Hornbill Unleashed

July 30, 2014

Mawan: I’m not prepared to die, no way man

Dukau Papau

The newly elected president of Parti Tenaga Rakyat Sarawak (Teras) William Mawan Ikom is prepared to “to lock horns” with any BN party which opposes Teras’ entry into the ruling coalition.

“Teras is prepared to do whatever is necessary to ensure its survival and for that we are prepared to lock horns with Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) in the coming state election, if that is what we need to do,” he said.

“What is it that you are not prepared to do, if that is the only way to survive? I am not prepared to die… no way man,” he said at a media conference. (more…)

July 29, 2014

M’sian oil palm linked to disgraced PR firm

Mkini

Disgraced UK-based FBC Media, a firm accused of producing fluff content on major television networks under the guise of genuine programmes for those who would pay, had purportedly also offered its services to the government backed Malaysian Oil Palm Council (Mpoc).

This is according to whistleblower site Sarawak Report which released what is said is “a dossier of damning proposals” made by the discredited FBC Media to Mpoc to improve Malaysia’s tarnished oil palm industry image.

“It confirms the strategy of ‘greenwash’ to deliberately mislead the world’s public about the true nature of this massive agribusiness, which is tearing up the Borneo jungle and displacing its inhabitants. (more…)

Alfred Jabu under fire for water shortage woes

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Dukau Papau

Betong town and scores of longhouses and Malay villages in the Layar constituency have been hit hard by water shortage due to the prolonged dry weather but Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu Anak Numpang doesn’t think so.On TV3 on Thursday, he denied there were water woes in his constituency.

His denial had not only shocked longhouse folk and villagers, but also angered them, with some demanding that he should step down as deputy chief minister and as their elected representative.

Jabu has been deputy chief minister and their elected representative for the past 40 years.

Last week the Orang Ulu communities in Baram demanded that Jabu should resign from the cabinet as he had failed to help the Dayaks in terms of business opportunities and development. (more…)

Don’t overlook Dayaks, S’wak CM told

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Dukau Papau

Newly formed Dayak Informal Group (DIG) called on Sarawak chief minister Adenan Satem to ‘clean’ his government which he inherited from the former chief minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, who had allegedly neglected the Dayak communities in terms of development, business opportunities and civil service appointments.

“The state government should be more serious on inclusiveness. There is a place for every Sarawakian in Sarawak if it’s not just a issue that state leaders preach, but actually implement,”  said DIG spokesman Dusit Jaul.

He added the Dayak community would very much  like to contribute more meaningfully towards the state development. But in the present situation, they cannot play a more important role as they are on the fringe. (more…)

July 25, 2014

Sarawak PKR chief paints dismal picture of Sarawak

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baru bian sarawakJoe Fernandez

Baru Bian said that the two Borneo nations had been “left to languish in the doldrums and their wealth used to fund the peninsula”.

Sarawak Pakatan Rakyat (PR) Chief Baru Bian painted a pessimistic picture in conjunction with the 51st Independence Day celebrations of Sarawak yesterday.

“It is clear that after 51 years, what the Cobbold Commission report warned has come to pass and Tunku’s vision has failed to materialise,” he said.

Baru Bian cited Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaya’s first Prime Minister as saying, “one of the principal objectives in forming Malaysia was to further the economic development of the Borneo Territories so that their standards of living and technical skills might be raised, and a firm basis provided for accelerated growth”. (more…)

July 24, 2014

Malaysia has failed Sarawak, says Baru Bian

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Mkini

Sarawak and her people have not benefitted from the Federation of Malaysia in terms of development, economic activities, education, prosperity, justice, fairness and equality.

Instead, the federation has brought more misery, poverty, marginalisation, curbed religious freedom, and caused more suffering due to racial and religious discrimination, said Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian.

He said this when addressing a gathering to celebrate Sarawak’s 51st anniversary of independence yesterday.

“Fifty-one years on, it is clear that what the Cobbold Commission Report had warned about has come to pass. (more…)

Hudud row threatens to split Pakatan in Sarawak

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Anna Chidambar

So the Sarawak DAP wants to get out of Pakatan Rakyat if PAS insists on working with the federal government to implement hudud in Kelantan.

