Selasa, 9 Julai 2013

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Me a bumiputra? No thank you

Posted: 09 Jul 2013 11:52 AM PDT

http://i1.wp.com/aliran.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/tunku-aziz.jpg?resize=445%2C297 

Tunku Abdul Aziz, what I need is equality, equal opportunity, justice and fair treatment by the government. I want to be respected as an individual Malaysian. That is all I need.

Tota, Aliran 

Tunku Abdul Aziz, the ex-DAP vice-chairman and now an ardent supporter of the Umno-dominated BN, in an interview with China Press (11 June 2013), suggested that in the interests of national unity, non-Malays should be accorded bumiputra status, nothwithstanding the provisos in the Federal Constitution.  

The colonial policy of divide-and-rule was bad enough. British colonialists compartmentalised Malayan society into ethnic groups to serve their purpose. When we attained independence, the Federal Constitution granted equality to everyone with a proviso for special rights for Malays which have apparently become a permanent feature.

Once the NEP was implemented, the Umno-dominated BN further divided Malaysian society. In addition to Malays, Chinese and Indians, a new term 'bumiputera' came into existence. From within the bumiputeras, another class, Umnoputeras, emerged.

I talked to a good Malay friend – very well-educated, independent minded and a man of integrity and principles – about my opinion of non-Malays becoming bumiputras. He concurred with my thoughts and feelings on the issue. He is a true Malaysian, a self-made man who is averse to the NEP and bumiputera status.

He warned me that as a bumiputra I run the risk of being lumped together with the Umnoputras, who have cleverly camouflaged the Umnoputra Agenda as a Malay Agenda and devised various strategies to enrich themselves, their families and their cronies and amass great wealth at the expense of the nation. He considers them looters, plunderers, predators and kleptocrats, who pillage the public treasury.

He joked that as a 'bumiputera' I would be brainwashed into believing that I need to be protected from the womb to the tomb because I cannot compete with others. Because of this, I would develop an inferiority complex that may become part of my DNA.

Read more at: http://aliran.com/14557.html 

MCA in a dilemma over president Soi Lek

Posted: 09 Jul 2013 11:42 AM PDT

http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTtckaVX_5szzpY_ZnPnspRy0RtnooUA9pRhkhmSsOIUSoz-4Krzg 

Can MCA's political doldrums be reversed? 

(The Malay Mail) - After the ninth general election in 1995, there were 100 Yang Berhormat in the party, comprising 30 MPs and 70 assemblymen. In GE10 (1999), the MCA secured 28 out of 35 parliamentary seats and 68 out of 77 state seats contested, delivering a total of 96 elected representatives.

This was topped in GE11 (2004) with 31 MPs and 76 assemblymen.

With the automatic qualification of the elected representatives as delegates, the following year's party annual general meeting was a riotous gathering of central delegates, a deluge of elected representatives (including Senators), ex-MPs and assemblymen, municipal and district councillors, political secretaries and the sort.

The party never had so many members holding public positions. By GE12, however, there were only 46 elected representatives — 15 MPs and 31 assemblymen.

Today, the elected representatives only number 18 — seven MPs and 11 assemblymen (7-11). In a space of nine years, the party's wakil rakyat dropped from 107 to 18 — a mere shell of 16.8 per cent.

Now, the party makes news over its disputed interpretations of "declining all government positions".

The latest is the explanation by its president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek on the party's nod over Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen's acceptance as chairman of the Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board (MTPB).

Dr Chua says the 2012 resolution does not cover recommendations made from outside the party. It was clarified that the MTPB chair was proposed by the current minister and agreed to by the prime minister, hence it kept with the resolution. Similarly, the Johore exco episode.

Tan Sri Lim Ah Lek, former deputy president and long-serving Pahang state exco member (1974-89) and cabinet member (1989-99) said the right thing to do as a loyal Johor subject and party chief was to seek an audience and request time to reverse the party stand.

Simply put: call an EGM and explain why the party should rescind the contentious resolution.

Lim reminded that Dr Chua's recommended expulsion by the disciplinary committee in August 2009 had been annulled by an extraordinary general meeting, requisitioned by his supporters, two months later.

An EGM can be requisitioned by the president or by one-third of the CC or one-third of the AGM delegates.

Lim opines that perhaps this EGM route was not exercised because it does not provide any "direct benefit". Besides, leaving the resolution intact would continue to constrain his rivals' influence.

Political analysts insist that a minimum of 10-15 years would be necessary to rebuild the party's support, provided there was tremendous political will, energy and financial resources.  

Past and current leaders and keen observers believe Dr Chua would most likely offer himself, this December, despite his announcement to the contrary.

This same lot also believes he wouldn't be there for the long haul.

The constitution limits the tenure of the presidency to a maximum of nine years.

Dr Chua is 66 years old and has been president since March 2010, leaving him a maximum of five-and-a-half years to lead the party.

So what is his game plan?

Meanwhile, the aborted Matang Holdings sales did nothing to endear the party to the community it professes to serve.

The activated disposal of a block of office lots in Megan Avenue and the eight-acre Bangi land is causing anxiety among long-serving members.

Megan Avenue has a sales price tag of RM20.6million. It was purchased at RM14.6m. The question is: "does the party need to sell"?

On the Bangi land, why the urgency? Why should the party agree to sell it for RM5.5m cash? In addition, a Cyberjaya building valued at RM2.5million?

The party is in no "forced sale" situation as far as its financial position is concerned, quite unlike its political position.

The party needs critical attention in the latter position. Where is our priority, asks a retired deputy minister?

It is common knowledge that during Tan Sri Lau Yin Pin's time as treasurer-general (2003-08) — serving under president Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting — he cleared party debts of  RM200 million.

He even realised 100 per cent party ownership of Wisma MCA by buying up the remainder 20 per cent.

The headquarters is estimated to be worth RM150 million. With the sprucing up, rental income annually was about RM2 million.

Datuk Alex Wong, a long-serving party man, ex-Senator and CC member, was clearly exercising restraint in offering his views: "Looks like the party is kaput (finished). I don't know what the present leadership is doing. Anyway, I don't think I really want to know!"

On the asset sale agenda, he could only say that the party should have adopted the formation of the Central Board of Trustees (CBOT) strongly proposed by Lau before he stepped down.

The proposal was expected to be executed when Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat became president.

It calls for the CBOT to be wholly in charge of party assets. Members are to be elected by central delegates and the board accountable directly to the AGM.

An audit committee under the CBOT would ensure that available funds are properly utilised for the party and the community's benefit. The president is to have no authority over party assets.

An obviously miffed ex-CC member said principal officers of the party may think they are "covered" under section 18 © of the Societies Act, which stipulates ".... on any matter relating to the affairs of the party shall be final and conclusive and such decision shall not be challenged, appealed against, reviewed, quashed or called in question in any court on any ground, and no court shall have the jurisdiction to  entertain ..."

He argues that there is the Trustees Act 1949 to contend with.

Of course, the jewel in the crown is the around 41 per cent stake or 300 million shares in The Star and the tens of millions of ringgit in annual dividends.

So, would Dr Chua be the candidate to reverse the MCA's political doldrums?

Tan Sri Lim and a number of 60+year-old gentlemen (who have direct, indirect and sentimental links with the party) almost in unison responded with: "Dr Chua must step down immediately", for any hope for the MCA.

 

Changing shades of Transparency International bad for Malaysia

Posted: 09 Jul 2013 11:39 AM PDT

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Paul-low-and-transparency-internation.jpg 

(TMI) - When you can't manage leadership in an organisation, how can we manage the fight against corruption?

Perception is everything and the presence of officials from government agencies Pemandu and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) at a Transparency International press conference yesterday set tongues wagging and drew the ire of a veteran anti-graft crusader.

Outgoing TI-M secretary-general Josie Fernandez said that the independence of any non-governmental organisation was important.

"Once independence is compromised, we lose the citizens' voice against corruption... what was the NKRA, Pemandu and MACC doing here? Is this an NGO press conference or government press conference," she said after TI-M released its latest survey on corruption.

In addition to the press corps, Datuk Nordin Hashim, a director at NKRA, Ravindran Devagunam, a director from the government's performance management delivery unit and  several communications officers from MACC were present at the press conference – a rarity even in Malaysia where there is often a symbiotic relationship between NGOs and government agencies.

The Malaysian chapter of TI has been in turmoil since its former head, Datuk Paul Low left in May to become a senator and a member of Prime Minister Najib Razak's Cabinet.

He was replaced by Datuk Akhbar Satar, a former MACC officer while Prof Datuk Mohamad Ali Hasan and Lio Kheng Min were appointed as deputy president and secretary-general respectively.

Fernandez  disagreed with the manner in which the current leadership was chosen, noting that the selection was done by eight exco members.

The last annual general meeting ended in turmoil with Fernandez being asked to leave after disagreeing with the manner the current leadership was chosen.

"The decision on leadership should not be left to a few people. All the members should be involved in the voting process. That was how it has been previously," she told The Malaysian Insider.

"When you can't manage leadership in an organisation, how can we manage the fight against corruption?

"Because of Paul's sudden appointment and unexpected departure, there's a vacuum. He should have set the next line of leadership. There should have been discussions on this."

The tussle for the secretary-general's position will be decided on July 20 at an extra-ordinary general meeting. But of more immediate concern is whether TI-M remains a non-partisan body, or whether it has become an establishment body.

Not helping matters for the watchdog body is the criticisms being leveled against Low as a minister and to a lesser extent, his replacement at TI-M.

Since being appointed minister in charge of integrity, good governance and human rights, Low has been attacked by DAP's Tony Pua and other critics as an apologist for the administration.

He did not do himself any favours last night when reacting to the survey results that showed that the public's confidence in the government's anti-corruption effort had dropped sharply in 2012. Low said that corruption is a global menace and not unique to Malaysia.

The latest poll also showed that the police and political parties were perceived to be the two most corrupt institutions in Malaysia.

Low's reply: "The Malaysian finding is consistent with the worldwide results where 36 countries viewed the police as the most corrupt...."

These answers are in sharp contrast to his statements when commenting on graft surveys in his capacity as TI-M president.

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/changing-shades-of-transparency-bad-for-malaysia/ 

Questions on two-party system

Posted: 09 Jul 2013 11:32 AM PDT

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_hggYo1TvxHs/SgBYT0-msXI/AAAAAAAAEN4/WQ-rNMI9GLc/s400/Wong+Chin+Huat.jpg 

Does the uniqueness of Malaysia simply defy the logic of FPTP?

Wong Chin Huat, fz.com 

SINCE 2008, "two-party system" has become a defining phrase in Malaysia's political discourse. Most opposition supporters desire it while most BN supporters dread it. 
 
Few have gone beyond the dichotomy of yes or no and asked if a two-party system would work for Malaysia or if it can be brought about by a change in government. 
 
(For ease of discussion, I will use the term "two-party system" throughout, rather than "two-coalition system" or "two-bloc system", which may be more accurate but is also clumsier. In political science, if parties form permanent coalitions and do not compete against each other, then they are not too different from formalised factions within parties, hence, Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat can be seen as two parties.)
 
Why two-party system?
 
Vis-à-vis multiparty system, the two-party system is desired by many, including beyond Malaysia, for two reasons. 
 
First, its means single-party governments, which in turn means "responsible government", as the single ruling party has to assume full responsibility for its performance. 
 
In contrast, if a coalition government fails, the partners can always blame each other. Even when a coalition government collapses, some parties with substantial seats may find their way to the next coalition government. And if the government lets the voters down in a two-party system, the voters get to "kick the rascals out" – party alternation is wholesale and complete.
 
Second, it encourages moderate moderation. Since there are only two parties, the winner has to win the middle ground. Therefore, to not alienate the centrist voters, the two parties are forced to take moderate positions and meet in the middle. 
 
The extremist members of the two parties cannot pull the parties to the flank, because they cannot pose an effective threat – supporting the other party is further against their interests.
 
In Malaysia, single-party government means political stability – ad-hoc coalition would likely see the partners bickering before the next election. And political stability in turn derives from moderation. 
 
A two-party system is seen as the ideal model because Malaysians – including both the opposition and civil society – have learned to believe in the virtue of the multi-ethnic permanent coalition model of the Alliance/BN. 
 
Hence, a substitute for the BN must not be better than it, but also somewhat looks like it.  
 
