Ahad, 18 Ogos 2013

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Village Security and Development Committees (JKKK): The frontline in Malaysia's next General ...

Posted: 18 Aug 2013 12:12 PM PDT


There is yet another level within the system government that has been ignored and almost forgotten about within the public domain, although it has been a 'battle front' in the fight for 'winning voter hearts and minds' within Pakatan held states since 2008.

Murray Hunter

Malaysian society has been preoccupied with political discussion since the electoral 'tsunami' in of GE-12 back in March 2008. The result of the last election GE-13 left many feeling that the system, or distortion of the system, cheated them out of the chance of changing the political landscape of the country. However political aspirations, expectations, and debate has been primarily limited to the formal federal and state political arenas.

The Federal and State legislatures are not the only levels of government in Malaysia. Both the Penang and Selangor State governments have been toying with the idea of direct local government elections. However these initiatives have been blocked by both the federal Government and Election Commission (EC) on various grounds.

There is yet another level within the system government that has been ignored and almost forgotten about within the public domain, although it has been a 'battle front' in the fight for 'winning voter hearts and minds' within Pakatan held states since 2008. These are the Village Security and Development Committees (JKKK), which exist in all Malaysian states except Perlis.

The first participatory approach to rural planning occurred during the British colonial period where rural resettlement schemes to create 'new villages' were enacted as a major strategy to stem communist insurgent influence among rural inhabitants. These programs at the time were under British military control.

After independence, consultative Village Security and Development Committees (JKKK) were established under the Tun Razak era to assist in poverty eradication. They were however 'top down' in their approach, where village heads or ketua kampong were believed by the government to be able to articulate the needs and aspirations of kampong people to the district officers around the country, who were the prime implementers of rural development policy. Most of the planning and implementation of major resettlement schemes during this period like DARA, JENGKA, KETENGAH, and KESEDAR involved the local participation of JKKKs.

The Village Security and Development Committees are the 'eyes and ears' of government. The village head is responsible to the district officer and district councils charged with carrying out various government programs at the local level. This includes economic and infrastructure development, poverty eradication, and other general assistance programs involving various government agencies. Consequently the village head is seen as a representative of the state under the authority of the district officer, rather than a representative of the village.

The JKKK system was overhauled in June 2009 by Premier Najib Razak to develop more active participation of village committees in the rural planning and implementation processes. The aim of these reforms were to develop a 'bottom up' orientation to empower the JKKK committees to develop their own project proposals and programs, and also oversee the implementation, under the supervision of both the Housing and Local Government, and Rural Development Ministries.

However it was soon found there was a deep lack of manpower and available skills at village level to achieve anything substantial. The Institut kemajuan Desa or Village Development Institute (INFRA) subsequently developed a series of programs to develop capacities of village residents. The results indicated that these courses were too standardized, formal, and theoretical to provide any real positive benefits. Moreover, many key JKKK people and those who had the interests of the community in mind did not for many reasons attend these courses.

This caused to whole program to be reviewed once again. An announcement of further changes is due later this year.

The Barisan-Pakatan Battlefield

Although the JKKK committees are based on state legislation, they have become centres of political conflict between the Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat. In Pakatan run states like Penang and Kelantan, the federal government created a parallel JKKKP system without any supporting legislative basis.

The importance of the committees could be clearly seen in the role they played in the recent Kuala Besut bi-election in Terengganu. The JKKK system is very capable of harnessing kinship ties in rural areas as an election tool to garner votes for the BN, and this is the major reason why the JKKKP was formed by the federal government after the 2008 election.

A close relationship between politicians and village communities has maintained the status quo for the BN in rural Malaysia.

The Pakatan Government is now also very heavily reliant on the committees to look after 'their voters' in Penang.

The JKKK has been seen by both sides of politics as a political tool to attack their political adversaries at the community level, rather than a community empowerment mechanism. Consequently it could be easily assumed that the system is now managed to with the sole objective of reaching people at village level for political influence rather than with any major intentions of gathering 'bottom up' information and consultation to aid rural planning and development process.

The Current Troubles with the JKKK(P) Systems

The current JKKK(P) process hosts many problems which need to be resolved if there are to be any real benefits to rural communities.

Primarily those people selected as village heads are usually those who herald political ambition. They often hold party positions within UMNO. This leads to a highly politicized system. Rather than focusing on bringing new farming methods to their areas, looking after village security, tackling social issues, and strengthening livelihoods through making available more entrepreneurial opportunities, many village heads use their position to obtain financial benefits. There have been cases of village heads leasing out communal lands to corporations without any benefits being derived by their communities. In places like Sabah, many village heads have benefitted personally through logging contracts, which have actually caused flooding within local communities due to lack of any land management. In many cases village heads have become brokers and patrons rather than representatives, focusing on intra-party affairs rather than rural development.

In addition, a number of village heads actually don't live in their areas of responsibility. In places like Rantau Panjang Kelantan, villagers must travel great distances to find their federally appointed village heads who are required to sign school enrollment forms.  

Through government appointed village heads, the ruling party is able to force it's will upon the village population. A small minority can dominate an unorganized majority. The village head's access to funds and services aids their ability to control many aspects of village life. The JKKK(P) structure ensures the exercise of state authority into the most remote communities of the country, and this is suppressing community empowerment. Village heads are political appointees, who along with district officers are too often seen as beneficiaries of development policies. In Malaysia today, the JKKK(P) is just used as another means to reward supporters.

The current community consultative process has taken on some of the worst feudal characteristics of Malaysian political institutions. The system has failed to provide policymakers with true feedback on community needs, enable efficient implementation and delivery of services, nor assist in creating any sustainable wellbeing of rural communities. The government has been forced to reform the system a number of times.

Turning the Corner?

If the village consultative process was structured in a more embracing way to attract more village cooperation, this process could have a major role to play in Malaysian rural life. Village consultative committees have the potential to be a game-changer. Not only could this very 'grassroots' political institution assist in the policy making and delivery process, but also act as a major medium of community empowerment that can possibly change the lives of many rural people. If communities were allowed to select their own representatives, coordinators, and leaders, and able to scrutinize them in a transparent, accountable, and responsible manner, the level of trust, respect, and acceptance of village leaders would drastically rise with far reaching impacts on the mainstream political process.

Village consultative committees should carry the hallmark of democratic accountability rather than be an extension tool of governments on both sides of the political spectrum. The village consultative system cannot be an extension of any political party or grouping. The leaders of community consultative committees must be those who are generally concerned with the wellbeing of their villages, where committee management must be along the lines of ...'of the people, for the people, and by the people' living in each locality. Absentee leadership should be seen for what it is; a past relic of feudalism.

It is in this spirit that village consultative committees can start to look after the real interests of their respective communities with a deep sense of local purpose. The interests of the young, old, single mothers, disabled, and unemployed can be considered in this setting, where advice can go out to the relevant authorities that should serve rather than try to direct these communities.

This is where the crux of change must take place.

