Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Final Nail In UMNO's Coffin

The Final Nail In UMNO's Coffin - Najib Can Kiss Good-Bye To Premiership - If UMNO Members Fail to Dethrone The Trinity of Power "The Father, The Son, and The Son-in-law", UMNO Has Forfeited Its Right To Lead and Rule

FUTURE FASTFORWARD
Matthias Chang
Tuesday, 26 August 2008 15:28

As expected, Anwar won the Permatang Pauh By-Election. The larger margin of victory is significant as in any By-Elections the ruling party has a decisive advantage as it can marshal the entire government machinery and the mass media to bully the opposition. Yet, the Barisan Nasional failed to roll back the support of the rakyat for the opposition.

Every dirty trick was employed to prevent Anwar Ibrahim from winning but to no avail. On the contrary, each exposé of the clumsy and stupid theatrics angered the electorate further.

Anger against the inept and lame-duck Badawi was the principal cause for the defeat of the Barisan Nasional.

That this by-election is the final warning to Badawi and his family to pack their bags and get out is evident from the sentiments of the non-Malay voters who have made known their views soon after Wan Azizah vacated the seat for her husband.

I had in my article dated 3rd August 2008 which was posted to my website, warned UMNO and the Barisan Nasional to give a walk-over to Anwar Ibrahim to avoid the embarrassment of defeat and to focus on the UMNO party elections so as to regroup and rejuvenate the party.

However, the idiots and bigots in UMNO chose to ignore my warnings and now they have paid the price for their arrogance and misplaced confidence. They refused to accept the outcome of the March General Elections and the blunt message from the electorate that Badawi and his political dynasty must no longer be allowed to plunder and mismanage the country. Enough is enough!

The Deputy Prime Minister by his cowardice and false humility has allowed the sordid state of affairs to continue thereby giving a false sense of security to Badawi that his “leadership” is still needed albeit until 2010.

Since March 2008, there has been growing anger and frustration against the Badawi dynasty and it is therefore a no-brainer for any UMNO leader to conclude that unless this political cancer is removed and removed quickly, there is no hope for recovery from the General Elections debacle. The people demanded immediate action, but none was taken. UMNO was content to maintain the status quo. There was just too much loot to be taken and shared by the power elites for them to consider the wider welfare of the country and the people.

The leader most responsible for the dereliction of duty in safeguarding UMNO and the Barisan Nasional must be Najib, the Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy President of UMNO.

The people were still willing to give him a chance to make amends and the benefit of doubt as to his credibility and integrity by virtue of him being the son of the second prime minister of Malaysia. But he chose to squander the goodwill and political capital given to him by the rakyat. He opted to be the subservient lackey of the Badawi dynasty and for this he was rewarded by Badawi to be his successor.

The people were aghast that Najib chose to be associated with the tainted and failed Badawi regime rather than breaking free from its clutches and to start anew with a rejuvenated UMNO. The straw that broke the camel’s back was Najib’s aping Saiful’s theatrics that he can prove his integrity by swearing in the name of Allah in a mosque! Whatever may be the truth of Saiful’s allegations against Anwar Ibrahim, the entire episode thus far has been a comedy of errors to put it mildly.

The tape recording of Saiful swearing in a mosque disgusted all but UMNO diehards whose infantile minds are such that even the use of religion is fair game in the quest for power!

And for a seasoned politician like Najib to follow a path laden with mines and booby traps, it can only be a case of desperation and stupidity. It is also an insult to the intelligence of the electorate that they would be so gullible as to accept without more that a person can be deemed innocent by the mere swearing in the name of God in a mosque. Why at this juncture? Why not when the Altantuya case first surfaced? Regardless of his innocence or guilt, this one act of stupidity has done Najib more harm than all his previous inept handling of the situation. I have said so many times before, Najib is his own worst enemy! The same applies to the Badawi family.

Najib’s inept handling of the allegations against him has in fact strengthened the perception that his credibility and integrity is no longer warranted and therefore not fit to lead the country.

In the last general elections, the people swung to the opposition because of their hatred and anger for Badawi and his corrupt family and not because they supported the Opposition’s political agenda.

But the victory by the Opposition in Permatang Pauh has indicated that the anger and hatred for Badawi has now morphed into sympathy for the Opposition and the willingness to afford them a chance to prove that they can govern better than the Barisan Nasional.

It will be only a matter of time for this change of perception from being a minority view to that of the mainstream. It can be said without fear of contradiction that Permatang Pauh is a microcosm of the national sentiment.

Let this victory of the Opposition be the final warning to UMNO and the Barisan Nasional.

If you, the leaders of UMNO and the Barisan Nasional fail in your duty to remove Badawi and his family from power and as a result the country plunges into the hell-hole of political chaos, financial ruin and social upheaval, the people will hunt you down and put you on trial to answer for all your crimes. Have no illusions that it will be ugly, for you deserve no better than to be tried as common criminals.

Let me say it here and now, loud and clear:

Tengku Razaleigh, Tan Sri Muhyiddin and Dato Rais Yatim and members of the UMNO Supreme Council, heed the call of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to save UMNO.

Unite and save UMNO and the Barisan Nasional. Take on Badawi and Najib and rescue the country from the jaws of failure or be dumped into the Badawi cesspool of corruption, abuse of power and decadence by the rakyat of Malaysia.

This is the choice each one of you has to make.

There will be no second chance. It is now or never!

Friday, August 29, 2008

SODOMY AND THE BACKLASH


Aug 28th 2008 | KUALA LUMPUR
From The Economist print edition

A sweeping by-election victory takes Anwar Ibrahim, the opposition leader, a step closer to power. The government seems blind to the danger signals


AFTER an ugly, mudslinging campaign, a by-election on August 26th in the northern constituency of Permatang Pauh may have changed Malaysia’s political landscape permanently. The stakes were high. The main opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, bidding to return to parliament, had to win convincingly to keep up the momentum of his drive to unseat the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and its allies, which have ruled since independence from Britain in 1957. The government, which lost its two-thirds majority (needed to change the constitution) in a general election in March, wanted at least to deny Mr Anwar a big majority. But he won by almost 16,000 votes, 2,000 more than in March, when his wife (with Mr Anwar above) defended the seat.