Despite or because of FPTP? 
 
Conventionally, following the propositions by French political scientist Maurice Duverger, the First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) system in Anglo-American democracies is thought to tend to produce two-party system, while the Two-Round System (TRS) in France or the Party List Proportional Representation in many other European countries tends to produce multi-party system.
 
We are then with the right electoral system since 1955. But why didn't we see a more permanent two-party format until 2008? 
 
After being purged from Umno, both Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (then already in prison) united the Opposition parties for the 1990 and 1999 elections respectively. 
 
However, both the Gagasan Rakyat-Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah and Barisan Alternatif were effectively dead before their second elections.
How do we explain this? 
 
This happened despite FPTP or because of FPTP? 
 
The former implies that there is something wrong with our society while the latter implies that there is something wrong with the electoral system – at least it is incompatible with our society.


Read more at: http://www.fz.com/content/questions-two-party-system#ixzz2Ybe4PsdW

 

How to leak and not get caught

Posted: 09 Jul 2013 11:26 AM PDT

http://blogs.reuters.com/wp-content/profile-images/upe2_tn_3281-profile-image.jpg 

If you hope to leak national security information and avoid prosecution, don't do it solo, as Snowden (and perhaps Cartwright) did. Bring a posse of like-minded leakers with you to muddy your tracks. 

Jack Shafer, Reuters

If U.S. prosecutors ever get their hands on Edward Snowden, they'll play such a tympanic symphony on his skull he'll wish his hands never touched a computer keyboard. Should U.S. prosecutors fail, U.S. diplomats will squeeze — as they did in Hong Kong — until he squirts from his hiding place and scurries away in search of a new sanctuary. But even if he finds asylum in a friendly nation, his reservation will last only as long as a sympathetic regime is calling the shots. Whether he ends up in Venezuela or some other country that enjoys needling the United States, he'll forever be one election or one coup away from extradition.

Even then, he won't be completely safe.

"Always check six, as we said when I used to be a flyer in the Air Force," said NSA whistle-blower Thomas Drake recently. "Always make sure you know what's behind you."

Solitary whistle-blowers like Snowden, Drake and Daniel Ellsberg draw targets on their backs with their disclosures of official secrets, either by leaving a trail from the heist scene, being the most logical suspect, or because they admit their deed. Escaping prison time, such whistle-blowers have learned, depends on the luck of prosecutorial overreach (Drake) or self-destruction by the state, which derailed the prosecution of Pentagon Papers liberator Ellsberg.

The solitary whistle-blower, usually a career government employee, isn't really a leaker, as Stephen Hess explains in his enduring typology of leakers. Typically, the whistle-blower seeks revolutionary change, not piecemeal reform. He doesn't share information with journalists to purchase their goodwill or to loft a trial balloon or to give himself an ego boost. He's motivated by principle, not self-interest or Machiavellian intrigue, and seeks to correct what he considers an intolerable wrong. And in most cases, his whistle-blowing results in career suicide if not jail time.

Most leakers — mindful of the fate of the pure and solitary whistle-blowers — scale the size of their leaks to avoid detection. Rather than giving the whole puzzle away to reporters, they break off pieces for distribution, in hopes that it can't be traced back to them. Or, if crafty, leakers dispense pieces of the puzzle that aren't especially revealing and therefore not precisely classified, but provide hints about the location of the next puzzle piece. Investigative reporters who excel at fitting a mosaic together benefit the most from this class of leaker.

The best way to escape detection, however, is to leak as part of a flock, a flock that may or may not fly together. The best recent example of this kind of leaking can be found in two excellent stories about the NSA's machinations published earlier this week, the New York Times's "In Secret, Court Vastly Broadens Powers of NSA," and the Wall Street Journal's "Secret Court's Redefinition of 'Relevant' Empowered Vast NSA Data-Gathering."

Read more at: http://blogs.reuters.com/jackshafer/2013/07/09/how-to-leak-and-not-get-caught/ 

Don't try me in absentia, says Clare Brown of Sarawak Report

Posted: 09 Jul 2013 11:23 AM PDT

http://www.thestar.com.my/~/media/Images/TSOL/Photos-Gallery/Nation/2013/07/10/Clare%20Rewcastle%20Brown.ashx?w=620&h=413&crop=1& 

(The Star) - Sarawak Report founder Clare Rewcastle Brown has described as unfair attempts to push through a case in the Malaysian courts in her absence.

"My position is that I do not accept the 'out of jurisdiction' order granted to try the case in Sarawak as being appropriate, especially as it was done in a state I am not even allowed to enter," said Brown, who was denied entry to Sarawak at the Kuching International Airport last Wednesday.

"I do not think it is fair to push the case through and win it in my absence because of my failure to defend myself and then to try and enforce such a judgement in the UK," said Brown, the sister-in-law of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

She has been a verhement critic of Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Taib Mahmud and has published numerous reports of alleged corruption under his administration.

The Sarawak-born Brown is facing a civil suit over her article published on May 1 titled "Dirty Dayak Datuks — BN's Crony Candidates".

Taking legal action against Brown are Kapit MP Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi, Tan Sri Datuk Amar Leonard Linggi Jugah, Greame Iaan Brown, Asian Plantations (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd, Keresa Plantations Sdn Bhd and Rajang Wood Sdn Bhd.

The state government's ban on Brown from entering Sarawak to defend herself in court has attracted global media attention. 

To the international media, Brown has described the plaintiffs as members of a transnational corporation, which is on the British and European stock exchanges.

The suit, filed a day after the article was posted at Sarawak Report, sought, among others, to have the article removed. Hearings are on going in Sarawak. 

On Monday, although the defendant was not in court, she was represented by See Chee How, PKR's Batu Lintang assemblyman.

So far, a duplicate of an injunction against Brown has been struck out while a date in August has been set to hear Brown's application to strike out the entire lawsuit. 

The plaintiffs had applied for two injunctions against the alleged defamatory article.

In an email interview with The Star, Brown said the plaintiffs had also hired lawyers in the UK.

"This strengthens the point that they are conceding that that (UK court) is the appropriate jurisdiction," she said from London where she has returned to.

"My lawyer has informed me there is a hearing in August to consider our application to have the whole case struck out in Sarawak and the 'out of jurisdiction' order removed."

Brown recently won the International Press Institute award for her work on Radio Free Sarawak.

When held at the Kuching airport last week, prior to deportation, Brown made a YouTube video accusing individuals of colluding with the political establishment to abuse their powers in order to silence their critics.

Other notables barred from Sarawak include activists Maria Chin Abdullah, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, Wong Chin Huat, Ong Boon Kiong and Kua Kia Soong. 

Rafizi: Putrajaya writing off RM163m NFC loan

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 07:07 PM PDT

PKR's Rafizi Ramli (picture) today alleged that Putrajaya was foregoing the outstanding RM163 million from the loan issued to the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) after its cattle-farming project was transferred to another company.

The PKR strategy director pointed out that the federal government had reportedly agreed to appoint another consortium to take over the controversial National Feedlot Centre (NFC) project, but that the new operator would not be responsible for the RM250 million loan that was issued to NFCorp.

"In the current conditions, I am of the opinion that the RM163 million that was spent by NFC can be considered gone and that it will not be able to be recovered," Rafizi said in a statement.

News portal The Malaysian Insider quoted industry sources earlier today as saying that the NFC project would be managed by Malaysian-Japanese venture Kirimitonas Agro Sdn Bhd and that the federal government would recover the soft loan to NFCorp through litigation.

Rafizi noted that as of May 2012, RM181 million had been given to NFCorp, according to the Finance Ministry's parliamentary reply then.

The Pandan MP said that the properties seized from NFCorp — which is owned by former minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil's family — so far are valued at RM18 million (RM14 million from two condominium units and RM4 million for two plots of land).

"The minister's reply that only RM18 million in assets have been seized thus far, and the decision to award the project to a new operator without taking over the RM250 million loan, confirms that the government will face difficulties in recovering the remaining funds that are estimated at RM163 million," said Rafizi.

He pointed out that NFCorp was no longer in operation.

"Therefore, it can be considered that the company can no longer service the loan and is bound to go through bankruptcy," said Rafizi.

He added that part of the loan was used for non-asset expenses, such as salaries, transport allowances and other expenses that could not be recovered.

"The government did not impose personal guarantees on the directors of NFCorp," he said. "So, their responsibility is limited to their shares in the company."

Rafizi was pushed into the limelight after exposing NFCorp's purchases of luxury condominium units through the federal government loan that was meant for the national cattle-farming project.

The Auditor-General's 2010 report had highlighted the failure of the NFC project in achieving its target of breeding 8,000 cattle in Gemas, Negri Sembilan, in 2010, besides noting NFCorp's management failures.

The trial of Shahrizat's defamation suit against Rafizi revealed last March that NFCorp had purchased a RM534,622 Mercedes-Benz in 2009 as a company car that was parked in her house.

In the trial, Shahrizat had also defended NFCorp's purchase of three luxury condominium units in the Orchard Scotts Residences and Marina Bay Sands in Singapore worth RM42 million, saying that the buy was part of the company's investment portfolio, according to her husband Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail, the executive chairman of NFCorp.

Mohamad Salleh is currently on trial over charges of criminal breach of trust and violations of the Companies Act involving the alleged misuse of funds from the project.

The Wanita Umno chief also testified that the RM42 million condominiums in Singapore and two condominium units in Bangsar here costing RM30 million in total made up more than one-fifth of the RM250 million government loan.

Shahrizat's senatorship was not renewed in April 2012, causing her to lose her women, family and community development portfolio in the Cabinet.

- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/rafizi-putrajaya-writing-off-rm163m-nfc-loan?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter#sthash.SI5uIwAE.dpuf

(The Malay Mail) PKR's Rafizi Ramli today alleged that Putrajaya was foregoing the outstanding RM163 million from the loan issued to the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) after its cattle-farming project was transferred to another company.

The PKR strategy director pointed out that the federal government had reportedly agreed to appoint another consortium to take over the controversial National Feedlot Centre (NFC) project, but that the new operator would not be responsible for the RM250 million loan that was issued to NFCorp.

"In the current conditions, I am of the opinion that the RM163 million that was spent by NFC can be considered gone and that it will not be able to be recovered," Rafizi said in a statement.

News portal The Malaysian Insider quoted industry sources earlier today as saying that the NFC project would be managed by Malaysian-Japanese venture Kirimitonas Agro Sdn Bhd and that the federal government would recover the soft loan to NFCorp through litigation.

Rafizi noted that as of May 2012, RM181 million had been given to NFCorp, according to the Finance Ministry's parliamentary reply then.

The Pandan MP said that the properties seized from NFCorp — which is owned by former minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil's family — so far are valued at RM18 million (RM14 million from two condominium units and RM4 million for two plots of land).

"The minister's reply that only RM18 million in assets have been seized thus far, and the decision to award the project to a new operator without taking over the RM250 million loan, confirms that the government will face difficulties in recovering the remaining funds that are estimated at RM163 million," said Rafizi.

He pointed out that NFCorp was no longer in operation.

"Therefore, it can be considered that the company can no longer service the loan and is bound to go through bankruptcy," said Rafizi.

He added that part of the loan was used for non-asset expenses, such as salaries, transport allowances and other expenses that could not be recovered.

"The government did not impose personal guarantees on the directors of NFCorp," he said. "So, their responsibility is limited to their shares in the company."

Rafizi was pushed into the limelight after exposing NFCorp's purchases of luxury condominium units through the federal government loan that was meant for the national cattle-farming project.

The Auditor-General's 2010 report had highlighted the failure of the NFC project in achieving its target of breeding 8,000 cattle in Gemas, Negri Sembilan, in 2010, besides noting NFCorp's management failures.

The trial of Shahrizat's defamation suit against Rafizi revealed last March that NFCorp had purchased a RM534,622 Mercedes-Benz in 2009 as a company car that was parked in her house.

In the trial, Shahrizat had also defended NFCorp's purchase of three luxury condominium units in the Orchard Scotts Residences and Marina Bay Sands in Singapore worth RM42 million, saying that the buy was part of the company's investment portfolio, according to her husband Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail, the executive chairman of NFCorp.

Mohamad Salleh is currently on trial over charges of criminal breach of trust and violations of the Companies Act involving the alleged misuse of funds from the project.

