Khamis, 8 Ogos 2013

Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News


Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News


The Sensitive Indian - 1: The result of decreasing ignorance

Posted: 08 Aug 2013 01:04 PM PDT

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-44RXTnc_nLc/UgQxZMDNcRI/AAAAAAAACIk/ebmFVgFmwHc/s1600/Indentured+labour+3+overseers.jpg 

At a time when so many government-aided FELDA settlers and come-lately Indonesians are prospering – just look at the cars, the clothes and the kenduris – we look at the state of so many Indians whose ancestors worked the land for generations in such abject conditions. 

write2rest

We were living in government quarters. I was a boy, still in primary school. There was a knock on the front door. I rushed to see who it was. The visitor was the resident watchman at the Chinese school. I yelled to my mother, in Tamil, "The Chinese School Bengali is here."

My mother came to the door. She said, to me in Malay, "Don't be rude! You should say (Chinese School) Bhai!" She apologized to Mr Singh. "He's just a boy." Mr Singh, clearly not wanting to miss the opportunity to make a point, said "Where did he learn to say Bengali?"

I saw that look on my mother's face and that stiffness of bearing. I knew not to ask her anything about what just happened. I didn't want to be scolded for speaking back to her. I didn't even ask my father that evening. I didn't ask my sisters or my brother. I just thought "life is so unfair. They can always say Bengali when they speak about him, but they don't letme call him Bengali."

Over 45 years later, I learned why Tamil, Telugu and Malayalee Indians in Malaysia called Sikhs Bengalis.

I learned it through reading Kernial Singh Sandhu's book, Indians in Malaya: Some Aspects of their Immigration & Settlement, 1786 – 1957, published by Cambridge University Press in 1969. Sandhu based his book on the dissertation he submitted to the University of London for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

Our Indian elders in Malaysia only told us stories about their villages and their relatives.

Their stories were set in small parts of India – which to them was India. I suspect they didn't know how vast and varied the country was. I suspect they didn't even know how many states there were in India, let alone a state called Punjab. I suspect they'd never met Bengalis or Punjabis before arriving in Malaya.

Which brings me back to the Chinese School Bhai. He, like most other Sikhs in Malaysia, was from Punjab, not Bengal. Calling him a Bengali was like calling a Turk an Arab: annoying! [Did you know that Kamal Ataturk made Turks give up their Arab names?]

Why do/did many Malaysians call Punjabis Bengalis?

Well, it's because unlike most Indians who boarded ships for Malaysia in Nagapattinam and Madras in the state of Tamil Nadu, the Punjabis boarded ships in Calcutta, in the state of Bengal. This was the logic: "They came from Bengal; they must be Bengalis."

Malaysia being my homeland, I had grown up thinking that all Punjabis are Sikhs, and that anyone whose name includes Singh is a Sikh, a (religious) follower of the teachings of Guru Nanak. After all, every Singh I knew in Malaysia was a Sikh. It was only in my thirties that I learned it is not so.

In India, there are many Punjabis who are not Sikhs! There are many Singhs who are not Sikhs!

Read more at: http://write2rest.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-sensitive-indian-1-result-of.html 

Apa Cina mahu dan mengapa kita tidak akan ‘balik’ ke China

Posted: 08 Aug 2013 12:45 PM PDT

http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRLbEWoNT9CuifPHa25uzxF5MI7pCJFiSt7sKj-L-I_FP8ib7oPjA 

Soalannya sekarang adalah sekiranya kita tidak ingin meninggal di China dan kita juga tidak ingin berhijrah ke negara lain yang lebih maju, apakah sebabnya orang Cina seolah-olahnya hanya tahu mengadu tidak terhenti-henti tentang negara ini walaupun kita rasa ia bukan negara yang buruk? 

Carol Ng

Salam sejahtera saya ucapkan kepada semua warganegara Malaysia yang menyambut bulan Syawal yang mulia ini. Terlebih dahulu saya ingin dengan tulus ikhlas mengucapkan Selamat Hari Raya kepada kamu dan seisi keluarga kamu.

Saya merupakan salah satu warganegara Malaysia berbangsa Cina yang telah membesar dan belajar di sekolah Melayu dan lebih fasih berbicara dalam Bahasa Melayu berbanding dengan Bahasa Cina. Saya mohon waktu sebentar kamu kerana saya ingin cuba menjelaskan satu pertanyaan yang saya rasa begitu pelik. Apa Cina mahu? Kita juga diberitahu untuk kembali ke China, manakala rakan-rakan India kita diberitahu untuk kembali ke India.

Ini adalah percubaan saya untuk menjawab soalan ini yang nampaknya sangat sukar difahami, dan saya juga ingin menerangkan apakah sebabnya pada umumnya orang Cina di Malaysia tidak mau pergi ke negara China. Oleh sebab kita sentiasa memberitahu seluruh dunia bahawa Malaysia adalah sebuah negara berbilang kaum yang harmoni dan bertolak ansur, saya berharap anda akan dapat membaca ini dengan hati dan minda yang terbuka dan tidak membuat anggapan terhadap niat sebenar saya hanya kerana bangsa saya.

 

Saya juga akan mengutuk beberapa tingkah laku kebanyakan orang Cina, yang saya tidak takut untuk mengkritik kerana saya percaya bahawa ia adalah penting untuk mengakui apabila kaum kita sendiri sedang melakukan sesuatu yang salah.... Bagi saya, untuk menjadi orang yang berhemah tinggi, kita tidak harus menutup mata terhadap perbuatan yang tidak betul atau adil, semata-mata atas sebab kita ingin menlindungi orang daripada kaum yang sama dengan kita.

Negara China memang sekarang diketahui di seluruh dunia sebagai negara yang sedang membangun dengan cepat dan berteknologi canggih. Tetapi negara ini juga ada banyak keburukannya. Negara China dikendalikan oleh diktator, tidak ada kebebasan bersuara, dan terdapat sekatan berat terhadap penggunaan internet, akhbar, kebebasan beragama, dan kebebasan berhimpun. Terdapat perbezaan yang besar antara kaya dan miskin di China, ketidakadilan sosial yang tinggi dan rakyatnya berperangai begitu acuh tidak acuh sehingga walaupun terdapat anak kecil yang tercedera dan hampir mati di jalan raya, mereka tidak peduli untuk membantunya.

Sebenarnya, semua masalah yang orang Cina di Malaysia tidak suka di negara ini, adalah jauh lebih teruk lagi di China. Bagi rakan berbangsa India kita, keadaannya lebih kurang sama di negara India. Memang tidak masuk akal untuk pergi ke negara-negara ini di mana kehidupan kita akan menjadi lebih sukar, terutamanya kerana ramai orang Cina dan India di Malaysia memang tidak pernah sekalipun melangkah satu kaki pada tanah 'negara asal' kita.  Kalau kita berhijrah ke mana-mana, kita lebih suka pergi ke Singapura, Amerika, Australia, United Kingdom, negara-negara yang mungkin tidak sempurna, tetapi terdapat lebih banyak kebebasan, gaji yang lebih tinggi dan peluang yang tinggi untuk menikmati kehidupan yang lebih selesa dan aman.

Tetapi bagi ramai warganegara Malaysia berbangsa Cina dan India, kita lebih suka tinggal di negara ini. Sebab-sebabnya tidak sukar difahami. Kebanyakan kenangan gembira kita adalah di negera ini, dan rakan-rakan dan keluarga kita yang tersayang juga di sini. Seperti yang saya tahu, orang Melayu memang sangat mementingkan keluarga dan ini adalah satu perkara yang baik. Jadi ia tidak seharusnya sukar untuk memahami bahawa orang Cina seperti saya tidak mahu meninggalkan orang tua saya berseorangan di negara ini, dan tidak ingin orang tua kita dibawa ke negara lain kerana mereka terlalu tua untuk menyesuaikan diri dengan kehidupan di negara baru. Kita juga suka tinggal di Malaysia sebab memang tidak boleh dinafikan makanan Malaysia adalah antara yang terbaik di dunia.

Soalannya sekarang adalah sekiranya kita tidak ingin meninggal di China dan kita juga tidak ingin berhijrah ke negara lain yang lebih maju, apakah sebabnya orang Cina seolah-olahnya hanya tahu mengadu tidak terhenti-henti tentang negara ini walaupun kita rasa ia bukan negara yang buruk? Sebab-sebabnya dirumuskan seperti berikut:

1) Kami mahu menunjukkan kepada seluruh dunia betapa berjayanya negara kita berbanding dengan negara orang lain
2) Kita mahu rasa berbangga terhadap hasil daripada kerja yang kita usahakan, bukan menerima wang tanpa apa-apa usaha
3) Kami mahu masa depan yang cerah untuk anak-anak kita
Dan sekiranya pada akhirnya kerajaan kita tidak memberikan kita apa yang disenaraikan di atas, walaupun kita merupakan warga negara yang sama selama 55 tahun, maka kita pun masih boleh dibiarkan untuk hidup tanpa sokongan kerajaan, tetapi sekurang-kurangnya,
4) Kami mahu kebebasan untuk melaksanakan tradisi dan kepercayaan kita tanpa cara hidup kita diganggu oleh orang lain

Setiap Tahun Baru Cina, ibu bapa Cina memang sangat suka membandingkan kanak-kanak mereka dengan anak orang Cina yang lain. Mereka ingin tahu sama ada anak mereka telah mencapai keputusan peperiksaan sekolah yang lebih tinggi, atau berkerja dalam bidang yang lebih berprestasi. Anak yang menjadi doktor, atau peguam atau akauntan...ibubapa kepada anak itulah yang sangat berbangga. Bagi anak lain yang tidak begitu berjaya dalam kehidupan, anak itulah yang akan dikutuk oleh ibubapa mereka.

 

Saya pun mengakui bahawa kebanyakan orang Cina bercakap dengan cara kasar, seperti orang menjerit-jerit menjual barang di pasar. Ibubapa kaum Cina tidak teragak-agak untuk mengutuk anak sendiri supaya menjadi orang lebih baik, akan tetapi jika anak-anak mereka telah melakukan sesuatu yang baik, ibu bapa Cina jarang memuji mereka walaupun mereka bangga. Itulah budaya dan cara pemikiran kebanyakan orang Cina yang sangat berlainan dengan budaya orang Melayu, yang saya tahu selalu diajar supaya bertingkah laku dengan lemah-lembut dan berterima kasih.

