Jumaat, 29 November 2013

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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

If only the political 'leopards' could learn their lessons

Posted: 29 Nov 2013 09:41 AM PST


Post-May 5 general election (GE13), political developments and the many "wayang kulit" (shadow play), like the spat featuring Pakatan Rakyat de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibahim in the recently concluded 59th PAS "muktamar" (assembly), show that all is not well for the coalition despite securing 52% of the popular vote in the last national polls.

Ng Kee Seng, The Ant Daily 

The defections of Pakatan political "frogs" in Sabah and the Penang PAS threat to pull out of the state Pakatan is slowly, but surely, eroding public confidence in the Pakatan leadership.

They say leopards cannot change their spots. This is so true with Pakatan supremo Anwar and DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang.

In GE13, they also exposed their selfish "political agenda" that led to Pakatan's failure to capture Putrajaya.

Pakatan's GE13 debacle is significantly due to the Anwar-Lim's amazing display of lack of real commitment to make political decisions swiftly in the interest of Malaysians and Malaysia.

Sensing, and possibly, their best ever chance of toppling the Barisan Nasional, they lost track of time, squabbling over seats.

This is so clear as many Pakatan GE13 candidates only got their candidacy confirmation more than a week after the dissolution of Parliament.

Many election aspirants were thus thrown into the "deep blue sea" in "foreign constituencies". How do you expect them to overcome the might of the ruling BN machinery overnight?

Read more at: http://www.theantdaily.com/news/2013/11/30/if-only-political-leopards-could-learn-their-lessons 

GST: Rakyat bails out government

Posted: 29 Nov 2013 09:38 AM PST


Selena Tay, FMT 

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has recently mentioned that GST (Goods and Services Tax) was a more equitable taxation system and the additional revenue would allow the government to finance future developments.

He also said that the current taxation system was not efficient as only 1.34 million workers out of 14 million workers paid income tax.

This was reported in an English local daily dated Nov 28, 2013.

His statement regarding the number of taxpayers is downright silly. The small number of workers paying income tax is because many workers are not taxable as they are low-wage earners. This shows how much he knows about economics.

He is just simply trying to rally the people to getting round to accepting GST because before this he was saying that Malaysia's economy was robust and resilient. He even pointed to Moody's encouraging upgrade in rating for Malaysia from 'stable' to 'positive'.

As mentioned in a previous article by this columnist, most people preferred the GST to start at 3% or even 4% the most as 4% was the figure touted before the 13th general election. After the polls, 7% was the rate proposed by the government.

Is the final figure of 6% a sort of psychological mind game by the government to show that they are 'caring enough' to reduce the rate by 1%?

Singapore started their GST implementation at 3% on April 1, 1994 and it stands at 7% now. Great Britain started implementing VAT (Value Added Tax) on April 1, 1973 and currently it stands at 20% – this is okay as it is 20% after four decades.

Some analysts opine that GST in Malaysia could reach 10% by 2020. If it is true, then it is ridiculous. Why such a quick and steep increase? One has to take note that GST will be implemented on April 1, 2015 and if there is any increase in 2020, it should only go up by 1% to 7%.

A quick and substantial increase can only mean one thing – that the BN government is in a dire financial state and they also know that the rakyat will realise this if GST is implemented before GE13. Otherwise, why not implement GST in 2011 or 2012? This shows that the government, knowing that the GST will be unpopular was merely holding on to its implementation until after GE13.


Malaysia: why the Pakatan Rakyat doesn’t deserve to be the Federal Government

Posted: 29 Nov 2013 09:06 AM PST

The best thing for the PKR might be Anwar declaring that he had no more ambition to become PM and stand aside. This would go a long way in winning over voters who mistrust his intentions. As long as Anwar clings to the hope of one day becoming PM, the PR is doomed to remain in opposition. The myth that Anwar is a vote winner must be overturned. His immense international popularity doesn't equate to winning new voters within Malaysia. 


Murray Hunter

The last general election is almost six months behind us where the narratives of Malaysian politics have been defined. The Pakatan Rakyat (PR) may have won the popular vote in the last election, leading some to believe that the opposition coalition is owed a moral mandate. However, under a "first past the post" electoral system, the game is about winning seats, not aggregate votes.

The Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) has ruled Kelantan well for many years within the social and cultural contexts of the state, and has shown it understands the aspirations of the Kelantanese. Selangor has been prudently run as a corporation by PKR's Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, and Penang's finances have been restructured with great fiscal skill, where industrial investment has been revived through relentless promotion by the Democratic Action Party's (DAP) Lim Guan Eng.

However, even with these achievements, the PR does not have the pedigree needed to form a federal government.

Many inconsistencies and weaknesses within the PR exist. As a multi-dimensional party, PAS does not speak with a unified voice. The DAP has shown its failure to provide ideologically sound and loyal candidates for political office, causing the downfall of one state government. The coming DAP party election in Penang shows the mad scramble for positions of influence among party stalwarts. To date, the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has shown itself to be opportunistic, with very little in the way of its own thought-out ideological-based policies. In fact some of its views like the one on salary hikes for politicians are even contradictory.

The culmination of these problems, the failure to take tactical initiatives, and electoral blunders have cost the Pakatan Rakyat the grand prize of Malaysian politics, the Federal Government.

Prime Minister Najib Razak has been grossly unappreciated for his job of holding the line for UMNO in the recent election. He was written off before the election by so many pundits, who expected great losses. Many felt there was a real possibility of Terengganu and Negeri Sembilan falling to the PR. Perak was expected to be won back by the PR. However Najib held all these states and took back Kedah as well.

We will never be sure whether it was Najib's strategic brilliance or Anwar's strategic blundering that made the final result what it was.