The Wanita Umno chief also testified that the RM42 million condominiums in Singapore and two condominium units in Bangsar here costing RM30 million in total made up more than one-fifth of the RM250 million government loan.

Shahrizat's senatorship was not renewed in April 2012, causing her to lose her women, family and community development portfolio in the Cabinet.

Read more here: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/rafizi-putrajaya-writing-off-rm163m-nfc-loan?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter#sthash.SI5uIwAE.dpuf

 

PKR's Rafizi Ramli (picture) today alleged that Putrajaya was foregoing the outstanding RM163 million from the loan issued to the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) after its cattle-farming project was transferred to another company.

The PKR strategy director pointed out that the federal government had reportedly agreed to appoint another consortium to take over the controversial National Feedlot Centre (NFC) project, but that the new operator would not be responsible for the RM250 million loan that was issued to NFCorp.

"In the current conditions, I am of the opinion that the RM163 million that was spent by NFC can be considered gone and that it will not be able to be recovered," Rafizi said in a statement.

News portal The Malaysian Insider quoted industry sources earlier today as saying that the NFC project would be managed by Malaysian-Japanese venture Kirimitonas Agro Sdn Bhd and that the federal government would recover the soft loan to NFCorp through litigation.

Rafizi noted that as of May 2012, RM181 million had been given to NFCorp, according to the Finance Ministry's parliamentary reply then.

The Pandan MP said that the properties seized from NFCorp — which is owned by former minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil's family — so far are valued at RM18 million (RM14 million from two condominium units and RM4 million for two plots of land).

"The minister's reply that only RM18 million in assets have been seized thus far, and the decision to award the project to a new operator without taking over the RM250 million loan, confirms that the government will face difficulties in recovering the remaining funds that are estimated at RM163 million," said Rafizi.

He pointed out that NFCorp was no longer in operation.

"Therefore, it can be considered that the company can no longer service the loan and is bound to go through bankruptcy," said Rafizi.

He added that part of the loan was used for non-asset expenses, such as salaries, transport allowances and other expenses that could not be recovered.

"The government did not impose personal guarantees on the directors of NFCorp," he said. "So, their responsibility is limited to their shares in the company."

Rafizi was pushed into the limelight after exposing NFCorp's purchases of luxury condominium units through the federal government loan that was meant for the national cattle-farming project.

The Auditor-General's 2010 report had highlighted the failure of the NFC project in achieving its target of breeding 8,000 cattle in Gemas, Negri Sembilan, in 2010, besides noting NFCorp's management failures.

The trial of Shahrizat's defamation suit against Rafizi revealed last March that NFCorp had purchased a RM534,622 Mercedes-Benz in 2009 as a company car that was parked in her house.

In the trial, Shahrizat had also defended NFCorp's purchase of three luxury condominium units in the Orchard Scotts Residences and Marina Bay Sands in Singapore worth RM42 million, saying that the buy was part of the company's investment portfolio, according to her husband Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail, the executive chairman of NFCorp.

Mohamad Salleh is currently on trial over charges of criminal breach of trust and violations of the Companies Act involving the alleged misuse of funds from the project.

The Wanita Umno chief also testified that the RM42 million condominiums in Singapore and two condominium units in Bangsar here costing RM30 million in total made up more than one-fifth of the RM250 million government loan.

Shahrizat's senatorship was not renewed in April 2012, causing her to lose her women, family and community development portfolio in the Cabinet.

- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/rafizi-putrajaya-writing-off-rm163m-nfc-loan?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter#sthash.SI5uIwAE.dpuf

PKR's Rafizi Ramli (picture) today alleged that Putrajaya was foregoing the outstanding RM163 million from the loan issued to the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) after its cattle-farming project was transferred to another company.

The PKR strategy director pointed out that the federal government had reportedly agreed to appoint another consortium to take over the controversial National Feedlot Centre (NFC) project, but that the new operator would not be responsible for the RM250 million loan that was issued to NFCorp.

"In the current conditions, I am of the opinion that the RM163 million that was spent by NFC can be considered gone and that it will not be able to be recovered," Rafizi said in a statement.

News portal The Malaysian Insider quoted industry sources earlier today as saying that the NFC project would be managed by Malaysian-Japanese venture Kirimitonas Agro Sdn Bhd and that the federal government would recover the soft loan to NFCorp through litigation.

Rafizi noted that as of May 2012, RM181 million had been given to NFCorp, according to the Finance Ministry's parliamentary reply then.

The Pandan MP said that the properties seized from NFCorp — which is owned by former minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil's family — so far are valued at RM18 million (RM14 million from two condominium units and RM4 million for two plots of land).

"The minister's reply that only RM18 million in assets have been seized thus far, and the decision to award the project to a new operator without taking over the RM250 million loan, confirms that the government will face difficulties in recovering the remaining funds that are estimated at RM163 million," said Rafizi.

He pointed out that NFCorp was no longer in operation.

"Therefore, it can be considered that the company can no longer service the loan and is bound to go through bankruptcy," said Rafizi.

He added that part of the loan was used for non-asset expenses, such as salaries, transport allowances and other expenses that could not be recovered.

"The government did not impose personal guarantees on the directors of NFCorp," he said. "So, their responsibility is limited to their shares in the company."

Rafizi was pushed into the limelight after exposing NFCorp's purchases of luxury condominium units through the federal government loan that was meant for the national cattle-farming project.

The Auditor-General's 2010 report had highlighted the failure of the NFC project in achieving its target of breeding 8,000 cattle in Gemas, Negri Sembilan, in 2010, besides noting NFCorp's management failures.

The trial of Shahrizat's defamation suit against Rafizi revealed last March that NFCorp had purchased a RM534,622 Mercedes-Benz in 2009 as a company car that was parked in her house.

In the trial, Shahrizat had also defended NFCorp's purchase of three luxury condominium units in the Orchard Scotts Residences and Marina Bay Sands in Singapore worth RM42 million, saying that the buy was part of the company's investment portfolio, according to her husband Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail, the executive chairman of NFCorp.

Mohamad Salleh is currently on trial over charges of criminal breach of trust and violations of the Companies Act involving the alleged misuse of funds from the project.

The Wanita Umno chief also testified that the RM42 million condominiums in Singapore and two condominium units in Bangsar here costing RM30 million in total made up more than one-fifth of the RM250 million government loan.

Shahrizat's senatorship was not renewed in April 2012, causing her to lose her women, family and community development portfolio in the Cabinet.

- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/rafizi-putrajaya-writing-off-rm163m-nfc-loan?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter#sthash.SI5uIwAE.dpuf

 

Police force most corrupt, says TI survey

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 07:04 PM PDT

(FZ.com) - Police scored four on a scale five – five being most corrupt – in a list of institutions, a public survey conducted by Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-M) found.

This was revealed in the graft watchdog's Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) survey which was conducted from September 2012 to March, this year.
 
However, when asked if the survey results indicated a necessity for an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), TI-M's new president Datuk Akhbar Satar declined to comment.
 
TI-M has been a strong advocate of institutional reforms, particularly as the police force's lead position as the most corrupt institution in two surveys in a row – the previous one in 2010.
 
The GCB is conducted biennially and is based on 1,000 surveyed on public experience of bribery and corruption. The survey was done through computer assisted telephone interviewing.
 
Placed behind the police are political parties which scored 3.8 out of five, in the public opinion perception index.
 
This was followed by the category of public officials/civil servants and Parliament/Legislature which stood at 3.3.
 
The results also found 39% of the respondents thought the level of corruption had increased, compared to the 37% in 2011.
 
However, 47% felt the height of graft remained the same while only 14% believed that it had decreased.
 
This had also translated to the decline in perception of Putrajaya's effectiveness in combating corruption to 31% compared to 49% in 2011.
 
According to statistics, 79% avowed to report an incident of corruption while an impressive 87% agreed that ordinary individuals can make a difference in fighting corruption.
 
Correspondingly, those which admitted to paying a bribe in the poll remained at a relatively low 3%.
 
The Malaysian statistics, however, paled in comparison to the global ranking where 27% respondents said they have paid bribes, meanwhile the number stood at 36% in Indonesia and 18% in Thailand.
 
However, Akhbar conceded that the respondents may have not been all that truthful on owning up to having paid bribes.
 
"The barometer survey asked people if they had come into contact with identified service providers in Malaysia and for each of these service they have engaged, they were asked if they had paid a bribe - 12% have paid the police, 8% in the judicial system and 3% in the education system," said Akhbar who presented the results.
 
"These results indicate that the incidence of petty corruption continues to remain at low levels demonstrating the rakyat's abhorrence to corruption and commitment to make a difference.
 
"However, the more dangerous form of grand corruption involving collusion and state capture continues to be a cause for concern," he said.
 
Akhbar, a former Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) official, said to achieve the government's 70% aim in its fight against corruption by 2015 "much more needs to be done."
 
He also called on the government to nab the "big fish" and asked for a thorough review and reform of the police force and political parties which are viewed as being corrupt.
 
"Enhance the autonomy and independence of investigative agencies such as the MACC and the Enforcement Agencies Integrity Commission (EAIC)," he said as well as a better protective framework for whistleblowers.
 

 

Islam, Egypt and political theory

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 06:58 PM PDT

The Economist

ON the face of things, this week's events in Egypt have validated a theory about Islam and society that seemed contrarian when it was first floated. In 1992 a French analyst of the Muslim world, Olivier Roy, published a book entitled "L'échec de l'Islam politique"—translated into English three years later as "The Failure of Political Islam". 

Back then, political Islam—the idea that Islam could provide a platform for taking and exercising power in modern times—seemed to be doing quite well. The Islamic masters of Iran, having withstood a long war with Iraq, were looking for new places to extend their influence, including the former Soviet republics to their north. In Algeria, an Islamist party had won a clear electoral majority, triggering a military intervention and then a civil war whose outcome was anybody's guess. It seemed clear that wherever secular despots were willing to relax their grip, Islamist parties would step into the void.

But none of those things disproved the thesis of Mr Roy, who is now a professor at the European University Institute. One of his simplest but most compelling points was that for all its power as a mobilising slogan, Islam just does not provide the answers to the problems of governing a modern state. Quite recently the resurgence of the Muslim Brotherhood in the wake of the Arab spring seemed, once again, to challenge Mr Roy's analysis. But as of this week, he could be forgiven for saying: "I told you so."

In fact, he was saying more interesting things than that when I spoke to him today. These are some of the points he has made about the turmoil in Cairo. The Brotherhood regime in Egypt fell, of course, under the weight of its own incompetence (and in particular its failure to recruit technocrats) and its perceived nepotism. These sins fell short of big-time corruption, because the government did not last long enough to refine that art; but it still looked pretty bad. Nor, Mr Roy told me, could the Morsi government consolidate its power by "Islamising society"—one of the Brotherhood's stated goals—because Egyptian society was about as Islamised as it could be already.

So did that "Islamisation of society" represent a success at least for the Brotherhood's work as a semi-clandestine, semi-overt opposition movement over the past several decades? Not really, because Egypt's Islamised social world was not centrally co-ordinated, as the Brotherhood would like it to be, but highly diverse, with sub-cultures growing around particular charismatic preachers and theological trends. Egypt's Muslim majority might be devout, but it was also "modern" in the sense that more than one Islamic style was available and individuals could make their choice. Even the strict back-to-basics form of Islam known as Salafism was a kind of modern choice, in the sense that individuals, rather than groups, opt it into it.

Mr Roy is surely right to stress that Islam cannot provide detailed prescriptions for governing a modern state. As another scholarly Islam-watcher, Abdullahi Ahmed an-Naim of America's Emory University, has pointed out, Islam cannot even provide a clear basis for the centralised administration of family law, even though Islamic texts have a huge amount to say about family law. That is because the very idea of centralised administration did not exist at the time when the various schools of Muslim family law were evolved; in those days many matters were adjudicated at the level of the local community or the clan.

But the fact that a political project is ultimately impossible will not stop people shouting for it, dying for it, trying their best to implement it. An ideology can still play an important role in history, even if it has little to contribute to the challenges of complex societies. And there is a sense in which all political projects, conceived in the abstract, are bound to fail when they face contact with hard reality. After all, as a famously jaded French philosopher said, at some level everybody fails in life.

 

'Lower teaching entry bar'

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 06:54 PM PDT

(NST) - The government must lower the teaching entry requirement for students who excel in sports and those from the Orang Asli community, said the National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP) president.