 

Budaya suka kutuk-mengutuk ini memang menjengkelkan bagi kanak-kanak Cina, tetapi kita tahu tujuannnya adalah untuk menggalakkan kita untuk menjadi orang yang boleh berdaya saing. Walaupun ibubapa kaum Cina sering mengkritik anak mereka sendiri dan kurang meluahkan kasih sayang mereka, itu bukan bermaksud mereka tidak menyayangi anak mereka. Mereka menunjukkan kasih sayang melalui tindakan mereka, bukan perkataan mereka.

 

Cara pemikiran orang Cina ini adalah sama terhadap negara Malaysia. Orang Cina tahu ia adalah sebuah negara yang baik. Tetapi apabila kita melihat negara-negara lain yang mempunyai ekonomi yang lebih kukuh dan lebih kaya, kita tahu Malaysia boleh menjadi sebuah negara yang lebih baik. Malaysia sangat kaya dengan sumber semula jadi, yang apabila diuruskan dengan baik, akan membantu Malaysia membangun dengan cepat. Namun apabila kita melawat negara kecil itu yang bersebelahan dengan kita, kita perlu membayar dua kali ganda harga untuk barang yang sama. KDNK Singapura berada di kedudukan antara pangkat 5 teratas di dunia, tetapi KDNK Malaysia pulak berada di bawah kedudukan ke-55. Bagaimanalah boleh jadi begini? Kenapa walaupun kita sangat kaya dengan sumber semulajadi, negara Malaysia masih sangat kurang maju dan ekonomi kita lebih lemah berbanding dengan jiran kita yang kecil? Atas sebab inilah orang Cina merungut dan mengkritik pemimpin negara kita, kerana kita sebenarnya mengasihi negara ini dan mahu negara Malaysia untuk menjadi lebih baik daripada Singapura.


Orang Cina juga suka berbangga apabila kita memberitahu orang bahawa pencapaian kita adalah melalui kerja keras kita sendiri. Sekiranya seorang Cina tidak bekerja dan hanya menerima wang dari tempat lain, kita mungkin berfikir bahawa mereka bernasib baik, tetapi kita tidak akan menghormati orang seperti itu kerana kita berfikiran bahawa mereka tidak menyumbang kepada masyarakat. Ini adalah sebahagian sebabnya mengapa kaum Cina tidak suka akan pemberian sokongan kewangan seperti BR1M. Tidak ada kebanggaan untuk kita daripada penerimaan wang tanpa bekerja. Inilah sebabnya orang Cina begitu benci terhadap rasuah kerana orang yang menerima rasuah mendapatkan wang tanpa apa-apa usaha. Kami berasa lebih sakit hati apabila kita tahu wang rasuah itu pada asalnya merupakan wang kita yang kita dapat daripada kerja dan usaha kita sendiri. Malah, di negara China, rasuah begitu dibenci sehingga pegawai yang ditangkap menerima rasuah akan dihukum mati.

 

Sebab yang lain mengapa kita suka kepada sokongan seperti BR1M adalah kerana pemberian kewangan tidak merupakan bentuk pendapatan yang lestari. Dalam keadaan kos hidup yang tinggi sekarang, wang itu akan digunakan dalam sekelip mata dan tidak ada jaminan bahawa ia akan berterusan, jadi apakah faedahnya yang berkekalan apabila sokongan itu dihentikan? Ia bukan satu faedah yang berjangka panjang untuk generasi yang akan datang, bukan sahaja untuk anak orang Cina tetapi termasuk semua anak Malaysia. Bagi kaum Cina, memang begitu penting bagi kita untuk memastikan masa depan yang cerah untuk anak-anak kita, sehingga ramai ibu bapa kaum Cina sanggup hidup miskin dan berjimat cermat sepanjang hidup mereka hanya untuk memastikan anak-anak mereka mendapat pendidikan yang baik dan berjaya apabila susah dewasa.

 

Bagi kaum Cina, sokongan yang ada faedah jangka waktu panjang adalah dalam bentuk pemberian biasiswa kepada anak-anak kami yang pintar, kerana anak-anak itu yang pintar akan kemudiannya dapat menyumbang lebih banyak kepada negara. Orang Cina tidak akan meminta untuk pemberian biasiswa kepada anak Cina yang tidak mendapat keputusan sekolah yang baik, kerana kita berpendapat bahawa kalau seseorang itu tidak boleh belajar, dia tidak seharusnya layak mendapat biasiswa. Kami hanya mengeluh apabila terdapat pelajar yang berprestasi tinggi dalam pelajaran mereka, tetapi masih tidak mendapat biasiswa daripada kerajaan hanya atas sebab mereka bukan daripada bangsa tertentu.

 

Faedah jangka panjang untuk generasi akan datang seharusnya juga termasuk kos sara hidup yang rendah. Itulah sebabnya kita sentiasa mengadu bahawa kos sara hidup, perumahan, pengangkutan dan barang keperluan hidup semua semakin meningkat tetapi gaji orang biasa tidak meningkat. Ini bukan masa depan yang mampan untuk anak-anak kita, bukan sahaja untuk anak orang Cina tetapi untuk semua anak orang Malaysia. Yang lebih malang lagi merupakan keadaan hidup rakyat yang tinggal di Sabah dan Sarawak, yang masih kurang maju dan rakyat di situ begitu kurang berpendidikan. Dengan begitu banyak sumber semula jadi, kedua-dua negeri termiskin harus jauh lebih maju dan lebih kaya daripada sekarang. Jadi siapakah yang paling menikmati keuntungan yang diperolahi daripada sumber-sumber semulajadi negara kita, manakala rakyat di Semenanjung menampung kos yang tinggi setiap hari dan kebanyakan rakyat di Malaysia Timur, termasuk kaum Melayu, tidak pernah menyentuh telefon bimbit atau komputer dan tidak mengetahui apa-apa yang berlaku di dunia luar dari kampung mereka?

 

Orang Cina juga benar-benar suka wang. Kita suka wang begitu banyak sekali sehingga di sesetengah negara Barat, manakala kedai-kedai tempatan semua ditutup pada pukul 5 atau 6pm atau penduduk tempatan sedang mogok untuk menuntut hak-hak buruh yang lebih baik, orang yang membuka kedai sehingga lewat malam itu kebanyakkannya Cina yang gila suka wang. Begitu juga di Malaysia, pada akhirnya jika kita tidak diberikan apa-apa hak yang sepatutnya diberikan sebagai rakyat Malaysia, kita masih boleh berkelakuan seperti orang Cina di negara-negara lain di mana mereka bukan warganegara.... hanya membuat kerja atau perniagaan kami secara senyap-senyap (hanya mengadu sesama diri, seperti biasalah untuk kita) sambil mengikuti tradisi dan kepercayaan kita, dan inilah cukup untuk kita.

Akan tetapi, kita rasa hairan, kenapalah terdapat orang di negara ini yang tidak boleh membiarkan kita untuk melaksanakan cara dan ajaran agama kita? Alkitab kita, yang dicetak dengan wang kita dan ditujukan untuk penggunaan rakan Kristian kita sahaja, itupun mau dibakar. Bagi rakan-rakan India kami, mereka juga tidak boleh dibiarkan oleh sekumpulan orang yang seolah-olah tidak boleh menahan perasaan benci mereka, apabila mereka membuang kepala haiwan yang disembah oleh orang Hindu di hadapan kuil mereka.

Saya hairan, kerana semasa saya membesar di negara ini, saya melihat rakan-rakan Melayu saya yang bertekad untuk bangun awal setiap pagi untuk bersolat, lagipun pada bulan Ramadhan di mana mereka perlu menahan diri daripada makanan, minuman dan segala jenis nafsu untuk lebih daripada setengah hari. Saya telah belajar untuk menghormati kaum Melayu yang mempunyai iman yang kuat untuk menahan nafsu selama satu bulan, dan seperti yang saya faham tentang ajaran Islam, nafsu yang harus ditahan ini termasuk perasaan yang tidak baik seperti perasaan benci.

Tetapi alasan daripada pihak yang ingin membakar Alkitab kita, dan yang tidak bersopan kepada haiwan yang disembah oleh rakan-rakan Hindu kita, adalah bahawa kaum Melayu akan mudah dikelirukan oleh ajaran agama kaum yang lain. Adalah memang benar bahawa kaum Melayu tidak mempunyai iman yang kuat seperti yang dianggap saya? Pada pendapat saya, alasan ini seolah-olah memandang rendah terhadap kebolehan orang Melayu sendiri, kerana ia seperti pengakuan bahawa semua orang beragama Islam di Malaysia tidak mempunyai iman yang kuat, dan iman ini selalu perlu dilindungi daripada unsur-unsur agama lain.

Walaupun sesetengah pihak sibuk membantah dan membuat laporan polis terhadap sesiapa individu yang mereka anggap sebagai ancaman kepada bangsa atau agama mereka, kebanyakan orang Cina hanya tahu mengadu antara satu sama lain dan terus melakukan pekerjaan kami. Satu contoh insiden yang paling ketara menunjukkan sifat orang Cina ini adalah apabila blogger Papagomo membuat cadangan yang amat menakutkan supaya "...orang Melayu bangkit merusuh dan membunuh semua Cina keparat" dan "...sembelih Cina macam babi", tetapi orang Cina tidak membuat apa-apa selain daripada mengadu sesama sendiri, seolah-olah kita tidak peduli terhadap ancamannya. Pengadu utama, Jamilah Baharuddin, yang membuat laporan polis terhadap si Papagomo ini adalah ironinya bukan seorang Cina!

Realitinya adalah orang Cina membentuk kaum yang terbesar di seluruh dunia, iaitu 20% daripada seluruh penduduk di dunia. Bersama-sama dengan kaum India, yang juga merupakan salah satu daripada kaum terbesar di dunia, kita boleh bersama-sama menguasai seluruh dunia jika kita mahu. Tetapi sila perhatikan negara-negara lain dan lihat dengan mata sendiri jika kaum Cina telah pergi ke mana-mana negara dan menuntut ketuanan ke atas kaum majoriti di situ?

Orang Cina telah menjadikan kaum kita sebagai minoriti di setiap negara yang kita pergi, dan orang Cina cukup gembira selagi kita mempunyai kebebasan untuk mengamalkan cara hidup kita dan peluang yang baik untuk kejayaan ekonomi kita. Di negara ini, orang Cina membentuk 23% daripada penduduk Malaysia dan India lebih kurang hanya 7%. Adakah termasuk akal untuk menyatakan bahawa kita akan menjadi ancaman kepada bangsa Melayu yang membentuk lebih daripada 60% penduduk di negara ini, di mana kebanyakan pemimpin utama di negara ini merupakan orang Melayu, termasuk pemimpin parti pemerintah maupun pembangkang, yang pasti akan mempertahankan hak Melayu kerana hak ini sudah termaktub di dalam perlembagaan negara kita?

