Anwar Ibrahim once seemed a certainty to rule Malaysia. Then came his arrest and imprisonment. Now, with his party shaking up the establishment, is he set to finally fulfil his ambition? By Mark Baker.
Rabble rousing … Anwar Ibrahim on the hustings in Kuala Lumpur. Photo: Austral Press
It’s nearing midnight in Penang. In a park surrounded by decaying concrete apartment blocks, a swelling crowd waits patiently amid the sticky heat and pungent aromas of food stalls, traffic fumes and open drains. This is a poor Malay neighbourhood, but there are Chinese and Indians here, too, a representative cross-section of multiracial Malaysia. (more…)
In caretaker Premier Najib Abdul Razak’s political targeting, one group has received special attention – civil servants. Why would those in the heart of government garner such special focus for an election? The reality is that in Malaysia’s close electoral races, civil servants can be decisive in shaping the final tallies. This is one of the groups that I will be highlighting as decisive in this campaign.
Over the past few years Najib’s administration has worked to stem the erosion of support from his traditional base of government employees with mixed results.
A decisive constituency (more…)
Malaysia’s 13th General Elections on May 5 will be the most important — and the most hard-fought — in Malaysian history. The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and its coalition partners have ruled the nation since its independence in 1957. But now, for the first time in history, the Malaysian opposition is united and strong, and it believes it has a real chance of coming to power.
And also for the first time, UMNO, as well as those who have benefited politically and economically from their connections to the ruling party, fear that the voters might reject their party and the system that have governed the country continuously for over five decades. (more…)
I asked a niece, “Do you know the candidates who are standing in your constituency?” The real reason for my question was to know if they, the younger generation, was aware that in most locations, every citizen registered to vote had to make two choices? The only exceptions are in the Federal Territories and the state of Sarawak.
In Sarawak it is because they had their state elections about two years ago and in the Federal Territories because we are not democratic enough to offer a local issues concerns of residents a choice.
In the FT, I believe, they should be given a choice of who represents us in the City Hall governance based on the “number of precincts under the jurisdiction of the City Council in cases of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, and some equitable criterion for the case of Labuan. But, alas, that may only happen when we can some have real change in the leadership of Putrajaya. (more…)
In little more than a week from now, Najib Abdul Razak will be faced with the fact that he and his phoney 1Malaysia have finally lost Malaysia, and the vast majority of Malaysians will be congratulating themselves on having won their beloved country back.
Because even if BN manages to steal back into power by hook or its customary crook, it will be living on borrowed – or rather bought – time, and surviving only in fear and dread of how even more urgently than ever the people will want to see it destroyed. (more…)
Screenshot of one of the scenes in the video clip where a lawyer made a claim that Singapore facilitates tax evasion in Malaysia.SINGAPORE, March 22 — The Singapore government has rubbished claims made in an online video about corrupt land deals in Sarawak, in which a lawyer alleged that the island facilitates tax evasion in Malaysia by withholding information requested by the Malaysian government.
In response to media queries, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said last night that the claims are “simply false”.
The denial came two days after the video by non-governmental organisation Global Witness, which was posted on YouTube on Monday, showed investigators posing as foreign investors interested in buying land in Sarawak as they recorded snippets of their conversations with Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri AbdulTaib Mahmud’s cousins and lawyers. (more…)
Artemio V Panganiban
To understand (1) the claim of the Sultan of Sulu over Sabah, (2) the standoff in Lahad Datu town in Sabah, (3) the stand-down admonition of President Aquino directing the followers of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III led by his brother Datu Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram to withdraw and return peacefully to the Philippines, and (4) the enforcement actions of the Malaysian authorities that sadly resulted in death and injury, I think it is best to begin by discussing the concepts of sovereignty and ownership.
Sovereignty is the perpetual and absolute power of a state (not of an individual) to command obedience within its territory. This power is manifested through the state’s constitution and laws, and is enforced by governmental agencies and officials. When needed, the state’s military and police forces can be called to back this enforcement. (more…)
Anas Zubedy, via e-mail
Here we go again… Every now and then, this matter will see the light of day. This time around, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng brought it up in his Christmas message. I personally agree with his sentiment. We should all share the word Allah and make it the universal name for God. As far as the Quran is concerned, this verse explains the universality of Allah clearly.