Making this strong stand last week, its chairman Chong Chieng Jen explained that if hudud was implemented, Sarawak would also be affected because all federal government departments at the state level would then have to comply with Syariah law in their administration.

But Chong did not stop there. He also lashed out at the non-committal stance of the Sarawak PKR on the matter and warned that the recent meeting between Kelantan Deputy Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Jamil Khir Baharom had revealed that there was no need to amend the Federal Constitution to allow for implementation of hudud in Kelantan. (more…)

July 23, 2014

‘Stop the dam, we live here, we’ll die here’

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The Borneo Post

Ask Long San folk about the proposed Baram Hydroelectricity (HEP) dam project and the majority of them will tell you they are strongly against it

Anti-dam banners hung outside Long San villagers’ houses.

In fact, many houses in the village in Long San are seen hanging banners bearing the message ‘Stop the Dam’. Some are written in Malay — ‘Kami Tidak Mahu Baram Dam’, which is meant to send a message to the government that they are against its construction.

Local activist and former Marudi Councillor Anthony Lawai Karing, 74, when met by the BAT IV team yesterday, claimed 90 per cent of the villagers from 17 villages affected by the proposed dam project were unhappy with it. (more…)

Sabah, Sarawak top on Anwar’s revamp plan if Pakatan captures Putrajaya

DESMOND DAVIDSON

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has outlined a seven-point plan if Pakatan Rakyat captured Putrajaya, focusing on ties between the federal and state governments, particularly between Sabah and Sarawak.

The opposition leader said priority is the current federal-state arrangement to share petroleum wealth.

In the revamp, petroleum-producing states would be given a better say in how Petronas is managed, he said.

This would be by appointing a director each from Sarawak, Sabah and the other petroleum-producing states to the national oil company’s board. (more…)

Anwar denies keeping mum on hudud

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Mkini

PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim has denied DAP Sarawak’s claim that he has been keeping silent on the hudud issue in Pakatan Rakyat.

Anwar said on the latest occasion, he had touched on the issue at a forum held at the Royal Selangor Club on July 9.

“Contrary to DAP Sarawak’s statement, I already spoke about the matter two weeks ago,” he said.

“It was related to justice for all, regardless of their race or religion. I made specific reference to the hudud issue in Kelantan,” Anwar said at the PKR headquarters last night. (more…)

July 22, 2014

Sarawak DAP threatens to pull out of coalition

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Sarawak PakatanJoe Fernandez

PKR and PAS express shock and surprise at DAP Sarawak’s unilateral move over hudud.

PAS and PKR today took exception to a DAP statement threatening to pull out of Sarawak PR over PAS’ cooperation with the Federal government over hudud.

The DAP is proposing a resolution that it will refrain from holding or participating in any event organised under the name of PR or PAS in Sarawak because of this cooperation.

DAP is angry that PAS is working with the Federal government to implement hudud in Kelantan.

It is unhappy that working with the Federal government is against the PR common manifesto. (more…)

High Court orders return of CDs containing the word ‘Allah’ to Melanau clerk

Lawyer for Jill Ireland,  Annou Xavier (left), and a representative from the Bible Society Malaysia, Alfred Tais, at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on June 30, 2014. Ireland is seeking the return of CDs containing the word 'Allah', which were confiscated in 2008. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Shafiq Safiee, July 21, 2014.JENNIFER GOMEZ

Lawyer for Jill Ireland, Annou Xavier (left), and a representative from the Bible Society Malaysia, Alfred Tais, at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on June 30, 2014.

Ireland is seeking the return of CDs containing the word ‘Allah’, which were confiscated in 2008.

The High Court today ordered the return of eight Christian CDs containing the word “Allah” which the Home Ministry had confiscated from Jill Ireland at the then Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) in Sepang in 2008.

