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Friday, August 31, 2018

Vibrant celebration of independence



PUTRAJAYA: This year’s National Day celebration saw a change in vibe but it was hardly short on excitement, joy and splendour as the federal administrative capital played the proud host to Malaysians to celebrate the nation’s independence.
For the first time since 2005, the celebrations were moved from its usual spot at the historic Dataran Merdeka to Putrajaya to symbolise the administration of a new government.
It was the third time the parade was held here. The first time was in 2003 as a fitting farewell for Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who then was stepping down as prime minister under Barisan Nasional rule.
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V arrived at 8.10am and was greeted by Dr Mahathir, his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, his deputy Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
The King kicked off the National Day celebrations by inspecting a guard of honour mounted by officers and personnel from the 1st Batallion of the Royal Malay Regiment led by Mejar Asri Che Wil.
As all those present stood at attention to sing Negaraku, a 14-gun royal salute was executed by the 41st Ceremonial Battery of the Royal Artillery Regiment.

Momentus occasion: Sultan Muhammad V flanked by Dr Mahathir and Dr Siti Hasmah on his   right and Dr Wan Azizah and Anwar on his left along with other Cabinet ministers during the 61st National Day celebration in Putrajaya.
Momentus occasion: Sultan Muhammad V flanked by Dr Mahathir and Dr Siti Hasmah on his   right and Dr Wan Azizah and Anwar on his left along with other Cabinet ministers during the 61st National Day celebration in Putrajaya.

Royal Military College student Muhammad Aiman Shafiq Mohd Shah Noor Yong led a group of students in reciting the Rukun Negara and the seven shouts of Merdeka.
Afterwards, a special dance performance entitled Sayangi Malaysiaku – which was also the theme of the celebration – was held.
A contingent comprising youth cadets then marched past carrying a large Jalur Gemilang, followed by other contingents representing various government bodies and agencies as well as private sector and government-linked companies.
As with previous years, the contingents representing uniformed bodies – police and armed forces – as well as the display of their assets received the most cheers from the crowd.
A spectacular air show by the wings of the military wowed the crowd with their breathtaking performance.
The colourful celebration ended with a special performance by singer Faizal Tahir, who also penned and composed the song Malaysia.
Dr Mahathir and Dr Siti Hasmah garnered the loudest cheers from the crowd when the emcee announced their arrival and departure.
The couple came in their official black Proton Perdana with the registration number Malaysia 2020, making its first public appearance yesterday.-Star

Batu Caves temple committee: We do not need heritage status


Act of devotion: Hindus and visitors at the ‘Maha Kumbhabhishekham’ temple consecration ceremony in Batu Caves. — S.S. KANESAN / The Star
Act of devotion: Hindus and visitors at the ‘Maha Kumbhabhishekham’ temple consecration ceremony in Batu Caves. — S.S. KANESAN / The Star
GOMBAK: At risk of being delisted as a national heritage site over its newly painted 272-steps, the Batu Caves temple committee now claims that it has never benefitted from being one.
Batu Caves Sri Mahamariamman Temple Devasthanam committee chairman Tan Sri R. Nadarajah said the National Heritage Department did not give any grant for maintenance of the site, which is also a tourist spot.
“The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) has deemed Batu Caves unfit for their heritage list. We do not need the heritage status.
“If the department can maintain the area, we do not need to paint it. It is ridiculous for us to seek the department’s permission to paint the steps.
.“We paint the steps every year. We clean and beautify the area to attract tourists,” he told reporters after the consecration ceremony here yesterday.
The colourful steps, said Nadarajah, had received mostly positive feedback, adding that only a few criticised the efforts.
The committee, he added, had been inspired by the colourful peacock.
On Aug 29, StarMetro had reported that the temple was at risk of being delisted as a national heritage site due to the renovation and paint job done without approval from the department.
The report also stated that no approval was given by Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) for any job in Batu Caves.
Nadarajah claimed that the MPS had never approved any of the temple’s application.
“We spent a lot of money and submitted all the documents and technical reports to legalise the 20 structures and buildings in and around Batu Caves. We are still waiting for its response for years but we have received none so far.
“We built the management office building after MPS failed to give us the approval despite our complete application. The contractor was fined.
“It is not our intention to go ahead with the project without MPS’s permission but we are in dire need of the facility.
“Similarly, we have filed the application to build a cultural arts centre which doubles up as a hall with the capacity of 3,000 people. This is our next big project as we have the funds,” he said.
Nadarajah said RM6.5mil was spent for the renovation and paint works in conjunction with the congregation ceremony, with half of the money raised from donations.- Star

