KUALA LUMPUR - The past couple of months have seen Barisan Nasional’s Indian-based component party MIC making news for all the wrong reasons.
From allegations of electoral fraud, its refusal to comply with the Registrar of Societies’ (RoS) order for a re-election, a hunger strike that put the country’s image at stake, to the recent commotion at its headquarters, many experts have deduced that the party will soon lose the Indian community’s support.
The Rakyat Post sat down with its former strategic director Datuk Seri S. Vell Paari in an exclusive interview to get to the bottom of the MIC fiasco and learn what the party’s next step should be.
Q: What is the root of all the problems faced by MIC?
A: The party has gone through many disagreements in its 68 years of establishment, but this is by far the worst one we have ever encountered and it boils down to one simple reason, that is the president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel.
No matter what we went through before, our past party presidents have always been contactable and actively present in all the discussions the party had in finding solutions for our problems.
Palanivel’s biggest mistake was shutting all of us out and appearing to not care about the party’s future. He let others influence his decision, causing more problems to arise such as his appointment of Datuk G. Kumar Amaan as the party’s secretary-general despite RoS’ clear statement that the position is null and void until a re-election is carried out.
Q: How can this problem be solved and is there any way that Palanivel can redeem himself?
A: MIC is probably the oldest political party in the country, but now we are facing deregistration because the president decided to do everything else except simply complying with the RoS order. The solution now is for the president to let the reelection take place as soon as possible and save the party and its 600,000 members.
However, it is already too late for him to regain the members’ support. We have all seen his incapability of running the party and how his actions of committing election fraud has terribly jeopardised the party’s existence. Instead of dealing with the chaos that his initial action has caused, he acted in a way that further damaged the party just to protect his position.
People can say whatever they want about MIC’s past presidents, but all of them have won their positions fairly.
Moreover, everybody feels like he has let someone else, mainly Senator Barat Maniam be the one giving all the directions and he, too, is the cause of all the problems the party is facing.
Both of them have sunk the community, the party, and BN as well, to a very low depth.
The best thing for Palanivel to do is be amicable and resign from his presidential post as there is no way for him to rectify his position in the party.
Q: Senator Barat Maniam’s name has been linked to Palanivel’s decisions quite a few times lately. What influence does he have over the president?
A: That is the question everyone has been asking. Barat has been sacked from the party three times as he has always been a troublemaker. However, if you look closely at the “Gabungan Anti Samy Vellu” (GAS), there were three main guys who were strongly against Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu and they are V. Mugilan, Barat Maniam and G. Kumar Amaan.
If you look at them today, Palanivel has made Mugilan the Selangor Youth chief, Kumar the secretary-general, and Barat was given the senator’s post for the second term in a row, despite the general agreement that a member can only be a senator for one term.
So everyone has been asking as to what power Barat has over Palanivel, but nobody seems to know. Even in a Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting where questions were asked to the president regarding the election irregularities, Barat answered on his behalf. In the minutes, Datuk S. Saravanan asked the president as to how he can, on the day of the election, add one non-delegate into the electoral vote when that itself can already declare the election null and void.
Q: The public fiasco has probably caused MIC to lose a great share of the Indian community’s support, so say a re-election is conducted, what would be the next step for the party?
A: MIC is the most structured party, we have an incredible infrastructure. I won’t say the party has not been damaged by this fiasco, but it can be rebuilt.
To do this, we have to set some new directions to get the party together and we also need to do a lot of changes within the party itself. The MIC constitution which was written in 1966, if I’m not mistaken, needs to be rewritten. We need to have a constitution that caters to the current generation and this includes giving our members the freedom to talk especially to the press. In a way, this will result in the leaders being more professional in their actions as they would not want to have a negative publicity or image.
We also need to do a rebranding and the first step is getting more fresh faces that come without any baggage. They need to be community orientated and are able to go to the grassroots and engage the community.
