Thursday, July 9, 2015

Eyeing Shad Saleem Faruqi's reflecting on the law - Honouring Constitutional Promises

The Federal Constitution grants to Sabah and Sarawak a number of iron-clad guarantees of their autonomy and special position.
THE “Borneoisation case” of Fung Fon Chen @ Bernard v Govt (2012) is slated for rehearing on July 23. It relates to alleged violations of Sabah and Sarawak’s special position in the Federal set-up.
When Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore joined hands with Malaya to constitute Malaysia, the significantly amended Federal Constitution granted them a number of iron-clad guarantees of their autonomy and special position.
Some in the peninsula feel that 52 years after Malaysia Day the special rights and privileges must give way to more unity and uniformity on such issues as right to travel, live and work throughout the Federa­tion. Many Sabahans and Sarawa­kians, on the other hand, lament that they have been shortchanged and that there is a distinct whittling down of the privileges promised to them in 1963.
Gleaning over existing literature, a list of the main complaints may run as follows:
Political control: The Federal Government dictates political outcomes. The Federal Government’s choice of Mentris Besar and Governors does not always reflect popular sentiments in these states. The declaration of emergency in Sarawak in 1966 and the dismissal of Chief Minister Stephen Kalong Ningkan indicate that state autonomy is rather frail. Interference by Federal politicians in Sabah’s politics in 1994 led to the replacement of popularly elected local leaders.
Expanding Federal jurisdiction: Labuan was ceded to the Federal Government in 1984. Water and tourism have been federalised. Federal trespass on Sabah and Sarawak’s right in relation to amendments to the Federal Consti­tution was highlighted in the landmark decision of Robert Linggi vs Government of Malaysia (2011).
Religion: At the time of the 1963 merger, there was no state religion in these two states. Islam is now the official religion of Sabah. Articles 161C and 161D, which imposed procedural restrictions on laws favouring Islam, were repealed in 1976. The seizure of Bibles and the judicial decision on the kalimah Allah issue have angered many Sabahans and Sarawa­kians.
Finances: There is an allegation that these states do not derive the kind of financial benefit they deserve as a result of their contribution to the national coffers from petroleum, hydroelectricity and tourism.
Immigration: The influx of illegal immigrants and the alleged ‘’naturalisation’’ of thousands of them are violations of Sabah and Sarawak’s right over immigration.
Parliamentary representation: In 1963 it was envisaged that the Borneo states and Singapore shall have no less than 33% of the Dewan Rakyat seats. The percentage has now dipped to 25%.
20-Point Agreement: Within Sabah there is considerable disquiet that some of the safeguards of the ‘’20 Points’’ have not been converted to law. A prominent complaint is that Borneoisation of public services in Sabah has not proceeded vigorously. It is alleged that insufficient protection is being given under Article 153 to natives of Borneo states.
Secession: In the light of the above, a movement has sprung up asking for Sabah to secede from the Federation. Legally speaking, our Constitution contains no provision for the secession of any state from the Federation. The disintegration of the Federal union is not contemplated by the Constitution. Any attempt at separation or incitement to secede will actually amount to treason and sedition under our criminal laws.
Even the 20-Point Agreement with Sabah explicitly states in para 7 that there is no right to secession.
But what about Singapore? Contrary to what is believed by some, Singapore did not unilaterally secede from Malaysia. Its “separation” was accomplished by several mutual acts between the Malaysian Federal Government and the state Government of Singapore.
Among these were the Inde­pendence of Singapore Agreement 1965 and the Constitution and Malaysia (Singapore Amendment) Act 1965. The latter made significant modifications to the 1957 Federal Constitution and the 1965 Malaysia Act and explicitly stated, “Parliament may by this Act allow Singapore to leave Malaysia”.
Self-determination: What about international law? One has to concede that the law of nations recognises the right of a people to self-determination. The law was born in an era of decolonisation and embraces the notion that people who have a common historical, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, religious, ideological, territorial or economic identity have a right to determine the political and legal status of their territory. They may set up a new State or choose to become part of another State.
In recent memory, Crimea (2014), Timor Leste (1995) and Bangladesh (1971) travelled down the painful, blood-soaked path of national liberation.
The principle of self-determination is recognised in Articles 1(2), 55, 73 and 76(b) of the United Nations Charter and in many other international documents. However, international law scholar Abdul Ghafur Hamid asserts that the legal right of self-determination applies primarily to colonised, trust and mandated territories: “The effect of linking self-determination to decolonisation seems to deny a general right to secession of groups within a State”.
I believe that despite some ambiguity in international law, the various regions (states, cantons, provinces) of a Federation do not have a legal right to walk away from the union. A unilateral act of separation is permissible in confederations like the European Union or Asean but not in a Federation united by a written, supreme Constitution which describes the territories of the Federation.
Leaders of Sabah and Sarawak must, therefore, disassociate themselves from all separatist movements. Instead they must negotiate with the Federal Government about their discontents.
In turn, Federal leaders must recognise that Sabah and Sarawak’s restiveness is real and must be addressed. The Federal Government must return to the meticulously negotiated compromises of 1963. It must balance the concern of equity with efficiency in inter-governmental financial relations.
It must strengthen institutional me­­c­h­anisms for regular, non-partisan dialogue between the centre and the states. If the root causes of dissent and disenchantment are addressed, this Federal union can survive the challenging decades ahead.
Shad Faruqi is Emeritus Professor of Law at UiTM. The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Eyeing Datuk Wong Chun Wai's "One for all, All for One" in Education.