The taking back of Terengganu from PAS in 2004 and the recent return of Kedah to the Barisan Nasional (BN) indicates that voters won't accept incompetence by any PR government, although they may not apply the same standard to the BN. The taking of Kedah by former PM Mahathir Mohamed's son Mukhriz Mahathir, will be extremely difficult to reverse next election.

The PR, and in particular the PKR has made a major blunder in Sabah. PKR wants to run candidates under its own banner rather than work with the existing opposition forces in the state, leading to a number of three cornered fights. As a result, the opposition is divided into a number of groups which played straight into the hands of UMNO's strong man and Chief Minister Musa Aman, allowing UMNO to dominate the state's political landscape. This cost the opposition forces four federal and eight state assembly seats. In addition, PKR itself seems to be disintegrating in the state where between 8-12 leaders have quit the party over the last few days.

Although the DAP has made inroads into the towns of Sarawak, the rural regions of the state remain the bastion of Taib Mahmud's Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Besatu (PBB) dominated Government. The PR appears to have grossly underestimated the political mastery and respect Taib Mahmud carries in the rural heartlands of Sarawak. He has the qualities of a leader, rather than the administrative mold of many other national leaders, making him a very strong adversary. It's not the work of PR that has made small inroads into PBB support, but rather the work of Radio Free Sarawak and other independent local activists.

In both Sabah and Sarawak, it is difficult to see where the PR can make future gains unless it can change its understanding of the political dynamics of both states. From the "rakyat" or peoples' perspective this may be even more difficult as PAS, PKR, and DAP are considered by many as "peninsula-centric", as Lim Kit Siang himself said in a recent article on his blog.

Sabah and Sarawak are mathematically critical in deciding which side of politics forms the federal government.

In the last election campaign, the PR focused on preaching to the converted. This didn't win new voters. The inroads into Johor were good for the PR, but city campaigns with perhaps the exception of Anwar's daughter Nurul Izzah' in Lembah Pantai where she was challenged by the then UMNO Federal territories minister Raja Nong Chik Zainal Abidin were largely wasted efforts. If the Pakatan leaders had not run the mass rallies in Johor, conveying a syok sendiri or chauvinist manner, the UMNO rhetoric after the election may have been much more conciliatory and inclusive than the current divisive narrative coming out of the party.

Many perceive the PKR to be a dynasty with husband, wife, and daughter holding high profile positions. This is one reason why the Azmin Ali influence is so strong within the party, to the point of being bitterly divisive. His recent comments over the pay increase announced for Selangor law makers make Azmin look more like an opposition leader in Selangor than a member of the government.

There is more to Azmin Ali's antics than just naked ambition. He has a point that many in the party agree with. One Sabah PKR leader Jelani Hamden upon his resignation from the party a couple of days ago said that there was too much central control. This is a rift that could paralyze the party, particularly when the rank and file membership are needed on the ground during elections.

The current disagreement about how funds in treasury funds in Selangor should be utilized show the policy malaise of PKR.

There is also a wider dimension to policy issues where the PR has not been able to deal with the issue of Hudud and an Islamic state. The concept of an Islamic state is ill explained. The issue could have been easily resolved through adopting the concept of governance through Islamic principals rather than going all out for an Islamic state.

The best advantage for UMNO is for PAS to continue focusing on Hudud. For as long as PAS promotes Hudud, UMNO will stay in power.

It's time for the PR to eradicate "ego" from the coalition leadership and make a serious attempt to regroup under a new guard for the next election. To do that would shed the usual suspects of the PR to allow a new vanguard of Malaysian politicians to emerge who are younger and more energetic than the BN. This doesn't mean that the old guard of Anwar Ibrahim, Lim kit Siang and Singh withdraw totally, but rather give others "room to move" in the generational transition.

The best thing for the PKR might be Anwar declaring that he had no more ambition to become PM and stand aside. This would go a long way in winning over voters who mistrust his intentions. As long as Anwar clings to the hope of one day becoming PM, the PR is doomed to remain in opposition. The myth that Anwar is a vote winner must be overturned. His immense international popularity doesn't equate to winning new voters within Malaysia.

When looking closely at PAS, there is an almost perpetual struggle going on between the Ulama and the professionals, technocrats, Anwaristas, and other progressives within the party. Occasionally members of the Ulama within PAS will make pronouncements which lead to many voters developing a fear of the party due to its interpretation of Islam. This costs PAS votes as Malays tend to be very moderate relative to many other Islamic societies. This however has generally been kept in check by leaders like Nik Aziz and Mat Sabu over the last few years.

According to PAS research director Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad, PAS needs to woo the Malay youth and women voters. The youth vote is growing massively and changing the dynamics of elections, and PAS currently only holds around 40% of the Malay vote, being only 35% among women. UMNO's power house during elections is its women's division UMNO Wanita. If PAS is going to grow its electoral support, it must connect with the women and younger generation.

Currently PAS is good at preaching to the converted. However its electoral support within the Malay heartland is on the decline. This electoral decline lost Kedah and failed in enabling the PR to retake Perak. Even in the stronghold of Kelantan, PAS lost six seats although it continues to govern the state. Ironically PAS won in the multi-ethnic areas as a beneficiary of the PR coalition. PAS needs to make up this deficit if the PR is to have any chance of taking over the federal government.

PAS also needs to inspire the multi-ethnic electorate to maintain the support it has gained. Hudud is not going to help with any of these demographics. Many mistake Hudud for Islam because of PAS' insistence on the issue. Sometimes PAS mistakes being Arabic for being Islamic which looks frightening to many voters, particularly the urban Malay youth. People don't vote for PAS because of Islam, but rather their dislike for the BN. A vote for PAS is not necessarily a vote for the ideals of the party.