Judge Datuk Zaleha Yusof while ordering the return of the CDs to the Melanau clerk did not set a time frame for it to be complied.However‎, she did not make any ruling on the constitutional issue on whether Christians had the right to use the word “Allah” in their worship.Ireland’s lawyer Annou Xavier said that they would decide on the next course of action after the CDS were returned. (more…)

July 21, 2014

Mawan and Wong explain formation of UPP

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Dukau Papau

Disagreement between supporters of former Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) president William Mawan Ikom and supporters of former Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) deputy secretary-general Wong Soon Koh as to who should lead the Dayak-based party Parti Tenaga Rakyat Sarawak (Teras) is said to have led Wong and three other elected representatives aligned to him to form their own party – United People’s Party (UPP).

However, Mawan, who is Social Development Minister, and Wong, who is Local Government and Community Development Minister, strongly denied this at a joint press conference yesterday.

Mawan, Wong and eight other state assemblypersons resigned from their respective parties on May 15, 2014 due to internal problems in SPDP and SUPP and joined the newly-formed Teras. (more…)

Baram villagers witness first hand proof of empty promises

Anna Chidambar

Reports that the Sarawak state government has unofficially given the “green light” for the construction of the controversial RM4 billion hydroelectric power (HEP) Baram Dam have not deterred villagers at the anti-dam blockade in Long Lama who are adamant at staying put.

The Long Lama blockade was set up by the Baram Protection Action Committee (BPAC) about nine months ago on Oct 23, 2013 as a sign that the villagers were against the HEP dam project to be sited between Long Naah and Long Kesseh some 200km inland from Miri City.

When strong rumours spread that Baram Dam had received the green light, 170 Baram villagers paid a visit to the resettlement areas of Sungai Asap and Tegulang and Matalun in the Belaga District in mid-July to listen to the experiences of those who had resettled making the way for the Bakun and Murum dams. (more…)

Legality of Marina Park project in Miri questioned

Dukau Papau

Sarawak PKR today questioned the legality of the construction of a multi-billion ringgit Marina Park City project in Miri by Samling Group, which is closely linked to those in political power.

It also accused some Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) leaders of being involved in the project, which has become a very ‘hot’ issue in the city.

“Documents made available to our Miri MP Dr Michael Teo Yu Keng indicate that the original planning and engineering approvals will take away the existing approved car parks at Jalan Sri Dagang or the Miri Waterfront Commercial Centre,” state PKR vice-chairperson See Chee How said. (more…)

July 18, 2014

‘Invited tender’ process to enrich cronies, says DAP

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Dukau Papau

Sarawak DAP believes that  the ‘secret’ conversion of two road projects  between Kapit and Kanowit worth RM100 million each from the ‘open tender’ process to that of ‘invited tender’ process  by the Finance Ministry is to enrich the crony companies of certain Sarawakian politicians.

It is known to the public that 10 of the companies have been listed; and six of them are said to be closely related to PBB politicians.

In a letter to the Finance Ministry, Sarawak DAP chief and MP for Bandar Kuching Chong Chieng Jen demanded to know the names of those chosen or invited to tender for the two road projects, and the reasons they were so selected. (more…)

Wong and three ex-SUPP leaders form new party

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Dukau Papau

Former Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) deputy secretary-general and local government and community development minister Wong Soon Koh announced this afternoon that he and three other state assemblypersons have formed a new party – the United People’s Party (UPP).

The party was registered on July 14, 2014, and the three assemblypersons who teamed up with Wong are Jerip Susil (Bengoh), Ranum Mina (Opar) and Johnichal Rayong (Engkilili).

On May 15, 2014, Wong (left) and the three elected representatives announced that they were joining Parti Tenaga Rakyat Sarawak (Teras). (more…)

Deplorable lives of those evicted for Sarawak dams

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Dukau Papau

Ethnic communities in Sarawak are hardening themselves to oppose the further construction of hydro-electric power (HEP) dams in the state after witnessing the miserable conditions that those moved out for the Bakun and Murum dams live in.Recently, 175 people from the Kenyah, Kayan, Penan and other ethnic communities visited the Bakum Dam resettlement area at Sungai Asap and the Murum Dam resettlement at Tegulang and were shocked by deplorable conditions there.