DEAD UMNO BILLIONAIRE JARJIS HOLDING MONEY FOR TOP BOSSES INCLUDING NAJIB? NOT TRUE, SAYS EX-PM – BUT DESPITE LISTING DOWN HIS LATE ADVISER’S INVESTMENTS, NAJIB ENDS UP RAISING MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS

JAMALUDDIN Jarjis was already a wealthy businessman when I became prime minister, said Najib Razak, adding that the riches were not the result of the former’s association with him.
In a Facebook post tonight, Najib said although Jamaluddin was an ally, the late Rompin MP never asked him for projects.
In contrast, he said, Jamaluddin secured many government projects during Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s his first tenure as prime minister.
“Many have asked about Jamaluddin’s properties, said to be worth RM2.1 billion. There are those who claim his relationship with me was the source of his wealth.
“It is sad to see such baseless accusations hurled at the deceased, who is unable to answer for himself.”
Jamaluddin’s wealth came under scrutiny after his mother, Aminah Abdullah, 84, applied for an inheritance certificate at the shariah high court to transfer moveable and immoveable properties to his estate, valued at RM2.1 billion.
Transparency International-Malaysia chairman Akhbar Satar told The Malaysian Insight that Jamaluddin was not from a well-off family, and did not make his money professionally.
Najib said Jamaluddin, who received a PhD in electrical engineering from Canada’s McGill University in 1980, opened an engineering consultancy firm in 1984, and two years later, bought EPE Power, which was listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange in the 1990s.
He said the listing helped Jamaluddin raise capital and invest in various projects in the power sector.
Jamaluddin Jarjis died in a helicopter crash in Semenyih in 2015. – EPA pic, August 31, 2018.
Jamaluddin Jarjis died in a helicopter crash in Semenyih in 2015. – EPA pic, August 31, 2018.
“In the 1990s, under Dr Mahathir’s administration, EPE Power was awarded an independent power producer (IPP) contract in Sabah. Jamaluddin was given government and privatisation projects, including an air force-Airod/NADI maintenance and repairs facility and Lembaga Kemajuan Pahang Tenggara.
“These privatisation projects were on the list of projects released by Dr Mahathir in 1998, during the crisis between him and Anwar Ibrahim.”
He said Jamaluddin was made Tenaga Nasional Bhd chairman in 2000, and after Dr Mahathir took on the portfolio of finance minister following Daim Zainuddin’s resignation from the post for the second time, Jamaluddin was made second finance minister in 2002.
“I’ve been made to understand that Jamaluddin’s children took over his business and continued with investments when he was assigned as ambassador to the US.
“The investments included saving an IPP in Kulim that had been taken over by local banks in 2004 for failing to settle debts amounting to RM1.4 billion.
“Jamaluddin also had a 10% stake in NADI, following its privatisation in the 1990s. NADI is among the investors in Malindo Air, as well as Indonesia’s Lion Air.”
Najib added that the accusations made regarding Jamaluddin’s wealth were uncalled for, especially given the fact that he died under tragic circumstances.
Jamaluddin died in a helicopter crash in Semenyih three years ago. Five others were also killed in the accident.
– https://www.themalaysianinsight.com

FINALLY RICHARD RESPONDS – ACTION WILL BE TAKEN IF WRONGDOING FOUND: CHIEF JUSTICE TO CARRY OUT INTERNAL INVESTIGATION ON CLAIMS OF MEDDLING BY TOP LEVEL JUDGES IN HIGH-PROFILE CASES