Education is for all, it’s time we think of the bigger picture affecting all children.
MY colleague received a press statement sent by a very high-ranking official of a government department recently. It was personally written in English by the official and sent by WhatsApp to ensure it was speedily delivered.
The only snag was that his command of the language was so horrendous that my colleague had to suggest to him, politely, that he might want to stick to Bahasa Malaysia to ensure accurate reporting on our part. He got the message. A new version was eventual­ly sent.
Then, there are also the vice-chancellors of a few public universities who face the same language problem despite having spent much time in overseas universities to pursue their post-graduate studies.
We have also met Malaysian diplomats who cannot carry out a proper conversation in flawless English and we know some of them even shy away from social functions, which is a shame as this where they can pick up nuggets of information for their intelligence reports.
A few generations, yes, a few generations, are paying the price – unable to speak and write in proper English – because of our education system.
At best, they may have some semblance of communication English, but without the proper foundations in grammar, many are unable to even string a sentence together correctly.
Because English is just a subject, there is hardly any opportunity to use and practise the language on a regular and extensive basis within the school system.
That’s how low we have sunk. Forget about the occasional use of some Latin words to make the language more refined, if not, more classy. Getting through the basics is tough enough.
It is no surprise, therefore, that they really struggle when they reach tertiary level where much of the information is in English.
And even upon graduation, many employers are reluctant to hire them when they cannot function properly in an environment where the working language is English.
Controversial MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar became the butt of every joke on social media when he introduced a hashtag ­#earthquack for his postings on the earthquake situa­tion in his home state.
Well, we also can see that some of our Chinese politicians, from both sides of the political divide, struggle with English, judging by some of the postings they make on Facebook.
Every now and then, we have reports about bad English in an English examination paper. We have more or less gotten used to the fact that the English in many of our official websites are littered with mistakes.
It doesn’t seem to bother our politicians and decision makers one bit, as they will simply shrug off calls to allow English as a medium of instruction in our education system.
Why should they be worried as many of them are able to send off their children to boarding schools overseas at a young age? After all, the only ones that would bear the consequences would be the students in the rural areas.
The Ruler of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, recently suggested that English be made a medium of instruction – he didn’t say make English THE medium of instruction.
The reality is that English, as a medium of instruction, is already available but it is restricted only to private and international schools, mostly in urban areas.
And despite the high fees charged, more urban parents are opting to send their children to such schools because they simply want their children to be proficient in this international language.
The urban-rural divide is accentuated because while children in the rural areas are sometimes teased for using English, it is perfectly normal for English to be used at home in middle-class Malaysia.
And with greater exposure to the language, the urban children do have an edge over those in the rural areas.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. As his Royal Highness the Sultan of Johor said, these politicians are using nationalism and race to champion communal rights and the Malay language at the expense of the English language.
They are doing so to protect their interests and political positions. Unfortunately, many seem to buy into their agendas.
We must also be clear that the lack of proficiency in English cuts across all races.
Many Chinese parents send their children to Chinese schools at the primary level because they want their children to be able to speak and write basic Chinese as they eye the growing economic power of China.
Many shy away from the national schools because there is a strong perception that these schools have turned more religious in character with a single race dominant in the overall attendance.
The national schools that many of us from my generation and earlier grew up in, where English was the medium of instruction, were different as all races were well represented.
But in our current situation, many Chinese parents also find that sending their children to the Chinese primary schools does not help their children have a good command of English either.
The English proficiency of the majority of Chinese teenagers, because of their background in Chinese schools, is just as bad as their counterparts in the rural schools.
They live in the Chinese world, watching Taiwanese and Hong Kong movies, with little interest in the real world.
Their worldview is shaped pretty one-­dimensionally and because of the environment they grew up in, they are unlikely to have real friends from those of other races.
Many of us in our 50s have been lucky – we were probably the last batch of the English-medium schools where we sat for the Malaysia Certificate of Education (MCE) and the Higher School Certificate (HSC) examinations.
The English-medium schools were neutral grounds as students of all races attended such schools and the best friendships were forged there.
We had real friends from all races because we were growing up together for at least 10 years in the schools. It was not functional friendship at work, but real bonding as we studied and played together.
I feel really sorry for many Malaysian kids who do not have friends outside their own race as they are not be able to shape their thinking in a more open way.
So, when a hot issue comes up in the country, especially those involving race and religion, they are not able to see things from another perspective.
Like many, I also worry about the future of Malaysia and our children, as the performance of our schools continues to falter. Beyond our concerns over language skills, we should be even more worried about the quality of our education.
Our ranking in Science and Mathematics is already reportedly low, although our politicians question its accuracy. But the reality is that many of us are no longer surprised by such trends.
Our politicians will continue to tell us that all is well and fine in our schools, and that we have little influence to change anything. Some of us may believe that to be so.
But if we really care for the country, we should not be afraid to propose radical changes for the sake of our future generations.
Education is for all and it is totally selfish if we only think of our own interests while the majority are stuck in a system which does not empower them to reach for the stars.

