MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Thursday, November 23, 2017


KUALA LUMPUR – With the general election mere months away, Pakatan Harapan (PH) is scrambling to ensure its long-drawn bid to be formally registered as a coalition is approved.
The pact has accused the Registrar of Societies (RoS) of stalling the process, which the agency denied when highlighting fresh issues with DAP and PPBM: the former owes the RoS the final report on the internal election the agency ordered it to repeat while the latter has not held an annual general meeting as required.
Given that PH’s predecessor, the defunct Pakatan Rakyat, was able to win up to five states in Election 2008 and the popular vote in 2013, why is the Opposition so motivated to have the coalition formalised ahead of the next general election?
What will registration allow PH to do?
Single narrative
For one, it will let the Opposition coalition shape a unified narrative during the general election with which to tap support outside its customary hunting grounds, such as Malay-majority areas outside of the Klang Valley where voters are traditionally Umno supporters.
For PH leaders, it will allow them to deliver a targeted message while potentially letting them sidestep the ideological differences between DAP,  PKR, Amanah and PPBM.
It will also permit the four parties present a common facade to voters, benefitting newer parties such as Amanah and PPBM that still struggle with lack of recognition.
“Provided that this formal registration is approved now or in a very near future, this will enable PH to use one single logo — the PH logo — in GE14.
“This provide a crystal clear alternative: PH vs BN. And this will in many ways boost PH’s chances at the poll,” PH chief secretary Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah told Malay Mail Online when contacted.
Most importantly, the pact hopes to use the umbrella entity to minimise the chances of friendly fire when PAS is already set to spoil the fight between PH and the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN), even without considering the free-for-alls common in Sabah and Sarawak.
Multi-cornered contests have customarily worked against Opposition parties, and this was demonstrated in both the Sarawak state polls last year and two by-elections shortly after.
DAP assistant national publicity secretary Zairil Khir Johari told Malay Mail Online he believed a common logo would alleviate such a risk, as the rebelling candidate would not be allowed to use the image.
“Formal registration will give us cohesiveness and most importantly allow us to use a common logo at the election. With a common logo, it is impossible to have three-cornered fights,” he said.
“Once we have a formal coalition and a common logo, all PH parties will contest using common logo only,” he said.
PPBM supreme council member Datuk Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff said that once approved, PH parties should adhere to using the shared identity as it would suggest a lack of unity otherwise.
“Further this can be exploited by Umno/BN to further confuse the voters, as they always do,” he said, insisting that the application must be approved in the interests of fairplay and democracy.
‘Special arrangements’ still possible
Despite the insistence on registering, an official PH pact would not operate in a fundamentally different manner than now.
The pact could still have ad hoc relationships with non-member parties, such as in Selangor where this approach has let PH remain in power with the unofficial support of PAS lawmakers, even when the Islamist party ended all ties with the pact.
According to Saifuddin, each state may even have their own special arrangements for GE14, particularly for Sabah and Sarawak where PPBM is not represented.
In such instances, he said PH would need to work with local parties.
“So, Selangor is also like that,” he explained.
Political analyst Oh Ei Sun believed that successful registration with the RoS would be mainly a symbolic victory as it will formalise the common bond among the four PH parties.
“They can print banners, pamphlets and other campaign materials under same logo and thereby save a bit of explanation to the voters.
“Even without formal registration as a coalition, the PR parties have been performing quite well in last two general elections, so registration per se is really not a big factor in effectuating support for the opposition. They can still campaign using their respective logos,” the principal adviser of Pacific Research Centre, Malaysia told Malay Mail Online.
PH submitted its application to RoS months ago and was told then to alter their logo before the application was accepted. They amended this as directed, but have not received official updates since.
– Malay Mail


KUALA LUMPUR –  Half of the 26 politicians from the Pakatan Harapan (PH) Opposition pact who recently declared their assets are millionaires on paper, while the rest were generally worth more than the average Malaysian.
The least moneyed politician on the list of mostly incumbent federal and state lawmakers from PKR, Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) and PAS who publicly declared their assets to Invoke, a big data outfit run by PKR vice president Rafizi Ramli, was retired naval officer and Lumut MP Mohamad Imran Abdul Hamid, with a net worth of RM45,000.
The other 25 Opposition politicians have net worths (assets minus liabilities) ranging from RM124,000 to RM4.7 million. This is in contrast with the general Malaysian population where only about 10 per cent earn enough to pay income tax.
