Monday, 31 August 2009

The Real 1Malaysia

See the 23 guys in the team photo? That photo was taken in 1978 (click on image to enlarge) and the team was about people (rakyat) and performance. Race? What's that?

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Beliefs And Non-Beliefs. The Beef Is In The Beef

I profess no religion but I live in Malaysia where the first principle of its Rukunegara is, "KEPERCAYAAN KEPADA TUHAN (BELIEF IN GOD)".

Those guys who framed the Rukunegara are tricky and cheeky monkeys. They never show us whether it is meant to be god spelt with a "G" or a "g" and the
5 Principles of the Rukunegara are always shown in the uppercase (in capital letters lah).

To say it is spelt with a "G" could be deemed subtly suggestive in a country where Islam is the official religion and perhaps counter to the very Constitution (
Article 11) that makes citizens relevant to the Rukunegara.

If it is meant to be a "g" and a meaning of "god" that includes definition in the context of "
Einsteinian religion", then I have no issues dealing with mere difference in nomenclature.

Notwithstanding the above, I have never had issues respecting others for their own beliefs; the principle of "to each his own" is ingrained in my psyche since childhood and those of my generation (believers and non-believers) are more accepting and liberal compared to the government "
engineered" generations of today.

Ironically, I now hear on radio and TV, advertisements for 1Malaysia that depict Malaysians pining for the good old days when Malaysians did not need festive occasions to visit their friends/neighbors of different ethnicity and could freely eat with each other regardless of individual taboos. The character in one advert pines for those long lost days and yet we see the mass-media created discord around us in Najib's 1Malaysia today.

I have childhood memories of having char siew laden wan ton mee with two friends, a malay having his nasi kandar with beef and an indian eating fried koay teow with cockles (and lard) without much fuss at the Casual Market in Taiping.

In those days, those occurences meant we respected each others strength of religious conviction rather than imply our friends' weakness of faith. There was no question of insult or impoliteness as many tend to feel today.

But now, I even have had my kids' friends being forbidden by parents to visit or worse still, eat at our home basically because of pork (curiously though, we never had an issue with beef). We were living in Taman Melawati and then Bukit Antarabangsa (yeah, it's a misnomer) and Ulu Kelang is a predominantly Malay area.

Yet, I have a
Malay Muslim godson who routinely eats at our place and loves things (toys, mementos and such) porcine (we sometimes call him babi as an endearment) yet he does not consume pork ...and also alcohol; are his parents wrong to bring him up this way?

Since early this year we moved to a guarded housing estate in Puchong (yup, in Selangor). The residents here are 90% Chinese (I have the complete list of owners) and because I wanted to be personally involved in solving certain residual issues with the developer I did not turn down a request to be chairman of the residents association (RA).

One of the issues that I thought was already settled a couple of years before we moved here is a Hindu temple relocation matter. The temple was located at what is now the playground area and objecting house owners were only patient because the developer had promised that the temple would be re-located. The temple was indeed re-located after much public hullabaloo and compensation paid to the temple management committee to re-build at the new site. There was the usual bulldozer and tears scene that was rather unsettling to the neighborhood. The temple is now located a few hundred meters away on a hillock which to me seems more ideal.

Two weeks ago, I received a request from the temple committee for permission to have devotees conduct a "Milk Pot" ceremony at the former site of the temple. They said the deity had been residing at the location for the past 180 years and had refused to move. It was said to have demanded that the Milk Pot Ceremony begin at the old site (which is marked by a tree) and certain rituals conducted before they proceed to the new temple in a procession.

The committee requested access from 8.00 am to 3.00 pm on Sunday, 23rd August (refer to letter attached) and the representative whom I met said the actual ceremony would last at most an hour; the rest of the time was for them to return and clean up the place.

I am no Hindu but if they believe in earnest what they say they believe, I am willing to take it
at face value and if I could assist in anyway without too much bother to others I would. It would be the same for me even if they were Jews, Jains or Jesuits or of any religion for that matter. To me it was a request for 1/24th of 1/365 to do something they really believed in.

I enquired around with some residents including some committee members and was surprised (and maybe disappointed) to hear some dissenting voices. While they were all well-meaning, most cautioned caution and fed back that: residents' emotions were still high, nerves were still sensitive, the temple committee cannot be trusted to keep promises, we must avoid setting precedence, we should think long and hard, etc., etc. To me it was a simple and quick "yes" or "no" matter and the case for a "no" appeared lame.

I could not help but wonder whether the type of feedback was due to typical Chinese hubris yet I could understand how Malaysian society has been "bludgeoned" with religiosity over more than 40 years into being apprehensive about all things religiose apart from their own.

I could not help but wonder why none of the residents ever objected openly to the blaring early morning call to prayer from the loudspeaker of the surau located at our housing estate. Is it because of fear of reprisals, or is it the mitigating effect of conditioned reflex?

Our house in Taiping used to be beside the railway track and by virtue of conditioned reflex, we just did not hear the booming noise from passing trains! The human mind is a wonderful thing yet the same cannot always be said about the human mindset; people tend to object merely because they can or are in a position to object, rather than consider the merits of requests or action of others. Maybe I am being too cynical.

I could not help being reminded of the fact that my predecessor in the RA had successfully approached officials of the "supervising" mosque less than 200 meters away (as a crow flies) about the loud speaker. The kindly officials agreed to alleviate the loud daily morning "wake-up calls" by having the surau loud speaker point away from our Taman towards the neighbouring apartments where there are more Muslims. Though it is still loud depending where one's house is located but now, its not as irksome.

I could not help remembering a "turun padang" session by the MPSJ YDP, Dato' Adnan Hj. Md. Ikshan a few months ago when a resident from the predominantly Muslim neighborhood of Puchong Perdana complained so passionately about the request for another surau that went unentertained for years. The YDP's answer was simple; the Sultan discourages too many suraus because fewer people are showing up at mosques and it costs money to maintain suraus that have mushroomed just because of certain development by-laws.

I cannot help thinking of what happened in Shah Alam last Friday where again a Hindu temple re-location issue flared into totally unacceptable reactions from people purportedly from Section 23, Shah Alam.

Images of the grisly cow head must have flashed through newswires worldwide. Yet, what is the beef?

The complaint or grievance in this case is the act of complaining itself; the way it was done.

So much has already been said these 3 days before the nation celebrates its 52nd birthday. Were there reasonable grounds for complaint in the first place? Well, The Malaysian Insider quoted a protest leader, Mohammad Zurit Bin Ramli, as saying a temple would disturb Muslim practices. "The temple will disrupt our daily activities like prayers. We cannot concentrate with the sounds coming from the temple," he said. Sauce for the gander anyone?

Is this the independence we fought for where we cannot even be allowed to agree to disagree without our politicians reminding us, through agitation and mass media of our differences? Is this the 1Malaysia that Najib deems ideal and we are told the rakyat is priority and performance is paramount? Well, Happy 52nd Merdeka Anniversary...for whatever it is worth.

What of the "Milk Pot" ceremony of last Sunday? The temple committee agreed to delay the ceremony to 10.00 am and not to consider this consent as setting a precedence. I took the responsibility of allowing some noise in the neighborhood for one quiet Sunday morning in the year and was in attendance together with my RA predecessor throughout the one hour ceremony to handle any untoward incidences. Fortunately, apart from a couple of phonecalls from concerned residents there was nothing. The devotees did make quite a racket that morning with all sorts of drums, wind instruments and a loud hailer but what the heck!

Cow Head. What's The Beef?

What is the beef? Muaz Omar cooks a good beef rendang for Merdeka and Hari Raya in the Malaysian Insider:

Umno reaps what it sowed
28th August 2009

Just days before the nation celebrates its 52nd Independence Day, the action by some mongrels who stamped and spat on a severed head of a cow in front of the Selangor State Secretariat building to protest against the planned relocation of a Hindu temple to their residential area has posed serious questions about the state of race relations in the country.

