Tuesday, November 30, 2010
|Ku Li, Muhyiddin - a changing power equation in Umno|
Pakatan Rakyat leaders slammed Prime Minister Najib Razak for trying to inhibit democracy in his own Umno party by using the prospect of early general elections as an excuse to defer internal polls by 18 months.
“As usual, Najib is trying to create a mirage. By postponing for such a long time means the 13th general election can be as late as June 2012. Is he doing this for the good of Umno, BN or for himself and his own faction,” PAS treasurer-general Hatta Ramli toldMalaysia Chronicle.
Three-corned fight at the top
In the past months, there has been red-hot speculation that Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin would challenge Najib for the Umno presidency. Veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, rejuvenated by the recent Galas by-election victory, has also been approached by members to make it a three-cornered fight.
Najib did not win the Umno top post or the prime minister-ship through election by party members. He succeeded his predecessor Abdullah Badawi, who resigned in his favour in April 2009 after an internal coup plotted by Najib himself and former premier Mahathir Mohamad.
However, the 57-year son of one of Umno founding member, Abdul Razak Hussein, failed to shine both as prime minister and Umno president. He has failed to push through life-breathing reforms into Umno, and till now, has not delivered any significant economic or social program for the nation.
“Najib has been carefully crafting the impression that general elections will be held in the next few months. It looks like he has been plotting such a move of stop the Umno polls and this definitely indicates that the infighting in Umno must be very serious and he is unable to control it,” PKR vice president Tian Chua toldMalaysia Chronicle.
Najib failed to shine
Indeed, Najib has only barely managed to keep the powerful Umno warlords from publicly going after each other. In Perlis, Terengganu, Negri Sembilan, Selangor and even his own home state of Pahang, there are clear factions led by entrenched Umno leaders and they are all demanding for seats to contest in the next general election which must be held latest by mid-2013.
Umno watchers told Malaysia Chronicle these warlords and their supporters were already preparing to launch all-out offensives against each other to win the divisional and central leadership positions.
“Infighting is something that happens routinely in every Umno election especially when the GE is also nearby. But postponing by 18 months has raised eyebrows because the period is too long. Is Najib delaying it for his personal motives? Possibly, he understands he is likely to lose to Muhyiddin and this might be a way for him to cling on for as long as he can,” the observer told Malaysia Chronicle.
Mariam Mokhtar, Malaysia Chronicle
Looking at the camaraderie between former Prime minister Mahathir Mohamad and former International trade and industry minister Rafidah Aziz, you wouldn’t think that they had spectacularly fallen out in 2005 over her abuse of the Approved Permits for the importation of cars.
But when people are desperate, even adversaries will unite.
The two were at the third Malaysia-Europe Forum Dialogue held in Kuala Lumpur. The theme of the forum, “Looking Back in Order to Move Forward” was according to Rafidah, an opportunity for Malaysia and Europe to understand their respective policies, especially on investment opportunities.
Mahathir delivered a keynote address, “The Malaysian Political Landscape – Experiences, Perspective and Thoughts”, and then answered questions from the delegates, which covered current issues, politics and his tenure as prime minister.
Rafidah, who was the advisor and patron of the forum, appeared delighted in adding greater depth and detail, to some of Mahathir’s answers.
Their team spirit and engaging manner, displayed none of the acrimony that once existed.
So what are observers to make of this spectacle?
The groundswell of support for the opposition is a threat to the government. The knowledge that the opposition is making serious inroads into the political landscape of Malaysian politics must trouble the senior ranks of BN, especially Umno.
Thus Rafidah and Mahathir are not pretending. Theirs is a genuine show of friendship because Umno is desperate to be seen as one united front. In addition, Umno is keen to be seen promoting the interests of all Malaysians.
Otherwise, why else would Mahathir change his tune and suddenly endorse Prime minster Najib Abdul Razak’s 1Malaysia concept?