The PAS philosophy that has been so successful in Kelantan cannot be translated nationally. The long premiership of Nik Aziz can be considered an extraordinary example of a leader who had special qualities and was able to appeal to the emotions and aspirations of the Kelantan people. PAS success in Kelantan has little national correlation.

With the Terengganu and Kedah losses, PAS still has to prove that it can govern.

The rumors of PAS-UMNO talks, fueled by a recent meeting between Kelantan MB Ahmad Yakob and Prime Minister Najib Razak continue to undermine and bring insecurity to the PR, especially when at the closing of the recent PAS general Assembly, President Abdul Hadi Awang did not rule out the possibility of discussions.

As we have seen, policy has very little to do with who governs. It's about emotion and sentiment. It's not about exposing corruption and incompetence, but rather making people in rural Malaysia understand the difference between political parties and government. Otherwise the BN will always be the government and the PR be the opposition. It's also about realizing that those who will be the ones that decide who will be the next government in Putra Jaya are not middle class professionals in the cities but Pakchik and Makchik (Moms & Pops) in the rural areas. This is Perak, much of Johor, Pahang, Terengganu, Negeri Sembilan, Perlis, Sabah, Sarawak, and Kedah, which PR lost in the last election.

Most political analysts in Westminster systems would argue that governments lose elections rather than oppositions win them. However the Malaysian context may be different where the opposition needs to win the confidence and trust of the rural electorate. The major problem here is that most rural people don't know any other type of government. Issues such as the separation of party and state are difficult for many to understand. One of the beliefs that many Malays hold is that opposing UMNO is opposing the government. Many rural people have been brought up with the belief that only UMNO can protect their religion, way of life, and against Chinese economic domination.

As mentioned, PAS hasn't sold Islam well in a multi-cultural society with the "Hudud" issue. Part of the reason UMNO has returned to the ultra Malay narrative and taken a strong "Islamic" stance is UMNO's feeling that it must compete with PAS to show it is the party with the best credentials to look after "Malay interests". Consequently the current "Hudud" law project has isolated Islam from the wider concept of Tawhid. Islamic proclamations and the strong stances we are witnessing are not benefitting the progression of Islam within Malaysia. If PAS presented a more balanced Islamic world view, UMNO would have much greater room to move into the middle ground.

The PR agenda has a massive influence on the behavior of the government. If the PR was truly concerned about the consequences of its own political rhetoric, the leadership may consider changing approach, which no doubt would also benefit them electorally.

Anwar's "September 16″ and Twitter message on election night that "PR has won the election" are difficult in being seen as constructive. Many perceive Anwar to be driven by ambition, hate, and a sense of revenge. His pledge to retire if PR didn't win the election has lost him credibility.

There is a segment of the population who have become disillusioned with the PR over a number of issues. Anwar's antics, internal struggles, a potential political dynasty, lack of policy direction, and basic mistrust is keeping the PR from winning the federal election. If the PR wants to win, they must take a hard inward look, rather than blame their loss on phantom voters.

Blaming others is just too easy, rather than recognizing one's own short comings. If DAP state assemblyman Hee Yit Foong didn't defect, the PR Perak state Government may have run its full term. If the former Kedah Chief Minister did things differently, the last election result may have been different. If PKR left Sabah politics to the Sabahans and admitted Sabah parties into the coalition, great inroads would have been made.

Within the current stance, victory for the PR at the next election looks bleak. The members of the PR need to go back to the drawing board and return to the electorate with consistent and united policies and most of all learn how to engage rural communities. It is therefore not the alternative media that will be most important but the rural JKKKK committees, which is still the proven secret weapon of the BN.

In politics it doesn't matter what foreigners think of the present Malaysian Government, or Anwar Ibrahim for that matter. It doesn't matter whether there is electoral fraud or not. Elections are not about the moral high-grounds or even what the majority wants. What matters is knowing the land you are playing on and wining the competition by the rules that exist. Otherwise a tired and scandal laden government would have long been tossed out of office.

In Malaysia the winner takes all.

Without any shadow cabinet, the PR is not an opposition, but rather a bunch of non-government members of parliament. BN representatives in the Senate are asking better questions than the PR are asking in the lower house.

Unlike the post 2008 election period, the Malaysian electorate appears to be "burnt out" and has given up expectation and yearning for change. It's now very much suppressed. This is where the BN is likely to make up lost ground next election as the wave of change has reached the peak and will gently subside.

The PR urgently needs good strategists whose opinions are listened to. The PR must advance from being a one man crusade to becoming a true multi-dimensional coalition with a wide and varied intellectual input and consistent message.


Saya Anak Malaysia - A Withering Dream of the Stateless Child

Posted: 29 Nov 2013 08:55 AM PST


While we protest over the proposed hike of the Astro bill, moan over increase of price of our favourite eateries and criticize high taxes for luxury cars, there are still families out there today begging in front of the National Registration Department for years and in some cases decades for the basic blue card that will free them from the shackles of helplessness and poverty. 

Vivegavalen Vadi Valu 

"Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man" - Rabindranath Tagore

Let us for a moment put aside politics, race and religion and ask ourselves how low collectively as a society have we come that fifty-six years on after independence, the headline "girl drinks bleach in an attempted suicide for failing to obtain a Mykad" become something of a media sensation? The thing is, instead of pure devastation at the failure of a country on the most basic of levels, this has become somewhat a norm.

