Khamis, 5 September 2013

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LDP in Turmoil/ Let delegates decide which ‘chief’ they want

Posted: 05 Sep 2013 11:19 AM PDT

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(The Borneo Insider) - LDP President Datuk Liew Vui Keong should let the 800 party congress delegates to decide on the fate of the so-called 'rotten fish', instead of sacking them, said its vice president Lim Kai Min.

Lim (photo) questioned whether Liew had considered the interests of the party when the latter sacked and stripped party members of their posts.

"If the president really thinks that the party leadership consists of many so-called rotten fish, he should have let the 800 party congress delegates to decide on their fate," he reiterated.

In a statement, Lim said he believed that the delegates should be able to determine which are the 'good fish' and which are the 'rotten fish' in order to select suitable leaders to lead the party.

Lim, who is also LDP Karamunting division chairman, also said the division supported the call to hold an election for the top two party posts.

The division also supports Datuk Teo Chee Kang to contest for the presidential post.

Read more at: http://borneoinsider.com/2013/09/06/ldp-in-turmoil-let-delegates-decide-which-chief-they-want/ 

PM can do it, says Zaid of social contract review

Posted: 05 Sep 2013 11:11 AM PDT

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The privileges had meant to be temporary, Zaid insisted, accusing Umno of rejecting this interpretation. 

(MMO) - Former Umno minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim has suggested that Datuk Seri Najib Razak take the lead in reviewing the social contract, saying there was no need to commission expensive studies or form special committees to stop racial discrimination here.

The maverick politician said the most important element in the pre-Merdeka contract that should first be understood is the privileges given to the Malays under Article 153 in exchange for the granting of citizenship rights to the non-Malays.

The privileges had meant to be temporary, he insisted, accusing Umno of rejecting this interpretation.

"To the party, Article 153 conferred special rights to the Malays," Zaid said in a statement here last night.

"The difference is not semantic but substantive. Part of Umno believes in the concept of Ketuanan Melayu because special people have special rights."

The former law minister had in the past voiced his disdain for the concept of Ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy), earning major backlash from his fellow Malays when he once called it a failed doctrine.

At the time of his statement, the government was still reeling from its lacklustre performance in Election 2008. Zaid, once a lawmaker under Umno's banner, had just quit his government post after disagreeing with the administration over its use of the Internal Security Act (ISA) to quell opposition dissent.

In his remarks, the politician had told the government to embrace a fresh perspective of the social contract, which he maintained had not meant to glorify one race above another.

In last night's statement, Zaid said the best way to move ahead in the struggle for racial harmony and national unity is by way of a "strong and fair leadership".

He disagreed with a suggestion by Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin that a special committee should be formed for the sake of renewing the 1950s agreement, saying it was enough to have the prime minister himself take the lead in things.

"There is no need to revise history, form committees or spend money on McKinsey-type studies. The Prime Minister can do it if he wants to," he pointed out.

Khairy had last week mooted the idea of reworking the social contract, saying there was a need for a new commitment among the country's races to ensure national unity.

But Zaid dowsed Khairy's suggestion on the need for education to foster integration in cold water, calling it "typical" of Umno leaders to believe that values and ideals can be shaped through creating compulsory subjects in school.

Education's primary purpose, the politician said, should be in giving youths the necessary skills needed for their survival in society.

"Besides knowing to read and write, they must learn the ability to think critically," he said.

"From these basic tools they can then articulate and defend their opinions while remaining open to the ideas of others, make sound and informed decisions, and navigate the sometimes tricky moral landscape we find ourselves in."

Integration, Zaid said, should come naturally, and be born of an environment where the education system is void of political interference and teachers are permitted to educate instead of being "so busy with political activities".

"If we want integration then we must go back to the basics. That means removing politicians altogether from the education system.

"That means letting educationists set the curriculum, letting the children have good teachers regardless of their race, and choosing the best among them for higher learning, again regardless of race," he said.

"That means removing the institutionalised discrimination that alienates our young," he added.

The social contract in Malaysia is a quid pro quo arrangement pre-Merdeka that was arranged as a trade off with the Malays for the granting of citizenship to the non-Bumiputeras here.

It is not expressly mentioned in the Constitution but has always been the point of contention among politicians here, particularly over the special rights accorded to the Malays, the country's most dominant ethnic group.

Oftentimes, the social contract has been used to defend the concept of Ketuanan Melayu, a controversial terminology that the non-Malays have argued suggests the supremacy of one race above another.

Federal opposition pact Pakatan Rakyat (PR), a loosely form coalition of multiracial PKR, secular DAP and Islamist PAS, has been fighting for an end to the era of Ketuanan Melayu, insisting that it propagates the concept of master and slave.

- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/pm-can-do-it-says-zaid-of-social-contract-review?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter#sthash.A63APXVH.dpuf 

Sabahans say time to clear haze of fuzzy history

Posted: 05 Sep 2013 11:07 AM PDT

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(TMI) - We are not 'in' Malaysia. We formed this nation as partners and Sabah should be recognised for its contributions. 

This is where the sun hits first, before it claims West Malaysia in the morning. Sabah is beach and sweet sea, forest and fresh water, bountiful on the surface and rich with resources deep below ground.

Its natives are still celebrating only their fourth national independence day together with their West Malaysian neighbours, so how do people here in Sabah feel about it?

Borneo Youth Revolution co-founder Sabrina Aripen responds with questions on why there is still so much focus on Merdeka Day.

She argues, "Malaysia Day marks the day when Malaysia was born as a nation and it is more important than Merdeka Day. Malaya, North Borneo (Sabah) and Sarawak were colonised and gained their independence separately before Malaysia came to being.

"I feel it too way too long for the rest of the country to acknowledge the crucial fact that Malaysia was born on September 16. There is not enough emphasis on this fact, and it is just fleetingly mentioned in our history books."

Sabah Youth Council president Kevin Lim says, "Some in West Malaysia think that Malaysia is an upgraded name for Malaya when in fact, it is a nation. "Independence of Malaya, and later of Sabah (and Sarawak) and the formation of Malaysia are two different incidents in our history, but many are still unclear about this. This confusion also happens among Malaysians in Sabah."

Mother-of-one Joan Goh is someone who acknowledges the fuzzy history, saying, "As to how old Malaysia really is, it seems that some people are either confused or refuse to acknowledge this fact.

The solution to the problem of fuzzy shared memory is an open discussion on revising the history of Malaysia that is taught to children, argues clergyman Carrey Yubong. This, he said, could be done by roping in historians from the state.

But there is also a sense of Sabah remaining excluded from the centre.

"As a Malaysian from Sabah, I feel excluded, as we are always treated like the stepchild," declares Joan, the mom.

Some netizens from Sabah have in recent weeks aired their disappointment over announcements and billboards that state Malaysia is celebrating its 56th and are annoyed with wordings used on billboards that indicate Sabah has been "in" Malaysia for 50 years.