Our mindsets need to be altered and we have to realise that we can’t tell the people that “this is what you want”. We must listen to them and allow them to have a say in the way they are being governed. - http://www.therakyatpost.com/
Just after I questioned the need for the so-called ‘moderate Malays’ to meet Mahathir Mohamad - in my view the begetter of poisonous, racist politics in Malaysia - over Najib Abdul Razak’s failure to rein in the radical forces, yet another group has courted the ‘benevolent dictator’ for its cause.
This time, it is Save Rivers, an environmental group formed to defend forests, rivers and sustainable livelihood in Sarawak. Its chairperson Peter Kallang recently invited Mahathir to speak on their behalf, and the former prime minister readily did it in a keynote speech in Kuching earlier this week, urging the Sarawak government to “rethink its controversial dam-building initiative”.
Yes, controversial is the keyword. Barely a few years before the Asian financial crisis hit Malaysia in 1997 and halted Mahathir’s hitherto uninterrupted ‘economic miracle’, the then prime minister argued for the case of the now ill-functioning Bakun Dam that would not only provide the cheapest source of energy but would also spur Malaysia’s industrialisation.
The mega dam would involve the relocation of up to 10,000 indigenous people from the Kayan, Kenyah, Kajang, Ukit and Penan ethnic groups, and radically alter Sawarak’s ecological system including the flows of the Rajang River and destruction of rainforests. Protests by grassroots activists went largely unheeded as Malaysians indulged themselves in the economic booms of the 1990s, entrusting the megalomaniac leader to do whatever he saw fit to ‘modernize’ the nation.
Prior to that, Penan protesters who wanted to preserve their land and traditional way of life were rounded up and manhandled by the police on Mahathir’s watch. One Sawarakian campaigner for indigenous rights and rainforests, Harrison Ngau, was incarcerated under the notorious Internal Security Act in 1987, while another by the name of Anderson Mutang Urud had to flee the country in 1992 just to avoid draconian legal snares.
The Bakun Dam was suspended thanks to the financial crisis, only to be revived in 2000 as Mahathir was adamant that “money spent on pre-construction works should not be wasted”. Forced relocations and resettlements therefore continued, much to the detriment of the indigenous peoples.
On June 27, 2013, Sarawak suffered a state-wide power failure and it was attributed to, guess what, the Bakun Hydroelectric Plant!
Throughout his 22 years of excessive rule, Mahathir never stopped being fond of mega projects.
British taxpayers paid for Pergau Dam
In her last days as British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher inked an arms deal with Mahathir only after the latter had secured the Iron Lady’s consent to finance the controversial Pergau Dam in Kelantan.
To bring the word ‘Great’ back to Britain, Thatcher had always been desperate to promote British arms sales around the globe, and all that she did was to reach for the taxpayers’ money to pay for the Pergau Dam.
Tim Lankester, then permanent secretary of Britain’s Overseas Development Administration, had raised doubt over the Pergau Dam and its potential environmental impact, but his opinion was disregarded by a Thatcher-dominated cabinet.
The Pergau Dam ended up as Britain’s biggest folly in terms of foreign aid and was declared, finally and quite extraordinarily, ‘unlawful’ by the English High Court in 1994 on the grounds that “it was not of economic or humanitarian benefit to the Malaysian people”.
A waste of British taxpayers’ money, no less, but the money was by then already in the pocket of the Mahathir government and there was nothing Malaysians could have done. Or they simply did not care given the false sense of ‘economic wonders’ at the time!
The charge sheet against Mahathir in regard to environmental damage is long, yet the man has shown not even a semblance of regret or remorse. He is, of course, not always right but is never wrong!
Still, there are those who rush to have an audience with Mahathir whenever a crisis occurs, just like those who look up to him as the ‘defender’ of the secular constitution, conveniently oblivious to the fact that it was Mahathir who allowed Selangor’s Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Amongst Muslims) Enactment 1988 to be passed!
Moreover, Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid holds Mahathir responsible for the rise of Islamic conservatism in that it was during the Mahathir administration that the Department of Islamic Development of Malaysia, popularly as well as unpopularly known as Jakim, was placed under the Prime Minister’s Office with more powers on religious affairs!