He said, “When you say 'national unity' you forget your past, your origins, and identify yourself only as Malaysian, you speak one language and don't ask for privileges just because you are indigenous or non-indigenous.”
He appeared to backtrack on his ‘ketuanan Melayu’ with, “We cannot call ourselves Malaysians of Malay origin, Chinese origin or Indian origin.”
Up till this point, hadn’t he been dismissive about Najib’s 1Malaysia?
Neither is Mahathir singing Najib’s tune simply to woo the Europeans at the Forum, even though the EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman David Jones was also present to deliver a working paper at this forum.
Few will forget Mahathir’s “Look East” policy. Moreover, it is not in Mahathir’s nature to cultivate the goodwill of the Europeans.
No. He and Rafidah are suddenly championing 1Malaysia because just like Umno and BN, they are afraid.
There is a high probability that were Pakatan to triumph in the next general election, the old guard of Mahathir, including past and present politicians, will be brought to trial to answer charges of corruption, nepotism and abuses of power. They will be asked to declare their assets and how they came by them. They will be asked to return the monies to the public. They may be jailed.
At the forum, Mahathir defended his introduction of the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA): “All students study on public money. It is a waste of public money when they spend their time demonstrating, when you are paid to study and don't study”.
Rafidah, who moderated Mahathir's talk, interjected and made references to Anwar: “I was a lecturer in UM. (Opposition Leader) Anwar Ibrahim was (then) a student of mine, and there was no UUCA at the time.”
She poured more scorn onto Anwar and said, “Look at what happened to him. He spent most of his time politicking and classes were disrupted. It is so disruptive for education, to those who didn't bother.”
Being an academic, she agreed with the UUCA because its ‘stabilizing effect on education would prevent the emergence of more ‘Anwars’’.
Last June, Rafidah said that rebellious and outspoken young Malaysians were hindering Mahathir’s Vision of 2020. She blamed them and the younger generation of politicians for going on “ego-trips”.
She said, “When I became a politician, I never dared to speak out against my seniors... I was in awe of them and I wanted to learn from them.”
And that’s where the problem lies.
During Rafidah’s time, her “seniors” would presumably be the people who led the country after Merdeka. These were men and women of integrity, honour and distinction, who deemed it a privilege to serve the public.
Sadly, during our time, the calibre of our ‘seniors’- the likes of Mahathir onwards, is appalling.
|The federal constitution|
Are our efforts to foster racial unity really doddering, as alleged by some? Indications are that they are. Incidents involving people in responsible positions making derogatory racial remarks all point to that direction. What these people said is too sensitive to quote here. But suffice to say they were derogatory and racist remarks, which no amount of apology will erase.
Again what prompted the prime minister to give a stern warning that the government would not tolerate such sensitive issues being raised by any quarter? The answer is simply that racial unity is still elusive, and unless programmed and implemented wisely, it will not easily be achieved.
I am prompted to reminisce about what the late Koh Kai Boh, a Cabinet minister prior to the May 13 incident, said when he came to Malaysia Hall, London to give a briefing on the situation, weeks after the infamous incident. Among other things, he said, “the government is guilty of criminal negligence in not teaching and explaining to the people our constitution.” Had that been done, he said, the racial riot could not have occurred. The late Koh Kai Boh himself was a lawyer.
In short, what the former minister meant was, had the people understood their respective rights and obligations under the country’s principal law, things would automatically have fallen into place and the racial outburst would not have occurred. Understanding the constitution would also teach the people that to be a Malaysian is not just to be a Malay, Chinese or Indian, but to assume a nationality that is “Malaysian”. Race is relegated to nationality and only becomes relevant when applying personal laws such as marriages and other customary practices.
The United Kingdom is relevant example. All citizens are British, not English or Scottish or Welsh. Though, to a small extent, regional sentiments still exist, but on a common front, they are one people, “British”.