It's not about infrastructure and first class facilities, it's about mindset. The narrative of domination must be reframed to the narrative of serving. if this is achieved, then communities will be able to develop their own savings cooperatives and operate micro-credit schemes without any external assistance, rather than be, dependent upon handouts by domineering political patrons.

Self management and independence brings a sense of pride that rural people in Malaysia deserve. It's time rural people gained the respect they deserve rather than being manipulated by the party political process.

Village consultative committees must be primarily concerned with the development of a sustainable community lifestyle that also respects cultural integrity. To achieve this, special efforts must be put into developing the necessary capacities for the youth to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities that can be a source of both value as an enterprise at the individual level, and also create social value within the community. The current system has miserably failed on this premise.

Many people involved in Malaysian rural development will be looking closely at the new scheduled reforms that will be announced by Premier Najib Razak later in the year.

However there is a major drawback. Any change of government in the next general election requires political support from the rural heartland. The next election will be won and lost here. One of the keys to winning the rural heartlands will be control of the JKKK(P) system and the influence these committees can bring upon rural voters.  This is where the frontline will be drawn for GE-14.


Village Consultative Committees are most likely to remain subservient to ruling interests for this purpose.

'MAS Can Become Profitable If The Govt Sells Its Stake'

Posted: 18 Aug 2013 12:04 PM PDT


(The Sun Daily) - "When a company is government owned, there is a lack of drive to make things better. The mentality is that, if you lose money, the government is there to back them," Mahathir said.

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) can become profitable if the government sells its stake, former prime minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad said.

"The main reason behind MAS's losses is because it is government-owned," he said.

When a company is government owned, there is a lack of drive to make things better. The mentality is that, if you lose money, the government is there to back them," Mahathir said.

The government owns a golden share in the airline, while Khazanah Nasional Bhd, the government's investment arm holds a 69.4% majority stake.

Mahathir's comments came in the wake of a statement by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala that the airline should be sold to save it.

Relating his experiences with Proton, Mahathir said privatisation is good to help keep a company mindful of its profitability.

"My experience with Proton is a clear example. After it was privatised, the new owners were very conscious about profit and loss," he told reporters during his Hari Raya open house at his residence in Seri Kembangan today.

"They cleaned up the entire management so that it can make profit because it is their own money at stake. But if it is the government's money at stake, no one cares," he said, adding that people's perception of a government-owned company is that it exists to create employment.

"I know because I ran a government company before," Mahathir said, citing his experience in running a pineapple cannery.

He said a government-owned company's normal practice may be to request for funds every year, and that is not how businesses work as a business does not pump in new capital every year.

Asked to comment on the government's move to revoke the permanent residence (PR) status of a Johor resort operator who had allowed a Buddhist group to use a surau for prayers, Mahathir said it was not a harsh action.

"The government has the right to revoke PRs if people do something which is not in line with our national policies," he said, adding that demolishing the surau may not be necessary.

However, Mahathir said that if the people's wishes are to demolish the building, the government has to comply with these wishes.

Meanwhile, Mahathir lamented that Umno's image had become bad due to allegations of corruption within the party.

"The party has also become old and young people do not find it attractive anymore," he said, urging party leaders to re-examine themselves and introduce changes.

He said among the reasons for this was that Umno had not been listening to the younger people, who ended up supporting the opposition when their voices were not heard.

He added that Umno may also be losing its support because of some existing leaders' insecurities.

"Talented and capable individuals who were interested to join the party were turned away, and they joined PAS which used to only have religious teachers as members but now have doctors, lawyers and engineers as well," he added.

Among the 20,000 visitors who visited his open house were Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and their wives Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and Puan Sri Noorainee Abd Rahman. 

In turbulent times, flying the idea of selling MAS again

Posted: 18 Aug 2013 12:01 PM PDT


(TMI) - Here we go again. Let's fly the idea of Putrajaya selling the loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to corporate Malaysia because after several turnaround plans, the flag carrier is still plunging in a sea of red ink. Except that has been done before, nearly 20 years ago, to then whizkid Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli. The government got burnt in the process, big time.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad should be the last person Putrajaya should be listening to about privatising MAS, again. Wasn't he the PM when Tajudin took control of MAS by buying Bank Negara's 32% share for RM1.8 billion in 1994?

Tajudin sold back the controlling shares to Putrajaya for RM8 per share instead of the market value of RM3.68 a share in 2001, equal to his RM1.8 billion spent in 1994 despite the national carrier's losses.

In 1994, the government sold its MAS stake to Tajudin in one of the attempts to reverse the weak financial position vulnerable to rising labour costs, higher interest rates and reluctant lenders.

In 2001, the bailout was done to turn the flag carrier around.

"People don't lose money for nothing but the takeover was very urgent because we had to turn the company around," the former prime minister said last year of the move to buy MAS back at more than twice the market value at a cost of RM1.8 billion.

So why are we talking about the private sector taking over MAS again?

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/in-turbulent-times-flying-the-idea-of-selling-mas-again 

Membuka pintu dialog

Posted: 18 Aug 2013 11:58 AM PDT


Konvoi Rumah Ibadat Seremban membawa peserta memasuki masjid, kuil, gurdwara, gereja dan tokong. 

Sesungguhnya Nabi Muhammad menggalakkan dialog antara agama. Hakikat dan fakta ini nampaknya kurang diketahui sekelompok umat  Islam di Malaysia; khususnya pemimpin agama Islam yang menganggap kedudukan mereka "lebih tinggi dalam agama, jadi mereka tidak boleh duduk sama taraf dengan Bukan Islam" (The Malaysian Insider, 1 Ogos 2013).

Uthaya Sankar SB, TMI 

Setiap orang Islam sewajarnya mengajak orang Bukan Islam (Tidak Islam; Non-Muslim) untuk berbincang tentang konsep ketuhanan, kehidupan selepas kematian, perayaan dan sebagainya dalam amalan budaya masing-masing.

Demikianlah juga ditekankan oleh Telaga Biru Sdn Bhd pada bahagian "Kata Penerbit" buku Fiqah Berinteraksi dengan Non-Muslim (2009) tulisan Mohammad Nidzam Abd Kadir. Maka jangan pula ada puak yang menuduh saya mempromosikan dialog antara agama secara yang kononnya bertentangan dengan seruan Rasulullah dan ajaran Islam.

Istilah "fiqah" atau "fikah" merujuk kepada ibadat dan hukum-hakam syarak dalam Islam. Buku setebal 186 halaman ini yang terbahagi kepada 12 bab membicarakan pelbagai topik yang amat wajar untuk bacaan golongan Muslim; khususnya dalam suasana pelbagai "fatwa" (tanda kutip) dikeluarkan saban hari.

Bagi golongan Bukan Islam pula, pembacaan buku ini akan memberikan maklumat yang amat berguna juga; sama ada untuk memahami pelbagai perkara dan hukum-hakam pergaulan dengan rakan-rakan dan jiran-tetangga beragama Islam, atau untuk bersedia apabila diajak terlibat dalam dialog sihat berkaitan agama.