The broken promises made to the communities resettled there has further hardened their anti-dam fight, Save Rivers Network Sarawak (Save Rivers) chairperson Peter Kallang said today.

The two-day visit from July 13, organised by Save Rivers, was to enable those from the Baram Dam development area to see for themselves the resettlement areas and listen to the experiences of those forced to make way for the two HEP dams at Bakun and Murum, Peter said. (more…)

July 17, 2014

Petronas taken to task for not informing residents of clean-up

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Inset: Baru at the Petronas briefing in Lawas on 24 June 2014Anna Chidambar

The ongoing massive clean-up and repair by Petronas along the entire stretch of the 600km interstate Sabah-Sarawak gas pipeline (SSGP) is giving folks on the Miri-Bintulu border the jitters after the fire incident over a month ago.

Many residents were worried when they witnessed huge plumes of whitish gas fumes shooting up into the air from several points of the pipeline project not far from Bintulu town on July 12.

Amateur video footage lasting 30 seconds showed a motorist filming a big column of gas shooting into the air some 500m from KM72 Bintulu-Miri portion of the Pan Borneo Highway. (more…)

Who really ‘scores’ in Sarawak’s industrialisation plans?

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The Sarawak Corridor of Renewal Energy, or SCORE, stretches from Tanjung Manis  in the south to Samalaju in the north of Sarawak.– Map courtesy www.recoda.com.my, July 17, 2014.DESMOND DAVIDSON AND SHERIDAN MAHAVERA

Carved out of what was once lush jungle on the north eastern shore of Sarawak, is a town that its politicians claim will transform Malaysia’s largest but poorer state’s economy, and place it on par with the country’s wealthiest states.

Called Samalaju, the town will have some of the biggest heavy industry factories and smelters Sarawak and the rest of Malaysia in what is the biggest draw so far for investors in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewal Energy (SCORE) – the master plan to industrialise Sarawak.

But the people this grand plan is supposed to help – native villagers miles from it and local businesses around Samalaju – seriously doubt the government’s narrative. (more…)

July 16, 2014

No, I’m not leaving PKR, says Khalid

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Mkini

“At first I was photographed with (Prime Minister) Najib and then I was photographed with (PKR de facto leader) Anwar.

“And then I also took photos with (PAS president) Abdul Hadi. So based on the photos alone, I have joined many parties,” said Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim in rubbishing talk that he is defecting from PKR, according to a SelangorKini report today.

Previously, a photograph of Khalid with Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak was circulated online and this sparked speculation that he was defecting to Umno. (more…)

‘Najib short-changing Sabah, Sarawak’

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Joe FernandezSee Chee How

PKR has challenged Najib to reveal the allocations granted and received by Sarawak and Sabah, the BN’s ‘fixed deposit’ states, through federal ministries and agencies.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sarawak has pointed out that based on Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s statement in Kota Kinabalu on Saturday, he has conceded that the federal government has been short-changing Sabah and Sarawak.

PKR has urged Barisan Nasional (BN) parties in the two states to take a firm stand towards Putrajaya on the matter. (more…)

Change polls system, not just processes

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MARIA CHIN ABDULLAH

At the lecture organised by Bersih 2.0, Society for the Promotion of Human Rights, Malaysia (Proham) and Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) last Sunday, University of Glasgow’s Prof Sarah Birch, an international leading expert on electoral malpractice, one common question struck many members of the audience – is it time now to change the electoral system and not just the electoral process?

The comparison in the electoral systems brought up by Prof Birch was interesting and one which has been of interest, too, for our Malaysian academicians. So how do we decide which system is appropriate for Malaysia? (more…)

What are Malaysia’s goals?

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87fec-poor9Hafidz Baharom

Of late, I’ve been feeling that we as a nation have become lethargic, and truth be told, Malaysia is in need of some introspection. This is plainly because we have no goals that anyone can see us achieving as a nation.

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg says that there needs to be a measure to everything, for us to know that we are headed in the right direction.