So Mr Anwar’s second shot at power remains on track. Ten years ago he was deputy prime minister and UMNO’s heir-apparent. But he was brought down by trumped-up charges of “sodomy”, a crime in Malaysia, after falling out with the then leader, Mahathir Mohamad. Mr Anwar was jailed for this and a further charge of corruption, then freed in 2004 after Dr Mahathir had handed the reins of power to the current prime minister, Abdullah Badawi. Mr Anwar has since built an unlikely opposition alliance. His own, multiracial People’s Justice Party (PKR) has teamed up with both the Islamic Party (PAS), which appeals to Malaysia’s Muslim, ethnic-Malay majority, and the firmly secular Democratic Action Party (DAP), whose main base is the ethnic-Chinese minority.

In June, soon after a ban on Mr Anwar’s holding political office expired, a young male aide made familiar-sounding accusations of sodomy, for which Mr Anwar will, again, go on trial soon. The government insists this is no put-up job, though to its embarrassment it soon emerged that the accuser had met Mr Badawi’s deputy, Najib Razak, and other government officials. In the by-election campaign, the government side constantly played video clips of Mr Anwar’s accuser swearing on the Koran that his allegations were true. In turn, the opposition reminded voters of the gruesome murder of a Mongolian woman, over which one of Mr Najib’s advisers and two police bodyguards are on trial.

Little of the mud slung in Mr Anwar’s direction seemed to stick. According to a poll by Merdeka Centre, an opinion-research outfit, the weekend before the by-election, 59% of voters in Permatang Pauh thought the sodomy allegation politically motivated, and only 11% deemed it the main issue in the election, compared with 32% who thought the economy was. Mr Anwar promises to abolish the policy of giving Malays preference for state jobs and contracts, arguing that it has mainly benefited the well-connected few. Ethnic Malays, by voting for Mr Anwar in large numbers, seem to have rejected the government’s charge that he is a traitor to his race.

Zaid Ibrahim, a lawyer whom Mr Badawi recently brought into his cabinet to lead the reform of a corrupt judiciary, says the lesson from the by-election is that voters are tired of personal attacks, and of the “overkill” tactics the government turns on its opponents. It should, says Mr Zaid, start showing the opposition some respect and engage it in a policy debate.

Other ministers, however, are much more relaxed about the by-election defeat. Shabery Cheek, the information minister, argues that the governing coalition has recovered from similar setbacks before. Furthermore, he says, Mr Anwar was campaigning in his home constituency, in a seat he used to occupy before his 1998 troubles, so his comfortable win was not that significant. Syed Hamid Albar, the home minister, notes that voters still gave the UMNO-led coalition a majority in the general election: this shows, he argues, that they still want the government in power, even if they also want to give the opposition a stronger voice.

For Bridget Welsh, an American academic who studies Malaysia, this laid-back view suggests that much of the government is “in denial” about the message the voters are sending. Hitherto, says Ms Welsh, Malaysians have been rather risk-averse. But ministers may be underestimating the effect that access to uncensored news, via the internet, is having in changing people’s views. To relieve the pressure for his resignation over the March election upset, Mr Badawi has promised to hand over to Mr Najib in 2010. Ms Welsh notes that since Mr Najib is popular within UMNO, but is seen outside it as a hardliner, his rise may not solve the party’s problem with voters.

Mr Anwar claims he is close to prising enough parliamentarians from the government benches to give him a parliamentary majority—he even boasts of taking power by September 16th, Malaysia Day. But this will be a tall order. His alliance has 82 seats in the 222-seat lower house. He would need comfortably more than the minimum of 30 floor-crossers to form a stable government—and in practice most would need to be Malays, ie, from UMNO rather than its non-Malay coalition partners. Most potential defectors will be loth to jump ship unless they feel sure the government is about to collapse.

Mr Anwar says it is not that important if he does not get enough defections by September 16th. He argues that the “climate of change” among the public, especially the Malays, means that the momentum behind him is now unstoppable. However, Tricia Yeoh, of the Centre for Public Policy Studies, a think-tank, says that to maintain it, the opposition leader must urgently press on with forming a credible shadow cabinet, to show that his disparate alliance has the “seriousness and capability” to take on the job of government.

What if UMNO does fall, either through defections in the short term or by losing the next election, and Malaysia gets its first alternation of power? Many institutions of state—especially the police, courts and civil service—are deeply politicised. But Ong Kian Ming, a political scientist, reckons that most would fall in line if the opposition takes power, as long as Mr Anwar avoids provoking them needlessly. Most big Malaysian businesses, despite their cosiness with the current government, would also prefer an Anwar government to a prolonged period of political instability. In the meantime the government looks likely to do everything it can to retain power. Except, it still seems, the one thing that might work: showing some tangible progress on the reforms Mr Badawi keeps promising but never provides.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Anwar’s Imminent Road Trip

By Khairil Anhar, N Shashi Kala and Zedeck Siew
khairilanhar@thenutgraph.com, shashikala@thenutgraph.com, zedecksiew@thenutgraph.com

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) supporters wait for the results of the Permatang Pauh by-election to be announced; 26 Aug 2008. De facto PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim would win by a majority of 15,671 votes over the Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah

THE road to Putrajaya lies open, but Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim can expect it to be riddled with landmines. Having survived the most violent and vicious by-election in the country’s history and emerged victorious in Permatang Pauh, Anwar knows his opponents will not slink off quietly into the night. Instead, he can expect the Barisan Nasional (BN), and Umno in particular, to begin plotting anew to halt his march to power.

Now it is up to the de facto Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leader to deliver on his promises to convince enough BN Member of Parliaments (MPs) to jump ship and join Pakatan Rakyat to form the federal government. The deadline most often quoted is 16 Sept — Malaysia Day — but it is unclear if Anwar will be able to muster the necessary numbers.

Having secured a larger majority than what PKR president and former opposition leader Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail did in the 8 March 2008 general election (15,671 votes compared with 13,398 on a slightly lower turnout — see chart below), Anwar now faces a Herculean task: to deliver on the promises to form a new federal government in two weeks’ time. And to do this, he has to convince 30 BN MPs to cross over.



A hefty task

“It is quite a hefty task that he has set himself,” says associate professor Dr Joseph Chinyong Liow, who is a specialist in Malaysian politics with the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

“But above and beyond that, the issue of how the new government comes into being also raises questions”.