And now the moderate and elitist Malaysians are dying for Mahathir’s advice and guidance. If this is not Stockholm Syndrome, I don’t know what is. Or we should just rename it the Mahathir Syndrome!
If things do not turn out right for the country, I earnestly hope these self-congratulatory NGO leaders would not blame the Malaysian public or the opposition for their failure to change Malaysia. They have insulted those who had suffered tremendously under Mahathir’s tyranny for their equally just causes.
After all, it is their eagerness to embrace a divisive, devious, hypocritical, authoritarian and internationally discredited Mahathir for their ‘good causes’ that is perhaps most responsible for their own failings, and it is people like them who lack the spirit of change and inspirations, not us. - M'kini
WORLD leaders rarely regret a chance to pose with Barack Obama. But in December Malaysian voters responded angrily to footage of Najib Razak, their prime minister, playing golf with America’s president—just as severe floods were inundating the country’s coastal provinces.
A hasty tour of the flood zones, from which more than 200,000 people were evacuated, went some way to repairing the prime minister’s image. So too did the news this month that the filthy floodwaters had handed him a bout of E. coli.
That a stomach bug might be a positive development for Mr Najib says much about his difficulties.(My comments : Haa haa. The Mat Salleh really know how to be sarcastic).
Since leading his coalition to a slim victory in elections in 2013, with less than half the popular vote, his approval rating has dropped about ten points to less than 50%, according to the Merdeka Centre, a pollster.
Rumours persist that rebels are rallying around Mr Najib’s deputy, Muhyiddin Yassin.
This kind of rough and tumble is not rare in Malaysia’s ruthless politics. It looks rather like the brawling which eventually toppled Mr Najib’s predecessor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, in 2009.
But lately two singular developments have added to the prime minister’s problems.
The first is the terrible performance of 1MDB, a loss-making state investment fund that is struggling to service around $12 billion of debt and whose board of advisers Mr Najib chairs. At the end of December it failed to repay a $563m loan; some people fear that a costly bail-out is on the cards.
The second distraction is an unexpected verdict handed down by the federal court in a long-running murder case. On January 13th the court overturned the acquittal of two policemen who were convicted in 2009 of murdering a Mongolian woman. (I am not going to repeat the rest. Pi baca sendiri).
Mr Najib’s position is probably safe for the moment. None of his rivals yet commands quite enough support within UMNO or among voters. He is throwing bones to his detractors: in November he backed down on a promise to do away with the Sedition Act—a noxious colonial-era law on censorship that is currently being used to harry opposition figures—and pledged instead to bolster it with new clauses that would criminalise some speech against Islam and other religions.
Much will depend on the economy, for which Mr Najib, who is both prime minister and finance minister, is seen as having full responsibility. Though the country has gradually grown less dependent on revenues from oil and gas, these still make up around 30% of government income. The collapse of oil prices has left a hole.
The government has taken the chance to slash fuel subsidies, and on January 20th it pledged to keep the deficit fairly close to its earlier target of 3%. But spending cuts may unsettle the public, which is already swallowing a new tax for goods and services.
Hardly anyone thinks Mr Najib still has the power or the will to push through the big-ticket reforms he once considered, such as a plan to tone down positive discrimination laws, which throttle growth by favouring the Malay majority at the expense of ethnic Chinese and Indians. But his defenestration could well mean UMNO veering even harder to the right on divisive issues such as Islam’s place in society. Few voters really want Malaysia’s polarised racial politics to get any more toxic.
My comments : Looks like the Western media finally thinks that this is a news worthy item. Knives out ? Ouch !
The international community is now onto the scent. How will the international community react? Malaysia is a very, very important country not just in Asia but in the world.
Our economy is the 30th largest in the world (US$525 billion at PPP or about RM1.8 Trillion, refer CIA World Factbook.) However our per capita GDP is no. 79 in the world. This means there are significant numbers of very rich people in Malaysia.
Anyway, do you think the US Embassy will seek to help Najib? What about the meddlesome British? Singapore? Which foreign country or foreign power would like to see Najib stay in power or leave?
Everyone wants to see Malaysia prosper. When we do not prosper - all across the board - people will get kicked out.