"Even though Malaysia Day is now a national holiday, I feel our shared history means nothing. We are not 'in' Malaysia. We formed this nation as partners and Sabah should be recognised for its contributions," says Aripen.

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/sabahans-say-time-to-clear-haze-of-fuzzy-history 

In search of lost truth

Posted: 05 Sep 2013 11:02 AM PDT

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People tend to believe what favours their preconceived notions. It feels comfortable and gives them a sense of security as it is compatible with their existing beliefs. They'll remain in their own echo chambers, selecting news and opinions on  May 13 which fits their own emotions. This is called confirmation bias. 

Aerie Rahman, TMI 

The polemical Tanda Putera was screened a few days ago to mixed reviews. I dislike reading reviews before experiencing the said movie/book/concert myself as it conditions my mind to see things according to the reviewer.

However, since Tanda Putera didn't make it to any cinemas in London and probably won't ever, I read and listened to reviews to get a glimpse of all the fuss.

What piques my interest about this film is the brouhaha surrounding it. Some people are angered at the RM4.5 million grant it received. Some are angered at how it masquerades itself as a historical film when some parts are purely fictional. Some are just angry.

At the heart of the controversy there is actually a contest: a contestation of the truth as to what really occurred on that fateful day of  May 13, 1969, the contextual considerations that triggered the violence and the subsequent events that unfolded after that day.

Most people are unsure and uncertain about this black spot in our history. Materials on this topic are insufficient.

Since the truth is unclear, people start to formulate their own versions of the truth. I can't blame them; the truth is after all elusive and relative. The truth is liable to be subjected to various interpretations and manipulations to suit the ears of the hearer and wishes of the maker.

Films such as Tanda Putera are controversial because it is perceived as being intellectually dishonest by telling only one side of the story. The huge subsidy demonstrates the government's power in the production of a certain historical narrative.

Books such as Kua Kia Soong's May 13 and the Tunku's 13 May: Before and After tells the author's own version of what happened – not actually what happened.

These are not the authoritative truth. A single and authoritative truth must come from an independent institution comprised of a collective of individuals who have scrutinised and weighed every piece of evidence presented. This ensures credibility.

A lack of closure

Post-May 13, our leaders tried their best to restore order and security. They were very deliberative and cautious in their actions. Emergency was declared and the National Operations Council was established. The priority was lives.

This was a sagacious course of action. The result speaks for itself.

The only problem is, no mechanisms were established to investigate what really happened on that day.

When a nation endures a traumatic event in its history, it can choose to inquire or be silent about it. The choice is between fact-finding, like in trials and truth commissions or a national amnesia, where nothing happens.

Malaysia chose the latter, employing silence as a means to construct our history.

The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was established not only to decide on amnesties and listen to the stories of victims. It was formed to unearth facts and create a single authoritative truth. The truth was not only discovered, it was also constructed.

A single authoritative truth was needed so that it can be embedded within the collective memories of South Africans. The process has to be credible enough that people are unable to deny the truth.

While we've heard of many Holocaust denials in public, until today there's hardly a case of a public "Apartheid denial." People cannot deny Apartheid because the hard evidence points to Apartheid's existence and the evils it caused.  You'll look ridiculous if you deny that Apartheid and violence never happened.

Read more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/opinion/aerie-rahman/article/in-search-of-lost-truth 

Why worry about 20 sen?

Posted: 05 Sep 2013 10:59 AM PDT

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The residential estate where I'm living has not had a bus service for the past ten years. You will need to walk at least three or four kilometres to the nearest bus stand. How many would actually be wiling to walk 45 minutes to catch a bus to work, and do the same the other way in the evening? 

Lim Mun Fah, Sin Chew Daily 

I have not yet finished with my "story" yesterday. Well; it took me two long hours to get through the immigration into JB, but after we drove into a housing estate, we saw long queues of vehicles in front of a gas station at a road junction.

My daughter reacted, "Why so many cars here? Is the petrol price going up again?"

She was indeed right, as the petrol price would go up again after midnight. RON95 and diesel would be 20 sen dearer and motorists jostled to fill up their petrol tanks before it struck twelve, a phenomenon omnipresent on the eve of each petrol price hike.

To be honest, the latest price hike is well within everyone's expectation. With the cloud of war looming over Syria and the ensuing energy market panic, it is natural that international oil prices will go up.

To make things worse, the recent depreciation of ringgit and downward adjustment of our sovereign rating have put the national economy on a real test. With the government now taking very tough stance on illegal migrant workers, life is not going to get any easier in near future.

Sure enough the rising costs of doing business will eventually be transferred to the consumers. Each and everyone of us has to face the the music. If you can save a few dimes, why not?

But, some of the costs simply cannot be saved. I would very much like to leave my car behind and take a public bus to work, but will it really work?

The residential estate where I'm living has not had a bus service for the past ten years. You will need to walk at least three or four kilometres to the nearest bus stand. How many would actually be wiling to walk 45 minutes to catch a bus to work, and do the same the other way in the evening?

Government people might tell you. "It's not that bad walking an hour each day. Treat it as an exercise!"

I would tend to think the same way too, but would instantly back off the moment I think about the public security in our city. It's simply not worth putting our lives at stake just to save those few cents.

It appears that we only have our perennially lagging public transportation infrastructure to blame. Our bus services are of undesirable quality; so are our rail services. As for the proposed high speed rail services, we only can pray it would get installed eventually.

Take a look at how other countries are doing their public transport. The public transport systems in Singapore, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong have seen dramatic changes over the last two or three decades. Although they are still not yet perfect, at least the public could look forward to some reliable alternatives.

In Taipei, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore and Hong Kong, university students commute on high speed trains as their lecturers, while senior government servants and corporate executives line up for buses as ordinary wage earners. In these cities, taking public transport is something perfectly normal and common because public transport is so convenient and you do not need to worry about traffic congestion nor the rising fuel costs.

Unfortunately, our government pumped in billions of ringgit not on improving our public transport but the so-called national automotive industry, resulting in deteriorating traffic snarls. Our bus services remain as primitive as they were decades ago: belching thick fumes, frequent breakdowns and late arrivals.

Our rail services are not getting anywhere either. The rocky journeys at a top speed of only 80kph amidst derailment worries.

More and more cars packing our highways does not mean we are leading better lives today. On the contrary, it only highlights our underdeveloped and out-of-date public transport system.

If we are able to fix up our public transport system, no one would like to empty their meagre savings just to go behind the wheels. Nor will anyone be bothered about the 20-sen increase in petrol price or by how much will the RM500 BR1M be increased.

Fuel price hike wrong approach to fiscal reform: Institut Rakyat

Posted: 05 Sep 2013 10:53 AM PDT

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If the motivation to help those who earn below RM3,000 is genuine, then why make them suffer higher prices for goods and fuel in the months between now and when Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) x.0 is implemented?

Institut Rakyat 


SEPT 5: In February this year, Prime Minister Najib Razak stated that the price of RON95 would be sustained in spite of the rise in global oil prices.