Pada hakikatnya, kaum yang paling berkuasa di negara ini bukan orang Cina atau orang India, tetapi orang Melayu. Satu-satunya bangsa yang mempunyai kuasa tertinggi mengundi untuk menuntut perubahan di negara ini adalah orang Melayu. Kalau ada apa-apapun yang dituntut oleh kaum yang lain, keupayaan untuk memberikan hak-hak tersebut masih terletak dalam tangan pemimpin-pemimpin Melayu.

Sejak 55 tahun yang lalu, kebanyakan kita telah menerima hak orang Melayu. Akan tetapi, perkara yang kita tidak boleh menerima adalah apabila 'Hak Melayu', yang sepatutnya digunakan untuk membantu kaum Melayu yang miskin, adalah sekarang digunakan sebagai alasan untuk melaksanakan ketidakadilan terhadap kaum minoriti, terutamanya kematian orang dalam tahanan.

Orang Cina tidak mempunyai masalah menerima pemimpin Melayu. Kita hanya inginkan pemimpin yang tidak menyalahgunakan kuasa mereka terhadap rakyat biasa, termasuk orang Melayu, sampai ke tahap di mana warganegara biasa hidup dalam ketakutan setiap hari bahawa satu perkataan atau perbuatan yang dianggap menyinggung perasaan, boleh mengakibatkan orangnya dipenjarakan atau dipukul. Pada masa yang sama, penjenayah sebenar yang membunuh dan mencuri masih bebas berkeliaran.

Mungkin ramai orang Melayu akan menjadi gembira untuk mengetahui bahawa ramai orang bukan Islam telah meninggalkan negara untuk mencari peluang kehidupan yang lebih baik di tempat lain. Saya sebagai orang yang berpendidikan dan fasih dalam Bahasa Inggeris juga boleh meninggalkan negara ini pada bila-bila masa. Tetapi saya lebih suka tinggal di sini untuk bekerja menyumbang cukai saya ke Malaysia kerana saya ingin melihat negara saya menjadi maju.

Saya hanya tahu satu lagu kebangsaan, iaitu 'Negaraku'. Dan saya ingin melihat manfaat daripada sumber-sumber semulajadi negara dinikmati oleh setiap rakyat Malaysia, bukan sahaja oleh segelintir pemimpin yang tamak dan tidak bertanggungjawab membahagikan rakyat untuk kepentingan mereka sendiri. Patutkah orang seperti saya dilabel sebagai pengkhianat kepada negara apabila apa yang kita mau adalah perubahan yang lebih baik? Perubahan yang boleh menjadikan Malaysia lebih mampu berdaya saing di pasaran dunia dan membantu semua rakyat Malaysia hidup dalam keadaan aman dan bukannya hidup dalam ketakutan terhadap orang berkuasa dan penjenayah?

Sekali lagi, saya mengucapkan Selamat Hari Raya dan berharap surat ini dapat membantu mewujudkan pemahaman yang lebih baik dan penghormatan antara semua kaum dan agama. Maaf batin dan zahir jika apa-apa dalam penulisan saya ini telah menimbulkan kemarahan anda.

Set up IPCMC, says Saifuddin

Posted: 08 Aug 2013 12:43 PM PDT

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/polisi-300x199.jpg

(FMT) - "I don't think we can blame the opposition. They had no hand in the shooting incidents but we are concerned about strengthening the police force," Saifuddin told FMT in an exclusive interview.

Umno Supreme Council member Saifuddin Abdullah has supported the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to oversee the police force.

The former Temerloh MP voiced his support for the commission as a response to the recent spike in shootings across the country.

He also dismissed former Malacca Chief Minister Ali Rustam's claims that Pakatan Rakyat's calls for the Emergency Ordinance (EO) to be repealed had resulted in a high number of shooting cases recently, as criminals were now free to roam the streets.

"I don't think we can blame the opposition. They had no hand in the shooting incidents but we are concerned about strengthening the police force," Saifuddin told FMT in an exclusive interview.

"I think we should have established the proposed IPCMC much earlier to improve police policies," he added.

Saifuddin said it was still not too late to establish the IPCMC and hoped the government would set up the commission.

READ MORE HERE

Gullible’s Travels: Ringgit moves at faster rate to Africans posing as whites

Posted: 08 Aug 2013 12:26 PM PDT

(TMI) - So what took conmen 12 months to make, now takes just 6 months.

The rate at which Malaysians are losing their cash to conmen has gone up at a stunning rate.

Just in the first six months of this year alone, the gullible lost a staggering RM1 billion. But what's just as shocking is that this figure is pretty close to the entire amount lost in all of last year.

So what took conmen 12 months to make, now takes just 6 months.

More than half of that lost billion this year leaked out of financial institutions through weak management systems – about RM580 million.

But a shocking fact is that by and large, the scams, cons and tricks remain basically unchanged from last year, raising the fascinating question of just what will it take for some Malaysians to learn that when something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

The Federal Commercial Crimes Investigation Department told The Malaysian Insider that losses amounting to RM987 million were reported from January to June - compared to losses of RM1.2 billion for the whole of last year.

READ MORE HERE

Malaysia Violent Crime Wave Escalates With Shootings, Car Blast

Posted: 08 Aug 2013 12:17 PM PDT

http://www.bloomberg.com/image/iIFxz.23kBZs.jpg

Forensic police carry the body of AMMB Holdings Bhd. founder Hussain Ahmad Najadi after he was shot dead in a car park in Kuala Lumpur last week. Photographer: STR/AFP via Getty Images

By Barry Porter, Bloomberg

One man was executed at a traffic light, another shot four times by motorcycle assassins and a third had explosives detonated in his Jaguar car in separate incidents around Malaysia, the Star newspaper reported today.

While gun ownership is restricted, public shootings have surged to almost one a day since July 26, according to data compiled by police. Prime Minister Najib Razak pledged to boost resources for fighting violent crime and introduce additional legislation in parliament after AMMB Holdings Bhd. founder Hussain Ahmad Najadi was shot dead in a car park last week.

Early today, a 37-year-old ethnic Indian man was gunned down at point-blank range at a traffic light while driving in Malaysia's northern city of Penang, the Star said, citing police Assistant Commissioner Gan Kong Meng. Separately, a 29-year-old man is recovering after being shot by motorcyclists while driving in Ipoh late yesterday, the newspaper reported, citing police Assistant Commissioner Sum Chang Keong.

In Kuala Lumpur, the rear end of a Jaguar belonging to an unidentified restaurant and nightclub-owner was damaged by explosives on Aug. 6, the Star reported today, citing police. The case has been classified as attempted murder, it said.

 

The surge in violence is partly due to the abolition of the Emergency Ordinance in 2011, which led to 2,600 hardcore criminals and gang members being released from detention, the malaymailonline reported July 9, citing Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in parliament. Najib repealed the law, which allowed suspects to be detained for as long as two years without trial, in a bid to boost civil liberties.
Temple Killing

Voters cited crime and social problems as their biggest concern after the economy in a survey of 1,018 people conducted in December by the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research. Najib's coalition was returned to power in May's general election by its narrowest margin since independence from Britain in 1957.

Police said this week they detained four people after Najadi, a Bahrain-born banker, was gunned down by suspected contract killers near a temple in the Malaysian capital on July 29. The 75-year-old businessman formed Arab-Malaysian Development Bank Bhd. in 1975, selling out after seven years. The institution went on to become AMMB (AMM), now Malaysia's fifth-largest lender by market value.

4 insiden tembakan senjata api di Hari Raya pertama semalam

Posted: 08 Aug 2013 12:07 PM PDT

https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS-1ZEql--gE8AAWxl36tfOHVr9HJvcJntz0Rsr0KZJX525I1Bl

(TMI) - Empat insiden tembakan berlaku dalam masa 24 jam semasa umat Islam menyambut hari raya semalam dengan dua di Pulau Pinang dan masing-masing satu di Kuala Lumpur dan Perak.

Di Kuala Lumpur, insiden senjata api dilaporkan berlaku di sebuah restoran Pelita,Desa Seri Hartamas kira-kira 7.30 pagi semalam.

Kejadian disahkan oleh Ketua Jabatan Siasatan Jenayah Kuala Lumpur Datuk Ku Chin Wah  menyatakan dari siasatan awal mendapati ia sebagai kemalangan akibat perlakuan sendiri.

Mangsa merupakan seorang lelaki India berusia 27 tahun bekerja sebagai pemandu teksi dan pengutip hutang sambilan.

"Kira kira jam 7.30 pagi mangsa yang selesai kerja pergi ke restoran Pelita untuk mengutip hutang.

"Mangsa kemudiannya kembali ke kereta untuk mengambil pistol lalu melepaskan dengan tidak sengaja hingga mengenai tapak tangan kiri dan peha kiri kaki mangsa," kata Ku kepada The Malaysia Insider.

Mangsa dirawat di Pusat Perubahan Universiti Malaya PPUM.

READ MORE HERE

 

A Sikh’s perspective on the ‘Allah’ row

Posted: 08 Aug 2013 11:51 AM PDT

FMT LETTER: From Premjit Singh, via e-mail 

I refer to Aidil Khalid's reply to Uthaya Sankar's article over the use of the word 'Allah'. I am a reluctant entrant to this discussion and am only doing so to correct general misconceptions that keep appearing again and again in the public domain. I wish only to touch on one matter, to offer the following points to the above learned gentleman, that he may consider them. For clarity, I will take the questionable passages and offer my views.

On usage of the grounds of judgement of a judge from Calcutta from a trial in 1943, Khundkar J, who has portrayed Sikhism not as a stand-alone religion, but as an off-shoot of Hinduism, and with a further claim that only the 10th Guru proceeded to declare a new religion whilst all the others were disgruntled Hindus in effect. The writer has quoted and depended heavily on the judgement of this one judge.

The writer: "I have a general idea of the history of those religions insofar as the law is concerned".

My comment: I accept his sincerity, but religion is not a case in law, to be interpreted by all and sundry, no matter how well read or esteemed, based on their own religious beliefs and paradigms.It is about as absurd and tantamount to one reading a few books on Islam, and then proceeding to offer judgements in a Shariah Court!

On the matter of the admissibility of the learned judge Khundkar J's comments on Sikhism and Guru Nanak, Khundkar J is entitled to his opinions, but they cannot be touted as a benchmark for a discussion on the Sikh religion. What he opines may have served his purpose to resolve a dispute in his courtroom, but the truth is that his opinion will be challenged the minute he stepped out of his court.

He may be a learned judge, just like you are a learned lawyer, but how does that make him an authority on the Sikh religion, authorised and empowered to interpret, while you yourself of equal learning as him, by your own admission acknowledge and rightly so assess that you are no authority on the Sikh religion?