"Dakwah kepada non-Muslim mestilah dengan berhikmah, nasihat yang baik dan dialog. Proses ini memerlukan kita umat Islam bukan sahaja mengetahui agama Islam sahaja tetapi perlu juga mengetahui asas agama-agama lain," Mohammad Nidzam mengingatkan pembaca Islam.

Saya menerima senaskhah buku yang tepu dengan ilmu ini daripada Pertubuhan IKRAM Malaysia Negeri Sembilan sewaktu menyertai Konvoi Rumah Ibadat di Seremban, Negeri Sembilan pada 17 Februari 2013. Buku berkenaan saya baca dari semasa ke semasa untuk menimba ilmu dan meningkatkan pengetahuan.

Petikan ayat-ayat Quran disertakan dengan terjemahan Bahasa Malaysia bagi memudahkan pemahaman. Beberapa terjemahan akan saya petik dalam makalah ini.

Seperti kata penerbit buku ini, orang Islam sepatutnya tidak menghalang orang Bukan Islam daripada membaca ayat-ayat (terjemahan) Quran; sebalik perlu bertanya sama ada ayat-ayat yang sama terdapat dalam agama mereka. Nah, inilah satu cara dialog antara agama!

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/opinion/uthaya-sankar/article/membuka-pintu-dialog 

Cooling passions

Posted: 18 Aug 2013 11:51 AM PDT


(The Economist) - Ahmed Akkari, who helped spark the global uproar over cartoons of the prophet Mohammed, has recently expressed regret and now feels the publication was a legitimate expression of free speech. 

THE glistening white mountains of Greenland can have a calming effect on the soul. I realised that myself when, in 2007, I was lucky enough to observe religious leaders from many different traditions offer a silent prayer for the planet while standing on the deck of a ship, surrounded by icebergs, near the Greenlandic port of Ilulissat.

And a two-year spell in Greenland, working as a teacher, seems to have cooled the passions of Ahmed Akkari, a Lebanese-born migrant to Denmark who helped to spark the global uproar over cartoons of the prophet Mohammed that appeared in a Danish newspaper. Seven years ago, he served as spokesman for a group of imams who went round countries like Lebanon, Syria and Egypt, drawing attention to the illustrations.

He has recently said he regrets all this activity, and he now feels the publication of the cartoons was a legitimate expression of free speech. When I spoke to him today, he said that his stay in the tiny settlement of Narsaq, on Greenland's southern tip, had been a catalytic experience. "I was feeling frustrated before I went to Greenland, but there my change of mind manifested itself completely," he told me. Although he still called himself a Muslim, he "found a new way to pray"—and came to the conclusion that religion should be seen more as a source of meaning in people's lives, than as a source of mutually exclusive truths.

Read more at: http://www.economist.com/blogs/erasmus/2013/08/islamism-denmark?fsrc=scn/tw/te/bl/coolingpassions 

Survey on plight of S'pore Malays

Posted: 18 Aug 2013 11:49 AM PDT


Singapore Malays shopping in Johor Baru for 'kuih raya'. A recent survey reveals that Singaporean Malays have a strong sense of nationhood although many feel they are not trusted.

(NST) - They feel their loyalty is being questioned, face widening income gaps and feel discriminated at work

KUALA LUMPUR: A SURVEY  on the needs, concerns and aspirations of Malays in Singapore has revealed the minority group's sentiments.

The six-month exercise, the results of which were made public last month, tells of the community's sense of belonging in the republic, their state of economy and social consciousness.

It revealed that while the Malays had a strong sense of cultural, religious and national identity, they felt they were not fully accepted as part of their own country.

Among their key concerns included the notion of a limited Malay participation in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).

Discrimination at the workplace was also an issue among the community, with some jobs barring Malay women from wearing headscarves.

The 70-page survey by the Suara Musyawarah independent committee also revealed that some felt that the Malays were being left out of "elite or sensitive" parts of the SAF, such as commandos, armour and air defence, and excluded from naval ships.

"Participants said they were not satisfied with one or two 'poster boys' to show that Malays can thrive in SAF," Suara Musyawarah committee chairman Sallim Abdul Kadir, 57, told Singapore's The Sunday Times (ST), adding that the survey was based on anecdotes and feelings within the community without accompanying statistics.

The community's "sense of belonging" was among three key themes derived from the findings.

The survey was initiated last year when Minister in charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim announced the formation of a committee to hear from the republic's Malays.

The newspaper, quoting leaders of Suara Musyawarah, said the report "melded fact with feelings in an unvarnished, straight-from-the-heart narrative of what concerns the community".

Yaacob was expected to comment on these "conversations with the community" by this week.

The ST story compared the survey results against a 2010 census, which pointed out that Singaporean Malays lagged behind in terms of home ownership and household income.

Only 5.1 per cent of the non-student Malay population, aged 15 and above, had university degrees, a figure lower than the 23 per cent at national level.

The median income of Malay households in 2010 was S$3,844 (RM9,915), excluding their employer's Central Provident Fund contributions, lower than the national median of S$5,000.

Less than three per cent of Singapore Malay households lived in private properties, compared with nearly 20 per cent of the overall resident households.

"While Malays have made strides in education -- more are passing and getting better grades in the PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examination), O and A levels, for instance -- there are many areas where the community has lagged behind," the newspaper reported.

Sallim, who owns a training and development consultancy, urged the government to dispel the perception reflected in the survey if it believed they were not true.

Suara Musyawarah vice-chairman Alwi Abdul Hafiz said the community had moved away from their loyalty towards the Malay archipelago, which was apparent more than two decades ago.

"Now, there is a strong sense of nationhood, of belonging to Singapore, especially among the younger generation. The issue is, we feel that our loyalty is being questioned and that we cannot be completely trusted."

The survey also pointed out that issue of "special rights" for Malays -- as guaranteed by Article 152 of Singapore's Constitution -- was hardly raised.

On the economic state of the Malays, the survey found that the community faced widening income gaps and a lack of social mobility, situations made worse by the fact that Singaporean Malays tend to have larger families.

However, a rise in social consciousness among the community has led more of those "wanting to help others (to) improve their lives". Many participants urged for a more consultative style of leadership to manage Malay matters.

Among the anecdotes obtained during these "conversations with the community" are:

A cleaner who has to compete for jobs with foreigners, some of whom are willing to accept S$450 per month for working 18 hours a day -- something Singaporeans raising families simply could not afford to do;

Two lawyers who applied for jobs -- one at a government-linked company and the other at a well-known bank in Singapore-- claimed their applications were rejected because of their race; and,

A delivery man, who spent six months job hunting, told a prospective employer about the need for him to master Mandarin even though the job (delivery services) did not require much verbal communication.


Talent swimming to PAS, says Dr M

Posted: 18 Aug 2013 12:05 AM PDT

(MM) - PAS is nabbing the young and the talented who are being driven away by Umno veterans, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today, ahead of the grand old Malay party's polls.