The solemnity of this is that an undocumented child legally does not exist and is defenceless against all form of exploitation and rights violation. A child who is not considered as a national by the State under the operation of its legal provisions is paradoxically an illegal being. An undocumented child who is unable to provide the documents necessary to prove that they are a citizen of a country do not qualify for medication, education and any form of social benefits. They are for all purposes invisible, lower even than murderers and rapists alike for even they are considered human.

Now, the constitution provides that for a child to be considered a Malaysian citizen both or one of the parents are legally recognized as Malaysian or a holder of permanent resident status. However, in some cases, to determine the status of the child, the marriage status of the parents is also called into question. Above all, if the mother is a permanent resident or Malaysian, the child automatically qualifies as a legal citizen. Furthermore, the United Nations Convention of Rights of the Child (UNCRC) was signed and ratified by Malaysia in 1995 designed to uphold the country's commitment to protection of the welfare of minors. Among the core foundations of the Convention were non-discrimination, in that all children, regardless of their race or religion, rich or poor, must be treated equally and the right of every single child to a nationality.

A child is supposed to be the greatest gift of God, held so sacrosanct for they come to this world full of hope and promise, without prejudice, a blank canvas of potential. Alas, in the day and age of supercomputers and genetic engineering, we find the excuse given to a twelve year old girl as reason for denial of her citizenship – a fairer skin colour as compared to her mother. Then again, this is after all a country where certain politicians may descend from India and Indonesia and yet it need not matter so long as they form part of a certain race, no? Don't get me wrong, I am not questioning the special rights accorded to the many but rather the denial of rights accorded to the few.

The United Nations in its UNCHR Global Report 2010 estimates an approximate 120 000 stateless people living in Malaysia and of which 40 percent are children. This damning statistic proves the fallacy of the legal and registration system as well as a severe lack of effort on the part of the incumbent to address this issue. The morality in this is so perverse that it should engulf every individual with the deepest sense of guilt and an obligation to do something, anything, so as to speak for those who cannot.

The sad disposition facing the country as a whole is the politicising and racial profiling of any and all issues. However, this is one matter that we cannot allow to be dragged down that path. While we protest over the proposed hike of the Astro bill, moan over increase of price of our favourite eateries and criticize high taxes for luxury cars, there are still families out there today begging in front of the National Registration Department for years and in some cases decades for the basic blue card that will free them from the shackles of helplessness and poverty.

I call then for the Government of Malaysia to immediately set up an independent commission to review the legal framework in place when determining a child's qualifying criteria for citizenship as well as implementing policies that centralizes on attacking the problem at its root cause, in this case, the issue of documentation and alternative solutions where it lacks.

These children are our future, fight for them, protect them and if ever should you falter in your quest for a better Malaysia or lose hope that tomorrow will not bring the change you seek, look to the eyes of a child and you will see hopes and dreams blinded by race or religion. That, above all is reason enough. 

Working Class Joe!

Posted: 29 Nov 2013 08:47 AM PST



When we talk about change, there is nothing much you could change in your life. The system is designed to perfection that the changes that we constantly talk about is merely an illusion. We love the ideology of change but not when it is implemented on us. We are just afraid of change when it is implied on us.


Visnu Natesan


Who are we to judge? People make mistakes. If we could measure the amount of mistakes committed by people, I believe the number would be infinity. But that's not the point, the argument is always on what is the damage caused by the mistake.


I have committed many mistakes that I wish I could go back in time to fix. But life doesn't work that way, our existence continues on the very mistake we always wish we have not done in the first place.


I observe people to proclaim my own sanity. At times I wish I have a 'remote control' to change people's perception on the subjects of existence, community, art, music, etc. But then again, change is necessary when it is required. When change becomes a constant catalyst in a society, it proves to be disastrous. Reflecting the concept to us, the changes that we have gone through has pushed into the abyss or unknown.


We have control over things that we are aware and know. If those entire notions on changes are heading towards unknown, chaos intervenes. The dynamic in a society supposedly improves the condition of its members. In our context, the changes have lost its essence.


The leaders scream for revolution, the corporate organization spends millions for change management, and the global leaders invented the ideology of 'globalization' which proclaims the future of a borderless world. The ideology appeals only as an idea, but in the context of reality, people most of the times are just afraid of changes.


In the age of information, we have developed an appetite for destruction. We have acquired more knowledge than previous civilizations but we lack the wisdom to be prosperous. Where is the missing link of the great civilization that we are supposed to be? I believe it lies within us.


Human as a social animal has manifested to be greedier than ever. The modern civilization only appeals to the fittest. The new age dictators come in the forms of financial institutions, political parties, military labs, and research centers and media owners.


In reality, we are back at where we started. The new age world belongs to high society. The elite will continue their existence by using the system that has proven successful for thousands of years.  The working class will continue to exist without realizing their existence is merely to serve the elites.


Burdened with a system introduced to keep the working class functioning, we remain where we are. Nothing will change the way an average person leads his life. The cycle goes on and on. The system works fine for the fittest members of the human race.


When we talk about change, there is nothing much you could change in your life. The system is designed to perfection that the changes that we constantly talk about is merely an illusion. We love the ideology of change but not when it is implemented on us. We are just afraid of change when it is implied on us.


For the working class, our existence will be remembered by people close to us. The talk on revolution, people comes first and the whole propaganda is for the survival of the fittest. The elite members of the society will continue to survive in the system by manipulation. Life for the working classes is like a boring story book. You could read one and it applies to millions around you. So in that boring existence, have fun while you're at it. Have a good weekend, folks! 


Friday sermons must promote love, not hatred

Posted: 29 Nov 2013 08:45 AM PST


(TMI) - The Friday sermon, which should be an opportunity to impart knowledge and lessons to Muslims, has instead become a way to spread hate.  

