduce here a nice blogpost by Dr Rafick. Please read:

Chin Peng, PKM and The new communism.

1. I read bits and pieces of headlines in media in the past few weeks about Chin Peng intention of returning to his home and wish to die in his homeland. Initially, I was not to keen to say my piece about the matter but I changed my mind this morning (10/June/2009) when I saw a “propaganda program” on the Tele where Sharkawi Jirim had hosted a discussion between listeners, Tan Sri Zaini, the former CDF and Ibrahim Ali.

2. While Ibrahim Ali made political statements, Tan Sri talks about the past fight and battles. The short program was biased and was meant to present a lopsided view of the Communist and Chin Peng to the Malaysian public. As expected only those who condemned Chin Peng was allowed to air their views and I doubt anyone that has something contrary to say, would called a government TV station and express their views.

3. Personally, as a former soldier, I feel this whole issue has been taken out of context. History of PKM and their activities which started in 1930 to their agreement to lay down their weapons in 1989 has been summarized to one very short convenient negative summary. Allow me to express my views without fear or favour. I am basing my views based on historical arguments.

Communism and the Chinese

a. Like many other ideologies that is constantly appearing and disappearing in the world, the communism ideologies did not grow and flourish within the ethnic Chinese in Malaysia. It attracted many Malays as well. Unfortunately, histories tend to associated communism and the Chinese and try to bury any link to the Malays. In reality some notable Malay members of PKM includes Shamsiah Fakeh, Rashid Maidin, Pak Sako, Abdullah CD and Ahmad Boestaman. The hatred against communism has been focus against the Chinese and Chin Peng.

b. Pak Sako lived in Ulu Langat well into his late 90s. Rashid Maidin came back and visits his relatives in several parts of Perak but eventually died in Thailand at the age of 89 years old. Abdullah CD continues to lives in Thailand after signing the peace agreement in 1989. Shamsiah Fakeh returns to Malaysia in 1994 and continue to live a life of an ordinary “makcik” till her death in 2008

Communism before 1957

a. PKMM was actively fighting the British and the Japanese during the 1930-1957 eras. Their goal was independent Malaya via arms struggle. In Dec 1955, the famous Baling Talks took place where Tunku Abdul Rahman, David Marshall and the PKM leaders discussed the possibility of stopping all armed struggle.

b. In that talks, Chin Peng agreed to put down arms and disband the PKM once the British leaves and leaves the governance to the locals. This was recorded in the minutes of the meeting between all the men that attended the meeting. It was also recorded in the book, Malaysia, The Making of a Nation, by Cheah Boon Kheng

c. Tunku Abdul Rahman also acknowledges the contribution of PKM in his writing . He said “Just as Indonesia was fighting a bloody battle, so were the communist of Malaya, who too fought for independence. With the difference that the communists of Malaya were not the indigenous people of this country and they were fighting to set up a communist regime which the believers in the fait of Islam [i.e. the Malays] could not support nor could those orthodox people, who believed in democracy and freedom.

d. He also said,” So the struggle for the independence of this country was carried out by the communist alone and they fought a subversive as well as a shooting war, losing many of their men and at the same time killing many of our men and the Commonwealth soldiers. The battle continued for 12 years [1948-1960] and would have gone on had the British Government not yielded to our demand for a general election as a step towards independence”

e. We must not forget that the British did not leave Malaya immediately after 1957. They were still around and assisting in Defence, policing and administration till the late 60s. This is something that PKM could not accept. They wanted the British to leave immediately. Having said that, they want to administer the country based on their ideologies which may not in line what the others wanted at that time.

f. Certainly, UMNO contributed toward Independence through negotiations. PKMM also did the same. The difference lies in approach, methods and post independence governance.

Communism after 1957

a. PKM continued their weakening armed struggle after Merdeka. In the 70’s, my late father was involved in several engagement with the communist. On one of his return trips from mission, he told me stories about men and women of PKM that was killed. He also talks about losing his buddies.

b. There is very little documentation to indicate why PKM continued their struggle after Merdeka. The excuse of independence was no longer there. May be it was because the presence of British officers in the civil service, police and the military which they despised most. I hope the right people would write about the reasons of their continued struggle between 1970 -1989.

c. In 1989, as part of the peace treaty (Truce or surrender treaty) in Haadyai, Malaysia agrees to allow the CPM members to return to Malaya and continued to join the political movement which is allowed by the law. Sadly to say, I would say that Malaysia has not lived fully to their end of the agreement whereas Thailand opens up lands and accepted them openly.