THE judiciary is conducting an internal investigation on allegations that senior judges had interfered in two high-profile cases – the unilateral conversion of M. Indira Gandhi’s children and the late MP Karpal Singh’s sedition trial.
Chief Justice Richard Malanjum in a statement today said he had taken note of the matter and an internal investigation is being conducted following media statements on both the cases.
The statement stated “the chief justice will take appropriate action once the results of the investigation are obtained”  .
Earlier this month, Court of Appeal judge Hamid Sultan Abu Backer claimed he was reprimanded by a top judge for writing a dissenting judgement two years ago in the case of the unilateral conversion of Indira’s children to Islam by their father.
A court of appeal judge has said that he was reprimanded by a senior judge for writing a dissenting judgement in the case of unilateral conversion of M. Indira Gandhi's (pic) children. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, August 31, 2018.
A court of appeal judge has said that he was reprimanded by a senior judge for writing a dissenting judgement in the case of unilateral conversion of M. Indira Gandhi’s (pic) children. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, August 31, 2018.
Hamid had written, among others, that the conversion was illegal as the permission of the mother had not been obtained.
Hamid claimed as a result of his decision, he was never again assigned to hear cases of public interest and those related to the federal constitution.
In the second case, lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla claimed in a Facebook posting that a senior judge interfered with the outcome of Karpal’s sedition appeal in 2016.
Karpal’s daughter, Sangeet Kaur Deo, has since filed a police report following the Facebook posting.
Sangeet Kaur Deo (pic), daughter of the late Karpal Singh, has lodged a police report regarding allegations that a senior judge has interfered in Karpal's sedition case. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, August 31, 2018.
Sangeet Kaur Deo (pic), daughter of the late Karpal Singh, has lodged a police report regarding allegations that a senior judge has interfered in Karpal’s sedition case. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, August 31, 2018.
Haniff said he was informed that an unnamed judge had meddled after the majority decision to allow Karpal’s appeal and acquit him of the charge.
Haniff was reported to have been questioned by police on his allegation.
News of the tampering stirred public interest leading to members of the legal fraternity as well as politicians calling for a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) or tribunal.
Karpal’s son Ramkarpal Singh added to calls for an RCI saying that “anything less will never dispel the perception that the judiciary is seriously tainted, not even the clearance of the police in the event that same were to happen”.
In a statement today, the Bukit Gelugor MP said it was “shocking” that the judiciary has not yet responded to the allegations.
“With respect, any attempt by the judiciary or the said judges to do so now would certainly be construed as an obvious afterthought and would not be worth the paper on which it is written on,” he said.
– https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/

ANWAR TO REJOIN CABINET AS DPM IN JUNE 2019? AND AFTER THAT…?: FRANKLY M’SIANS FEEL MUCH SAFER WITH DR M AS PM, BUT NO ONE LIKES AZMIN AS THE ALTERNATIVE SUCCESSOR – AND THIS IS WHY ‘MAHATHIR CAMP’ IS LOSING THE TUSSLE UNLESS THEY REPLACE AZMIN WITH ANYONE WHO IS BETTER, EVEN KHAIRY FOR EXAMPLE