At this point in our history even a used handbag would do a better job than Najib.
To be practical, the speed of the change will be influenced by the readiness of the successors in line. I use the plural. Successors you know who you are - now is not the time to play segan. Step up.
'You will never know the motive because you dare not ask.'
Lord Denning: Inspector-general of police (IGP) Khalid Abu Bakar, isn't it the PDRM's (Royal Malaysian Police) job to establish a working motive for the murder by the two policemen in the course of their investigation?
Police commandos Sirul Azhar Umar and Azilah Hadri did not know the victim, Altantuya Shaariibuu, and have no logical motive or otherwise reasonable cause for committing her murder, like being drunk and in control of a firearm, being mentally unstable or exhibiting prior psychopathic tendencies.
So why would they want her dead? Haven't you wondered or did your boys not get the answers during the investigation?
Middle Path: As IGP and the police, isn't it important for the motive of a crime to be ascertained in any part of your investigation before charging the suspects? It’s very, very odd for a police officer, especially a IGP, to state that.
Slumdog: Khalid’s comments are staggering. He doesn’t know why the "rogue" policemen killed Altantuya, really? Did anybody think of asking them?
I know how difficult it is to find out the reasons when the defence and prosecution work in collusion to not ask the question why and who ordered her murder.
Then you have the judge stating that it was not important to the case to establish the motive for the murder.
This whole sham episode is one of the blight in the Malaysian justice system with lies, cover-ups, dishonesty and political interference, that it is no surprise that the reasons for Altantuya’s murder were never established.
Wg321: In his confession to the police in the form of a caution statement, Sirul Azhar Umar told the interrogating officer that he was offered RM50,000 to RM100,000 to kill Altantuya.
So the next logical question the interrogating officer should ask Sirul is "who offered you this money" but this crucial question was not asked.
So besides the prosecutor, the defence and the judge, it appeared that the police also play a role in the cover-up in protecting the real murderer. In fact, Sirul's confession was ignored by the prosecutor, the defence and the judge.
Since he cannot get justice in the Malaysian court, I hope he can get real justice from the Australian court. Sirul only deserved a lesser sentence instead of the death penalty.
Samurai: I find it more than mildly disturbing that the police chief, of all people, finds no need to establish why two of his law enforcement officers, who are tasked with protecting peoples' lives, had committed murder, and would blithely accept the fact without question.
Any wonder why Malaysians don't feel safe anymore.
Anonymous #19098644: These two convicted murderers who kidnapped, shot, killed and blew up an allegedly pregnant Mongolian woman are specially trained and vetted Special Action Unit police assigned to cover the most important VVIPs, for example the prime minister.
They are trained to sacrifice themselves to protect them. They are trained to take instructions and orders. They have no symptoms of any type of mental instability. So whose orders did they take?
Who benefits from killing and blowing up an allegedly pregnant Mongolian woman? Who has the motive? Even a child is not so idiotic to believe that these two 'black sheep' acted on their own.
Has justice been done? Has the person who allegedly issued the instructions to kill and blow up the woman been brought to justice? Please stop treating the rakyat like idiots.
Gerard Lourdesamy: Abdul Razak Baginda has suddenly become the mouse that roars. Why stay in England and make these comments? Return to Malaysia and vindicate yourself if you think that public perception is wrong.
Ask anybody in the police force in private and they will swear that Sirul and Azilah Hadri did not go on a frolic of their own to kill Altantuya with C4 explosives but rather were told to do so by very powerful individuals.
If the duo were only told to deal with the problem since Altantuya had been harassing Abdul Razak for money or other favours, why kill her when all they could have done was to warn her or get her deported out of the country?
Why was her immigration records deleted? During the trial, why did the prosecution and defence object to any question that touched on a political conspiracy, which the judge dutifully disallowed?
Abasir: More termites are emerging from the rotten woodwork. Someone has been knocking on wood for luck and see what happens?
When will these people realise that it ain't over till the first fat lady sings or squeals? And since that's not likely anytime soon, the saga continues, like a mega serial with revelations coming in instalments.