The former prime minister had earlier today beseeched Malays to stay with Umno, arguing that the party was the only one that could safeguard the race's continued political and economic supremacy, despite a growing schism in the wake of the divisive May 5 general election.

"Umno members do not like people who are more capable than their leaders... afraid that they will lose their positions.

"So people with calibre do not get to enter Umno, now they are joining PAS," the 88-year-old told reporters during his Hari Raya Aidifitri celebration at his home here.

The plain-speaking doctor, who is also a former Umno president, said Umno members are intimidated by talented people.

"Previously, PAS only has religious leaders, now we find that PAS has doctors, lawyers, engineers, all of them entered PAS because they can't enter Umno," he said, and added, "Even retirees who are cable, don't get to enter Umno."

"We noticed a lot of retired generals joining opposition parties," he continued.

The opposition Islamist party appeared to have made inroads in the last general election after it partnered the urban-centric PKR and DAP to form the Pakatan Rakyat to counter the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition's chokehold on power.

The three-party opposition bloc trumped the 13-member BN to win nearly 52 per cent of the popular vote although it failed to take federal power.

Still an influential figure within the party, Dr Mahathir made a pitch today in an open letter to its three million strong members, saying that Malays must stay with Umno as it is the only party that can ensure the race profits.

He acknowledged that the country's biggest political party is plagued by corruption down to its roots, namely the rampant money politics that have buoyed the careers and pockets of certain individuals.

"Umno's image has deteriorated because there are a lot of corruption allegations, and some had joined the party for personal interests.

"When they are not nominated, they will try to make the chosen candidate lose.

"So the loyalty is not to the party but to individuals," he said, adding that it will be a challenge to "fix something that is broken".

But he added that he believed that the problem was not beyond repair.

"I think the party itself is not the problem. The problem is the people who run it.

"If you don't know how to run something, then the best-organised organisation also will not hold.

"They should re-examine themselves because the party has become old and a lot of the leaders have been there for quite a long time and young people don't find it attractive," Dr Mahathir told reporters.

Dr Mahathir noted that there has been increased pressure on party leaders to reach out to people at the grassroots level following the BN's worst showing at the polls.

In a bid to appear more democratic, Umno changed its constitution to allow 150,000 delegates to directly vote in members to its influential supreme council at the October 19 polls. 


Zaid: Only ‘lousy unthinking Muslims’ challenging Islam

Posted: 17 Aug 2013 11:59 PM PDT

(MM) - Braving religious fire, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim has censured Islamic supremacists for their inflexible stance towards non-Muslims by declaring on Twitter that "lousy unthinking Muslims" are undermining the creed of peace.

The former minister lashed out at one-time Umno colleague, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahidi, after the home minister told non-Muslims yesterday to stop challenging Islam and its devotees by insisting on calling their gods "Allah", a word Muslims here believe to belong exclusively to them.

"I don't think Zahid Hamidi is suitable as home minister.

"The only people who are challenging Islam are the lousing unthinking Muslims," said Zaid, who was the de facto law minister during the Abdullah administration and who was given the boot for opposing the detention-without-trial of government dissenters in 2008.

The prominent Malay-Muslim lawyer added that Malaysia was performing moderately well in tackling corruption to build up its economy.

"However rank bottom in tolerance and commonsense index," he posted on his Twitter account, @zaidibrahim.

Ahmad Zahid was not the only one who drew the 62-year-old former lawyer's ire.

Zaid also chided the local Catholic Church for pushing its claim on the word "Allah" through the courts.

"For the Catholic Church to apply to dismiss the government's appeal is wrong," he told The Malay Mail Online when contacted today, arguing that the government has the right to appeal the High Court's landmark that allowed Christians the right to also call their god by the Middle Eastern word.

Ahmad Zahid, an Umno vice-president whose outspokenness in defending Islam ahead of the party's election in October has not gone unnoticed, had yesterday said he respected Malaysia's minority religions and insisted they respect Islam's stand on the exclusive use of "Allah" for Muslims.

"This is not a matter of rights but this is more than an absolute right, the word 'Allah' is an absolute right for Islam, full stop," he told reporters at the Persatuan Pengasih Malaysia's Aidilfitri celebration here.

The tussle over the word "Allah" will return to the courts on August 22, when the Court of Appeal hears the Catholic Church's bid to strike out Putrajaya's appeal against the 2009 High Court ruling upholding the Christians' right to use the Arabic word.

Two civil rights activists contacted by The Malay Mail Online, however, believed the Catholic Church had not made a misstep in filing to dismiss the government's appeal.

Instead, they viewed the warning to non-Muslims to stop challenging Islam as a threat that could jeopardise efforts to bridge the growing faith divide.

Civil liberties lawyer Syahredzan Johan told The Malay Mail Online that the Catholic Church has the right to challenge the sensitive word.

"So to have a minister say that, making those statement will not help with interfaith relations.

"At the end of the day, non-Muslims have felt more and more alienated in the past few years in their own country [and] it doesn't look as if this government care for the non-Muslims," he said over the phone.

"It would appear that Muslim rights overrides the rights of other religion and I think this is the problem."

Syahredzan pointed out that although Muslims make up the majority of Malaysians, as a democratic nation, the government has to also protect the rights of the minority.

"When you have a minister saying things like this, it moves towards strengthening the attitude that Malay Muslims are entitled.

"These issues have been pegging the society for the past few years and it is not getting better," he said.

Eric Paulsen, co-founder and advisor of legal group, Lawyers for Liberty, also agreed that the minister's forceful stance in the issue was unnecessary.

"The minister's belligerent stand over the Allah issue is certainly not helpful, but it is also not ideal to resolve this through the courts as either way, the decision would not be accepted by the losing party.

"What is needed is a genuine dialogue between all the stake holders concerned and resolve it once and for all," he told The Malay Mail Online over the phone.

Paulsen said that whatever the court decides, it might appear to be a forceful and authoritarian directive.

"This calls for a serious and good faith consultation and both parties must meet and thrash it out.

"There should be an extra effort to resolve this, not through the courts, but with genuine discussion with opposing parties because either way... this would not have been accepted by the losing party," the lawyer said. 


Anwar plays "double game" in politics to revive sagging political fortunes -- Salleh

Posted: 17 Aug 2013 08:28 PM PDT

(Bernama) - Sabah Umno liaison deputy chief Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak said Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is playing a "double game" in politics in an attempt to revive his sagging political fortunes.

He said Anwar tried to manipulate situations or events in his favour after the latter failed to become the Prime Minister.

"He (Anwar) is now thinking of a unity government and abandoning his partners in Pakatan. He is interested only in power politics for himself," he told reporters at his Aidilfitri open house in Likas, near here last night.

Among those present were Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and other state leaders.

Salleh, who is also State Legislative Assembly Speaker, was asked to comment on Anwar's recent statement on the matter.