According to Credit Suisse Research Institute’s Global Wealth Report 2017 released this month, Malaysia was described as an upper middle income country with US$22,804 (RM94,055) wealth per adult this year. This was an increase from US$8,306 (RM34,258) in 2000.
A total of 30,158 adults in Malaysia were high net worth individuals with their values between US$1 million (RM4.1 million) and US$5 million (RM20.6 million), according to the report.
PKR’s Ijok assemblyman Dr Idris Ahmad who has a gynaecology practice — the richest of the 26 who declared their assets to Invoke — was the only high net worth individual on the list with a net worth of RM4.7 million.
According to Dr Idris’ asset declaration, he has four properties (one of which was a bungalow purchased in 2006 for RM3 million), two land lots and three vehicles — a Volvo XC70, Honda CRV and Toyota Camry — all of which were above RM100,000 in current market value.
The second wealthiest politician on the list was medical officer and former Kedah executive councillor Dr Ismail Salleh from Amanah with a net worth of RM3.1 million. His asset declaration said he owned 90 per cent of shares in one company and 200,000 shares in another, with total current market value of RM1.5 million. He did not name the firms.
He has three properties, one land lot, and three vehicles. Dr Ismail’s asset declaration did not contain details on his income sources.
The third richest politician on Invoke’s list was PKR treasurer Tan Yee Kew with a net worth of RM2.7 million. She declared a bungalow worth RM4 million in current market value. Her income sources were also unavailable on her asset declaration.
Kelana Jaya MP Wong Chen from PKR (ranked fourth richest) was the only politician with more than RM1 million in cash savings, fixed deposits and his Employees Provident Fund (EPF) account, totaling RM1.4 million. His asset declaration said he had RM1.3 million in cash and fixed deposits, but did not list any property. Wong’s net worth was RM2.3 million.
The three politicians with the lowest net worth on the list were Mohamad Imran (RM45,000), Teja assemblyman Chang Lih Kang (RM124,000), and Simpang Pulai assemblyman Tan Kar Hing (RM178,319). All three were from PKR.
Mohamad Imran still owned a Honda CRV with a current market value of RM107,000. He was also the third-highest earning politician on the list.
The five lowest on the list, except for Mohamad Imran, were lawmakers in their 30s. The fifth 30-something politician, Semambu assemblyman Lee Chean Chung, was ninth with a net worth of RM609,542.
The other 20 politicians on the list were mostly in their 50s and 60s, an age group that typically has higher wealth. The top three wealthiest were aged 63 (Dr Idris), 54 (Dr Ismail) and 64 (Tan Yee Kew).
The average age of the 26 politicians was 52.
Thirteen politicians owned at least two properties, with some owning both properties and land. Ijok assemblyman Dr Idris, Kuala Krai MP Hatta Ramli and Sungai Petani MP Datuk Johari Abdul owned four properties, according to their asset declarations.
Fifteen politicians owned at least two vehicles. Hatta and Batu Tiga assemblyman Rodziah Ismail both owned five cars each. One of Hatta’s cars was a used Toyota Alphard with RM100,000 current market value.
All 26 politicians on the list, except for Sikamat assemblyman Aminuddin Harun who owned a Proton Ixora, owned foreign-made cars. Eleven politicians owned cars with a current market value of RM100,000 and above, including one who owned a RM250,000 MPV.
Five-figure incomes for all
Selangor executive councillor and Seri Setia assemblyman Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, 35, was the top-earning politician on the list with a monthly income of RM38,450. His salary and allowances as executive councillor and assemblyman total RM36,250, more than what a typical chief executive officer (CEO) makes in Malaysia.
According to global salary database PayScale, a CEO in Malaysia earns an average of RM29,431 a month.
Dr Idris was the second highest-earning politician at RM31,420 monthly, out of which RM20,000 came from his clinic.
Former First Admiral Mohamad Imran was third on the list in terms of monthly income, coming in at RM31,400 (RM26,000 in salary and allowance as MP and an RM5,400 pension).
The three lowest-earning politicians were assemblymen Aminuddin (Sikamat), Ooi (Bakar Arang), and Tan Kar Hing (Simpang Pulai) at RM11,904, RM13,800 and RM14,500 monthly.
Income details were unavailable in the asset declarations of ex-Kedah executive councillor Dr Ismail, PKR treasurer Tan Yee Kew and PKR information chief Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh.