They are those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right, – (for no cause except that they say, “our Lord is Allah”. Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid his (cause); – for verily Allah is full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (able to enforce His Will) – Quran 22:40 (more…)
PAGE believes reintroducing PPSMI will do more for students than the proposed Indian tutors.
Putrajaya’s plan to import Indians to teach English in national schools appears to be meeting resistance from educators who doubt the government’s idea will help Malaysian students master the language.
Local English-language teachers and an education reform group polled by The Malaysian Insider voiced concern over what they saw as a short-term solution they said would unlikely benefit a multiracial class whose learning could be further hampered by coaches speaking in an unfamiliar accent. (more…)
Teoh El Sen
Kevin Zervos has indicated that there was a conspiracy to cover up the RM40 million “political donations” case by Malaysian authorities, says PKR’s strategic director.
The statement yesterday by Hong Kong’s chief public prosecutor points to a conspiracy by Malaysian authorities to cover up and halt investigations against Sabah chief minister Musa Aman and timber tycoon Michael Chia over the RM40 million “political donations” case, claimed PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli today.
Rafizi said it also gives an impression that the Malaysian authorities – either the Attorney-General’s chambers, the MACC or both – had supplied inaccurate information to Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), and in turn had tarnished the investigations. (more…)
WCW’s comments make us infamous! Usually, to any Western-trained political conservative, anytime a Christian sits on the same side of a table with a Muslim, it is for them a timebomb ready to go off! Why?I have no choice but to respond to Wong Chun Wai’s (WCW) column in The Sunday Star as published in Malaysia Today with the title, ‘Keep faith out of politics’. My reason: Oriental Hearts and Mind Study Institute (OHMSI) was a co-organiser of the Islamic State Dialogue, together with the Islamic Renaissance Front.
For most such people, first and foremost, words are simply political tools to be deployed for their political purposes or expediency! Let me quote one example: (more…)
Consider this – the Easter Island, home to a remote civilisation that has long since died out, its barren landscape watched over by ancient stone statues. Whether they were gods or guardians, we may never know, and it doesn’t matter now. It wasn’t always like this, the island was once covered in trees and flourishing bird colonies. Within a span of 400 years, the trees and birds were gone – harvested to extinction.
And the people soon followed.
The Moai statues of the Easter Island with their sad stories left a deep mark in my mind. It is not the image of starvation and death from overexploitation that haunts me. It is the thought about how the occupants of such a remote island failed to sustain their civilization that serves as a grim reminder. If a civilization on a small island that must have been so aware of their isolation couldn’t achieve sustainability, how will we who live on this vast island called Earth fare better? (more…)
I have been mulling over the same question over the past two months: Is Islam the topic of discourse overdone, and do we need another conversation about it?
Covering Islam and Muslims is not for the faint-hearted. Especially if you are a Muslim woman writing in a Muslim country, and have not been schooled in religious studies, and looks like everything that is the opposite of what a Muslimah should be.
Once upon a time, I wrote a book, which was really a compilation of articles I wrote for Malaysiakini.com, titled I Am Muslim. It was written and published when I was in my 30s. (more…)
Najib Tun Razak should learn to view Malaysia and the federal government from the perspective of Sabahans and not as an Umno leader, says opposition STAR.
The State Reform Party (STAR) is stunned by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s claim that Sabah’s rights and autonomy have not been usurped by the federal government and that they remain intact.
The party’s Sabah chapter chairman, Jeffrey Kitingan, said the prime minister was either ignorant or being crafty by claiming Sabah’s rights had not been diminished in any way after the formation of Malaysia in 1963. (more…)
Pengerang residents take part in a protest against Petronas’s RAPID project, September 30, 2012.
State oil firm Petronas is negotiating with Singapore’s Keppel Corp for a gas-powered energy plant in Pengerang, Johor that may supply electricity to the island state, The Straits Times reported today.
According to the Singapore daily, Keppel may get a 30 per cent stake in the 1,200MW plant that will be part of Petronas’s Refinery and Petrochemicals Development (RAPID) project in Pengerang.