We look forward to the next season when the Bar Council reveals the findings of its inquiries into the false statutory declaration (SD) prepared by a lawyer allegedly at the behest of the principal character(s).
Till then, the "who ordered the killing" question will remain but only on every decent Malaysian's lips.
Senior: “We will never know...,” said Khalid.
The “we” here refers to ordinary rakyat like you and I, but there are those who know, and will see to it that we will never know. Unless Sirul sings.
Tulan: IGP, you will never know because you dare not ask. Is that a fair conclusion? - Mkini
Deputy Finance Minister Ahmad Maslan reportedly said that unscrupulous traders who refused to lower the prices of certain clusters of goods after GST implementation on April 1 could be categorized as economic saboteurs and actions could be taken against them under the Price Control Act and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011.
I welcome his announcement whole-heartedly, but in order to show his seriousness in his words, I challenge him to take action against TNB and Najib for refusing to lower the electricity tariff even though the international crude oil price has plummeted recently.
The government hiked electricity tariff by 16% in January last year due to the then high international crude oil price. The benchmark coal price embedded in January 2014 electricity tariff was RM275 per metric tan (coal cost: USD87.5 per metric tan at RM3.14/USD). In December 2014, the effective coal price was 21% lower at RM217 per metric tan (coal cost: USD62 per metric tan at RM3.50/USD). UOB Kay Hian Research estimates that TNB could save RM424 million for the first six months of 2015.
On the other hand, Hong Leong Investment Bank (HLIB) Research opines that TNB could save some RM310 million in fuel costs for the first half of this year and RM703 million in 2015. The research house also estimates TNB could save RM667.8 million in costs or 13.8% of its operations in FY14 given the lower coal price of below USD65 per metric ton.
After the crude oil price fell last year, the Singapore government announced 8% of reduction in electricity tariff on January 1 this year while Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem announced on November 20 last year to reduce electricity tariff by 40%. Being a beneficiary of lower coal price, why TNB did not follow their steps, especially when its net profit for the first quarter ended November 30, 2014 rose 34.3% year-on-year to RM2.35 billion?
So I urge Ahmad Maslan, instead of threatening to take harsh action against unscrupulous traders who refused to lower the prices of certain clusters of goods after April 1, he should first take against TNB and BN government who have refused to lower the electricity tariff.
With sodomy appeal verdict looming, opposition leader makes an appeal for coalition party leaders to hold a meeting.
KUALA LUMPUR: Oppostion leader Anwar Ibrahim has made an appeal to Pakatan Rakyat partners DAP and PAS to stop their squabbling, and to have a meeting of party heads before February 10, when the Federal Court delivers its judgement on Anwar’s appeal against conviction for sodomy.
He appealed to all Pakatan Rakyat parties to come together for discussions. “I appeal to them, be patient and bring all disputes to the discussion table. We ought to meet before February 10,” he said.
The constant sniping between the DAP and PAS have stymied plans for a Pakatan summit, with PAS leader Abdul Hadi Awang being blamed in some reports for being the stumbling block. The Pakatan leadership council has reportedly not met in more than six months.
In an apparent reference to this, Anwar was quoted as saying:: “Unfortunately, we still don’t have an agreement on the date”, according to the Malaysian Insider reporting from an international youth conference at which Anwar spoke today.
The DAP have continued their long-standing opposition to PAS’s plans for hudud Islamic criminal punishment, and in apparent retaliation, Hadi has come out strongly against a DAP campaign to restore local government elections.
On the PAS plan for hudud in Kelantan, Anwar said Pakatan Rakyat had still not seen a draft of the Bill that the PAS-led state government wanted to enact and seek approval of in Parliament.
“I have not received anything. We have asked the state government to submit a draft of the enactment so that we can discuss it together. I have not seen it so I cannot comment further. But in principle, our priorities are to ensure justice and peace, to stop the flames of communalism and to restore the independence of the judiciary,” he said.
A special sitting of the Kelantan assembly, scheduled for December 29, was postponed indefinitely when the east coast states suffered severe monsoon flooding.