Chin Peng and The new Communism today

a. Personally, I feel Chin Peng does not want to revive PKM. He just wants to return home and die on the land that he was born. If CP really wanted to revive PKM he would have done so in Thailand. The Thai government gave them land and set up a village for them but yet their ideology has melted with time. They are not a threat to the Thai’s. If indeed, CP wants to continue spreading his ideology today, he does not have to return home to do it. He can do it remotely via the internet, Facebook, twitters and many other methods.

b. Certainly, like many people I am extremely unhappy with PKM and what they have done. I remember their activities vividly like blowing up Tugu Negara in 1975 which brought shame to the Malaysian Government. I was twelve at that time and being the son of a soldier and studying in the Army Camp in Kuantan, I felt very strongly about the bombing then.

c. It has been 20 years since they put down their arms. If we cannot find within our self to forgive a couple of old man, than something is seriously with us. To deny entry to pre-senile old man on the grounds of what they have done in the past is too illogical. To deny entry on the grounds of potential threat, I would say that is akin to being scared to our own shadows.

d. If we can allow Shamsiah Fakeh and many others to return home, why do we practice double standard when it comes to Chin Peng? Is Shamsiah Fakeh is less of a communist then Chin Peng? I think the people should not be to worry about Chin Peng but should be more worried about the ideological threat that is being inculcated in our children now days.

e. We should look at the different kind of communism that is being practise now? We should question the power abuse by the government. We should question the meaning of democracy that is being practice in Malaysia. We need to ask ourselves about the independence of our police, judiciary and the government services and the politicians.


In 2009, the communism ideology has morphed into something different and is being practiced by many those in power. There is plenty of “Chin Peng” in Malaysia today. They are Malays, Chinese and Indian who abuse the democracy in this country and not respecting the constitution. We need to find a good reason if we do not want to allow Chin Peng to return home. The reason put forward has not been convincing.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Reality Check...Reality Checkmate?

I like this from Sakmongkol AK47 which is the nom de plume of Datuk Mohd.Ariff Sabri bin Hj. Abdul Aziz. He was ADUN of Pulau Manis, Pekan - Najib's Parliamentary constituency from 2004-2008. He has a running cyber-feud with UMNO cybertrooper, Barking Magpie (Pasquale).

Never before in the history of UMNO, have the events within the Pan Islamic Malaysian Party( PAS) – Pa( Parti), Alif(Islam) Sin( SeMalaya) become the singular obsession of UMNO. This is an indication of a beleaguered UMNO which sees that its own survival is dependant on someone else.

But this shouldn't be surprising to anyone since UMNO's own philosophy is founded on treating the giving and receiving of subsidies as a way of life.

Hence when one blogger infamous for his piggy-fying others in his very rare sober moments or perhaps during his alcohol induced hallucinations exclaimed Thank God, or Dieu merci in French, monsieur Husam Musa lost, I, a full pledged UMNO member am tremendously disturbed.

You see, this confirmed what I have been saying all along, a Malay even a state of drunken stupor can still invoke the name of GOD. It is eating of pork that is an absolute taboo.

What was the singular clarion call of UMNO all this while to bind the thoughts of the Malay? Well, it used to be KETUANAN MELAYU. Ketuanan Melayu was just treated as something fashionable by the ruling elite to ensure obedience from the Malay populace. Viewed from the angle of vogue-ness, KETUANA MELAYU as an extraordinary means of unifying the Malay is just haute bourgeois morality.

It is simply the manufactured set of values by the elite to declare their fight to secure shared ideals. Of course, the idea of ensuring the primacy of Malay interests resonates and will resonate well with the Malay petit bourgeoisie and the proletariat.

But whether the high-class Malay's (as opposed to us the rest, who are sojourners of 2-star accommodations) fight for the supremacy of Malay interests is genuine is another question. Like much else, it has to be subjected to the test of life.

Your declarations of Ketuanan Melayu are a question of fact and therefore must be supported by irrefutable proofs.