Anwar was quoted as confirming that he had received overtures from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on a "unity government".

However, the Prime Minister's Office in Putrajaya, in a statement on Friday, had denied talk of a proposed unity government between Najib and the opposition leader.

It said that any such discussion could not happen as long as Anwar and the opposition continued to reject and question the results of the 13th general election.

Salleh said the Barisan Nasional (BN) was certainly not interested in him, saying "unity government does not arise at all".

"He (Anwar) is trying his luck. BN is a mature organisation and Najib is a 'very gentleman' politician.

"We can all cooperate to develop the nation irrespective of our political differences," he said.


Dr M: No need to demolish surau, can be used for other activities

Posted: 17 Aug 2013 08:23 PM PDT

(The Star) - The government did the right thing in revoking the permanent resident status of a Singaporean for allowing a Buddhist prayer session to he held at a surau in a resort in Johor, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He said the decision to revoke the PR was not harsh as the man failed to respect the country's policies and religious sensitivities of the people.

"The government has the right to award (permanent resident) and has the right to revoke if one does not follow the law. Whether you are a citizen or a permanent resident, you must abide by the law of the country," he said.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Saturday said the 45-year-old Singaporean's PR status was revoked following an outrage among the community in Tanjung Sedili Besar over the incident. 

Dr Mahathir said, however, the surau  could be used for other purposes rather than having it demolished.

He said there were other uses for the building if the people no longer wanted it as a surau due to the incident.

"The building can still be used for other activities but if the people in the area feel strongly about having it demolished, then the authorities should look into it," he told reporters at his Hari Raya gathering.


Lessons from Egypt upheaval

Posted: 17 Aug 2013 04:05 PM PDT

The bloodbath, over which Malaysia and other countries have expressed a deep regret, has plunged Egypt into deepening chaos and emboldened the brutal military regime that showed little or no interest at all to put the country back on the road to democracy.

A. Jalil Hamid

THERE have been a series of paradoxes in a volatile Egypt. Firstly, an 18-day-old revolt spearheaded by the young people of Egypt ousted president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

In Cairo's Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the popular uprising, tens of thousands leapt to their feet, bouncing and dancing in joy on news of Mubarak's ouster.

"Lift your head high, you're an Egyptian," they had cried. Repeating the tense of the revolution's war cry, they screamed: "The people, at last, have brought down the regime".

Then in the last two months -- in a bizarre twist of events -- we saw a seemingly democratic movement urging the military, which backed six decades of the autocratic rule by Mubarak, to topple a democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi, who succeeded Mubarak.

The political turbulence in the post-Mubarak era in the most populous Arab country could be described as the proverbial "out of the frying pan, into the fire". Egyptians' taste for democracy proved to be short-lived, falling back into the trap of the powerful military.

The euphoria over the downfall of strongman Mubarak soon fizzled out as Egyptians lashed out against Morsi's government over soaring food prices and rising unemployment.

"Liberal" political parties, upset by Morsi's leadership that tried to forge ahead with his government's Islamic agenda, then decided to join forces with the military to topple his Muslim Brotherhood's supremacy in Egypt.

The secular-liberals, who had earlier failed to make much inroads in the country's elections, found it politically expedient to join hands with the generals to oust the Brotherhood government.

With Morsi arrested and his power seized, his supporters had retaliated with massive protests in Cairo and other big cities. The protests turned yet into a bloodbath on Aug 14, when armed police stormed thousands of the Brotherhood's supporters and peaceful demonstrators camped beside a mosque and a university in Cairo.

In the ensuing mayhem, more than 500 people were killed and nearly 3,000 injured with the violence spreading to other cities, including Alexandria and Suez and a score of churches were burned down. A month-long state of emergency was declared across the country.

The bloodbath, over which Malaysia and other countries have expressed a deep regret, has plunged Egypt into deepening chaos and emboldened the brutal military regime that showed little or no interest at all to put the country back on the road to democracy.

The Wall Street Journal said the events on Aug 14 showed that Egypt could be heading into a "murderous civil war" that could be a tragedy for the country.

The generals' worst mistake, however, is to ignore the chief lesson of the Arab Spring, The Economist wrote. "This is that ordinary people yearn for dignity. They hate being bossed around by petty officials and ruled by corrupt autocrats. Instead, they want better lives, decent jobs and some basic freedoms."

A democratic transition for countries such as Egypt, which has never tasted a proper democracy, will be long and painful. It is not going to be simple and easy in the first place.

What complicates things is the repression unleashed by the new military rulers in Egypt. The road to democracy should not be paved with violence and civil disobedience.

In the case of Egypt, democracy should not be an end but a means to achieve greater good. The ultimate goal is to serve the people by meeting their basic needs and preserving their rights.

The lesson for Egypt is that there is more to democracy than just winning elections. From the people-led Arab spring, it has now ominously turned into a generals' summer.


Thin line between politics and family

Posted: 17 Aug 2013 03:42 PM PDT

Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz fended off criticism about appointing his son as his special officer but the cosy nexus between politics and family exists in almost every political party.

Joceline Tan, The Star

DATUK Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz almost outshone superstars like Bruce Lee and Marilyn Monroe a few days ago – or at least their models at the wax museum in Shah Alam.

The Tourism Minister hammed it up with them – he tried out a kungfu move on Bruce, stroked Marilyn's cheek and draped an arm over the shoulder of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat who looked happier than he ever looked when alive.

It was rather too much action for a museum but not even the owner of the museum was about to tell him that.

Besides, Nazri might have told him, "I don't give a damn", because that was what he said when the media queried him about his son being listed as a "special officer" on the Tourism Ministry website.

It will probably go down as one of his more famous or should it be infamous quotes?

Nazri has since explained that his son Muhammad Nedim is not a gazetted officer but is employed as an aide to help him in constituency duties.

Nedim's name would not have attracted much attention had it not been for the fact that he does not have a sterling reputation and has made news for all the wrong reasons in the past.

The most used photo of Nedim shows him looking uber cool in aviator glasses and smoking a cigar and, truth be told, very few people can associate him with political work.

The minister was his usual macho self when brushing off media questions about it but he also came across as rather defensive.

Family in politics is always a tricky matter.

Even when everything is above board, there is always that element of doubt of a conflict of interest, somewhere and somehow.

But, as everyone would have noticed, the Pakatan Rakyat side which is always so quick to jump on everything and anything Umno has been strangely silent.

No prizes for guessing why – very few politicians have not dabbled in a bit of nepotism now and then.

"For Nazri to employ his son is not something unusual. Both sides of the political divide do it," said author and social historian Dr Neil Khor.

The reality, said Dr Khor, is that Malaysian politics has developed in such a way that there is only a thin line between the business of politics and family business.

Barely a day after the Nazri-and-son episode, a Chinese language paper reported that two exco members of the Penang government also had family members on the payroll.

PKR's Abdul Malik Kassim, state exco member for religious, domestic trade and consumer affairs, had employed his sister as his administrative assistant in his Komtar office since 2008.