Come April, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, formerly minister of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism stated "Petrol is a major essential item and if the government increases the price, it will result in traders resorting to hiking their prices as well and this will burden the people," said Ismail.

That month, Najib assured Malaysians that subsidies would continue under his administration as he was focused on controlling the rising cost of living. Then Barisan Nasional won the general elections in May. Four months later their promises have evaporated.

There are several problems with Barisan Nasional's excuses for this week's fuel price hike. These are typical for its 'act first, deal with the problems later' approach:

1. Shifting to more targeted assistance for the poor

If the motivation to help those who earn below RM3,000 is genuine, then why make them suffer higher prices for goods and fuel in the months between now and when Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) x.0 is implemented?

Going by past performance, there is typically a lead-in time of about one to three months between tabling a budget and the distribution of BR1M handouts. How will the poor deal in the interim?

Furthermore, BR1M handouts are occasional ad hoc affairs, whereas fuel consumption is an ongoing daily expenditure for the rakyat. BR1M is not a solution for those experiencing an uncomfortably high cost of living from increased fuel prices. We also should remember that many Malaysians are out of pocket following Hari Raya festivities.

If we take the generous assumption that ad hoc cash handouts are a sustainable remedy for chronically low incomes, the gentlest approach for the rakyat would be to only reduce the fuel subsidy after the cash handout is applied. But this would still leave people deprived until the next round of handouts is approved.

Deputy Finance Minister Ahmad Maslan admitted as much in July when he said that, "With the [projected] BR1M increase to RM1,200 [from RM500] this will help cover household expenses for two months. The people will need to find their own means for the remaining 10 months."

Perennial dependency on cash handouts will not reduce the subsidy bill. Najib spent RM2.9 billion of public money on BR1M 2.0. With the promised increases the BR1M bill will increase to RM6.96 billion. This RM4 billion increase in BR1M will more than cancel out the estimated RM1.1 billion the government expects to save from rolling back fuel subsidies.

Thus, the net result of the BN's actions will be to increase both inflation and the subsidy bill.

Read more at: http://www.institutrakyat.org/fuel-price-hike-wrong-approach-to-fiscal-reform/

Anwar Ibrahim & Reformasi: From The Eyes of an Ordinary Citizen

Posted: 05 Sep 2013 10:42 AM PDT

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Moving forward post 13th General Election, we ask ourselves again, where do we go from here? The natural question now is whether Anwar should make way for the formidable line up of fresh and younger personalities in PKR and Pakatan Rakyat whom clearly have been gaining their own strong following.

Anas Alam Faizli


"No one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens but its lowest ones." (Nelson Mandela)

Growing up, I remember sifting through my father's collection of old newspaper clips. One reported that a certain persona by the name of Anwar Ibrahim was about to join UMNO. That paper clip was from 1982.

Many in Anwar's circles and followers at the time viewed him as their next hope for a leader that could strongly challenge the government. Needless to say that move to join UMNO was not welcomed by many; my mum, a member of JIM included. In 1996, while tabling the budget in Parliament -an annual event where I await with bated breath for him to introduce a new vocabulary – a practice he was famous for – Anwar was surprisingly spotting noticeable breakouts.

Mum responded "Baru nak matang lah tu… (he is probably just about to mature…)." The consternation she felt then remained.

The financial crisis a year later shook most of the tender South East Asian economies, while Anwar was at the pinnacle of his political career. I did not really understand my parent's remark then about how Anwar would soon "get it". I soon did.

I watched 2nd September 1998 unravel on television while I was on campus down south. I will never forget that moment; sitting down dumbfounded trying to gather my thoughts.

From then onwards, keeping track of Anwar's ceramahs around the country, news and developments, became daily affairs. Anwar's famous: "Ini adalah konspirasi dan fitnah jahat untuk membunuh karier politik saya"– echoed in mind every day.

More arrests were subsequently made in that period, under the draconian ISA. The late Fadzil Noor then lead a coalition of political parties and NGOs known as GERAK. GERAK held massive protests to free Anwar. The Reformasi movement then gathered momentum, initially as an Anwar-specific cause.

But what it evolved into was something far greater. It united all opposition, NGOs and Islamic movements and revolutionized to become something bigger. Amidst major differences, opposition parties then realized that there existed transcendental values that they all fiercely subscribed to -such as justice, liberty, and freedom. This realization had major uniting capabilities. Activists made up of PRM, ABIM, JIM and men who left UMNO then decided to form ADIL, an organization which eventually graduated to become the Parti Keadilan Rakyat that we know today.

At the height of it all was Sunday 20th September 1998, where the largest ever demonstration took place in Dataran Merdeka, under the Reformasi umbrella. The crowd that had gathered at the National Mosque for Anwar's landmark Reformasi speech, rallied on to Dataran Merdeka for another speech, then on to Jalan Raja Laut and ended up in front of EPF.

The energy and conviction I felt and witnessed being among the crowd at the time reminded me of our next-door neighbour. Only five months prior, Indonesians ousted their own President Soeharto.

Malaysia had never witnessed such resolute. But the important thing to note is that it was not all for Anwar alone. It was a show of deep unhappiness towards the grave injustices that the government seemed to be able to inflict against someone as high up as the deputy premier. What then was left for the ordinary rakyat.

We finally realized then how deep and structural were the extent of the government's tentacles controlling the country's police force, state media and the entire judicial system.

That very same night, balaclava-clad commandos stormed into Anwar's private home and roughly seized him. Nine days later, he made his first public appearance with a black eye. Malaysia had just witnessed the death of democracy.

What happened after, we all knew and followed. Anwar was put on a controversial trial, found guilty, and sentenced to 9 years of imprisonment. How could the once number two Malaysia, be politically imprisoned, brutally beaten, and emotionally vilified to beyond any human extent, I wondered. Anwar Ibrahim became Malaysia's most controversial prisoner of conscience.

Reformasi

Reformasi breathed new life into Malaysian youth of the 1990's, at a time when youthful zeal and activism spirit had diluted in favour of material wealth and pleasure. This was a contrast from the youth of the 70s, whose idealism were more pro-poor, intellectually-driven, and in line with the spirit of merdeka, fitting of a recently liberated nation. It is a mass movement that was manifested by rakyat from all walks of life, whose birth was spontaneous, honest and pulsing of the rakyat's aspirations. It still very much is; it belongs to everyone, within and out of political parties, young and old.

Fifteen years on, Malaysians have perhaps experienced an unconventional politically maturing process witnessing Anwar and our Reformasi. We inherit a Malaysian with various realities to embrace; a rigged election system, highly racially sensitized plural society, a government who has overbearing control over all economic, judicial and social aspects of the country, and spatially and demographically unequal standards of living, amidst many others. It is not easy to change status quo, a system that has deeply entrenched for the past 50 years. Not easy, yet not impossible.