The planned relocation of the temple from Shah Alam’s Section 19 to Section 23 has drawn loud protest from a section of the local residents.

According to the protestors, the area is populated by 90% Muslims and the presence of the temple will affect their lives as Muslims.

The surprising thing is that the police stood by in full view of these acts. Their newly found restraint, unlike their heavy-handed clampdown on Hindraf, Bersih and recent anti-ISA demonstrations, is most unusual.

In keeping with his call for 1 Malaysia, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak called on the police to take swift action on the “outrageous action” by the protestors to put a lid on the provocative acts and stop communal tensions from blowing up.

As long as the so-called “sensitive subjects” of race and religion remain taboo, it will be easier for powers-that-be to retain hegemony, divide and rule the community to their liking.

These extremists, whether they parade themselves under the banner of some supposedly noble NGOs like Pembela, Perkasa, Hindraf, Dong Jiao Zhong or the like, live on the philosophy of radicalism, bordering on racism.

While these fringe groups are getting louder and louder, they actually have minute numbers in representation. Their mindless actions calling for parochialism and supremacy of one race is based on short-term and narrow minded political agenda.

This scenario is exactly what right-wing nationalist organisations like Umno have been hoping for and harping on.

The embarrassing performance by Umno and Barisan Nasional in the 2008 general election is being said to result in the dilution of Malay power.

When Umno and BN won almost 90 per cent of the parliamentary seats in the 2004 general election, they became big-headed and disregarded the minority voices, especially those from outside the Malay community.

Umno leaders marginalised them to the extent of discriminating against the impoverished and poor, especially those among the Indian community.

They also acted with disrespect to the Chinese community and accused them of taking advantage of the divided Malay community.

At the same time, Umno leaders became too engrossed with power and abused the New Economic Policy to enrich themselves as well as their cronies, which have turned off the Malays themselves.

Fast forward a couple of years from the humiliating 2008 general election and the Umno extremists have now crawled back into their shells and accentuate their hardline stance with a more extreme brand and rhetoric of Malay supremacy.

They are increasingly disassociating themselves from a significant 40 per cent of the nation’s population (non-Malays and non-Muslims) and, at the same time, splitting the Malays right down the middle.

The paradox between Najib’s 1 Malaysia and Umno’s raison d’etre is becoming even more evident and prominent by the day.

Led by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Umno is shifting even further to the right to the extent of dismissing his fellow cabinet members in defending some extreme pro-Malay stances adopted by Umno leaders and their mouthpieces.

Utusan Malaysia has been at the forefront of disseminating extreme pro-Malay and pro-Umno propaganda which is meant to sway the minds of the general Malays.

Articles, opinion pieces and news reports have been skewed to incite hatred towards Pakatan’s Malay leaders with Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Pas’s Spiritual Leader Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat being the prime targets, accused of selling out the Malays.

While Anwar and Nik Aziz are being denigrated using the worst kind of terminologies available, the Malays are being fed with the illusion that the downfall of Umno will result in the downfall of the Malays.

The outcome of these charades and “wayang kulit” spiced up with venomous and spiteful antics as well as idiotic actions by Umno bigots are hallmark of desperation as well as fear of losing the accustomed power to rule the nation.

For them, power is everything even if it means destruction of the very fragile fabric of the society.

Muaz Omar is a consultant with a regional stakeholders management firm based in Kuala Lumpur.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

The Peeling Of The PKFZ Onion

My departed blogger friend Capt Yusof was the first to blow the whistle on the rape that is now called PKFZ; he was the first to blog about it anyway. It was a matter right up his creek and I remember reading his post, "Mayday for Port Klang" as early as in July 2007. It is now August 2009. Two bloody years and we are still waiting for real answers. The investigations were started in earnest only after much public hue and cry and now, almost two years of pedantic and seemingly ponderous inspection later are we only witnessing the fruits of Capt Yusof's initial labor. Never you mind, my dear friend...the rats are still on the ship! They are now being identified and will sink with the ship!

A buddy of mine in logistics business told me the PKFZ started out as a good idea and a transit/bulk breaking hub. Now apparently it is being used by "pirates" and parallel importers bringing in goods and seemingly it is easier to clear customs at the PKFZ. If what he says is true then the cost to the tax payer through lost excise revenue makes losses even higher than RM12.5 billion.

Even after the PwC Report was ready, man-in-the storm Ong Tee Keat (OTK) seemed reluctant to release it. The whole thing played out like a striptease with the government (MOT) tantalizing the public with peek-a-boos. Will the rakyat get to see the show to its end or will there be a "raid" and "lights on" to allow the performers to hide in plain sight? The law suits have started by the way.

When the PwC report was finally released on 28th May 2009, it merely meant the pressure was no longer on the report release per se. The initial findings gave rise to more questions; "What is the true cost for the project?", "Where are the other issues?", "What is being done?", "What does the future hold for PKFZ?", "Who are the real culprits?"...

Are all the above intentionally done to buy time? Is it stupid to ask buy time for whom? OTK now appears to be in a running battle with Teong King Sing (TKS), the boss of Kota Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB), which is the developer of PKFZ. Yet, as recent as April this year he was using their private jets like his own. His usage: Feb 19 : from Johor Baru to Subang; March 7 : Subang to Kuantan and back; March 24: Subang to Johor Baru and back; and April 20 : Subang to Johor Baru and back. During the period, PwC was investigating PKFZ. Certainly OTK cannot be so naive to think that he will not be compromised when he used those jets. Maybe he could be but probably not! Could he be so comfortable demanding the service because he is probably as deep in the muck as his two predecessors?

The Sun leaked some pertinent details of the PwC findings as early as May 5th, about three weeks before the actual release on the 28th May. 11 days before May 5th, OTK was still trying to use the KDSB jets and was apparently turned down; a lovers' "quarrel" perhaps? Why was OTK so confident to the point of cockiness that he had no qualms jetsetting around in KDSB planes? Did he have an insurance policy?

OTK's main defense against TKS's RM10,000,000 allegation is that if they were indeed in cahoots, why would the former still launch the investigation in the first place and release the report thereafter? Why? Because OTK was faced with Hobson's Choice that's why! Is it an elaborate wayang kulit we are witnessing here?

The RM10,000,000 cash in 3 installments? RM3.33 million in say RM100 bills would still need a very big bag indeed. In Euro or USD equivalent perhaps? Better still, RM3,330,000 is about SGD1,361,000 at prevailing exchange rates; just 136 pieces of SGD10,000 notes. Fits nicely into a suit pocket.

Not reflected in MCA accounts? You joking? Why would it?

If this allegation is a mere red herring, TKS and OTK might as well have said RM100,000,000 in cash and hope fiction be stranger than truth.

RM500 million lawsuit? Well, it makes for a good show doesn't it? Don't think it will ever see its day in court! Might as well make it RM13 billion since OTK says it will be donated...hopefully back to the rakyat. Anyway, what better way to wrap everything up in a big bundle and throw to the judiciary then cry sub judice while the case meanders laborously through the court process.

This TKS and OTK spat seems to be only the first layer of the PKFZ onion that is being shown to the public. Could it be that OTK's insurance policy is the fact that UMNO warlords (especially Selangor ones) are also involved? Please read BN hands are caught in the PKFZ cookie jar. Are these two Kapitan Cinas protecting their UMNO political masters in hope of ultimately getting immunity through adept UMNO sleight of hand innoculation? UMNO after all needs also to protect its own.

The more layers there are to this PKFZ onion, the more tears the rakyat will have to shed as the layers are peeled off...if they are. Is the persecution of PR Selangor State assemblymen by the MACC part of the whole scheme of things? Isn't the PKFZ located in Selangor? It looks like Big Bro UMNO cannot afford to be seen out in the open so what we get to see is a Chinaman show involving a MCA minister in a MCA Ministry and some Sarawakian Chinaman. How I wish Capt Yusof is still alive.