Hashim Adnan said the government's decision to set the basic requirement of a minimum of 7As for Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia students from the peninsular who wanted to be teachers and 5As for those from Sabah and Sarawak would boost the profession.

"However, it should also consider lowering the benchmark for students who have been active in sports and those from the Orang Asli community.

"We cannot expect students active in sports to be able to produce results like inactive students as they would need to go for training and may miss lessons or have less time to study.

"Instead of ignoring them, the ministry must make allowances for those who have represented the state or the nation in sports," he said.

He said the ministry should also consider lowering the benchmark to 3As in SPM for Orang Asli students. "We should give more leeway to Orang Asli children who live in remote areas and want to become teachers.

"If we lower the basic requirement, more of them will be able to become teachers and they can then go back to their villages to teach the children."

Hashim was reacting to Second Education and Higher Education II Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh's statement when wrapping up the royal address in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday that SPM students from the peninsular interested to enter the teaching profession needed to score at least score 7As, while the minimum requirement for students in Sabah and Sarawak was 5As. The move was implemented this year.

"People think highly of the teaching profession and, of course, we need to ensure that we have quality teachers. In the peninsula, if you don't have 7As, then don't ask to be a teacher because that is the minimum requirement now.

"But for Sabah and Sarawak, we are more lenient."

Previously, post-SPM candidates wanting to take up teaching needed to score only a distinction in any three subjects and credits for Bahasa Malaysia, English and History.

He said the ministry was reviewing the School-Based Assessment system (PBS) to lessen the burden of teachers.

"We are also looking into increasing the number of teacher aides.

"This has been implemented in several states, such as Kedah and Sabah."

Idris said 500 schools were involved in the pioneer project.

PBS was introduced in 2011 in all government and government-aided primary schools, and implemented in all government and government-aided secondary schools last year.

The programme assesses students based on different evidence markers, like their ability to read or count, grading them into bands, starting from Band One to Band Six.

 

GE13: MACC says no proof of vote buying in Penang

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 06:03 PM PDT

(The Star) - The Penang Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) has recommended to the Attorney-General to close all seven cases of alleged vote buying in the state during the 13th general election, due to a lack of evidence.

Its director Datuk Samarajoo Manikam said details obtained from the witnesses did not show any offence against the MACC Act 2009.

"Therefore, we recommended to the Attorney-General late last month to close all seven cases, and I believe they have accepted our recommendations," he told reporters after a dialogue with heads of department and political parties in a hotel here Tuesday.

He said some of the witnesses could not provide details of who issued the alleged vouchers and how they were being distributed.

He said some of them claimed to have received between RM100 to RM200.

"The alleged offences had taken place in makeshift areas and were short-lived because by the time our officers went there, the persons concern were all gone.

"Some of the alleged distributors were foreign citizens," he said.

On May 13, seven Pakatan Rakyat candidates who lost in the 13th general election lodged reports with the Penang Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over alleged vote-buying.

They were PKR's Datuk Abdul Halim Hussain (Teluk Bahang), Mohd Tuah Ismail (Pulau Betong), Norhayati Jaafar (Teluk Air Tawar) and Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abd Rahman (Pinang Tunggal) and Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik (Balik Pulau parliamentary seat), and PAS' Asnah Hashim (Bayan Lepas) and Rosidi Hussain (Penaga).

Most lost their seats by fewer than 1,000 votes.

 

No god but God

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 05:24 PM PDT

Many Muslims resent it if we call Islam 'political Islam' and if we say that Islam spread at the point of the sword. They consider this as negative publicity and will say that this is western propaganda meant to smear or disparage Islam. However, it is time that Muslims stop being defensive and apologetic and accept Islam for what it is: a political force.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

The article by Irfan Husain, published in The Dawn, Ideological divide in Egypt, makes very interesting reading indeed. Irfan summarised the current turmoil in Egypt as a clash of opposing ideologies and he drew parallels with what is happening in Egypt with what happened in Algeria and Pakistan (and, I would add, in Iran and Iraq and many other Muslim countries as well).

Irfan also said that the majority of Pakistanis prefer military rule to western-style democracy. I know many would probably find this hard to believe but this is actually very true and is based on a poll that was done -- which I have, in fact, written about before. And this is the sentiment in many Muslim countries, although this may not be too apparent to most people.

(READ THE ARTICLE HERE)

Now, when we talk about 'a clash of opposing ideologies' in these many Muslim countries, you may be wondering whether we are talking about political ideology or religious ideology. And this is where not only the non-Muslims but also the Muslims themselves do not comprehend the 'real' Islam.

There is no such thing as a separate political and religious ideology. There is no separation of church and state in Islam. Islam is not a religion. It is a political structure, as what Anwar Ibrahim is fond of saying: Islam is an adeen or way of life.

Of course, being politicians, most Umno, PKR and PAS leaders (the Muslim leaders, that is) would talk about democracy, free and fair elections, freedom of opinion, freedom of choice, and whatnot (the so-called noble western ideals). In their hearts, however, they are not really committed to these noble western ideals. This is just political talk because Malaysia is only 50% Malay and 65% Bumiputera (and not all Bumiputeras are Muslims).

Hence, while the Muslim population of Malaysia may be majority Muslim, it is still not large enough for Islam to dominate Malaysian politics. So the Muslim politicians need to make some compromises. Now, if Malaysia was 90% Muslim, you will see something else emerge and all these noble western ideals would be discarded in favour of Islamisation.

In other words, there will no longer be any compromise and Islam would dominate Malaysian politics and all policies.

We must remember that the first 24 Prophets mentioned by name in the Qur'an were Jews. And Islam accepts these Prophets as also Prophets of Islam (in fact, Islam regards them as Muslims). Muhammad, the last and 25th Prophet mentioned by name, was an Arab.

(I say 'mentioned by name' because Islam believes that since the beginning of time until the time of Muhammad there were 124,000 Prophets of God but only 25 are mentioned by name in the Qur'an).

During the time of Muhammad there were a total of 360 religions in Mekah and the Ka'abah was home to all these 360 religions. Of these 360 religions only two, Judaism and Christianity, were monotheist in nature.

In his early life Muhammad followed the religion of his ancestors -- meaning the pagan religion. However, Muhammad had extensive contacts with the Jews and Christians of the Arabian Peninsular and was attracted to monotheism although he did not quite grasp the concept of these religions yet -- until, according to Islamic belief, he received the first revelation from God.

So we need to break up Muhammad's life into three phrases. The first phase of his early life was in Mekah when he was still a pagan (I know many Muslims are going to whack me for saying this). The second phase of his life was also in Mekah after he received the revelation and began to preach Islam (which attracted only a handful of followers). And the third and final phase of his life was after he had migrated to Yathrib (now called Medina) and when he emerged as a military leader.

Islam did not make any inroads in Mekah in that second phase of Muhammad's life. In fact, Muhammad and his followers faced so much persecution that they all had to leave Mekah and resettle in Medina or else they would all have eventually been put to death. It was not until Muhammad had resettled in Medina and had built a military force that Islam began to spread.

Hence it would not be entirely incorrect to call Islam 'political Islam' and to say that Islam spread at the point of the sword.

Many Muslims resent if it we call Islam 'political Islam' and if we say that Islam spread at the point of the sword. They consider this as negative publicity and will say that this is western propaganda meant to smear or disparage Islam. However, it is time that Muslims stop being defensive and apologetic and accept Islam for what it is: a political force.

As it is, most Muslims will argue that Islam is not a religion but a way of life (adeen). So what do you mean by a way of life? And what was Muhammad? Okay, Muhammad was a Prophet. But he was not just a Prophet. He was also a military leader. And he planned and embarked on and even led many battles and wars.

Muslims will shy away from admitting that Islam is not just a political system but also a military system. Now, the most important thing to a Muslim is jihad. However, the apologetic Muslims will argue that there are two jihads: the big jihad and the small jihad. And the big jihad is the struggle between your own self and your lust, greed, vanity, ego, arrogance, anger, etc. The other jihad, the Muslims will argue, is the small jihad.

There is no such thing as small jihad and big jihad. There is only one jihad. Jihad means struggle. You struggle not only against lust, greed, vanity, ego, arrogance, anger, etc., but also against ignorance, injustice, persecution, racism, corruption, and more.

Now, this is where the catch comes in. When you launch a jihad or struggle against ignorance and injustice this includes fighting against the ignorance of those people who do not accept 'no god but God'  -- Lailahaillallah (لاَ إِلَهَ إِلَّاالله) – plus the injustice to God (the injustice of not implementing God's laws).

Hence it is the duty of all Muslims to participate in jihad and this jihad includes bringing people to the right path of 'no god but God' and to see justice done by implementing God's laws. Muslims are not allowed to stand by and do nothing when ignorance and injustice prevails because under fardu kifayah all Muslims share the blame plus the sin for this inaction.

I hope now the non-Muslims as well as the Muslims themselves will understand what is currently going on in Egypt plus the many Muslim countries all over the world. And if you can understand that then maybe you can understand what is going to happen in Malaysia in time to come.

To most Muslims, political power is not just about good governance and about running the country with better transparency and accountability and with no corruption and abuse of power. It also about doing justice to God by implementing God's decrees and eradicating the ignorance of those non-Muslims who reject the concept of 'there is no god but God'.

 

Ideological divide in Egypt

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 03:34 PM PDT

This clash of opposing ideologies is at the heart of the struggle in Egypt, and may well play out in other Muslim countries with varying degrees of intensity. And here, there are many parallels to Pakistan: many said they preferred military rule to this kind of democracy. Egyptians should be careful what they wish for: many in Pakistan welcomed the army and believed their promise of early elections.

Irfan Husain, The Dawn

As I follow the ongoing turmoil in Egypt, I am reminded of a conversation I had with the Algerian ambassador to the United States. This was in Washington way back in 1991, but is very relevant to events in Egypt now. Then, the Islamic Salvation Army — or FIS, the French acronym — was poised to win the election.

Fearing this outcome, the ruling National Liberation Front — or FLN — cancelled the next round of voting.  FIS and its supporters were outraged, and thus began a decade of murderous civil war that caused between 50,000 and 250, 000 deaths. Although exact figures may never emerge, both sides committed many terrible atrocities.

I met the Algerian envoy just after the election was called off, and asked him if his government feared a violent backlash. He was very sure the ruling party and army would be able to control the situation. Clearly, he was either poorly informed, or was being diplomatic with a foreigner.

My fear is that a similar scenario might emerge in Egypt. Already, ferocious clashes between supporters of the deposed president, Mohammed Morsi, and his opponents, as well as the security forces, have claimed dozens of casualties. Understandably, the Muslim Brotherhood is outraged that its elected nominee has been ousted in a coup only a year after his election. Already, over 300 senior party members have been arrested.

For this anger to turn into a long campaign of protests and violence is only a short step.  We should not forget that the Brotherhood is used to repression. Ever since the party was formed in 1928, it has been a largely underground force, with hundreds of members arrested, tortured and executed.

As a result of this long persecution, it was the only organised opposition party to seize the opportunity offered by the popular uprising against Hosni Mubarak. In one sense, the mass demonstrations in Tahrir Square against the increasingly unpopular Morsi mirrored the protests in Istanbul's Taksim Square.  Both represent the fault line in many Muslim countries between conservative citizens and their secular brethren.

The former believe their countries should be governed by a strict Islamic code, and vote for religious parties who promise just that. But those with a secular worldview reject this vision, and want to transform their societies into modern states where religion is restricted to mosques and homes, and not allowed to intrude into the public sphere.

This clash of opposing ideologies is at the heart of the struggle in Egypt, and may well play out in other Muslim countries with varying degrees of intensity. This is not to suggest that only Islamists voted for Morsi: in the second round, many secular Egyptians cast their ballots for him to help defeat his rival, a Mubarak-era candidate. They also believed his promise that he would be a 'president for all Egyptians'. In the event, he bulldozed through a divisive Islamic constitution that confirmed the worst fears among secular Egyptians.

Even though Morsi has widely been viewed as an ineffective pawn of the Brotherhood, the fact is that he was hindered by the judiciary and the bureaucracy.  The economy suffered as tourism — Egypt's big foreign-exchange earner — was badly hit by the unrest that has shaken the country for two years. Finally, Morsi ploughed large amounts into subsidies to a nation hit hard by inflation.

