Ahad, 15 September 2013

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Race-based policies pushing away non-Malay voters, MCA says

Posted: 14 Sep 2013 06:40 PM PDT

(MM) - Umno's expansion of pro-Bumiputera policies may pay dividends for the Malay party but this will come at the expense of its non-Malay partners in the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, the MCA said today.

With support from Malaysia's minorities already on the wane in previous two general elections, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek today warned that more race-based affirmative action will only make the uphill task of winning back the section's support even harder.

"Any policy, even if by perception, to sideline non-Bumiputera makes it difficult for non-Bumiputera parties in BN to get support from the non-Bumiputera and this is the dilemma facing MCA, MIC, Gerakan and SUPP.

"That is why DAP will always continue to do well by exploiting this issue to the non-Bumiputera," he told The Malay Mail Online in a phone interview.

Although Dr Chua said he understood Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's motives for the announcement ― to reward the Bumiputera for their support in the general election and appease Umno critics ― and acknowledged the lack of support from non-Malays for BN, he explained that the extension of policies that operate along racial lines will only be detrimental to the country.

"… in the long term, any policy in Malaysia should be based on needs and meritocracy rather than ethnic lines, as it will not be healthy for nation building," he said.

He stressed that even if such policies are based on needs and targeted at lower income groups, the Bumiputera community will still ultimately benefit the most by virtue of them making up 68 per cent of Malaysians.

Separately, MCA Youth chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said government policies should be based on needs and merits, instead of ethnicity, taking aim directly at the slew of additional pro-Bumiputera affirmative action announced yesterday.

"The formulation of any affirmative action policies should benefit all across the board and not just intended to uplift a community from a particular ethnicity," he said in a statement today.

Wee warned that race-based policies will have "far-reaching consequences" if adopted in the long term.

"For our country's policies to achieve absolute equality is probably still a distant ideal but the federal government should at least be fair and reasonable.

"While strengthening the competitiveness of the Malay community, the government should simultaneously focus on the lower classes of all other ethnicities," he said.

Wee pointed out that the prime minister had launched National Key Result Areas (NKRAs) with accompanying Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to boost Malaysia's economy as a whole.

"This concept must be sustained and must not be substituted with race-based performance indicators.

"If the original performance-based initiative is ignored, this will cause competitiveness to be lost and runs counter to its original aims," he said, echoing economists' concerns that the prime minister was sacrificing the country's ability to be competitive, in order to fortify his position in the BN lynchpin.

MIC vice-president Datuk S. K. Devamany, however, was unperturbed by the new Bumiputera agenda unveiled yesterday, saying parts of the New Economic Model (NEM) was applicable to Malaysia's minorities.

"He is empowering the Bumiputera group and will empower the non-Bumis as well, and we expect him as the prime minister to do that and I'm sure he will," he told The Malay Mail Online over the phone.

Devamany also expressed belief that Najib will announce aid and benefits for minority groups when he tables Budget 2014 on October 25.

"For me, the manifestation of the budget will be a more balanced view of the nation's expenditure," he said.

"We want to know what the prime minister has for other races as well."

Najib yesterday unveiled a revamped NEM that is set to offer the Bumiputera community access to over RM30 billion in loans, aid and contracts in a move that political observers say was taken with an eye on the upcoming Umno party election. 


Independence pact safeguards Malay, Bumiputeras

Posted: 14 Sep 2013 06:37 PM PDT

(Bernama) - Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, who upholds the seven 'Wills' of the nine Malay Rulers, said the 'Wills' are very clear and cannot be disputed.

"The Wills are very clear," said Najib, who is also Umno president, when announcing measures to empower Bumiputeras' economy yesterday.

In pursuing Bumiputeras' interests and their unending struggles, Najib quoted the seven Wills governing the independence agreement to establish a federation.

Najib said the 'Will' states the equity and ownership of the Malays and was later expanded to the Bumiputeras with the joining of Sabah and Sarawak when Malaysia was formed 50 years ago.

Najib, who is also the Finance Minister, announced five main strategies to empower Bumiputeras economy, covering human capital, equity ownership, non-finance asset ownership, entrepreneurship and service delivery.

The Bumiputeras, who made up 67.9 per cent of the 27.4 million Malaysia's population, must be the core of the national agenda and cannot be denied by anyone, Najib said.

"Hence, any national initiative that does not take into account or ignore the Malays or Bumiputera agenda is unfair and unjust," he said.