It is taught in Islam that if we do not grow better from one day to the next, then surely we have wasted our time. And mind you, Malaysia is wasting time and running out of it fast. (more…)

MACC officers in Teoh Beng Hock’s death cleared

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Mkini

The three Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers implicated in the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock by a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) have been cleared of any indiscipline.

“The MACC’s special investigation team comprising its disciplinary board and the complaints committee (one of the MACC independent oversight committees) also cleared the trio of any violation of the Civil Service Regulations (Behaviour and Disciplinary) 1993, the MACC Act 2009 and MACC’s internal rules and regulations,” the anti-corruption body told Malaysiakini in a statement yesterday. (more…)

S’gor sultan slams PAS MP for anti-Mais remarks

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Mkini

In a rare public show of disapproval, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah today singled out PAS’ Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad for suggesting the powers of the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) be curbed.

The sultan in a scathing criticism of Khalid, described his remarks as “insolent”, saying that it went against his power as the ruler of Selangor, who is also in charge of Islamic affairs, Utusan Online reported this evening.

“Khalid’s (right) statement clearly shows he is ignorant about the role of Mais, which is set up under the Selangor constitution to be my adviser and helper in executing my powers as the head of religion in Selangor,” the sultan is quoted as saying. (more…)

Let Pakatan Rakyat decide Selangor MB post, not Umno

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THE MALAYSIAN INSIDERKhalid is so strongly backed by Umno to remain as Selangor MB, it might be reason enough for Pakatan Rakyat to consider replacing him, says The Malaysian Insider. - The Malaysian Insider pic, July 15, 2014.

Unlike Umno lawyer Datuk Hafarizam Harun, Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin believes that women can be a menteri besar or even prime minister.

Despite that enlightened view, he firmly said today that PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is unsuitable for the top post in Selangor.

But why should he or for that matter any Umno politician have any say on who is the Selangor MB? Umno was soundly rejected by the electorate in Selangor.

Correction… an Umno team led by Datuk Seri Najib Razak was tossed into oblivion by the Selangor electorate in 2013. (more…)

July 15, 2014

Courts do not have the final say on the Allah issue, says academic

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The Federal Court last month dismissed the application for leave by the Catholic Church to appeal against the ban on its weekly publication Herald from using the word Allah. - The Malaysian Insider pic, July 14, 2014.JENNIFER GOMEZ

The Federal Court last month dismissed the application for leave by the Catholic Church to appeal against the ban on its weekly publication Herald from using the word Allah.

The courts do not have the final word in the Allah case, this contest will go beyond the Federal Court, a law lecturer from the Australian National University said today.

Speaking in an academic seminar titled “The Name of God on Trial: Narratives of Law, Religion and State in Malaysia”, Joshua Neoh said that given this scenario, dissenting judgments were important because it appeals to the people and builds a counter-current of opinion. (more…)

Are you a moderate or extremist?

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Khoo Ying HooiHudud 2

I am not surprised by the political developments currently going on in the country.

After the failure of the Reformasi movement in 1998, one of the most significant developments of the past decade has been the resurgence of the social movements scenario. At a time when there is sprouting alienation from political parties, civil society is playing a growing and critically important role in Malaysian democratic development.

Since then, the subject of social movements has been linked to the rise and fall of hopes on the quality of Malaysian democracy. (more…)

MB Khalid’s days may be numbered, but would his removal solve anything?

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Cindi Loo

Judging by recent reports and comments in the media on Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, one would be tempted to think that his days are numbered.

In fact, some political pundits have started wondering when the PKR leader will jump ship given his cordial ties with Umno leaders.

Amidst this brouhaha, it is easy to get carried away with the notion that the removal of Khalid as MB would solve several key issues in the state, or at least make Selangorians’ lives more comfortable. (more…)

Is the Kajang Move still moving?

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Roslan Bistamam

Why is there any need for Khalid to deny he is joining Umno or PAS?

Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim has apparently found it necessary to deny he is joining Umno or PAS. We know why he is denying he is joining Umno. This is because he attended an Umno Selangor buka puasa last Thursday, which was graced by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, and this triggered the rumour that he is joining Umno.