I wish to point out two factual observations to refute and expose this pompous declaration.
  1. One, the recently published Forbes list of the richest people in Malaysia. A close look at the list will establish this irrefutable fact- you don't have to be Malay to be rich. This destroys the claim on the primacy of Malay interests. Indeed such findings establish the falsity and the duplicity of fighting for primacy of Malay interests for if that has been the principal motivation of UMNO, then the number of richest people in Malaysia, should have been dominated by the Malay.
  2. Second, it is a fact that the GINI coefficient of Malaysia is the worse in this region. What this means, is the income distribution in Malaysia is the worse. But wait, what is even more disturbing, is that the GINI coefficient within ethnic groups is worse among Malays. This means, that inequality of incomes is the worse within the Malay race. This fact destroys the claim that UMNO fights for Ketuanan Melayu.
What the leadership is fighting for is their own ketuanan. The concept of ketuanan Melayu is therefore just another facet of the morality of the high-class Malay to ensure their own ketuanan over the 2 star Malays.
Gini Coefficients by countries.

Source: UNDP Human Development Report
A commonly-used measure of development is the Human Development Index (HDI). It is devised and calculated annually by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The HDI is preferable to a simple measure of per capita income because it takes into account other factors as well, including life expectancy and other measures of general 'well-being'. In the UNDP's 2004 Human Development Report, Malaysiaranked 59 out of 177 countries. With an HDI score of 0.793, Malaysia is just on the threshold of the UNDP's own definition of a 'Highly Developed Country', which is a score of 0.800 or above.
But when we look at Malaysia's international position in terms of individual inequality, the position is quite different. According to the latest internationally comparable data from the World Bank, individual inequality in Malaysia (as measured by the common Gini coefficient) is the second worst in all of the Asian countries for which data is available. Only Papua New Guinea ranks worse. In fact, out of 127 countries for the World Bank provides data, Malaysia ranks 101 in terms of the Gini coefficient – the commonest measure of inequality. Aside from Papua New Guinea, the only countries in the world with worse individual inequality than Malaysia are in Central and South America – a region of notoriously high inequality – and some areas of sub-Saharan Africa such as South Africa and Zimbabwe.
As a rule, countries with HIGHER levels of human development haveLOWER levels of inequality; Malaysia thus stands out as an exception as a country with relatively high human development but also with relatively HIGH INEQUALITY. As Table 1 shows, Malaysia's Gini coefficient is the highest in all of ASEAN. According to the CIA World Factbook- the Malaysian GINI in 2002 was 46.1, still the worse in ASEAN.
Within the Malay community, income inequality is the greatest. In a study done by one A.H.Roslan , the Gini coefficients by race were are as follows:-
Gini coefficients by Race

Source: A.H.Roslan.
The above Table shows, income inequality within the Malay race has worsened since 1990. Smaller coefficient means there is greater equality. As the coefficient tends to1, inequality is greater.
Hence, seen from these two aspects, there is nothing left to salvage from the concept of Ketuanan Melayu. UMNO cannot claim it represents the Malays anymore as the results of the 12th GE show. I want to remind readers the following. UMNO has over 3 million members. In the 12th GE, UMNO candidates secured only 2 million votes and not all came from Malay voters. That would mean that over 1 million UMNO members DID NOT vote for UMNO candidates. We must also remind ourselves, that there were 5.7 million Malay voters during the 12th GE. If I am being charitable and accept those 2 million votes UMNO candidates received came from purely Malay voters, which would still mean that 3.7 Malays refused to vote for UMNO candidates. So, which ketuanan are you speaking about?
What is the next clarion call to salvage the survival of the ruling elite? The present haute bourgeois morality as espoused by Mr. Babiman and beleaguered UMNO leaders is Malay Unity. We shall talk about this later. It is nothing more than the last life jacket for a drowning elite. That is why someone is saying Dieu merci- monsieur Husam Musa lost!

Friday, 5 June 2009

Obama Addresses Muslims As Islam Should Be...

Barack Obama addressed the Muslim world in a landmark speech in Cairo that drew a response from Ahmad Yousuf, a senior Hamas official, who told Al Jazeera that Obama's speech reminded him of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream speech". However, I noticed Yousuf's somewhat cynical emphasis on Obama's many "dreams". Ahmad Yousuf also avoided the issue of recognizing Israel's right to exist; the Hamas' major bone of contention.

Personally, I think two things he said are pertinent to us in Malaysia aside from the fact that he actually mentioned Kuala Lumpur ("...the astonishing progress within Muslim-majority countries from Kuala Lumpur to Dubai...").

One is: " conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn't. And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear. But that same principle must apply to Muslim perceptions of America. Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire..."