FT Islamic affairs dept making her a scapegoat, says Keadilan Youth.
PETALING JAYA: Keadilan Youth has urged the Federal Territories Islamic Affairs Department to stop hounding Borders bookshop manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz in a case involving the controversial book Allah, Liberty and Love by Iranian writer Irshad Manji.
Keadilan Youth leader Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said the wing was disappointed with Jawi’s decision to apply to the Federal Court to appeal against a decision that Jawi’s raid on the bookshop was unconstitutional.
The Court of Appeal had held that Jawi had acted beyond their powers in arresting and prosecuting Nik Raina and the bookshop. Jawi’s actions were unconstitutional and illegal.
The youth wing questioned the need to rigorously pursue action against Nik Raina when Jawi’s dispute is with the book. “Nik Raina is just the branch manager and she cannot be faulted for the availability of the book as it was not banned at that time.”
Keadilan Youth urged Jawi “to stop making Nik Raina the scapegoat” and drop the case instead of prolonging her ordeal by taking it to the Federal Court.
Leaders from Malaya and their Sabah representatives should stop making an excuse of making calls for secession as seditious or against the Constitution to prevent Sabah and Sarawak from leaving the Federation of Malaysia. Instead of following the Umno BN dictatorial regime, a diplomatic and consultative approach would be a better option to persuade Sabahans and Sarawakians to remain in the Federation.
The people in Sabah and Sarawak know for a fact that Sabah and Sarawak were taken for a ride and cheated outright in the formation of Malaysia.
They also know that Malaya needs Sabah and Sarawak more than Sabah and Sarawak need Malaya and without Sabah and Sarawak’s oil wealth, Malaya and Malaysia would go bankrupt well before 2019 given its current national debt of about RM700 billion.
Sabah and Sarawak has nothing or little to gain by remaining in Malaysia with the existing arrangement as the 12th and 13th State of Malaya masquerading as Malaysia.
PM Najib made a huge mistake in announcing at the Umno general assembly last year end that the 1948 colonial Sedition Act will be amended with additions to make it seditious against calls for Sabah and Sarawak to leave Malaysia.
Pakatan leaders should not be following in Najib’s footsteps if they wish to have a realistic chance of taking over Putrajaya in GE-14. They would need the support of Sabah and Sarawak to win control of Putrajaya.
If secession is seditious and or against the Constitution, why was it Singapore was allowed secession in 1965? Shouldn’t the Singapore leaders then be charged for sedition if it was seditious?
Not only did the federal government allowed Singapore to depart. They actually signed the agreement departing with Singapore before the motion to approve the departure was tabled in Parliament on 9th August 1965 without the MPs from Singapore. The federal Parliament was merely asked to endorse and rubber-stamp the departure.
Obviously, they were not charged and Singapore was allowed to go separate ways because as said by Lord Lansdowne, Chairman of the IGC:
“… any State voluntarily entering a federation had an intrinsic right to secede at will, and that it was, therefore, unnecessary to include it in the Constitution.”
Nowhere is it stated in the Federal Constitution that Sabah and Sarawak are not allowed to secede.
Even the British who started the sedition laws know better and the Sedition Act has been abolished in the United Kingdom where sedition is no longer a criminal offence.
If the federal leaders care to listen, Sabah and Sarawak nationalists and activists are not seeking secession but restoration of the legitimate rights, privileges and autonomy of the Borneo States that were taken away or eroded since 1963. Of course, there was a basis that led to the formation of Malaysia and if that basis is not honoured, one of the lawful and legal recourse would be a de-merger or dissolution. In such an event, it is not secession.
If the federal leaders wish to have Sabah and Sarawak remain in Malaysia, a soft and diplomatic approach would probably be more successful. Even the Attorney General had advised on this recourse.
However, if the federal government thinks otherwise and were to charge any Sabah/Sarawak nationalist for sedition, it would be their gravest mistake.
It will be a golden opportunity to open the flood gates to the international community of the dark secrets and the wrong-doings against Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia. It will also mark the beginning of the end and break-up of the Malaysian federation.