If you, being from the same profession have generously admitted that you are no authority on the Sikh religion, despite the fact that you are a person of high learning as evident, why are you so comfortable to accept the opinions of another man of similar circumstance over a religion that neither of you belong to?

Khundkar may say whatever he likes, but who has authorised him to interpret and pronounce judgements on the Sikh religion? And why should they be imposed on the rest of us? Is it not possible that his opinions and beliefs are just that, opinions and beliefs possibly based on the last book that he may have read on Sikhism, written by a bigoted Hindu historian as they almost always are? What would you say to a similar 'opinion' on Islam by a Jewish or Christian judge?

READ MORE HERE

 

The new religious fundamentalists? Millennial Christians.

Posted: 08 Aug 2013 11:26 AM PDT

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-faith/files/2013/08/Picture-40.png

But, what I haven't heard many talk about is the fact that my generation can actually be quite prideful. Quite self-centered. Quite addicted to what's newest, quickest, fastest and easiest. And because of those things, if we are not careful, we will turn into exactly what we are critiquing.

By Jefferson Bethke, The Washington Post

There's been a lot of craze about Millennials leaving the church the past couple weeks.

All the articles going around centered around the church being the problem (or the fact that it isn't). But, and I know I might get Internet stones thrown at me (boulders for that matter) for saying this, what if we Millennials were just as much to blame?

In this conversation about young people's faith lives, I think that we put all the blame on the church. Sure, the church has, in the past, become servants of GOP, to 'family values', to sin gerrymandering, rather than being followers of Jesus.

But, what I haven't heard many talk about is the fact that my generation can actually be quite prideful. Quite self-centered. Quite addicted to what's newest, quickest, fastest and easiest. And because of those things, if we are not careful, we will turn into exactly what we are critiquing.

(We also have to notice, by the way, that we aren't the first to critique our mom's generation. Every generation of late thought their mom's church was lame. That's youth; that's not Millennial.)

My peers and I have too quickly caricatured "fundamentalists," without realizing we are eerily close to becoming what we say we hate. We can think fundamentalists only wear suits and play boring Christian music, or we can address fundamentalism for what it is—an issue of the heart. An easy way to define fundamentalism is adding rules to the Bible, or elevating things beyond how Scripture elevates them. It's an attitude of pride. It gets in shouting matches (or tweeting matches) with anyone who disagrees. And in American Christian culture, I still see a lot of that.

There is a weird subsection of young Christians today who are almost reverse fundamentalists, but they are still fundamentalists. They look at the older generation who say in good conscience Christians shouldn't drink beer, and they respond, "We are definitely drinking beer. Freedom in Christ!" Or they see those Christians who say you have to dress up for church service, and they say, "We are only going to wear skinny jeans and v-neck T-shirts in church." They are better defined by what they are against than by what they are for. They are doing the exact same thing as what they are defining themselves against. They are elevating behavior, clothing, and other secondary issues as requirements to gain access to heaven. It's a sickness in all of us to put our righteousness and dependence in absolutely anything except Jesus, and if we think we aren't doing that, it usually means it's even worse.

READ MORE HERE

China Fallout Hits Hard

Posted: 08 Aug 2013 10:55 AM PDT

http://thediplomat.com/pacific-money/files/2013/08/800px-Ravenswood_Queensland_-_Gold_Mine_5-400x300.jpg

Anthony Fensom, The Diplomat 

China's impressive growth over the last two decades has helped commodity prices hit new highs, adding billions to the national income of mineral exporters such as Australia and Indonesia. But with the resource boom turning to bust, just how bad could the flow-on effects be for the region?

One warning of the consequences has come from ratings agency Standard & Poor's, which has forecast that even a mild slowdown in China's economy could send Australian unemployment skyrocketing, hitting housing prices as well as commodities.

S&P's "doomsday scenario" of a hard landing in China of just 5 percent growth in gross domestic product in 2014 would cause Australia to fall into recession for the first time since 1990, send the jobless rate to double-digit territory and cause property prices to sink by 25 percent.

While the agency sees the most likely outcome as a China slowdown to 7.3 percent GDP growth next year, analyst Craig Michaels asked: "Are we now seeing the beginning of the end of Australia's economic run?"

Japan's largest brokerage Nomura has forecast that weaker Chinese growth could reduce Australia's GDP by up to 0.7 percentage points, given that China buys around three-quarters of Australia's iron ore exports and nearly a quarter of its coal. The result would be the nation's weakest growth since the global financial crisis, of just 1.4 percent.

READ MORE HERE

Indonesia's Religious Repression

Posted: 08 Aug 2013 10:42 AM PDT

https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRUxF4If-C7Cv1XCS0wqVZ5-K9abPCmTvNH1_h7NS5jmeLrziBn

Jakarta's official ideology of tolerance is a myth, as persecuted Shias and Christians can well attest.

(The WSJ) - The number of attacks on religious freedom is growing year on year. These include violent attacks on religious minorities, imprisonment of religious leaders, and the closure of Christian churches and of mosques belonging to the minority Ahmadi sect. The Setara Institute, which publishes annual reports on religious freedom, documented 264 violations in 2012, up from 244 in 2011, 216 in 2010 and 200 in 2009.

According to its guiding political philosophy, Pancasila, Indonesia is a land of religious tolerance. The country's six recognized religions–Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism and Hinduism–supposedly enjoy equal protection under the law and equal right of worship in the Muslim-majority nation. Pancasila is Indonesia's official ideology: Children nationwide have been taught to believe it since the country's independence in 1945. Pancasila is also a myth.

Although Islam has never been the state religion, radical Islamism is not a recent phenomenon. Indonesia's independence year of 1945 saw the near-passage of the Jakarta Charter, which would have established an Islamic state with sharia law. It was only through the improvisations of Indonesia's founding President, Sukarno, that Pancasila prevailed. Over the past decade, hovever, radical Islamist voices have grown louder and more aggressive, and as a result they have gained influence over policy makers.

The number of attacks on religious freedom is growing year on year. These include violent attacks on religious minorities, imprisonment of religious leaders, and the closure of Christian churches and of mosques belonging to the minority Ahmadi sect. The Setara Institute, which publishes annual reports on religious freedom, documented 264 violations in 2012, up from 244 in 2011, 216 in 2010 and 200 in 2009.

Apologists paint these events as isolated incidents, largely confined to conservative areas such as West Java and Aceh where sharia law has been introduced. The ugly truth, however, is that intolerance has spread nationwide. In West Java, East Java, North Sumatra, West Sumatra, South Sulawesi and Lombok, I hear stories of violence and hatred—not one-off incidents, but patterns of intolerance.

READ MORE HERE

 

An open letter seeking help from JAKIM

Posted: 08 Aug 2013 10:37 AM PDT

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/assets/uploads/authors/zanazlee_170x62.jpg


Tapai, as we all know, is a traditional Malay kuih that is prepared by fermenting pulut or ubi kayu. But, as we all also know, when you ferment food stuff, it turns into alcohol. Yes! I said alcohol! Haram jaddah!

Zan Azlee, TMI

Dear JAKIM,

First and foremost, I would like to wish you assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh and a blessed Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri. I would like to apologise for writing this letter during the festive season when most of you would be on leave with your families.

However, I strongly believe that the reason that I am writing is justified and commands your immediate attention. If nothing is done, I am fearful that the faith and aqidah of many Malay Muslims in Malaysia may be at risk.

On the second last day of Ramadhan, my family and I decided to head out and enjoy iftar (I loathe using the term 'buka puasa' it is so un-Islamic!) together at a very prominent hotel in Shah Alam, Selangor. The hotel is called Concorde.

We were very impressed with the buffet spread that was on display in the hotel's coffee house and felt that the extremely expensive price was justified. So, in other words, we were happy to have good food and good company that evening.

However, as I was walking around the different food islands in the centre of the coffee house, I came to the dessert island. And what I saw horrified me to my wits end! I could not believe my eyes! There in open display was a plate full of tapai!

READ MORE HERE

S'gor MB acknowledges race-based policies

Posted: 07 Aug 2013 09:45 PM PDT

(Sun Daily) - Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim explained that there will few changes to race-based policies even if Pakatan Rakyat (PR) wins Putrajaya due to the reality of the country's demographic structure.

Khalid also noted that the race-based structure of the country must be accepted by the public, but how it is translated into equity for all is a different matter.

Referring to excerpts from Lee Kuan Yew's book 'One man's view of the world', Khalid said, "He is telling the truth, because if the Malay community makes up 60% of the country's population, the political inclination will be to try and get the support of the Malays.

Khalid also disagreed with Lee's mention that it is impossible for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak to win Chinese and Indians support without losing Malays' votes.

"I dispute his hypothesis. If it were true, there would be no situation where a nation of multi-racial composition can live together. If the Prime Minister were to solve the problems in rural areas, I'm sure he will get the support of the Malays, Indians and Chinese," he said.

Khalid said Malaysia cannot be viewed as a heterogeneous country but as one isolated by different activities.

He explained that isolation by activity happened prior to Merdeka established by the British.

"Lee Kuan Yew still does not understand that and was trying to reduce the divide and rule policy when he started the People's Action Party (PAP)," he said.

Khalid also expressed how former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's book "Awakening: The Abdullah Badawi years in Malaysia" will be able to assist politicians in running the country.

"I have not read the book yet, but I have seen comments through portals. I would say that it is a good book as it shares previous experiences with the people about the challenges of governing the country.

"We can learn lessons from these experiences. More of such books written can help politicians improve their leadership in the country," he added.

Khalid wishes to see efforts put into creating a balance in allocating ownership of equity among races in Malaysia by taking affirmative action through an economy policy.

Khalid referred to one of the chapters in the book that said the prime minister will have difficulties in pushing economic reforms because of the UMNO and Malays' fixation on the 30% Bumiputera equity.

"During both Tun Mahathir and Badawi's governance, the introduction of private sectors does not solve issues in active ownership allocation in the Bumiputera community.

"Private sectors only produce licenses, not jobs. In result to that, the existence of private sectors in the Malaysian economic industries have increased rentier class but not owner operators.

"I hope Pak Lah writes that in his book, if not I will write it."

 

'I won't attack PM - thanks to Dr M'

Posted: 07 Aug 2013 07:09 PM PDT

(The Star) - Former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said that his predecessor's attacks on him had strengthened his resolve to allow Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to carry out his policies without interference.

"From the experience I went through, I knew it would not be fair if I were to interfere with Najib because I want him to establish himself as the Prime Minister. Let his voice be heard and let him decide the course he should take without having me saying something else or contradicting him," he said.