Another state exco member Chong Eng, who is also the DAP women's chief, had her newly-graduated son on the payroll although she has insisted that he was hired at her personal expenses.

The public tends to be very accommodating when small and struggling parties in the opposition have family members in their hierarchy.

Family is loyal and dependable and you can send them to pick your laundry and run other personal errands and they cannot complain that it is not part of their job.

But today, parties like PAS, DAP and PKR are in power in several states and people are watching.

The same applies to the Barisan Nasional which used to get away with a lot but the freedom of the Internet has made politics akin to living in a house without curtains.

Everyone and everything is up for scrutiny.

The public is often more concerned about whether such arrangements are done at the expense of taxpayers' money.

But for members of political parties, their gripe is whether politics and family deals an unfair disadvantage to those who are not part of the family.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was quite particular about this. His elder son Datuk Mokhzani dabbled in Umno Youth politics without getting anywhere and Datuk Mukhriz only made it big after his father's exit.

Datuk Seri Hadi Awang also deserves credit. The party wanted his son to be a candidate in the general election.

But he was adamant that it would not be appropriate unless he stepped aside.

Sarawakians were not impressed when Tan Sri Taib Mahmud's son Datuk Suleiman won in the general election and went on to become a deputy minister because the handsome and debonair politician was better known for his highflying lifestyle than his political acumen.

Family ties are to be found in almost all Malaysian political parties.

Lim Kit Siang's son is now the leader and Chief Minister of Penang.

Karpal Singh has two sons deep in DAP politics.

In MCA, there is Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek and his first born Tee Yong, the Labis MP.

Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu's son Vell Paari was a very influential MIC figure when his father was up there but is struggling now.

Many used to think that Khairy Jamaluddin's position in Umno was thanks to his Prime Minister father-in-law.

It was only after Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi stepped down that Khairy was assessed for his own merit and it is only now that they are convinced the Youth and Sports Minister has got what it takes to be there.

Then there is the papa-mama-daughter triangle of power in PKR.

People did not mind when the party was struggling in the wilderness because the party had to use whatever resources to hold together. But now the family is being looked at for what it is – nepotism.

"But all these people get elected so what does that say about us? We get the government we deserve. At some point, there will be problems because family interests may trump public interest," said Dr Khor.

Politicians have made so many promises about new politics the last few years.

But nepotism is a close cousin to cronyism and they are simply so old politics.


Dr M to Malays: Stick with Umno, and you’ll be rewarded

Posted: 17 Aug 2013 03:36 PM PDT

(MM) - Malays must stay with Umno as it is the only party that can ensure the race profits, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today in an open letter to its three million strong members.

The former Umno president acknowledged that the country's biggest political party is plagued by corruption down to its roots, namely the rampant money politics that have buoyed the careers and pockets of certain individuals.

But the veteran leader, whose influence still burns bright within the party, warned long-suffering members not to risk their race's collective future by sabotaging the upcoming Umno elections or casting their support elsewhere.

"If the federal government is not led by Umno, even if it is led by Malays, they will not help the Malays because they will be indebted to the non-Malays for their support in the general election," Dr Mahathir said in the letter published in Umno-owned Malay weekly, Mingguan Malaysia.

The former prime minister's words come at a crucial time after the divisive May 5 general election which saw the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition anchored by Umno take a beating, fuelled in part by discontented veterans who have been accused of splitting Malay support by rebelling against the party.

"Umno is no longer respected by the Malays.

"The loyalty and support from the Malays... are not only lost but we are despised by them and those of other races, especially among the younger generation," the 88-year-old said.

He said Umno is seen as a party that fights only for certain individuals in the party and to enrich oneself with positions and titles.

"Members have been bribed with money, and there are other forms of bribery such as overseas trips and to perform Umrah.

"With this, the whole of Umno is involved in corruption, by selling votes for money," Dr Mahathir said.

But the Kedah-born urged the 150,000 delegates who will be making their presence felt in the highly-anticipated October 19 party polls to be patient and to unite for their own good.

He reminded them that ordinary members too would eventually reap the benefits of sticking with Umno in the long-run, so long as the party remains at the helm of the nation's political decision-making centre.

"Accept the reality and be thankful. Don't complain that you've not been rewarded despite your support for Umno all this while.

"For those who know how to give thanks, Allah promises to give more graces.

"Insya-Allah will see others receive their turn, perhaps our grandchildren will get a turn if Umno's administration is continued," Dr Mahathir concluded. 


DAP facing life-and-death struggle as BN steps up smear campaign

Posted: 17 Aug 2013 03:31 PM PDT

Lee Shi-Ian, TMI

Following their best ever performance in the recent general election, the DAP is now facing a life-and-death struggle following an intense smear campaign by the Barisan Nasional (BN), and in particular Umno, to destroy the party, said its adviser Lim Kit Siang.

Lim said battle lines had been drawn with the launching of the third phase of Umno/BN's Destroy/Demonise DAP (DDD) campaign.

"In the past couple of months, propagandists and cybertroopers employed by Barisan Nasional have launched two phases of assault on the DAP," he said in a media statement.

"The first assault was the ridiculous claim of the DAP-financed Red Bean Army comprising 3,000 cybertroopers. Even more preposterous was the budget cited of between RM100 million and RM1 billion."

BN had claimed that the Red Bean Army was funded by the DAP over the past six years with the sole purpose of character-assassinating BN and Umno leaders.

"The second assault was the malicious campaign about electoral fraud in the DAP central executive committee (CEC) polls held last December," he said.

This, Lim added, was followed by accusations from the fictitious "Father Augustus Chen", who made two major allegations, the first being 753 mostly Indian delegates were not notified of the DAP Congress and second, was the presence of 543 phantom delegates, mostly from Penang.

"Over the two assaults, hundreds of fabricated and deceptive stories and reports have been hatched against the DAP by Umno/BN media tools, especially the New Straits Time (NST) and Utusan Malaysia.

"The party's decision to call for a CEC re-election is to pre-empt the Registrar of Societies from further abusing its power by de-registering the party if fresh polls were not called."

The DAP adviser further added that despite the party's announcement of fresh polls, the DDD campaign against the DAP is still on-going.



Felda ambil langkah sekat Syiah, kata Isa Samad

Posted: 17 Aug 2013 03:26 PM PDT

(Bernama) - Felda akan mengambil pendekatan drastik bagi membendung penularan gerakan serta penyebaran fahaman Syiah di kawasan Felda di seluruh negara.

Pengerusi Felda Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abd Samad (gambar) berkata untuk itu, Felda akan mengadakan satu taklimat khas mengenai Syiah kepada semua pimpinan termasuk pengurusan (Felda), Jawatankuasa Kemajuan dan Keselamatan Rancangan (JKKR), wanita, belia, badan bukan kerajaan (NGO) serta anggota jawatankuasa masjid dan surau di Kuala Lumpur pada 29 Ogos ini. 