“Coming into government as a result of crossovers — it gives you the numbers, but whether it gives you the moral authority is a different thing altogether. It is something that would be a shadow hanging over the foundation [of the new government], if indeed it materialises,” he tells The Nut Graph.

It is also foolhardy to count the BN out of the equation altogether. They may have lost in Permatang Pauh, but that was always going to be the case for the self-styled “underdogs”. And the winning margin does not really reveal all that much about Anwar’s ability to win over Umno loyalists.

According to political analyst Wong Chin Huat: “The result sent a shockwave to the BN, but [it in itself is] not an immediate and severe blow. It wasn’t a disastrous defeat that can trigger defection straightaway.”

Wong explains how the election results reveal that the BN’s 30% base ground in Permatang Pauh wasn’t eroded as had been predicted by analysts, and as such, it won’t signal the death knell of the present government overnight.

Implications of new government

Still, political scientist Dr Mavis Puthucheary, a former lecturer at Universiti Malaya's Faculty of Economics, says the results do show that the BN faces a crisis of credibility.

Despite handicapping Anwar with a sodomy charge and denting the Pakatan Rakyat’s image with the Anti-Corruption Agency’s investigation into corruption and abuse of power by PKR politicians in Perak, the former deputy prime minister still managed to win the by-election handsomely.

“This is likely to have repercussions within the BN and especially within Umno. The BN, under Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s leadership, had expected to contain Anwar. But since that did not happen here, it is almost a certainty that Abdullah will be challenged in the 2008 Umno general assembly in December,” she says.

There are also lingering concerns about the kind of government Anwar would head, and the viability of the Pakatan Rakyat as a ruling entity.

Tricia Yeoh, director of the Centre for Public Policy Studies, addresses this: “Many people are still unsure what the Pakatan Rakyat’s government is going to look like, and the past five months [since five states fell to the Pakatan] can be considered a period of uncertainty.”

Anwar will also have to consider the impact the implementation of a new government would have on various institutions in the country.

A lot of planning has to be done, Yeoh points out to The Nut Graph. “Various institutions will be dismantled; the heads of prominent agencies such as Bank Negara will be changed; and there’s also the response of the Royalty to consider... this [shift] will affect different pillars of society, and also private sector conglomerates.”

There are also other challenges and issues that the opposition coalition, which is made up of PKR, DAP and PAS, have to deal and reconcile with in the near future if they want to form a stable government, says Liow.

I wouldn't say that it is clear that PAS is prepared to go all the way to the end. They have indicated that they support the Pakatan Rakyat, and that they support Anwar as opposition leader.

“Whether or not they support Anwar's plan to enact this government change is still questionable. There are a lot of doubts about Anwar compromising the pro-Malay, pro-Muslim agenda,” he says, in reference to Anwar’s multiracial approach and campaign platform that champions “Ketuanan Rakyat”.



Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim surrounded by PAS and DAP leaders after his win“ (Photo left -above).


Anwar’s track record

The DAP could also prove to be a wild card. Liow points out that while the party has come out strongly in support of Anwar, his chequered history may translate into residual sentiments concerning what sort of leader the former Umno rising star is going to be.

“Anwar has a track record of switching from issue to issue, position to position. I think the DAP leadership, certainly the senior leadership, are aware of this. Many of them have had their own encounters with Anwar.

“They, too, will have to ask themselves what sort of permutation an Anwar-led government will take,” explains Liow.

The question is, will he become so obsessed with gaining power at the federal level that he looks for short cuts? And could this result in the break-up of the Pakatan Rakyat before it has time to work out a common programme for uniting the three parties?

Most importantly, will the new opposition leader Anwar be allowed to carry out this task without constant harassment from the government?

Faced with such considerations, Anwar has to tread warily if he is to move forward. Puthucheary observes: “It is a sad indictment of our system that the only way to escape the tyranny of those in power is to assume that power oneself.

“If Anwar feels that it is only by assuming power that he can escape the tyranny of the government, he may concentrate his efforts on gaining power instead of using valuable time in the next four years to build the base of support for the Pakatan Rakyat.”

And if that happens, he could well lose the support that has propelled him on the road to power in the first place.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

NOT ALL ARABS ARE DESCENDANTS OF THE PROPHET

Sunday, 24 August 2008 11:37



Datuk Syed Rahman started off by saying that the IGP had called him and told him that if Najib ever becomes the Prime Minister then he had better leave the country.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

“Raja ada di mana?”

It was my old friend from the Parti Keadilan Nasional days, Zahid Md Arip, on the line. He did not have to even mention who was calling. His very loud “Sang Terubung Raja Petra Anak Raja Bugis” was a good enough introduction. And there was no mistaking who I was speaking to. Zahid had a certain ‘trademark’ that could almost be patented like the sound of a Harley Davidson exhaust pipe.

“I’m at the Bangsar Shopping Centre,” I replied in Bahasa Malaysia.

“How long are you going to be there?” he asked, also in Bahasa Malaysia.

“Not sure. Maybe another hour or so.”

BANGSAR SHOPPING CENTRE

“Can we come and see you? Someone wants to meet you. His name is Datuk Kamal Amir. Hold on, I’ll pass the phone to him.”

“Hello, Kamal Amir here. I would be most honoured if I can meet you. Can we have tea today?”

“Sure, no problem. What time you want to come here?”

“Where are you now?”

“Bangsar Shopping Centre.”

“Wah. Itu tempat orang kaya,” Datuk Kamal Amir joked. “I can be there in one hour. Is that too late?”

“Actually I’m almost finished. But never mind. I will wait for you.”

“Where to meet?”

“Come to the Dome.”

“Who was that?” my wife asked me.

“Not sure. Someone called Datuk Kamal Amir. Zahid’s friend.”

“Who is he?”

“Not sure. Must be someone important though. Zahid only mixes with important people.”

Zahid is the late Tun Ghafar Baba’s grandson and onetime Acting Youth Chief of Parti Keadilan Nasional during the time Ezam was in prison. He is one of those dubbed ‘The Dirty Dozen’, the twelve Parti Keadilan Nasional Youth leaders who crossed over to Umno just before the 2004 general election.