In short, there are ample reasons for people to go into the streets, demanding Morsi's removal from office. And here, there are many parallels to Pakistan: over the duration of the last PPP-led government, I must have received hundreds of emails from people demanding Zardari's exit. Many said they preferred military rule to this kind of democracy. 

I counselled patience, and said that we ought to let the democratic process take its course, otherwise we would remain locked into the unending cycle of civilian governments followed by martial law. And fortunately, neither the military nor the opposition in Pakistan took advantage of the shambolic performance of the last government to topple it.

Sadly, this course was not followed in Egypt, with unforeseeable consequences.

In the West, the reaction has been one of quiet satisfaction. I'm sure champagne bottles were uncorked in Tel Aviv. The reality is that while many in Europe and the United States talk about democratic reform in the Middle East, the subtext is that they would prefer to see secular, pro-West governments in charge. And if these governments are headed by generals, so be it. 

Thus, when the elections in Algeria were cancelled, the move was welcomed in Washington, London and Paris. Nobody wanted to see an Islamist government in power in Algiers. One reason is the fear that once such a regime is installed, it will never let go of power.

Iran is a prime example of this: after the ayatollahs seized power, they have only permitted a tightly controlled democratic process. Candidates are carefully screened, and the Supreme Leader, an unelected religious leader, wields ultimate authority.

Here, then, is the conundrum: do religious parties have the right to transform the constitutional basis of a state if they are elected to office for a limited period? Or should they seek compromise and consensus that reflects the differences in society? And if they become unpopular and risk losing the next election, should they cling to power to ensure the continuation of the religious structure they have created?

There would be a strong temptation to hang on, based on the justification that rigging the elections would keep godless parties out of power. All these concerns reflect the deep anxiety about the real commitment religious parties and groups have towards democracy.

On the other hand, Islamic parties, viewing Morsi's fate, will be justified in asserting that democracy is not the path to power, and that violent means should be followed. After all, if street demonstrations can topple elected Islamic governments, why bother to be part of the process?

The Egyptian army, with its extensive corporate interests and sense of entitlement, was probably glad of a pretext to return to centre stage. Even though it has installed a judge to be the interim president, nobody is fooled by the façade.

Egyptians should be careful what they wish for: many in Pakistan welcomed the army and believed their promise of early elections.

 

The rising cost of living

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 03:22 PM PDT

Malaysia's debt-to-GDP ratio is 53.4% as at the end of 2011, and therefore still relatively safe. But if government weans us off subsidies but installs new forms of spending, this brings us back to square one. 

Tricia Yeoh, The Sun Daily

A REPORT ranked Kuala Lumpur as the 74th most expensive city in the world, compared to 86th last year. Data from the Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) "Worldwide Cost of Living 2012" report showed that KL's cost of living index rose from 67 in June 2009 to 83 this month.

Of course, Malaysians do not need a report to believe that the cost of living is on the rise. Living in the city means expenses on food and transport take a big cut of your monthly income. It comes as no surprise that the consumer price index (CPI), which measures inflation, increased by 3.2% in 2011 compared to the previous year.

The groups that had the highest price rise were food and beverages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), transport, restaurants and hotels, and tobacco (Department of Statistics, Jan 18).

Malaysia sailed through the 1980s and 1990s, enjoying a steady growth rate of more than 7% on average, yet with a relatively low inflation rate. But times have changed. While we did achieve a 5.1% growth rate in 2011, inflation is steadily rising year on year. In the meantime, 60% of Malaysian households earn less than RM6,000 monthly, with 80% of households earning an average income of RM2,500.

Political implications

Coupled with global economic uncertainty, the economic climate in Malaysia is not too bright. And everyone knows that the cost of living is high on the list of electoral issues. The dilemma that the federal government has to face this year is how long it can hold off calling an election amid troubled times. The alternative is to wait till the full five-year term, but risk an even worse-performing economy.

Whichever the case, the government is well-aware that the increasing cost of living will inevitably affect voting outcomes. Public sentiment already flares whenever talk of subsidy removal, toll or tariff hikes surface. It is, after all, the bread and butter issues that people are ultimately concerned with.

Enter the flurry of financial schemes that have been announced by the federal government. There have been so many that one needs to pause to examine each carefully.

First was the New Civil Service Remuneration Scheme (SBPA) announced last year, in which civil servants would receive salary increments and bonus payments among others.

Then, the Skim Amanah Rakyat 1Malaysia (SARA 1Malaysia) scheme in which low-income Malaysians can take out a loan to invest in Amanah Saham 1Malaysia shares (which pays out RM13,000 at the end of a five-year lifespan if all dividends are re-invested).

Schemes need further clarification

Finally, the 1Malaysia Housing Programme, where low-income Malaysians can apply for a housing loan to buy affordable houses costing between RM150,000 and RM300,000.

The controversial part of this housing scheme, which interestingly enough has had members of parliament on both sides of the political divide commenting on, is that the scheme is being financed by Employees Provident Fund (EPF) money, as a loan to the government.

The Federal Territories and urban well-being minister announced that RM1.5 billion of EPF funds would be extended in loans to those who failed to secure commercial loans to buy their houses, helping some "20,000 eligible tenants and interested buyers".

Pakatan Rakyat MPs have cautioned that this puts EPF funds at risk, by increasing government debt through an external body. They claim that if these "guaranteed" loans default, the federal government will be directly exposed to the debt and thus trigger a debt-induced financial crisis.

Khairy Jamaluddin, Umno MP, also questions what risk management processes the government would institute before giving out the loans.

Yes, a large part of Malaysians are feeling the pinch of inflation. And yes, it is generally positive that the government is taking this seriously. All the schemes, for example, have as their common objective to assist the low-income group in managing the impact of the rising cost of living.

But these programmes must be carefully designed, with the lowest risk possible. Let's not forget that government funds equals the rakyat's funds.

In the 1980s, the Greek government ran large deficits to finance public sector jobs, pensions and other social benefits, resulting in an extremely high debt-to-GDP ratio of above 90%. Spending for short-term electoral gain at the detriment of long-term consequences sent Greece spiralling downward, to its current debt crisis.

Malaysia's debt-to-GDP ratio is 53.4% as at the end of 2011, and therefore still relatively safe. But if government weans us off subsidies but installs new forms of spending, this brings us back to square one.

In the rush to implement popular schemes that could boost electoral ratings, such important public policies must ensure that short-term spending must not come at the cost of the country's future generations.

Tricia Yeoh is director at a market research consultancy. She writes on national and socio-economic issues. Comments: letters@thesundaily.com

 

Corruption seen on the rise, global study finds

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 03:16 PM PDT

(AFP) - More than half of respondents in a global corruption survey released Tuesday think that graft has worsened over the past two years, and a quarter reported having paid officials a bribe in the last 12 months.

The survey by Berlin-based non-profit group Transparency International (TI) also found that people have least trust in institutions meant to help or protect them, including police, the courts and political parties.

Respondents also believed official anti-corruption efforts had deteriorated since the 2008 start of the world financial and economic crisis.

The group's Global Corruption Barometer 2013 is the world's largest public opinion survey on corruption. It surveyed 114,000 people in 107 countries, the group said.

It found that 27% of respondents had said they had paid a bribe to a member of a public service or institution in the past 12 months, revealing no improvement from previous surveys.

The group pointed to a link between poverty and graft. Eight of the 10 countries with the highest bribery rates are African, said a TI spokesman.

In 36 countries, respondents viewed police as the most corrupt, while 20 countries view the judiciary as the most graft-ridden. In 51 countries political parties were seen as the most corrupt institution.

People's appraisal of government efforts to stop corruption was worse than before the financial crisis began in 2008, falling to 22% now from 31% then.

Still, the group said that there was a growing will to fight back, with two-thirds of those who were asked to pay a bribe saying they had refused.

"Bribe paying levels remain very high worldwide, but people believe they have the power to stop corruption and the number of those willing to combat the abuse of power, secret dealings and bribery is significant," said Huguette Labelle (picture), chair of TI.

She added that "governments need to make sure that there are strong, independent and well-resourced institutions to prevent and redress corruption. Too many people are harmed when these core institutions and basic services are undermined by the scourge of corruption." 

 

A Malay country

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 02:48 PM PDT

KTemoc Konsiders

Dina Zaman's article Something to think about in the Malay Mail Online (drawn to my attention by RPK's Malaysia Today) provides irrefutable statistics on the Malay voting dominance. The statistics is quite logical when it's common knowledge that bumiputeras constitute 65% of Malaysia's population.

However, UMNO's hardliners might not have liked two facts from above:

(1) disregarding the Malays who voted for non-Malay candidates, most of them voted not just for UMNO but also PAS and (the Malay candidates in) PKR, which has been why there were umpteen overtures to PAS on 'Malay Unity'.

It's also interesting to note that when DAP emerged from GE-13 with 38 seats, some in UMNO (perhaps with their leaders' approval or even prompting) 'tested the waters with their toes' in slyly hinting to DAP to join BN. Karpal Singh cheekily suggested that UMNO join Pakatan instead.

But it's a succinct demonstration that in politics there is no permanent friend or foe, where one day UMNO may propose Malay Unity and the next, Malaysian Unity.

Also see my pre GE-13 post Will DAP become another MCA?

(2) not all 65% bumiputeras are Malays (only 50% are).

Nonetheless, the point we can gather is that Malays will continue to dominate the politics of Malaysia and a Malay was, is and will be the Prime Minister of our country, not that we ever need statistics to inform us of the political reality, nor we worry about this issue, since many Chinese supported Anwar as the alternative PM during GE-13.

Thus, political scientist Wahabuddin Ra'ees, who wrote Malays must dominate political leadership in Malaysiakini doesn't ever have to worry about Chinese usurping political powers in Malaysia.

READ MORE HERE

 

The time for consultation is over

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 02:33 PM PDT

Zaid Ibrahim, TMI

The Government's decision to withdraw the Conversion Bill is welcomed. Although the Deputy Prime Minister was quick to add the decision to withdraw had been made "for now", implying that it could reintroduce the Bill in the near future, let's hope the Government will let the lessons from this experience guide its actions from this point forward.

The first lesson is this: the Cabinet must never again succumb to outside pressure when formulating laws and policies. When the Law Reform Act (Marriage and Divorce) 1976, Administration of Islamic Law Act (Federal Territories 1993) and Islamic Family Law Act 1984 (collectively the Bills) were introduced in 2009, they were withdrawn purportedly because the Conference of Rulers had objected to certain parts of the Bills pertaining to the religious conversion of a minor. The Government had tabled the Bills as a comprehensive solution to the issues of custody and religious conversions after conflicts arose between Muslim and non-Muslim parents.

These Bills had taken years to be formulated and the Attorney-General's Chambers had been diligent and meticulous in making sure all relevant stakeholders, including the muftis and religious councils, had been consulted. So it came as a surprise when the Bills were withdrawn at the behest of Conference of Rulers. Had the Government stood firm, as it should have, then we wouldn't have to endure the fracas of recent days. The three Bills need to be reintroduced and the question of consulting with other stakeholders, as the DPM alluded to, is no longer necessary. These Bills have had their fair share of being the subject of consultation. How many years must we deliberate over a policy just because a segment of society is not happy with it?

READ MORE HERE

 

Situasi PAS 'bukan dominan'

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 02:23 PM PDT

Ya, PAS kini sebuah parti besar, berkembang pesat dan mendapat perhatian istimewa masyarakat, selaras slogan "PAS for All". Walaupun mempunyai jumlah ahli Parlimen terkecil berbanding DAP dan KeADILan, tetapi  PAS tetap diakui parti paling tersusun, teramai keahlian, manakala aktivisnya lebih berdisiplin dan komited. 

Ahmad Lufti Othman, Harakah

Semasa menunggu pesawat untuk pulang ke Kuala Lumpur pagi Ahad lalu, selepas menghadiri Seminar Pemikiran Ustaz Fadzil Noor sehari sebelumnya di Alor Setar, saya diingatkan oleh seorang teman bahawa usaha untuk menarik PAS daripada Pakatan Rakyat tidak harus dipandang ringan.

Saya ketawa kecil mendengarnya. "Takkan sampai begitu sekali?" tanya saya, serius. "Ketua Pengarang patut lebih tahu," balasnya pantas. Saya mengesan wajahnya; dia juga serius. "Sukar nak percaya ada usaha mahu PAS undur ke belakang dan bertanding secara solo," saya tidak sempat meluahkannya. Dia sudah berjalan ke depan.