Forty one years later, the Barisan Nasional (BN) government still carries the same sin, as pointed out by the late Koh Kai Boh. In fact, negligence has been added to that: The BN’s failure to explain what the so-called “Social Contract” is about.
Many do not know the existence of the Social Contract and have heard it only for the first time. Others think that it is a created thing to justify the BN’s failure to achieve the target for Bumiputera economic participation.
If, as some quarters allege, a breach by one party of this alleged Social Contract is the reason for Malays lagging behind economically, then a manipulation of the issue could create something really frightening.
As a 71-year-old, I think the so-called Social Contract is best described as a vague, unpublished agreement, concealed from public knowledge and made to surface at a convenient time, purely for the BN’s political exigency. But this is an issue too dangerous to toy about with.
As citizens, we have the absolute right to forewarn the powers-that-be that there are other ways of gaining political support. Do not follow the aphorism that in a time of storm, any port will do. It is simply self-destructive. And we know that the BN is now in a precarious position.
So that brings us the question how a country ruled by a coalition of race-based parties will fare with the 1 Malaysia concept or any other racial-integration programme for that matter. As each party’s policy is governed by decisions made in the party’s convention, we wonder how consensus in Cabinet meetings can be reached on issues touching on race or a particular community.
But even when a “forced” consensus is reached, when the issue comes unstuck, it could invite disguised retaliation, which would only exacerbate misunderstanding and dissatisfaction. So that will take us back to square one.
Every race-based political party has a communal drive, which is the reason for its successful formation. Spurred on by a feisty party symbol, a race-based party’s move along chauvinistic lines is something “natural” and to be expected; after all, race or communal interest is its raison d’être, without which it would not exist.
One has only to attend any race-based political party’s convention and listen to the delegates’ speeches to realise how racist their members are. It may sound mortifying to these party members but it’s the stark reality.
This is the foremost issue that each Malaysian will have to think about seriously. It’s either do away with race-based political parties or stay race-based, in which case the country would forever remain divided along racial lines and the One Malaysia concept would never be achieved. And, in which case, the ISA would be needed even more than ever before. Now, the choice is ours! — aliran.com
Hishamuddin Yahaya is a lawyer and former MP for Maran
|Chua - related to his sex DVD?|
The appointment of MCA President Chua Sui Lek to be the Penang Port Commission chairman reflects the party's status in the BN government these days. It was fact that MCA president in the past used to be Malaysia's Finance Minister.
Nevertheless, what an irony now that even Chua's son is Deputy Minister while he himself - the MCA president no less - has been demoted to be a state's port chairman.
I regard this appointment as grave insult to MCA. Even the soon-to-be-retired MIC president Samy Vellu may be appointed as special eonvoy to South Asia with Minister's status, but it looks that MCA does not enjoy the same status.
(Nga Kor Ming is the DAP MP for Taiping)
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Mariam Mokhtar, Malaysia Chronicle When the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou ended last Saturday, our athletes did us proud and Malaysia came 10th in
When the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou ended last Saturday, our athletes did us proud and Malaysia came 10th in the final tally with a record nine gold, 18 silver and 13 bronze medals.
On the sporting field, it was high-fives, smiles and congratulations all round. Behind the scenes, another story appears to have unfolded.
Chef-de-mission Zolkples Embong’s assessment of the Malaysian performance was that we failed to impress in athletics. In a press conference, he asked the Malaysian Amateur Athletic Union (MAAU) president Shahidan Kassim to explain why ‘athletics’ failed to deliver, unlike in ‘aquatics’.
For those in the know, the problem is not with Shahidan's leadership but with a group of people who are allied to a senior official in the body, who undermines Shahidan’s authority.
Zolkples’s other concerns was that the country seemed to place its hopes on a few core athletes only, and that the national track and field athletes failed to deliver even one medal.
Our last stellar performance for track and field events was in 1966 when we won a record five gold medals whilst our last gold for these events was in 1982.
Besides that, we have insufficient quality long and middle distance runners, sprinters, horizontal jumpers, walkers and throwers.