Incidentally, Anwar Ibrahim also sat down to have tea with Najib and the pictures were all over the Internet, but neither Anwar nor Najib needed to issue any statement to deny that the former was joining Umno. (more…)

Muslim group says Negara-Ku in line with Quranic teachings

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(From left) Pak Samad, Zaid and Ambiga at the launch of the new NGO Negara-Ku last week. The movement has been criticised by some political and Muslim NGOs, including Perkasa and Isma. - The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, July 14, 2014.TMI

Negara-Ku has found an ally in a Muslim group, the Alumni of the Malaysian Islamic Study Group US and Canada (MISGUSC Alumni), amid a growing list of Muslim groups coming out to attack the new people’s movement.

As opposition from groups such as Perkasa, Isma and Muafakat Sejahtera Masyarakat Malaysia mount, the alumni said Negara-Ku was a step in the right direction to promote harmony and unity among Malaysians. (more…)

Umno Baru protects the minority

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MARIAM MOKHTAR

We were wrong! Umno Baru has not forsaken the minority groups. Umno Baru does actually protect the endangered minority; the Umno Baruputra elite and the royalty.

The endangered minority are very small in number but the percentage of wealth they hold is great. Ordinary civil or syariah laws do not apply to them. So, this minority spreads distrust throughout the entire population. The sedition laws help to protect their species.

Ordinary Umno Baru members do not belong to the endangered minority, although many aspire to be like them. (more…)

Major logging firms blamed for dredging failure

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Dukau Papau

Some of the mega timber companies which have close links to the family members of the former chief minister of Sarawak, Abdul Taib Mahmud, and PBB leaders have been blamed for the disaster of the RM10 million Pulau Kerto dredging project, which was supposed to solve the perennial  flood problems in Sibu.

This is because these companies have been carrying out uncontrolled logging activities in the upper Rajang River and its tributaries over decades, causing serious soil erosion which in turn had caused heavy sedimentation on the river bed of the Rajang River.

“This has resulted in the failure of the RM10 million Pulau Kerto dredging project which was supposed to solve the flood problems in Sibu. (more…)

BN Sarawak has ‘Teras’ formula

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Joe Fernandez

It can be argued that the emerging scenario would not be against the BN Concept and BN Spirit.

Parti Rakyat Sarawak’s (PRS) President James Jemut Masing has been the shrillest voice in openly stating that there’s no place in the Barisan Nasional (BN) Sarawak for those who defected from the ruling coalition’s component parties to sign up with Teras, the new kid on the block.

The shrillness from PRS is strange considering it didn’t lose any legislators to Teras.

The party lost its Pelagus seat during the 2011 state election to George Lagong, an independent, who subsequently became Deputy President of the Sarawak Workers Party (SWP) before moving to Teras in mid-May this year. (more…)

The final days of an MB

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Mkini

PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim’s latest comments on Saturday have made it clear that Abdul Khalid Ibrahim is walking his last days as Selangor menteri besar.

Anwar’s statement can be seen as an admission of sorts, as if seeking Khalid to vacate the seat on request of his party and Pakatan Rakyat.Khalid now appears to be alone in his corner, and can no longer reach out for support from PKR to remain in the post that he has held for six years.

A change of MB’s is not something strange in politics. Indeed in Terengganu, the MBs were changed as per normal procedure at the behest of top party leadership.

Those in PKR agitating for Khalid’s departure, however, say he must do so for the sake of accountability. Is this really the reason for Khalid to leave? (more…)

July 14, 2014

When moral education is taught by an immoral being

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Lokman Mustafa

When a moral education class in primary school becomes a place where a missile — in this case a shoe — is hurled, by none other than its teacher, you know something is horribly wrong.

On July 10, a standard two schoolgirl in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan, was taken to a clinic where she received three stitches on her forehead after being hit by a shoe thrown by a male teacher.