Today, PKA Chairman, Dato' Lee Hwa Beng lodged a report with the MACC against 5 parties who are essentially Chinese for possible conspiracy over the PKFZ scandal. MACC report lodged? You kidding? That same MACC? Well, it looks like we are still at the first layer of the onion.

It is now Najib's baby but will the PKFZ become his Waterloo and BN's Watergate? One thing is almost for sure; there will not be anybody hauled in before the next General Elections. My hope is that the perpetrators are finally caught, prosecuted and hung the next government.

Perhaps this "New Whistle Blower on the Blog" of apparent vigilantes can blow the lid off the PKFZ scandal sooner rather than later and not go the way the MACC whislers seem to be where!

This article in the NST today takes the cake.

PKFZ contractor ready to go to court on over-billing issue

KUALA LUMPUR: Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd, the turnkey contractor of the scandal-hit Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project, told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) today it was ready to go to court or for arbitration on the alleged over-billing of the multi-billion ringgit project.

PAC chairman Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid said Kuala Dimensi, which was represented by deputy chief executive officer Datuk Faizal Abdullah, had denied any over-billing.

"Kuala Dimensi said they are still waiting for the claim from the Port Klang Authority (PKA) and after that, they are willing to go to court or for arbitration," Azmi told reporters.

Today was the first time Kuala Dimensi was appearing before the parliamentary committee and Faizal was questioned for two and a half hours at the Parliament building where the hearing was held.

The company's chief executive officer, Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing, was present in the morning but left before the hearing began.

PKFZ, an integrated 400ha free commercial and industrial zone adjacent to Port Klang, is embroiled in controversy after it was revealed that the cost of its development had shot up from RM2.5 billion to RM4.6 billion.

PKA, which owns PKFZ, had lodged a police report over billing discrepancies of RM500 million to RM1 billion following a task force finding.

Azmi said Kuala Dimensi also suggested that the government redeem the bonds issued by the company earlier to save on the interest cost.

"I think what Kuala Dimensi meant is that PKA should be looking into ways to try to resolve this, among which is the early redemption so you can save on the interest cost".

Azmi said the real cost the government had to bear in this issue was actually the interest cost and to delay payment would result in the cost going up.

Kuala Dimensi also explained that the amount of RM4.6 billion was in fact the payment or cost borne by the government in their contract and the company only got RM1.6 billion to RM1.7 billion as the rest was for the interest cost.

Azmi said there were weaknesses in the project, especially in its marketing, and this had burdened the cost and led to many other issues.

"We found the weaknesses to be more inclined towards project management... contract management itself...," he said, adding that if project was marketed and 90 per cent of the area was taken up, the issue would not have come up.

"But because of the marketing, it became a big issue and placed a burden on cost, and various issues came up, as we know today," he said.

Azmi said there were matters that Faizal would not answer because it might be prejudicial to the legal action taken by the company on the PKFZ fiasco.

Apart from the PAC probe, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is also investigating the PKFZ issue. - BERNAMA

The PAC blames it on poor marketing and project management. The PAC chairman seems preparing the ground to sweep everything under the "bad management" carpet. He says, "We found the weaknesses to be more inclined towards project management... contract management itself...", "...if project was marketed and 90 per cent of the area was taken up, the issue would not have come up"."But because of the marketing, it became a big issue and placed a burden on cost, and various issues came up, as we know today," He conveniently forgot that the ridiculously hiked up land acquisition was a major cost and is telling us that if successful marketing had brought in more revenue, all this would be hidden under a sea of black Petronas? He also said the project managers should have controlled construction cost...has he forgotten the KT Stadium?

Is it the case of after the clean-out, the clean-up has begun.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Poor Prince In Plastic

Prince Cheah is unwell and has a bacterial infection on his tail. To prevent him from getting at it and to allow it to heal, the vet put a plastic cone on him. So now he has to sleep in Krystyn's room...with his whole family; Chili and the two newly born pups. Poor Krystyn.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

An Unfamiliar Familiar UMNO Voice

I have often cut and pasted Dato' Mohd Ariff Sabri's (Sakmongkol AK47) blogposts here and regard him as a sound voice in the UMNO wilderness. However, to me his post entitled, "BN for Permatang Pasir" just did not sound like him. I was wondering why and bombarded his comments space with my own "cakap kosong" as follows:


Dear Dato’ Sak,

I do follow your blog and find you an intelligent person with the ability to present your views clearly and effectively most times. After reading this post I asked myself why I detect a feeling that you yourself may not be too convinced by what you wrote and perhaps did so as an obligatory gesture. It appeared to me you are playing to a particular gallery (UMNO loyalists perhaps) when your heart of hearts tells you a BN defeat in Permatang Pasir is a foregone conclusion. I may be wrong as I based my impression on gut feel and my opinion that your argument is uncharacteristically fallacious.

I am no Anwarista or a card carrying member of any party and your “open letter” to the voters of Permatang Pasir does give too much credit to Anwar and too little recognition to prevailing popular opinion. While you appear to be “addressing” Malay voters by stating the obvious that it is between UMNO and PAS, you are subtly trying to convince the non-Malays to vote for development aren’t you? Please permit me to present my two sen by paraphrasing you (your own words in italics red):

I have criticised some of the things that UMNO has done. I have not spared its top leadership from criticisms either. That doesn't mean that I support what PKR and PR do. (Your point is taken). I will now tell you why the people of Permatang Pasir must now vote for UMNO and BN. Especially the 15,000 Malays and 5000 non Malays. (Why “especially” Malays and Non-Malays when you could easily have said say, 8,000 female and 7,000 male voters, if you did not intend to address the non-Malays in the first place. The 15,000 and 5,000 proportion coincidentally reflects the nation’s overall demographics. Obviously the non-Malay votes will hold sway if Malay voters are split down the middle assuming UMNO can dangerously drive home its oxymoronic yet ominous “Ketuanan Melayu” and “Melayu under siege” twin messages.

This election is between UMNO and PAS (Obviously). PAS is but a pawn in the bigger scheme of things which is the salvation of Anwar Ibrahim (That is being presumptuous but I suppose you can be right; it is only about Anwar only because Permatang Pasir happens to be in his parliamentary constituency and the previous ADUN happened to die in office) and legitimacy of DAP in Penang (how can legitimacy be an issue when DAP’s 19 seats alone is already more than BN’s 9; PKR’s 9 and PAS’ 1 aside). PAS and DAP will be trying hard to convince the people that UMNO is here in Permatang Pasir as part of the bigger plan to persecute Anwar and PKR. (the persecution by prosecution and demonization (traitor?) of Anwar is ongoing and an accepted fact that needs no convincing. Persecute PKR? It is DAP that needs not convince anyone that it’s its reps and supporters who appear being persecuted) Indeed, the issues that will be raised by the soon to be formalised coalition of opposition will be centred on this: - that the PR opposes the persecution of the people by UMNO. It therefore claims it speaks for the people. (Again presumptuous; the formalization could well be to reduce dependence or emphasis on any one individual or personality whether it be Tok Guru, Anwar or Kit Siang. Or it could be to formalize a common agenda but certainly it is not “centred” on the issues you postulated).

Accordingly PR will exploit the issues which the current administration is tackling- issues concerning judiciary, issues related to law enforcement, economic injustice, racial harmony and so forth. (Now you are talking. These issues need no convincing and as mentioned earlier you gave too little recognition to prevailing popular opinion. The people can see for themselves that your mentioned issues are getting worse under the current administration while the administrator continues to pontificate about his 1Malaysia – the “cakap tak serupa bikin” reality makes a mockery of the people).