The Man Who Triggered Reformasi

The Reformasi movement was borne out of the struggles of many political personalities, without whom it could not have materialized as it did, too many to credit without risking injustice. This piece is not about Anwar Ibrahim, as many will easily be led to believe, but it is about the man who triggered Reformasi.

A revolutionary varsity student leader in his UM days, Anwar later co-founded one of the pioneering civil society organizations of late 1970s Malaysia, known as Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM). His tendency to highlight the plight of the poor and vulnerables, and criticize the government vocally booked him a 20-month stint ISA stint in 1974 after the Baling incident.

Post 1979 Iranian Islamic Revolution, Malaysia felt the heat from the rise of Islam in the global scene. We witnessed for the first time the proliferation of Islamic-based civil society organizations. This proved a bonus to PAS, whom at the time was welcoming home waves of new young professionals from abroad who embraced the idea of new dynamism in the party. It helped raise the party's profile amongst foreign-trained barristers, doctors, engineers and economists, posing a significant challenge to UMNO's political hegemony.

Anwar Ibrahim seemed like the viable solution and heir for Tun Mahathir and UMNO; a man seen and known for his sound Islamic principles and honorable background, coupled with remarkable literacy in occidental thought and philosophy. Anwar was about to become an influential political figure, climbing the political ladder up to some of the most important positions in a country; as the finance minister and the deputy Prime Minister. Known to be neither unwavering under pressures of corruption nor compromising to cronyism, he had a political career that was not easy to bring down. That fateful September, the sky fell down onto him in a political and economic saga that forever scarred the face of Malaysian political history. But not all was lost. As widely remarked, cleaning sewage water is almost impossible when swimming in it; rather it has to be done from outside the gutter. The man probably needed to learn that. A lesson that he had been paying dearly since.

Building Blocks Towards A New Age Reformasi

In November 1999, Malaysia saw the nascent opposition force leading to the 10th General Election known as the Barisan Alternatif. For the first time in history, the opposition garnered the highest ever votes from the Malays. That record had never been challenged even up to this day. Barisan Nasional was salvaged by Chinese and Indian votership, which perhaps at the time were probably politically and economically unready to seriously challenge status quo.

In 2004, Barisan Nasional (BN) turned the tables in a landslide victory. Re-delineation exercises had allowed for substantial gerrymandering, winning BN 24 out of 25 new seats, and more than 90% of the parliament. The retirement of Mahathir, who then already made enough anti-fans for himself, too ushered in fresh support for UMNO and Barisan Nasional. It was a personal struggle for me to believe that change was ever going to be possible in Malaysia.

The period before the next 2008 General Election saw the opposition making significant headways, building a forte. Anwar too was already a free man, and was beginning to truly attempt to unite the various parties to form a formidable opposition that the government had no choice but to reckon with. The introduction of needs-based policies also attracted significant new interest especially the non-malays into its stable. It's only fair considering the vast new inequalities that were emerging from decades of favoritism-based policies, leakages and misappropriation of resources.

Leading up to the 2008 12th General Election, the waves of change was felt even earlier on. I actually took unpaid leave to come home for the voting and campaign period- from an overseas posting at the time. The opposition won five states and formed Pakatan Rakyat which includes PKR, PAS and DAP. Call for change had begun to creep up from the rakyat from all walks of life to show its teeth.

Knocking down the incumbent ruling party off of its comfortable two-third parliamentary majority was by no means a small feat. It prompted five years of the government launching various "transformative" efforts on the part of the government. As a result, we are now entering supposedly the next phase of growth with endless possibilities. Pun very much intended, if I may. Sure, we are building more highways and train tracks. Yet what is lacking is arguably the required political will power to undertake the softer and real transformation we so badly need.

That very same period provided the opposition time to reorganize and work with their differences to productively form a coalition with its own development plan, its own manifesto and its own budget proposition. It was the first time ever Malaysians could critically compare alternatives to these documents proposed by the government.

Rejuvenating Reformasi

Moving forward post 13th General Election, we ask ourselves again, where do we go from here? The natural question now is whether Anwar should make way for the formidable line up of fresh and younger personalities in PKR and Pakatan Rakyat whom clearly have been gaining their own strong following. Is the way forward now a post-Anwar Ibrahim era, which entails institutionalizing and strengthening of the underlying political system? Better structure will allow for the natural development of a continuous pool of talent and leadership, but is it enough?

Strong leaders have historically proven to be the ultimate source of unification to bring about waves of change that ripples above and beyond those laid out by an institution or system. That kind of strong leadership was the only way substantial malay votes in 1999 could have shifted, a two-thirds majority for the government in 2008 could have been denied, and a game-changing 52% mandate onto PR for 2013 could have been witnessed.

Anwar Ibrahim too is now a different man. From a youthful varsity leader, to a charismatic Islamic leader, to a Deputy Prime Minister, and even down to being an inmate, Anwar's bruises could have not been only physical. The wisdom and maturity could not have been without blood, sweat and tears.

Two general elections passed after his release and Anwar stuck to his guns. But to claim ownership of the Reformasi can only mean one thing; that he steps up to the presidency post of the party himself, to make reality the reforms that he himself had envisioned for the country. Time is ripe for him to take the mantle, step up the challenge again, be democratically elected and rise up as the President of Parti Keadilan Rakyat. It is the implicit hope of the Rakyat, for him to articulate his vision for Malaysia particularly on his young and future masses.

Anwar Ibrahim triggered the Reformasi. Now he needs to rejuvenate it too.


*Anas Alam Faizli is an oil and gas professional. He is pursuing a post-graduate doctorate, co-Founder of BLINDSPOT, BANTAH TPPA and tweets at @aafaizli

MCA overturns Johor exco’s suspension

Posted: 05 Sep 2013 12:49 AM PDT

Party says that Tee Siew Kiong has shown proof that the Sultan of Johor was the one who appointed him as an exco.

Leven Woon, FMT

MCA has lifted a 3 year suspension imposed against former national organising secretary Tee Siew Kiong, who became a Johor executive councillor despite the party's pledge to decline all government posts, after the 13th general election in May.

The suspension was lifted after Tee presented new evidence to the MCA central committee to prove that he did not take the position on his own free will but on the orders of the Johor Sultan.

MCA president Chua Soi Lek said Tee, in his appeal to the party central committee, attached a statement showing that the Sultan was the one who has appointed Tee to the state exco.

"Sultan said it very clearly…it was his royal command that Siew Kiong was appointed. So after much discussion, majority of us felt that Siew Kiong's suspension should be lifted with immediate effect," he told a media conference after a central committee meeting this evening.

Johor palace official Jaba Mohd Noah in a notice dated July 1 said that "all parties, including MCA leaders or others, should respect the decision made by the Sultan… the Sultan has appointed Tee so that every race in the state has their representations in the exco line-up".

Chua said Tee would only be reinstated as the MCA central committee member, but not as the national organising secretary post he previously held.