The other is his usual statement on democracy. Najib who is trying to make a statement in China should listen to this part of Obama's statement in Cairo:

"...America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard around the world, even if we disagree with them. And we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments – provided they govern with respect for all their people.

This last point is important because there are some who advocate for democracy only when they are out of power; once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others. No matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who hold power: you must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.

Full Text of Obama's speech:

I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo, and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning, and for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt's advancement. Together, you represent the harmony between tradition and progress. I am grateful for your hospitality, and the hospitality of the people of Egypt. I am also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: assalaamu alaykum.

We meet at a time of tension between the United States and Muslims around the world – tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy debate. The relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of co-existence and cooperation, but also conflict and religious wars. More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations. Moreover, the sweeping change brought by modernity and globalization led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of Islam.

Violent extremists have exploited these tensions in a small but potent minority of Muslims. The attacks of September 11th, 2001 and the continued efforts of these extremists to engage in violence against civilians has led some in my country to view Islam as inevitably hostile not only to America and Western countries, but also to human rights. This has bred more fear and mistrust.

So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, and who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity. This cycle of suspicion and discord must end.

I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles – principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.

I do so recognizing that change cannot happen overnight. No single speech can eradicate years of mistrust, nor can I answer in the time that I have all the complex questions that brought us to this point. But I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly the things we hold in our hearts, and that too often are said only behind closed doors. There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other; to learn from each other; to respect one another; and to seek common ground. As the Holy Koran tells us, "Be conscious of God and speak always the truth." That is what I will try to do – to speak the truth as best I can, humbled by the task before us, and firm in my belief that the interests we share as human beings are far more powerful than the forces that drive us apart.

Part of this conviction is rooted in my own experience. I am a Christian, but my father came from a Kenyan family that includes generations of Muslims. As a boy, I spent several years in Indonesia and heard the call of the azaan at the break of dawn and the fall of dusk. As a young man, I worked in Chicago communities where many found dignity and peace in their Muslim faith.

As a student of history, I also know civilization's debt to Islam. It was Islam – at places like Al-Azhar University – that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.

I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of America's story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President John Adams wrote, "The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims." And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States. They have fought in our wars, served in government, stood for civil rights, started businesses, taught at our Universities, excelled in our sports arenas, won Nobel Prizes, built our tallest building, and lit the Olympic Torch. And when the first Muslim-American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of our Founding Fathers – Thomas Jefferson – kept in his personal library.

So I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed. That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn't. And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.

But that same principle must apply to Muslim perceptions of America. Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire. The United States has been one of the greatest sources of progress that the world has ever known. We were born out of revolution against an empire. We were founded upon the ideal that all are created equal, and we have shed blood and struggled for centuries to give meaning to those words – within our borders, and around the world. We are shaped by every culture, drawn from every end of the Earth, and dedicated to a simple concept: E pluribus unum: "Out of many, one."

Much has been made of the fact that an African-American with the name Barack Hussein Obama could be elected President. But my personal story is not so unique. The dream of opportunity for all people has not come true for everyone in America, but its promise exists for all who come to our shores – that includes nearly seven million American Muslims in our country today who enjoy incomes and education that are higher than average.

Moreover, freedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one's religion. That is why there is a mosque in every state of our union, and over 1,200 mosques within our borders. That is why the U.S. government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab, and to punish those who would deny it.

So let there be no doubt: Islam is a part of America. And I believe that America holds within her the truth that regardless of race, religion, or station in life, all of us share common aspirations – to live in peace and security; to get an education and to work with dignity; to love our families, our communities, and our God. These things we share. This is the hope of all humanity.

Of course, recognizing our common humanity is only the beginning of our task. Words alone cannot meet the needs of our people. These needs will be met only if we act boldly in the years ahead; and if we understand that the challenges we face are shared, and our failure to meet them will hurt us all.

For we have learned from recent experience that when a financial system weakens in one country, prosperity is hurt everywhere. When a new flu infects one human being, all are at risk. When one nation pursues a nuclear weapon, the risk of nuclear attack rises for all nations. When violent extremists operate in one stretch of mountains, people are endangered across an ocean. And when innocents in Bosnia and Darfur are slaughtered, that is a stain on our collective conscience. That is what it means to share this world in the 21st century. That is the responsibility we have to one another as human beings.

This is a difficult responsibility to embrace. For human history has often been a record of nations and tribes subjugating one another to serve their own interests. Yet in this new age, such attitudes are self-defeating. Given our interdependence, any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail. So whatever we think of the past, we must not be prisoners of it. Our problems must be dealt with through partnership; progress must be shared.

