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VP race gets hotter by the day

Posted: 07 Oct 2013 07:22 PM PDT

The race for the Umno vice-presidency is wide open now that claims that the top Umno leadership was advocating a status quo has been dismissed as 'absolutely not true'.

Joceline Tan, The Star

DATUK Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein has been campaigning at a feverish pace to hold on to his vice-president (VP) post.

He has reportedly taken leave from his ministerial duties to concentrate on his campaign. He spent the entire Sunday in Perak, meeting delegates from north to south of the state.

The Defence Minister is fighting for survival in the six-man race for the three VP seats.

He has been earnestly persuading his audiences why they should support him, even going to the extent of reminding them that he had chaired the committee that brought in the new election system in Umno.

His campaign has been a stark contrast to that of forerunner Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. Everywhere that Zahid has gone, the Umno crowd tells him that they want him up there. But Hishammuddin is struggling to convince delegates that they still need him.

However, he is said to enjoy support in Perak where Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir has endorsed the three incumbents who include Zahid and Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal.

The Perak endorsement for the VP incumbents was reportedly based on claims of an instruction from the top leadership to maintain a status quo at the VP level. It has since been dismissed as untrue.

A source close to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said it was "absolutely not true" that the president is lending his weight to any of the VP candidates, including Hishammuddin who is his cousin.

According to the source, the president wants to stay above the fray because he is committed to letting the delegates have free choice on who they want as their VPs. "The party needs to be rejuvenated. Dictating the choice would defeat the purpose of the new election process and it would go against Umno's political transformation," said the source.

Besides, it is said that challenger Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir would not have jumped in if Najib had not given his blessing.

The outspoken Cheras Umno chief Datuk Seri Syed Ali Alhabshee said candidates should campaign on their own strength rather than ride on the president's name.

"I don't know who started this nonsense, going around the country, telling the people that the president wants this guy or that guy up there. They should stop it immediately," said Syed Ali.

Hishammuddin has also issued a statement denying any instruction from the party leadership to retain the three incumbents.

For a while, the status quo story was so prevalent that Dr Zambry had planned to hold a press conference with the three VPs at his official residence on Oct 10 to declare support for them. It is understood that the event has been called off.

It was just as well because not everyone in Perak was comfortable with it. They do not mind an open endorsement of Zahid who is from Perak but they feel that the other two slots should be left open for them to decide.

On Saturday evening, the Sultan of Pahang hosted a big dinner for Umno division and branch leaders from Pahang. Some said the dinner was to celebrate Najib winning his president post unopposed. But Najib was not there and some of those who attended said it was essentially for Tuanku to meet his subjects.

A division chief who was there said that Tuanku made an after-dinner speech congratulating Najib and said that Pahang is proud of him.

"Tuanku spoke about Malay unity. He reminded us that Umno was born in the palace and that it is part of his duties to keep up with what is happening in politics. Tuanku also proposed that Pahang delegates give one of the VP places to Hisham," said the division chief.

The endorsement from the Pahang palace is hardly surprising because Hishammuddin's wife is a Pahang princess. It will be interesting to watch how many of the 14 divisions in Pahang will give Hishammuddin the nod of approval.

Hishammuddin can hardly be blamed for doing what it takes to win because the VP post comes with a Cabinet post. The icing on the cake if he wins is that he will still be a contender for the post of future Prime Minister. If he loses, he may be sitting on the Barisan Nasional backbench.

Hishammuddin's dilemma is three-fold. At one level, he is being compared to Zahid who took over the Home Ministry portfolio. Zahid's tough stance on crime and security has been in stark contrast to that of his predecessor. It has won Zahid all-round approval and some in Umno have taken to calling him "the Sheriff".

At another level, Hishammuddin is vying for what has been coined as the "anak PM" slot. Hishammuddin and Mukhriz are sons of former prime ministers and the conventional wisdom is that there can only be one "anak PM" among the VPs – it will be either Hishammuddin or Mukhriz.

At yet another level, Hishammuddin is up against Shafie. The delegates have decided that Zahid is a "must vote" and the consequence is that they will have to sacrifice either Hishammuddin or Shafie for a new face.

In that sense, whoever concocted the status quo campaign line misjudged the sentiments on the ground. It was quite clear from early on that the party was not in the mood to give a group pass to the incumbents. Each of them are being judged on their own merit.

But few had expected Mukhriz to be riding on such a big wave. Mukhriz has won the "cheering game" as some call the response of the delegates at the Umno roadshows.

The only way to explain it is that he was part of the team that recaptured Kedah. The Kedah win was Umno's biggest success in the general election. Since then, the Kedah Mentri Besar with the famous family name has pressed all the right buttons.

The roadshow still has seven more states to go but there is little doubt that the Umno ground wants to see at least one new face among the VPs.


Will PM Najib exert leadership over errant minister Zahid?