"But he can also attend and take part in the coming party elections," he said.

Tee, a Chua's protégé, was slapped with three year suspension in June for accepting the exco post, despite him crying foul that his appointment was done on the Sultan's royal decree.

MCA's "no government post pledge" only applies to government posts only recommended by the party.

READ MORE HERE

 

Kalau hendak berubah perlu serius, ubah habis-habisan

Posted: 04 Sep 2013 06:17 PM PDT

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-WPP2w7n6ISQ/UQTRaLe2XGI/AAAAAAAAKcQ/VFgzySJ7yvg/s320/Aspan+Alias.jpg
 
Isu ini wajar menjadi fokus dan tumpuan semua pemimpin besar dalam parti-parti yang wujud di negara ini bagi melakukan 'once and for all' perubahan drastik agar negara kembali kepada landasan kenegaraan yang betul. 
 
Kita tidak boleh membiarkan negara kita dalam kemurungan tanpa ada sesuatu dilakukan secara betul dan benar 
 
Aspan Alias
 
Keadaan negara sekarang membimbangkan ramai. Kita seolah-olah tidak mempunyai sebuah kerajaan yang mentadbir negara kerana dalam semua hal pimpinan hari ini tidak berupaya memberikan semangat dan keyakinan kepada rakyat dengan sepenuhnya.

Dalam keadaan sebegini, samada ia wajar atau tidak kerajaan telah mengambil keputusan untuk menaikan harga petrol dan ia menambahkan rasa kerunsingan rakyat terhadap masa depan kepimpinan negara. Mungkin ada kewajaran untuk menaikan harga minyak itu, tetapi ia tetap membebankan rakyat dan menjadikan negara dalam keadaan krisis keyakinan yang lebih serius dan 'real'.

Kerajaan mungkin memberikan alasan kenaikan itu hanyalah tindakan mengurangkan subsidi harga petrol tetapi tindakan itu diambil dalam keadaan negara sedang menghadapi krisis kepimpinan negara. Kerajaan mungkin tersepit diantara keperluan mengurangkan defisit bajet negara, dan mengintai peluang untuk mendapatkan tambahan sokongan rakyat kerajaan.

Najib tidak mendapat kepercayaan sepenuhnya dari dalam parti dan diantara komponen BN sendiri. Tidak ada salahnya jika parti-parti dalam komponen BN itu merasakan keadaan begini kerana masing-masing mempunyai matlamat untuk negara. Dari pihak pembangkang pula, masalah bukannya kecil terutamanya dari DAP dan PKR kerana masing-masing sedang menghadapi masalah dalam pentadbiran parti mereka sendiri.

DAP sedang menghadapi masalah pemilihan CEC nya dan akhir-akhir ini timbul kenyataan yang parti itu juga menghadapi sikap tidak telus terhadap ahlinya sendiri. Sehingga hari ini parti itu masih belum menyelesaikan isu senarai 500 ahli yang sepatutnya menjadi perwakilan dalam pemilihan parti itu.

Entah apa yang hendak disorokan dari pengetahuan ROS dan rakyat semua, hanya pimpinan parti itu sahaja yang tahu. Tetapi yang pasti parti itu tidaklah sebersih yang digambarkan dahulu. Mereka tetap sama dengan sikap dan nilai kepimpinan parti-parti dalam BN selama ini.

Pengongkongan kuasa oleh sebahagian kumpulan dalam kepimpinan parti itu tetap bertambah nyata dan jelas. Kumpulan yang menguasai parti itu jelas terlalu takut jika kumpulan mereka tidak lagi menguasai parti itu dan hilang pengaruh mereka dalam pemilihan ulangan CEC sekarang ini.

PKR sibuk mencari helah untuk memalingkan pandangan dan perhatian rakyat terhadap isu membabitkan Ketua Umum nya dalam menghadapi sesi perbicaraan di Mahkamah minggu hadapan. Dalam sistem politik acuan Dr Mahathir ini, akhirnya telah membuahkan politik yang tidak baik dari kedua-dua belah pihak, kerajaan dan pembangkang.

Jika dikaji dengan sehalus-halusnya masalah yang timbul, tidak ada kena mengena dengan ahli-ahli parti dan rakyat. Yang membuat masalah adalah pemimpin-pemimpin mereka sendiri yang membawa perpecahan dikalangan ahli-ahli yang masing-masing mempunyai 'preferences' terhadap individu-individu pemimpin yang bertelagah itu..

Masalahnya sekarang tidak ada pemimpin yang boleh menjadi penyelamat di kalangan yang ada dalam kerajaan. UMNO, bukannya kali ini sahaja menghadapi masalah seperti ini, tetapi semasa itu masih ada mereka yang sedang berkuasa mampu memberikan penyelesaian kepada apa jua bentuk kemelut politik negara.

Your right to be wrong

Posted: 04 Sep 2013 06:08 PM PDT

Was a law passed making the flying or showing of the pre-Merdeka flag a crime? If the Malaysian Parliament has passed such a law making it a crime to fly or show the pre-Merdeka flag then the arrest of the three people earlier this week is justified according to the law. If not, then flying or showing that flag is a not a crime and it is the right of every Malaysian to express his or her opinion as long as it does not violate any laws.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin

(The Malay Mail) - National laureate Datuk A. Samad Said today defended the right to fly the criticised "Sang Saka Malaya" flag as a liberty afforded to all, after the act briefly cost him his freedom yesterday.

A Merdeka Eve incident involving the pre-Independence flag led to his controversial arrest at his home shortly after midnight yesterday, but the laureate today insisted that his detention and the sedition claim levelled against him were unjust.

"Setiap orang berhak bertindak mengikut pegangannya sendiri. Soal siapa benar siapa salah adalah soal yang lain (Everyone has the right to act according to his or her belief. The question of who is right or wrong is a separate matter)," A. Samad, or Pak Samad as he is popular known as, told The Malay Mail Online in a text message.

*********************************************

That is the gist of the whole thing. Every person has a right to his or her belief. And every person has a right to express this belief. And expressing this belief can be done in many ways. You can say it or you can show it. And belief here means more than just religious beliefs. It covers anything and everything that you may believe in.

This is fundamental. This is what civil liberties is all about. And this is what is missing in Malaysia. Unfortunately, this is what Malaysian politicians do not defend -- whether they are from the ruling party or the opposition. And, unfortunately also, this is what most Malaysians do not understand and do not respect.

We cannot talk about change and fight for change unless we can first of all embrace change. But how far are Malaysians prepared to embrace change? Change requires a lot of sacrifices. And one such sacrifice, which most Malaysians apparently are not prepared to accept, is to allow the other person to express his or her opinion that may run contra to ours.

To most of us, change merely means change of government. We send the ruling party into the opposition and make the opposition the ruling government. After that then what? Will it then be business as usual or will we see a new culture emerging? Judging by the sentiments of most Malaysians it is just going to be business as usual.