Nothing is further from the truth. (Is it really?) The real issue however is your interest- the people of Permatang Pasir. (This is the main thrust of UMNO election strategy; to continue telling Malays it is the sole custodian of Malay welfare while assuaging the non-Malays with bread and circuses or blatant bully talk. What will it be this time? Another bridge perhaps or cold hard duit raya?) Pakatan Rakyat raises their issues as a diversionary strategy to conceal the startling FACT that it is utterly incapable of looking after the people's interests. (Instead of pulling up its own socks, the BN reveals its own impotency and plain lack of capability by trying to show out the ineffectiveness and weaknesses of PR; this by-election result risks showing that the BN strategy has backfired and that the people can accept the fact that without Federal cooperation, State governments are hampered. Then it would be when BN should be afraid, be very afraid because matters that can be issues are running out. Currently, the race horse is being flogged; pun intended)

Don't allow your future be held ransom by Anwar Ibrahim.

The member of parliament of Permatang Pauh of which Permatang Pasir is part of, is Anwar Ibrahim. Anwar Ibrahim is facing a host of problems. He may wail here, there and everywhere accusing the whole world of turning its back on him, in the end he will have to answer the charges in court. Those charges are proffered against him in his personal capacity. What he has done and does so cunningly is to make it appear that his personal problems are also that of the people. We have nothing to do with what he does behind locked doors. (Here I think you are trying to take a very public by-election private. Anwar’s baggage is well known and to many, the accusations levied at him largely remain conjecture. At the moment, Anwar’s baggage cannot be conceivably heavier than Najib’s own heavy baggage load of missing links and such, and the worry for BN is that Najib has already been tried and convicted in the court (albeit a kangaroo one) of public opinion and awaiting execution).

What has that trickery led to? It has led to stagnation. (Really? Even if so, perhaps the people are willing to bite the bullet for three years or so; or more importantly, do you honestly think very much can and will be done to make Permatang Pasir a booming enclave in a “stagnant” Permatang Pauh in three years?) The world in Permatang Pauh and Permatang Pasir come to a halt on account of Anwar Ibrahim. We must recognise this situation as it truly is- the future of the people in Permatang Pasir and Permatang Pauh are held at ransom. This is tyranny disguised behind a list of accusations against the ruling government. Anwar Ibrahim is as much a tyrant as those he accuses of by manipulating his personal problems to incarcerate the minds of the people in Permatang Pauh and Permatang Pasir. (Dato’ Sak can you actually hear your own rhetoric? I am sure you have also heard it said, “…it is not that the people love Anwar more; what used to be less love for Barisan has turned to pure hate”)

Hence Anwar Ibrahim insists his problems are the result of a grand conspiracy between the government, the judiciary, the law enforcers and indeed the whole world. He has accused the ruling government of not playing fair while he himself does not know what is fair to the people anymore. He must do so to stay relevant. Justice exists in so far as Anwar Ibrahim is acquitted from all charges. (Correct! Correct! Correct!)

He can't forever lead us on a wild goose chase, disputing everything in sight even before they appear before the courts. The whole story about a conspiracy that has never died down since 1998 is always stirred up to divert attention. (Same old, same old, Dato’ Sak. I can agree that Anwar has spewed his share of bull and after all, he is cut of the same UMNO cloth. However, most voters now do not even think of Anwar because PR is making the right noise and moves by attracting enough intelligentsia into its fold. It would be a major blow to BN if the next by-election is in Gua Musang when differentiation dawns that Mahathir’s UMNO Baru is not the beloved UMNO Lama)

We don't know what the outcome of his on coming trial is. (Don’t we really?) Let us not place the future of Permatang Pasir on the outcome of Anwar's trial. (Along the same tack, most people expect Anwar to be convicted but Dato’ Sak, you may be right in a perverse way; the future of Permatang Pauh will rest on that outcome) To do so would be to hold the future of Permatang Pasir at ransom. Why should the future of Permatang Pasir be made to depend on Anwar Ibrahim's leading us on to believe he is a victim of a grand conspiracy? (With due respect sir, it does not)

I am always ready to give him the benefit of doubt as far as all the accusations of sexual preferences are concerned. (I think most people would too but then, they would much prefer a competent and professional PDRM, AG and last but not least, an independent Judiciary) But the future and the welfare of the people in Pernatang Pasir and Permatang Pauh shouldn't be held ransom by his personal problem. (Repetition does not make a point right)

This is the fundamental reason why the voters in Permatang Pasir must now vote for UMNO candidate. (Dato’ I must reiterate all this does not sound to me like the usual astute Sakmongkol AK47 analysis at all)

Just think about these things. (My opinion is probably wrong but as you said Dato’…just think about these things)

Lastly, how does one vote a candidate into a position of trust when even his own peers have convicted him of betrayal of trust?

Monday, 17 August 2009

Belum Kena, Belum Tahu...

This was in the Malaysian Insider from none other than the son of Tok Mat (former UMNO SecGen and Information Minister), Dato Nur Jazlan. I think it speaks for itself:

The Malaysian Insider
August 17 2009

The Royal Malaysian Police Farce
by Dato Nur Jazlan

As a Member of Parliament, I used to defend the police when faced with numerous complaints from my constituents in Johor Baru.

I told my constituents to have faith in the police as their alternative would be to pay for expensive personal security guards. No more.

More than a month ago, my trust and belief in the police force evaporated when my wife was mugged in broad daylight in her car at the front gate of my house by two men on a motorcycle.

I had spent a lot of money protecting the perimeter of my house from all forms of intrusion and expected the police to provide a safe neighbourhood beyond it. I certainly did not expect my wife to be violated right in front of my house.

I live in a middle-to-upper-class neighbourhood of Damansara Heights in Kuala Lumpur where many senior politicians, top civil servants and businessman already pay for a private security service.

This extra layer of private security may have lulled the local police force into such a false sense of security that they are able to spend more time erecting roadblocks to catch speeding cars along Jalan Bukit Kiara in front of the Intan campus every day, rain or shine, instead of securing my neighbourhood a kilometre away.

I need not remind the public of the free time the traffic police have to set up the many unnecessary “cari makan” speed traps and roadblocks on major public and tolled highways.

Over the years, the public have been assured by the police that they are implementing various strategies to reduce crime in the country. And they have produced statistic after statistic to show that reported crime in the country is down.

However, the feedback I get back from the public in Kuala Lumpur and Johor Baru is that crime is on the rise in their neighbourhood.

When I told them that the statistics point to a reduction in crime, they dismiss it and say many of them don’t bother to report petty thefts as they have no confidence that the culprits would be caught anyway. In fact, when they did make reports, many of them were told exactly that by the investigating police officers.

Back to my wife, she was told that the two men fitting the description she gave to the investigating officer were reported to have robbed many other lone women drivers in the Bangsar area over the last few months.

Coincidentally, a good friend of mine was also attacked by a group of Mat Rempits in front of the Bangsar Shopping Centre at 2 am a few weeks ago.

In my opinion, the main reason why the police have failed to reduce crime, or at least reduce the perception that that crime is pervasive in the country, is that they have little idea of strategies to be used against this new wave of disorganised crime.

Gone are the days when the police were managing organised crime by holding the local crime boss responsible for the wayward actions of his downliners.The country was perceived as being safe back then.

Another reason could just be that the police chiefs are greedy or in the pockets of the local gangsters, funded by the lucrative DVD pirating business amongst others and are too busy protecting them to bother about tackling petty crimes and protecting the public at large, ironically echoing the Police hit “Wrapped Around Your Finger”.

Can anyone tell me different? Because this is all public perception.Someone asked me, “do you remember the last time when a big time crime boss has been indicted in the last 20 years?” I can’t, can you?

Coincidentally, the crime rate had worsened over this period. The bottom line is, the police managed to keep the country safe in the past by managing organised crime.

The gangsters running organised crime ran a tight ship. The top gangsters would ensure that the downliners in their network did only what they were told to do.

A “good” gangster wouldn’t want to suffer any embarrassment or loss of face in his area of control and would dish out harsh punishment if the underlings misbehaved.

Maybe the police force can learn something from the gangster system to ensure their own downliners tow the line.

They can learn from the Hong Kong Police Force on how to manage organised crime. Hong Kong crime gangs regularly have turf wars but Hong Kong residents can still feel relatively safe walking on the streets at night.