Posted: 07 Oct 2013 07:13 PM PDT

Kim Quek, The Malaysian Insider

Swashbuckling Home Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has delivered a speech so atrocious against common decency and the fundamental tenets of law that it is bound to rock the already scandal ridden Barisan Nasional government.

He advocates shooting of suspected criminals on sight in a speech that is filled with racist slurs that would raise racial animosity, pitting the Malays against Chinese and Indian Malaysians.  Zahid's recorded speech was uploaded in Malaysiakini website on October 7.

In a briefing session on security matters for community leaders that turned out be nothing but an Umno party election campaign meeting to introduce candidates at the Malacca International Trade Center at Ayer Keroh on October 5, Zahid disclosed that out of 40,000 gang members identified, 28,000 of them are Indians and he said there is nothing wrong in arresting them. He then asked:

"What is the situation of robbery victims, murder victims during shootings? Most of them are our Malays.  Most of them are our race. I think the best way is that we no longer compromise with them.  There is no need to give them any warning. If we get the evidence, we shoot first."

Shoot to kill policy?

This is a clear endorsement of a "shoot suspects without warning" policy (unless convicted, they are known as suspects) that may well be in existence for some time, and also could well have explained the many suspicious police fatal shootings, in particular, the gunning down of all five suspected Indian gangsters in an apartment in Penang in August.

Shooting to kill suspects without warning is murder under Malaysian laws and a breach of international law under auspices of UN. Hence, Zahid has to explain why he should not be investigated for complicity in such murder.

Equally disturbing to Zahid's apparent murderous trait, is his despicable attempt to incite racial animosity to gain populist racist support.

Stirring racist emotions

In the same speech, Zahid disclosed that of the 14,511 identified as secret society members, there are 6,171 Malays; 1,701 Chinese; 3,685 Indians and 2,954 other races. He said:

"The 6,171 Malays, they are not real thugs, they were Pekida members and were part of the Tiga Line group,Gang 30, Gang 7 - these are festivities (kenduri-kendara) gangster.  I tell our Tiga Line friends, do what should be done."

Zahid then went on to refer to Tiga Line on a first person basis, saying: "We are not evil, I know, I have checked.  We gather during festivals with our siblings, we gather when there are projects, never mind.  I see here, the candidates here; all four of them are Tiga Line."

These statements contain lies, racial prejudice and admission of criminalities.

In the first place, saying all the 6,171 Malay triad members identified, who are from Tiga Line, Gang 7 and Gang 30 are good people is tantamount to saying that all Malay gangsters are innocent while gangsters of other races are criminals, because Tiga Line, Gang 7 and Gang 30 are the only three Malay-based secret societies in the list of 29 outlawed secret societies in Peninsula released by the Home Ministry on August 29.  Besides this claim being manifestly false, the claim of benevolent activities of these gangs also contradict the Home Ministry statement on August 29 that described their activities as drug trafficking, extorting protection money and seizure of cars.

As if such false assertion to play up Malay racial sentiments is not sufficient, Zahid painted the Malaysian crime world as Malays being the victims while Chinese the beneficiaries.  This is again another unfair and false claim. The truth is: triad criminals thrive across racial lines.



What Utusan doesn’t know about DAP

Posted: 07 Oct 2013 11:39 AM PDT 

Falsehoods and pseudo-logic are being fed to Utusan Malaysia readers and the TV3 audience just to prevent the Malays from truly understanding the DAP. Here are some of the things that Umno, Utusan and TV3 ought to know about DAP.

Liew Chin Tong, TMI 

First, is Umno's electoral system superior to DAP's?

It is comical to see Utusan and TV3's recent tirade against DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng for not winning the top spot in the re-election of its central executive committee and why I, being the candidate who received the highest number of votes, should be handed the secretary-general's post immediately.

Underlying this is the notion that DAP's party electoral system is faulty and undemocratic. Systems that are dissimilar to Umno's are not necessarily faulty. Each type of electoral system comes with its own reasoning which requires deeper analysis.

Umno has a system that ostensibly allows for election of key office bearers. On paper it looks democratic. But only on two occasions have Umno presidents had to face a challenger: in 1978 Tun Hussein Onn had to fend off Sulaiman Palestine and in 1987 Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad survived a challenge by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah by a mere 43 votes.

Malaysian history would have been very different had Tengku Razaleigh won the Umno election. Or had Umno made it much easier to contest against the president, some of Umno best leaders would have taken turns to serve as Malaysia's prime ministers. Tun Musa Hitam, Tengku Razaleigh and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim are the prime ministers we never had, in part because Umno's electoral system is biased towards incumbent presidents.

In the end, Umno presidents could only be removed through party coups. Indeed, Dr Mahathir had a hand in undermining the premierships of Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Hussein Onn and Tun Abdullah Badawi. Tun Razak died prematurely in office. Next we wait to see Dr Mahathir's knife being pointed at Datuk Seri Najib Razak, especially if Mukhriz Mahathir fails to win his vice-president's post.