Mutakhir ini, banyak persoalan yang timbul, terutama berkaitan isu-isu dalaman parti, termasuk kerjasama dalam Pakatan, juga menyinggung hal-hal sensitif PAS, patut diselidik dan dipastikan kesahihan terlebih dahulu.

Terdapat trend atau kecenderungan yang agak negatif, sehingga perbincangan atau diskusi yang sepatutnya membawa penambahbaikan kepada parti telah tersasar jauh, apatah lagi jika menyangkut faktor-faktor kekalahan dalam PRU13 (atau ada yang menyifatkannya sebagai kemenangan yang tertangguh).

Sesekali apabila melayari media sosial, Facebook, saya tidak dapat mengelak daripada menatap komen-komen nakal, dan ada kalanya serangan peribadi yang agak melampau, sekali gus menyebarkan bahan-bahan fitnah atau 'fakta' yang boleh menimbulkan ketegangan atau permusuhan sesama sendiri. Ruang siber menjadi gelanggang terbuka wacana kritikal, yang bisa "mendedahkan segalanya".

Perbedaan pendapat, hatta membentuk "kumpulan" atau "pasukan" dalam parti, adalah lumrah dan tidak sepatutnya merungsingkan kita, terutama menjelang proses pemilihan kepemimpinan.

Ya, PAS kini sebuah parti besar, berkembang pesat dan mendapat perhatian istimewa masyarakat, selaras slogan "PAS for All". Walaupun mempunyai jumlah ahli Parlimen terkecil berbanding DAP dan KeADILan, tetapi  PAS tetap diakui parti paling tersusun, teramai keahlian, manakala aktivisnya lebih berdisiplin dan komited.

Sedihnya, perdebatan (untuk melonjakkan kemajuan parti) yang sepatutnya berlangsung secara beradab telah dicemari elemen hodoh di luar batasan, dengan bahasa kesat dan terperosok dalam jurang label-melabel. Ia juga terbuka kepada "acara londeh-melondeh".

Keterbukaan media menjadi gergaji bermata dua atau pisau yang boleh membunuh.

Walaupun saya yakin fenomena negatif ini masih terkawal dan lebih ramai yang rasional-waras, namun ia tidak boleh dipandang mudah, bukan hanya disebabkan mampu menggugat keutuhan parti ataupun membantutkan lagi kemenangan, tetapi dibimbangi dapat menghakis ciri-ciri unik gerakan politik Islam.

Apa pun, fikiran saya lebih terganggu dengan peringatan rakan saya tadi - jika benar ada usaha untuk membawa PAS keluar Pakatan. Bagi saya, ia bukan saja langkah songsang ke belakang, malah mendedahkan kepada "kutukan" penyokong Pakatan yang memberikan sokongan kepada PAS dalam PRU13, dan lebih penting boleh memudarkan integriti Parti Islam.

AJK PAS Pusat, Khalid Samad, ketika membentangkan kertas kerja Tahaluf Siyasi: Ijtihad semasa, teori dan aplikasi, di Seminar Pemikiran Ustaz Fadzil Noor, mengemukakan beberapa persoalan menarik, khususnya mengenai kerajaan campuran dan kongsi kuasa Pakatan di Selangor, Perak, Kedah dan Pulau Pinang.

Di negeri-negeri berkenaan, kerajaan tidak dapat dibentuk oleh mana-mana parti secara bersendirian, tidak sepertimana realiti di Kelantan pada 1990 (Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah) dan Terengganu 1999 (Barisan Alternatif), apabila PAS berupaya menerajui kerajaan secara solo.

Lebih unik selepas PRU12 ialah situasi di Perak, Pulau Pinang dan Selangor; mungkin tidak pernah diduga sebahagian pemimpin PAS bahawa dapat berkongsi kuasa bersama DAP dan KeADILan.

"Bagi pimpinan seperti Dr Hasan Ali, bekerjasama dengan KeADILan dan DAP semasa pilihan raya merupakan perkara biasa, tetapi tidak sekali-kali pernah terlintas di pemikiran mereka bahawa PAS akan berkongsi kuasa dengan KeADILan, apatah lagi DAP, dalam keadaan kerusi PAS adalah yang paling kurang," ujar Khalid, merujuk keputusan PRU 2008 di Selangor, PAS hanya memperoleh 8 kerusi, DAP, 13 dan KeADILan, 15.

Bagaimanapun, pada 2013, Pakatan bukan saja terus menafikan majoriti dua pertiga BN di Parlimen, malah meletakkan BN sebagai kerajaan minoriti apabila undi popularnya hanya sekitar 47 peratus. Lebih istimewa di Selangor, bilangan Adun PAS bertambah menjadi 15.

"Memandangkan Tahaluf Siyasi PAS bersama KeADILan dan DAP melalui Pakatan memungkinkan keadaan kongsi kuasa tanpa 'PAS dominan', sama ada di peringkat Negeri atau Persekutuan, amatlah perlu untuk semua khususnya pimpinan PAS meyakini bahawa 'risiko yang sudah diperhitungkan' sememangnya telah benar-benar diperhitungkan dengan tepat dan teliti. Kita perlu yakin, dalam keadaan tidak 'dominan' sekalipun, PAS, dan dengan itu perjuangan Islam, tetap akan mendapat manfaat atau keuntungan," tegas Khalid.

Ahli Parlimen Shah Alam itu turut menjawab kebimbangan jika Pakatan dapat membentuk kerajaan dengan bilangan ahli Parlimen PAS paling kecil. Bagi saya, pandangan Khalid itu wajar ditelaah, termasuk oleh pihak yang mungkin mempunyai pendapat berbeda.

 

Umno needs to change, says Muhyiddin

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 02:15 PM PDT

(Bernama) - Deputy Prime Minister  Muhyiddin Yassin  said Umno must make comprehensive changes in order to remain relevant and to retain power in the future.

He said whatever decisions made by the voters in the last general election must be accepted and that Umno members should not give up, but to stay strong in facing the ever-challenging political landscape.

"When I go to the ground, I find that some Umno members are less enthusiastic now…and when asked, they said the political ecosystem has changed and that they were worried that we will lose.

"In a situation like this, it's important for us to face whatever decisions made by the voters.

"However, if Umno wants to retain power, it must make some changes. Not just for the sake of making changes, but to change towards achieving our goals," he said at the simultaneous opening of Pagoh Umno Youth, Wanita and Puteri Annual Conference here.

Muhyiddin, who is also Umno deputy president, said the changes were vital because without them, Umno would not be able to last and Umno's relevancy would always be questioned over the next five years.

Meanwhile, he also called on Umno leaders to be at the frontline in fighting for issues concerning the Malays and the Bumiputeras.

He said this was because certain quarters, especially Umno Youth and Wanita, were seen to have been keeping silence when matters concerning the rights of the Malays and Bumiputeras were being debated.

If certain quarters are threatening the rights of the Malays, the people would expect Umno to champion the issue and to defend their rights as stipulated in the Federal Constitution, he said. 

 

New oil fields: Sabah must re-visit old ‘deal’

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 02:10 PM PDT

With new oil fields opening and bigger productions, it is vital that the Sabah government push for better returns from Putrajaya. 

Queville To, FMT

The Musa Aman administration must fight for a  higher royalty, especially now that new oil fields are being opened "with bigger productions and more revenue".

Luyang assemblyman Dr Hiew King Cheu maintained the Sabah government cannot be happy and smug with the existing five percent it receives in oil royalty.

"We deserve to have more especially with new oil fields are being opened up with bigger production and more revenue," he said.

He cited the Kikeh oil field, noting that it is producing almost 50% of the total oil production in the Sabah oil fields put together.

"What happens when other new oil fields open up and new reserves are found in Sabah?

"The amount of money will be huge and why not we secure higher percentage on the sharing now?" he asked.

He said the state government should not be content with the meager 5% oil royalty and the money from Kuala Lumpur.

"Sabah deserves to get a bigger share. Just imaging when we have 20% on the oil royalty, just for 2012, we should be getting RM3,765.00 million.

"There is an extra of RM2,823.75 million," he pointed out.

Hiew thus questioned the logic for not fighting for a higher oil royalty especially in the instances of new oil fields.

"The oil resources belong to the people of Sabah, not the state or federal cabinet," he stresesd.

Look at bigger picture

He maintained that it is the duty of the state cabinet to set up the special committee to study the oil royalty issue and to forward their recommendations to the federal cabinet for decision on an increment in the oil royalty to Sabah.

He said the State government should not reject such a call just because it came from an opposition elected representative like him, but must look at the bigger picture, in the best interest of the state and its people.

The state cabinet has the duty to fulfill the wish of the people, and it is their job to get the best for the Sabahans.

For this, the ruling parties and the opposition parties should stand together to achieve the goal, because we all represent the people of Sabah.

READ MORE HERE

 

Shake-up in Sabah STAR leadership

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 02:05 PM PDT

Jeffrey Kitingan has dropped all his five deputies and is rumoured to have appointed an ex-Umno leader as Sabah State Reform Party's vice-chairman. 

Luke Rintod, FMT

The Sabah chapter of Sarawak-based State Reform Party (STAR) top leadership has appointed its new state line-up in a presidential-decree style, shocking reform-minded leaders in the party.

With the absence of a clear proviso in the party constitution, Sabah STAR chairman, Jeffrey Kitingan, is apparently left with absolute power 'to hire and fire' in the party here.

He began his bid to overhaul the party following its shocking defeats in the recent 13th general election, by not reappointing all his five deputies.

The five who were dropped are Daniel John Jambun, Awang Ahmad Sah Awang Sahari, Paul Voon, Dr Nicholas James Guntobon and Jacob Sadang Chang.

Except for Jambun, the rest, it is understood, have not indicated their intention to stop serving in their capacities.

Jambun has since told FMT that he wanted to concentrate on the activities of his UK-based NGO, Borneo's Plight in Malaysia Foundation (BOPIM).

FMT learnt that Kitingan only consulted a few Sabah STAR leaders on his new line-up, notably its secretary Guande Kohoi, leaving even some senior leaders who had stood in the just-concluded general election, in the dark until last minute.

Paul Voon, Awang Ahmad Sah and Dr Guntobon however were among the 60 party divisional leaders summoned to Sunflower Restaurant in Penampang near here to hear the announcement.

Dr Guntobon when contacted said he is now one of the vice-chairmen in the party and has been retained as Kitingan's deputy head for Keningau.

Dr Guntobon however has been "stripped" of his post as coordinator of Liawan state constituency where he had stood in the recent election.

Keeping genuine leaders

Jambun when contacted only said: "I refused reappointment. I wanted to focus on my NGO that seeks to restore the sovereignty of Sabah as nation".

He refused further comment on STAR and surfacing rumours of disappointment among the party's second-echelon of leaders on the new line-up which they claimed included a fresh former Umno leader. The ex-Umno leader has apparently been appointed as vice-chairman.

READ MORE HERE

 

Umno polls will decide the nation’s future

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 02:00 PM PDT

By calling for a no contest for the top two posts, Umno leaders are depriving Malaysians of better choice for the post of prime minister and deputy prime minister. 

Since Independence, the top two posts in Umno have always been held by the prime minister and deputy prime minister respectively.

G Vinod, FMT

Now that the 13th general election is over, much of our leaders' energies are focused on their respective party polls.

Umno, MCA, MIC and Gerakan are expected to hold their party polls this year. As for the opposition, PKR has postponed its polls to next year but PAS will hold its party election this year.

But all eyes will be on Umno's elections, as it is the biggest Malay political party in Malaysia and is also the lynchpin of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.

Since Independence, the top two posts in Umno have always been held by the prime minister and deputy prime minister respectively.

Probably that is why the battle for the posts have always been intense and at least on one occasion, downright ugly to the extent of getting the party deregistered and putting the nation in turmoil.

Take for instance in 1987, former Umno president Dr Mahathir Mohamad was challenged by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah for the top post but the latter lost his bid by a slim majority.

However, the battle did not end there. Subsequent legal challenges to the party polls got Umno deregistered and almost brought the entire nation to a halt.

The controversial amendment to the Federal Constitution that placed the judiciary under parliamentary purview is said to be linked to the legal challenges Umno was facing at that time.