"That is why I have remained silent all this time. I believe that once you retire, you are retired," he said in "A Conversation With Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi" in a soon-to-be-released book titled Awakening.

The "Conversation", conducted with Prof Bridget Welsh and Prof James U.H. Chin, is found in Chapter One of the book, which contained writings from contributors such as Mohamed Khir Toyo, Liew Chin Tong and Edmund Terence Gomez.

Abdullah said he did not like what his predecessor had done.

"I gave (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) the opportunity to give me his views. I went to see him but he chose to be public in his attacks against me and my administration. I don't know what he wanted."

Abdullah also claimed that Dr Mahathir was fully aware that he suffered from a sleeping disorder, yet chose to deride him in public about it.

He said he had been diagnosed with sleep apnea during his tenure as the fifth Prime Minister, which caused him to often doze off without realising it.

"I did tell Dr Mahathir of my condition. So, for him to say that I doze off because I'm not interested in the job is most unkind."

Abdullah said he had flown to Australia in 2007 to undergo surgery to remove the polyps in his nose which had caused him to experience difficulties breathing while sleeping and caused the disorder.

During his tenure from 2004 to 2008, there were accounts of him apparently dozing off during meetings, causing him to be the subject of some ridicule.

Abdullah said Dr Mahathir's strained relationship with him following his ascendancy to the top post was due to his "inability to accept any other view except his own".

He also spoke about the attacks against his son Kamal and son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin, "particularly by Mahathir".

Kamal, he said, had been a businessman long before he even became Deputy Prime Minister, with the bulk of his business overseas, and that he had never benefited from his father's position in office.

Abdullah said Khairy, as well as the other "fourth floor boys" – the team which allegedly helped him run the country – had neither been his advisers nor influenced his decisions.

"After the 2004 results, we recruited people from outside of Government, people who believed in the changes I wanted to make. But the establishment, which resisted these changes, instead of working with these boys, proceeded to demonise them," he said.

Prof Chin said Awakening was the first serious study to chronicle Malaysia's political history during Abdullah's tenure and how he had changed the political landscape.

"The interview with Abdullah runs only 38 of the 606 pages. The book features rich perspectives from a diverse range of over 30 experts in their fields including academicians, journalists, politicians and public intellectuals, about his term in office."

Prof Chin said it was vital that readers read the introduction to gain an understanding of what the book was about, stressing it had "nothing to do with Pak Lah attacking Mahathir".

 

Dr Mahathir amused by Kuan Yew jibe, says will respond to Pak Lah's remarks

Posted: 07 Aug 2013 04:03 PM PDT

(The Star) - Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says he will respond to scathing remarks by his successor Tun Abdullah Badawi in the book, Awakening: The Abdullah Badawi Years in Malaysia, in due course.

"I am studying the book.

"I will make some reference about it along the way," he told reporters at the Prime Minister's open house in Seri Perdana here Thursday.

Abdullah, in the book, attributes Dr Mahathir's strained relationship with him following his ascendancy to the top post to his (Dr Mahathir's) "inability to accept any other view except his own."

The remarks are found in the soon-to-be-released book's first chapter, A Conversation With Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, conducted with Prof Bridget Welsh and Prof James U.H. Chin.

The book contains writings from contributors such as Mohamed Khir Toyo, Liew Chin Tong and Edmund Terence Gomez.

Abdullah was not the only political heavyweight who threw a punch Dr Mahathir's way the past week.

In his latest book, One Man's Views of the World, Singapore's founding father and former premier Lee Kuan Yew questioned if Malaysia was well on its goal to become progressive as a Muslim nation.

Dr Mahathir, 88, was swarmed by reporters at Thursday's open house, all eager for his feedback on criticism against him by two of his prominent old friends.

But the ever-witty Dr Mahathir took Lee's criticism in his stride.

"He's 90 years old. We give allowance, allowance like people would give to me also.

"He is entitled to his opinion where there is free speech, especially in Singapore," Dr Mahathir said.

Among other things, Lee said Malaysia was once a "relaxed" country but has now become "much more orthodox under the influence of the Middle Eastern states".

"They used to serve liquor at dinners and drink with you.

"When I was there, the Tunku would invite his friends over and drink whisky and brandy with them.

"Now, they toast each other in syrups," Singapore's former Minister Mentor was quoted saying in the book.

 

Why MCA must rejoin the Government

Posted: 07 Aug 2013 03:57 PM PDT

Zaid Ibrahim, TMI

The call made by the Chinese business community and NGOs for MCA to rejoin the Cabinet is not surprising.

If MCA is to have any future it must rejoin the Government, but party members must also do more than what they have become accustomed to doing. In the past, they delivered allocations to Chinese schools and representated the Chinese community in business and educational issues.

A few of their top leaders held Cabinet posts and this enabled them to dish out some contracts to the Chinese towkays. The lower-rung MCA operatives held positions in local councils, which gave them some leverage with grassroots members.

MCA needs to and can do more. Its deputy president's statement that rejoining the Cabinet would allow the party to be more vocal on issues that are relevant to the Chinese community is frankly hard to understand.

You can be vocal without holding Cabinet posts, and you certainly don't become a part of the Cabinet just to be vocal. You join the Cabinet to implement policies that you believe are essential for your community and the country.

If MCA were to rejoin the Cabinet, it must do so for the right reasons. Being vocal without having the ability or willingness to implement key policy issues will reduce MCA to being like just another NGO: vocal, but essentially helpless.

I think it is important that MCA rejoins the Government, especially if the party can get the Prime Minister's undertaking to listen and act on key issues.

On top of the list is for MCA to do its part to stop racism from spreading its wings in national politics. There is no way we can overcome economic and financial challenges in the future if the country is divided along racial, religious and ethnic lines, so a well-crafted Race Relations Act is urgently required.

The law must be there to punish or at least discourage racism and all its ugly ramifications from spreading. Discriminatory practices must be outlawed.

The rights of citizens must be respected, regardless of whether their forefathers came from China, India or Sulawesi. Immediate action must be taken against racist conduct and remarks.

Companies and the civil service must be open to all races without discrimination, for this is the only way we can progress as a nation.

Wanting to have a Race Relations Act is not asking for the sky. In fact, it was discussed at the Cabinet level but several senior ministers developed cold feet, making it impossible to carry  through. That was five years ago and race relations have clearly deteriorated since then.

A Race Relations Act will signal to the people that this Government is concerned about racial discord, that it has the political will to act against racism and racist policies, and that it has every intention to deal with the subject fairly to maintain peace and harmony.

Laws are useless if they are not enforced fairly or made applicable to those who violate them. In Malaysia, Malay or Muslim demogogues — especially from Umno and Perkasa — have escaped prosecution despite making blatantly racist remarks.

The Government, however, has been quick to act against those on the fringe or from other races. MCA should make it a point to get the prime minister to promise that the Public Prosecutor will be given a free hand to charge anyone — anyone at all — who violates the Race Relations Act.

READ MORE HERE

 

The enemy will come from within, Pak Lah tells Najib

Posted: 07 Aug 2013 03:49 PM PDT

Melissa Chi, MM

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's biggest roadblock to reforming the country will come from his own Umno, according to Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in a new book due out next week.

"Najib is trying to do many good things. He is trying to transform the economy, the government and make changes.

"But he faces the same problem that I did ― resistance," Malaysia's fifth prime minister wrote in the 620-page book titled "Awakenings: The Abdullah Badawi Years in Malaysia".

Abdullah succeeded the nation's longest-serving prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, in 2003.

A year later and riding on the promise of reforms, the man, fondly referred to as Pak Lah, led Barisan Nasional (BN) to its most dominant mandate in Election 2004.

But a scant five years after, he was hounded from office by the man who put him there, having led BN from the euphoria of 2004 to the despair of 2008 general election when it lost its customary stranglehold on Parliament.

"I was perhaps too idealistic and thought everyone would embrace the changes which could be the good of the country and people," Abdullah wrote.

During his time, Abdullah had loosened the reins on the media and allowed seemingly open dissent on the Internet, the latter of which is often credited for the unprecedented gains made by the loose opposition pact Pakatan Rakyat during Election 2008.

"Unfortunately, there are still people in Umno and Barisan Nasional who refuse to accept that we did badly in 2008 because we did not meet the people's expectations in carrying out reforms.

"They think we did not do well because we allowed too much discourse and openness to the people and the opposition.

"And it is these people who are set in doing things the old way," Abdullah said.

"This, I believe is Najib's biggest challenge."

Najib, the son of Malaysia's second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak, took over from Abdullah in April 2009 ostensibly to lead the ruling coalition towards reversing its losses.

But he has since led BN to an even worse electoral showing in Election 2013, losing seven more parliamentary seats from the 140 it had won in 2008; the coalition also lost the popular vote for the first time since it began contesting as BN.

Najib also has more to contend with as he heads into the Umno election later this year.

Last Wednesday, ratings agency Fitch Ratings downgraded its outlook on the country's debt to "Negative", piling the pressure on Najib to speed up the very reforms that may put his Umno presidency — and, ultimately, his office as prime minister — in jeopardy.

 

Racial policies enforced Malaysia’s brain drain, admit BN leaders

Posted: 07 Aug 2013 03:40 PM PDT

Ida Lim and Boo Su-Lyn, MM

Senior Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders admitted today that race-based policies had contributed to Malaysia's brain drain problem, which the country needs to plug if it is to join the ranks of high-income nations by 2020.

They were responding to former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's remarks in his new book that Malaysia's acute loss of talent was due to Putrajaya's insistence on promoting "one race" above all others.

MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said that the rise of "Ketuanan Melayu" or Malay supremacy had previously caused local talents to quit the country.

"I will say in the past the issue of Ketuanan Melayu in fact caused some migration of people from the country but we want to emphasise that Malaysia is a multiracial country and we preserve harmony and unity in this country.

"So we don't want to see any race dominant against other races," the former health minister told reporters at the prime minister's Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house celebration here.

Liow said Malaysia's plural society is seen to be unique and a role model for other countries to emulate.

"So I think we are not forcing the people to leave the country and our policies will continue to ensure a multiracial society," he said.

Asked about the claim that racial polarisation was caused by the government's policies, Liow said the MCA was playing a key role within BN to ensure multiracial policies are carried out.

MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek agreed that race-based policies contributed to the country's brain drain problem, but pointed out that there were many contributing factors.

Asked about Lee's comment that brain drain was caused by the promotion of a single race, Dr Chua disagreed, appeared to point at Singapore's higher wages and better infrastructure as also having lured Malaysians to leave the country.