Eyeing Joceline Tan's "Death of Pakatan Rakyat"

Pakatan’s ‘seven-year itch’

The Penang Government will also become shaky if DAP carries out its threat to pull out of the Selangor administration.
SELANGOR Mentri Besar Azmin Ali was in Kelantan the day DAP declared that Pakatan Rakyat had ceased to exist.
It was quite ironic because there he was, looking so cosy and chummy with his Kelantan counterpart Datuk Ahmad Yakob while there was hue and cry elsewhere over the news.
The PKR deputy president is not the sort to wear his feelings on his sleeve and he seemed unruffled even as the rest of his party was behaving as though ants had invaded their pants.
Azmin was there for the signing ceremony to build homes for those displaced by the great floods last year and he had brought along several state exco members and civil servants. Selangor will build 60 houses at a cost of RM6mil in Kuala Krai, the Ground Zero of the Kelantan floods.
Was it his way of telling everyone that ties between PKR and PAS are on track even if DAP is pulling away?
The PKR deputy president has struggled to remain calm in the days following what some have termed as the “death of Pakatan”.
The jury is still out on whether Pakatan is really dead or still alive.
The joke is that Pakatan is going through the seven-year itch. It has been seven years since the three parties came together under the Pakatan umbrella and it seems like the threesome have begun to get antsy about their significant other.
PAS election director Datuk Mustafa Ali’s tongue-in-cheek take is that the coalition haspengsan (state of unconsciousness).
PKR’s admission that the coalition still exists but can no longer function formally suggests that Pakatan is in a wheelchair – it can still roll on but cannot walk or run.
Itchy, pengsan, in a wheelchair or whatever you call it, Pakatan is in a bad place at the moment. The coalition that won 52% of the popular vote in the general election and which regained Penang and Selangor with bigger mandates has squandered its opportunities and made a mockery of the new politics that they promised.
It is broken and that is perhaps the most accurate definition at this point in time.
PKR sources said their ketua umum Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is furious that one party should decide on the status of a three-party coalition. He finds it “bloody arrogant” and has made it known to his party.
Well, he has a point there – this is a three party set-up and it needs at least two to decide.
Emotions are high and the administer for Anwar’s Chinese Facebook “Ah Hua Gor” had posted: “Thank you DAP for burying PR”.

Lee: ‘We are in uncharted waters’.
The DAP cybertroopers came down so hard on him and even put pictures of his children online that he had to apologise and take down the posting.
“The word from our topmost leadership is that there must be continued engagement even if we cannot work as a formal pact,” said PKR vice-president Shamsul Iskandar.”
DAP’s haste to issue Pakatan’s death certificate was aimed at appeasing its Chinese support base which has become very critical of PAS. It needs to distance itself from PAS or risk losing support in the next general election.
There is a very strange situation going on. PAS has severed ties with DAP and DAP is dead against PAS’ Islamic agenda but both do not want to leave. They are waiting for each other to get out.
As a result, DAP has resorted to pressuring PKR to choose between the two parties. But PKR feels that it does not have to choose because it can work with both parties.
Behind the scenes, Selangor DAP is threatening a pullout of sorts from the Selangor government if PKR does not choose.
Selangor DAP chairman Tony Pua has been the most hawkish of the lot. He has been quoted in the Chinese media demanding that Azmin choose between DAP and PAS.
Recently, Chinese media reports quoting sources from Selangor DAP claimed that if Azmin did not choose, DAP state exco members would resign after Hari Raya. The DAP had done the same thing to force Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim to resign.
The anonymous DAP leader also demanded that Azmin sack the PAS state exco members who want to ban alcohol sales in Selangor.
Softer approach
Azmin did not retaliate. Instead, he used the personal touch to reach out to DAP leaders when he met them in Parliament a few days later. He approached the MPs personally, asked for their understanding and urged them not to make such public statements.

Shamsul: ‘Continued engagement goes on'.
“The three parties in Selangor have to respect the wishes of the voters who gave them such a big mandate. People are fed-up with the politicking, we need to find a way to manage things until the term runs out. Dissolving the state assembly is an option of last resort,” said DAP’s Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi who is also a columnist in Sin Chew Daily.
However, Ooi did not rule out a “final fallout” taking place between DAP and PAS.
The blame game is still going on but the fact is that all three parties contributed to the crisis.
PKR sparked it off with the controversial Kajang Move. PAS regarded it as a disrespectful unilateral decision and refused to support Dr Wan Azizah for the Mentri Besar post.
Then PAS moved to introduce hudud law in Kelantan which erupted in a war of words with DAP. The PAS muktamar decision to severe ties with DAP was the catalyst to DAP jumping the gun to declare that Pakatan is finished.
It was a domino effect phenomenon, and it is unclear whether the last domino has fallen yet.
The perception is that PKR has the most to lose if DAP pulls out from the Selangor government.
But PKR will not take it lying down, it can also pull out from Penang and put Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s government in jeo­pardy.
In Penang, DAP has 19 out of 40 state seats, PKR has 10, PAS 1 and Umno 10. The Penang government can still survive as a single-party government but it will be a government standing on one leg.
It will be a very weak government that is unable to pass laws in the state assembly or make major decisions. It will also become a near mono-ethnic government that will be highly unstable.
And if the Selangor DAP state exco members carry out their threat to quit, PKR could do the same to Lim’s state exco in Penang. In the end, both governments could come tumbling down.