Najib said since independence all planning and economic policies for the Malays and Bumiputeras by the government were drawn up based on the racial composition of the plural society.

"In principle, this practice has been accepted as a social contract all this while by all Malaysians as was agreed to by our founding fathers of this nation.

"They were protected by the Federal Constitution," he added.

Najib also touched on the Malaysia Day celebrations in Sabah and Sarawak on Monday, Sept 16.

"Day after tomorrow (Sept 16), with the permission of God, we'll celebrate our country's 50th annivesary, Malaysia's Golden Jubilee celebrations.

"God willing, I will attend the celebrations in Kuching and Kota Kinabalu," he said.

Najib said the joining of Sabah and Sarawak to form Malaysia was "something we should to grateful to God."

"Since the country attained independenc on Aug 31, 1957, the people have been living in harmony and united. Sabah and Sarawak joined Peninsular Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963, to form Malaysia.

"Praise be to God, with Sabah and Sarawak becoming part of Malaysia, has brought millions of blessings to our beloved nation, he said.

Najib said Malaysia has been recognised as 30th most peaceful and stable nation in the world with multiracial Malaysians living in harmony.

"That's how significant and unique Malaysia is," he added. 


DAP man concurs Pemantau’s findings of no foreign voters, blackouts

Posted: 14 Sep 2013 06:29 PM PDT

A DAP leader concurs with Pemantau's finding that there were no incidences of foreign voters or power failure at polling stations during GE13. 

Lisa J. Ariffin, FMT

DAP Election Strategist Ong Kian Ming today concurred with citizen monitoring group Pemantau's findings that there were no incidences of Bangladeshi voters or power blackouts at the polling centres under its observation during the 13th general election.

Ong told FMT today that he was not aware of any foreign voters or blackouts during the national polls in May, but said his party has yet to issue an official stand on the issue.

When asked to comment on Pemantau's findings, he said: "As far as I know, there were no foreign voters and blackouts so I concur with their view."

Ong, however, would not comment on the other areas and added that, "there were no such incidences in my constituency."

Previously, Pemantau reportedly said it did not find irregularities such as power failures and foreign voters in the 87 parliamentary seats that it observed.

"There are reports which say Bentong (constituency) suffered a blackout (during the counting of ballots). When I checked with my colleagues, I was told there was no blackout," he said, adding that this supported Pemantau's findings.

Ong had avoided the question of Pakatan Rakyat supremo Anwar Ibrahim's claim that there were certain documents that proved there were Bangladeshis, Filipinos and Indonesians who were brought in by Barisan Nasional as voters.

Cheating, but not in the form of foreign voters or blackouts

Meanwhile, a PAS leader who refused to be named told FMT that cheating had "definitely" occurred during GE13, but "not through foreign voters or blackouts."

"It would have been very difficult to cheat using foreign voters and blackouts. They cheated through other ways such as (using) an electoral role which is not clean, and through ballot counting," he said without elaborating.

On Friday, Bersih steering committee member Maria Chin Abdullah confirmed that there was no power failure when asked if observers had witnessed any blackouts as alleged by Pakatan Rakyat as well as numerous commentators on the social media after the GE.

She also told FMT that: "We also didn't know about these foreign voters. There were several reports of that but we didn't see any."



Khairy aims to make Umno Youth more centrist

Posted: 14 Sep 2013 01:29 PM PDT


(The Star) - Khairy Jamaluddin, who looks set to be returned unopposed as Umno Youth chief, will use his second term to cultivate a more centrist approach for the wing that has traditionally been a pressure group.

He said that being vocal in expressing right-wing sentiment in defending the interests of the party was no longer appropriate.

"I am trying to change the DNA of Umno Youth from being mostly right-wing and Malay-centric to a more centrist wing that focuses on issues and their solutions," Khairy said in an interview.

With nominations due on Saturday, Khairy has yet to be challenged in the post that he won in the 2009 polls, beating Datuk Mukhriz Tun Mahathir and former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo.

Khairy stressed that he would not compromise on the party's core struggle to uphold the interests of Islam, the Malays and the country.

"We will still fight to empower the Malay community, protect the sanctity of Islam and defend this country, but the way we do this must be different," he said.

One plan he has to re-orientate the wing is to set up a "finishing school" to groom potential young leaders who will be identified from the ranks of Umno Youth and Puteri Umno and from among new members still studying in universities.