"I would not totally agree with that. People look for better pay, better infrastructure. In Singapore, you can travel without a car," the former health minister said, adding that Singapore itself has a brain drain problem.

Kelantan Umno chief Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed appeared to share Dr Chua's views.

"I admit that some people may have left the country for that reason but to say that's the sole reason, I think the allegation is unfounded," the minister of international trade and industry said.

READ MORE HERE

 

Lee Kuan Yew, telling it like it is

Posted: 07 Aug 2013 03:35 PM PDT

(TMI) - Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's first prime minister and the father of the island republic's current prime minister Lee Hsien Loong, launched his latest book "One Man's View Of The World" yesterday.

The 400-page book features conversations in Singapore last year between him and his long-time admirer, Helmut Schmidt, the former chancellor of West Germany. They discussed world affairs.

Lee's comments on Malaysia were particularly scathing, not surprising given his rocky relationship with leaders on this side of the causeway. Singapore was ejected from the Malaysian federation in 1965 by Tunku Abdul  Rahman, the first prime minister of Malaysia.

Did Lee Kuan Yew want to rule Malaysia?

Q: Some people have also put forward the view that you and the PAP went into Malaysia harbouríng ambitions of ruling the entire country.

A: That is simply not possible. The demographics would not allow that. What they wanted was for non-Malays to play a secondary role. They had the Malaysian Chinese Association and the Malaysian Indian Congress as partners, holding the loyalty of grassroots leaders in Malaya.

Sabah and Sarawak they could manipulate because the leaders were young, and new. In the midst of the struggle, the Tunku offered to make me the United Nations representative to get me out of the way.

 

On getting ejected from Malaysia in 1965.

Q: In retrospect, "would you say that you pushed" too hard on Malaysian Malaysia?

A: No. If I had not pushed then, we would be prisoners now.

 

Is moderate Islam losing its grip on Malaysia?

Q: There is something happening concurrently with the change in ethnic mix, which is that Malaysia is also becoming more rigorously Islamic in its practice.

A: That is part of the influence of the Middle East.


Q: Can it be a progressive Muslim country?

A: You believe that? What do you mean by a progressive Muslim country?

READ MORE HERE

 

Mahathir on Lee Kuan Yew’s tough talk on Malaysia: He’s just old

Posted: 07 Aug 2013 03:25 PM PDT

Elizabeth Zachariah, TMI

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said his Singapore counterpart during his time in office, Lee Kuan Yew, should be excused for his remarks about Malaysia in his latest book due to old age.

"I excuse him. He's 90 years old so we give him allowance for age. Like how I expect people to give me allowance also. I'm also old. I'm 88 years old," he quipped after attending the Prime Minister's open house in Putrajaya today.

Malaysia's longest-serving prime minister said that Lee had no need to apologise for his scathing remarks about the country in his book "One Man's View Of The World", which was launched earlier this week.

"He's entitled to his own opinion. We live in a free world where there is free speech, especially in Singapore," he added.

However, Dr Mahathir didn't want to be drawn on a book on his immediate successor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi – "Awakening: The Abdullah Badawi Years in Malaysia".

He said, "I have not read the book yet. I will make references to it as we go along."

In the book, Abdullah said that if he had given in to the pressure from Dr Mahathir to continue with his pet mega-projects, Malaysia would be bankrupt by now.

In the book, edited by Bridget Welsh and James Chin, Abdullah also said that when he left office in 2009, he was determined not to be like Mahathir.

Abdullah explained that he also wanted Datuk Seri Najib Razak to establish himself as the prime minister.

"That is why I have remained silent all this time. I believe that once you retire, you are retired. You should not interfere with your successor. If there is anything you are unhappy with, you can always offer your views privately. Why bring it up in public and make life difficult for him?"

In Lee's book, the former Singapore prime minister was more scathing in his comments on Malaysian leadership. In a chapter in the 400-page volume, Lee said that unlike Singapore, Malaysia is prepared to lose homegrown talent to keep one race dominant.

READ MORE HERE

 

Di antara Islam dan ke-Islam-an

Posted: 07 Aug 2013 03:22 PM PDT

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRZFZVMRqV8auSv0rCrF575NCkcICo6ubwiGuTKpRI4A9ulz3MQdA

Stevie Chan, TMI

Perasaan saya begini: selagi saya masih seorang rakyat Malaysia yang berkongsi nasib dan masa depan bersama semua rakyat jelata, saya rasa rencana ini wajib saya tulis.

Pada tahun 1882 seorang cendekiawan Islam negeri Mesir yang bernama Muhammad Abduh dibuang negeri selama enam tahun oleh pentadbiran penjajah Britan. Beliau bertumpang di Lubnan selama lima tahun diikuti setahun di kotaraya Paris.

Kalau bukan sebab dibuang negeri, dizaman itu memang tidak ramai yang berperluang pergi melancong menaiki kapal laut yang besar besar. Pasal itu bila Muhammad Abduh pulang ke Lubnan dari Paris, ramai peminat-peminat beliau sibuk tanya dia pasal Eropah.

Muhammad Abduh pun jawab, "saya pergi ke Barat dan nampak Islam merata, tetapi tiada muslim; saya pulang ke Timur dan nampak muslim merata, tetapi tiada Islam."

Apa yang saya akan tulis berikutnya mungkin bersifat sensitif kepada para cendekiawan Islam tanahair seperti ahli-ahli puluhan NGO seumpama PERKASA, PEKIDA, dan sebagainya; tidak lupa juga guru-guru dan idola-idola agama yang hebat seperti Azhar Idrus, Fathul Bari, Nasrudin Hassan, Dr. Maza, dan lain-lain.

Sebab itu saya ingin meminta maaf terdahulu jika apa-apa yang saya tulis disini menyinggung perasaan mereka atau pengikut-pengikut mereka.

Oh, dan  juga MCMC, PDRM, JAKIM, dan sebagainya.

Perasaan saya begini: selagi saya masih seorang rakyat Malaysia yang berkongsi nasib dan masa depan bersama semua rakyat jelata, saya rasa rencana ini wajib saya tulis.

READ MORE HERE

 

Lee Kuan Yew’s view of Malaysia: An overly-pessimistic assessment

Posted: 07 Aug 2013 03:17 PM PDT

Douglas Teoh, TMI

A news article published on August 7 titled "It's Malay rule, so no difference if BN or Pakatan in power, argues Lee Kuan Yew" caught my attention.

Indeed, some of the former prime minister of Singapore's comments were spot on – the Pakatan Rakyat coalition does have many unresolved issues with regards to each component party's stand and how they would deal with the internal bickering when the coalition comes to power. However, there is one more pressing question at hand: Is Lee's remark about there being no difference between Pakatan and the Barisan Nasional really justifiable?

Lee: The elitist game of Politics

From a perspective that views politics as an entity played by powerful individuals who influence the entire game, he's right – we're doomed. For power is perpetually cycled, and re-cycled among the political movers (most of them Malays). And these political movers will resort to almost anything if they observe any hint of "threat" to their own stakes,  For these people, Malay supremacy would have to be defended at all costs, because this is by far, the easiest idea to exploit.

In other words, this is realpolitik, a politics based on practical and material factors.

In such a framework, as a result of their leanings and interests, the political elites make national decisions that benefit themselves the most. When the elites and their interest groups who support them don't get what they want, all hell breaks loose. This is where acts to silence dissent occur. When the political elites are ousted, they will still find ways to reinstate themselves; for as long as people need the Malay rights to go on, the politicians will have plenty of benefits and infinitely many (to borrow from the Monopoly board game) "get out of jail free" cards.

Paints a bleak picture, doesn't it? This is the game in which only a small number of elite people with the most resources in Malaysia can play.

The politics by the rakyat

However, with all due respect to his contributions, this is precisely where I argue that the Lee was misinformed – he has clearly overemphasised the power of the state, and also underestimated the development of the rakyat, as both an individual and a collective Malaysian identity.

The rakyat is perfectly capable of rational discourse, and coming together to demand sensible changes. The demand for clean and fair elections - Bersih - is one such illustration. When push comes to shove, our sensible people can wield power to can advocate reforms from public spheres.

Of course, there are still minor groups like Perkasa who advocates the "Cina balik China and India balik India" policies, but a good majority among us are sensible and muhibah enough to understand that multiculturalism means respecting one another as equals.

Just to quote a recent example: In the social media, news of an act of kindness by an Indian who offered a Muslim cashier (who hadn't gotten the chance to break fast yet) food, water and some time before continuing to attend to customers was shared over 9000 times. Many, including myself, were touched by such a simple, yet thoughtful act.

I interpret this instance in a positive manner: that the typical Malaysian is not a zombie that succumbs to a rational choice theory dominated by an economic cost-benefit analysis. We are perfectly capable of knowing right from wrong, empathising and responding to the needs of others.

As long as these sentiments are not broken, we can honestly care less about who governs – and instead focus on how the government is run, and whether our policies are fair and for the good of all the people.

READ MORE HERE

 

Fiddling away while Rome burns

Posted: 07 Aug 2013 03:08 PM PDT

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-oal2tA7IeBQ/UgL96FNveDI/AAAAAAAALcg/oFQFDpv12m4/s1600/Nero_1.JPG

Nero

Women were killed through violent falls caused by ferocious bag snatchers. Robbers, burglars, murderers, assassins, gangsters, thugs, rapists and molesters plagued our daily lives.

KTemoc

Nero fiddled while Rome burnt.

Though pedantic (wakakaka) historians have proven that it couldn't have happened because there was no fiddle (or violin) in the period of the Great Fire of Rome (AD 64), some have suggested it might have been the lyre or the cithara.

There have also been other challenges to the accuracy of the above famous saying (eg. Nero was said to have actually participated actively in the fire fighting), but the belief that Nero fiddled while Rome burnt has been steadfastly popular for the last 2000 years it has now taken a very comfortable place in English idioms.

When we use it in the present terms, say as in, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi fiddling while Rome burns, we mean it to say that Zahid is doing nothing or something trivial (like busybody-ing himself with RoS and DAP) while knowing that something disastrous is happening in Malaysia, as in the frightening escalation of crimes.

READ MORE HERE

‘Jangan mudah lupa’

Posted: 07 Aug 2013 03:04 PM PDT

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/orang-melayu_file-pix-300x199.jpg

We the rakyat are burdened today by the follies committed by Umno with their corruption and cronyism.

The other reason we cannot ignore Mahathir and his family is their insane wealth. They have money pouring out of every orifice and more.

CT Ali, FMT

I have often been asked in conversations, via emails and through comments made against what I write, why I am not grateful for what Umno has done for the Malays.