This worsening trend makes it seem like the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim), which prepared these sermons, is dominated by groups whose agenda is to sow discord among Muslims in Malaysia.

Jakim, which is funded by taxpayers, is also being turned into a propaganda tool of certain political groups.

So, it's not surprising that national laureate Datuk A. Samad Said has stopped going to the National Mosque for Friday prayers. Instead, he goes to Masjid India where the sermon is in Tamil which he cannot understand. 

In today's sermon, Jakim declared that Shia Muslims are encouraged to perform acts of sodomy and defend contractual marriages (mutaah).

It said that the spread of Shia in Malaysia was worrying since its followers are those who are educated and have a background in religious scholarship. These followers, it said, were spreading Shia teachings among university students and the public.

"Five of their beliefs include encouraging sodomy, celebrating the Karbala on the 10th of Muharam (the first month in the Muslim calendar), defending the practice of mutaah, questioning the sanctity of the Sunni branch of Islam and declaring themselves the true Sunni," said Jakim in its Friday sermon titled "Virus Shia".

According to Jakim, the Fatwa Council in 1996 had declared that Shia was haram in Malaysia and made it compulsory for Malaysian Muslims to only follow the teachings, customs and beliefs of the Sunni branch of Islam.

But where was Jakim when former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the minister in charge of religious affairs at that time, Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Othman, signed the Amman Message of 2005 in Jordan to recognise Islam's diverse branches such as Sunni, Syiah, Ibadi and Thahiri?

"Whoever follows one of the four Sunni sects (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafie and Hambali), or the two Shia sects (Jaafari and Zaydi), or the Ibadi sect and the Thahiri sect is a Muslim.

"It is impossible to declare them as ignorant and deviant," said the agreement that was also signed by Malaysia.

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/friday-sermons-must-promote-love-not-hatred 

20 Points: A ‘bomb’ in backburner

Posted: 29 Nov 2013 08:42 AM PST


(Borneo Post) - Razaleigh reasoned that information on the formation of Malaysia in the public domain were either insufficient or nonexistent at all.

Malaysians in the peninsula are not disrespecting the special rights of Sabah and Sarawak as specified in the Malaysian Agreement but are simply ignorant about the history of the formation of Malaysia, said Tengku Razaliegh Hamzah.

The Angkatan Amanah Merdeka (Amanah) president, who is affectionately known as Ku Li, said those from Peninsular Malaysia had no intention to purposely belittle or brush aside the issues brought up by the people from the two states in regard to their rights.


However, they lack the knowledge and understanding of historical facts that could enable them to grasp the significance of the issues being raised to Sabah and Sarawak, particularly the 20 Points and the 18 Points.


"From my observation, I think it is not too much to say that most of the people from the middle age group in Sabah and Sarawak do not know much about the formation of Malaysia, let alone the same age group in Semenanjung Malaysia," he said when delivering his keynote address for the Roundtable Forum on 'Malaysia and the Non-Fulfillment of the 20-Point Agreement with Sabah', here, yesterday.


Razaleigh reasoned that information on the formation of Malaysia in the public domain were either insufficient or nonexistent at all.


This absence of information and the consequent ignorance and misconceptions, he said, has caused a lot of tension between Malaysians on the opposite sides of the South China Sea.


Razaleigh, who in May presented a talk on the same topic for the Royal Asiatic Society in Kuala Lumpur, said there had been many complaints voiced out by the people and leaders from Sabah and Sarawak on the issue but they were never taken seriously.


He regretted that the continuing outcry from Sabah and Sarawak on the matter over the years had not encouraged many people to find out and learn about the widely forgotten historical facts despite the availability of the Internet that has made accessing such information much easier.


Among the common misconceptions that irked east Malaysians the most, he noted, was the inaccurate labeling of Sabah and Sarawak as just another two states with the same state status like the 11 member states of Malaya.


Even more saddening, the lack of knowledge was not limited to the people on the ground but also very common among leaders and those with political influences in Peninsular Malaysia, he said.


"Certainly, this misconception is not on purpose but due to poor knowledge. I am confident that this misunderstanding (between east and west Malaysia) is not due to any ill intention or misgivings," he said.


Razaleigh said Sabah and Sarawak had been voicing their dissatisfaction since the early 80s but the issue was never discussed in official forums and remained a ticking time bomb that could explode and cause chaos at any time.


The current Parliament, like the previous ones, has also seen the 20-Point Agreement being brought up by representatives from Sabah but the issue was not given priority nor debated.


He stressed that the issue must be addressed and all the misconceptions be corrected before they become a much more serious issue that could put the nation's stability in jeopardy.


He suggested accurate and clear information on the formation of Malaysia, including the role and special rights of Sabah and Sarawak, should be made available and easier to access, by incorporating them into the school curriculum.


"We need to explain that 31 August is not significant to Sabah and Sarawak, no matter how grandeur the celebration. It is only a date when Malaya gained its independence.


"Sept 16, or Hari Malaysia on the other hand, is much more important and should be celebrated as one of the important dates in Malaysia's history.


"I must also say that even though the 20-Points and 18-Points have been incorporated into the Constitution, it is not befitting to say that these two agreements no longer exist or relevant," he said.


He noted both documents were supposed to be reviewed 10 years after the formation of Malaysia and a special committee was set up in 1973 to review the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Agreement.


However other pressing matters at that moment prevented the committee from completing the task, and the review was further delayed and eventually forgotten after Tun Dr Ismail, the chairman of the committee, died in 1973 followed by the passing of the then Prime Minister Tun Razak in 1976.


"Tun Razak had a noble intention of preserving the good relationship between Malaya and Sabah/Sarawak, but this goodwill was put on hold due to pressing matters at the time. Perhaps, the review can be reconsidered in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Malaysia this year," he said.