The finishing school will expose the members to what Khairy calls "the new politics" and will train them on topics such as human rights, media relations and the social media.

"Whatever I can do to change the DNA of Umno Youth I will do in this last term and one way I want to do it is by rewriting our political education training module for use in the finishing school," he said.

He added that both the Umno president and deputy president had agreed to the proposal to set up the finishing school which will be headed by supreme council member Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

The 37-year-old Khairy admitted that his approach to politics has not gone down well with conservatives in the party who accuse him of being too liberal in his outlook.

"I get called all sorts of names, but I think this is the way forward. If I get a second term I will be 41 years old at the end of it, which is just the right age for me to leave Umno Youth."

"What I want to do is make sure the changes I am making remain in place after I am gone."

On the contest for the Umno Youth deputy chief post, Khairy said he supported all four candidates and would accept anyone whom the delegates chose to be his right hand man.

'Buy up Bumi property quota'

Posted: 14 Sep 2013 10:37 AM PDT


(NST) - Government agencies have been urged to buy business premises in high-end shopping malls, like Pavilion and KLCC, and rent them out to Bumiputera entrepreneurs. 

MEETING 30PC TARGET: PUNB chairman asks govt agencies to target projects in strategic areas, smaller towns

SHAH ALAM: GOVERNMENT agencies have been urged to start buying Bumiputera-quota properties not only in strategic areas but also in up-and-coming small cities.

Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Bhd (PUNB) chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said this must be done immediately if the government planned to achieve 30 per cent ownership in seven years.

"The prime minister touched on the low ownership of shophouses. At only five per cent nationwide, this is too low.

"If we want to achieve 30 per cent, we must immediately start buying Bumiputera quotas in private real estate development projects in strategic areas, small cities and rural areas as the value will appreciate.

"For example, in Malacca, a few years ago, a two-storey shophouse had cost about RM120,000, now it is RM400,000," he said yesterday.

The perception that properties outside city areas are not profitable, he said, must be discarded as government agencies could still break even with the income from properties in more profitable areas.

Meanwhile, former PUNB chairman Khairy Jamaluddin said business premise for Bumiputera entrepreneurs should be provided at a reasonable cost.

"If we go to high-end shopping malls like Pavillon, Fahrenheit or KLCC, we can see that the presence of Bumiputera entrepreneurs are really small.

"We hope PUNB and other agencies can buy such premises and rent them out or sell them to Bumiputera entrepreneurs (at a reasonable price)," said Khairy, who is also Youth and Sports Minister.

Khairy also welcomed the streamlining of Yayasan Wakaf Malaysia into Wakaf Korporat to manage non-financial assets of Muslims Bumiputeras including real estate to optimise its value.

He said with this initiative, wakaf land in strategic areas could be developed and rented out to Bumiputeras and at the same time, increase Bumiputera ownership with the government's assistance.


Language makes the law

Posted: 14 Sep 2013 10:28 AM PDT


(The Star) - Saya taruh sama engkau, engkau terbaring. (I put it to you, you are lying.)

A report in The Star of this courtroom gaffe in 1981 has appeared in many comedy routines and was even cited in a 1988 study titled "Malaysia's National Language Policy and the Legal System".

It occurred after the Chief Registrar issued a directive that all court correspondence, lower court judgments, witness testimony and lawyers' submissions must be in Bahasa Malaysia (BM).

In 1990, Chief Justice of Malaya (now called Chief Judge of Malaya) Justice Hashim Yeop Sani was "treated" to a literal gaffe while presiding at an appeal in the Supreme Court.

Superior courts allow lawyers to submit in English but counsel were doing it in BM that day. While the female young lawyer spoke confidently, opposing senior counsel just did so-so in his basic BM.

But when he said: "Yang Arif, saya berdoa" (Your Honour, I pray for), the late Justice Hashim smiled and interjected: "Tak payah berdoa Encik ..." (No need to pray Mr ...). Not understanding, the lawyer continued: "Ya, Yang Arif.

Saya berdoa" (Yes, Your Honour. I pray for) so Justice Hashim interjected again: "Tak payah berdoa Encik... Saya bukan Tuhan, saya hanya hakim. Memohon cukup. (No need to pray Mr ... I'm not God. I'm just a judge. Asking will do."

Former Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi chuckles as we swop stories from his time as a lawyer and judge and when I covered court cases.