Changing the government is the first step and a very small step at that. It is merely the beginning and not the end. But if we treat changing the government as the final solution, then we are very far from understanding the real meaning of change.

In some countries, wearing a Nazi Swastika armband is a crime. You can get arrested for doing that. But that is because a law has been passed making it a crime. Hence, by law, it is a crime. Can I wear a Nazi Swastika armband in Malaysia? Will I get arrested for doing that? Has a law been passed in Parliament making it a crime?

If no law has been passed by the Malaysian Parliament making the wearing of a Nazi Swastika armband a crime then I am at liberty to wear one although this will most certainly be viewed as 'bad taste'. My wearing a Nazi Swastika armband is my right to express my belief and by law is not a crime. Hence I should not be arrested for doing so.

Was a law passed making the flying or showing of the pre-Merdeka flag a crime? If the Malaysian Parliament has passed such a law making it a crime to fly or show the pre-Merdeka flag then the arrest of the three people earlier this week is justified according to the law. If not, then flying or showing that flag is a not a crime and it is the right of every Malaysian to express his or her opinion as long as it does not violate any laws.

Sedition is a very wide law. The sedition law was first introduced hundreds of years ago in England (even before America came into being) to stifle dissent and opposition to the King. This law was based on the belief that the King is appointed by God and can do no wrong and hence to question or oppose the King means to oppose God.

Malaysia's laws came from Britain. Hence Malaysia, too, has a sedition law. However, while Britain abolished the Sedition Act on 1st January 2010, Malaysia still applies this law to anyone who expresses his or her opinion that the government is not comfortable with, flying or showing the pre-Merdeka flag included.

When we talk about the law we need to discuss not just the letter of the law but the spirit of the law as well. And this was the reason why the Federal Court ruled my detention under the Internal Security Act in 2001 and again in 2008 as illegal or unconstitutional.

The government argued that I am a threat to national security (in the first detention) and that I have insulted Islam (in the second detention). However, was this why the government introduced the detention without trial law in 1960?

The Internal Security Act is a very specific law. The letter of the law says it is a law to be used against those who threaten Malaysia's security. But the spirit of the law 'says' it is to be used against any armed terrorist group, in particular the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM).

I was not armed and neither do I belong to any terrorist group, especially not to the CPM. Hence, based on the spirit of the law, the court ruled my two detentions as illegal -- even if I may be a threat to Malaysia's security by writing 'sensitive' and 'provocative' articles that may 'poison' the minds of Malaysians and make them rise up in opposition to the government.

Yes, we need change. But we need change across the board, not just a change of regime. Both the government and the opposition need to change. And the first change we need is respect for the civil liberties of every Malaysian citizen. Without that fundamental change then a change of government will come to naught. It will just be old wine in a new bottle. And that is not what I mean by change.

 

In Malaysia, more students getting HIV, many through sex

Posted: 04 Sep 2013 04:34 PM PDT

Ikram Ismail, MM

Young Malaysians between the ages of 20 and 39 formed the largest segment of those infected with HIV over a five-year period.

That is pretty much general knowledge, but the most alarming piece of statistic is the dramatic jump in the number of students contracting HIV.

The total number of new cases of Malaysians infected with  HIV and AIDS had held steady over the five years since 2008.

The number of cases in 2008 was 4,633, while in 2012, the figure was 4,799.

The number of deaths from HIV and AIDS over the period, however, declined from 1,050 in 2008 to 702 in 2012.

In 2008, only 28 students contracted HIV and seven contracted AIDS.

That figure rose to 35 and six in 2009, 44 and eight in 2010 and 69 and 15 in 2011.

But in 2012, a startling 170 students contracted HIV while 16 contracted AIDS.

The number of students contracting HIV that year saw an explosion of 148 per cent — from 69 to 170.

In contrast, the increase of new HIV cases from 2008 to 2010 was at a steady 25 per cent.

These figures are striking compared to those from the period between 1986 to 2007.

Over the earlier 22-year period, only 205 students had been found to be HIV positive, while only 48 were found to be suffering from AIDS.

Over the 2008 to 2012 period, 35 students died from either HIV or AIDS.

The ministry was not forthcoming in outlining the details, but it is believed that the majority of students newly-diagnosed as HIV infected were college and university students.

Malaysia Aids Council Executive Director Roswati Ghani said they are deeply concerned by the growing number of new HIV infections among students.

"What's also alarming is the proportion of new HIV cases reported in the younger age group of 13-29 years, to the overall population (1 to 4 in 2012)," she said.

"We are also cognizant of this situation; and that the HIV epidemic in this country continues to be driven by sexual transmission since beginning 2010."

She encouraged students, especially those who engage in high-risk behaviours, to get tested regularly and be aware of their HIV status.

"To address the rising number of new HIV infections among students, the management of universities and colleges must also make accurate HIV information accessible to their students," she said.

"They  should formalise HIV education in the curriculum and provide counselling services that are evidence-based while, at the same time, respecting the students' sensitivities and rights."

The health ministry, upon learning of a student diagnosed as HIV positive or having AIDS, will set in motion a chain of actions.

The amount spent in response to HIV and AIDS, such as on antiretroviral therapy and treatment, medicines and campaigns, since 1993 has reached RM1.23 billion.

 

PKR rebel Zahrain rewarded with plum job as envoy to Indonesia

Posted: 04 Sep 2013 04:27 PM PDT

Jahabar Sadiq, TMI

Former Penang PKR leader Datuk Seri Mohamed Zahrain Hashim (pic) is to be named as the next Malaysian ambassador to Indonesia in what is seen as a reward for supporting Barisan Nasional (BN) in Election 2013.

Sources told The Malaysian Insider that Datuk Seri Najib Razak is rewarding him with the plum diplomatic posting, much to the chagrin of career diplomats who say relations with Jakarta must be handled delicately.

"Zahrain is getting the ambassador's job in Jakarta," a source told The Malaysian Insider.

Another source said an announcement will be made in due time.

Zahrain became Bayan Baru MP in Election 2008 but quit PKR in February 2010 after Pakatan Rakyat (PR) component party DAP criticised him for speaking out against Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

A month earlier in January 2010, Zahrain attacked Lim as being a "dictator, a chauvinist and communist-minded", citing what he saw as a failure by Lim to deliver on his election promises.

Once a close friend of PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Zahrain formed Konsensus Bebas with other PKR turncoats who later supported BN.

After leaving PKR, Zahrain was also heavily featured on Umno-controlled private television station TV3 where he hit out at PR and criticised Anwar on various issues.

But Zahrain did not contest in the May 5 general election where BN only won 133 federal seats, down seven from the 140 won in Election 2008.

The Malaysian Insider understands the posting to Jakarta is a political move to shore up support for BN among Indonesian politicians who are seen to be close to Anwar.

Anwar is a regular visitor to Jakarta, where some of his aides fled after he was sacked as deputy prime minister in 1998.

READ MORE HERE

 

Kenapa Anwar gagal?