Politically, Zahid is ‘the enemy’. But I still maintain a cordial relationship with him in spite of our ‘political differences’, as I do with his uncle, Tamrin Ghafar, who I have no problems with and meet from time-to-time in the Bangsar Village for tea and sandwiches.

It was more than an hour before Zahid arrived and I was already feeling quite bored with all the waiting. Datuk Kamal was not with him. “Datuk is still in a meeting,” said Zahid. “He is coming along shortly.”

Datuk Kamal arrived about half an hour later. I expected someone big and intimidating, the sort of image you would expect from an Umno datuk. But Datuk Kamal was a small and very decent-looking sort of fellow. Not at all the normal Umno slime-ball and scumbag I had expected.

We hit it off in a mere five minutes and thereafter were chatting away as if we have known each other for years. They say the first few minutes are crucial. Either you take to each other or you do not. That goes for interviews as well. You have to impress the interviewers on the first take. The first impression counts and 50% of whether you get the job or not would depend on this. Thereafter, how you conduct yourself would either seal the job or you get shown the door.

We talked about everything in general and nothing in particular. It was, after all, a first meet, sort of a ‘getting to know you’ session.

“Hai, Datuk,” Datuk Kamal waved at someone walking by. The Datuk waved back and smiled and tried to hurriedly walk off. “Marilah duduk sebentar,” Datuk Kamal said while gesturing to an empty chair beside me.

This Datuk appeared hesitant and looked like he was not sure whether to accept the offer or instead just give an excuse and scurry out of there. But those who know Zahid would know that he is one persistent fellow who never takes ‘no’ for an answer. There was no way this Datuk was going to ‘escape’ and he knew it. So he sat down, whether that was what he really wanted to do or not.

I was introduced to this new Datuk. “Inilah Datuk Syed Rahman,” Datuk Kamal said as I shook hands with him. Datuk Kamal probably saw in my face that the name did not ring a bell. He looked Indian, as some Arabs do, and if I had not been told he was a ‘Syed’ I would have thought he was just another of those millions of Mamaks running around all over the country and making a nuisance of themselves.

“This is the Honorary Council of Mongolia,” Datuk Kamal said. My face still did not show that I recognised this Arab. “You know, the Altantuya murder case.”

“Oh, that’s right.” Now I knew whom this Datuk Syed Rahman is. He is that man always on TV beside Dr Sharriibuu Setev, Altantuya’s father. I inched closer to Datuk Syed Rahman Alhabshi, now that I knew who he is. “Interesting,” I said. “I’m sure you can tell me a lot about the Altantuya murder which the newspapers are not reporting.”

“That would be dangerous talking to you,” Datuk Syed Rahman replied. “You will quote what I say in Malaysia Today.”

“No, I won’t mention your name,” I joked. “I’ll just say the Honorary Council of Mongolia who wishes to remain anonymous.” There was laughter all around the table.

Datuk Syed Rahman started off by saying that the IGP had called him and told him that if Najib ever becomes the Prime Minister then he had better leave the country. “But I don’t care. I have told the Mongolian government that I want to buy a piece of land there and move to Mongolia. I don’t mind even giving up my Malaysian citizenship and settle down in Mongolia. So I don’t care what they want to do to me.”

“Why not then reveal what you know?” I asked. “What is stopping you from talking?”

“It is not that I’m scared. It is just that the court case is going on so it would be sub judice for me to talk about the issue. Plus, as the Mongolian Council, I need to be professional and not simply talk.”

Nevertheless he did talk, and talk a lot on top of that, after I assured him that nothing would be reported in Malaysia Today and that his name would not be mentioned.

But that was before this. Now that he has gone on national TV and has acted very unprofessionally and unbecoming of a man of his status by ‘spilling his guts’ and lying on prime-time TV, then my ‘deal’ with him is now off. He has opened his mouth and has ‘testified’ on TV about what he knows about the Altantuya murder. I was prepared to keep his secret as long as he too keeps his secret, secret. But since he has now revealed all, then I too should not be bound by any ‘official secrets’ since these secrets are no longer secrets.


Datuk Syed Rahman’s shocker was about them finding the remains of seven or eight people at the murder site. “What? Seven or eight people? You mean Altantuya was not the only one murdered and dumped at that site?”

“Those two UTK are assassins. Their job is to get rid of people. And that murder site is the place where they get rid of the bodies by blowing them up.”

“Wow! This is dynamite.” For once I was flabbergasted and there is very little that can shock me.

“Not dynamite. C4,” joked Datuk Syed Rahman.

“Tell me,” I moved closer to Datuk Syed Rahman. “Did Najib order her murdered?”

“No, not Najib, Rosmah. She ordered the murder.”

“What? Rosmah?” I could not believe it. Datuk Syed Rahman smiled; pleased that at least for once someone could shock Raja Petra who never normally gets shocked by anything.

Datuk Syed Rahman related in great detail what really happened. And what he related was a far departure from what transpired in the trial. Unfortunately, because commenting on an ongoing trial is considered sub judice and can attract a jail sentence, I am certainly not at liberty to also reveal in great detail what this Arab told me. And what he told me was very different from what he said on TV last night.

Maybe one day, when the trial is over, I will be ‘free’ to talk about what Datuk Syed Rahman revealed in the Dome of the Bangsar Shopping Center that day, more than a year ago. But whether I will be ‘free’ in the real sense of the word or whether I will be speaking from behind the high walls of the Sungai Buloh or Kajang Prison is left to be seen. Maybe, after 16 September 2008, I will know.

In the meantime stay tuned to learn more about what the Honorary Council of Mongolia, Datuk Syed Rahman Alhabshi, revealed in 2007 in the Dome of the Bangsar Shopping Centre. The story is nothing short of what Hollywood movie scripts are made of.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

MARA is progress not fascism


by Azly Rahman dr.azly.rahman@gmail.com
http://azlyrahman-illuminations.blogspot.com/

Mara means “to advance (forward)”. It is the opposite of “retreat” and the declaration of defeat. It does not mean Undur.

Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) must live up to its name. So must its younger brother Maktab Rendah Sains MARA. It is in the interest of the public to suggest good ideas for reform - and to advance.

In my lifetime I have been affiliated with both organisations. I taught in the former institution and I was schooled in the latter. Whether a product of historical accident or not, I am proud of my experiences in both. There is a reason for things to happen. I came from a poor family and was given the chance to have an education I wish many more Malaysians, my parents included.

But I wish to share my view on this troubling phenomenon that is plaguing a certain segment of the Malays. My argument will be largely linguistic.

What is the Malay view of the recent protest of UiTM student - of those young “men-in-black” whose are mourning and calling for the death of reason and rationality and for critical sensibility?

I think Malays in general are angry at the protesters. I think they are embarrassed that those few thousands of Malay students were displaying their ignorance of what Universiti Mara means.

While other universities have advanced (sudah mara ke hadapan) and are proud that they are embracing diversity and sharing resources for the benefit of deserving children of all races, those protesting UiTM students are experiencing the opposite.

They are yelling with pride the word “defeat” and “retreat”. Instead of Ayuh Mara they are actually saying Jom Undur. While thinking needs to advance, these students are saying that they need to digress (Ayuh… mari mundur ke belakang). Mundur is the derivative word.

Should a university embody the philosophy of mundur rather than mara? Should it even be proud of being and embodiment of that philosophy? I doubt it. Only a misguided leader will be proud of being a guide to ‘defeat and retreat’ while the world around ‘advances’ and moves.

But these students are not entirely at fault. It is the ideology and perpetrators of the ideology of undur itself that’s at fault. It is the leaders implementing the retrogressive ideology that are at fault.

It is the systematic indoctrination programme of ketuanan Melayu run over the decades that are advancing this UiTM philosophy of retreat.

It is an overdose of the work of government-sponsored Biro Tata Negara (BTN) that is making the mass retreat and defeat possible. It is the work of Malay-dominated agencies like these that are imprisoning the minds of the Malays. This is an anti-Malay-progress establishment that is using deformed arguments on race and ethnicity to pursue an educational ideology that has gone bankrupt.

Docile Malay intended

This is an anti-Malaysian mode of thinking that is still allowed to shackle the mind of the Malays. The idea is simple: make the Malay mind docile and afraid to think and you will divide and conquer them.

UiTM students need to instead protest against the continuing oppression they are experiencing through the work of their own institution and through BTN. They should demand that multiculturalism instead of blind nationalism be made the foundation of their college experience. UiTM students are more intelligent than those who protested against the suggestion.

In the 1980s UiTM’s (then ITM) orientation programme used to be conducted using the tactics of sheer humiliation and stupidity; meant to stupefy the young, bright Malay minds.

The ROTU (Reserve Officers Training Unit then) was part of the week-long organisers of the orientation to create an awareness of how ITM students must learn to live in a tough and challenging environment.

Senior students would prey upon the incoming freshmen to make them ‘tough’ through humiliation – name-calling, physical threats, psychological abuse, etc. Minggu Orientasi (Orientation Week) is a week for the seniors to have control over the mind of the Malays; oftentimes in a gangsterish way.

Of course, it is also the time for the senior boys to show toughness to the young girls in this ‘big brother-little sister’ game of tough love. Many of them fell involved with each other in this ‘Master-Slave’ relationship. Even senior girls prey upon young boys, acting rough and tough on them. Pathetic paternalistic philosophy in progress.

At times the freshmen would be roughened up by students in army boots and told to just follow instructions if they are to survive in ITM. They will be screamed at for trying to speak up. This is the ideology of ketuanan Melayu at work; how to enslave the mind of the young Malays and continue to do so through the hidden curriculum designed by those who wish to have control over the mind of the bright young and eager-to-learn Malays.

Instead of teaching the in-coming students how to take good notes, listen to lectures, speak up in public, pay extra attention to English Language, and be open to new ideas, respect each other, and learn from other cultures, the Malay students are subjected to humiliation in a place that called itself a university.

Retrogressive ideologies

In MRSM as well, a predominantly Malay-elite secondary institution for the best and brightest young Malays, similar things have been happening since the 1980s as well. Kursus Kesedaran (Self Awareness Courses) are conducted to instill the questionable idea of Ketuanan Melayu, making the children afraid of “Malaysian boogeymen and boogeywomen” and their own shadows.

Open-mindedness is rarely encouraged and students take control over each others’ lives transplanting retrogressive ideologies into each other’s head, with the help of ultra-nationalist and anti-multiculturalist teachers.

Even if these children survive the ideological ordeal and experience ‘tough love’ and go on to get their degrees from top American and British universities, they will still be Malays with a shallow understanding of multiculturalism or become more sophisticated Malays with more complex arguments on Ketuanan Melayu.

They will then design policies to affect the needed sustenance of ideology in order to protect the interests of the few. Neo-feudalistic cybernetic Malays are then new creation of the political-economic ruling class. They run the country and many are now running it down.

As an educator wishing to see Malays progress alongside in peace and prosperity with other races, I call upon us all to put a stop to all forms of indoctrination held especially by the BTN; an organisation that is of no value to the advancement of the Malays they claim to want to liberate.

It should be taken over by progressive Malaysians and replaced with a systematic effort to promote not only racial understanding through teaching respect and deep reflection on the cultures of the peoples of Malaysia, but also teach conflict resolution and mediation through cross-cultural perspectives. All must question the presence of BTN on campuses. All must reject BTN’s programme for indoctrination.

Let us no longer allow any government body of that sort to set foot on our campuses or our schools. As Malaysians we have to demand an end to the further dissemination of racist ideologies.

Open up, not only UiTM and MRSM but also Umno to more cultures. We will have a great celebration of diversity and respect for human dignity in decades to come. I speak as a silent reproduction and capitalised human of both MRSM and UiTM; a product of the human capital revolution of the Mahathir era.

MARA means progress. Malays are now sick of contradictions and doublespeak. They do not wish to Undur. Let us all protest against the stupefication of the Malays. Let us dismantle racist institutions.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Last Chance To Save Malaysia!

by M. Bakri Musa
August 17th, 2008

Before last March 2008 elections, I urged Kepala Batas voters to perform a great national service by booting out Prime Minister Abdullah. That would have triggered a seismic shift in UMNO’s leadership. With its ban on contesting top posts effectively circumvented, the party would get to preview other potential candidates.