Selangor assemblymen earn a monthly salary of RM11,250. Housing and travel allowances total RM4,200, according to Saari’s asset declaration. Assemblymen from other states also earn upwards of RM11,000 monthly. The earnings are roughly equivalent to what a senior manager makes in Malaysia, which is RM12,500 monthly according to job review website Glassdoor.
MPs receive a monthly salary and allowances of RM26,000, more than what a chief operating officer (COO) earns in Malaysia at RM21,390 monthly, according to PayScale.
The mean monthly household income for Malaysians, on the other hand, was far lower than lawmakers’ at RM6,958 in 2016, while the median was RM5,228 that year, according to chief statistician of Malaysia Mohd Uzir Mahidin as quoted in The Star.
Opposition MPs and assemblymen under the Barisan Nasional (BN) federal and state governments, however, generally must spend their own money to run service centres.
For government assemblymen in Selangor under a PKR-DAP-PAS administration, the state provides RM16,000 monthly to operate service centres, according to Saari’s asset declaration. BN assemblymen rejected in 2014 the state’s offer of a RM200,000 annual allocation.
The asset declarations of most Selangor state executive councillors are available on the Selangor government’s website. However, most were outdated, dating back to 2014. Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and state executive councillor Elizabeth Wong also did not provide public asset declarations.
The asset declarations of Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and his executive councillors, dated 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013, are available on the state government’s website, but the forms do not contain details on how much exactly they earn.
Wealth is not necessarily indicative of impropriety, as the politicians could have outside employment or had previous jobs before running for office. Politicians have expressed this concern when discussing the reluctance on mandatory asset declarations.
Thirty politicians were supposed to have declared their assets to Invoke, but this article is based on 26 of them as Amanah vice president Salahuddin Ayub, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu, Amanah strategic director Dzulkefly Ahmad and Bandar assemblyman Azan Ismail have yet to publish their asset declarations.
Although asset declarations are common around the world, with more than 150 countries introducing asset declaration requirements for public officials according to the World Bank, the long ruling BN government has yet to enact such laws.
In the United States, the president, vice president, members of Congress, federal judges, presidential appointees and certain public officials and employees are required to disclose financial information annually.
MPs and Members of the Lords in the United Kingdom must declare certain financial interests to provide information on any financial or non-financial benefit that could be perceived to influence their actions, speeches or votes in Parliament.
PH has yet to make a stance on asset declaration, though chief secretary Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah told Malay Mail Online that asset declarations were part of the coalition’s manifesto for the 14th general election.
– Malay Mail


PETALING JAYA – Bersih 2.0, the Centre to Combat Cronyism and Corruption (C4) and 110 other local NGOs launched a campaign today to get the Switzerland government to return 104 million Swiss francs (RM433 million) to “ordinary Malaysians”.
The funds associateCXd with 1MDB investments had been confiscated from Swiss banks by Swiss authorities investigating allegations of money laundering.
“We want the people to know about the money and that we can get it back. Even if we get back 50% of the money, it is considered a success,” C4 executive director Cynthia Gabriel said.
She added that the groups are requesting the Swiss government to work with an independent foundation to channel the money back to Malaysians, and not the government.
The campaign was launched at a press conference which was also attended by Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah and Global Bersih steering committee member Ivy Josiah.
According to Josiah, Swiss law allows aggrieved parties or countries to get their money back.
“Swiss law allows aggrieved parties or countries to get back money that is laundered, to improve the people’s lives in the home country.
“This gives us, the civil groups, space to claim our money and get it sent to the people,” she said, adding that the groups had sent a letter to the Swiss government on this matter and were awaiting a response from them.
Maria said the money should not be returned to the Malaysian government as the true victims were the people.
“They (the government) were not ‘victims’ of 1MDB but had instead been allegedly involved in the matter,” she said, calling for investigations into 1MDB not to cease.
When asked if the groups are prepared to endure the recovery bid that may take years, Maria said the groups are ready.
“We cannot let our hard earned money go away and that is why we are doing something now,” she said.
Swiss Attorney-General Michael Lauber was reported as saying in April that the country’s investigations into 1MDB was making progress despite Malaysian authorities allegedly refusing to cooperate.
“It’s not hopeless, in fact it’s the opposite,” he had been quoted as saying by Reuters.


JOHOR BARU: Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar admitted that he felt slighted by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s remarks which equated the Bugis community with pirates.
He said such callous statements made by politicians could sow the seeds of hatred among the people.
Sultan Ibrahim said that such negative perceptions could risk destroying the Johorean practice of cooperation, or muafakat, which had led to peace and prosperity all this while.
“I, too, felt slighted (by what he said). I am of Bugis descent. The Sultan of Selangor is of Bugis descent. Many Johoreans are of Bugis descent. My ancestry can be traced to Riau-Lingga, where there are many Bugis people. What will the Bugis feel?
“Imagine if I say that Chinese were robbers. Won’t the Chinese feel slighted? If I say the Indians are murderers? The Indians will feel slighted.
“This is what I have been saying. Such things will cause disunity and incite hatred among the races.
“We should be respecting one another. We cannot allow anyone to say something that will cause one race to hate another.
“There is not just one race involved in developing Johor. Everyone plays a role,” said Sultan Ibrahim during an exclusive interview with the Media Prima Group at Istana Pasir Pelangi in conjunction with his 59th birthday.
The ruler said he wanted all Johoreans, regardless of race, to unite in spite of the challenges that came their way.
He said that any semblance of disunity could disrupt Johor’s development, and affect the state’s prosperity and the people’s wellbeing.
“The Malays, Indians, Chinese and all others are Bangsa Johor. Once there is disunity, the Malays will not be the only ones who will be disunited.
“The Indians will be disunited and Chinese will be disunited, and this will mean that the Bangsa Johor will be disunited,” he said.
Sultan Ibrahim said that it was important for the people to throw their support for the Johor government, which had always placed emphasis on unity.
“If everyone unites to support the administration of the Johor government, I feel that there will not be any problem with Johor. If Johor wants to progress, listen to my advice.
“I have said for so long that the best present that the people can give me is unity among the people. I do not ask for anything else,” said Sultan Ibrahim.
The ruler said that when it comes to Malay unity, he wanted the community to practise the Bangsa Johor concept of Muafakat Membawa Berkat (concord is a blessing), which has been embraced by Johoreans all this while.
Dr Mahathir received a rebuke from many quarters, including political and non-governmental groups, for a speech he made during the “Anti-Kleptocracy Rally” organised by Pakatan Harapan on Oct 14.
He had alleged that Malaysia was being led by a prime minister, who is of Bugis descent, and equated the community to pirates.
MEANWHILE, according to Malaysiakini:
Earlier this month, Sultan Sharafuddin (photorebuked Mahathir, describing the former premier’s remarks as an attempt to insult and incite hatred towards the Bugis community.
Whereas, the Selangor Royal Council opined that Mahathir should be investigated under the Sedition Act.
Mahathir made the remarks during the Oct 14 anti-kleptocracy rally in Petaling Jaya in reference to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s ancestry.
“Maybe he can trace his ancestry to Bugis pirates. Somehow, he lost his way and came to Malaysia. Go home to Bugis (Sulawesi)!” he had said
Sultan Sharafuddin said these remarks were clearly offensive to the Bugis community and depicted them as originating from “pirates, thieves and criminals”.
However, Mahathir, who is being investigated by the police over this issue, argued that he had only targetted Najib and not the entire Bugis community.
Johor sultan: Respect, not hate
Meanwhile, Sultan Ibrahim said such remarks are seen as wanting to divide the races.
“What if I say the Chinese are robbers? Would the Chinese be slighted? Indian murderers? The Indians would feel slighted.
“This is what I said (remarks which cause) division. Making races hate each other. We should be respecting each other,” added the ruler.
Sultan Ibrahim said that all races played a role in the development of Johor and urged them to remain united no matter what happens.
“Malays, Indians, Chinese are all ‘Bangsa Johor’.
“When I mentioned ‘divided’, it is not only the Malays becoming divided, division among Indians, division among Chinese. This means Johor would be divided.
“If all are united in supporting the Johor administration, I feel there would be no problems in Johor. If you want Johor to progress, listen to my advice.
In his birthday message on Wednesday, Sultan Ibrahim said he would not permit the “power struggle crisis” between Malay leaders to continue in his state.
“As a ruler who has promised and pledged to safeguard the interest of Malays and Islam, I would not allow the power struggle crisis between Malay leaders to continue that would in the end cause Malays to be split and become weak.
“Day by day, Malays are dragged into a credibility crisis that tarnishes the image and confidence in institutions led by Malays which in the end diminishes the confidence, influence and true power of Malays,” he added.