Posted: 04 Sep 2013 04:19 PM PDT

Pada PRU 1999, parti pembangkang mendapat undi simpati dari kalangan pengundi Melayu setelah Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim dipecat dan dimasukkan dalam penjara. 

oleh Musli Oli, FMT

Ada tiga insiden pilihan raya umum (PRU) dalam negara ini, di mana parti pemerintah hampir tewas kepada parti pembangkang. Pertama, pada PRU 1969, Parti Perikatan yang memerintah gagal mendapat majoriti dua pertiga dalam Dewan Rakyat. Pulau Pinang ditawan parti pembangkang Gerakan dan Kelantan kembali kepada PAS.

Berdasarkan keputusan PRU 1969, dua buah negeri, Selangor dan Perak nyaris ditawan parti pembangkang. Negeri Perak hanya diperintah Parti Perikatan setelah dua wakil rakyat PPP mengalih sokongan kepada parti itu.

Pilihan raya kali kedua ialah pada tahun 1999. Pada PRU 1999, parti pembangkang mendapat undi simpati dari kalangan pengundi Melayu setelah Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim dipecat dan dimasukkan dalam penjara.

Kesannya, beberapa pemimpin kanan UMNO gagal mempertahan kerusi kerana 'swing' sokongan Melayu kepada PAS dan PKR. Kedah, Selangor dan Perak adalah antara negeri-negeri yang nyaris-nyaris ditawan parti pembangkang. Kelantan kekal di tangan PAS manakala BN kehilangan Terengganu.

Pada PRU 1999, Parti DAP gagal menarik sokongan yang signifikan daripada pengundi Cina dan kaum bukan Melayu yang lain. Kaum Cina pada ketika itu masih menaruh keyakinan kepada kepimpinan Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad sebagai Perdana Menteri Malaysia setelah berjaya menangani krisis mata wang yang melanda Asia pada 1998. Tun Mahathir pernah berkata, "Orang Melayu mengundi pembangkang mengikut emosi, kerana isu 'mata hitam', tapi orang Cina terus mengundi BN, kerana isu 'mata wang' ".

Pilihan raya kali ketiga ialah pada PRU 2008. Tsunami politik melanda BN tanpa diduga. BN sekali lagi hilang majoriti dua pertiga dalam Dewan Rakyat. Lima buah negeri jatuh kepada parti pembangkang. Jika kemenangan besar BN pada PRU 2004 dikatakan kerana 'aura' Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (Tun), persembahan yang teruk pada PRU 2008 diletakkan bulat-bulat sebagai ke'lembik'an Pak Lah!

Ramai yang terpinga-pinga mencari jawapan sebenar kenapa parti pembangkang boleh memperolehi 82 kerusi parlimen. Sehingga hari ini masih ramai tidak tahu sebab sebenar kenapa rakyat Malaysia tiba-tiba bangkit mahukan perubahan pada 2008. Apakah kerana faktor Anwar Ibrahim yang telah dibebaskan beberapa bulan sebelum PRU 2008?

Kesimpulan

UMNO membuat kesimpulan yang mudah dengan mendesak Pak Lah berundur sebagai Perdana Menteri dan Presiden UMNO.

Analisis tiga pilihanraya umum – tahun 1969, 1999, dan tahun 2008 amat menarik kerana fakta-fakta berikut. Pertama, dalam tiga PRU itu, sokongan rakyat kepada parti pembangkang meningkat tanpa dikepalai seorang pemimpin pembangkang yang dianggap berpengaruh atau popular seperti Anwar Ibrahim.

Walaupun Lim Kit Siang dari DAP, yang pernah jadi Ketua Pembangkang dalam Dewan Rakyat seorang yang berpengaruh, namun ia terbatas kepada kaum Cina dan bukan Melayu. Begitu juga dengan Datuk Asri Muda, Ustaz Fadzil Noor, Tok Guru Hadi Awang dan pemimpin PAS yang lain seperti Tok Guru Nik Aziz. Pengaruh dan kepimpinan mereka agak terbatas kepada orang Melayu dan Bumiputera yang beragama Islam.

Pada PRU 1999, Anwar Ibrahim dalam tahanan. Parti Keadilan pada ketika itu dipimpin isterinya, Datin Seri Wan Azizah. Pada PRU 2008, Anwar Ibrahim belum layak bertanding mengikut peraturan pilihan raya umum. Hakikatnya, rakyat yang menyokong dan mengundi parti pembangkang tidak tahu siapa bakal Perdana Menteri mereka.

READ MORE HERE

 

Anwar ditawar jawatan TPM?

Posted: 04 Sep 2013 04:15 PM PDT

Tetapi ada usaha daripada Najib untuk bertemu dengan Anwar melalui orang ketiga.

Zefry Dahalan, FMT

Naib Ketua Angkatan Muda Keadilan (AMK), Mohd Nazree Mohd Yunus (gambar) berkata ada usaha daripada Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak untuk bertemu dengan Ketua Pembangkang, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim berhubung agenda pendamaian nasional (National Reconciliation) dan difahamkan ada tawaran jawatan Timbalan Perdana Menteri (TPM) kepada Anwar.

"Walaupun setakat hari ini tidak ada perjumpaan 'direct' diantara Najib dan Anwar tetapi ada usaha daripada Najib untuk bertemu dengan Anwar melalui orang ketiga," kata beliau dalam satu kenyataan khas kepada FMT.

Malah beliau mendakwa ada tawaran jawatan Timbalan Perdana Menteri kepada Anwar dan empat jawatan Menteri Kabinet kepada Pakatan Rakyat.

Tetapi katanya, perkara ini tidak mendapat liputan meluas media arus perdana.

"AMK menyokong usaha rundingan tersebut diteruskan dalam membincangkan isu-isu rakyat," tegasnya..

Walaubagaimanapun, tambah beliau, AMK berpendapat rundingan tersebut perlu mendapat persetujuan PAS dan DAP juga dan rundingan tersebut perlu diadakan secara terbuka.

"Isu-isu yang harus dibincangkan dalam rundingan tersebut ialah kenaikan harga minyak, kenaikan harga barang,  isu hutang Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional (PTPTN), sistem pendidikan negara, ekonomi, pembangunan dan keselamatan," katanya.

Beliau berpendirian menyokong rundingan ini tetapi rundingan tersebut haruslah bersifat terbuka, berkaitan dengan isu rakyat dan bukannya rundingan sulit.

Mohd Nazree juga menempelak kenyataan beberapa menteri Umno yang tidak bersetuju dengan rundingan tersebut. Sebaliknya Mohd Nazree berkata ianya perlu kerana ianya melibatkan pelbagai isu yang membelenggu rakyat.

 

‘DAP may have lost its spunk’

Posted: 04 Sep 2013 04:10 PM PDT

DAP's silence on recent price hikes spurs Penang Umno liaison committee deputy chairman to call on the party to continue doing so and focus on boosting states under Pakatan governance.