That does not mean we should ignore sources of tension. Indeed, it suggests the opposite: we must face these tensions squarely. And so in that spirit, let me speak as clearly and plainly as I can about some specific issues that I believe we must finally confront together.

The first issue that we have to confront is violent extremism in all of its forms.

In Ankara, I made clear that America is not – and never will be – at war with Islam. We will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security. Because we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women, and children. And it is my first duty as President to protect the American people.

The situation in Afghanistan demonstrates America's goals, and our need to work together. Over seven years ago, the United States pursued al Qaeda and the Taliban with broad international support. We did not go by choice, we went because of necessity. I am aware that some question or justify the events of 9/11. But let us be clear: al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people on that day. The victims were innocent men, women and children from America and many other nations who had done nothing to harm anybody. And yet Al Qaeda chose to ruthlessly murder these people, claimed credit for the attack, and even now states their determination to kill on a massive scale. They have affiliates in many countries and are trying to expand their reach. These are not opinions to be debated; these are facts to be dealt with.

Make no mistake: we do not want to keep our troops in Afghanistan. We seek no military bases there. It is agonizing for America to lose our young men and women. It is costly and politically difficult to continue this conflict. We would gladly bring every single one of our troops home if we could be confident that there were not violent extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan determined to kill as many Americans as they possibly can. But that is not yet the case.

That's why we're partnering with a coalition of forty-six countries. And despite the costs involved, America's commitment will not weaken. Indeed, none of us should tolerate these extremists. They have killed in many countries. They have killed people of different faiths – more than any other, they have killed Muslims.

Their actions are irreconcilable with the rights of human beings, the progress of nations, and with Islam. The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind. The enduring faith of over a billion people is so much bigger than the narrow hatred of a few. Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism – it is an important part of promoting peace.

We also know that military power alone is not going to solve the problems in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That is why we plan to invest $1.5 billion each year over the next five years to partner with Pakistanis to build schools and hospitals, roads and businesses, and hundreds of millions to help those who have been displaced. And that is why we are providing more than $2.8 billion to help Afghans develop their economy and deliver services that people depend upon.

Let me also address the issue of Iraq. Unlike Afghanistan, Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world. Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible. Indeed, we can recall the words of Thomas Jefferson, who said: "I hope that our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us that the less we use our power the greater it will be."

Today, America has a dual responsibility: to help Iraq forge a better future – and to leave Iraq to Iraqis. I have made it clear to the Iraqi people that we pursue no bases, and no claim on their territory or resources. Iraq's sovereignty is its own. That is why I ordered the removal of our combat brigades by next August. That is why we will honor our agreement with Iraq's democratically-elected government to remove combat troops from Iraqi cities by July, and to remove all our troops from Iraq by 2012. We will help Iraq train its Security Forces and develop its economy. But we will support a secure and united Iraq as a partner, and never as a patron.

And finally, just as America can never tolerate violence by extremists, we must never alter our principles. 9/11 was an enormous trauma to our country. The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable, but in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our ideals. We are taking concrete actions to change course. I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year.

So America will defend itself respectful of the sovereignty of nations and the rule of law. And we will do so in partnership with Muslim communities which are also threatened. The sooner the extremists are isolated and unwelcome in Muslim communities, the sooner we will all be safer.

The second major source of tension that we need to discuss is the situation between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab world.

America's strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.

Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed – more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction – or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews – is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.

On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people – Muslims and Christians – have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations – large and small – that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.

For decades, there has been a stalemate: two peoples with legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history that makes compromise elusive. It is easy to point fingers – for Palestinians to point to the displacement brought by Israel's founding, and for Israelis to point to the constant hostility and attacks throughout its history from within its borders as well as beyond. But if we see this conflict only from one side or the other, then we will be blind to the truth: the only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security.

That is in Israel's interest, Palestine's interest, America's interest, and the world's interest. That is why I intend to personally pursue this outcome with all the patience that the task requires. The obligations that the parties have agreed to under the Road Map are clear. For peace to come, it is time for them – and all of us – to live up to our responsibilities.

Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed. For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America's founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia. It's a story with a simple truth: that violence is a dead end. It is a sign of neither courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That is not how moral authority is claimed; that is how it is surrendered.

Now is the time for Palestinians to focus on what they can build. The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people. Hamas does have support among some Palestinians, but they also have responsibilities. To play a role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, and to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, and recognize Israel's right to exist.