He remembers a legal officer who spoke with an accent and would describe a matter as "impotent" when he meant important. Lawyers have improved their BM but many are floundering in English now.

Mahsa University's Chancellor sighs when I ask about the repercussions for the Malaysian legal system.

"Our civil law is based on English Common Law. How would you learn English Common Law without learning English?" asks Zaki.

"Any country applying English Common Law will write decisions in English, whether it's India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, African countries and the Caribbean Islands.

"If you want to use BM, you must still learn English and then write the judgment in BM because there are only a small number of articles and judgments in BM, maybe 0.1% of what we should know.

"Don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying BM is not important, it is," stresses Zaki, who is also Chancellor of Multimedia University, chairman of Universiti Malaya's Board of Governors and an adjunct professor to a few public universities.

Law, he contends, is unlike medicine.

A law student only learns the basic principles but for every case, you have to read law text books and reports, he says.

While your law library today can be the Internet, you still have to read in English, he adds.

"If you don't understand English you will be left behind in the law," says Zaki, who was in the Legal and Judicial Services for 16 years before moving in 1985 to private practice for 22 years until his appointment to the Federal Court in 2007.

Zaki, who retired in 2011, believes many successful people in Malaysia speak good English although they specialise in other fields.

He cites two emeritus professors: Prof Datuk Dr Nik Safiah Karim, a linguistics expert in BM who speaks English well and obtained a doctorate in Philosophy in Ohio, United States (US); and Prof Datuk Dr Asmah Omar, also a BM expert, who did her PhD in Language and Linguistics at University of London in the United Kingdom (UK). They hold the Academic of the Year award for 2012 and 2011 respectively.

More use of English in the superior courts has created a conundrum.

BM documents filed in the subordinate courts are apparently drafted quite well but those in the higher courts are often a literal translation of the English, just to comply with procedural requirements, says Zaki.

"In practice, hardly any High Court judge reads the BM pleadings. They read the English text."

Asked whether stressing on BM as the language of the court is wrong, Zaki says no, but points out that someone doing a case on company law would be hard-pressed to find research material in BM apart from a few textbooks.

"As far as company law is concerned, you'd look to Australia. You would even expand your research to the UK and the US but all their books are in English."

He adds that anyone wanting to argue a new point of law or interpretation must be strong in English to read up cases and opinions.

"If you want to limit your practice to the lower courts, fine. But if you want to expand, you have no choice.

"Say you're doing a theft case in the magistrate's court and the facts are such it borders on whether it is theft or not, and you want to know how the Indian or Australian courts have decided, you would have to read them in English.

"In litigation, those with good English do better."

The authoritative text for most laws is now in BM but Zaki reminds that for the Federal Constitution it is still in English.

He says judges generally refer to the English version but "if a statute is ambiguous, we have resorted to the BM copy for a better interpretation and understanding of Parliament's intentions."

While tenancy and sale and purchase agreements are now in BM, complex corporate agreements remain in English.

Zaki says the BM legal vocabulary is limited.

"Even France and Germany, with a developed legal language, use English in international contracts. What more Malaysia, where BM is less developed?"

"I'm happy the Government has recognised the importance of English in the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025."

One way to improve English in schools, he reckons, is to invite eminent persons to talk on different subjects on a regular basis.

"Ask those who speak English well — like former (Health director-general) Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican to talk on medicine, (Pemudah co-chair) Tan Sri Yong Poh Kon on business and (former Chief Secretary to the Government) Tan Sri Sidek Hassan on administration.

"In the US, former astronauts speak in schools and inspire the students to greater heights." But schools here need the permission of the Education Ministry.

"I believe if the ministry lays down clear rules, for example, no politicians and what are the topics speakers may touch on, it should be safe.

"It's done elsewhere, I don't see why it can't be done here." Pitching for better English in the legal system, he says: "Look, you can't practise Syariah law without knowing and understanding Arabic. And if you want to know Chinese law you have to know Chinese. Why is it different for English Common Law?"

Zaki is glad most law faculties here are teaching in English again.

"Really, you just need to know simple English to understand law. There's no need for literary English."

When his late father (former Lord President Tun Azmi Mohamed) asked him to read law, Zaki demurred saying he was weak in English.

"I only obtained a credit but he told me I didn't need high-flying English, just simple English."

Zaki points out one could practise medicine without knowing English.

"It's science. But the law is language. Language makes the law and how you express yourself makes the law." 

Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

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