Hawkeye, FMT

DAP's failure to challenge the recent hike in fossil fuel prices could be a reiteration that the party has lost its fiestiness as it also kept mum when the Penang state water authority (PBA) increased the water conservation surcharge by 100 percent last month.

Penang Umno liaison committee deputy chairman Musa Sheikh Fadzir said the socialist party should continue keeping quiet and focus on developing Penang or the two other states of Kelantan and Selangor under the Pakatan Rakyat alliance.

"People can now see and compare what sort of government Pakatan and Barisan Nasional (BN) offer. If one was to analyse the governance style, it is no different from Barisan's in certain ways," Musa said in an interview.

Musa alleged that in reality, BN seems to be more consultative whereas Pakatan comes across as dictatorial, owing to the much touted abrasive style of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

DAP has been ranting about the fuel hike via the Internet but on the other hand, they are the same party which had approved the water surcharge hike being fully aware that water is an essential in our daily lives, he added.

Musa was referring to PBA's recent move of hiking water conservation surcharge in hope of inculcating a water conservation habit among Penangites since water is a resource that is fast depleting .

"However, DAP had failed to reveal to the public that PBA must contribute annual royalty to the state government coffers," he said, adding that instead of increasing the surcharge, the state should reduce the royalty payout and focus on assisting the people to cope with the rising cost of living.

The reality on the streets here is that the authorities have failed to put the brakes on the rising living costs in the state, which is compounded by the inflated property prices here, traffic congestion and a slowdown in manufacturing.

"When people find accommodation expensive, there is a spiral effect as food, tourism, services, healthcare and retail will also see an increase," he said.

READ MORE HERE

 

Court orders lifting of ban on Irshad Manji’s book

Posted: 04 Sep 2013 04:07 PM PDT

(Bernama) - ZI Publications Sdn Bhd today succeeded in its bid to remove the ban ordered by the Home Ministry on the Malay translation, 'Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta', of a book by Irshad Manji.

High Court Judge Zaleha Yusof allowed the publishing company's judicial review application to quash the prohibition order by the Home Ministry under Section 7(1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 in May last year against the printing, distribution or possession of the book.

ZI Publications' lawyers K. Shanmuga and Nizam Bashir said that with this ruling, the book, published by their client, was now free for circulation in the market.

Senior Federal Counsel Noor Hisham Ismail, representing the respondents, said he would take further instruction from the Attorney-General's Office on the next course of action.

ZI Publications director Mohd Ezra Mohd Zaid said he was happy with the verdict.

On May 29, 2012, ZI Publications translated and published in Bahasa Malaysia the book originally authored by Irshad Manji in English as 'Allah, Liberty and Love'.

In her ruling, Justice Zaleha held that ZI Publications had locus standi to bring the action against the respondents (home minister, deputy home minister and the government) as the company had been adversely affected by the ban order.

"If it's true that the book is prejudicial to public order, why was no action taken to ban its English version when it was first circulated.

"Why was the prohibition (order) only made when it was translated into the national language? As I understand it, the root of the respondents' concern is 'kecelaruan keagamaan' or religious confusion," said Justice Zaleha.

She also said that as the authorities had only decided to ban the book when it was translated into the national language, she wondered whether it meant that only Malay-speaking readers would be confused.

"I can't help but ponder on this because steps taken to ban the book only came about when the book had been translated into the national language," she said.

Justice Zaleha also said that it must be emphasised that the book had been in circulation for about two weeks before it was banned, while its original version in English had been in circulation locally since 2011.

On July 9, 2012, the publisher filed the judicial review application for a declaration that the ban order was void, unlawful and of no effect as it was ultra vires Section 7 of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 and in violation of Article 10(1)(a) and 8(1) of the Federal Constitution relating to freedom of speech and expression.

The company claimed that the book only contained opinions in the form of brief summaries criticising current approaches in the administration of religion, which it said were not harmful.

 

‘Go to hell Miss World’: Indonesian Muslims protest pageant

Posted: 04 Sep 2013 04:00 PM PDT

(AP) — Indonesian Muslim hard-liners staged a protest Tuesday in the country's capital to try to stop the holding of the Miss World pageant this weekend on the resort island of Bali.

More than 200 members of several Muslim hard-line groups organized by the Islamic Society Forum staged a rally and march on the MNC Tower, the building that houses the local organizer of the contest.

They held up banners with "Reject Miss World that exploits women" and "Go to hell Miss World" on them, and shouted "Allah akbar," or God is great, outside the building, which was guarded by 300 police.

"This is an insult and humiliation of women," Muhammad Al Khathath, an Islamic Society Forum leader, told the crowd. "Muslims should reject the Miss World contest," he said.

The demonstration was peaceful and broke up after protest leaders met with the pageant organizers.

Some of the contestants have already arrived for the competition set to be held partly on Bali, where the opening ceremony is to be held Sunday, with the final round set for Sept. 28 on the outskirts of Jakarta.

Last week, the Indonesian Ulema Council, the country's most influential clerics group, urged the government to cancel the event, saying the exposure of skin by women in such a competition violates Islamic teachings, even after organizers agreed to cut the bikini competition and instead outfit contestants in more conservative sarongs.

The chairwoman of the Miss World Organization, Julia Morley, earlier confirmed that none of the contestants would wear a bikini.

Most Muslims in Indonesia, a secular country of 240 million people and the world's most populous Islamic country, are moderate, but a small extremist fringe has become more vocal in recent years.

 

Malaysia bars Lamb of God show amid Muslim criticism

Posted: 04 Sep 2013 03:57 PM PDT

(AP) — Muslim-majority Malaysia has barred a performance by American metal band Lamb of God after Islamic officials accused the Grammy-nominated group's work of being blasphemous.

The band expressed frustration because it believed authorities had not studied the content and meaning of its songs carefully enough.

Lamb of God had been scheduled to perform at a concert hall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's largest city, on Sept. 28. But the Communications and Multimedia Ministry said late Wednesday it would not issue a permit because the performance could infringe on Malaysia's religious sensitivities and cultural values.

The decision comes after the government-run Department of Islamic Development last week said the group's work could lead Muslims astray, partly because the band has been known to mix excerpts from the Quran, Islam's holy book, with heavy metal music.

The band posted a statement on its Facebook page saying it would continue with other shows this month in New Zealand, Australia and Thailand.

"It is very evident (and a bit frustrating) that the groups, parties and powers that have taken the most offense to our music and lyrics, have themselves only made a passing glance at the content and meanings of those songs," the statement said, adding that more than 1,500 tickets had been sold in Malaysia.

Lamb of God is the second prominent American act in less than two years to run afoul of Malaysian authorities for religious reasons. In February 2012, the government banned a show by R&B star Erykah Badu on the eve of her performance, saying a photo of her body art was offensive to Muslims.

Lamb of God, from Richmond, Virginia, has had three albums that reached the top ten of the U.S. Billboard 200 chart.

 

Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

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