AFTER accomplishing the “impossible” — dislodging Barisan Nasional from its 61-year-rule — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim says he will be damned if he lets anyone scupper Pakatan Harapan’s plans to effect institutional changes to improve the country.
The PKR de facto leader said he and the prime minister would not allow anyone to derail the sweeping changes underway to bring the country back on an even keel, nor would they allow anyone to drive a wedge between him and his once arch-nemesis and bitter political foe, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, with whom he now enjoys “a solid partnership”.
“There has never been a time in our history, when two political rivals, after having battled so intensely and for so long, made peace in order for the ultimate goal, which is to effect change and fulfil the aspirations of the people.
“He (Dr Mahathir) realises that and so do I. We will not allow anything to come between us, to disrupt our goals of fulfilling the people’s aspirations.
“That goal overrides everything else,” he said.
The PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim
Without so much as acknowledging the murmurs that he could miss out on his chance of becoming prime minister, Anwar said he was holding on to the agreement that was drawn up before PH took on the BN juggernaut and came out victorious, with a landslide victory.
“The agreement stands, and Tun has said it many times. For me, that is enough.
“The transition will become reality, God-willing.
“I also have experienced ‘waiting’ in prison… people say ‘tawakkal’ (trust in God’s divine plan). We can just plan and work towards it.
“Rumours are normal in politics… I have gone through tough times, I am not as naive as before,” Anwar said, adding that it was only right to allow Dr Mahathir the latitude and space to sort out the affairs of the state and initiate reforms.
In an interview with newspapers in the New Straits Times Press stable, Anwar said he has frequent sit-downs with Dr Mahathir to discuss issues of national interest.
“I don’t have to agree with Dr Mahathir 100 per cent, but he is the prime minister and I give him the space for him to govern.”
A PORTENT OF THINGS TO COME
In his clearest indication yet on his impending return to Putrajaya, Anwar said he had made it clear to Dr Mahathir when he would be ready to assume the premiership.
“I made it very clear… for example, I told him that I am going to Parliament, InsyaAllah, if I win (a parliamentary by-election), before the year-end. Maybe October.”
Asked when would be the right time for him to take over the country’s reins, Anwar said this must only take place when some of the promises for reforms, including institutional reforms, were in motion, and when professionalism in the public sector, that had been eroded, was returned.
“Sometimes, you hear some odd statements (from the civil service) that are contrary to what we (the cabinet) promised… we cannot allow disruptions to the present administration).
“That task lies with Dr Mahathir, who is also ensuring a more open administration,” he said, adding that the prime minister was going all out to ensure the rule of law was observed.
“The government has a very strong position against corruption and cronyism, which, to me, is getting endemic.”
ANWAR AS PRIME MINISTER
The 71-year-old said as a democrat, it was natural that he felt strongly against oppression and injustice.
“I am like before. Hopefully more mature in the process… Older, hopefully wiser.
“I feel strongly and passionately about justice. I hate oppression and injustice.
“People should know me and how important it is to be consistent. The rule of governance is the issue of ethics and character, and I think that is what the country needs.”
Asked on who would be the ideal deputy prime minister once he assumes top office, Anwar said it would not be for him to decide unilaterally, considering that PH was a coalition.
“We have to have a consensus… and what is important is, I have to assume the premiership first,” he said.
ANWAR’S TICKET TO PARLIAMENT
When asked, Anwar thought hard about the options of the parliamentary constituencies open to him that would ultimately return him to the august house after an absence of three years.
There is no shortage of offers from his party but Anwar said he was weighing his options and was undecided on where he would throw his hat in the ring.
“There are several seats I am considering… but I have not made a final decision.
“Because when I look at the performance (of the member of parliament) and if it is stellar, it would be such a waste, so we must consider all that.
“But there are several seats being considered. It’s just that I have not made a final decision yet.”
Anwar said there had been many offers for him to take over seats, offers that were not made public.
“We will see. A parliamentarian would want to serve a constituency where he is most at home.
“Like in Permatang Pauh, we (he and his former constituents) are like siblings where we can joke and banter. That kind of warmth, it is not easy to get to that level,” he said.
– NST

HASANAH IS NOW TOO DANGEROUS TO NAJIB – AFTER DISCOVERY OF FOREIGN CASH STASH, SHE MUST BE GUARDED 24 HOURS & TAKE CARE OF HER OWN SAFETY: SUDDENLY, EX-PM’S PROPAGANDISTS ACCUSE FORMER SPY CHIEF OF SABOTAGING GE14 – WITH LOKMAN ADAM EVEN DEMANDING SHE IS PROBED FOR ‘IT’S A MISTAKE THAT CANNOT BE FORGIVEN’ CIA LETTER

Since then, a letter that Hasanah wrote to the CIA has been leaked (and is confirmed authentic) while she has also been arrested and may face trial for bringing millions of ringgit into the country. Lokman, in the news report below, has condemned Hasanah.

Did Hasanah sabotage GE14 by misleading Najib? And was the leaked CIA letter and leaked information regarding the millions that Hasanah is alleged to have smuggled in from the Middle East the work of Najib’s people as payback for her sabotage work?

Malaysia’s ‘CIA’ chief, Hasanah Hamid: was she working for the CIA to topple BN?

According to those who personally know Hasanah Abdul Hamid, the former director-general of the Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO) — Malaysia’s equivalent of the CIA — she is well-connected and has links to all the foreign intelligence agencies, even in the UK and US.
These people say she also has her eyes and ears all over the place and there is nothing that happens inside and outside the country involving Malaysian politics that she does not know about.
I actually saw her once in London — like two ships passing in the night — but I did not stop to talk to her. The look on her face showed she recognised me, as I did her. It is enough we both nodded to indicate we knew who the other was.
Anyway, it was Hasanah who reported that Barisan Nasional was assured of winning at least 130 parliament seats in the 9th May 2018 general election or GE14. Another intelligence source I spoke to disagreed and said if Umno is not careful Barisan Nasional may win only about 80 seats. When I mentioned that the ‘CIA’ reported Barisan Nasional was going to win 130 seats my intelligence source disagreed.
That put me in a dilemma. Malaysia’s ‘CIA’ said Barisan Nasional was going to win 130 seats while another intelligence source said it was going to be only 80 seats. The Military Intelligence agreed with the 80-seat prediction while the Special Branch agreed with the 130-seat prediction.
At that point I knew Najib Tun Razak was in trouble and I told my daughter, Sara, not to worry about being dropped as Gerakan’s candidate for Segambut (Gerakan was upset about what I wrote regarding Robert Kuok). I told Sara that Barisan Nasional was most likely in trouble and was going to get wiped out anyway.
“I suspect,” I told Sara, “that Najib is being sabotaged from within and I also suspect that Tun Dr Mahathir is spending billions to buy off those within Najib’s inner circle.”
My question is: my intelligence source said Barisan Nasional was going to win just 80 seats and the Military Intelligence agreed with this. The MEIO and Special Branch, however, both said Barisan Nasional was going to win 130 seats. While I can understand the Special Branch, which is working for Mahathir, misleading Najib with false intel, how come the MEIO was also misleading Najib?
Since then, a letter that Hasanah wrote to the CIA has been leaked (and is confirmed authentic) while she has also been arrested and may face trial for bringing millions of ringgit into the country. Lokman Noor Adam, in the news report below, has condemned Hasanah. Did Hasanah sabotage GE14 by misleading Najib? And was the leaked CIA letter and leaked information regarding the millions that Hasanah is alleged to have smuggled in from the Middle East the work of Najib’s people as payback for her sabotage work?
Interesting questions are they not?

Letter to CIA ‘unforgivable’, says Umno leader

(MMO) – Soliciting a foreign power for political support is unacceptable, said Umno supreme council member Datuk Lokman Noor Adam.
Commenting on the controversy around a letter the former director-general of the Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO) wrote to the US’ Central Intelligence Agency seeking support for Barisan Nasional, he said the move “is a mistake that cannot be forgiven”.
While saying he was informed that the private letter was intentionally leaked to sabotage Datuk Hasanah Abdul Hamid, he stressed that she must be investigated if the document was authentic.
“We cannot tolerate this. It’s very wrong, very wrong,” Lokman told reporters at a private celebration of the 61st anniversary of Merdeka at the Perdana Botanical Gardens here.
Hasanah’s lawyers confirmed the authenticity of the letter by insisting it was protected under the Official Secrets Act.
The former head of the now defunct agency previously insisted it was not related to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak who has denied any knowledge of the matter.
Another reason Lokman cited for criticising the move was his belief that the CIA was “deeply involved” in deposing Najib as prime minister.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission arrested Hasanah on Tuesday over an unrelated investigation into the misappropriation of millions of ringgit meant to be used for the 14th general election.
She remains in the commission’s custody.
Raja Petra Kamarudin
– www.malaysia-today.net

Disquiet in Beijing, frustration in Putrajaya



During his visit to Beijing last month, Dr Mahathir reached an understanding of sorts with the Chinese leadership on the need to cancel or defer the troublesome mega projects of his predecessor. Both sides subsequently expressed their determination to work together to resolve outstanding issues.
Recent developments, however, suggest that working out the details of an acceptable exit plan may be more difficult than anticipated.
Putrajaya seems increasingly frustrated by the impossible situation it finds itself in because of the actions of the previous government. Projects like ECRL are proving to be too costly to afford but too expensive to cancel. Thus far there are no clear indications as to how Putrajaya will proceed but it is making its unhappiness known.
Beijing, on the other hand, seems increasingly perturbed by some of the statements emanating from Malaysia and is signalling its displeasure.
Piercing remarks
The recent August 28th op-ed piece in the Global Times (a Chinese government mouthpiece) suggests that tensions are perhaps rising ahead of negotiations.
Remarks that China directly or indirectly aided or abetted Najib to divert funds from some of the projects to help pay for 1MDB-related losses and might have, in fact, been complicit in money laundering, have clearly stung the Chinese leadership.
The Global Times asserted that such remarks, together with comments alleging that China was attempting to subvert Malaysia’s sovereignty or colonise parts of the country, were “piercing.”
It went on to add that, “It is startling to equate the controversy surrounding a factory wall [in Kuantan] with state sovereignty,” and insisted that “Chinese investors have no intention of eroding Malaysia’s sovereignty,”
BRI fallout
There is also concern that Malaysia’s decision to cancel the much-publicised ECRL may have wider implications for China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a central pillar of President Xi Jinping’s presidency.
Malaysia’s pushback, the first of its kind against BRI projects, could encourage other countries to follow suit, especially as some projects in other countries are proving to be equally problematic.
Such is the alarm in Beijing over the negative publicity from Malaysia’s actions that it felt compelled to launch a media offensive to contain the damage. In recent days, BRI recipients from Africa and Asia have been paraded on Chinese global television networks to praise BRI and play up its positive impact. An on-going summit in Beijing with African leaders is also being used to extol the virtues of BRI.
Quiet diplomacy
For all these reasons, China wants discussions with Malaysia to be handled away from the limelight and with minimal public rhetoric.
The Global Times op-ed emphasised this in stronger than usual terms, warning that unfavourable rhetoric might “spread to China via the internet” and cause the Chinese public to view Malaysia negatively. It added that “how the Chinese public sees China-Malaysia cooperation is by no means inconsequential to Malaysia’s interests.”
That’s as close as it gets to a public rebuke. It is a warning, as well, that China considers at least some of the rhetoric too “piercing” to ignore.
Protecting Chinese interests
The other point that China seems to be making is that while it may be sympathetic to Malaysia’s plight, it will stand fully behind its own companies (many state-owned) in any renegotiations. As the Global Times stressed, “The Chinese government should help [them] safeguard their interests.”
It suggests that Chinese corporations will insist that contractual obligations be fully honoured. China drove a hard bargain with Sri Lanka’s new government, insisting on taking over a strategic port on a 99-year lease in exchange for debt relief; it is unlikely to let Malaysia’s new government off too easily.
There are also indications that China is concerned about the rights of its citizens who purchased property in Malaysia (Forest City, for example) in the expectation that they will be allowed to live in the country.
Taken together, these comments are a reminder to Putrajaya that the stakes are high and that Malaysia needs to be more mindful of China’s interests going forward. Air Asia’s recent setback (with the China Everbright Group and the Henan government) might be a harbinger of a hardening position.
Challenging times ahead
Hardening positions, however, may prove counterproductive. Malaysia may be a small country but it will be just as resolute in defending its interest as any other country. And, while Putrajaya has clearly no desire to do anything that would embarrass China, there’s no running away from the fact that the issue has become a very emotive and high-profile one domestically. Billions in public funds have been misappropriated or squandered on dubious projects and a full accounting is needed. The Malaysian public has feelings too.
Mistakes were clearly made on both sides. The change of government in Putrajaya now requires both countries to work together to resolve outstanding issues and reset relations for the better. It is also an opportunity to improve BRI governance issues, something that is very much in China’s interest as well. In the meantime, neither side can afford misunderstandings or mixed signals.
Dennis Ignatius is a former ambassador. -FMT

There’s only one honest bumi agenda


“When truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.”
― Yevgeny Yevtushenko
So, today is this big pow-wow amongst the Malay elite for a new bumiputera agenda, which would chart the course of the majority of this country. As Council of Eminent Persons chief Daim Zainuddin said, maybe this time they will get it right. Who is “they”? Well, “they” are the Malay power brokers of the new Malaysia, of course.
Leading up to this event, MCA and DAP got into a bit of a row about who was not spooking the Malays more. First of all, I have no idea what DAP’s Muhammad Shakir Ameer means when he says MCA is fighting fire with fire which would burn everyone, but I do believe that DAP is muddled when it comes to this issue.
Three important points need to be made:
The first is that DAP has no grounds whatsoever to claim that Chinese Malaysians voted against the racial politics of Umno-BN because the Pakatan Harapan regime, with its linchpin Bersatu, is led by the old guard of Umno, which is a race-based party. This, of course, is strange because Bersatu, unlike PKR and DAP, which are “multiracial”, has the lowest number of seats but yet by virtue of “not spooking the Malays” has the most say in government.
Second, to claim that MCA does not understand the economic reality that necessitates measures by “the Harapan government would have to take would seem ‘painful’ but necessary for the benefit of many” is ridiculous considering the fact that the raison d'ĂȘtre of MCA was balancing the economic, social and political aspirations of the Chinese community and you guessed it – "not spooking the Malays" – which is exactly the role played by DAP now.
Third, the idea that MCA wants to continue racial politics after 61 years of independence when DAP has to defend a bumiputera congress while the Malay political elite of PKR and Bersatu chart the course for the majority community, is laughable.
I was never one who bought into the whole “apartheid” horse manure propagated by some in the then opposition. If I did, it would make me look really stupid because of the compromises the non-Malay component of Harapan has had to make when dealing with Malay power structures. Much like the mendacity of Muhammad Shakir claiming that MCA does not understand the “economic reality” that makes non-Malay political structures subservient to the dogma of mainstream Malay politics.
Meanwhile, Umno is still suffering from some sort of post-traumatic stress of losing power to Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Umno information chief Shamsul Anuar Nasarah claims that DAP is now a “pak turut”. No doubt, that raises the heckles of many but what he is saying is exactly what PKR president-elect Anwar Ibrahim and the rest of the Malay political elite realise - that non-Malays were never the threat to Malay hegemony but rather a disparate Malay polity was a threat to Umno hegemony.
When news of this big bumiputera meet first slithered out, I wrote: “When right-wing and far-right Malay elements talk about bumiputera privileges, they are not talking about a system of discriminatory practices, they are talking about those privileges in terms of morality, but more importantly, in a definitional sense of what it means to be Malay. Complete hogwash, of course, but this is the reason why the idea of reforming the system instead of ditching it completely has always dominated the debate.”
A bumi or Malay agenda?
Why even use the word “bumiputera” congress? Why not just say Malay agenda congress? After all, does anyone seriously think that the rights of Orang Asal and the indigenous people – non-Muslims – of Sabah and Sarawak are going to be on the agenda moving forward? I could be wrong and I will concede if I am, but does anyone really think that any time this idea of “bumiputera” agenda is bandied about, it is nothing more than reaffirming the rights and privileges of the Malay/Muslim community?
I know this is a politically incorrect thing to say, but the only bumiputera agenda that needs to be addressed is the real bumiputera agenda of the Orang Asal and the native peoples of Sabah and Sarawak.
And I will not even delve into the rights of the natives of Sabah and Sarawak because I still think what a political operative from Sarawak said to me, all those years ago when I was still with the state security apparatus, holds true. He said: “You people are the colonisers.” I understand that many people from Sabah and Sarawak will hate me for saying this but I am one of those people who thinks that Sabah and Sarawak should decide for themselves if they want to be "Malaysians".
I was rereading Joshua Woo Sze Zeng’s timely rejoinder about slavery in Malaysia and how native and Malaya’s emancipation was a colonial legacy that we should be thankful for. Quoting from historical records, Woo hones in on specific barbarities which no doubt defined the nomadic nature of the indigenous peoples of Malaysia.
“Hunted by the Malays, who stole their [Orang Asli] children, they were forced to leave their dwellings and fly hither and thither, passing the night in caves or in huts (pondok), which they burnt on their departure. ‘In those days,’ they say, ‘we never walked in the beaten tracks lest the print of our footsteps in the mud should betray us.’”
And of course, the loopholes in religious and cultural dogma that would make enslaving their own, palatable – “The theoretical distinction between debt-slave and actual slave was used by Malay-Muslim rulers and aristocrats to enslave fellow Muslims.”
This is the sickening part, right? There really is a need for a bumiputera agenda, but there really is no need for a Malay agenda. Hey, I could be wrong. It seems to me, if you have policies for a majority community that have not worked, maybe it is time to change those policies. I am glad for Woo’s rejoinder but you can bet your last ringgit that this is not part of the bumiputera agenda.
If it was, it really would be a new Malaysia.

S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy. -Mkini