Recently in Hong Kong , a major crime boss was brazenly murdered in front of the Shangri La hotel. He was run over by a car and subsequently had his limbs chopped off by his attackers, in full view of the public. Despite this, the citizens of Hong Kong still feel safe.

But I suspect over the last decade, the underworld network has broken now with new would-be criminals bypass the traditional crime networks.

They operate at the lower level of the crime chain and are not controlled by a higher authority.The public cannot expect the police force to stop these new criminals. The police have failed to change their highly bureaucratic organisational structure to respond to the new democratised criminal environment.

As a result, these new criminals are allowed to operate wantonly without fear of the police.
With that in mind, I am not surprised at the growing opposition to the second contract extension for the Inspector General of Police , Tan Sri Musa Hassan.He has been given four years to transform the police force and restore people’s confidence, and he has failed thus far.

I think the current bad crime situation warrants extreme action. Maybe the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak should emulate his father’s action in catapulting a junior officer to like Tun Haniff Omar to the top position of IGP to shake up the police force.

Tun Haniff was just 35 years old when he was appointed as the nation’s top cop and he was given enough time to transform the police force then.The police force should be reorganised from a top-heavy bureaucracy into a flexible people-friendly organisation.

The police force currently has more than 90,000 personnel. However only 30,000 of them are actually working the street beat.The other 60,000 are higher paid administration level staff filling paperwork in the office.

Maybe its time the organisation structure of the police force is turned on its head and the larger administration staff are ordered to leave their comfortable office and patrol the streets.

I am sure they would be more effective in ensuring the streets are safe than sitting in the office. If they refuse, then they should be given early retirement so that the police force is able to hire newer, more dedicated staff.

The increased numbers of beat cops would strengthen the police network at street level and allow the police to start building community partnerships and strengthening neighbourhood watch schemes like Rukun Tetangga to deter the perpetrators of petty and small crimes.

The police should strive to create a “kampung” environment especially in city areas like Kuala Lumpur and Johor Baru.

This would enable the police force to identify the residents in local areas and make it easier to identify outsiders.

The extended network of the kampung would, in effect, ring fence the local community and put fear into the would be criminals and deter them from entering the community.

If the new IGP can implement my suggestions above, maybe then I would believe I would start to have faith in the police force again. Maybe.

Of Malaysian Communists and Communist Fighters

Malaysiakini featured a series of articles over this year's Merdeka Day celebration period by correspondent, K. Kabilan about members of the Communist Party of Malaysia (CPM) who are now residing in Southern Thailand. Apart from the featuring one of the last surviving members of the CPM armed struggle days, Abdullah CD there was a story on Asi, arguably the last Indian Malaysian Communist alive who also referred to one CPM Indian operative named Perumal.

Then there was the "revelation" by Tunku's son that Chin Peng in a 1954 letter to Tunku actually assured Tunku "protection" as a fellow struggler for the nation's independence.
I would like to refer to the stories and some emotional responses from certain quarters.

The Perumal Story and responses:

The last of CPM's Indian communists

With the Japanese finally forced out after a hard fought war, the British had regained power in Malaya and were trying to redeem severely dented pride. There appeared two options-winning the hearts and minds of Malayans who had lost their faith in them or launch a brutal elimination of their fiercest opposition.It was a time of high uncertainly with many groups working at different levels to gain political mileage in a nation ripe for independence.

It was also a time when the communist insurgency, through the Malayan National Liberation Army, was gaining a strong foothold in the country, especially in Perak and Selangor.

The year was 1952, Malaya was under Emergency then and the one place which exemplified the ongoing battle for public support, among the British and the communists was undoubtedly Sungai Siput, Perak.

Living in an estate a few kilometres away from Sungai Siput, 11-year-old Asi (not his real name) was always impressed by two things: the manner with which the communists got the better of the British and the way an Indian gentleman called Perumal propagated an independent nation.

"I was in awe of the communists. They would come to my estate at night. Some will be hurt after fighting. Some of them were fathers of my friends and they were all very friendly with us," started Asi.

"And then there was Perumal, a communist too but not a fighter. His job was to explain to the people all about communism and he was highly effective... I was impressed with what he had to say," he added.

"These two factors pulled me to become a communist at the age of 11," he told Malaysiakini recently.

Today, he is the only Indian Malaysian communist alive.In good care of elder comradesAsi lives in a communist village in southern Thailand which was set up after the 1989 peace talks between the Malaysian and Thai governments. The village is inhabited by former members of the formidable 10th Regiment of the Communist Party of Malaya, led by Abdullah CD and his wife Suriani Abdullah. Asi was a member of this regiment.

"I have no regrets at all about joining this revolution. I think I have achieved the main aim - to get rid of the British and free Malaya," said this frail-looking man who had spent 40 years of his life in the jungle.

It would of course be wrong to judge the 68-year-old by his delicate appearance. Asi is very much fit and able and continues to wake up at 4am daily to tap rubber in the nearby plantation, which has about 100 trees planted in a six-acre plot, courtesy of the Thai government after the peace deal.

He is married to a Thai communist comrade - "she has been in war with me" - and they have a daughter, who is married to a Thai and settled in the same 'peace village'.

"I have led a very dangerous life but it has been exciting. Communism has always been and is my way of living. My friends are all my ex-comrades. Abdullah and Suriani are like my parents. They took me under their wings from the very beginning," he said.

Asi is also not bothered by the fact that he is the only non-Malay communist in the village. In fact he has forgotten what it is like be an Indian."

In the jungle, we were all fighting for survival and a common cause. The spirit of camaraderie was very strong, with no one caring about what race you were. I'm very close to these friends here and for them I'm like one of them. Since I joined the movement at a young age, I was looked after by senior Malay comrades," he said in flawless Malay. His Tamil, however, is understandably rusty.

Asi also readily admits that he was one-of-a-kind simply because there were not many Indian communists in the movement.

"The number of Indians was not many. At one time, there were about 85 of us. Right now, I'm sure I'm the only living Indian communist from Malaya," he said with a smile.

The jungle years

Asi joined the movement with four of his childhood friends in Sungai Siput. In the early days he helped out Perumal by distributing communist propaganda material.

"And then later in the year, the British offensive became too risky for us to remain in Sungai Siput. We joined Perumal in going into the jungle and we hooked up with the 5th regiment."

There were about 85 active Indian communists at that time. Many others were not involved in fighting but in trade unions and propaganda division. During that period of 1952, many sleeper Indian communists were arrested, especially those involved in unions.

"But the 85 of us joined the 5th Regiment and we had a platoon called the Indian platoon, led by Perumal and I was the youngest. It was while in the jungle that I had the full exposure to communism. The ideology was taught to us by an officer named Muthusamy."

Recounting his life in the jungle at that time, Asi said that he was subsequently taken under the wings of a regiment leader called Liau Liew (or better known as Sukong).

"I was very young and he was worried I would be killed if left with the 5th regiment. He took me to his headquarters deep in the jungle and I was with him from 1952 to 1959," he said.

The year 1959 brought about another life changing experience for Asi as he was involved in a major fight with the British in Betong.

"Many of my friends died. Another Indian comrade named Alou and myself were then sent over to the Pahang jungle to be with Abdullah. By this time, the Indian platoon had been wiped out and only a handful of us remained."

"With Abdullah's regiment, I was at first tasked to be the messenger boy, meaning I had to deliver messages to other units. This would sometimes take days. After sometime, I was put in charge of hunting for animals to feed the comrades."

"That was an exciting period. Did you know that the Perak jungle had huge deer those days?"

Hunting required the little boy to be trained in weapon usage and slowly Asi was moved into the fighting unit. From then on he became involved in more than 40 fights, mostly against the British and the Gurkhas, and has many wounds to show as evidence of his jungle warfare.

Nationalist or terrorist?

He gets emotional when asked about being labelled a terrorist.