Ooi: Final fallout ahead for DAP and PAS.
“We are in uncharted waters, we need to exercise restraint. A tit-for-tat game is not good for anyone,” said former Kajang assemblyman Lee Chin Cheh.
The political chatter is that DAP’s aggression in Selangor is also connected to DAP wanting a bigger slice of the pie in the state such as appointments to important state GLCs and other government posts. There is also a rumour going around that a Selangor DAP leader wants to become the Mayor of Petaling Jaya.
DAP is trying to change its Chinese image, hence, its attempt to recruit pretty Malay girls and high-profile Malay names. It is trying to recruit credible Malays whom it can put as candidates in the next general election.
New multiracial flavour
The party is also trying to woo the PAS moderates who lost in the recent party PAS election. It will be quite a catch if big names like Mohamed Sabu or Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa sign up.
It has managed to recruit national laureate Datuk Samad Said while law professor Dr Aziz Bari, who contested but lost in the general election on a PKR ticket, may soon join DAP.
DAP does not want to depend on PAS or PKR for the multiracial flavour if it wins well again.
That is the DAP plan for the next general election and the day when Selangor has its first DAP Mentri Besar may not be far off.
But the “Pakatan is dead” pronouncement has made things terribly awkward for the three parties.
Will DAP state exco members still attend the weekly state exco meetings with their PAS counterparts? Is it going to be business as usual or will it be like a funeral?
The Penang government has begun to use the term Kerajaan Negeri Rakyat Pulau Pinang. Will DAP politicians in Selangor follow suit or will it continue to labour under the old name? It is so easy to say die, but the devil lives on in the details.
DAP leaders have also begun promoting the notion of a new political realignment.
Veteran Lim Kit Siang said the new coalition will comprise political forces of like-minded people with the interests of the people at heart.
Hmmm ... wasn’t that what they said when they set up Pakatan Rakyat?
Everyone had settled in with their popcorn and soft drinks to watch the Mahathir-Najib action movie.
But that was so yesterday – the audience has moved on to a more gripping thriller called the “Death of Pakatan Rakyat”.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Eyeing Dr M’s ethical years and BMF case by Tunku Abdul Aziz


EXCESSES: The unresolved BMF scandal looms large even while some seek answers to the 1MDB puzzle In researching my subject I came across an article that I wrote for the Australian Journal of Public Administration in December 1999, titled “Malaysia Incorporated: Ethics on Trial”, as well as a paper that I delivered to the International Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, London on March 19-20, 2001 titled “Has Reform Revived the Miracle?” I struck some historical nugget of information about Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s outrageously questionable ventures that many may have forgotten. I believe it is important for our youth to know something about the Dr Mahathir years. For example, the country’s oldest English language broadsheet, the New Straits Times, felt constrained to editorialise on Sept 23, 1978, no doubt more in sorrow than in anger, “there was once a time when a Malaysian could indulge in a little smile of condescension when stories of corruption in developing countries, other countries of course, were entirely justified: virtually every aspect of administration was clean, abuse of power unheard of, departmental morale was high, public confidence was vibrant. For whatever reason, the present conditions have called forth a litany of exhortation against corruption”. The nostalgic “there was once a time” was a pointed reference to the administration of the first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, to whom service before self was an important personal creed. Soon after Dr Mahathir took over the reins of government, a horrendous financial scandal engulfed Bank Bumiputra Berhad, incorporated in 1978 as the vehicle to launch the Malays into business. Touted as the “flagship” of the New Economic Policy, by 1988 it had assets worth more than US$15 billion (RM54 billion). Moving aggressively into overseas ventures, lending recklessly to politically well-connected companies and individuals, many of them possessed neither the capacity nor the intention of repaying the loans. The bank shifted large sums of money to its wholly-owned subsidiary, Bumiputra Malaysia Finance Limited (BMF), which in turn lent in total close to US$1 billion to a Hong Kong $2 company called Plessey Investment Limited and another, Carrian Investment Limited. George Tan, the man behind Carrian, within months of the BMF money going through the books, ran his company into the ground. Billions disappeared into thin air. In Malaysia a committee of inquiry was set up, headed by Datuk Ahmad Nordin, the fearless auditor general whose report stopped just short of naming senior members of government who had profited from the loan disbursements. Nordin recommended that criminal proceedings be instituted against those involved. No such action took place in Malaysia. In Hong Kong, criminal action was taken under the law against the crooks as soon as the scandal broke. Scapegoats or, to use the modern expression, fall guys were quickly identified and “persuaded” to fall on their swords. One of them was Lorrain Osman, the then chairman of BMF, who went into exile in England. In Malaysia, Dr Mahathir’s studied indifference served to reinforce suspicions of high-level complicity. The most damning indictment was the claim made by a Hong Kong lawyer that BMF and its parent, Bank Bumiputra Malaysia Berhad, accepted an arrangement based on incestuous relations between senior politicians and bank officers and that his client simply carried out orders (Clad 1989:53). This, as to be expected, was never proven in Malaysia. I have highlighted just one incident that I was prepared to treat in a spirit of charity as an aberration. A few years ago, before he died, I met Lorrain in the company of my old friend, Datuk Yunus Rais, in London and over a meal asked Lorrain who was behind the Carrian affair? He asked me whether I thought that he alone could have made the decision to move billions of US dollars without instructions from “high above”? I had the answer I had been after all those years. In a more open and accountable society, the wrongdoers would not only have been dragged through the courts, but the government, too, would have been brought down. We need to find all the answers to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) financial conundrum, and the prime minister has done the right thing by getting the auditor general to investigate the operations of the company. Before we deliver a guilty verdict, let us exhaust all investigations and other avenues before we call anyone to account. We will, in our current climate of openness, get a lot faster to the bottom of 1MDB’s shortcomings, if indeed there are problems, than we got out of the investigations into financial and other excesses during the lost ethical years when Dr Mahathir was prime minister. (In the writing of this article, I have used information from the works of Gale, B; Clad; Jomo, K.S.; Hussein, S.A.; and the ‘New Straits Times’ Sept 23, 1978. I am indebted to them all.) The writer is a director of International Institute of Public Ethics and board member of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Eyeing the Malaysian Sour Grapes

In an old fable by Aesop, a hungry fox noticed a bunch of juicy grapes hanging from a vine. After several failed attempts to reach the grapes, the fox gave up and insisted that he didn't want them anyway because they were probably sour.

Nowadays when somebody expresses sour grapes, it means that they put down something simply because they can't have it.

Merriam-Webster -  unfair criticism that comes from someone who is disappointed about not getting something.  

The phrase is often used incorrectly as another way to express bitterness or resentment.

My friend once told me that in his country there was a powerful politician who ruled the country for many years, more than two decades. He introduced the heavy industry policy which is not a success story. Others are successful but the company that he is now the Chairman of the Board is not doing so well. He complains of other companies that is in the same activity that is doing very well serving the people including holders of approved permits. He is very bitter and full of resentment.

My friend’s friend told me that he grooms one young dynamic activist into his party and his government. This guy looks religious, brings Islamic values it seems. But did not practice what he preached. Trust him to look after education portfolio and screwed up. Trusted him to look after the economy and nearly sold out the country. The Bursa plummeted and plunges to diminishing values. He allowed this guy to climb the ladders of power and until his own position was at stake, he had to uproot the seed he planted, he is still bitter and full of resentment.

Another friend told me that he got a close friend who in good times do business and in bad times receives salary from the government and look after money. There are a lot of private tied business going on. Lucrative projects gone into private hands. Utility services palmed out to friends. National assets becomes privately owned. And some are stripped. The majority suffered in the hands of the few. When these is being reversed, where the people comes first instead of the few. When a special purpose government vehicle bought over these activities to benefit the people in the long run, he is very bitter and full of resentment.

A colleague told me that once he had a friend who he appointed as the Secretary General of his party. During that guy’s tenure, he allowed his party to be deregistered and forms a new party. This is actually the result of wanting to maintain political influence when a majority of the party members are against him. There is an occasion when he offered himself to be voted as a delegate to the General Assembly but was not chosen by the division. And blaming others for his debacle. He is still bitter and full of resentment about it.

Another friend told me that people die of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), his political career and government dominance ended because of AIDS. Nobody asks him to resign, that country is heading the Non Aligned Movement and also chairing the Organization of Islamic Conference, a powerful and influential period. But GOD almighty is great, he is not GOD. In no particular reference to Ai or D or S. the power succumbs to the acquired immune deficiency syndrome. And he is still bitter and full of resentment.


Another friend told me that because of all these bitterness and resentment, he is deaf to logic, blind to political realities and not so dumb to be criticizing and criticizing and criticizing his predecessors and successors.  Sour Grapes.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Eyeing Azmy Kelana Jaya's comment on previous call for the resiganation of Mahathir Mohamad

TAHUKAH anda? pada zaman pentadbiran bekas Perdana Menteri Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, ada lapan individu pernah mendesak beliau meletakkan jawatan sekitar tahun 1987, kira-kira enam tahun selepas beliau menjadi Perdana Menteri.
Pada ketika itu pun, Dr Mahathir tidak  mempedulikan desakan tersebut dan terus menjadi Perdana Menteri selama 22 tahun sebelum meletakkan jawatan pada 2003.
Terdapat lapan individu yang pernah mendesak beliau meletakkan jawatan sebagai Perdana Menteri yang pernah diperkatakan iaitu Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Bekas Timbalan Perdana Menteri Tun Musa Hitam, Bekas Perdana Menteri Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim dan Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar.
Baki mereka yang mahu Dr Mahathir meletakkan jawatan ialah Bekas Menteri Penerangan Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir dan Datuk Seri Shahrir Abdul Samad dan bekas Menteri Perusahaan Awam Datuk Abdul Manan Othman.
Kebanyakan daripada individu itu merupakan anggota awal Parti Semangat 46 dipimpin Tengku Razaleigh. Parti itu ditubuhkan selepas Dr Mahathir enggan meletakkan jawatan biarpun didesak.
Daripada beberapa laman blog, ada mengatakan bahawa Dr Mahathir merupakan Perdana Menteri yang paling banyak menerima desakan untuk melepaskan jawatan.
Tetapi beliau berkata “Saya tidak pernah didesak letak jawatan sepanjang jadi Perdana Menteri,” kenyataan yang dipetik The Edge baru-baru ini.
Antara kejadian yang menyebabkan timbul desakan itu ialah peristiwa Memali, pemilihan Presiden UMNO 1987, pengharaman UMNO pada 1988, kerugian Bank Negara, kes Perwaja Steel dan isu berkaitan pemecatan Bekas Timbalan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Beliau juga pernah didesak letak jawatan kerana skandal pembelian 88 buah pesawat pejuang jenis Skyhawk pada awal 80-an.
Ia menjadi satu kontroversi kerana dari 88 buah yang dibeli, hanya separuh sahaja boleh digunakan itupun dengan pelbagai masalah teknikal sehingga dikatakan ramai juruterban Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia (TUDM) hilang atau terbunuh dalam nahas.
Sebenarnya, ia merupakan sesuatu yang biasa bagi seseorang Perdana Menteri itu didesak meletakkan jawatan tetapi adakah desakan itu sesuai atau tidak untuk disuarakan.
Dr Mahathir pada ketika itu tidak langsung mengendahkan desakan itu dan terus kekal sebagai Perdana Menteri jadi tidak ada salahnya Perdana Menteri kini Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak untuk mentadbir negara secara tersendiri dan terus kekal.
Tambahan lagi, Najib memperolehi sokongan demi sokongan dari para pemimpin parti komponen Barisan Nasional (BN) dan juga sokongan dari sayap parti dalam UMNO di belakang beliau.
Ia bagi menunjukkan kepimpinan Najib disokong oleh mereka biarpun dikritik secara bertalu-talu oleh Dr Mahathir melalui media, blog dan video ke atas kepimpinan beliau.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Eyeing Najib's positive intervention on current issues

TV3 interviewed me tonight. Here are some key points I wanted to make:
ON THE PASSING OF TAN SRI JAMALUDDIN JARJIS AND DATO’ AZLIN ALIAS
I had the privilege of working with both of these fine public servants and I can tell you that their contribution to the government, to UMNO, and to our country was immeasurable.
They were committed to a strong and prosperous Malaysia, a regional powerhouse that serves as an example for other countries. Whilst we have made significant progress towards this, there is still work to be done.
Within their loss, I am more determined than ever to lead our country towards realising this goal. That is what they would have wanted.

CRITICISM FROM TUN MAHATHIR
I respect Tun Mahathir as I respect every other citizen of this country. It is the rakyat’s right to ask questions of me, to question my performance as Prime Minister, and the performance of the Government I lead.
However, at the end of the day, we are a democracy. I was elected by my party, and by the people of this country, to lead them. As such, I am answerable only to the people – not to any one individual. And if at the next general election, the people want change, they will let us know through the ballot box.

GST
I understand that there is some concern around the introduction of the GST. However, for the long term good of the economy, it is important that we broaden our tax base.
As Prime Minister, it is my responsibility to make the right decisions for all Malaysians, even if it can seem difficult at the time. I believe the introduction of the GST is an important reform that will help us build a stronger, more sustainable and transparent economy.
I have been made aware that some unscrupulous businesses, both big and small, are trying to take advantage of the introduction of GST to increase prices above the 6% rate. This is completely unacceptable.
I have instructed the relevant ministry to step up their enforcement efforts to ensure that any increases introduced by shopkeepers and business owners are in line with the 6% GST rate, and that any abuses of this system which negatively harm the consumer are brought to a halt.

STATE OF ECONOMY
Despite criticism from certain quarters, which damages investor confidence and harms our economy, our economy continues to develop fast and our economic fundamentals remain strong.
However, no country is isolated from global events, and we have already had a taste of the challenges with the falling oil price affecting everything from the ringgit to rubber.
Our economy’s growth and success did not come out of thin air. It came because we made the right decisions for Malaysia. I have always maintained that in politics you have to make the right decisions, not just the easy and populist ones.

1MDB
At the start of the year, 1MDB came under new leadership, and a strategic review of the business was carried out.
Following its completion, a decision was made to restructure the business, and this process is currently underway.
However, it is important to remember that 1MDB’s assets are greater than its liabilities. So, in very simplistic terms, if 1MDB were to be wound down tomorrow, the company would still have some assets and money left even after paying off all its debt.
At the same time, I recognise that there are a number of questions swirling around 1MDB. Some of these questions are valid, but there are others that appear to be directed at the company solely with the intention of creating controversy.
That is precisely why I have instructed the Auditor General to undertake a comprehensive audit of the company and independently verify its accounts. This report will then be passed on to the Public Accounts Committee, which as you know is a fully bipartisan body for scrutiny.
This should ensure that the process is open and transparent, and all questions that have been asked of the company should be sufficiently and independently answered. Now, we must let the process run its due course.
However, there are certain elements who continue to repeat the same old allegations about 1MDB, more often than not without full knowledge of 1MDB’s affairs.
The people behind these attacks know that they have the potential to damage investor confidence in the country, which in turn would have a negative impact on the economy, but continue to do this. That is irresponsible and putting politics before the national interest.

NEXT GENERAL ELECTION
The result of the next general election will be decided by the people.
What we know is that, as long as BN and UMNO remain united, we will win the election. And that is certainly the case as leaders from Sarawak and Sabah, from the Peninsula, from many different parties in BN have made clear in recent days.
The only way we would lose the election is if there is internal sabotage and bickering, but I am confident that the party would not tolerate any acts of betrayal within it, and will stay united.

SEDITION ACT
You have to bear in mind that circumstances change. From time to time, we need to re-evaluate things, and leaders can change their mind when it comes to doing what is best for the rakyat.
In order to realize our goal of building a stable, peaceful and harmonious state, the Sedition Act has been maintained.
The Sedition Act is not just for Muslims; it is for the protection of all Malaysians. It is aimed at preventing any person who promotes feelings of hostility between persons or groups on the grounds of religion - whether the religion attacked is Christianity, Hinduism, Islam or any of the other faiths Malaysia is proud to be home to.
We will not and cannot stand for the incitement of racial or inter-ethnic conflict. We have come too far to harm the progress that we have made. And that is why the government decided to keep the Sedition Act and amend it to make it a better and more suitable law.

NEW ANTI-TERROR LAWS
I have no greater priority than the safety and security of Malaysians. I take the threat of terrorism very seriously. The new anti-terror laws will help us address the threat that radical and extreme ideologies pose to Malaysia and how we are to stop it.
Contrary to what some are suggesting, these laws will not be used against critics of the government; rather, they will be an extra tool for dealing with the militant threat that all countries face.
We will do whatever necessary to prevent this sort of extremist ideology, which opposes Islamic teachings, democratic practices and humanitarian values.

Eyeing Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak's take on Mahathir Mohamad

Tindakan mantan Perdana Menteri, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (Tun M) mengkritik Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Razak bukanlah taktik baru yang pernah diguna pakainya.
Menurut tulisan blog Speaker Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) Sabah, Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak, taktik yang dilakukan Tun M itu pernah melakukan perkara sama untuk menyingkirkan bekas Perdana Menteri kelima, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (Pak Lah).
"Tun M telah memperlekehkan pentadbiran Pak Lah dengan mengatakan kerajaan kita diuruskan oleh 4K iaitu Kak Endon (isteri Pak Lah), Kalimullah (orang kuat Pak Lah), Khairy (menantu Pak Lah) dan Kamal (anak Pak Lah)," katanya.
"Kali ini Tun M menggunakan cara yang sama iaitu membabitkan isteri Najib iaitu Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor demi menyingkirkan Najib.
"Gelaran 'first lady' bukan pertama kali diguna pakai, bahkan pernah juga digunakan oleh isteri Tun M, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah," katanya.
Tambahnya, cara kritikan Tun M itu telah memberi gambaran dasyat mengenai keperibadian Rosmah sehingga menimbulkan kemarahan rakyat.
Tulis Salleh lagi, keistimewaan yang diberikan kepada Rosmah adalah hak kerajaan kerana beliau juga adalah 'First Lady' yang memainkan peranan secara formal.
"Saya harap siapa pun pilihan Tun M selepas ini, orang itu dapat meneruskan projek Jambatan Bengkok dan landasan berkembar keretapi ke Singapura pada tahun pertama Tun M menjadi Perdana Menteri.
"Kalau tidak orang itu bakal berdepan untuk dikritik oleh Tun M di masa hadapan."

Eyeing Nawawi Mohamad's Ten Mistakes of Tun Mahathir Mohamad

Former premier Mahathir Mohamad has criticized every prime minister of Malaysia from the late Tunku Abdul Rahman to the current leader Najib Razak, sparing no one except of course, himself. Mahathir has also criticized other world leaders including UK’s Tony Blair and of course George W Bush, the 43rd president of the United States.

So far none of his local peers have swung back at him, which is not surprising considering that several are already dead and only Najib and 5th prime minister Abdullah Badawi are alive. As for the international leaders, they have largely ignored Mahathir’s existence, which only adds to his frustration, but there is nothing he can do to them. However, he can make life miserable for his successors here, and this he is already doing.

When Mahathir retired in 2003, after 22 years as PM, there was talk about his ‘great’ legacy and he was even called Bapa Pemodenan or Father of Modernization. Some 9 years after his retirement, the excesses and sheer ill-judgement of his economic, social and political decisions have come back to wallop the nation with a backlash stronger than the ferocious tsunami of 2006 that devastated much of South Asia.

At 86, Mahathir is now reviled by most Malaysians, blamed for the massive corruption that may soon bankrupt the country if no remedial economic action is taken, and for the apartheid-scale racial fissures amongst the various ethnic groups in the country.

NEP

Just pick the New Economic Policy, which was the brainchild of the policymakers of the 1960s but which he abused to the maximum. This abuse alone is enough to ensure that he will stay in the Malaysian Hall of Villains rather than in the Hall of Fame which he still thinks he belongs in.
His peers with better memories including former Finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said last week that the NEP was never meant to create or to be used to incubate a class of Malay capitalists, but to address poverty and to raise the level of Malay participation in the economy. It was never meant to be abused by the government of the day to handpick a select group of Malay entrepreneurs, load them with sharply-discounted government deals and then expect them to prosper and create enough economic ripples to help lift the rest of the community.
This was Mahathir’s first and major mistake. But was it really a mistake? Doubters and critics point to the enormous wealth he accumulated for his cronies and proxies through the money-making schemes hatched under the guise of the NEP, and by privatizing government assets to favored Malay entrepreneurs, one of whom is the disgraced former MAS chairman Tajudin Ramli. Not able to deal with the ‘instant success’ or the stress of big time business, many succumbed to debt during the 1998 Asian financial crisis. Tajudin and friends like Halim Saad fell from hero to zero, losing enormous amounts of money and requiring massive government bailouts.

Cronies but the masses get nothing

The second mistake Mahathir, in his foolishness, made was to pool the major part of the nation’s wealth in the hands of a few. This time he included non-Malays millionaires such as Vincent Tan, Robert Kuok and Ananda Krishnan. Tan has just announced his retirement, Kuok unhappy with the worsening racial system in the country has chosen to stay Hong Kong, while Ananda is wanted by the Indian authorities for allegedly having corruptly wangled a telecoms licence to buy into Aircel.
This pooling of wealth in the hands of a few inevitably left the ordinary Malays and Malaysians with just a few crumbs to share amongst themselves, a slow-boil situation that has blown up to today’s red-hot disputes about social and economic fairness. Not only is there not enough money for scholarships, education, healthcare, employment and welfare for everyone, even the Malays who have been repeatedly told by Mahathir’s Umno party that they will get priority, have left in the lurch.

Malays now form 96% of the poorest 40% lowest income earners in the country. As for the non-Malays, of course, they have felt the pinch more. Many have been forced to go overseas to work and to study. That’s right, educational and employment opportunities are scarce for the non-Malays in the country. Again, the only group that benefited were the elite in the Umno party, their families and cronies. So Mahathir – despite his self-praise – was in fact rather shortsighted. Money was far more important to him than he cared to admit.

Trusting the wrong people

The third mistake that Mahathir made was choosing the wrong people for the wrong jobs. He also trusted the wrong people. All of the Malays tycoons that he picked had no real business savvy but were merely the trusted aides of former Finance minister Daim Zainuddin. That is why guys like Tajuddin, Halim, Rashid Husein of RHB Bank, Mohd Noor Mutalib and Abdul Rahman Maidin of MRCB fared poorly in the end. Some have even been hauled to court to settle debts.
Only Daim Zainudin remains ‘filthy’ rich. His nominees ended up owning all the various banks and business enterprises meant to be transferred into Umno Baru. Somehow, as the Umno legend goes, Daim managed to secure these for himself. This was obviously a huge letdown for Mahathir. Instead of ‘tricking’ people over to his point of view, for once, he had been had!

Set Malaysia off on the borrowing habit

Mahathir did not foresee that the National Debt could be as high as it is today, having ballooned to over RM450 billion. Despite several ‘begging’ trips to Singapore and Brunei, he was politely rebuffed. In the end, he borrowed from overseas by issuing bonds and ‘stealing’ every spare sen from Petronas and the other Government-Linked-Companies to fund his mega projects. Throughout his 22-year rule, Mahathir never saved a sen for Malaysia for a rainy day. And this was his fourth mistake.

Weak grasp of economic principles

Mahathir is just an ordinary doctor; a general practitioner and not a specialist. His understanding of economics is as rudimentary as the average Malaysian. His idea of increasing the equity of the Malays is so simplistic – use the GLCs. Mahathir’s vision of doing business is by profiteering through controlling shares in as many companies as possible without considering the possibility of losing money. Sad to say, real life businesses involves losses, not just profits.
Mahathir’s economic policy was not based on any solid foundation and had never been tested in any country before. It was based on his opinions and viewpoints. If these had been any good or worked, many countries would have already implemented similar ideas centuries ago. Even established capitalist and communist economic systems have come under fire and economic collapse is a norm these days, part of a man-made boom and bust cycle. Several economists have even urged nations to revert back to gold-based currencies, an ancient and established type of monetary system, so what are Mahathir’s child-like economic concepts by comparison? His fifth mistake is therefore his skewed understanding of the economy. It led to the controversial de-pegging of the ringgit from the US dollar and the overnight closure of the CLOB share market trading in 1998 – two events that investors have still not forgiven Malaysia and Mahathir for.

Dictator syndrome

Mahathir’s ego and unconscious desire to be a dictator is his sixth mistake. He amended the constitution to weaken the Agong and the Sultans and then made sure that the law and enforcement bodies obeyed him. He sacked the Chief Justice Tun Salleh Abbas and closed both eyes when judges were openly bought by those who had money. It would be tough for Malaysians and their investors to fully trust the judiciary system again. This is why the Umno-BN has lost its integrity and the people their faith in the coalition. Malaysians will always distrust whatever Umno-BN does even if it may be well-intentioned.

Racist policies

To prevent the disintegration of his policies and his misdeeds from being exposed, Mahathir had to resort to his favorite racial politics. He had to convince the Malays that what he had done was necessary and in their interests. He kept for himself the great jewels and gave out the small chips so as to convince the Malays that the war against the other races was real. The non-Malays had to be kept back. Thus the budget allocations for places like BTN or the National Civics Bureau where Malay graduates and civil servants were openly taught to be suspicious of the other races.

But not all the Malays bought it. Such teachings were against Islam and also against universal values. The Malays were left confused, while the non-Malays totally sidelined. So being racist is Mahathir’s seventh mistake.

Corruption

If Mahathir and Umno have been successful in making sure Malaysia achieves developed nation status by 2020, why does the record show so many serious faults to date. There are only eight years to go but the economy is still in a shambles with the national debt soaring, racial and religious harmony in disarray, and the political situation worsening with Umno-BN now openly resorting to physical violence to stop the opposition from holding their rallies.

The education system is also leading nowhere, healthcare is getting worse and more expensive, the much-touted and corrupt 1Care already rejected before it can even come on-stream, law and order is still questionable, mismanagement and graft more entrenched than before in the Umno-BN government. Instant of all cylinders kicking in, and culminating into the realization of Vision 2020, Malaysia may go bankrupt instead. Not fighting corruption, but perpetuating it is Mahathir’s eighth mistake.

Meddling with the running of the country

The majority of the Malays are poor and still need government help despite 55 years of Umno “successes“ (read failures). The non-Malays have been patient enough and have given Umno enough chances. They have waited until the third generation after the nation’s independence in 1957 and they are now fed-up with Umno-BN. The same too is happening with the Malays. Those not in the direct line of the Umno gravy train, and this would be the great majority, are getting fed-up too. More have voted for the opposition and will continue to do so.

When Mahathir realized that things were turning sour, he handed over the baton to Abdullah Badawi, thinking that he could still control the running of the government by ‘remote control’. But when things were not carried out as he had wished, Mahathir forced an ouster and replaced Badawi with Najib. Granted, the disorganized Badawi was in no capacity to lead Malaysia but Najib is just as incapable too. All through, instead of giving a helping hand, Mahathir continued to meddle with the running of the country. Interfering with the running of the country and disallowing the current leaders to put in solutions that suit the era is Mahathir’s ninth mistake.

Causing trouble in Umno and pushing Mukhriz up the ladder

Yet Mahathir stubbornly refuses to accept or to admit to his mistakes. This is one man who refuses to face up to reality. He is not really interested in the welfare of Malaysians at all, not even the Malays or Umno. He only wants to save his face and to make sure that his son Mukhriz will become prime minister no matter what deals he has to execute with the current batch of Umno warlords to effect this.

Ruthless and completely selfish, Mahathir would think nothing of creating chaos just to fulfill that ambition. After all, he could de-register Umno just to stay in power. Imagine what he won’t dare to do to get Mukhriz in as Umno president. But it is this incessant interfering and trouble-making in Umno that will be his tenth and last mistake.

Mahathir will doom Umno, and in imploding, Umno will very likely take Mahathir down for the count.