'Azmin, Khalid fighting over personal interests'

Posted: 29 Nov 2013 08:23 AM PST

SPLIT DOWN THE MIDDLE: Pay hike was merely an excuse to brawl, says academic

(NST) - SELANGOR PKR is heading towards a deep split, with  party deputy president and Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman Azmin Ali likely to begin clamouring to oust Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.

Independent economic macro-analyst Prof Dr Hoo Ke Ping said Azmin's "fight" against Khalid on the state government's recent salary and allowance increases for lawmakers was merely a reason for him to strengthen his position.

"The duo are fighting over personal interest and this salary hike is only an excuse."

Speaking about the pay hike, he said the hike disregarded the sensitivity of the people.

He added that the money could have been used to give out scholarships for students in Selangor or to solve the frequent flooding incidents in the state.

"The money could have been used for the benefit of the people and the nation instead of for leaders who do not see eye to eye."

The Selangor legislative assembly had, on Wednesday, approved pay cheque increases of 106 per cent for Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and increases of 373 per cent for the speaker, deputy speaker (268 per cent), state assemblymen (87.5 per cent) and exco members (231 per cent).

Political analyst, Associate Professor Dr Sivamurugan Pandian, said the unprecedented salary hike should not have happened, especially without a consensus.

"There was no consensus reached on the hike. Before the implementation, there should have been a consultation session," Sivamurugan of Universiti Sains Malaysia told the New Straits Times yesterday.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Social Science and Humanities Faculty lecturer Associate Professor Datuk Dr Samsul Adabi Mamat said the setback to the high pay hike was that no research was done and the hike was implemented quickly .

"Even pay hikes for public servants are done in stages and not in one shot.

"If the pay hike was done together with the state's public servants, then there may be a rationale (behind the hike)."

He said it showed that the state government was greedy, but added that there might be a political conflict brewing, as Pakatan de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had also expressed his disagreement over the issue.

1Malaysia Foundation chairman Dr Chandra Muzaffar, who also found the pay hike too exorbitant, said the hike was untimely, as the people were feeling the pinch from the rising cost of living.

"When ordinary people are struggling to make ends meet, I think this hefty pay hike is unreasonable."

It was reported that Khalid had directed his displeasure at Azmin, telling him to either take the new salary or donate it, adding that the increment was considered "low and reasonable".


Higher salaries for Penang assemblymen expected, Johor mooting increase

Posted: 29 Nov 2013 08:06 AM PST

(The Star) - Penang is expected to increase the salary and allowances of its 40 assemblymen, taking the lead from Selangor - but at a lower quantum.

The increase will see the salary of assemblyman from RM4,112.79 to RM6,000.

Allowances for the assemblymen will also be increased from RM2,000 to RM5,500, comprising special allowances (RM1,500), driver fixed allowances (RM1,500), fixed transport allowance (RM1,000), miscellaneous allowances (RM1,000) and housing allowance (RM500).

In total, this will increase remuneration for assemblymen from the current RM6,112.79 to RM11,500.

It is believed that the announcement will be announced by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng at the end of the state legislative meeting on Dec 19.

Meanwhile, in KLUANG, the Johor state government is studying a proposal to increase the salaries of its elected representatives, but at a lesser scale than that of the Selangor state assembly.

Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said he felt that Selangor's new salary scale state was too high.

He said Johor was looking at suitable salary hike and the focus would be on elected representatives.

"Even there is an increment, it will be insignificant for Mentri Besar and exco (member positions)," he said, adding that the Mentri Besar receives a salary for both positions.

"Those who have to work more are elected representatives, thus the increment here will not be like Selangor.

When asked whether the salary increment in Johor would happen next year, Mohamed Khaled said no decision was made yet as Johor's elected-representatives were "not desperate".

The salaries of the Mentri Besar, executive councillors, Speaker, deputy Speaker and assemblymen of Selangor will be increased by up to nearly 400% next year.

Increases ranging from 87% to 373% were passed at the state legislative assembly following approval by the executive council on Nov 22.


Satu lagi aduan kepada ROS terhadap DAP

Posted: 29 Nov 2013 07:50 AM PST

Saya memohon pihak ROS dapat membantu dan memastikan hak-hak sebagai ahli parti tidak terabai oleh pihak-pihak tertentu

(National Express) - Menjelang berlangsungnya Konvensyen DAP Negeri Sembilan di City Kingdom Ballroom, Seremban Sabtu ini, ahli seumur hidup DAP, A David Dass membuat satu aduan rasmi kepada Jabatan Pertubuhan Malaysia (ROS) cawangan Negeri Sembilan petang semalam.

David Dass mendakwa Konvensyen yang bakal berlangsung esok yang turut membabitkan pemilihan Ahli Jawatankuasa peringkat Negeri Sembilan, bercanggah dengan peraturan perlembagaan parti mengikut Fasal XV(9) di mana Setiausaha negeri gagal memberi notis pemberitahuan sekurang-kurangnya lapan minggu kepada semua Setiausaha Cawangan sebelum tarikh ditetapkan untuk konvensyen peringkat negeri.

"Peraturan Perlembagaan Fasal XV(9) amat penting kepada semua cawangan peringkat negeri untuk menominasikan wakil-wakil yang bakal ditandingkan untuk jawatankuasa peringkat negeri.

"Saya memohon pihak ROS dapat membantu dan memastikan hak-hak sebagai ahli parti tidak terabai oleh pihak-pihak tertentu di dalam DAP demi kepentingan peribadi," kata David Dass.