They ask that I should reflect upon the condition and situation of the Malays then and now. They ask that I should consider my own situation and ask myself where I would be if not for the policies of the NEP and Ketuanan Melayu.

And of course these Malays (invariably it is always the Malays that do this to me!) would wag their fingers at me and remind me of that iconic phrase 'Melayu mudah lupa!'.

Saudara, it is because 'Melayu TIDAK mudah lupa' that I started to write what was in my heart.

And if you care to read what other Malays have written through all these many years – read what they write and taken the trouble to think and work out for yourself the truth of what they write – then maybe, you too will agree that 'Melayu TIDAK mudah lupa!'.

Saudara, look around you today. We cannot ignore the presence of Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his family. And why can we not ignore their presence?

READ MORE HERE

 

Pope Francis' Ramadan Greetings For Id Al-Fitr Sets Interfaith Example

Posted: 07 Aug 2013 02:56 PM PDT

http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1278744/thumbs/r-175076009-large570.jpg?6

Pope Francis salutes as he arrives at the Chiesa Del Gesu' in Rome on July 31, 2013. The Pontiff celebrates a mass for St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesuits.

His sincere and friendly greetings will hopefully be warmly received by leaders of the Muslim community, many of whom felt uneasy with the last pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI, after he quoted an anti-Islamic remark in his 2006 Regensburg lecture and sparked worldwide outrage.

By Yasmine Hafiz, The Huffington Post

Pope Francis personally reached out to Muslims around the world with Id al-Fitr greetings for the holiday that concludes the holy month of Ramadan. While the message has been traditional since 1967, usually the greetings are sent by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, except for Pope John Paul II's similarly personal good wishes in 1991.

Pope Francis explained that he wanted to personally write this year's message as a mark of his "esteem and friendship" for all Muslims, citing the example of his namesake Saint Francis, who "loved every human being deeply."

Addressed "To Muslims throughout the World," the message is an important call to action for peace and tolerance as he proposed reflection on the theme, "Promoting Mutual Respect through Education." As sectarian and religious tensions continue worldwide, the pope emphasized the importance of respect and need to educate Muslim and Christian youth in a tolerant and loving manner. He said, "We all know that mutual respect is fundamental in any human relationship, especially among people who profess religious belief. In this way, sincere and lasting friendship can grow."

The pope also offered good wishes to Muslims at the beginning of Ramadan during a visit to the island of Lampedusa in Italy on July 8, saying in a speech, "I also think with affection of those Muslim immigrants who this evening begin the fast of Ramadan, which I trust will bear abundant spiritual fruit. The church is at your side as you seek a more dignified life for yourselves and your families."

READ MORE HERE

 

Interfaith efforts wrecked by misunderstanding, says Pak Lah

Posted: 07 Aug 2013 02:53 PM PDT

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/uploads/articlesabdullah-badawi_1005971c_600_375_100.jpg

(The Malay Mail) - Plans for an Interfaith Commission of Malaysia (ICM) were derailed by resistance from those who conflated it with support for pluralism, former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi says in his upcoming book.

In 2005, civil society, professional and political groups had banded together to advocate the ICM as conciliatory and advisory body among the country's various creeds.

But detractors quickly attacked it as an attempt to usurp Islam as the religion of the federation, claiming it that it would lead to a proliferation of Muslim apostasy.

"People do not really understand what interfaith dialogue is, especially the muftis," Abdullah (picture), popularly called Pak Lah, wrote in his book "Awakenings: The Abdullah Badawi Years in Malaysia".

The move was one of many reversals that earned the Abdullah administration the "flip-flop" label.

Initially supportive, Pak Lah shelved the plans for the commission following outcry from Muslim groups, especially from within Umno.

"It's not been easy to get interfaith dialogue going. It's not that I did not meet people (of other faiths). I did but there is still a lack of understanding what interfaith means.

"Just like plurality, there is misunderstanding when talking about pluralism," said the chairman of the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia, the federal government's main religious think-tank.

Also, despite the idyllic image of multicultural Malaysia presented to the rest of the world, race issues were among those that weighed the most on Abdullah.

"... our issues are compounded by managing race relations, managing expectations of the majority and minority groups," according to an excerpt from the 620-page book which will be out in major bookstores next week.

The 73-year-old said he tried the approach of moderation through Islam Hadhari, which has principles intended to create a common platform for all Malaysians, based on the principles of tolerance, justice and equity.

"Like I said, it was not easy to get the buy-in even from my own colleagues in Barisan Nasional, but after much explanation and efforts, they agreed.

"Further, there were then, as there are now, elements within and outside Umno that failed to understand it and even went as far as accusing me of starting a new religion.

"And this included (Tun) Dr Mahathir (Mohamad) who has a habit of ridiculing things he does not understand," he said.

But the Abdullah administration is also responsible for one of the country's most controversial religious quagmires. In 2007, then Home Minister Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar issued a ban against the local Catholic Church using the word "Allah".

This led to the Church challenging the ban in court and subsequently winning a landmark ruling in 2009 upholding its right to use the Arabic word.

The decision shocked Muslims who considered the word to only refer to the Islamic God. It also led to Malaysia's worst religious strife, with houses of worship throughout the country coming under attack.

To this day, the matter remains unresolved.

Abdullah was prime minister from 2003 until 2009 after having served as Dr Mahathir's deputy beginning in 1999.

Although handpicked by Dr Mahathir to be his successor, Abdullah later came under relentless attack from the nation's longest-serving prime minister and ultimately was forced to relinquish his presidency of Umno and position as prime minister to Datuk Seri Najib Razak in April 2009, after BN lost its customary two-thirds parliamentary majority in Election 2008.

 

Formula One Joins Legoland in Plan to Remake Malaysia’s South

Posted: 07 Aug 2013 02:42 PM PDT

http://mobile.bloomberg.com/image/index/pKISbwVuPwu-CpydsHPB-_ZzUeF8YNn3pSP_hdYcB-iIM3RBcHBZEhEy9-7mpv9YsmUaeHRYMdF0IFber8LTecmWgLeJfsmdqPXYWsjoZuHQml25Jbo1u1J1rauRdWABFXZnq__r545Gi4aMtGzOEC2WEDU54dQUA6MDm1Kys6s14OC7yTxV2Qz5

Some high-profile projects, including the Legoland Malaysia amusement park and Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios -- a franchise of the U.K.-based company where James Bond films were made -- are done or nearing completion in a flagship development zone called Nusajaya.

By Yoolim Lee and Chong Pooi Koon, Bloomberg

Robert Pick, the former deputy head of the U.K.'s Marlborough College, recalls the day in 2009 when he stood atop a hill at the southern tip of Malaysia and scanned an endless sea of green palm oil trees. He strained to see the spot among the massive plantations where the private boarding school would build its first overseas branch three years later, Bloomberg Markets magazine will report in its September issue.

"It was a leap of faith," says Pick, who's now the founding master of Marlborough College Malaysia, in his new office with a floor-to-ceiling window and a view of vast cricket and rugby fields. "You wouldn't have believed then what it is now."

Today, the 90-acre campus boasts more than 30 low-rise buildings divided by green lawns and tennis courts and is traversed by 376 students.

The college is a flagship project in Iskandar Malaysia, an economic development zone spanning 2,217 square kilometers (856 square miles) -- three times the size of neighboring Singapore to the south -- in the mostly rural state of Johor.

The government of Prime Minister Najib Razak has ambitious plans for the area, which offers investors 10-year corporate tax exemptions, cheap land and low-cost labor. Najib, 60, has pledged to attract 75.5 billion ringgit ($23.4 billion) in investments to Iskandar from 2011 to 2015 on top of the 69.5 billion ringgit the zone pulled in from 2006 to 2010.

READ MORE HERE

In Shah Alam market, locals moan of Bangladeshi takeover

Posted: 07 Aug 2013 02:37 PM PDT

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/uploads/articlesmarket-shahalam-080813_600_399_100.jpg

This Bangladeshi trader (right) enjoys good sales at the Plaza Sri Muda wet market in Shah Alam. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

(The Malay Mail) - Businessman J. Singgam, a regular customer at the market, said many of the Bangladeshis were married to Malaysians and this made it easier for them to obtain buisness licences as they used the names of their spouses to obtain them.

The wet market in Plaza Sri Muda here has turned into a mini Bangladeshi enclave as it has been dominated by workers from that country.

"Before this, they used to be stall assistants but now they run the stalls themselves," said K. Gunasekaran, who drew the attention of The Malay Mail to the problem.   

The 43-year-old tuition teacher claimed the situation has worsened over the past three years.

"Nowadays, you hardly see any Malaysians shopping here. Soon, the Bangladeshis are going to monopolise the area," he said.

"After work on Sunday evenings this market becomes their meeting place. The residents are afraid to even come to this area during that time."

Another issue which irks Gunasekaran is the fact that beef is sold and cows slaughtered openly in the market.

"Previously, the slaughtering of cows was done in an isolated area at the back of the market. That is not the case with the foreigners who do not respect the sensitivities of the Hindus here," he said.

Sundry shop owner M. Vanisri, 25, who has been operating in the market for six years, said her business had been affected.

"We pay rental and have licences to operate here. All of a sudden, others have come and taken over the market," she said.

Vanisri said the foreigners sold their vegetables cheaper because they grew them at their own farms.

"We cannot compete with their prices as we buy our stock from suppliers. For instance, if I sell a bunch of spinach for RM2.30, they sell it for RM2," she said.

Businessman J. Singgam, a regular customer at the market, said many of the Bangladeshis were married to Malaysians and this made it easier for them to obtain buisness licences as they used the names of their spouses to obtain them.

A Bangladeshi trader, Mohamad Shahalam Hossen, is married to a Malay and even showed The Malay Mail his licence which appeared to be registered under his wife's name.

"I have been operating here for the past eight years. Business has been good and my customers are Malaysians and foreigners," claimed the 38-year-old.

However, only Bangladeshis seemed to be frequenting his sundry shop, which took up four lots at the crowded market.

A chicken seller, V. Guna, said foreigners only purchased items from traders of their own nationality.

Customer May Ng, 33, avoids shopping at the stalls manned by Bangladeshis as she feels intimidated.

"I feel safer buying groceries from Malaysians, as I will not get cheated. I noticed the Bangladeshis sell items cheaper to their own countrymen," the housewife explained.

Traders in the old market located behind the plaza are also feeling the pinch.

Norazah Mohd Nasir, a vegetable seller, claimed foreigners find it convenient to buy from other Bangladeshis as they speak the same language.

"Sometimes, Bangladeshi customers would ask the price of vegetables at my stall, but they never buy anything," said the 35-year-old.

A wholesaler, who wanted to be known as Segar, urged the authorities to take action against foreigners before the situation gets out of hand.