The deal will also be the first investment involving a Singapore firm in Malaysia’s domestically dominated power sector. (more…)
Toh Boo Huat
The just released Education Blueprint was touted to be very comprehensive as it took into account the views and desires of Malaysians who were given opportunities to provide input during dialogues held in major towns across the country.
However, if the responses and loud cheers from large section of the crowd during the dialogues are any indication of popular support and demands by the people, then two such requests are missing in the blueprint i.e. calls for Science and Mathematics be taught in English and, for a non-politician Education Minister. (more…)
THE KUCHING DECLARATION
LEST WE FORGET, AND LEST ALL THE PEOPLES OF OUR GREAT NATION OF MALAYSIA FORGET, WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, DO ONCE AGAIN FIRMLY, RESOLUTELY AND UNEQUIVOCALLY PLEDGE AND PROMISE BEFORE THE WHOLE NATION OF MALAYSIA AS OUR WITNESSES, ON THIS HISTORIC DAY THE 16TH OF SEPTEMBER, 2012, IN THE CITY OF KUCHING, AND ON BEHALF OF OUR RESPECTIVE PARTIES AND PAKATAN RAKYAT AS A WHOLE, THAT WHEN WE FORM THE NEXT GOVERNMENT OF MALAYSIA, PAKATAN RAKYAT WILL HONOUR ALL ITS PLEDGES AND PROMISES TO THE PEOPLES OF MALAYSIA.
WE WILL HONOURABLY EXECUTE ALL THE POLICIES SET FORTH IN THE BUKU JINGGA SO THAT MALAYSIA WILL ONCE AGAIN BE A GREAT NATION, HER PEOPLES PROSPEROUS, HER FUTURE SECURE AND PEACEFUL, AND HER NAME CELEBRATED BY ALL THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD.
WE WILL HONOUR THE SPIRIT OF THE MALAYSIA AGREEMENT OF 1963 WHICH OUR FOUNDING FATHERS PUT THEIR HANDS TO, AND AS A SIGN OF OUR DEEP COMMITMENT TO THE PEOPLES OF SARAWAK AND SABAH, CONSISTENT WITH DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES AND JUSTICE FOR ALL MALAYSIANS, IN PARTICULAR: (more…)
Sim Kwang Yang
Tomorrow is Malaysia Day, 16 of September, on this day Malaysian commemorating the 49 anniversary of Sarawak and Sabah independence through forming Malaysia with Singapore and the Malayan Federation.
There are more people nowadays talking about the meaning of this date. And also about the 20 point agreement signed in a joint memorandum 49 years ago.
We all know that Sarawak and Sabah have had a raw deal from 49 years of Malaysian independence. The thing to think about is how to reverse this trend. (more…)
We are proud of Pandelela Rinong Pamg, a 19 year old Bidayuh girl, for winning Sarawak’s first ever Olympic medal, taking bronze in the 10m individual platform diving event. We hope the happy girl is not forced to campaign for Najib and Taib in the upcoming general elections.
We are also proud of the sporting achievements of Lee Chong Wei, the most successful Olympian in our country’s history. He is also the only Malaysian badminton player to have been world number one for more than a couple of weeks, since the rankings system began a quarter of a century ago. He truly deserves our respect for his achievements on the court.
He has been a great ambassador for the game: talented, amiable, hardworking, mostly adept at avoiding conflict, humble, if a little diffident – and easily manipulated. In this sense, he is perhaps typical of many ordinary Malaysians like you and me. (more…)
PM telling Selangorians to vote “the right government” to resolve water issue is tantamount to political campaigning, says Samad Said.
Bersih co-chairman A Samad Said wants the Election Commission (EC) to reprimand Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak for campaigning before Parliament is dissolved.
Samad said that Najib’s statement urging Selangor voters to “choose the right government” to resolve the state’s water issue was clear-cut political campaigning for the general election.
“The EC should reprimand the prime minister. How can you allow Najib to say such things when election is not even called for yet?” asked Samad. (more…)
“To call’ or ‘Not to call’ – Prime Minister Najib Razak appears to be in a Hamlet-like predicament with regard to the 13th general election.
Former prime minister and recurrent gadfly Dr Mahathir Mohamad seems resolute on this advice: Najib should go the full distance of predecessor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s mandate, obtained in March 2008 which only expires five years hence.
But time is not on the present officeholder’s side.
A swarm of potentially hostile factors – mounting fiscal debt, the worsening global economic situation, not to mention such inconveniences as the investigation in France into irregularities in arms procurement by Malaysia – combine to darken the outlook for Najib’s longevity of tenure. (more…)
By Sim Kwang Yang
I received in my email the following excellent article by Bernice Low on the battle in the Internet world in Malaysia. The object of her attention is the newly launched net portal the Malaysian Mirror, for which I write a weekly column. Naturally, I feel the irony of the situation, me – a die hard anti-BN man writing for Ong Tee Kiat the MCA President to further the cause of the BN, if her speculation and assumptions turn out to be true. We will see.
If you can’t beat them…
…join em. And that’s what the MCA (Malaysian Chinese Association) is going to do, it would seem.
According to a news report on the Malaysianinsider.com, the MCA is going into the online news game. A friend in the media line confirmed that hiring is ongoing for the Malaysian Mirror, the name that has been chosen for the new newsportal. A search on MYNIC shows that the domain name Malaysianmirror.com.my is available. A search on WHOIS, however, shows the top-level domain (TLD) name Malaysianmirror.com to be unavailable. It was recently purchased on March 3, 2009, and is registered to a Web domain hosting firm in (ironically) Penang.
By Pak Bui
My car window was smashed by a man on a motorcycle, outside a coffee shop at dusk, one evening. A passerby gave chase on his motorcycle and saw the thief’s licence plate, but the thief escaped. I went to the central police station to make a report. The policewoman on duty wrote the thief’s licence plate number down. Then she asked “Jadi, mengapa mahu buat laporan ni?” I explained patiently that I wanted to prevent future crimes.
I was referred to another police station. The detectives on duty there were nothing like the intelligent, glamorous types we see on television. An elderly man’s bag had been stolen while he was practising tai chi. One detective joked the old man should have used some other martial art to stop the thief. My tour of the stations, in my car with newly improved ventilation, took three hours. The report came to nothing: the licence plate was a fake.
Violent crimes increasing nationwide
Violent crime rates, of far more concern than a broken car window, are increasing. Even in Sarawak, traditionally a tranquil place, most people know someone whose bag has been snatched, or whose house has been broken into, or who has been robbed.
Crime rates have long been on the rise, too, in Peninsular Malaysia. Last month, in Cheras, Selangor, a young woman was abducted at noon in front of a bank, and bundled into a Honda CR-V, while her husband sat waiting in a car. The woman was released five hours later. No ransom was mentioned in the Star newspaper report. District police chief, Assistant Commissioner Ahmad Amir Mohd Hashim, was quoted as saying “We do not have much information yet but we will make some arrests soon.” Perhaps a lack of information is no obstacle to making arrests in Cheras: the police might simply round up the usual suspects.
Crime statistics are malleable (more…)
By John Riwang
Immediately after last year’s March 8 parliamentary election results came out, my good friend from Ipoh called and yelled at me on the phone “What the hell is wrong with you guys?!” Five states in Semenanjung Malaysia – including my friend’s home state of Perak – decided to opt for change by installing the new Pakatan Rakyat (PR) government. For the first time in almost 40 years, the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) lost a 2/3rd majority in the election. Imagine, all those below 40 years old only know about BN this and BN that.
Sarawakians as spoilers?
My friend was referring to the ‘political tsunami’ that never hit Sarawak’s shores on that fateful March 8. BN retained 30 of the 31 parliamentary seats in Sarawak and thus, saved the national BN from further humiliation.
I remained silent after my friend’s outburst, thinking of all kinds of excuses to say to him. But nothing came out. Quietly, I asked myself “What the hell is wrong with us?” It’s as if Malaysia’s political fairy tale was single-handedly spoiled by us, Sarawakians. If indeed our nation’s history is a fairy tale that should end with a “living-happily-ever-after” page, then it really is a poorly written fairy tale. Or more like a badly written suspense novel.
This is my simple take on the March 8 ‘political tsunami’. (more…)