David Dass juga mendakwa bahawa ada beberapa cawangan DAP yang tidak menerima langsung notis pemberitahuan konvensyen.

"Ada beberapa cawangan DAP yang tidak menerima langsung notis pemberitahuan konvensyen. Contohnya Cawangan Ladang Paroi, Taman Desa Dahlia, Nilai Perdana dan Taman Bukit Emas.

"Selain itu saya juga kecewa apabila daripada 37 calon yang akan bertanding untuk 15 jawatan Ahli Jawatankuasa Negeri , hanya lima calon berbangsa India. Daripada lima calon itu empat adalah Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri iaitu P Gunasekaran (Senawang), J Arulkumar (Nilai), S Veerapan (Repah) dan Mary Josephine (Rahang). Saya tidak mengenali seorang lagi calon berbangsa India.

"Apa yang mengejutkan ialah tidak ada seorang pun calon berbangsa Melayu di dalam senarai 37 calon untuk jawatan Ahli Jawatankuasa Negeri. Perkara ini mengejutkan saya walaupun ada pemimpin dan ahli DAP berbangsa Melayu di peringkat cawangan di Negeri Sembilan.

"Ada sesuatu yang tidak kena dengan perkara ini. Ini perkembangan yang tidak sihat untuk sebuah parti yang mencanangkan sebagai parti berbilang kaum," ujar David Dass.

Sementara itu Setiausaha DAP Negeri Sembilan, Cha Kee Chin apabila dihubungi FMT pagi ini berkata beliau mencabar David Dass untuk meneruskan tindakan beliau.

"Beliau bukan lagi ahli DAP dan beliau telah dipecat. Saya mencabar beliau meneruskan tindakan beliau tersebut (membuat aduan kepada ROS)," kata Cha dengan ringkas.


PKR rep hits out at Teng for stating the obvious

Posted: 29 Nov 2013 07:41 AM PST

Meena Lakshana, fz.com

Amid the kerfuffle within Pakatan Rakyat over the sharp salary increase of Selangor's elected representatives, state executive councillor (exco) Datuk Teng Chang Khim is in the line of fire from a coalition colleague for "stating the obvious".

Batu Caves assembly member Amirudin Shari, of PKR, today hit out at Teng for noting that Selangor Pakatan Backbenchers Club president Mohamed Azmin Ali did not raise objections when the issue was debated in the state assembly sitting.

"I am of the view that it is improper for an exco to issue the following statement which only aggravates the situation," he said in a statement.

"There is no practice in Commonwealth countries whereby the BBC's role is to object to a motion tabled by the government of the day," he added.

Teng had reportedly said today Bukit Antarabangsa assembly member Mohamed Azmin was present at the sitting while the bill was debated and passed but did not voice any objections to it. 

"He didn't utter a word," said Teng. "Even the opposition, none of them uttered a word," he had said.

Amirudin said the motion should have been discussed at the pre-council meeting to obtain the BBC's approval as practised in other Commonwealth countries.

"I have to underline the fact that the BBC's role in the assembly sitting is to support motions put forth by the government," he said.

"We just want to have communication between the government and the BBC," he added.

Amirudin said while the BBC is not averse to the motion on the salary hike, the assembly members are of the view that it should be done at a reasonable rate.

He also said the state government should prioritise efforts to increase the basic facilities of assembly members such as their office space, provision of research officers, library facilities and a better online hansard system.

The salary hike for the elected representatives and top leadership, announced by Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim on Wednesday, was passed unanimously by the state assembly yesterday.

The pay hike, effective January 1, 2014, will see elected representatives garnering an increase in monthly salary from RM6,000 to RM11,250, state executive councillors from RM6,109.29 to RM20,250.

Meanwhile, Abdul Khalid will see his paycheck increase from RM14,175.15 to RM29,250, Speaker Hannah Yeoh from RM6,109.29 to RM22,500 and deputy speaker Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad from RM3,327.50 to RM15,750.

The salary hike has received criticism from Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders while Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Azmin had also said the hike was a "tad high."


Sabahan politicians popular for the wrong reasons

Posted: 29 Nov 2013 07:35 AM PST

Sean Augustin, fz.com

The 11 PKR divisional leaders who resigned from the party have reinforced the stereotype that Sabahan politicians were unreliable, its deputy secretary-general Darell Leiking said.

In stating this, the Penampang MP also believes that political parties would be more wary of Sabahan politicians, compared to before because several individuals have caused the public to question their principles.
"We Sabahans are getting popular for the wrong reason, as people who cannot be trusted. Sad," he told fz.com.
He was commenting on Tuesday's announcement which saw the group, which included two assemblymen, Datuk Jelani Hamdan (Matunggong) and Jeremy Malajad (Kadamaian), due to their loss of confidence with the opposition party.
Najib, who is also Barisan Nasional chairman, said a second wave of resignation could also be expected.
Sabahan political leaders, across the divide, have in the past on several occasions abandoned their parties to join their rivals, with the most significant crossover taking place in 1994 where several Parti Bersatu Sabah assemblymen defected to BN or formed their own parties.
This saw the fourth-term PBS government – then an opposition party – last only two weeks.
Leiking said it was unfortunate that the state has become the land where politicians used the rakyat as an excuse to leave the party, adding his believe the elected representatives can still serve the constituency even if they were at odds with the party.
He however understood if politicians abandoned the party if it changed "drastically", where its constitution or purpose became "morally and legally" wrong to the point it caused substantive change.
Leiking went on to suggest that the party comes up with a  check list and get future candidates to make an open declaration to the electorates that they will not betray their trust.
"Record it, video it and affirm it.
"We need a new culture of trust where leaders are to stand firm and be trusted to execute their mandate without crossing over." he said.