"That's wrong! How about the other side, the British? They committed atrocities in kampungs and blamed us for that...they were violent as well."

"Don't forget it was a period of war. If we didn't defend ourselves, we would have been killed! We were fighting for a free nation and they were protecting their colony from being liberated," he said."

"But sadly, we are not recognised for our role in winning independence. We are also accused of causing atrocities."

"No matter how bitter or bloody it was, it was a fight for the independence of our nation... no one would hand out independence on the plate for nothing like what is being claimed by the present government," he added."

"There is no truth in the myth espoused that Malaysia gained independence without shedding a drop of blood. WE shed our blood and lives for this. It is only right we are recognised for that," he stressed, saying that the Malaysian history must be rewritten to indicate this.

He stressed in his soft voice that he still believed in the ideologies of communism.

"For me, my struggle with MCP was noble. I'm a patriot, along with my comrades. Please revise the history," he said.

Returning to Malaysia

On that note, he also expressed his disappointment that people in Malaysia were ignorant of their history.

He has been back to Sungai Siput quite regularly but has always found it difficult to settle in. He still has families back in Perak - including his elder brother and nephew but is happy to be his Southern Thailand village.

However, there is still one thing which he wants corrected in Malaysia - he wants to convert his red IC to a proper MyKad.

"I'm a Malaysian citizen. I was born in Sungai Siput. My father was a known figure in the estate and yet I have been denied my right."

"I have travelled up and down many times to get the identity card and have spent almost RM10,000 for this cause. I have met Malaysian politicians and civil servants but have had no success," he added with bitterness.

"Maybe the government is punishing me for my past but strangely all my other comrades have proper citizenship. It's just me who is left out," he said.

It was for this reason Asi refused to reveal his real name for he fears he will be blocked altogether from entering into Malaysia if the border authorities know who he is."

I wish I'm properly recognised as a citizen as well as for my role along with my comrades on freeing Malaya from the occupiers," he ended with a forlorn hope.

Readers' Comments:

by Datuk Azmi Tan Sri A Hamid Bidin - 6 days ago
Dear Mr Kabilan, If you are really worth your salt, please I beg of you go and arrange for an interview with the family of the LATE Captain V Mohana Chandran, SP, Renjer. A CPM .22 on 12 Jun 71 killed my best friend at 24 years old in Singai Siput. I sure do like to hear your story as I am beginning to wonder what is your slant. Probably in the likes of my late father General Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bin Bidin may also be distorted in your presentation. At times like this I will forever miss my dear brother MGG Pillai. Reporting yes but please be fair from the inner most of hearts. Captain (R) Datuk Azmi Bin Abdul Hamid Bidin, Renjer

by Ravindranath - 6 days ago

To Datuk Azmi Tan Sri A Hamid Bidin, So on that similar vein of thought I guess we should kick out every Japanese company out of this country too, right? Most of these Japanese companies built the war machines that killed many Malayans. And what about every Japanese tourist whose grandfather/father who fought and killed so many Malayans. What have you to say about the Japanese themselves who refuse to be honest about their role in WWII. Well because it is not financially expedient while Asu and the others are. This is what they mean when one says history is written by the victorious. By the way I am Indian and I was not brought up during the insurgency era.

by ahmad iqhbal - 5 days ago

That moment in time...The end justifies the means...That ideology that droved these citizens of our country to free Malaya from the clutches of the Japanese and later the British...Sacrifices yes my friend,this side or that side depends on what you want to see,remembered and pass on...Tihe American!s called it "colateral damage" Syukurlah Alhamdulillah,theirs is not in vain,as we move forward in a Malaysia we come to know...err..the country mmm...not the politicians I mean.wassalamulaikum.

by Deva Guru - 5 days ago

Dear Datuk Azmi, I fully agree with you, no body speaks about Late Captain V Mohana Chandran who gave his life for this country. To all readers I do agree with the emotions, but there are alot victims of PKM as well, for example recently I read and article wrote by a Victim of CPM. Her dad was a school teacher, and was forced by PKM to propagate Communism to the student, when he refused, the killed him. Till today the victim says that he father death was not justified, he was mere school teacher. After Independence, what I dont understand is, PKM was still conducting its armed struggle, the British were out then, so whats the armed struggle for. My dad was an army officer and I still remember, there were alot of booby trap victims after 1975, what was PKM's objective to continue the war withe the Independent Malaya and Malaysia after 1963. What was their objective ?

Many may not know about the bravery of the country's first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman who risked his life while on the trail to campaign for the country's freedom.According to Tunku Abdul Rahman's only son, Tunku Ahmad Nerang Putra, most of the British colonialists despised the senior Tunku due to his vocal demands for freedom of the nation.Tunku Ahmad Nerang said the late former prime minister had revealed a secret on an incident that happened in 1954 that brought concerns about his safety.At that time, the colonial government had appointed Tunku Abdul Rahman a member of the Federal Legislative Council and entrusted with the Transport portfolio.
In an official duty, Tunku Abdul Rahman boarded a British aircraft from the Kuala Lumpur Flying Club airstrip.Tunku Ahmad Nerang said his father then suspected that something was amiss when he saw only a single parachute available on the Beaver aircraft even though there were two people on board, Tunku Abdul Rahman and the British pilot.According to Tunku Ahmad Nerang, during the flight the pilot had asked his father all sorts of questions about the position of the British in Malaya after independence and demanded an assurance from Tunku Abdul Rahman that he would not expel the British nationals from Malaya."Tunku (Abdul Rahman) had calmly answered that Malaya still needed the British soldiers even though after independence particularly in fighting the communists and this assurance had pacified the British pilot," said Tunku Ahmad Nerang.He said after the plane had landed safely, his late father had confided that the pilot could have bailed out from the plane and left Tunku Abdul Rahman alone if the first prime minister had not given the assurance that the British man wanted.No security escortTunku Ahmad Nerang who is now 76, and resides in Kuala Lumpur, related another incident when he acted as the driver for his father when the latter visited 'hot spots' in Tanjung Malim in Perak, Kuala Kubu Baharu in Selangor and Raub in Pahang in 1954.
He said his father had sat in front next to him while behind them were Khir Johari and Tan Sri Syed Jaafar Albar."The road then was very narrow and several armoured cars had joined us to provide security and I had to drive close behind one armoured vehicle."Upon reaching a rest house in Raub, a police officer approached Tunku Ahmad Nerang and told him that it was dangerous to follow an armoured car very close from behind.He said Tunku Abdul Rahman had retorted: "I don't need the escort, those people behind me (Khir Johari and Jaafar Albar) are good enough." After resuming the trip, Tunku Abdul Rahman had told those in the car that he had received a letter from Chin Peng (Communist Party of Malaya leader) that gave the assurance on the former's safety and supported his struggle for independence.Tunku Abdul Rahman had even asked the police and British army not to escort him during his visits to black areas in Johor as he feared the presence of the security forces would endanger his life.Tunku Ahmad Nerang said in reciprocation, his father had assured the safety of Chin Peng during the Baling Peace Talk 1956.Dangerous train rideDuring the pre-Merdeka days, taking a train ride was considered risky but this had never scared the late Tunku Abdul Rahman.Tunku Ahmad Nerang recalled an incident when his father boarded a train from Kuala Lumpur bound for Butterworth."The train that we were on had to stop at Tapah station as the rail tracks at Tanjong Malim were sabotaged by the communists, forcing us to spend the night on the train".
They only knew the next day that the train was carrying many British soldiers and had come under the communists' threat.Tunku Abdul Rahman later received a letter from Chin Peng (left) who apologised over the incident as he did not know that Tunku Abdul Rahman was on board the train.Due to his tight work schedule, Tunku Abdul Rahman suffered a bout of pneumonia attack and sought treatment at Bangsar Hospital in Kuala Lumpur."An incident in front of my very own eyes happened when an Eurasian nurse gave an injection to Tunku but hurriedly left without removing the needle from his buttocks."However Tunku removed the needle himself and we left the hospital. That was how unpopular the late Tunku with British people in his vocal quest for the country's independence," said Tunku Ahmad Nerang.However the doctor that treated Tunku Abdul Rahman was a Malay by the name of Dr Latiff and a road at Kuala Lumpur Hospital was named Persiaran Dr Latiff.Stranded in floodwatersTunku Ahmad Nerang said his father worked hard to campaign for the country's independence, disregarding rain or shine.
One day in 1954, Tunku Abdul Rahman's car was stranded and trapped in a pool of mud during floods in Johor Baharu."There were Malay boys willing to push the car for a fee. Tunku offered them one ringgit but upon realising that Tunku was in the car, they declined the money," said Tunku Ahmad Nerang.However two other cars, each carrying Syed Esa Almashoor and Syed Abdullah Alsagoff respectively were also stuck in mud and the boys were given 20 sen each to push the vehicles clear from the muddy puddle.Another incident was in Kangar the same year."When we were about to leave our house in Alor Star, the rain came down heavily and when the rain subsided, I drove the car a bit too fast as Tunku did not like to keep people waiting."Our car skidded and crashed into a ditch in front of the Malay Regiment Camp in Kepala Batas. The army officer recognised Tunku and told his men to help pull out our car and we later continued the journey in a badly damaged car,” said Tunku Ahmad Nerang.
One day in 1955, Tunku Ahmad Nerang accompanied his father during the latter's campaigning. The trip was all day long as Tunku Abdul Rahman moved from Johor Baharu to Muar and later Batu Pahat meeting the villagers.They later returned to Johor Baharu late in the night and were too exhausted, as they had not eaten."Both of us were too tired and hungry as we had not eaten and there was no food at home. I found an egg in the fridge and I boiled it."I later knocked my father's room and asked him whether he wanted the boiled egg. Tunku touched my head and with tears in his eyes, asked me to eat it," said Tunku Ahmad Nerang.Tunku Ahmad Nerang said several days later, he left for Bombay, India to study at the Indian Military College.
"After arriving in Bombay, I read in the Indian Times about the news that Alliance Party in Malaya had won (the election) and Tunku was appointed the Chief Minister of Malaya," added Tunku Ahmad Nerang.
- Bernama