The overall concensus is that the performance we achieved this year may not be reproduced for the next Asian Games unless Malaysian athletics is overhauled. The MAAU needs fresh ideas and people, and to replace those whose divisive presence undermines team effort.
The MAAU is answerable for the disastrous performance in Guangzhou and unlike the casual nature of addressing poor performance in previous major sporting events, the correct thing to do now, is to inform those who are in positions of responsibility, that their positions are untenable.
This year, Lee Hup Wei, Roslinda Samsu and Noraseela Khalid failed to shine. Although Hup Wei’s sporting achievements will continue for a number of years, Roslinda and Noraseela’s presence may only cover a few more sporting events. For these two, there appears to be no replacement in sight.
Another cause for concern is MAAU's decision making. Deserving athletes who would have gained valuable experience at this major sporting event, were excluded.
We congratulate those who won medals and though the others did not win, they tried their best but at the end of the day, the better person won.
If we are serious about improving our sporting prowess in international events, then one wonders if the Sports Minister should not wade in and sort out the internal problems within the MAAU.
How are we to take on the world in sporting events if we are not acting as one team?
One way of ‘replacing’ sporting talent is to address the declining role of sports in our schools.
Maybe the minister should take a proactive role and advise the Education Minister that thus far, the education ministry should not slash the annual budget for school sports, and should not axe various sports from the Malaysian Schools Sports Council calendar.
Our children’s education should be wholesome, with equal emphasis on sports and academic pursuits. It might be through these channels that our sporting talents and future champions are discovered through nurturing sport at school.
An earnest appeal has gone out to Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud to do some serious soul-searching of his role in the mismanagement of Sarawak’s resources.
“The chief minister has a lot to explain for the negative focus on Sarawak today – the widely reported allegations of his massive wealth in particular. The financial wealth he had acquired in his 30 years as Sarawak chief minister is known throughout the world,” Movement For Change, Sarawak (MoCS) leader Francis Paul Siah said here today.
Noting that Taib has just returned to Kuching from the Haj in Mecca, he suggested that this was the most appropriate time for the chief minister to reflect deeply on the widespread allegations against him.
“So far, the chief minister did not respond to the many declarations released by the Sarawak Report website of how he allegedly abused his position to amass wealth for himself, his family members and cronies.
Answer to God
“If Taib does not want to explain the allegations to the people of Sarawak, at least he has to answer to God. So I’m asking him to search his conscience ie. If he has any left to reflect on,” Siah said.
The MoCS chief said that as one reason Muslims go to Mecca was to seek forgiveness and atonement for their sins, Taib with his public image as a deeply religious person, should know what to do.
Siah also reminded Taib of what RPK wrote in his blog recently, “And after doing all these evil deeds, they purport to repent and put on a public show of visiting God’s house in Mecca to seek forgiveness. And they think that all their sins can be cleansed and that God will forgive them by that single act of being seen to be performing the Haj. I suppose it is that easy to take the Good Lord for a ride.”
“I hope Taib can prove RPK wrong on his take about certain Muslim leaders in the country,” Siah said.
The MoCS leader pointed out that the majority of Sarawakians are not atheists but have a religious faith and are God-fearing people.
“Hence, it is still not too late for the chief minister to come clean. If he does so, his fellow Sarawakians may find it within their hearts to forgive him. As a Muslim, Taib must surely believe that God works in wondrous and mysterious ways,” he said.
On the extent of the foreign and local properties owned by the chief minister and his family, as revealed in a series of recent exposes bySarawak Report, Siah expressed “sheer disgust” and “total shock”.
Can do what he likes
In a latest Sarawak Report expose and in what appears to be a first, Taib Mahmud has put his own name to a controversial million-ringgit project – the Royal Mulu Resort – that has benefited from huge injections of taxpayers’ money and state backing.