Since the formation of DAP in 1966, all top leaders have to go through election once every three years. Delegates elect 20 members to form the central committee, which in turn elects among its members the office bearers. The 20 elected leaders further appoint another 10 persons to join the central committee.

In all the years that Lim Kit Siang was secretary-general, he never topped the list of votes. It was only in 2008 and 2012, when he was no longer secretary-general, that he received the most number of votes.

Secretary-generals have to run the party and make decisions. Not every decision pleases every single member. Which is why there is a saying among DAP leaders that whoever appointed to chair the Disciplinary Committee – the unit that is supposed to crack the whip, including proposing to sack members – would expect a decline in votes.

The DAP is organised along the idea of collective leadership. The secretary-general does not acquire a presidential aura, but is just the "first among equals" of leaders elected at the same election. The chairman chairs meetings and watches over the secretary-general and other office bearers who execute the decisions of the central committee. The chairman is not the president.

Second, has Umno ever elected a non-Malay to its supreme council?

Of course this is just a rhetorical question, a reminder that non-Malays are barred from joining Umno.

Umno and its surrogates have  accused the DAP of not electing Malay members into the CEC, except for Zairil Khir Johari. In their mind, it's always the skin colour.

No political party operates from a vacuum. The DAP had to contend with an image problem among the Malays, in part thanks to years of poisoning by Umno and Utusan Malaysia, making it difficult for mass participation of Malays in DAP. Nonetheless, DAP members can still take pride in a party that strives to be "the most Malaysian party" in terms of leadership and candidatures.

Read more at: 

No moral authority to increase taxes and cut subsidies

Posted: 07 Oct 2013 11:35 AM PDT 

All proposals for increase of taxes, for imposition of new taxes and for cutting of subsidies should be removed from the forthcoming budget and put on hold until action is taken on each and every case of misappropriation in the AG's reports (not just the 2012 report, but earlier ones too), beginning with the biggest cases.

Ravinder Singh, MMO 

Government's majority in Parliament to pass the budget does not make the budget legitimate. What makes it legitimate is the moral authority behind it. The moral authority is acquired by strict management of people's money. This the government has not been doing for decades as shown by the Auditor General (AG) reports since the time of Tan Sri Ahmad Nordin. To put it bluntly, a government that has not ensured that people's hard-earned money is managed with the utmost integrity has no business to cry shortage of funds to carry out its work; it has no business to demand that people tighten their belts to finance, not rightful expenditure, but the activities of corrupted civil servants busy siphoning the funds put at their disposal.

Why must people have to pay more or higher taxes, directly or indirectly, when the manager of the people's money, the government, allows a portion of that money to be stolen through dishonest practices by the manger's officers entrusted to handle the funds allocated to them to carry out their duties?

No matter what excuses are cooked up, no matter what high-flown justifications are produced, the fact remains that when money is spent on sub-standard products, on inappropriate products, on unnecessary products, or prices paid that are marked up by hundreds or even thousands of percentage points, there is misappropriation.

From the history of the Auditor General's reports over the past several decades, the nature of the misappropriations indicate that they are not due to the ignorance or stupidity of the persons in charge of purchasing goods and services for their departments and agencies, but for reasons that the government would rather sweep under the carpet.

To gain the moral authority to impose taxes and cut subsidies, the government must first make every civil servant who had a hand in each and every case of the misappropriations reported in the AG's report, pay for their misdeeds. In answering a question posed to him about 2 years ago, Tan Sri Ambrin Buang replied: "Actually, penalties are already there for criminal cases such as for bribery or negligence/dereliction of duty in causing losses to the government or tarnishing the good image of the public service. To me it is a matter of conviction in taking action against the wrongdoers. Some heads of department/agencies are reluctant to take action out of sympathy or simply to protect the 'good image' of their organisation".

If the heads of departments refuse to act for whatever reason (e.g. "tak sampai hati" to act, or to "jaga periuk nasi" of the wrongdoers), then the inference should be that the misappropriation was done with their tacit approval and they should be held responsible. In such cases the heads themselves should have their heads roll for protecting the corrupted and or inefficient.

All proposals for increase of taxes, for imposition of new taxes and for cutting of subsidies should be removed from the forthcoming budget and put on hold until action is taken on each and every case of misappropriation in the AG's reports (not just the 2012 report, but earlier ones too), beginning with the biggest cases.

The money that could be saved by stopping the leakages could well be more than enough to cover the additional money that the budget proposes to raise from the people.

Why must Joe Public be squeezed when the corrupted civil servants are let off to enjoy their ill gotten gains? It is very, very difficult to believe that there is no corruption involved in all those cases of mismanagement or misappropriation reported by the AG. If there is truly no corruption, there definitely is negligence and dereliction of duty, which also call for stern action.

Isn't it ironical that Joe Public is the one made to pay for the misdeeds of the errant civil servants through higher and newer taxes and cutting of subsidies while the recalcitrant civil servants are treated with sympathy so they do not lose their promotions, salary increments or even their jobs? Why?




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