In the incident, M Sharmini was playing with a couple of friends at the back of her classroom when the teacher lost his temper and hurled his shoe at the girl. (more…)

‘Free media most crucial for free elections’

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Mkini

Media freedom is the most integral component to ensure free and fair elections in any country, electoral studies expert from Britain, Professor Sarah Birch said today.

“The second most important one would be the judiciary,” she said.

Birch argued that free elections do not necessarily be dictated by the appointments made into the Election Commission and the administrators of the elections itself.

In fact, what is more crucial are the bodies put in place to actually hold electoral administrators accountable. (more…)

In dire need of strong political leadership

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SYERLEENA ABDUL RASHID

Malaysians are growing rather accustomed to the never-ending cases and scandals that highlight the questionable decisions made by our elected leaders.

But this is by no means a sign that we have succumbed to our fate as citizens of a nation spiraling towards a failed state.

The recent debate on whether Malaysia is or is not a secular state occurs every once in a while when confusion and ignorance resurfaces. (more…)

Sarawak starts feeling the heat of Malay peninsula feud over religion

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There is growing concern that conservatism in the peninsula is creeping into Sarawak. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, July 13, 2014. SHERIDAN MAHAVERA

There is growing concern that conservatism in the peninsula is creeping into Sarawak.

Over the past few years, the non-Muslims in Sarawak – particularly the majority Christian community – have seen some disturbing trends among their youth.Christian schoolchildren were coming home and telling their parents that their Muslim classmates had started pressuring them to change their faith.

In universities in Kuching, there was a sudden bloom of girls wearing niqabs, the Arab-style head to toe dress that covered everything except the eyes. This is even though the Education Ministry has forbidden niqabs. (more…)

From secularism to religious fanaticism and extremism!

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Ahmad Mustapha Hassan

It is simply unbelievable that Malaysia which at one time was a happy place for all regardless of their ethnic origins or religious denominations is moving towards religious intolerance and communal animosities. The country has lost its integrity as a democratic state and the situation is being eroded at unbelievable speed.

Malaysia is no more truly Asia but more truly an Asian catastrophe.

Malaysia was at one time full of music and merrymaking in celebrating events of significant nature. There would be music and joget dancing at Malay weddings and there would be “joget lambak” at events to celebrate “mandi safar” but alas, all these fun events had been termed un-Islamic and thus rooted out of the Malay culture. (more…)

EC impartiality hinges on judiciary, media and civil society, says don

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Birch telling those at the 'Retaining power through elections: When democracy enables autocracy' forum that the 'first-past-the-post' system used in elections in Malaysia is the easiest to manipulate. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, July 13, 2014.ANISAH SHUKRY

The Election Commission’s (EC) appointment methods and membership are practically irrelevant when it comes to ensuring free and fair elections, a political scientist said today.

Professor Dr Sarah Birch from the University of Glasgow said what was more important was that the media, the judiciary and the civil society hold the EC to account.

“The qualification and mode of appointment of the EC are less important than the accountability measures. The formal mode (of appointment) doesn’t seem to matter much.

“The EC can even be run by a branch of the government. That’s fine,” said Birch, pointing to Sweden’s EC, which was once run by the tax board. (more…)

Malaysia, the best predictors of electoral outcomes

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Lynette Ong

With the availability of new electoral data, researchers have been able to conduct in-depth analysis of the 2013 General Election (GE13) results in Malaysia.

The incumbent Barisan Nasional (BN) was able to capture 59.9% of parliamentary seats even though they had only won 47.4% of popular votes.

To be sure, malapportionment (mismatch between vote and seat shares) is evident in many countries with the single-member district plurality system. (more…)

Yes, Negara-Ku has an agenda, Ambiga tells Utusan

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ANISAH SHUKRYNegara-Ku’s agenda is to promote unity, peace and harmony, say its founders. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, July 13, 2014.

Newly formed Negara-Ku’s agenda is to promote unity, peace and harmony, and those who criticise it are trying to deflect Malaysians from issues of racism and extremism, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said today.

“Of course, Negara-Ku has an agenda. It is an agenda for unity, peace and harmony,” Ambiga told The Malaysian Insider in a text message.