"When I first applied for a licence to operate here 15 years ago, one of the requirements was that traders had to be from Shah Alam. It's puzzling how these foreigners can obtain licences without much hassle."

A customer, who wished to be known as Robert, felt local employers should be blamed as they are the ones renting out the lots to foreigners.

 

Special Report: Debt-laden Malaysian fund stirs controversy

Posted: 07 Aug 2013 02:31 PM PDT

https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRpHDz60Vs_BYAgSa2jlMm_f9UoeflZ6o7-B-_8lMGcziY3xcOT

Leslie Lopez, The Edge

SOMETIME in September 2009, currency traders at Bank Negara Malaysia were jolted by huge purchases of US dollars in the domestic currency market and quickly decided to halt the selling pressure on the local currency. They were promptly told to stand down by their superiors.

The buildup of US dollar positions on that day paved the way for state-owned 1 Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to move US$1 billion out of the country for an investment in a British Virgin Islands entity.

"It was a company we needed to watch, because it came out of nowhere and showed clout," said another chief dealer at a foreign bank in Kuala Lumpur.

These days, 1MDB isn't just raising eyebrows. The secretive investment arm of the government is sending shockwaves through international bond markets and raising concern at home with its aggressive borrowings, opaque financial manoeuvres and risky bets. It is also becoming a hot political potato for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's administration.

Opposition politicians insist that 1MDB is part strategic investment arm and part political slush fund for the Najib government, because of its generous financial handouts to key constituencies of the ruling Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition.

In just over four years, 1MDB has racked up borrowings of more than US$11.97 billion (RM38.4 billion), corporate documents and published accounts reviewed by The Edge Review show. This huge accumulation of debt is against a backdrop of paltry profits, derived largely from the shuffling of assets on its Cayman Island investment and the revaluation of properties purchased at steep discounts from the government.

No Southeast Asian entity has accumulated so much debt in such a short time, and because the borrowings carry the implicit guarantee of the Malaysian government, bankers and economists say that 1MDB is emerging as a serious contingent liability for the Najib administration.

"1MDB doesn't have strong cash flows and, at the rate it is borrowing, sooner or later the government will have to step in to take responsibility," says a chief executive of a Malaysian bank, echoing a widely held view of 1MDB among the Kuala Lumpur business community.

For now, a government bailout may not appear imminent. But close scrutiny of 1MDB's affairs reveal potential trouble spots that bankers and investment analysts say could suddenly spin out of control and plunge Malaysia into an explosive business scandal.

One potential flashpoint is 1MDB's original US$1 billion investment in 2009 in 1MDB Petro­Saudi Ltd, an entity domiciled in the British Virgin Islands. 1MDB's most recent accounts lodged with Malaysia's Registrar of Companies show that the original investment has since more than doubled in value to US$2.3 billion, and is now "reinvested" in a company registered in the Cayman Islands. But bankers say that spectacular profits, derived from a series of financial flips with little-known entities, have raised concerns about the security of the venture.

1MDB's dizzying buildup of debt is also drawing international attention because of the fund's cosy relations with international banking powerhouse Goldman Sachs, which critics say has allowed the US firm to charge supernormal fees.

Over the last two years, Goldman has single-handedly structured and underwritten US$6.5 billion in bonds for 1MDB. Taken together with the US$1.6 billion the US firm raised for the state government of Sarawak on Borneo, Goldman ranks as the largest underwriter of bonds in Malaysia, outranking local powerhouses such as Malayan Banking and CIMB Group, which have long cornered the debt-raising business of state-owned entities.

1MDB declined to comment officially for this article but several government officials and financial executives involved in 1MDB's investments spoke to The Edge Review on condition of anonymity and argued that the picture isn't as tenuous as it appears.Repayments on a portion of its loans in coming months will cut 1MDB's debts to roughly RM34 billion, which is backed by assets valued at roughly RM38 billion, they say. These include liquid assets of cash and other securities valued at RM16 billion.

The officials insist that the Cayman Islands investment is safe and a planned listing of the group's power-generation assets, set for sometime in the first half of next year, is expected to raise close to RM5 billion and strengthen its financial position.

"Viewed in a snapshot, there are some issues (that could be of concern). But the story going forward is positive," says one senior government official, who acknowledges that the veil of secrecy surrounding 1MDB has fuelled controversy over the fund's activities.

Private economists and bankers, however, aren't so sanguine. They note that 1MDB's huge borrowings are cause for concern for the Malaysian economy because of rising public sector debt.

Malaysia has consistently run budget deficits since the currency crisis that struck the region in mid-1997. That, in turn, has raised the nation's accumulated public debt, which currently stands at 53% of the country's gross domestic product — the highest among the 10-member Asean.

The ratio of debt-to-GDP is a broad measure of the health of an economy and Malaysia has a self-imposed ceiling of 55%. The problem, say private economists, is that the ratio doesn't take into account liabilities of state-linked enterprises such as 1MDB, which have been on a borrowing binge to fund development activities.

The following account of 1MDB's rise from a secretive state-owned strategic investment fund to one of Malaysia's most debt-laden entities is based on documents reviewed by The Edge Review and interviews with dozens of bankers, financial consultants and government officials over the last four years.

Seeds of 1MDB were sown in early 2009, when businessman Low Taek Jho, who enjoys close relations with Prime Minister Najib, mooted the idea of creating a fund to manage the resources of the northeastern Terengganu state in Peninsular Malaysia.

READ MORE HERE

 

Spoilt Malaysians and economic realities

Posted: 07 Aug 2013 02:16 PM PDT

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/malaysians-300x200.jpg

Malaysian consumers think that it's their birth right to be able to buy chicken and everything else at low prices all the time.

If consumers use their own money without subsidies (taxpayers' money) they will be prudent with consumption.

By James M Alin, FMT

Smugglers are convenient scapegoat for the witch hunters in time of diesel crisis. Smugglers violate the laws by avoid taxation and bribing officials (at the borders), they threaten sovereignty of the nation by using boats by night illegally crossing international waters and by bring in weapons, drugs, endangered animal and plant species, harmful goods like cigarette, pirated audio-visual or even trafficking human.

By smuggling out subsidised goods from Sabah and Sarawak they are literally undermining our domestic policy.

One can also argue that smugglers perform a useful economic function of supplying goods to the consumers – untaxed cigarettes to Sabah's habitual smokers or pirated CDs to lower income people who cannot afford the expensive original or the middle income who prefer the uncensored pirated movies.

Smugglers also use for themselves and sell MyKads and passports to illegal immigrants who during an election go to vote.

Some people even think that smuggled drugs can speed up the life expectancy of drugs addicts, therefore saving public money.

Without the smugglers, poor communities in border towns such as Sabah- South Philippines, Sabah-Tarakan or Sarawak – Kalimantan Barat will have to pay import taxes on essential goods.

READ MORE HERE

Selamat Hari Raya - Somethings are Amiss

Posted: 07 Aug 2013 02:02 PM PDT

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRI7J4Va1ACX70mf4shbryIGzSKtuhG2fzePPb3LQj3QdppYCD7

Instead, we have the big taxpayer funded open houses by politicians and corporate bigwigs. I do not attend such functions simply because there is no fellowship. As long as a guest has had something to eat, it is considered job done. Maybe today's children are only aware of this as Hari Raya. They have not experienced going to the neighbours, or the neighbours sending trays of kuih etc. Something has gone for good.

Ice Cream Seller

To my Muslim relatives and friends, its that time of the year to wish them Selamat Hari Raya

For the last 15 years or so, I cant help but notice that the way it impacts me has steadily diminished. Now in my mid 50s, I recall as a schoolboy visiting classmates and accompanying my parents to visit their friends and our neighbours during Hari Raya.
Usually, there would be no less than half a dozen homes to visit as a minimum. The last decade or more, its usually just 1 point of call - an old family friend who has a great open house and unusually for these times, free flowing spirits and home cooked food. Mind you, he cooks himself for about at least 150 people  over the day - most trooping in for the 'spirits'.

I have a vast number of Malay colleagues and friends and over the Buka Puasa season, would have met each at least on 1 occasion at one of the must attend functions. Sometimes as many as 5 or 6 times. Yet, (dare I ask), how come no one invites the likes of me for anymore Hari Raya functions?

Exclude the company hosted and company sponsored ones - where you just go and ' mark attendance' and scoot off to make way for others to have a seat.

What has happened to the Hari Raya I used to enjoy as a young boy? Has it evolved to something else? Or, maybe is it my place now to just enjoy the gazetted paid holiday ?

In my early years of working - 80s - I was hard pressed to attend every invitation I got. Work colleagues, ex classmates, ex college mates would all warmly invite and I made it a point to attend every invitation I received - whether staff, colleague or sports buddies. However far the kampung was then - Kajang, Banting, Port Klang - I went. I remember a particular staff of mine. She was a daily paid packer and she came by bus daily from Kajang to Petaling Jaya. Her house in the kampung, adjacent to a stream was a great place to visit. Her rendangs were the best. The house, so humble but very clean was dignified. Her family always welcomed my wife and I warmly - maybe because we took the trouble to travel and look for the house ( it got more difficult every year with old landmarks disappearing and new ones coming up). Maybe because I was her boss. Whatever, it was warmth and hospitality

I wonder if the generation after her practises the same. My children, now in their 20s, never got to visit their classmates from school for Hari Raya for whatever reason. I suspect, most of them left the city so there was nowhere to visit. Maybe they didnt have many Muslim friends left in secondary school compared to primary school. They have no recollection of Hari Raya visits other than with me to my generation of friends and family. ( I stress 'family' because these days, it is unusual if you do not have a relative married to a Malay/Muslim)

Instead, we have the big taxpayer funded open houses by politicians and corporate bigwigs. I do not attend such functions simply because there is no fellowship. As long as a guest has had something to eat, it is considered job done. Maybe today's children are only aware of this as Hari Raya. They have not experienced going to the neighbours, or the neighbours sending trays of kuih etc. Something has gone for good.

To an extent, I blame the hotels for this. The marketing exercise to make Buka Puasa what it is has in a sense rendered the entire month of Ramadhan as Hari Raya - feast every evening. By the time Hari Raya actually arrives, a fatigue of sorts sets in and respite is sought by going away.

For those who experienced the different festivals in the 50s- perhaps up to the early 80's - I doubt these times will appear again. Cherish the memories. The country has either taken a wrong turn on its highway somewhere or we've been hijacked by individuals on the journey without realising so till its too late.

Selamat Hari Raya

Ice Cream Seller
Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

0 ulasan:

Catat Ulasan

 

Malaysia Today Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved