Isnin, 23 September 2013

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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

Is money politics dead in Umno?

Posted: 23 Sep 2013 01:14 PM PDT

Nur Jazlan in his posting noted: "I remember my late father Tan Sri Mohamed Rahmat as party secretary-general at one time revealed that in the 1993 Umno elections, the then rising star Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim invested RM1 million each to 90 division leaders in his bid to become deputy president of the party and also to put him in line for No 1 and prime minister."

Syed Nadzri Syed Harun, MM

Ultimately the maths is out: It takes around RM13 million to win a seat as vice-president in Umno and about RM1.6 million as supreme council member.

This is of course on the assumption that "money", like many times previously, will fly around when 146,000 delegates set out to vote for their leaders next month in the all new broad-based Umno election process.

And it begs the question: Is this really the end of money politics in the country's most dominant party with the new "electoral college" type of polls?

It does not appear so and the possibilities look endless though there has been no complaint as yet. Some party members, in denial as always, would in fact be angry at the suggestion that money politics and vote-buying would still reign.

The sum above is among the numerous estimates put up by many people who are not convinced that money politics could be fully eradicated even with a revamped system that has a wider voting base compared with just 2,500 previously.

In fact, the RM13 million figure needed for vice-presidency came from no less than Pulai division chief Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed when he wrote in a news portal the other day.

"It is an estimate. But the Umno divisions play a crucial role," he said last week when I asked him where he was coming from with that write-up.

Yes, it is all about the divisions holding the key as always, and by extension, the division heads having great influence in the outcome.

Overall there are some 20,000 branches in 191 divisions. The 146,000 delegates will be picked from these but the point to note is that their votes would not be aggregated in determining the outcomes. Rather their votes would only be tallied at the respective divisions and in the end only count as one, representing that division.

Example: 800 delegates in Jelutong division cast their votes for vice-president (each is allowed to pick three) — 600 votes for Candidate A, 500 for B, 300 for C, 300 for D, 150 for E and 150 for F. It means Candidate A is the pick from this division but it will not carry 600 votes — only one vote, that is representing Jelutong. This is where the maths comes in since it is all about winning over the respective division, not individual delegates.

And Nur jazlan was told of the calculations: "If there are six candidates contesting for three vice-president's slots, a candidate only needs to secure support from just 64 of the 191 divisions (one third) to be assured of a win.

"If a candidate goes out to seek assistance from a particular division leader to get that one vote from his division and forks out an investment of, say, RM200,000 for one division,  the candidate only needs to invest slightly less than RM13 million to win (RM200,000 x 64)."

If the same formula is used for supreme council, an aspirant needs solid backing from just seven or eight divisions to secure one of the 25 elected places in the panel. (RM200,000 x 8 = RM1.6 million).

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak who has been returned unopposed as party president, gave a stern reminder on Saturday when he told party members not to resort to three things in this election — abuse of power, personal attacks and money politics. But knowing the stakes, people can be very resourceful nowadays.

It must be remembered that a place as Umno vice-president puts a person in a comfortable position for the next level should anything happen to anyone of the top two.

Hence, the assumption that some investment is needed to secure it.

Records show that money politics is quite entrenched in Umno. In the last party election alone we saw prominent candidates being forced to pull out due to the menace. The deep pockets of some candidates as well as affluent connections among many have given rise to the deep-rooted patronage system in the party.

Former party president Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad did everything, including shed tears on stage, to coax members out of the habit but it never really died. Nur Jazlan in his posting noted: "I remember my late father Tan Sri Mohamed Rahmat as party secretary-general at one time revealed that in the 1993 Umno elections, the then rising star Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim invested RM1 million each to 90 division leaders in his bid to become deputy president of the party and also to put him in line for No 1 and prime minister."

Yes, we remember the Wawasan Team and the start of serious money politics. So, Umno members who may be upset at suggestions that money politics could be alive still, don't be angry at me or this paper. Just deal with it.


Najib: Don’t just criticise, be pro-active

Posted: 23 Sep 2013 12:55 PM PDT

The Prime Minister also urged Malaysians and students living, working and studying abroad to think in a critical and innovative manner.

(FMT) - SAN FRANCISCO: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has chided certain groups of Malaysians living abroad, who only know how to criticise the government, but do not contribute to the country.

The groups, he said, should not be making negative criticisms about the country by basing their criticisms on certain allegations spun by certain quarters for their own political reasons.

"These people will criticise the country, but they do not have any idea on how to contribute to the country," he told a dinner gathering attended by Malaysian citizens and students, at the Grand Hyatt San Francisco Hotel here on Sunday night.

"We don't mind the criticisms, but do not believe them," he said, adding that he believed they (the citizens and students) had the ability to think and decide for themselves whether the allegations were true or otherwise.

Najib said there were a lot more Malaysians living abroad who were economically active, having good strategies, very enterprising and they were usually doing well.

"I have met and talked to some of them, and they are very proud to be Malaysian," he said.

He said Malaysia had been very successful and come a long way in terms of development, from the small agriculture-based economy it used to be, to where it was now.

"We have set bold objectives and targets which are attainable and achievable, and these are important to nation building."

Najib said it was important for the multiracial, multicultural, multireligious society of Malaysia to strengthen the bonds between them to propel the country to greater heights.

"With an average of five to seven per cent yearly economic growth, we can even achieve the objectives of Vision 2020 (to become a developed and high-income nation) as early as 2018, or the latest by 2020. Our Vision 2020 is still on track," added the prime minister.

Shared equity

He said Malaysians were enjoying high per capita income as compared with citizens of other countries, and it was the duty of the government to ensure that the wealth of the nation was shared equitably among the society.

"If the wealth of the country is small, we should share it by a small percentage, so that it will not create political and social instability," he added.

He assured them that the government would give higher priority to education, and would spend more in educating the people in English, Mathematics and Science.

"It is important to realise that we have to create a conducive environment.

We have to toil and slog to get the security and the stability that we are enjoying in the country now, so that you can dare to dream big dreams," said Najib.

He asked them to show the spirit of '1 Malaysia' and that "we are all together", and not criticise the concept.

"Contribute to unity in a proactive manner…," he said.

Najib said he did not believe that Malaysians who were working, studying or residing abroad were less patriotic than those who remained in the country.

"We face challenges while working for a company overseas, but while you work, you can still help Malaysia, you can invite the company you are working for, to partner with other Malaysian companies and create innovations," he said.

Najib said Malaysia was a successful country, and was known in a positive way by other people who had good opinions about the country, but there were still people who spread allegations and lies about Malaysia.

"I have been accused of manipulating the votes by bringing 40,000 voters from Bangladesh for the 13th General Election (GE13)…that is totally untrue…they are not able to prove their allegations, not even one evidence."



Bumi Agenda: Step forward or backward?

Posted: 23 Sep 2013 12:50 PM PDT

The apparent failure of the ruling BN coalition of parties to even be minimally consulted on the new policy speaks volumes of how much respect Najib has for his non-Umno BN colleagues.

Koon Yew Yin, FMT

Forty two years after the New Economic Policy (NEP) was launched by his father, Tun Abdul Razak, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has now followed in his father's footsteps with a new national policy specially aimed at enhancing Malay participation and control of the economy and which is expected to run into the year 2020.

There are many reasons to fear the worst from this new national policy. Firstly unlike the NEP which was initiated following the racial riots of May 1969, this policy is clearly linked to Najib's fear of losing his position as president of Umno in the coming Umno general assembly elections.

Najib has also made references to the fact that the new policy is to reward the Malay voters who supported Umno during the last elections but this appears less strong a reason than his own survival as Umno leader.

Secondly, unlike the NEP which was at least endorsed by a larger multi-racial grouping in the form of the National Operations Council, the main catalyst for the so-called bumiputera empowerment policy has come from Malay pressure groups such as the Malay Economic Action Council (MTEM), Perkasa, right wing Malay media and bloggers and their godfather, Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

In fact the MTEM has claimed the credit for the new policy. Completely side-lined even though the nation is not under emergency rule has been the cabinet as well as Parliament.

The apparent failure of the ruling BN coalition of parties to even be minimally consulted on the new policy speaks volumes of how much respect Najib has for his non-Umno BN colleagues and for the principles of parliamentary democracy.

It also shows that Najib – despite all the rhetoric of 1Malaysia and the inclusive scope of the New Economic Model – is prepared to sacrifice the interest of the non-bumiputera component of the country's population to secure his own and Umno's Malay interest.

Thirdly, the policy appears to be an open-ended one. Its range of initiatives is the entire range of socio-economic sectors where Umno's leadership feels that the Malay position needs to be strengthened – equity ownership, business, human capital, housing, state institutions, private sector jobs, etc.

Fourthly, even though the policy talks about bumiputera and Malay empowerment, it is clear that the main beneficiaries will be Umno members in the business community.

According to media reports, the new initiatives will amount to RM31billion worth but this is likely to be an underestimate. We can expect the figure of government expenditure on the new policy to run into the hundreds of billion by the year 2020.

Impact of the new NEP

Will this massive reallocation of public funds on a racial basis bring about positive benefits? What is likely to happen with the implementation of the new policy?

Policy analyst, Dr Lim Teck Ghee, who in 2006 exposed the government's fiddling of the corporate equity statistics to under-estimate Malay share as well as recently also exposed the fiddling of crime statistics, expects the racial and political manipulation of official statistics to continue.

He also had this to say to an online news portal:

"It looks like the New Economic Model which was supposed to set the strategic policy direction for the country until 2020 and to de-emphasise ethnic based economic policies has now been effectively abandoned.



Maznah - a classic dark horse

Posted: 23 Sep 2013 12:50 PM PDT

Datuk Maznah Mazlan's entry into the race for the Wanita Umno leadership has changed the game and incumbent Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil cannot take things for granted.

Joceline Tan, The Star 

PAHANG politician Datuk Maznah Mazlan (pic) has turned out to be the classic dark horse in the contest for the Wanita Umno leadership.

She had kept things so close to her chest that even her own Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob had not known about it.

In fact, when her representative walked in with her nomination papers last Saturday, the PWTC team handling the Wanita nominations had already packed up and were sitting there waiting for the 5pm deadline. They had to quickly unpack their stuff to register her candidature. That was how close she was cutting it.

Everyone had assumed that the Wanita leadership contest would boil down to a face-off between incumbent Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil and underdog Raihan Sulaiman who is from the Kulim Bandar Baru division in Kedah.

But Maznah's 11th hour entry has changed the game for the Wanita leadership race.

Adnan, for one, appears to have changed his stand on the Wanita contest. A couple of weeks ago, he had reportedly endorsed Shahrizat for the top post.

But yesterday, the macho Mentri Besar told an Umno gathering in Temerloh that Pahang would support Maznah. The event was organised by Temerloh Umno chief Datuk Sharkar Shamsudin for delegates who would be voting in the Umno election to meet some of the candidates vying for national posts.

"She did not discuss it with any of us. It was a shock to all of us," said Sharkar who won his Temerloh chief post uncontested.

Adnan admitted as much during the Temerloh event.

"I only knew about Datuk Maznah's decision on Saturday evening. She did not consult me but this is a democracy and it is her right to contest," said Adnan.

There was thunderous applause from the audience when Adnan invited Maznah on stage to give her the Pahang endorsement.

Maznah is not a superstar like Shahrizat but she is certainly more credible than Raihan who has no track record in the wing or even Datuk Azalina Othman Said who has backed out from the contest. Shahrizat will now have to be on her guard.

Both the Wanita ladies and the men in Umno had been lukewarm about Azalina. They simply could not visualise the former Puteri Umno chief as the next Wanita leader.

On the other hand, Maznah, who is currently a Senator, is seen as someone in the Wanita mould.

She is a member of the Wanita exco and has also been an assemblywoman, Pahang exco member and deputy minister.

Yesterday, at her first major press conference since entering the race, Maznah denied that she is a proxy of Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz.

She was anxious to dispel the notion that this is a grudge fight between Shahrizat and the camp that had been with Rafidah.

Maznah probably has the support of Rafidah but it is unlikely that Rafidah put her up to the fight. The Iron Lady has no time for petty politics even though she can be very unforgiving of those whom she feels have done her in.

Rafidah had apparently given Azalina a piece of her mind when Azalina sought her support.

She dislikes Shahrizat but not to the extent of simply giving her support to any person challenging Shahrizat.

In fact, the camp that used to support Rafi­dah had also found it hard to accept Azalina but they will now throw their support behind Maznah.

Both of Maznah's proposer and seconder were from the Cheras division of Umno and the representative who submitted the nomination papers on her behalf was from the Federal Territory Umno.

The evidence trail seems to lead back to Cheras Umno which is headed by the powerful warlord Datuk Seri Syed Ali Alhabshee who is not on good terms with Shahrizat. Moreover, the former Cheras Wanita chief and now the division treasurer is Datuk Faridah Abu Has­san, who has an axe to grind with Shahrizat.

Maznah is nowhere as popular as Shahrizat. Her PR also falls short when compared to Shahrizat who makes time for all the ladies whether they are somebody or nobodies.

Shahrizat smiles at everybody, exchanges hugs and air kisses with the ladies and stops to chat with everyone even when she is in a hurry. Maznah, according to some of the ladies, sometimes walks past them without even saying hello and little things like this matter in politics.

But Maznah, according to insiders, should be able to capitalise on Shahrizat's latest headache – the incumbent Wanita chief's former political secretary Datuk Suhaimi Ibrahim is being investigated by the MACC for alleged misappropriation of funds from the 1Azam welfare programme for the poor.

The timing of the investigation is bound to cost her some votes.

The other surprise in the Wanita contest came in the form of Datuk Hamidah Osman joining the fray for the wing's No. 2 post alongside Sabah's Datuk Azizah Dun and Datuk Suraya Yaakob of Kedah.

Hamidah is the Wanita information chief and a former Perak assemblywoman and her candidature was not exactly welcomed by Shahrizat's camp who had endorsed Azizah for the No. 2 post.

Hamidah has been under pressure from the Shahrizat camp to pull out but she is standing her ground.

Some said she jumped in because she was upset by reports alleging that Azalina had been promised the information chief post after the polls. But Hamidah told her friends that she is contesting because the post was vacant and that she intends to be a loyal deputy if she wins.

In the meantime, Shahrizat's campaign is in full swing. She was campaigning in Seremban on Sunday and many were surprised to see Azalina among the team of women that she brought along.

Azalina has gone from being a challenger to being a member of the Shahrizat juggernaut, and that says a lot about Shahrizat's political clout. 

‘Umno more democratic than DAP’

Posted: 23 Sep 2013 12:48 PM PDT

The struggles of DAP revolves around maintaining continuity of the Lim Dynasty, claims Semut. 

Athi Shankar, FMT

An NGO leader today claimed that Umno had been far more liberal and democratic than the DAP.

Sensible & Ethical Malaysian United Team (Semut) president Huan Cheng Guan said unlike the DAP, Umno has held direct elections with, for and by members for all positions in the party.

In the DAP however, he said office-bearers were chosen by a 20-member central executive committee (CEC), which had been elected by delegates.

"Technically, a CEC member who may have finished at 20th position, needed only 11 votes to hold a top position like chairman and secretary-general," he said in a press statement here today.

Compared to DAP, he said Umno does not sack any member without holding an internal inquiry, in which the affected person would be given all avenues to defend.

But, he said scores of DAP members had been expelled without even showcause letters.

Between 1968 until today, he pointed out that Umno had had six presidents, while the DAP only lived under a single dynastic rule.

During the same period, he said Gelang Patah MP Lim Kit Siang had held a world record by commanding a party for 45 years, including the 27 years as its secretary-general.

Even though many leaders of his time have quit active politics, he said Kit Siang still has not called it a day, merely to safeguard his interests and hegemony in DAP.

Huan cited the political saga of Kerk Kim Hock, former DAP secretary-general, as a fine example of Lim Dynasty's hegemony.

He further said that Kit Siang wants to place his son, Guan Eng, in the strongest position possible to continue their family dynasty in the DAP.

"Others in DAP are there only to serve their dynasty," rebuked Huan.

Unlike the DAP, he said Umno and even other parties do not deploy schoolboy tactics in blaming the error in tabulations of votes as a technical glitch.

He cautioned the DAP that it was important for its re-election scheduled for this Sunday Sept 29 to be "free, fair and clean."

"The party can't ill-afford another botched electoral process. Then its political relevance will be gone forever.

"But then it will also end the unwanted dynastic hegemony," Huan said.


Bankleaks: JMM mahu ‘tolong’ bersihkan imej Anwar

Posted: 23 Sep 2013 12:45 PM PDT

Kita nak bantu membersihkan nama Anwar mengenai pendedahan akuan yang dibuat oleh pihak tertentu di media, kata JMM.

Jamilah Kamarudin, FMT

NGO Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM) berkata pihaknya sedia membantu membersihkan nama Ketua Pembangkang Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim dalam kemelut surat misteri 'Bankleaks' yang mengaitkannya dengan Pengerusi DAP Karpal Singh.

Malah sanggup menjadi 'despatch' mengantar dokumen ke Bank Negara jika Anwar sanggup menandatangani surat kebenaran bagi membenarkan pemeriksaan dilakukan terhadap akaun peribadinya.

"Kita nak bantu membersihkan nama Datuk Seri (Anwar) mengenai pendedahan akuan yang dibuat oleh pihak tertentu di media," kata Presiden JMM, Azwadin Hamzah.

Katanya, pihak beliau bersedia untuk membantu dengan apa cara sekalipun.

"Perkara ini tidak sepatutnya berlaku dan pihak kami berbesar hati bagi pihak Datuk Seri untuk mnyelesaikan kemelut yang melanda Anwar," katanya lagi.

Beliau dan beberapa ahli JMM hadir ke kediaman Anwar di Taman Bukit Segambut pagi tadi dengan harapan mahu mendapatkan tandatangan, namun kecewa kerana Ketua Umum PKR itu tidak muncul keluar pagar utama.

"Beliau tak mahu jumpa saya…saya dah siapkan surat ni untuk beliau untuk hantar terus ke pos laju atau terus kepada Tan Sri Zeti Aziz (Gabenor Bank Negara) untuk menjelaskan tentang kemelut akaun beliau.

"Ada enam senarai nama akaun.

"Nak suruh saya hantar pun tiada masalah sebab saya dah janji untuk jadi despatch beliau," katanya.

Bekas calon Parlimen Permatang Pauh-Barisan Nasional (BN) Dr Mazlan Ismail semasa kempen Pilihan Raya Umum (PRU13) lalu mendedahkan bahawa dirinya menerima sebanyak 6,000 surat misteri berkenaan yang menceritakan urus niaga bernilai puluhan juta ringgit antara Anwar dan Karpal.

Kata Azwadin, JMM sudah menyediakan surat rasmi kepada Gabenor BNM Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz untuk membenarkan maklumat akaun bank itu didedahkan kepada umum yang kini hanya memerlukan tandatangan Anwar.

Sebelum ini, JMM akan ke rumah dan akan hadir disetiap lokasi yang dihadiri Anwar bagi mendapatkan tandatangan beliau dalam usaha mencari kebenaran berhubung maklumat akaun-akaun bank itu.


Egyptian court bans Muslim Brotherhood

Posted: 23 Sep 2013 12:40 PM PDT

(Reuters) - An Egyptian court yesterday banned deposed President Mohamed Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood and ordered its funds seized, a crippling strike in the campaign to crush the Islamist movement.

The case was brought by a lawyer from the leftist Tagammu party on the grounds of protecting Egyptians from violence.

It was not stated if he was acting at the instigation of the army-backed government, which is mounting one of the fiercest crackdowns against the group in decades.

"The court bans the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood organization and its non-governmental organization and all the activities that it participates in and any organization derived from it," presiding Judge Mohammed al-Sayed said in a ruling.

He also ordered the government to seize the Brotherhood's funds and administer its frozen assets.

The ruling did not specifically mention the Brotherhood's political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party.

But the state news agency quoted Freedom and Justice Party spokesman Hamza Zawbaa as saying the party rejected the ruling and would appeal.

"What is happening to the Brotherhood translates to a return of the police state after having removed it through the January 25 revolution," he said, describing the revolt that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

In Washington, a US State Department spokeswoman said it was unclear how the decision would be implemented and the Obama administration was seeking more information.

Spokeswoman Jen Psaki reiterated that the United States wanted to see an inclusive political process involving all Egyptians and leading to a return to democratic, civilian rule.

"All parties should avoid steps that would undermine this process," she said.

The Brotherhood has seen hundreds of its members killed and thousands arrested since the army overthrew Mursi in July.

The ruling may force the Brotherhood to go underground, especially as public support for it has dropped.

The court's decision also raises the possibility that some Brotherhood members will lose faith in peaceful resistance and take up arms against the government.

"How the Brotherhood responds to this verdict depends on the individual decisions of rank-and-file members, because the broader structure has largely ceased to function," said Eric Trager, an expert on the Muslim Brotherhood at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Mohamed Beshr, a senior Brotherhood official, said the ruling would not impede the search for a political solution to Egypt's crisis.

"We want a state based on laws and institutions and we seek judicial independence far from politics. But what took place in today's ruling is against what we seek," he told the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice online portal.

The authorities, meanwhile, kept up the pressure on the Brotherhood, arresting Ahmed Fahmy, the former head of the upper house of parliament under Mursi, according to state-run Al-Ahram newspaper.

The Brotherhood emerged from the shadows to win parliamentary and presidential elections after Mubarak was overthrown. But many Egyptians became disillusioned with Mursi after he gave himself sweeping powers and mismanaged the economy, taking to the streets in protest and prompting the army move.

Following Mursi's overthrow, the Brotherhood organized rallies demanding his reinstatement, bringing on the fiercest campaign against it by security forces in decades.

The government accuses the Brotherhood of inciting violence and terrorism and has put forward its own plan for new elections. Egypt's state and private media now portray the Brotherhood as a terrorist group and an enemy of the state.


Security forces killed hundreds of its supporters in raids on their Cairo protest camps in August and rounded up thousands more, including many leaders, among them Mursi.

Brotherhood veterans said it is increasingly difficult to persuade young members, who are likely to be infuriated by the court decision, to resist using force against the state.

Human rights activist Gamal Eid questioned the wisdom of the court's decision, saying it could backfire.

"With an eye to the future, you will see the ruling is wrong. It will make them work in the darkness," he said on social media. "It will make the Brotherhood continue practicing violence and hate speeches."

The Brotherhood has proven resilient throughout its 85-year history.

Egypt's army rulers formally dissolved the Brotherhood in 1954 and its has survived repression under various strongmen, relying on its funds and social charity networks to become the country's biggest political party.

Operating those networks, which made the group popular over past decades, may prove to be impossible now given the court's ruling.

Attacks by militants have risen since the army overthrew Mursi. Most of the violence has taken place in the Sinai Peninsula near the border with Israel and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. The army has responded with air and ground attacks.

A failed suicide bombing against the interior minister on September 5 and attacks on police in Cairo have raised fears that militant violence is taking hold beyond the Sinai.

Last week, Egyptian security forces stormed the town of Kerdasa near Cairo to flush out armed Mursi supporters. 


Sybil Kathigasu and Chin Peng: Imperialism and Umnoputra

Posted: 22 Sep 2013 08:36 PM PDT

MPAJA logo 

No Dram of Mercy, written by a person of known integrity, powerfully laid out how the Japanese targeted the Malayan Chinese community and how this drove the Chinese into the jungles to collaborate with the Communists against the Japanese.


A week prior to the death of Chin Peng on 16 September 2013 in Bangkok, I finished reading No Dram of Mercy, a book by Malayan World War II civilian heroine Sybil Kathigasu.

I felt something important was missing from the book and the articles I read about the Kathigasus'. Chin Peng's death helped me see more clearly.

Perhaps I can rest now.

In this (long) essay, I have selected some content from No Dram of Mercy, which was completed in or before 1949, but released only in 1954.

Most who have written about the Kathigasus' emphasize the medical side of the story – their clinics in No. 141 Brewster Road, Ipoh and in No. 74 Main Street, Papan; their 'chance' evacuation to Papan; the causes and descriptions of Sybil's injuries.

Since the clinics, evacuation and injuries are well covered by others, I have omitted discussion of them.

The content I have selected is mainly designed to serve my goal which is to suggest reasons why publication of No Dram of Mercy was delayed.

I propose that the same reasons account for Umno's refusal to recognize Chin Peng, the well-recognized leader of the long defunct Communist Party of Malaya, and Umno's belligerent prevention of the return of Chin Peng's ashes to his homeland, Malaysia.

First, some similarities between Sybil Kathigasu and Chin Peng.

Similarities between Sybil and Chin Peng

Sybil is the only Malaysian woman ever to be awarded the George Medal, Britain's highest civilian award for bravery. Chin Peng was the recipient of two British military medals for his role during World War II, and later the civilian OBE (Order of the British Empire) award.

Both Sybil and Chin Peng were heavily engaged in resisting the Japanese.

Both Sybil and Chin Peng were denied access to the public at key moments of their lives.

Read more at: 

Humanitarian crisis in Sarawak as dam empoundment destroys Penan villages - Long Watt burned ...

Posted: 22 Sep 2013 08:30 PM PDT 

We have also been informed that the Penan village of Long Watt has burnt down in a case of suspected arson by Sarawak Energy workers. The communities are also reporting the loss of a number of boats due to the flooding of the dam impoundment. An estimated 1500 Penan and 80 Kenyah natives will lose their homes due to the Murum dam impoundment which will flood 24,500 hectares of their lands and forests.

Bruno Manser Fonds 

We have just received the sad news from Sarawak, Malaysia, that the state's electricity monopolist, Sarawak Energy, has started the impoundment of the 944 MW Murum dam in Sarawak without prior notice given to the six Penan villages of Long Wat, Long Luar, Long Tangau, Long Menapa, Long Singu and Long Malim. According to community sources contacted by Sarawak's SAVE Rivers network, the outlet river diversion tunnel has been closed on Saturday night. More than 100 Penan are currently protesting at the dam site. 

We have also been informed that the Penan village of Long Watt has burnt down in a case of suspected arson by Sarawak Energy workers. The communities are also reporting the loss of a number of boats due to the flooding of the dam impoundment. An estimated 1500 Penan and 80 Kenyah natives will lose their homes due to the Murum dam impoundment which will flood 24,500 hectares of their lands and forests.

The Bruno Manser Fund calls on the UN Special Rapporteur for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, to urgently intervene with the Malaysian government and to ask for an immediate stop of the Murum dam impoundment. The international community is urged to pressure the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to put an end to the humanitarian crisis in Sarawak and to properly address all outstanding resettlement issues with the affected indigenous communities.

The Murum dam construction is the first of a series of twelve dams planned by the Sarawak state government in an unprecedented mega dam construction program affecting tens of thousands of indigenous people in the Borneo rainforest. Alone the planned Baram dam, whose construction is about to start after the completion of the Murum dam, is estimated to cause the forced displacement of 20'000 people. Hundreds of square miles of tropical rainforests and biodiverse native farmlands are threatened to be flooded

The Murum dam construction history is connected to a series of scandals that are hard to imagine anywhere in the world outside Sarawak. The dam construction was started under a cloud of secrecy even before the realization of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and a social impact study. Most public contracts within the dam project were given to companies linked to the family of Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, such as construction conglomerates Naim Cendera, Cahya Mata Sarawak and power transmittor Sarawak Cable. 

The construction of Murum dam would not have been possible without support from Western engineers and managers. Hydro Tasmania, a state-owned Australian power supplier, seconded engineer Andrew Pattle to direct the Murum dam construction. Torstein Dale Sjotveit, a Norwegian national, oversees the dam construction in his role as CEO of Sarawak Energy. Sjotveit has repeatedly been accused of supporting the Taib family's corrupt practicves and has been reported to Malaysia's Anti Corruption Commission MACC by local activists. The Bruno Manser Fund will hold Western companies, engineers and managers responsible for their role in the Sarawak government's human rights violations related to the dam projects

Anwar knew about illegals issue – Dompok

Posted: 22 Sep 2013 04:16 PM PDT

When we applied to join Barisan Nasional, the first person (I spoke to) was Anwar. One of the things I mentioned to him was that one of the issues we were looking to be addressed was the illegal immigration.

(Borneo Post) - UPKO president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok has taken former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to task for claiming that he did not have much information about the illegal immigrants issue during his tenure in office.

"It is very fresh in my mind in 1994 when we applied to join Barisan Nasional, the first person (I spoke to) was Anwar. One of the things I mentioned to him was that one of the issues we (then PDS) were looking to be addressed was the illegal immigration.

"He knows it and as parliament at that time was re-delineating  electoral boundaries, Anwar said: 'There is nothing much the federal government can do about this right now but we can see what can be done later on.'

"So he is aware that we are concerned about it. Maybe he has forgotten? It's a long time already… people get older and they forget things," Dompok said after officiating UPKO Beaufort's triennial general meeting here on Friday.

The former federal minister said this when asked to comment on Anwar's testimony at the Royal Commission of Inquiry on the presence of illegal immigrants in Sabah where the latter said: "As I said there was no credible evidence then … I have never seen documents of this nature at that time where information such as names and IC numbers were compiled together."

Anwar told the Commission when the illegal immigrants issue was raised in parliament then, the standard replies from the Home Affairs Ministry would be: 'Yes we are dealing with it', 'No, the allegations as to the huge number of illegal immigrants in Sabah are not true.'

When Commission chairman Tan Sri Steve Shim asked why the issue was never raised and discussed in Cabinet then, Anwar said: "Probably the Sabah ministers in the cabinet then were satisfied with the explanation of the Home Ministry.'

When asked for his opinion on Anwar's statement that revoking the citizenship of those who had obtained it illegally would render them stateless and they would be stuck in Malaysia as their country of origin does not recognize and therefore will not accept them back, Dompok pointed out that what was important was to sort out the issue.

According to him the first on the list was to do the correct thing and that is to revoke anything that was issued fraudulently.

"The first thing we do is to do the correct thing, if somebody has been given something illegally then that has to be corrected first and then we move to the next step and figure out what do we do with them as there must be a solution for this.

"We must first ensure that the process of law is carried out properly and with full compliance of the existing laws. We are talking about integrity of the nation, of our laws. How can we have a country boasting of 50 years of nationhood not being able to address the issue of legality?" he stressed.

On Anwar's claim that there was no credible evidence at that time on the issue for the federal government to initiate action, Dompok said: "That is why I said, let's reset the policies. This is the time, the second half of the century and we must do so.

"This is the time we do it and this is what UPKO wants to do," he stressed.

Mazlan not apologising for mystery letter

Posted: 22 Sep 2013 03:42 PM PDT

(Bernama) - Former Barisan Nasional candidate for the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat Dr Mazlan Ismail has no intention of entertaining the notice for apology filed by opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and DAP chairman Karpal Singh over the mystery letter involving them.

Describing the notice as illogical he said: "I'm puzzled as to why I have received this letter dated Sept 5 last week regarding the mystery letter on bank leaks."

"I've repeatedly stressed that I only wanted an explanation from the two of them. The almost 6,000 voters in Permatang Pauh whom I represent received the letter too and have asked me to seek clarification," he told a press conference here today.  

"Anwar and Karpal's action reflects their double standards, when they speak of integrity, transparency and justice. I have handed over all the letters to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission for further action," he added.  

In August, Mazlan announced that about 6,000 letters titled 'Bank leaks Anwar/Karpal' were sent to his house linking the leaders with a corruption case involving the judiciary and Attorney-General Chambers.  

But Anwar and Karpal denied the contents of the letter and lodged police reports to initiate an investigation into the matter. 

First day back, Kit Siang targets new Bumi agenda, says only for Umnoputras

Posted: 22 Sep 2013 03:35 PM PDT

Jennifer Gomez, TMI

DAP national adviser Lim Kit Siang (pic) fired the first salvo when Parliament's new session began today, saying that the government transformation programmes had failed and that the new Bumiputera agenda went against the grain of the New Economic Model which hinged on merit and not based on race.

He said this after Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Razali Ibrahim responded to a question from Lenggong Member of Parliament Datuk Shamsul Anuar Nasarah to state the achievements of the transformation programmes.

Lim pointed out that the new Bumiputera agenda only benefitted a select few "Umnoputras" when there were many other Bumiputeras and non-Bumis who lived below the poverty line and needed government assistance.

"Isn't this evidence that the government programmes have failed?" Lim, the Gelang Patah MP, asked.

He questioned whether Umno leaders were willing to pledge that they were Malaysian first and Malay second.

Razali replied that Lim just wanted to see the transformation programmes fail, adding that they were not about politics but helping the needy.

"Malay Bumiputeras make up 68% of the population but only have about 40% equity stake. For the sake of stability, the government needs to help them increase this equity and we hope to achieve this through the Bumiputera agenda," he said.


Dr Mazlan chides Anwar, Karpal for serving lawyer's notice

Posted: 22 Sep 2013 03:21 PM PDT

(NST) - Former Barisan Nasional candidate for Permatang Pauh, Dr Mazlan Ismail, chided opposition figures Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Karpal Singh for serving him a lawyer's notice on the 6,000 letters sent to his house last month.

Calling their act ridiculous, Mazlan said he was merely asking them to explain over the alleged claims made in the letter.

"I was merely raising it as a responsible person. I asked for an explanation from them on the matter, and they are suing me for that?

"These two are practicing double standards, while they preach their transparency ideals," he said in a press conference here at his residence in Kubang Ulu, Penanti here.

Mazlan said he received four letters from Karpal Singh & Co., demanding him to issue an apology on NST and Utusan Malaysia over the reports.

Mazlan revealed the letters at a press conference here last month, which contained allegations involving Anwar and Karpal.

The eight-page letter included copies of saving account numbers of various banks allegedly belonging to Anwar and some payment made to Karpal via cheques  since 2008.

In response to the matter, Karpal had refuted the allegations and had warned Mazlan that 'he should prepare for the consequences'.

People's Tribunal wraps up

Posted: 22 Sep 2013 03:12 PM PDT

(The Star) - The final day of People's Tribunal examining the 13th General elections closed Sunday with the head of the legal team Professor Gurdial Singh Nijar due to present his closing statement on Friday (Sept 27).

The panel, consisting of three Malaysians and two foreigners, will be presenting their final reports and proposals as to the improvement of the current election system in three months time.

During the five-day tribunal, Malaysians from all walks of life gave their testimony during the elections, which they felt were illegal or was not right in some ways..

Independent elections watch dogs such as Bersih, Pemantau and Merdeka Centre, as well as political leaders gave their statements and evidences.

Allegations of money politics, bribery, extortion, the lack of credibility of the Elections Commission, flawed electoral system, refusal to submit Form 14 and even murder were among the allegations that were floated during the tribunal.

Pakatan Rakyat leaders including Pantai Dalam MP Nurul Izzah, Klang MP Charles Santiago,  PKR vice-president Chua Tian Chang,  Kuala Selangor PAS candidate Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad and several other Pakatan Rakyat candidates also made their statements during the tribunal.

The tribunal attracted negative comments from many, including the Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail and Barisan Nasional Secretary-General Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.

The AG criticised Bersih chairman Datuk S. Ambiga for organising a tribunal that did not have any legal standings and called the whole thing a publicity stunt. 

Those testifying at the tribunal were also warned of legal repercussions as the statements could be constituted as seditious.

Tengku Adnan, in response to  Bersih's invitation to attend the tribunal and present Barisan Nasional's grouses and evidence, said that he will not attend a tribunal by 'unclean' Bersih.

He alleged that the Bersih brought in foreign voters during to Putrajaya during the general elections to pose as voters.

In response to his allegations, Ambiga said "Does this mean that they admit that there were foreigners that voted during the elections?"

The final day of the tribunal brought some more surprising claims such as that of National Oversight & Whistleblower Centre (NOW) directors Akmal Nasir's allegation that some 24 Elections Commission (EC) officers made a police report against their returning officers for forcing them to hand over their ballot papers in exchange of RM200.

NOW is an organisation formed by Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli, who is also Parti Kedilan Rakyat strategic director.

When questioned if the reports were part of the petition filed by the opposition, Akmal said no, as the party decided to only file petitions for the seats that they lost by small margin.

"Does this mean that your party does not care about elections irregularities but only that they won?" the panel questioned.

Besides the Elections Commissions (EC) and political parties, the role of the media was also questioned, with Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) presenting their report on what they said was biased reporting by the mainstream media, especially.

A heated argument erupted between the final witness, Ambiga and penal member Datuk Azzat Kamaludin, when the latter suggested that the duty to keep the elections fair and clean did not just fall on EC.

He insinuated that Malaysians, especially elected representatives, should do their pars to ensure that the whole process is credible, to which Ambiga strongly disagreed.

"As far as I am concerned  it is EC's duty alone. People will not have to be vigilant if they do their job with honesty and sincerity, " she said.

During his closing speech, panel chairperson Professor Yash Pal Ghai, an expert in constitutional law, commended the organising committee on a successful programme and said that the experience will be an inspiration to many other countries.

"I am sure other countries will benefit from this. You have given us much to think about," he said at the end of the tribunal.

He added that the citizens of a country are ultimately the custodians of democracy and human rights and as such he was happy to have been a part of the tribunal.

The other panel members who made up the tribunal were former Indonesian electoral commission deputy chairman Ramlan Surbakti, advocate and solicitor Datuk Azzat Kamaludin, University Malaya Economics and Administrative faculty associate professor Dr Mavis Puthucheary and Councils of Churches of Malaysia General secretary Rev Hermen Shastri.

It will be interesting to see the conclusion that the panel makes. For all that the testimony was one-sided testimonials, there was some evidence that appeared to be convincing.

What was clear at the end of the tribunal was the lack of trust that many Malaysians have in the electoral system and that there are many loopholes that have to be addressed.


Presiden Umno: Kenapa Ku Li tak jadi bertanding?

Posted: 22 Sep 2013 03:06 PM PDT

Tindakan Ku Li itu amat bijak kerana beliau tahu bukan mudah untuk menawan 146,000 orang perwakilan dalam pemilihan Umno pada 19 Oktober depan.

Zabidi Saidi, FMT

Sabtu lalu, 21 September, ramai menunggu ketibaan wakil ahli parlimen Gua Musang, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah menghantar borang pencalonan bagi jawatan Presiden Umno di PWTC.

Tetapi sampai jam 5 petang, wakil Ku Li tidak datang menandakan Ku Li yang dihebohkan sebelum ini akan bertanding jawatan Presiden Umno tidak jadi berbuat demikian.

Menurut pemerhati politik, tindakan Ku Li itu amat bijak kerana beliau tahu bukan mudah untuk menawan 146,000 orang perwakilan dalam pemilihan Umno pada 19 Oktober depan. Kalau perwakilan masih 2,600 orang mungkin Ku Li mencabar Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Sabtu lepas, Najib dan Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin diumumkan menang tanpa bertanding bagi jawatan Presiden dan Timbalan Presiden Umno buat penggal kedua.

Jadi Ku Li tak mahu buang duit dan buang masa. Buat apa beliau habiskan duit (untuk jenteranya) kerana belum tentu perwakilan akan mengundinya setelah "dikepung" oleh semua perhubungan Umno negeri yang mahu kepimpinan Najib-Muhyiddin dikekalkan buat penggal kedua.

Ku Li yang seangkatan dengan Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Tun Ghafar Baba dan Tun Musa Hitam akhirnya mengakui bahawa beliau tidak lagi relevan dalam Umno.


Malah jawatan Ketua Umno Bahagian Gua Musang yang disandangnya sejak 51 tahun lalu dicabar Ketua Pemuda Bahagian, Datuk Bazlan Baharuddin.Sebelum ini Ku Li sudah umum tidak mahu bertanding jawatan Ketua Bahagian tetapi beliau didesak akar umbi agar mempertahankan jawatan.

Memang mustahil Ku Li kalah tapi undi yang dipungut Bazlan akan menunjukkan kepimpinan Ku Li sudah tidak diterima sepenuhnya ahli Umno Gua Musang. Ia tentu memalukan Ku Li yang selama ini dianggap sebagai arkitek pembangunan Gua Musang.

Kalau di peringkat bahagian, sokongan penuh kepadanya sudah tidak jitu, mana mungkin beliau mahu mencabar jawatan Presiden Umno? Inilah yang difikirkan Ku Li semasak-masaknya.

Kali pertama dan terakhir beliau bertanding jawatan Presiden Umno ialah pada 24 April 1987. Beliau mendapat 37 pencalonan tetapi kalah tipis di tangan Dr Mahathir yang menang dengan majoriti 43 undi. Kekalahan itu menyebabkan penyokongnya mengheret kes itu ke mahkamah yang menyebabkan Umno dibatalkan pendaftarannya pada tahun 5 Februari 1988.

Ku Li tidak dibenarkan menyertai Umno (baru) oleh Dr Mahathir pada tahun 1988 setelah Umno (baru) dihidupkan. Ini menyebabkan beliau menyertai Semangat 46 untuk memulihkan Umno lama.


Dua kali Semangat 46 bergabung dengan DAP dan PAS untuk menjatuhkan BN dalam dua pilihanraya umum 1990 dan 1995, akhirnya Ku Li membubarkan parti itu pada tahun 1996 setelah rakyat menolak mereka dan tetap bersama BN.

Ku Li menyertai semula Umno pada tahun 1996.Pada tahun 1996, beliau cuba bertanding kerusi Naib Presiden Umno tetapi disekat kerana tidak cukup kuota (15 pencalonan).

Pada tahun 2000, beliau cuba bertanding kerusi Timbalan Presiden Umno menentang Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (Pak Lah) tetapi tidak cukup kuota. Pada tahun 2004, beliau cuba bertanding kerusi Presiden menentang Pak lah tapi gagal mendapat kuota juga.

Pada tahun 2008, beliau juga mahu menentang Pak Lah yang akhirnya Pak Lah berundur tetapi tidak cukup kuota untuk menentang Najib. Pada tahun 2013, Najib sudah menghapuskan kuota tetapi semua Pengerusi Perhubungan negeri memutuskan jawatan Presiden dan Timbalan Presiden Umno tidak dipertandingkan, maka "kepungan" mereka menyukarkan peluang Ku Li untuk menang. Apatah lagi bilangan perwakilan bertambah dari 2,600 orang kepada 146,000 orang.

Jadi Ku Li fikir sebaik-baiknya tak payahlah beliau bertanding jawatan Presiden Umno. Buang masa dan buang duit sahaja. Najib bukan seangkatan dengannya.

Kalau bekas Menteri Pembangunan Luar Bandar, Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib masih dalam Umno, mungkin Mat Taib yang layak menentang Najib kerana beliau seangkatan dengan Najib dan Muhyiddin menjadi Naib Presiden Umno pada tahun 1993.



Thank you, now move on

Posted: 22 Sep 2013 02:58 PM PDT

All the silly political ding-dong on the matter like arguing about the ashes of Chin Peng, gives Communism too much undeserved attention. In fact, the government's stubborn refusal to let Chin Peng be buried in Malaysia gives Communism too much sympathy.

Hafiz Noor Shams, MM

A good dozen issues is holding Malaysia back. Several big ones are legacies originating from days long gone.

While we can never truly escape history, I feel it is dragging us down too much. So heavy is the baggage that sometimes, I feel the best way to move forward is to forget.

I write this because Chin Peng died on Malaysia Day. He fought for a very different version of Malaysia, possibly the very opposite of what we have today.

That makes the date of his death quite ironic, although it is arguable that his struggle hastened the independence of Malaya and later the formation of Malaysia.

We can never truly know how it would have been if he had his way. But, if offered the choice between a Communist state and today's Malaysia, I will choose today's reality—even with its lamentable imperfections—without hesitation.

That does not mean the imperfections afflicting Malaysia today are acceptable. We can live in a society that is better than what we have today. That has to be true because otherwise we must have given up on this country.

One imperfection comes from the very era Chin Peng and his generation represent. The fight against the Communist rebellion took a toll on our way of life.

We sacrificed our liberty for security then. Unfortunately years after the conflict ended, we continue to make the same sacrifices when none is needed. Instruments useful for the fight against the Communists have been abused to suppress other Malaysians.

There has been progress, like the abolition of the Internal Security Act, but the opening is happening too slowly for my liking. The promise of more liberalization remains unfulfilled, no thanks to pressure from those still unable or refuse to move on.

I hope the death of Chin Peng – and slowly, his generation regardless the sides they are on – brightens the prospect of us forgetting old fears that are increasingly irrelevant to this age. I use the word irrelevant not to deny old wounds. The wounds are real and I respect that.

I write so because when you look all around you, you will not expect a Communist to shoot you. Communism itself does not deserve the attention it receives in Malaysia today.

All the silly political ding-dong on the matter like arguing about the ashes of Chin Peng, gives Communism too much undeserved attention. In fact, the government's stubborn refusal to let Chin Peng be buried in Malaysia gives Communism too much sympathy.

As that generation slowly fades, my hope is that we can finally take a step forward and leave all the old baggage behind. I hope that the memories of past terrors and the rationale for illiberal laws that we have now will go away with that generation too bitter to move on. I believe only when they are gone will we have a freer hand to write our future.