Wow!!! 9.58 Seconds!!!

Usain Bolt! How much faster can he run?

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Making Sense Of Malay Economics

This post is taken from two blogposts by Dato' Mohd Ariff Sabri or better known in blogosphere as Sakmongkol AK47. It is in reference to Tengku Razaleigh's speaking engagement on Malay economics in the face of globalization, scheduled for today in a forum organized by the political clown, Ibrahim Ali.

Sakmongkol AK47's take on the politics of TRH and Ibrahim Ali makes for interesting observation of what TRH will say at the forum. What TRH says will indicate whether what many say that he is the right person to be PM is borne out. The full text of TRH's address will probably be posted on his own blog too and it will be interesting to note Sakmongkol's preview in comparison. Also, the stark reality of UMNOnomics is laid out in a brutally honest account in the related second blogpost today. Please read both:

14th August: YBM Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah on Ibrahim Ali’s stage.

The much respected Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah will have a speaking engagement tomorrow. He will speak about Malay economics in the age of globalisation. The principal organizer of the forum is Ibrahim Ali. It is called Wacana Perkasa.

Ibrahim Ali is a character who defies description as far as political beliefs are concerned. He has shown himself to be too ultra Malay at times. He has crossed boundaries many times so much so he has been enthroned as the frog king. That description hasn't fazed him as he continues to be as unpredictable like nobody's business.

Hence his choice of Tengku Razalegh as a main speaker to speak about Malay economics in the age of globalisation serves to further compound our estimation of him. We have on one side, the organiser who is as right wing as can be. On the other side, we have the gentleman prince of politics, who is known for his progressive political and economic ideas. Maybe I should meet Brahim or stopa, on a face to face encounter to measure the man.

The only thread that connects Ibrahim and his opponents perhaps is the deep and profound respect Ibrahim has for Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. There is arguably an almost universal acceptance that Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah is a statesman deserving of impeachable respect.

I have no inkling as to what TRH wants to speak about. I would like to take this opportunity to give some opinions on the thinking about Malay economics.

One line of thought deduced from the behaviour of people like Ibrahim Ali for example (hence the paragraphs about him above) holds that Malays are backward because some other races have taken more than they should. We are thus poor, because others have taken more of this fixed pie.

In Malaysia for example, the most prosperous group is the Chinese. There is no need to amplify this statement. Everyone knows it. In the present day political and ideological climate, those who are prosperous are looked at with unconcealed envy and perhaps even hatred. Hence we hear statements like the Chinese owned this country. They are the real power in this country. How do we correct this wrong?

Suddenly all Malays, the plebeians and the patricians become one homogenous group. Those inhabitants on Snob Hill are the same as inhabitants of the plains. Suddenly we become the common man, facing one common greedy enemy. Things can only be equalised if the government, which is ours for the time being, carries out confiscatory corrective policies.

No costs are too high to pursue this corrective strategy. If we have to continue shoring up the share offerings till kingdom come, as long as we can deliver above market dividends year after year, that should be good. If we have to implement extra assertive economic policies, breaking up monopolies, forcing big greedy companies to hand over to our select 30 percenters, so be it.

The prevailing pedestrian thinking is we are like this because people have exploited us. The fact that we remain less prosperous defies divine and natural law. Everyone must be equal. If we cant share in prosperity, let's share the misery.

Sober minded individuals and Malays (lets not use the term liberal because Minister Rais dislikes it) are worried. We want to expose the fallacies of the thinking of people such as Ibrahim Ali wants to propagate. The thinking is that man's penury is due to the fact that some people have appropriated too much of the wealth of this country. That translates into: Malay penury is due to the fact that non Malays have appropriated too much.

Hence to these people like Ibrahim, the only efficacious remedy is to insist on more governmental interference to correct the imbalance. For as long as we have the idea, that out own shortcomings are caused by the other people; we can never have economic liberation on whose foundation, real prosperity lie.

That is why I find the fact that TRH has been invited to speak at a forum organised by Ibrahim Ali as incongruent. It would be interesting to hear what TRH says on Malay economics in the age of globalisation and its reception thereafter by the NGO led by YB Ibrahim Ali.

15th August: The causes of Prosperity

Many have realised this fact; the struggle to preserve the 30% quota of privileges is in reality, a determined effort by the élite to preserve theirown privileges. It has never expanded into the universal struggle for the economic emancipation of Malays.

I want to repeat this observation. The penury of the majority Malays is not the result of greedy others taking a larger share of the economic pie. We have been taken for a ride believing in this. The causes for the continued misdevelopmet of Malays are likely to be found in the actions and behaviour of the Malay leadership.

The Malay leadership at all levels have not acted in the interest of Malays actually. Please look around you. The top leadership of Malays from kings to district officers, to head of departments, the army, the police down to the lowly paid peons and thambys, are all Malays. The have the means to develop Malays. Yet the lot of the majority Malays hasn't improved substantially. But the lot of our own super 30 has improved tremendously. There can only be one conclusion- the elite leadership calling for the magic number of 30, has been helping themselves to the pie and excluding the majority Malays. The majority Malays have improved on account of themselves. They have turned themselves into capital goods in the sense of having acquired the skills and education to pull themselves up.

It is strange- the UMNO progressives who fight vehemently against the dismantling of the 30% are in fact fighting on behalf of the real exploiters of the Malays. Hence, it is they, not those who decry and call for economic liberalisations who are the bribed sycophants of the old bourgeoisie. These people are hiding behind the tired and overused phrase of Malay supremacy.

Tuan- the real supremacy of Malays must be fought in the realm of economics. This is why I am attaching a special interest in the speech Tengku Razaleigh is making in front of a crowd deep in this idea of Malay supremacy. There can be no more strident voice of Malay supremacy in the disparage group led by Brahim Ali.