If Kepala Batas voters were to shy away from exercising that historic opportunity, I suggested that Malaysians could still teach Abdullah a lesson by substantially reducing his coalition’s victory. That would also trigger a challenge to his leadership, and we would have the same effect as with the first scenario.

Alas, Malaysians did teach Abdullah a hard lesson, but not hard enough. Besides, being a slow learner, Abdullah did not get the message. Now voters in Permatang Pauh, practically next door, will get a chance to deal Abdullah a third and final knock-out blow, one he would surely get.

This upcoming by-election will be more than just electing the area’s representative to Parliament. Permatang Pauh voters will get the unique opportunity to decide on behalf of entire Malaysia on who will lead our nation. It is as much an opportunity to vote for Anwar Ibrahim as it is against Abdullah Badawi, and to vote for Malaysia’s future – on whether she would progress to join the developed world or continue its present path to join the likes of Zimbabwe.

Anwar Versus Abdullah

In Abdullah we have a dull and apathetically detached leader who exploits the differences among us in order to remain in power. In Anwar we have a charismatic leader well regarded especially internationally. He nurtures our commonalities and challenges us to rise above our differences.

Abdullah’s “I am Prime Minister for all Malaysians” utterance rings hollow when he allows, nay encourages the racist taunting of UMNO Youth leaders. Again illustrative of his opportunistic and exploitative character, right after the March elections when his party’s position was threatened in many states, he initiated a series of secret meetings with the opposition PAS. In so doing he showed contempt for his Barisan coalition partners.

Abdullah was also insensitive, or more accurately contemptuous of the feelings of those non-Malays who voted for his Barisan candidates, UMNO and non-UMNO alike. The rewards he dangled must have been quite substantial to tempt the otherwise self-righteous PAS leaders to participate in those talks. Fortunately wiser heads prevailed in PAS; the futile discussions were aborted.

Anwar does not have as yet a formal leadership role. Yet as adviser to PKR he successfully created a viable coalition effective enough to deny Barisan its two-thirds majority in Parliament and dislodge it in five states, including such major ones as Perak, Penang, and Selangor.

It is a testament to his leadership skills that Anwar could forge an alliance comprising the DAP and PAS, two parties that represent the polar extremes of political views in Malaysia. Anwar was successful because he builds on their commonalities, their yearning for a clean, efficient and transparent government, one not blighted by cronyism and corruption.

It is also the wish of all Malaysians, whether they embrace “Malaysia for Malaysians” or the “Islamic State of Malaysia” political ideals. It should also be the theme and aspiration of any government.

I am also impressed with Anwar’s ability to attract many young talents. While UMNO had to content with such worn-out retreads like Ezam Noor, Anwar managed to attract many young educated individuals like Nik Nazmi and Sim Tze Tzin.

It reflects the priorities of Abdullah and more importantly, his lack of diligence as a leader, that on such important matters as our energy policy he remains blissfully detached except for making empty silly remarks. With rocketing oil prices threatening the global (and Malaysian) economies, Abdullah and his deputy Najib are content busying themselves that Saiful would swear on the Quran that he had been sodomized.

It is the height of obscenity to see this young man wearing his songkok and Baju Melayu, symbols of everything pure and pristine in our culture, entering the sanctity of the holy mosque in the heart of Malaysia to utter, “… telah memasukkan zakarnya ke dalam lubang dubur saya.”

All so clinical, and so well-timed politically! It would have been obscene even without the ugly smirk on Saiful’s face after he blurted his utterance. Thankfully, he spared us the lurid details. One’s fantasy can get quite vivid, especially when given some attention and encouragement. As for the frequency, he has yet to decide on that. He is waiting to see Anwar’s diary first!

With his hands above the Holy Quran, witnessed by the Imam and nationally televised, those crudities issued forth from his sullied mouth. Obviously the cleansing ablution he took only minutes earlier before entering the mosque was merely a ritual, and a meaningless one at that. Surely Saiful, and others beside him including and especially the pious Imam, realized that by just uttering those crudities he had effectively nullified his ablution. Yet there he was, piously declaring Allah hu Akhbar (God is Great!), and then proceeding to his prayers.

I cannot imagine a more despicable sight of desecration of our Holy Book. I would not stoop to this college dropout’s gutter level to even translate the obscenities coming forth from his soiled lips.

Someone had put a microphone on the young man so the world could hear his filthy utterance. How thoughtful! The event was broadcasted at prime time! I pity those parents who would have to explain to their young children on what had transpired.

Such are the priorities of this dysfunctional duo of Abdullah and Najib. And they want Permatang Pauh voters to endorse their leadership!

Contrast that with Anwar’s statesmanship. The day he forms the government, he declared, he would lower gasoline prices and release those prisoners of conscience held under the ISA. Regardless whether one agrees with his policies, there is no denying that Anwar has set his priorities and the national agenda right.

Respecting The Quran

I am appalled that many Malaysian Muslims are calling for Anwar to debase himself to the same sewer level as Saiful by swearing on the Quran. If the truth could be had so simplistically, we would not need the court system and extensive police force.

Those Muslims’ commitment to things Islamic does not extend however to their suggesting that the Sharia Court takes jurisdiction over this case. After all both participants are Muslims, and Anwar has already lodged a complaint to the religious department. Somehow at this particular instance and circumstance, those Muslims suddenly have more faith with our secular criminal justice system than with the Sharia.

I would rather Anwar swear on the Quran to commit that, on becoming Prime Minister, he would uphold the constitution and lead a government that is efficient, not corrupt, and has the interests of the people uppermost, as encapsulated in his Ketuanan Rakyat declaration. I also challenge Abdullah and Najib to do likewise. That would be the proper and dignified use of our Quran, the symbolic enactment of the phrase, “Let Allah be my witness!”

It would also have been more meaningful and dignified had Saiful taken the oath over the Quran committing himself to be a diligent student when given the rare opportunity for a precious slot in a local university. And had he followed through with that and studied hard, he would have achieved something for himself and be of service to his nation. Saiful should have known that he was given an opportunity denied to too many other young Malaysians. Instead, he blew that chance for a moment of infamy.

A few years ago former Deputy Prime Minister Tun Ghaffar declared that UMNO could be had for a few billion ringgit, at most. He was referring to the endemic corruption in the party. Apparently that price has gone down considerably since. Today, a local college drop-out with only a promise of a cheap scholarship to a lousy local institution could derail the whole UMNO government and paralyze the country.