The era of Communist insurrection is not the only legacy issue bedeviling our modern Malaysia. There is a whole set too long for a comprehensive mention. Some people are blaming the British for Malaysian woes half a century later. What is certain is that these issues are in our collective mind, no thanks to that generation which keeps reminding us of their bitterness and insecurity.

The world changes but they do not. It would be okay if they had kept their old worldviews to themselves as they enjoy their retirement. The problem is that leaders of that generation are still pulling strings.

They are Malaysians too and they deserve a place under the sun but sometimes, they influence too strongly, as Lee Kuan Yew has done in Singapore years after his retirement.

This makes efforts by current leaders, whichever side they are on, to move on more difficult than it should. Former Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi knows what it feels like when Prime Minister Najib Razak comes under unrelenting pressure as the Umno election nears.

But Chin Peng reminds us all that we are mortals. It is just a matter of when.

That generation will be missed. But we need to move on.


PAS member pays respects to Chin Peng in Bangkok

Posted: 22 Sep 2013 02:53 PM PDT

Lee Shi-Ian, TMI

Kedah PAS leader Fadzil Baharom was a late visitor to Chin Peng's wake this evening, arriving at the Wat That Thong temple in Bangkok about 7pm together with several friends to pay his respects to the former Communist Party of Malaya secretary-general.

When met at the wake, Fadzil stressed that he was not representing PAS or PKR but was there in a personal capacity.

Fadzil said he has known members of Chin Peng's family for about five years and felt it was appropriate to attend the wake.

"I will not be staying for Monday's cremation as I have to return to Kedah," Fadzil said, adding that he had long wanted to meet Chin Peng personally but did not have the opportunity.

He said despite the Malaysian government's portrayal of Chin Peng, he considered the latter to be a fighter.

"Malaysia's history has been changed; I am looking for the unvarnished version.

"Even within PAS, not everyone is really familiar with the facts of the nation's history and how events actually panned out," Fadzil said.

"Although my presence here today is nothing great, I am sure in five or 10 years it will be seen as a historical moment because I dared to attend Chin Peng's wake," Fadzil said jovially.

He also pointed out that following Chin Peng's death on Monday, many people had been circulating old stories and reports about the 88-year-old on the Internet.



Zahid insists on blocking return of Chin Peng’s ashes

Posted: 22 Sep 2013 02:44 PM PDT

Boo Su-Lyn, MM

With Chin Peng due to be cremated today, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has maintained that Putrajaya will prevent the former communist leader's remains from being brought back to Malaysia, despite pleas from MCA and Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

In a report by Umno-aligned daily Utusan Malaysia today, the home minister repeated Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's remark that the former communist leader was not a citizen here, and added that his burial here would lead to his veneration.

"The reason is because he was not a Malaysian citizen, based on information from the National Registration Department. Of course we also know that, if his remains or ashes are brought back, there will be people who will glorify him as an independence fighter or create a memorial," Zahid was quoted as saying by the Malay-language newspaper.

"We are firm in our stand. Like what the prime minister said, Chin Peng cannot enter Malaysia."

The home minister said that such actions would hurt the feelings of war veterans and family members who had suffered under "the cruelty of Chin Peng and the communists".

Najib said last Friday that the 1989 Hat Yai Peace Accord - which allowed Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) members to return to their homeland if they laid down their arms - required those who agreed to the terms to apply for citizenship within one year of signing the agreement.

He claimed that Chin Peng, the former CPM secretary-general, had refused to do so and thus, had relinquished his rights.

But MCA, PR and even former Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Mohd Noor have told the federal government to respect the three-way peace treaty signed between Malaysia, Thailand and the CPM.

Abdul Rahim - who had led the peace negotiations between Malaysia and the CPM in the late 1980s as the Special Branch director then - said recently Malaysia would become the world's laughing stock if Putrajaya insisted on prohibiting Chin Peng's remains from being buried in his home country here.

Lawyers have also said that there is no specific law that the federal government can use to bar Chin Peng's ashes from being brought into Malaysia.

Chin Peng, 88, died in a hospital in Bangkok, Thailand on September 16, where he had been living in exile before his death.


Chin Peng’s kin rubbish claim date of death was doctored

Posted: 22 Sep 2013 02:38 PM PDT

Boo Su-Lyn, MM

Chin Peng's family has denied that the former communist leader's date of death was manipulated to coincide with Malaysia Day.

English daily The Star reported Chin Peng's nephew, Lee Suvit, today as saying that Chin Peng was certified dead at 6.20am on September 16 at a hospital in Bangkok, Thailand.

"We don't wish to respond to such lies, but I can tell you for certain that my uncle died on the morning of September 16," Lee was quoted as saying on the third day of the wake yesterday.

Mingguan Malaysia, the weekend edition of Utusan Malaysia, quoted an anonymous source yesterday as saying that Chin Peng had breathed his last on September 15 in Bangkok, Thailand, and not September 16 as reported.

The Umno-aligned Malay broadsheet further alleged that Chin Peng's date of death on the 50th anniversary of Malaysia Day had been faked to make his passing a memorable event.

In response, the MCA yesterday told Utusan to respect the dead instead of making baseless allegations that could hurt the feelings of Chin Peng's family.

News of Chin Peng's death first broke on Bangkok Post on September 16, with the Thai news portal reporting that he was pronounced dead at 6.20 am and that he had died of old age in a Bangkok hospital.

Chin Peng, whose real name was Ong Boon Hua, was 88 years old when he died reportedly of old age, after spending his final years in exile in Bangkok.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi reportedly insisted yesterday on prohibiting the former Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) secretary-general's ashes from being interred in his hometown in Sitiawan, Perak.

Zahid was reported by Utusan as insisting that Chin Peng was not a Malaysian citizen, and that allowing his remains into the country would hurt the feelings of war veterans and families who had suffered in the violence perpetrated by the communists.

The MCA, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and even former Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Mohd Noor have told the federal government to respect the 1989 Hat Yai Peace Accord signed between Malaysia, Thailand and the CPM that allowed CPM members, who laid down their arms, to return to their homeland.

Lawyers have also said that there is no specific law that Putrajaya can use to prohibit Chin Peng's ashes from being brought into Malaysia.

Lee said that Chin Peng's family would not smuggle the ashes into Malaysia, pointing out that his uncle was a leader of dignity and that his remains would be treated accordingly with respect.

"We will not use the back door to send him back to his homeland," he was quoted as saying by The Star.

Chin Peng's nephew added that the family did not place any personal belongings in Chin Peng's casket, saying: "He was a simple man and nothing material was precious to him.

"What he cared about was the future, so what he wants to leave behind, he has left behind."

Chin Peng will be cremated in Bangkok today.


Najib’s Leadership Deficiencies Undermine Malaysia’s Future

Posted: 22 Sep 2013 01:34 PM PDT 

All his adult years Najib has depended entirely on government paychecks. No surprise then that his worldview is narrowly circumscribed. His solution to every problem is to distribute government checks, well exemplified by his many "1-Malaysia" handouts. His recent Majlis Ekonomi Bumiputra was no exception; likewise its hefty price tag. 

M. Bakri Musa 

Najib's glaring leadership deficiencies have now been glaringly exposed. Malaysia deserves better. His performance has not been up to par even when compared to his lackluster predecessor. If under Abdullah Badawi Malaysia had the modernity of Manhattan but the mentality of Mogadishu, under Najib, Malaysia risks degenerating, period.

Najib is not terribly bright or introspective. Like a little child, he always hungers for approval. He is also severely "charismatically-challenged." A leader could survive or even thrive despite having one or two of these flaws, but to be cursed with all three is fatal.

All his adult years Najib has depended entirely on government paychecks. No surprise then that his worldview is narrowly circumscribed. His solution to every problem is to distribute government checks, well exemplified by his many "1-Malaysia" handouts. His recent Majlis Ekonomi Bumiputra was no exception; likewise its hefty price tag.