At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel's right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine's. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.

Israel must also live up to its obligations to ensure that Palestinians can live, and work, and develop their society. And just as it devastates Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel's security; neither does the continuing lack of opportunity in the West Bank. Progress in the daily lives of the Palestinian people must be part of a road to peace, and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress.

Finally, the Arab States must recognize that the Arab Peace Initiative was an important beginning, but not the end of their responsibilities. The Arab-Israeli conflict should no longer be used to distract the people of Arab nations from other problems. Instead, it must be a cause for action to help the Palestinian people develop the institutions that will sustain their state; to recognize Israel's legitimacy; and to choose progress over a self-defeating focus on the past.

America will align our policies with those who pursue peace, and say in public what we say in private to Israelis and Palestinians and Arabs. We cannot impose peace. But privately, many Muslims recognize that Israel will not go away. Likewise, many Israelis recognize the need for a Palestinian state. It is time for us to act on what everyone knows to be true.

Too many tears have flowed. Too much blood has been shed. All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear; when the Holy Land of three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon them) joined in prayer.

The third source of tension is our shared interest in the rights and responsibilities of nations on nuclear weapons.

This issue has been a source of tension between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran. For many years, Iran has defined itself in part by its opposition to my country, and there is indeed a tumultuous history between us. In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically-elected Iranian government. Since the Islamic Revolution, Iran has played a role in acts of hostage-taking and violence against U.S. troops and civilians. This history is well known. Rather than remain trapped in the past, I have made it clear to Iran's leaders and people that my country is prepared to move forward. The question, now, is not what Iran is against, but rather what future it wants to build.

It will be hard to overcome decades of mistrust, but we will proceed with courage, rectitude and resolve. There will be many issues to discuss between our two countries, and we are willing to move forward without preconditions on the basis of mutual respect. But it is clear to all concerned that when it comes to nuclear weapons, we have reached a decisive point. This is not simply about America's interests. It is about preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that could lead this region and the world down a hugely dangerous path.

I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons. That is why I strongly reaffirmed America's commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons. And any nation – including Iran – should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That commitment is at the core of the Treaty, and it must be kept for all who fully abide by it. And I am hopeful that all countries in the region can share in this goal.

The fourth issue that I will address is democracy.

I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq. So let me be clear: no system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other.

That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people. Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. Those are not just American ideas, they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere.

There is no straight line to realize this promise. But this much is clear: governments that protect these rights are ultimately more stable, successful and secure. Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard around the world, even if we disagree with them. And we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments – provided they govern with respect for all their people.

This last point is important because there are some who advocate for democracy only when they are out of power; once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others. No matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who hold power: you must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.

The fifth issue that we must address together is religious freedom.

Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance. We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition. I saw it firsthand as a child in Indonesia, where devout Christians worshiped freely in an overwhelmingly Muslim country. That is the spirit we need today. People in every country should be free to choose and live their faith based upon the persuasion of the mind, heart, and soul. This tolerance is essential for religion to thrive, but it is being challenged in many different ways.

Among some Muslims, there is a disturbing tendency to measure one's own faith by the rejection of another's. The richness of religious diversity must be upheld – whether it is for Maronites in Lebanon or the Copts in Egypt. And fault lines must be closed among Muslims as well, as the divisions between Sunni and Shia have led to tragic violence, particularly in Iraq.

Freedom of religion is central to the ability of peoples to live together. We must always examine the ways in which we protect it. For instance, in the United States, rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation. That is why I am committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat.

Likewise, it is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit – for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear. We cannot disguise hostility towards any religion behind the pretence of liberalism.

Indeed, faith should bring us together. That is why we are forging service projects in America that bring together Christians, Muslims, and Jews. That is why we welcome efforts like Saudi Arabian King Abdullah's Interfaith dialogue and Turkey's leadership in the Alliance of Civilizations. Around the world, we can turn dialogue into Interfaith service, so bridges between peoples lead to action – whether it is combating malaria in Africa, or providing relief after a natural disaster.

The sixth issue that I want to address is women's rights.

I know there is debate about this issue. I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality. And it is no coincidence that countries where women are well-educated are far more likely to be prosperous.

Now let me be clear: issues of women's equality are by no means simply an issue for Islam. In Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia, we have seen Muslim-majority countries elect a woman to lead. Meanwhile, the struggle for women's equality continues in many aspects of American life, and in countries around the world.