I would have never imagined that the future of our Prime Minister and his Deputy would hang on whether a young man’s posterior had been violated. That is what Abdullah’s and Najib’s leadership has been reduced to, and how it will end, on Saiful’s end.

If a struggling failed-freshman like Saiful could create such a havoc, I would not dare imagine what a smart, savvy, rich foreigner could do to UMNO and our country. There is one sure way to spare our beloved nation such a fate: get rid of UMNO and the incompetent and dysfunctional team of Abdullah and Najib.

By voting for Anwar in the upcoming elections, Permatang Pauh voters get to do just that, and thus protect our country. --- M. Bakri Musa

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Malaysia: Outlook for 2008-09

From the Economist Intelligence Unit

AUG 14 — The ruling Barisan Nasional coalition government is expected to remain in power throughout the forecast period under the leadership of the prime minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who does not plan to retire until 2010.

Despite losing a significant number of parliamentary seats at the March 2008 general election, the BN still has a large enough majority to pass the bulk of new legislation unchallenged.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the de facto leader of the largest opposition party, the Parti Keadilan Rakyat, will continue in his attempts to persuade BN legislators to switch sides, but he faces a number of obstacles.

The Economist Intelligence Unit expects real GDP to grow by 6% in 2008.

Owing to weaker price trends in global commodities in 2009 than forecast in our last report, we now expect the economy to expand by 5.6% in 2009 (compared with 5.8% previously).

We expect consumer price inflation to peak at 26-year highs in the months ahead, and forecast that it will average 5.4% during 2008, up from 2% in 2007.

The ringgit is expected to remain on an appreciating trend against the US dollar, averaging RM3.2:US$1 in 2008 and RM3.14:US$1 in 2009.

The merchandise trade surplus will grow to US$41.7 billion in 2008, from US$37.3 billion in 2007.

Monthly review

Umno, which dominates the BN coalition, has admitted that it has held talks with Pas, one of the parties in the Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance.

Anwar was arrested on July 16 in connection with a sodomy charge filed by a former aide. He still claims that the charge is politically motivated and has been made to stop him from forming a new government.

Anwar's wife, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, tendered her resignation as a member of Parliament on July 31. Anwar has already pledged to contest her seat in the forthcoming by-election.

Bank Negara Malaysia left interest rates unchanged at a scheduled policy meeting in July.

At the start of August government officials hinted that fuel prices could be cut in the weeks ahead if oil prices continued to fall on international markets.

Consumer price inflation stood at 7.7% in June, its highest level in 26 years.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

EZAM THE GIANT-SLAYER

Malaysia Today
Posted by Super Admin
Tuesday, 12 August 2008 11:40



Many have probably noticed that Sodomy I and Sodomy II appear to be from the same script. Of course it is when the same scriptwriters, actors, producers and directors are involved. We must understand that these people have little imagination. They are incapable of being creative.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Malaysia Today

Run-up to Permatang Pauh by-election: All eyes on Ezam
By Zubaidah Abu Bakar, New Straits Times

IF there is anyone besides the candidates who needs to prove his worth in the upcoming Permatang Pauh by-election, it is Ezam Mohd Nor. One of the most watched for aspects of the campaign will be how well the one-time Parti Keadilan Rakyat Youth leader uses his oratorical skills to attack his former mentor, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Ezam was very vocal in criticising Umno's leadership, particularly on alleged corruption in the Barisan Nasional government, before he rejoined the party in late May. He continued to do so after he left PKR two years ago and set up the Movement for Democracy and Anti-Corruption (Gerak).

Ezam has vowed to do all he can to deny Anwar victory and return to active politics. He even offered himself as the Umno candidate although he pledged to support anyone picked by the party.

The by-election is by far the best platform for Ezam to convince Umno members unhappy with, and suspicious of his return to Umno, that he is sincere in fighting for the cause. His re-entry into the party has been met with distrust and even hostility. Some senior party leaders openly showed they were less than thrilled by his presence, fearing him as a Trojan horse for Anwar's comeback into the party.

Ezam, who has been travelling the country helping Umno reconnect with the Malay grassroots, has called Anwar a traitor to the Malays because of the latter's alleged willingness to do away with the New Economic Policy and compromise on Bumiputera privileges in exchange for non-Malay support. He charged that Anwar was willing to risk the country's political and economic stability to pursue his political ambitions.

"My priority is to campaign against Anwar and I support any candidate picked by BN," he said at a Malay unity gathering at Politeknik Permatang Pauh recently. At a talk organised by the Shah Alam Umno division last month, Ezam warned Anwar not to implicate him in the conspiracy that Anwar claimed was behind the latest sodomy charge.

He threatened to divulge secrets that he claimed could disgrace Anwar's family, a move he said he would be forced to make to defend his dignity after he heard allegations that he received millions of ringgit to join Umno.

Ezam was confidential secretary to Anwar from 1996 until the then deputy prime minister's expulsion from the government and Umno in 1998. The by-election will be a testing ground for those in Umno who doubt him, as well as those who see him as Anwar's most credible critic. What Ezam says and does during the campaign will be monitored with eagle eyes both in and outside Umno.

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That was what Zubaidah Abu Bakar of the New Straits Times wrote, almost like a warning to Ezam that his credibility depends on how well he can demolish Anwar Ibrahim. And everyone knows that Zubaidah speaks on behalf of ‘media baron’ Kalimullah Masheerul Hassan, the real and hidden mastermind behind the infamous ‘fourth floor’. So consider Ezam warned: shape up or ship out. Ezam’s future depends on how effectively he attacks Anwar over the next couple of weeks.

Ezam was brought back into Umno for only one purpose, to checkmate Anwar. Thus far he has not quite succeeded. Many a time you can spot Ezam in Bangsar, huddled over a table, almost head-to-head, with K.S. Nallakarupan, a central figure in the 1998 sodomy allegation against Anwar. What they are whispering into each other’s ears only these two would know. But it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out what they are discussing.