"Pada taklimat itu nanti, kita akan memberikan penerangan yang jelas mengenai Syiah, kenapa kerajaan mengharamkannya dan kenapa fahaman ini boleh merugikan umat Islam daripada segi perpaduan Islam itu sendiri," katanya kepada pemberita pada majlis rumah terbuka Aidilfitri beliau di Dewan Felda Jaya, Bandar Seri Jempol di sini, malam tadi.

Mohd Isa yang juga anggota Parlimen Jempol berharap menerusi taklimat khas ini, pimpinan Felda akan mendapat pengetahuan mengenai fahaman Syiah dan dapat menjalankan tanggungjawab mengawasi serta membendung fahaman itu daripada menular di kawasan Felda.

"Pemantuan kita jalankan tetapi seperti kita sedia maklum bahawa bukan mudah untuk kita mengenal pasti pengikut Syiah ini kerana mereka ini boleh berpura-pura dan sebagainya.

"Bagaimanapun setakat ini, kita belum mendapat laporan mengenainya (penularan fahaman syiah di Felda)," katanya.

Katanya penyebaran fahaman Syiah mesti dibendung kerana jika gerakan ini dibiarkan berterusan, ia bukan sahaja boleh mengancam keselamatan negara, malah mengakibatkan perpecahan ummah menjadi semakin parah.


It’s Bersih 4.0 if EC does not clean up its act, and electoral rolls, warns Ambiga

Posted: 17 Aug 2013 03:22 PM PDT

(TMI) - A street rally has been promised if the Election Commission proceeds with its delineation of parliamentary and state constituency boundaries before cleaning up the electoral rolls.

Bersih co-chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenavasan (pic) vowed that the Bersih 4.0 rally will be held.

"This is not a threat. It is a promise," Ambiga said, adding that it had to be taken out to the streets to make those in power realise that the people were serious about their demand for reforms.

The ongoing Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegal immigrants in Sabah has clearly revealed that the electoral roll in Malaysia needed to be cleaned up, The Star reported her as saying.

Besides the electoral roll, the indelible ink issue during the general election was another sticky issue which the EC has not taken responsibility for.

"If the EC proceeds with the delineation exercise without cleaning up the electoral rolls, nothing will change and we will be stuck for the next eight years," she said.

She was addressing a crowd at a Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) fundraising dinner at a school hall in Kuala Lumpur last night.

"When Bersih 4.0 will be held depends on the response of the EC," Ambiga said.



Nazri’s flamboyant special officer

Posted: 17 Aug 2013 03:13 PM PDT

How will Mohd Nedim who is best known for his temper and his penchant for 'life in the fast lane' serve as a good role model to youths in Nazri's constituency?

When politicians like Nazri think little of the rakyat's perception and believe it fine and fit to bring his flamboyant son on board the ministry, it is a sign that nothing is ever going to change for the better in the country, not until unscrupulous politicians like Nazri make an exit from politics.

Jeswan Kaur, FMT

'Staying above the law' – this is what politicians in this country enjoy the most, not the fact that they are here to serve the rakyat.

From cronyism to nepotism to flouting traffic rules gay abandonly, Malaysian politicians especially those from the Barisan Nasional camp, have done it all – shamelessly at that.

Seasoned politicans like S Samy Vellu decided it was his 'right' to determine when to quit politics, irrespective of the fact that the rakyat had long rejected him.

Then there was former Women, Familly and Community Development Minister Shahrizat Jalil who feigned ignorance when confronted with the 'cowgate' scandal that saw her husband and children being accused of misusing the RM250 million loan meant for the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) a cattle-rearing project to purchase luxury condominiums, a Mercedes and fund vacations.

While deputy prime minister Muhyidddin Yassin tried defending her, the NFC fiasco brought about Shahrizat's downfall as a cabinet minister in April last year, leaving her with only the Wanita Umno head post.

But do Malaysian politicians' ever bother learning from their misdeeds? Hardly.

Now, it is veteran politician-cum Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamad Nazri Aziz who beliefs 'he is law unto himself'. Barely three months after being tasked with the Tourism and Culture Ministry, Nazri thought he could do with an 'extra hand' and guess who he chose to rope in – his scandalous son, Mohamad Nedim as his "special assistant".

Nazri claims that Mohd Nedim will not be on the government payroll and would receive his dues from the former for tasks related to youths activities in Nazri's constituency in Padang Rengas in Perak.

Just who is Nazri trying to kid? How will Mohd Nedim who is best known for his temper and his penchant for 'life in the fast lane' serve as a good role model to youths in Nazri's constituency?

How did Nazri pull such a feat is anyone's guess. However, if there is one thing the rakyat has learned from the 'cowgate' scandal and now the Nazri-Nedim 'pact', it is this – nepotism, cronyism and corruption (NCC) are to remain as the hallmark of Malaysia.

BN has lost the rakyat's trust

The 2008 and 2013 general elections outcomes are sordid revelations of the people's rejection of the Barisan Nasional government. The rakyat's unhappiness stems from the fact that the BN politicians show no signs of repenting from their old habits of indulging in NCC.

When politicians like Nazri think little of the rakyat's perception and believe it fine and fit to bring his flamboyant son on board the ministry, it is a sign that nothing is ever going to change for the better in the country, not until unscrupulous politicians like Nazri make an exit from politics.

Is there no 'higher-ups' whom Nazri is accountable to when it comes to hiring and firing? Or is that he has absolute freedom to do as he wishes, opening the doors of the Tourism and Culture Ministry to whosoever he likes?

Just how will Mohd Nedim contribute to the ministry, given his violent background and flashy lifestyle?

The rakyat has not forgotten the March 2012 incident where Mohd Nedim was alleged to have assaulted a security supervisor of the upscale Mont Kiara condominium.

As predicted, Mohd Nedim was never prosecuted by the authorities and not back in 2004 when a spat involving him and a 23-year-old law student left the latter dead.

Just like his father, Mohd Nedim too seems esctatic that he is 'untouchable' by the laws of this country.



‘Economic approach of BN, PR worsen global warming’

Posted: 17 Aug 2013 03:07 PM PDT

Both BN and Pakatan politicians fail to understand that you can't cap gas emission if you do not cap developments, says PSM parliamentarian Dr Michael Jeyakumar.

Leven Woon, FMT

Parti Sosialis Malaysia's (PSM) sole parliamentarian Dr Michael Jeyakumar has contended that both the government and the opposition employ the same growth-oriented approach on economic policies, which would eventually worsen global warming.

He told a PSM fund-raising dinner last night that both the Barisan Nasional-led federal government and Pakatan Rakyat-led states only strived to outdo each other in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) growth in order to prove they are better.

"They cannot think outside the box. Capitalism itself is a problem.

"When you grow, you must have energy and burn fuels, or more factory and transport that results in increased emission.

"The growth of GDP and carbon dioxide emission come side by side. As long as capitalism is in place, you cannot solve the problem of global warming," said the second-term Sungai Siput MP.