Our daughters can contribute just as much to society as our sons, and our common prosperity will be advanced by allowing all humanity – men and women – to reach their full potential. I do not believe that women must make the same choices as men in order to be equal, and I respect those women who choose to live their lives in traditional roles. But it should be their choice. That is why the United States will partner with any Muslim-majority country to support expanded literacy for girls, and to help young women pursue employment through micro-financing that helps people live their dreams.

Finally, I want to discuss economic development and opportunity.

I know that for many, the face of globalization is contradictory. The Internet and television can bring knowledge and information, but also offensive sexuality and mindless violence. Trade can bring new wealth and opportunities, but also huge disruptions and changing communities. In all nations – including my own – this change can bring fear. Fear that because of modernity we will lose of control over our economic choices, our politics, and most importantly our identities – those things we most cherish about our communities, our families, our traditions, and our faith.

But I also know that human progress cannot be denied. There need not be contradiction between development and tradition. Countries like Japan and South Korea grew their economies while maintaining distinct cultures. The same is true for the astonishing progress within Muslim-majority countries from Kuala Lumpur to Dubai. In ancient times and in our times, Muslim communities have been at the forefront of innovation and education.

This is important because no development strategy can be based only upon what comes out of the ground, nor can it be sustained while young people are out of work. Many Gulf States have enjoyed great wealth as a consequence of oil, and some are beginning to focus it on broader development. But all of us must recognize that education and innovation will be the currency of the 21st century, and in too many Muslim communities there remains underinvestment in these areas. I am emphasizing such investments within my country. And while America in the past has focused on oil and gas in this part of the world, we now seek a broader engagement.

On education, we will expand exchange programs, and increase scholarships, like the one that brought my father to America, while encouraging more Americans to study in Muslim communities. And we will match promising Muslim students with internships in America; invest in on-line learning for teachers and children around the world; and create a new online network, so a teenager in Kansas can communicate instantly with a teenager in Cairo.

On economic development, we will create a new corps of business volunteers to partner with counterparts in Muslim-majority countries. And I will host a Summit on Entrepreneurship this year to identify how we can deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and social entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world.

On science and technology, we will launch a new fund to support technological development in Muslim-majority countries, and to help transfer ideas to the marketplace so they can create jobs. We will open centers of scientific excellence in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and appoint new Science Envoys to collaborate on programs that develop new sources of energy, create green jobs, digitize records, clean water, and grow new crops. And today I am announcing a new global effort with the Organization of the Islamic Conference to eradicate polio. And we will also expand partnerships with Muslim communities to promote child and maternal health.
All these things must be done in partnership. Americans are ready to join with citizens and governments; community organizations, religious leaders, and businesses in Muslim communities around the world to help our people pursue a better life.

The issues that I have described will not be easy to address. But we have a responsibility to join together on behalf of the world we seek – a world where extremists no longer threaten our people, and American troops have come home; a world where Israelis and Palestinians are each secure in a state of their own, and nuclear energy is used for peaceful purposes; a world where governments serve their citizens, and the rights of all God's children are respected. Those are mutual interests. That is the world we seek. But we can only achieve it together.

I know there are many – Muslim and non-Muslim – who question whether we can forge this new beginning. Some are eager to stoke the flames of division, and to stand in the way of progress. Some suggest that it isn't worth the effort – that we are fated to disagree, and civilizations are doomed to clash. Many more are simply skeptical that real change can occur. There is so much fear, so much mistrust. But if we choose to be bound by the past, we will never move forward. And I want to particularly say this to young people of every faith, in every country – you, more than anyone, have the ability to remake this world.

All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time. The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart, or whether we commit ourselves to an effort – a sustained effort – to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children, and to respect the dignity of all human beings.

It is easier to start wars than to end them. It is easier to blame others than to look inward; to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share. But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path. There is also one rule that lies at the heart of every religion – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. This truth transcends nations and peoples – a belief that isn't new; that isn't black or white or brown; that isn't Christian, or Muslim or Jew. It's a belief that pulsed in the cradle of civilization, and that still beats in the heart of billions. It's a faith in other people, and it's what brought me here today.

We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written.

The Holy Koran tells us, "O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another."

The Talmud tells us: "The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace."

The Holy Bible tells us, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."

The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that is God's vision. Now, that must be our work here on Earth. Thank you. And may God's peace be upon you.