Khalid’s pay: What RM29,250? It’s RM50k!

Posted: 29 Nov 2013 07:29 AM PST

Above the basic salary, Khalid Ibrahim will also be drawing emoluments from other portfolios

Alyaa Azhar, FMT

Come end of January 2014, Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim would not be pocketing merely RM29,250 in salary, instead he will be receiving more than RM50,000.

This is because other than receiving salary for being the state's Menteri Besar, he is also eligible to receive payments as a state assemblyman and member of parliament.

As revealed on Wednesday, his salary as the Menteri Besar has increased to RM29,250 while as the Port Klang state assemblyman, he will receive a salary of RM11,250.

Additionally, as Bandar Tun Razak MP, Khalid will earn RM6508.59. In total, from the three mentioned positions, Khalid will draw RM47,008.59.

All these excludes other fringe benefits he enjoys as the Menteri Besar such as RM100 per day for a domestic trip and RM500 on an overseas trip, with accommodation and transportation taken care of.

Former Selangor Menteri Besar Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo told FMT that Khalid is also provided a house and a personal driver. He also receives phone and miscellaneous allowances.

He also revealed that Khalid will receive RM5,000 for every corporation or board meeting he attends as the chairman. Meetings are conducted thrice a year for each corporation.

Khalid is chairman of the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS), Selangor State Investment council (SSIC), Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Berhad (KDEB), Selangor Agricultural Development Corporation (PKPS) and Selangor Housing and Property Board (LPHS).

It was reported on Wednesday that Selangor's Menteri Besar, elected representatives, executive council members, Speaker and Deputy Speaker will receive pay hikes effective Jan 1, 2014.

Under the new salary structure, the pay of assemblymen will be upped 87% from RM6,000 to RM11,250 a month while the Menteri Besar will have a pay rise of 106.4%, from RM14,175 to RM29,250.



Salary hike: Is it justified?

Posted: 28 Nov 2013 04:09 PM PST

The salary hike for Selangor's state government officials received mix reactions from netizens.

Narinder Singh, FMT

The salary hike granted to the Selangor state government officials has received mix reactions from netizens. Some have defended the move done by the menteri besar while others have chided since the quantum involved is significantly high.

A Facebook user by the name Tiger Malaya was indeed very vocal in lashing out towards the Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim and Speaker Hannah Yeoh, reminding them on how they had used the "begging approach" in the past general election.

"We had trusted you guys based on the 'begging approach' used in the GE13 to get our votes, …our expectations are yet to be fulfilled as most of us still living in poverty but you guys started to show your desperation for multi-fold income with self interests ….instead of the Selangor rakyat's welfare, social status and financial issues," said Tiger Malaya.

Tiger Malaya went further by labeling them "greedy political individuals" who were wrong in demanding such salaries for holding public office.

While another commenter Rufus Mallu likened the raise as the DBKL assessment hike, that since there has not been a hike for too long, thus it is justified to do so.

Rufus says "just like the DBKL assessment hike, this phrase used is similar…long time no increase…so increase 300%!!"

Another Facebook user going by the name Tim Price says that as a tax payer in Selangor he finds the hike as 'crazy'; and stresses that "I am not in BN or any other party BUT I am a tax payer….and finding money is very hard, so yes, I do think such big increases are crazy."

In denouncing the hike too, a Wilfred Yap took voters to task for voting in the Pakatan Rakyat in the last GE, saying "this is the perfect lesson for all voters of PR. Talk is cheap…..PR is long on promises but short on delivery. People now realise that PR is not and have no intention to follow what they preach."

Nevertheless there were others on the social media that felt the salaries' hike is justified for all the works done by the Selangor state government and Khalid thus far.

Tai Chee who claims to be from Malacca said "Khalid is doing a good job, better than Najib, that's why his salary is higher. Imagine Khalid change seats with Najib as PM, Malaysia could have paid all its debts already by now."



‘PKR supreme council discussed pay hike’

Posted: 28 Nov 2013 03:53 PM PST

The PKR supreme council chaired by Anwar Ibrahim had discussed the proposed pay hike for Selangor state officials before it was announced, says Elizabeth Wong. 

Ikhwan Zulkaflee, FMT

A special PKR supreme council meeting on Nov 22, chaired by party de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, was informed of the Selangor government's proposal to increase salaries of the Menteri Besar, the state legislative Speaker and excos, a state exco revealed today.

State Tourism, Consumer Affairs and Environment exco Elizabeth Wong said Anwar was present during the meeting and the matter was not dismissed by the PKR top brass.

"The reaction from the leadership was that it had no objection to the hike and that we have to improve our services and we have to ensure our programmes were carried out," she told reporters when met at the state legislative lobby here today.

Wong however said she was not sure if PKR deputy president Azmin Ali was present at the meeting as "there was a big turnout for the meeting".

She also said the exact quantum of the pay hike was not discussed at the special PKR supreme council meeting as the state government did not have the figures then.

Wong admitted that the pay hike figures were shocking but reasonable.

The Selangor state government two days ago announced pay hike for its Menteri Besar from the current RM14,175 to RM29,250 monthly, while the allowance for the Speaker went up from RM6,109 to RM22,500, a month. Elected state assemblymen will also get an allowance revision from the current RM6,000 to RM11,250 a month.

State executive councillors on the other hand will get RM20,250 a month from RM6,109 a month.

The massive pay increase has irked many including Anwar who wanted the state government to explain the hike.

This was followed by Azmin, who is also Bukit Antarabangsa state assemblymen, to question the rationale behind the huge allowance package increase.

The Selangor state government is in the hands of the opposition coalition made up of PAS, PKR and DAP, with PKR taking the lead role.



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