Jeyakumar said PSM is proposing an alternative economics founded on socialism and people solidarity which prioritises wealth redistribution, sustainable source of energy and enhanced public transport.

Among the activists, which made up some 300 attendees to the dinner, included Bersih's co-chair Ambiga Sreevenasan and A. Samad Said. However, none of the Pakatan leaders attended.



Nazri Aziz mula jadi beban kepada Umno? – Shahbudin Husin

Posted: 17 Aug 2013 12:00 PM PDT


(TMI) - Tidak sampai dua hari, PM Najib terpaksa menukar pendiriannya berhubung tindakan Menteri Pelancongan dan Kebudayaan, Nazri Aziz yang melantik anaknya sebagai pegawai khasnya di kementerian itu.

Jika semalam Najib menyatakan tidak menjadi salahnya Nazri berbuat demikian asalkan tidak melibatkan pembayaran gaji oleh kerajaan tetapi hari ini beliau mengubah kenyataannya itu dengan mengatakan ahli keluarga menteri hanya boleh diletakkan sebagai pembantu di kawasan Parlimen masing-masing dan bukannya di kementerian.

"Inilah prinsipnya, prinsipnya ahli keluarga tidak boleh diletakkan di pejabat menteri," katanya.

Tindakan Nazri melantik anaknya sebagai pegawai khas telah mengundang keresahan orangramai, bukan saja kerana anaknya, Nedim itu terlibat dengan kontroversi sebelum ini, bahkan cara Nazri mempertahankan anaknya memperlihatkan keangkuhannya yang melampau.

Selain mengatakan anaknya tidak dibayar gaji oleh kerajaan, sebaliknya melalui duit poketnya sendiri, Nazri dengan nada sombongnya juga berkata, "ini kementerian saya, saya boleh boleh lantik sesiapa saja."

Dalam hal ini Nazri barangkali terlupa bahawa kementerian bukanlah milik individu. Kementerian bukan seperti syarikat sendirian berhad. Kementerian adalah milik kerajaan dan menteri duduk di situ hanyalah atas ehsan Perdana Menteri melantiknya setelah beliau dipilih sebagai wakil rakyat.

Hanya setelah menjadi wakil rakyat atau dewan negara, barulah seseorang itu boleh dilantik sebagai menteri. Ini menjadikan seseorang menteri sebenarnya sentiasa terikat kepada sokongan dan undi rakyat.

Selagi rakyat menyokongnya, dapatlah jadi menteri tetapi setelah tidak lagi mendapat sokongan rakyat, kedudukan menteri terpaksa dilepaskan dan kementerian juga kena ditinggalkan.

Jadi, janganlah sombong dan bongkak sangat kerana dapat jadi menteri seolah-olah boleh melakukan apa saja.

Ingatlah bahawa menjadi menteri adalah atas pertanggungjawaban bersama sebagai sebuah kerajaan setelah diberi mandat oleh rakyat. Jika menteri bersikap sombong dan angkuh, parti dan kerajaan yang akan menerima kesan penolakan daripada rakyat.

Oleh sebab itu, menjadi seorang pemimpin dan menteri haruslah menjauhi sikap sombong dan angkuh bagi memastikan sokongan rakyat berterusan.

Pemimpin yang bersikap sombong, angkuh dan enggan menerima teguran adalah beban kepada parti dan kerajan.

Tindakan Najib yang terpaksa mengubah pendirian dan menjadi flip-flop berhubung keputusan Nazri melantik anaknya itu, walaupun mengundang persepsi yang berbagai mengenai kefahaman Perdana Menteri sendiri berhubung perlantikan ahli keluarga oleh seseorang menteri, tetapi secara nyata menunjukkan bahawa apa yang dilakukan Nazri itu adalah salah.

Cumanya, mungkin atas sebab-sebab tertentu dan hubungan peribadi yang agak lama, Najib segan memberitahu secara terus-terang agar Nazri mengeluarkan anaknya daripada kementerian itu.

Dengan meletakkan anaknya duduk di kementerian, walaupun gajinya dibayar oleh bapanya sendiri tetapi sudah tentu pelbagai kemudahan kerajaan akan turut digunakannya.

Lagi pula meletakkan anak dan ahli keluarga sendiri di di kementerian di mana bapanya menjadi menteri, turut juga mengundang persepsi yang tidak baik kepada rakyat dan kakitangan kementerian itu sendiri.

Rakyat akan melihat menteri mengamalkan nepotisme manakala kakitangan kementerian pula menjadi serba-salah dalam menjalankan tugasnya terutama jika ada permintaan yang melibatkan pemberian kontrak dan peluang perniagaan.

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/rencana/article/nazri-aziz-mula-jadi-beban-kepada-umno-shahbudin-husin 


Biar MAS ‘terhempas’ ke bumi!

Posted: 17 Aug 2013 11:55 AM PDT


Persoalannya berapa banyak lagi wang rakyat yang perlu dihabiskan untuk menanggung 'biawak hidup' ini.

Zainal Abidin Nor, FMT 

Dilema yang menghantui kerajaan sekarang ini ialah samada mahu terus menyelamatkan MAS (Syarikat Penerbangan Malaysia) atau biarkan ia 'terhempas' ke bumi; maksudnya menjual sahamnya dengan harga murah RM0.30 sen sesaham, satu pertiga dari nilai par.

Dengan kata lain mana yang lebih baik; MAS diswastakan atau pun pengurusannya terus diberi masa untuk menunjukkan prestasi yang baik dan kembali mencatat keuntungan.

Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Idris Jala berkata, kerajaan harus mengundur diri dari industri penerbangan walaupun beliau tidak bersetuju MAS dijual dengan harga murah.

"Saya fikir kerajaan harus berundur dari industri penerbangan ini.  Apa yang kerajaan harus lakukan ialah tidak menjualnya dengan menanggung kerugian.

"Tapi kerajaan harus menjualnya pada harga yang wajar kerana ia melibatkan wang pembayar cukai dan tambahan pula MAS merupakan sebuah syarikat awam tersenarai," katanya pada forum Global Malaysia Series, Kuala Lumpur pada Selasa lalu.

Bagaimanapun beberapa jam selepas itu, beliau mengeluarkan satu kenyataan dengan menyatakan "saya ingin memberi penjelasan buat masa ini kerajaan tidak mempunyai rancangan untuk menjual MAS."

Berdasarkan kepada dua kenyataan beliau ini yang tidak selari, kita khuatir ada sesuatu yang tidak kena atau berlaku permainan wayang disebalik tabir atau wujud campur tangan politik peringkat tertinggi.

Untuk maklumat pembaca, dalam tempoh suku pertama tahun 2013, MAS mencatat kerugian sebanyak RM279 juta.  Pada tahun 2012, MAS mengalami kerugian sebanyak RM433 juta, 2011 (RM2.2 bilion) dan 2010 (RM234 juta).

Read more at: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2013/08/18/biar-mas-terhempas-ke-bumi/ 


Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

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