The answer to Malay prosperity may well lie in the basic building blocks of economic advancement. These can be summarised in for broad headings- mass production, the application of science to production, the passion for productivity and the spirit of competition.

These were the views by a leading teacher of economics at Harvard University- William E Rappard in explaining the secret behind America's prosperity. Hence instead of the sabre rattling and kris wielding, maybe we Malays need to go back to the first principles of economics.

Once we accept these general observations as to what lay behind prosperity, we then begin to understand the political significance of the conclusions. It is that, our prosperity and conversely our penury lie within us. Our own salvation will be the result of our own efforts and will be a purely Malay phenomenon. It is no way caused or furthered by external factors, principal among them the greedy appropriation of other races from us.

I cannot dispute when professor Rappard says the wealth of a country very largely depends on the will of the nation. Other things being equal, then, a country and its economy will be more productive in proportion as its inhabitants want it to be. Malay community will be prosperous if the Malays want prosperity and lay down policies fitted for the purpose. The 'want to' must be there first.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

The Meek Inherit The Earth? No Lah...The Youth Shall

I was wondering what our conscientious or at the very least, conscious youth are up to. After all the statistics are staggering that come 2013 (at the very latest), their voting power will decide who will decide their future.

The stats:

1) In the tsunami of GE12, 2008, out of a total registered voter base of about 10.9 million, there were a total of 8,109,134 votes for 214 parliament seats at stake on Election Day. Eligible voters according to the Election Commission stood at 10,516,256. Assuming partisan voters voted as they should, the massive shift of popular support indicated overall dissatisfaction and cry for change. Malaysians are generally aware of the whys, given the number of after the fact, analyses after analyses.
2) The opposition would have had an outright win if it won another 30 seats (to form a majority in parliament) and all they needed was just another 56,000 votes.
3) There will be about 29 million Malaysians come 2010 as indicated by the following stats from the EPU and Statistics Department:

What is important to note is the median age of the populace will be 24.2 years, with 63.60% within the 15-64 age band.
4) 4 million eligible voters (mostly aged under 30) did not register in time for the 2008 elections.
5) By the next general elections another estimated 2 million young Malaysians will be eligible to vote, making the total number of eligible voters 16.9 million. Given the population census, it would be safe to assume most are under 40 years of age, which also happens to be the age limit of political party youth wings.
6) Analysis of the March 2008 elections showed that the majority of newly-registered voters and those below 30 supported the Opposition.
It is obvious that Malaysian youth no longer wallow in political apathy. They tend to be aware of what is happening around them. More crucially, they have varied reasons to vote for the opposition. They are connected not only insofar as issues are concerned but also in terms of cyber-networking; the key reason being that young Internet-savvy voters obtain their news chiefly from the pro-opposition alternative media, which they perceive as more credible than the mainstream media.
The writing on the wall for BN is obvious; connect with the young voters or become the Opposition coalition after the next general elections. Fielding younger 30s and 40s candidates alone will not do, just as trying to get old BN dogs to learn new tricks is near impossible.

The next GE appears only for PR to lose mainly through the youth. The reality is that the more politically conscious amongst the youth are likely to be conscientious enough to register for voting and being young, they can afford the time and the space to experiment with change! With this said, at 10.00 am today I Googled "PAS UMNO Youth" and this is what I got:


News results for UMNO PAS Youth

Umno Youth may join Pas in rally - 21 hours ago
Tengku Azman said he had discussed the matter with Umno Youth head Khairy Jamaluddin and had obtained his approval. On Tuesday, Selangor Pas commissioner ...New Straits Times -
153 related articles »

Pas Youth Challenged To Team Up With Umno Youth Against Dap -Bernama - 3 related articles »

NST Online Umno Youth may join Pas in rally
6 Aug 2009 ... KUALA LUMPUR: Umno Youth may walk together with Selangor Pas ... The planned Umno Youth and Selangor Pas Youth walk is the latest -
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BERNAMA - Pas Youth Challenged To Team Up With Umno Youth Against Dap
7 Aug 2009 ... MARANG, Aug 7 (Bernama)-- The Umno Youth movement Friday invited itsPAS counterpart to be together with the movement in a ceramah to be -
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The Nut Graph Umno Youth lauds PAS Youth's “courage” (Updated)
At the moment, neither PAS Youth nor Umno Youth have given a suggested date or ... [PAS Youth and Umno Youth] have not even gone out on our first date yet. -
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Khairy to PAS youth: Come join us to defend Islam
7 Aug 2009 ... MARANG, Aug 7 — The Umno Youth movement today invited its PAS ... Well, if PAS Youth does join up with UMNO Youth, it will confirm their -
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PAS Youth rejects call for beer demo by Umno Youth
7 Aug 2009 ... “We will not entertain any overtures by Umno,” said state PAS deputy youthchief Ahmad Zaidy Abdul Mutalib who added they were aware Umno -
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Show more results from
PAS Youth invites Umno Youth for academic discourse
1 Jul 2009 ... KUALA LUMPUR: Pas Youth has invited Umno Youth to an academic discourse on current issues, just after unity talks between PAS and Umno -
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Umno Youth executive council member Azman Zainol Abidin, however, set a condition thatPas Youth must first obtain a police permit for the demonstration. -
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Political Islam - Pas Youth Deny Pas-Umno Cooperation
KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 (Bernama) -- Pas Youth Wednesday denied reports by several media organisations about cooperation between the movement and Umno Youth -
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MAHAGURU58: PAS Youth invites UMNO Youth for an 'intellectual ...
Congratulations to Ustaz Nasarudin Hassan Tantawi, the PAS Youth Chief for being gentleman enough to invite UMNO Youth to an intellectual discourse between -
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PAS Youth defends overtures to Umno - Malaysiakini
PAS had no intention of intimidating Pakatan Rakyat partner PKR with a statement about a recent meeting with Umno, said Youth chief Salahuddin Ayub. -
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It looks like more of the same old, same old; the jingoism that is synonymous with the kind of seige mentality which is more reflective of containing the barbarians within the gates than keeping barbarians at the gates. Come the next GE, PAS Youth members are likely to still vote PAS but the same may not hold true for UMNO Youth. Compare all this to PoPTeeVee and a new movement that was launched recently: Youth For A Better Malaysia.

The latter is organizing a forum on the 16th of this month and in their own words:

"This dual-language forum, for youth and by youth, intends to showcase young Malaysians who are making Malaysia a better place to younger Malaysians who are looking to do the same.

Accomplished Malaysian youth from various sectors will provide insight, guidance and networking opportunities to Malaysians only a few years younger than them, in the hope of building relationships and bonds that will result in a stronger, more united group of young people empowered to continuously improve Malaysia.

The forum also hopes to bridge the widening gap between Malaysians who study in different countries overseas and local students by providing a shared opportunity to exchange views and better understand diverse perspectives.

Venue: Sunway University College, Main hall – Auditorium 7 – Level 2, South East Building
Date: Sunday, August 16th
Time: 8.30am – 6.30pm


8.30am: Opening ceremony.

9.00am: Civil Service / Political Work
Tricia Yeoh, Wan Firdaus, Lee Khai Loon, Dr. Marzuki

10.45am: Civil Society
Ong Jing Cheng, Faisal Abdul Aziz, N. Surendran, Yati Kaprawi

12.30pm: Lunch


2 panels will be held simultaneously -

Business and Entrepreneurship
Intan Hashim, Roshan Thiran

Edmund Bon, Fadiah Fikri


2 panels will be held simultaneously -

Education / Academics
Wong Chin Huat, Pn. Rosmaria, Wan Ahmad Faysal

Arts /Activism
Fahmi Fadzil, Mark Teh, Mien Lor


Electoral Politics
Nik Nazmi, Hannah Yeoh, Lim Si Pin, Rahman Dahlan"

Check out the speaker profiles and see what you think. I personally think there is hope yet for tomorrow's Malaysia because of today's youth!