In 2009, then Umno president Abdullah Ahmad Badawi also decided to not defend his post after the 12th general election, citing he did not want to see the party divided.

Abdullah's words seems to imply that any contest for the top posts would bring instability to the party.

Nation's interest must be protected

While many Umno leaders would like to maintain the status quo for the sake of stability, the question we must ask is: Are the party's top two posts an exclusive purview of Umno?

The answer is no. As mentioned earlier, those holding the top two posts automatically become the nation's prime minister and deputy prime minister.

This is what most Umno leaders fail to understand. They must comprehend the fact that they are electing the nation's top two leaders, not Umno's alone.

For example, if Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah contests and wins the Umno presidency, he will become the new prime minister.

Similarly, if Pengerang MP Azalina Othman makes a bid for the Umno deputy presidency and wins, she will become the nation's number two.

So, by barring the contest for the top two posts, Umno, in effect, is depriving Malaysians of a better choice for prime minister and deputy prime minister.

READ MORE HERE

 

Analyst: Pakatan blowing hot air over GE results

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 01:45 PM PDT

Muhammad Fuad Othman said the federal opposition is only attempting to "prolong its popularity" while it lasts to "make it to the next national polls.

by Pathma Subramaniam, fz.com

Pakatan Rakyat's discontent over the results of the 13th General Election is nothing but to release their "frustration", said a political analyst today.

Universiti Utara Malaysia School of International Studies senior lecturer Dr Muhammad Fuad Othman said the federal opposition is only attempting to "prolong its popularity" while it lasts to "make it to the next general election".

"They are just blowing hot air like a pressure cooker to show their frustration... rather than they break down inside, it's better to shout out," he said when asked whether the post-election street rallies were justified.

"They want to ride on that popularity so that they can prolong their popularity to the next general election," opined Muhammad Fuad, while speaking at the "GE13: An analysis and aftermath" seminar today.

"Most of the people who go to the Black 505 rallies are not even eligible to vote... they will be voting in 14th general election, if at all," he said.

While Pakatan is aware that the Malaysian electoral system has always followed the first-past-the-post mechanism, the opposition is attempting to recreate a sort of "nostalgic feeling" by harping on popular votes it had garnered.

He insisted that voters aged 18 to 25 years are returning to the government while voters aged 25 to 45 are likely to continue supporting the opposition.

"This group is what we like to call the reformasi voters. They have been gassed by the government and feel like they are in a ditch, therefore they tend to be with the opposition," said Muhammad Fuad.

"Meanwhile, the first channel of voters, those aged 50 and above, are solidly with the government," he asserted.

 

Setting the tone

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 01:31 PM PDT

Our thoughts and opinions are guided by four principles; the rule of law, limited government, free markets, and individual liberty and responsibility.

The country is still grappling with the outcomes of GE13. Prior to GE13, only a small number of people believed that Barisan Nasional could do better than 2008. 

Wan Saiful Wan Jan, The Star

I AM really glad to start a fortnightly column in this newspaper. The Star has a long history with Almarhum Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, who was also our greatest Prime Minister.

When he was a columnist for The Star, he never shied away from making principled commentaries about difficult issues. The country owes him a lot, and his legacy is one that must not be forgotten.

As an organisation inspired by Almarhum Tunku's vision to see this land become a nation of "liberty and justice", we at IDEAS are always looking for the opportunity to follow in his footsteps.

The founding president of IDEAS, Tunku 'Abidin Muhriz, too, had a column in this newspaper. His wit and style of writing would be difficult to match, but the key messages that we all bring in our writings are similar.

Everyone in IDEAS is committed to classical liberal principles, and we look for opportunities to apply this political philosophy in public policy.

Our thoughts and opinions are guided by four principles; the rule of law, limited government, free markets, and individual liberty and responsibility.

In a publication that we released back in 2010 titled The Tunku's Great Ideas, we outlined how Tunku Abdul Rahman himself consistently advocated these four principles. The publication can be downloaded free from our website www.ideas.org.my.

However, since classical liberalism puts emphasis on individual liberty, it would be wrong to say everyone in the organisation always speaks with one voice.

We, in IDEAS, are opinionated individuals in our own rights and our interpretation of the philosophy may differ from one another. So, while the big picture may be the same, the details may differ.

I accepted the invitation to write in this newspaper following a chance encounter with The Star's group chief editor Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai. At the height of the campaign period for the 13th general election, we were both invited to be on a panel in RTM. While waiting for our slot, we chatted about the role the media played in the campaign.

We discussed the differences between mainstream press like The Star and party organs like PAS' Harakah.

As one of the accredited election observers, I told Chun Wai that many people I met have been complaining about how many of the mainstream media were very one-sided in their reporting.

I jokingly told him that if The Star did not change its tack, it would become an English version of Harakah.

Soon after GE13, I received an SMS from Chun Wai inviting me to be a columnist in this newspaper. He said he wanted new voices, and that The Star is not an English version of Harakah.

I was pleasantly surprised that he remembered what I said in jest, and I am delighted and humbled to be invited into this newspaper.

Actually, I am not new to The Star. I was once a columnist for The Star's iPad edition. But I started that venture at the wrong time and had to stop after just a few articles. At that time, IDEAS was not even two years old yet. As the founding CEO, I had to prioritise my time to build up the think tank and this made the column suffer. That's why I thought it would be fairer to the editor if I stopped the column instead of continuously missing deadlines.

I was hoping to start writing sooner, but unfortunately this first article had to be delayed a bit. My house caught fire on June 9 and most of my belongings were either burnt or damaged by water. Searching for a new house, buying furniture and clothes from scratch, and moving took a lot of my time (and bloated my credit card bill too!). But I do hope that from today I can play my little role to be a "critical friend" in The Star.

The country is still grappling with the outcomes of GE13. Prior to GE13, only a small number of people believed that Barisan Nasional could do better than 2008.

The vast majority of informed analysts have always said that BN would perform worse, but PR would not win. So, the outcome of GE13 was not really a surprise to many of us.

What was surprising to me, however, is to see how many of our politicians failed to prepare for the results. And today, we see several BN leaders keep making mistakes after mistakes. The biggest was when some suggested that Malaysian Chinese and urban voters of all backgrounds were ungrateful. To this, my response is that we citizens have nothing to be grateful about when dealing with politicians.

Instead, it is the politicians who should be grateful to us. We elected them. We pay their salaries, housing allowances, car allowances, and many more.

Every single sen they earn by virtue of being a salaried politician, including the money they use to support their families, is because of us. They owe their living to us, not the other way round.

The death of feudalism is certain and the true masters are we, the people. If these servants continue to think that they are the masters, then they are paving the road to retirement in GE14.

And I hope that sets the tone for my future articles in this newspaper!

> Wan Saiful Wan Jan is chief executive of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (www.ideas.org.my)

 

In the Malay Press: Karpal gets flak over conversion of minors issue

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 01:23 PM PDT

The Kota Baru MP has chastised Karpal over his statement regarding the conversion of minors, saying he should not call all 51 PKR and PAS MPs to join DAP in supporting the latter's bill to amend the Federal Constitution.

Sean Augustin, fz.com

DAP chairman Karpal Singh is uneasy with anything to do with Islam, including on matters stipulated in the Federal Constitution, former PAS deputy president Nasharudin Mat Isa said.

Calling for action to be taken against the Gelugor MP, Nasharudin urged party leaders and members to support PAS assistant secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan on the conversion of minors issue.

The Kota Baru MP has chastised Karpal over his statement regarding the conversion of minors, saying he should not call all 51 PKR and PAS MPs to join DAP in supporting the latter's bill to amend the Federal Constitution.

The proposed bill is meant to amend Article 12(4) of the constitution to stop the unilateral consent of a parent in deciding a minor's religion.

Speaking to Utusan Malaysia yesterday, Nasharudin said Takiyuddin had given his views as a lawyer and a leader in Pakatan Rakyat.

"The constitution is quite clear on this. Islam's position in the constitution is something that has been agreed upon by the opposition coalition," he said.

The daily went on to quote other PAS members on the issue, including activist Mohd Riza Kammaruddin who said it was compulsory for the party not to compromise on matters of the Islamic faith.

Fellow member and Penang Muslimin network head Hafiz Mohamed Nordin meanwhile said Karpal presented a danger to the country's harmony.

In a related story, Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim said Karpal should not raise issues for political mileage.

"I'm not saying the issue raised by Karpal was for publicity, but as a veteran politician, he should be a statesman and offer view to develop the nation," the former DAP vice president told the Malay daily.

Tunku Abdul Aziz also urged Karpal to rethink his intention to amend the article to avoid prolonging the controversy.

Former DAP Sungai Pelek chairman Tan Tuan Tat meanwhile said Karpal was a leader who was famous for making threats.

 

Nik Abduh pula tempelak Pengerusi DAP

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 01:23 PM PDT

(Utusan) - Timbalan Ketua Dewan Pemuda Pas, Nik Mohd. Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz menempelak Pengerusi DAP, Karpal Singh kerana disifatkan membuat kenyataan berbaur ugutan terhadap parti itu berhubung hasrat meminda Perkara 12 (4) Perlembagaan Persekutuan.

Menurut beliau, pertikaian berkenaan isu tersebut seharusnya diselesai menerusi perbincangan.

Katanya, masyarakat bukan Islam perlu menghormati kedudukan Islam dalam Perlembagaan yang meletakkan hak orang Islam sebagai kepentingan teratas dan membenarkan mereka melaksana setiap tuntutan agama.

Tambah beliau, dalam isu menentukan agama kanak-kanak di bawah umur 18 tahun ke bawah, ibu atau bapa yang telah memeluk Islam berhak membawa bersama anaknya memeluk Islam.

Sehubungan itu, katanya, Perlembagaan atau undang-undang yang mahu digubal perlu selari dengan hukum Islam tersebut.

"Mengikut hukum Islam apabila ibu atau bapa masuk Islam, maka anaknya di bawah umur berhak beragama Islam kerana anak itu berhak mengenali agama.

"Semua umat Islam mesti berusaha mendapatkan hak agama anak kerana itu hak mereka dengan Allah," katanya ketika ditemui di lobi Parlimen, di sini hari ini.

Beliau mengulas desakan Karpal supaya Ahli Parlimen Pas dan PKR menyokong cadangannya meminda Perkara 12 (4) Perlembagaan Persekutuan berhubung status agama kanak-kanak di bawah usia 18 tahun.

Meskipun pembentangan Rang Undang- Undang Pentadbiran Agama Islam (Wilayah Persekutuan) 2013 ditarik balik, namun Karpal dilihat masih tidak berpuas hati selepas menyifatkannya sebagai tidak memadai.

Rang Undang-Undang Pentadbiran Agama Islam (Wilayah Persekutuan) 2013 bertujuan mengelak 'salah tafsir' berhubung kebenaran menukar agama kanak-kanak berumur di bawah 18 tahun.

Semalam, Penolong Setiausaha Agung Pas, Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan menyifatkan tindakan Karpal memberi kata dua itu bertentangan dengan konsep perkongsian antara ketiga-tiga parti tersebut dalam pakatan pembangkang.

Dalam pada itu, Nik Mohd. Abduh mahu semua pihak menghormati pendirian kerajaan yang menarik balik rang undang-undang tersebut.

"Kita negara majoriti Islam, apa-apa pertelingkahan cuba selesaikan dengan cara harmoni melalui perbincangan.

"Undang-undang tidak bergerak dengan ugutan tetapi melalui pemahaman," katanya.


Karpal Singh 'bahaya', Pas perlu istiqamah

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 01:18 PM PDT

(Utusan) - Ahli Pas yang juga Penyelaras Jaringan Muslimin Pulau Pinang (JMPP), Mohamed Hafiz Mohamed Nordin berkata, Pas perlu komited dan istiqamah dalam mempertahankan teguran yang disuarakan Penolong Setiausaha Agung parti itu, Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan terhadap Pengerusi DAP, Karpal Singh.

Menurutnya, tiada siapa boleh menafikan Islam sebagai agama Persekutuan seperti yang telah tercatat dalam Perlembagaan dan semua pihak harus menghormati peruntukan berkenaan termasuk tidak mempertikaikannya.

"Apa yang ditegaskan Takiyuddin itu benar, jadi Pas perlu mempertahankannya dan saya harap semua ahli serta pemimpin Pas beristiqamah terhadap perkara ini.