The whistleblower website said the chief minister had in 2007 not bothered to go through the usual process of disguising his moves to deflect claims of corruption and conflicts of interest, and is said to have inked his own interest in the Royal Mulu Resort.
The report suggested a growing confidence that “Taib can do what he likes in Sarawak and get away with it. As the chief minister, finance minister and state resources and planning minister, Taib has stood to gain personally.”
“So our appeal to the chief minister today is to ‘search your conscience and come clean’ with all the allegations against him,” Siah added.
Last September 16, MoCS had set a deadline – August 2011 – for Taib Mahmud to step down as chief minister.
“If Taib remains stubborn and refuses to listen, we may have to resort to other courses of action when the time is up,” the movement had said.
courtesy of Hornbill Unleashed
Perkasa, ex-PKR Zahrain and Hishammuddin have criticized both Anwar and Wan Azizah for rejecting the 'ketuanan Melayu' concept. Perkasa Youth chief even went a step ahead by calling the PKR president a political 'prostitute'.
If Wan Azizah is being verbally abused and ostracised for rejecting institutional racism and mega hypocrisy, I would like to tell her critics that we would prefer to embrace a leader like than racial bigots like Perkasa leaders, Zahrain and Hishammuddin.
These bigots are certainly serving their own political interest and personal interest by claiming skin deep supremacy over other non-Malay Malaysians. The federal constitution is clear about equal rights for all citizens. What is the use of citizenship if all Malaysians are not legally, politically and socially equal?
Hishammuddin said PKR president Wan Azizah's statement on the subject clearly had political motives and was aimed at causing unease among the various races in the country.
"I would like to ask Wan Azizah and the PKR leadership, are they also rejecting the institution of the Malay rulers? What is being raised by PKR is clearly an attempt to belittle the Malays. We do not want the institution of the Malay rulers to be also belittled," he said in a statement.
Hishammuddin should not try to divert the whole attention and debate away from how Umno was trying to frame 'ketuanan Melayu'. It was not about the royalty. Their role has been clearly defined in the constitution. Malay rulers are respected for their symbolic prominence, reverence, and co-existence within the larger framework of a parliamentary democracy.
Wan Azizah and her party rejected the Umno version of 'ketuanan Melayu' which aims at deceiving the Malays about an imaginary supremacy. The truth is more than 96% of the poor are made up of Malays. Malays have problem holding on to the 30% equity since the NEP was implemented in 1970. Malays are still considered lagging behind the others in economic development and knowledge acquisition. Even Dr Mahathir conceeded that he was not qualified to study medicine.
Similarly, for the good of our Malay friends, we should reject the Umno's version of Malay supremacy too. They are merely using the special privileges, granted through a perceived constitutional supremacy, to enrich themselves and their relatives. Evidence are aplenty in Peninsula Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak. Meanwhile, the common Malays are left hoping for some crumbs from their 'Bapaks' (read Umno/BN).
It is a shame that some Malays and 'celup' Malays (e.g. Ridhuan Tee) have continued to blame the Chinese for all their miseries. They should remember majority of the Chinese do not have any blood relations with YTL, Berjaya, Genting, Malton, Public Bank or some other rich corporate founders.
Umno has an uninterrupted rule and dominance in the Malaysian politics since the independence. If it cannot help the Malays through the NEP despite being a self-proclaimed Malay champion, it is right time for the community to find a better champion. A true champion should be able to alleviate more Malays out from poverty and help them to acquire real knowledge and skills. Malays, under Umno rule, are merely 'jaguh kampung' (local hero).
Perhaps PKR Wan Azizah has a better plan for her own community. It is time we see more world-class Malay intellectuals and leaders.
Umno's 'ketuanan Melayu' is like smoking opium. It brings temporary ecstasy and joy but long term damage to the brain and body. It is time to treat the disease.
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 30 — In the clearest sign yet that Barisan Nasional (BN) is preparing for general elections next year, Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced tonight that party polls scheduled for next year would be put off by 18 months.