Not being introspective, Najib does not and never will recognize his shortcomings. Consequently unlike his immediate predecessor, Najib will never resign voluntarily; he would rather destroy his party and country first. If UMNO does not recognize this, it too will go down with him; likewise the country.

A good leader, to paraphrase a hadith, is one who protects his followers from his hands and tongue. Najib does neither. Functionally, he slipped his hands into the pockets of Malaysians when he raised the price of petrol. He wants to do it again with his Goods and Services Tax (GST). Meanwhile his smooth tongue bribes us with his ever-generous "1Malaysia" gifts, using the rakyat's money of course.

While being smart is an obvious asset in a leader, not being one would not necessarily be a handicap. Reagan, one of the most successful American presidents, was far from being brainy. He however, knew his limitations and duly compensated for that; his cabinet was full of intellectual heavyweights and individuals of proven achievements.

Incidentally my comparing him to Reagan, no matter how unfavorably, only feeds Najib's delusion.

Najib thinks he is super smart; he frequently parrots the latest buzz words. It is not just an increase but a quantum leap! It is not just any strategy but a blue ocean one! Meanwhile the ship of state is headed straight to the bottom. He does not appreciate his fundamental problem. You cannot scour the ocean on a leaky sampan with a crew familiar only with the rakit (bamboo raft), and hope to survive.

The embarrassing caliber of Najib's cabinet and advisors reflects his blissful ignorance of his deficiencies. He had over four years to scout for fresh talent, only to end up with the same mediocre core ministers he inherited from his equally dull predecessor. I cringe whenever I hear any pronouncement from them. They are all "half-past six."

Even on the rare occasion when Naijb picked a bright star like Idris Jala, the former chief executive of Shell, the sparkle is gone. It is hard to soar like an eagle when surrounded by turkeys. Idris is reduced to and consumed with making elegant Powerpoint presentations to any willing audience.

Tasked with "transforming" the government (note the bombastic buzz word!), Idris Jala either severely underestimated the enormity of the task or generously overestimated his talent in executing it. He forgot the evident reality that the government of Malaysia is not Shell with respect to size, scope of activities, availability of talent, or any other matrix. The bureaucratic inertia of the civil service pales the physical one of a loaded supertanker.

If Idris had appreciated the enormity of the challenge, or had a wee bit of humility, he would have focused on only one or two areas, and learned from the experience. Once successful, he would have minimal difficulty selling his ideas and initiatives.

If Najib had been introspective, he would have assigned Idris a specific portfolio and then let him do his own "transforming." Idris would then be able to show instead of just merely tell us his managerial capabilities.

Like a skillful carpenter, a good leader knows when and where to deploy his finest tools. Implicit in that observation is that a good leader must first recognize which tools are sharp and which ones are dull, to be discarded. It is precisely this critical insight that Najib is severely lacking.

Najib's second weakness, his hunger for approval, is equally crippling. He tried to ingratiate himself to extremist Malay nationalists by brandishing his kris dipped in tomato sauce, but to no avail. During the last election he had his son utter a few words of Mandarin and gave generous on-the-spot grants to Chinese schools. Likewise, he visited Rome for an audience with the Pope. At home he garlanded himself in that outlandish floral arrangement around his neck while visiting Batu Caves. Voters readily saw through those silly overtures.

Like a spoilt brat who had grown accustomed to being indulged upon, Najib could not accept the harsh rebuke that was the last election. He reacted like the over-pampered kampong kid by sulking; hence his shameful silence during the many recent crises.

Lacking self-awareness, Najib has pretensions of great charisma. If contrast is the essence of art, then his on-stage performance with the South Korean Gangnam Group, Psy, during the last election campaign was truly, well, artistic. If that were his only gig, that would be harmless enough. It was however, mildly funny, even if it was at his expense.

A charismatic leader could at least attract talent to his cause despite lacking competence or not being generously-endowed intellectually. Najib does not attract the best. He confuses endless slogans for substantive efforts, frenetic activities as decisive actions, and sulking withdrawal as deep contemplation.

Take his endless sloganeering. First there was glokal Malay (contraction for global and lokal, Malay bastardization for local). Lacking traction, he shifted to "One Malaysia." Streams of slogans later, it is now "Endless Possibilities!" What's next? Najib is the leader caricatured by Shahnon Ahmad's lead character in his novella, Unggappan.

We must change the nation's sorry trajectory by dispensing with the current leadership. The excuse that there is no one else capable may be solace to Najib but an insult to all Malaysians. Allah would not be so unkind and unjust as to deprive us of our share of leadership talent. To get our rightful due however, we must first stop indulging our present incompetent leaders, beginning with Najib. Only then could we diligently search for better ones.

Malaysia deserves better than to be saddled with Najib Razak. 

Ulama Perempuan

Posted: 22 Sep 2013 12:49 PM PDT

Padahal, ada ustazah yang sewaktu di universiti, mutu kelulusannya jauh lebih tinggi dari sesetengah ustaz yang lulusnya sekadar tahap ala kadar. Akan tetapi, bila selesai pengajian, sesetengah ustaz yang tahap kelulusannya  sekadar cukup makan itu pula yang dengan penuh yakin mengedepankan dirinya atau diangkat sebagai ahli agama yang jadi sumber rujukan banyak pihak.  

Norhayati Kaprawi, The Nut Graph

SESETENGAH orang akan tertoleh dua kali seperti tersalah dengar apabila mendengar perkataan "ulama perempuan". Dua perkataan yang seperti tidak boleh disebutkan seiringan. "Orang perempuan mana boleh jadi ulama. Kan orang lelaki saja boleh," kata sesetengah orang. Ada yang malah menganggapnya sebagai sesuatu yang sangat bertentangan dengan Islam.


Poster  tayangan Ulama Perempuan

Namun, apakah persepsi ini benar? Mengapa wujud persepsi begini? Apakah benar tidak ada ulama wanita dalam sejarah dan tradisi Islam?

Justeru saya ingin mengetengahkan sebuah gerakan "Pengkaderan Ulama Perempuan" di Indonesia melalui dokumentari saya Ulama Perempuan yang ditayangkan pada 20 Sept 2013.  Sebenarnya filem saya masih belum begitu siap, namun saya tayangkan juga sekadar untuk memulakan perbincangan mengenai isu ini.

Ulama perempuan

Apakah lupa bahawa Siti Aisyah r.a. itu juga dianggap sebagai ulama dan mufti. Ramai para sahabat yang bertemu beliau untuk belajar dan meminta nasihat tentang hal-hal agama.  Begitu juga Rabiah Al Adawiyah, ramai ulama-ulama  besar lelaki yang turut berguru dengannya.

Al-Muhaddithat: The Women Scholars in Islam, buku kajian Felo Penyelidik dari Pusat Pengajian Islam Universiti Oxford, Dr Mohammad Akram Nadwi, mengemukakan 8,000 perawi hadith wanita yang selama ini tidak pernah diwar-warkan pada umat Islam, sehingga hampir seluruh umat Islam menyangka bahawa perawi hadith mestilah hanya orang laki-laki saja.

Sekali lagi, seluruh umat Islam seperti terlupa bahawa perawi hadith yang penting dan utama ialah Siti Aisyah r.a.


Al Muhaddithat: The Women Scholars in Islam

Tahukah anda bahawa mengambil air sembahyang itu ialah hasil dari perawian hadith seorang wanita, iaitu Rubiyya Muawidh ibn Afrah?  Menurut Dr Muhammad Akram, Rubiyya merupakan perawi hadith yang hebat, yang banyak dipetik oleh Bukhari, Muslim dan Ibnu Majah.

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