"Jangan menukar pendirian ini sama seperti yang dilakukan pemimpin-pemimpin parti sebelum ini berhubung beberapa isu lain pernah yang dibangkitkan," katanya ketika dihubungi Utusan Malaysia di sini hari ini.

Semalam, Takiyuddin meminta Karpal supaya tidak memberi kata dua kepada Pas dan Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) agar menyokong hasratnya untuk meminda Perkara 12 (4) Perlembagaan Persekutuan berhubung status agama kanak-kanak di bawah usia 18 tahun.

Mohamed Hafiz yang juga bekas Ketua Pemuda Pas negeri dalam pada itu turut menyuarakan rasa pelik beliau terhadap hilangnya suara-suara para pemimpin Pas berhubung isu tersebut.

"Mana pergi pemimpin atasan Pas? Kenapa hanya Penolong Setiausaha Agung sahaja yang mengeluarkan kenyataan, mana hilangnya Setiausaha Agung dan pemimpin tertinggi parti yang lain?" soalnya.

Selain itu tegas beliau, tindakan Karpal yang mahu mengusulkan pindaan terhadap Perkara 12 (4) berkenaan seolah-olah menunjukkan sikap Ahli Parlimen Bukit Gelugor itu yang tidak menghormati Perlembagaan.

"Pembentangan rang Undang- Undang Pentadbiran Agama Islam (Wilayah Persekutuan) 2013 sudah ditarik balik, jadi apa lagi yang mahu diusulkan?

"Apakah Karpal cuba mengambil kesempatan di atas kegagalan Barisan Nasional (BN) mendapatkan dua per tiga kerusi di Parlimen dengan membangkitkan isu sensitif seperti ini?

"Kalau inilah sikap sebenar beliau, saya melihat Karpal ini seorang yang 'bahaya' untuk keharmonian negara berbilang bangsa seperti Malaysia," katanya.

 

Raja Nazrin pertahan Utusan, disifatkan tidak rasis

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 10:18 AM PDT

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(Utusan) - Di sebalik kritikan pelbagai pihak terutama para pemimpin pembangkang terhadap Utusan Malaysia, Dr. Nazrin bertitah mempertahan akhbar itu yang disifatkan baginda tidak mengamalkan diskriminasi kaum.

Pemangku Raja Perak, Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah menggesa kerajaan mengutamakan pendidikan asas kenegaraan bermula di peringkat sekolah dengan menyemai semangat setia kepada raja dan negara, sesuai dengan kedaulatan Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Titah baginda, kerajaan perlu mengasuh kanak-kanak melalui kurikulum serta kaedah bersesuaian sejak awal untuk turut menghormati simbol lain seperti bendera supaya tidak terus dihina seperti dipijak-pijak atau dijadikan pakaian.

Tanpa pendidikan sedemikian, baginda khuatir akan muncul lebih ramai individu seperti pengguna Facebook dengan nama 'Melissa Gooi' yang baru-baru ini ditahan kerana didakwa mengeluarkan kenyataan menghina Yang di-Pertuan Agong akibat kejahilannya tentang fungsi raja-raja di negara ini.

"Kurikulum kandungan dan kaedah pengajaran mengenai aspek kenegaraan yang benar-benar dihayati hendaklah segera diperkenalkan tanpa bertangguh dijadikan kandungan pengajian bukan sahaja di sekolah, malah maktab perguruan, kolej serta institusi latihan dan diuji dalam urusan lantikan dan kenaikan pangkat pegawai awam," titah baginda.

Baginda bertitah demikian dalam majlis Syarahan Angkatan Tentera Malaysia (ATM) 2013 bertajuk Pasca Pilihan Raya Umum Ke-13: Permuafakatan dan Perpaduan Nasional di Wisma Perwira ATM, Kementerian Pertahanan, di sini hari ini.

Yang turut hadir, Menteri Dalam Negeri, Datuk Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Menteri Pertahanan, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein dan Ketua Setiausaha Negara, Tan Sri Dr. Ali Hamsa.

Sementara itu, di sebalik kritikan pelbagai pihak terutama para pemimpin pembangkang terhadap Utusan Malaysia, Dr. Nazrin bertitah mempertahan akhbar itu yang disifatkan baginda tidak mengamalkan diskriminasi kaum.

Dengan mengambil contoh tulisan Penolong Ketua Pengarang 1 Kumpulan Utusan, Datuk Zaini Hassan melalui kolum Cuit baru-baru ini, baginda bertitah, kupasan Zaini mengenai situasi Melissa Gooi membuktikan akhbar itu membela wanita berketurunan Cina tersebut.

Titahnya, tulisan Zaini yang diterbitkan Utusan Malaysia pada 5 Jun lalu bertajuk Salahkah Melissa Gooi? Ajarlah Asas Perlembagaan di sekolah meningkatkan keyakinan baginda majoriti rakyat negara ini tidak bersifat perkauman, sebaliknya insan berjiwa rasional dan berfikiran waras.

Malah, baginda turut memuji Zaini yang disifatkan berjiwa besar dan contoh semangat seorang Malaysian yang secara tegas melahirkan pandangan kritis atas prinsip kebenaran meskipun percaya Zaini tidak mengenali Melissa Gooi.

"Beta tidak kenal Zaini Hassan secara peribadi tetapi mengikuti rencana tulisan beliau, Melissa Gooi adalah rakyat Malaysia berketurunan Cina sementara Zaini, wartawan kanan, bukan sahaja berketurunan Melayu, berwajah Melayu, berdarah Melayu, malah bertugas dengan akhbar Utusan Malaysia yang dilabel setengah pihak sebagai akhbar yang meniup api perkauman.

"Apa jua jenama negatif yang dilabelkan terhadap Utusan Malaysia, akhbar tersebut tidak melakukan diskriminasi untuk tidak menyiarkan rencana yang bernada membela situasi seorang anak gadis keturunan Cina," titah baginda.


 

Al-Biruni, Comparative Religion and Malaysian leadership

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 09:33 AM PDT

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The Islamic bill has been withdrawn by the Government in tandem with protests from non-Muslim Members of Parliament (MP). However, Malaysians are in still in the dark with several religious issues in our Malaysian multi-religious society.

Natesan Visnu 

Prophet Muhammad sent a message to the monks of Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai:

"This is a message written by Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, far and near, we are behind them. Verily, I defend them by myself, the servants, the helpers, and my followers, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be changed from their jobs, nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims' houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God's covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they (Christians) are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate. No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, this is not to take place without her own wish. She is not to be prevented from going to her church to pray. Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation is to disobey this covenant till the Day of Judgment and the end of the world."

The recent crisis with the conversion bill for children has sparked an uproar among the non-Muslims in Malaysia. The Islamic bill has been withdrawn by the Government in tandem with protests from non-Muslim Members of Parliament (MP). However, Malaysians are in still in the dark with several religious issues in our Malaysian multi-religious society.

The purpose of this article to explore the understanding between religions in a multicultural society. The writer is not a religious expert and the views are based on reading various religious literature available online. Constructive criticism and views are welcome to explore the subject for mutual benefit and understanding among fellow Malaysians.

Religious tolerance has been a debate for centuries. Many scholars have researched and produced works explaining the subject with great depth. However, the thoughts and opinions of these scholars have not resolved inter-faith issues and to date, humans have not resolved the differences among them. According to Al-Biruni (a Muslim scholar on the history of religion), "there is a common human element in every culture that makes all cultures distant relatives, however foreign they might seem to one another." (Rosenthal, 1976, p. 10). Biruni is a Muslim scholar that had studied Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, and other religions. He studied religion with an open mind and his motive was to understand all of them instead of vilifying other religions. To take it further, Biruni was responsible to study Hindu scholarly books, learned Sanskrit and translated Hindu books into the Arabic language. He wrote Tarikh al-Kinh (History of India) exploring culture, mathematics, astronomy and every aspect of Indian life.

Biruni is one of many scholars from the Muslim world that has explored in depth other religions and produced works towards religious tolerance. His main approach was to explore the common principles among the religions to promote religious harmony. Politicians with half baked knowledge on religion have been politicizing issues and misleading Malaysians in general for years. Translating the effort and approach of Biruni, a similar approach could be used in Malaysia to tackle the religious issues that have been plaguing our society for years and causing unnecessary grief for Malaysians. 

The religious issues in Malaysia have been provoked by racist leaders such as Ibrahim Ali attacking Christians on the 'Allah' word usage, Zulkifli Nordin condemning the Hindus, and other politicians making inane comments. If we analyse closely, the religious issues are caused by politicians for their personal political gain. In Malaysia, certain groups of irresponsible politicians are the major cause for religious conflict among members of the society. The first most important move is to stop the politicians from further confusing the public on religious issues.

In line with the above argument, the bill that needs to be studied and passed in Parliament is for politicians to stop making comments on religious issues. Politicians without the expertise on religion should be stopped from discussing religious issues in public. These issues should be addressed by experts with the similar wisdom of al-Biruni and the Dewan Rakyat should act based on their analysis on religious issues. Dewan Rakyat members should appoint an interfaith council consisting of scholars on comparative religion to provide advice on issues pertaining to religious issues. The approach will assist Malaysians to have a better solution on religious issues instead of relying on politicians who lack fundamental knowledge on religion attempting to debate the subject in Dewan Rakyat.

Prophet Muhammad has set a great example in leading the non-Muslim community. The Muslim leaders in Malaysia should further study the method used by Prophet Muhammad to promote religious harmony among Muslims and non-Muslims. Echoing Islamic terminology, the term hadith refers to actions and statements by Prophet Muhammad, teaching the world on leadership for a multi-religious society. Malaysians need to urge politicians to explore further, with the help of the correct experts, the underlying concepts and reforms of religious issues that have been plaguing our society for years.

Relating to the child conversion bill tabled recently, one particular verse of the Qu'ran: "let there be no compulsion in religion". Prophet Muhammad and his followers never practiced forced conversion on Pagan Arabs. The proposal for conversion of a child with only one parent's consent is a subject that requires indepth study. This writer's view is that the subject must be studied further by religious experts from all faiths and a collective recommendation be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat for debate. Politicians without indepth knowledge in comparative religion should consult the appropriate experts to explore the subject.

To encapsulate the above, a comprehensive resolution on religious issues is required for the progression of our society. The failure to address religious issues will cripple the nation and limit our ability to prosper as a multi-religious society. Politicians should set aside their differences, work along with scholars and formulate policies that will benefit the people in general; not their political mileage.

 

Estimated Indian Voters : GE14

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 09:00 AM PDT

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Between the GE's of 2004 and 2008, there was an increase of only 13,800 new Indian voters showing a mere 1.9% increase. However, between the GE's of 2008 and 2013 there was an incredible 233,456 new Indian voters which showed an amazing 31.6% increase. 

Paraman Subramaniam

In the 2004 GE, registered Indian voters totaled 724,423. This represented 7.43% of the then total registered voters.

In the 2008 GE, the total Indian registered voters totaled 738,223 which represented 6.87% of the total registered voters then.

In the 2013 GE, 971,679 Indians were registered to vote, representing 7.32% of the total registered voters.

Between the GE's of 2004 and 2008, there was an increase of only 13,800 new Indian voters showing a mere 1.9% increase. However, between the GE's of 2008 and 2013 there was an incredible 233,456 new Indian voters which showed an amazing 31.6% increase. This percentage increase was more than double that of the Malays or Chinese new voters during the same period, meaning the Malays and Chinese recorded around a 15% new registered voters as compared to their respective GE12 numbers.

It is believed that this huge surge in Indian voter registration took place post Nov 25th 2007 Hindraf rally, which attributed to raising the political enlightenment and awakening of the Indians in general. There were only around 30 plus working days after this rally before registration was closed for GE12 hence the spillover effect was felt after that elections, well into the year 2012.

It is interesting to note that there were an additional 276k eligible Indians that had not registered to vote in the last GE. This would mean that roughly 78% of the Indian population that were eligible to vote were registered to vote in GE 13.

If the next GE were to be held in 2017/2018, there will be a further 180k Indians who will come of age and be eligible to register to vote.

It is therefore estimated that there will be roughly 1.1 million registered Indian voters in GE 14, taking into an account of roughly 75% of eligible Indian voters would have been registered to vote by then.

Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

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