“Everyone who loves this country should support this agenda. Those who criticise it are merely trying to deflect from the pressing issues of racism and extremism that threaten the fabric of our nation. What is their agenda, I wonder?” (more…)

Prof: Elections often get worse before improving

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Mkini

Elections in countries where its transparency is in question often need to “get worse” before it finally improves, a British professor who specialises in political ethics and electoral institutions said today.

In an hour long lecture at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Prof Sarah Birch, from the University of Glasgow, said that people’s movement leading to electoral reform comes due to the “episodic” grievances of the people.

“Normally, electoral rights are guaranteed on paper. But episodically these rights can be taken away through implementation of the election process, to increase grievances. This creates a huge potential for mobilisation,” she said. (more…)

July 12, 2014

Can Adenan’s firm stand against extremists keep Sarawak Barisan in power?

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SHERIDAN MAHAVERA AND DESMOND DAVIDSON

Tan Sri Adenan Satem has been saying and doing the right things so far but analyst wonder if this will be enough to stop Sarawak BN from losing more support. – The Malaysian Insider pic, July 12, 2014.

Tan Sri Adenan Satem has yet to get his first mandate as Sarawak Chief Minister but his firm decision to ban religious and racial extremists, such as Datuk Ibrahim Ali, could be key in Barisan Nasional (BN) keeping power in their self-described vote bank.

Civil servant Richard is among many who are ecstatic that Adenan has taken a stand against such people in Malaysia’s largest state.

As a member of Sarawak’s majority Christian community, it galls him that Malay supremacist groups, like Ibrahim’s Perkasa, want to ban non-Muslims from using the term Allah. (more…)

Is a racial divide breaking out in Sarawak after GE13?

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Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian says the Bumiputera do not mind PKR taking the lead, but they do not want the DAP to do so. SHERIDAN MAHAVERA AND DESMOND DAVIDSON

Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian says the Bumiputera do not mind PKR taking the lead, but they do not want the DAP to do so.

On the eve of the April 2011 Sarawak state election, Zainal, a Kuching resident, looked at a DAP rally that was taking place across the road from his restaurant and shook his head.

“We Malays are afraid, if we vote for the opposition, the Chinese will take over and the Malays will be finished,” said the Kuching resident in his 50s.

This sentiment was shared by many in the Malay community. (more…)

Leave denied in Herald seizure case

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Malaysia Allah BanJoe Fernandez

The lawyers argued that they should have been granted leave so that the merits of their case can be heard.

The High Court of Sabah and Sarawak in Kota Kinabalu this morning denied leave to two plaintiffs, an activist and a lawyer, to apply for leave for Judicial Review against the seizure of 2,000 copies of the Herald, the Catholic weekly, on 26 October last year at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport.

Daniel John Jambun, the President of the UK-based human rights NGO, Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (BoPIM) and senior Sabah lawyer Marcel Jude Joseph applied for leave to file the Judicial Review. (more…)

Pak Samad, Ambiga form new NGO to fight racism

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Radzi Razak

National laureate A Samad Said and former Malaysian Bar president Ambiga Sreenevasan have formed a new NGO to battle racism and extremism in the nation.
The outfit is called, “A people’s movement to reclaim our nation (Negara-Ku)”.

Speaking at the launch today, Ambiga ( right) said following the last general election, there has been an increase in racial and religious rhetoric in the country, as if certain quarters have a “hidden agenda” to create chaos.

These, she said, included “statements from certain leaders” about the May 13 racial riots of 1969. (more…)

Negara-Ku just another anti-Islam, anti-Malay body, says Isma

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TMI

A controversial Muslim rights group has criticised newly-launched civil movement Negara-Ku, accusing it of being “just a new face on the block but with the same agenda of going against Islam”.

Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) president Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman (pic) said in a posting on its website that the movement was merely a new front promoting religious pluralism, liberalism and humanism.

“Their agenda and focus are the same, to go against Islam as the religion of the Federation and the rights of Malays in this Malay heartland. (more…)

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