Not long ago, at the behest of Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, Nalla formed a pro-Barisan Nasional Indian-based Party called MIUP. This is supposed to be the replacement to the dying MIC, which Umno feels will not be around come the next general election expected around 2012-2013. Najib is supposed to be Prime Minister by 2010, at least according to what Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said, so this new party will be Najib’s platform to win back Indian support, 85% or so who voted for the opposition in the 8 March 2008 general election.

Ezam and Nalla are supposed to be the two who were once closest to Anwar and who know the most about their ex-comrade. The other, of course, would be Azmin Ali. If there were anyone who would be able to fix Anwar up, that would be Ezam and Nalla. Many within Anwar’s inner circle suspect that Ezam and Nalla played a crucial role in the latest sodomy allegation against Anwar. But they are not the only two. Other ex-comrades of Anwar are also said to be in the loop.

One central figure is Rameli Musa. This is what The Star reported on 14 July 2008:

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Another RM1 bil double-track job for Ingress?
By Yeow Pooi Ling, The Star

INGRESS Corp Bhd (see http://www.ingresscorp.com.my/index.html) is tipped to have secured another RM1 billion worth of contracts to supply signalling and communication systems for the Ipoh-Padang Besar double-tracking railway project. An industry source said the contract would be awarded to a joint-venture company between Ingress and Italy-based Ansaldo Group.

Ingress's 49% associate, Balfour Beatty Rail Sdn Bhd, via a joint venture with Ansaldo's Malaysian unit – Ansaldo STS Malaysia Sdn Bhd – recently secured an RM1bil contract for the electrification part of the double-tracking project. Ansaldo, which is listed on the Milan stock exchange, has a reputable record in the provision of traffic management, planning, train control and signalling systems and services.

“Electrification works start first before signalling and communication systems are set up,” the source said. Having both contracts would encourage sharing of resources and creating more efficiency and cost savings, thus giving better margins for the group, the source added.

Ingress group chief executive officer Datuk Rameli Musa, when contacted, declined to comment on the matter. However, he said, the company was interested in bidding for the electrification portion of the Seremban-Gemas double-tracking project, which was estimated to worth between RM400mil and RM500mil. Ircon International Ltd, which is the main contractor, has yet to open the tender for that part.

Meanwhile, Ingress' power engineering railway (PER) division would remain profitable in the next two years, buoyed by demand for electric rail in the country as well as in the region. “With oil prices rising and environmental issues cropping up, there will be demand for cleaner form of transportation,” Rameli said.

The group would also leverage on its partner Balfour Beatty's expertise and global network to expand regionally. “We've been invited to view some rail electrification projects in Mumbai, India and Saudi Arabia,” he said.

For the auto and components manufacturing (ACM) business, Ingress expects Indonesia's total industry volume this year to supersede Malaysia. This would bode well for its ACM division in Indonesia, which supplied to carmakers like Daihatsu and Suzuki, Rameli said.

Last year, its ACM division in Indonesia produced about 30,000 of auto part sets from a total capacity of up to 100,000 sets. This was likely to increase to some 60,000 sets this year, Rameli said, adding that in revenue terms, it would be more than 50% higher.

The prospect for the Indonesian auto sector looked buoyant, especially after the bilateral agreement with Japan, which allowed Japanese auto parts to be exported to Indonesia with free duty. Thailand's demand is also expected to remain firm. Last year, its ACM division in Thailand produced about 80,000 auto part sets from an annual capacity of 1.4 million.

Locally, Ingress expects new products like wire harness, stamping and under carriage parts, which are of higher value items, to sustain its ACM earnings. “We already controlled about 70% share of the door sets and moulding market,” he noted.

On rising cost of fuel, he said the impact would be more visible in the next six months. Currently, there was strong demand for compact and fuel-efficient cars like Perodua Myvi and Viva, as well as for Proton's Persona and new Saga models, Rameli added.

This year, Ingress formed a partnership with South Korean-based CES Co Ltd to design and fabricate tools, dies and jigs. Rameli said by having in-house expertise, Ingress would see enhanced competitiveness in terms of product pricing and lead-time.

Meanwhile, Ingress is eyeing for further exposure in India's auto sector. It presently provides technical assistance to Mayur Industries Ltd of India. “We hope to form a joint-venture company in India by end of this year,” he said.

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Yes, Rameli is involved in Malaysian government contracts in a big way. He has billions at stake and can’t afford to rub the government the wrong way. His pay-off in helping to fix Anwar in the latest sodomy allegation amounts to more than RM1 billion in government contracts. There are people who would sell their own mothers for much less than that.

Rameli, Nalla and Ezam go back a long way. Back in his Magnum days, Nalla used to finance Ezam when Anwar was the Deputy Prime Minister cum Finance Minister, the days before the 1998 political crisis erupted. When Anwar went to jail, Rameli helped finance Ezam’s political activities. That was how Ezam was not only able to cover the cost of the running of PKN’s Youth Movement (now called Angkatan Muda PKR) but he could also afford to pay the salaries of the entire Youth Movement Committee. Ezam practically had everyone on his payroll and the money came from Nalla and Rameli.

One key personality in the Youth Movement, who is now in Umno, related how he used to act as the courier between Rameli and Ezam. He was tasked with the job of carrying large sums of money from Rameli to Ezam. Ezam, of course, paid him a commission for the job. This was in the days of 2001-2003 when Ezam was under Internal Security Act detention and was not able to collect the money himself. Later, after Ezam was released, he cut out the middleman, who soon after that left the party to rejoin Umno since it was no longer profitable to remain in the opposition.

Yes, it’s all about money. Rameli, Nalla and Ezam are united by their love for the Ringgit. And they can make even more money if they successfully fix up Anwar on sodomy charges. Ever wondered why Daim Zainuddin are also involved? Yes, they are involved. And this is because these two also worship money and bow five times a day to the mighty Ringgit.

Many have probably noticed that Sodomy I and Sodomy II appear to be from the same script. Of course it is when the same scriptwriters, actors, producers and directors are involved. We must understand that these people have little imagination. They are incapable of being creative. Even Tun Dr Mahathir said so recently in his response to the latest sodomy allegation. Furthermore, they imagine Malaysians to be dense in the head who can be easily fooled by government propaganda. Maybe that was true back in 1998. But 2008 is different. Times have changed. People have changed. The borderless world of the Internet has allowed Malaysians access to information that was unavailable ten years ago.

Maybe Ezam can take advantage of the 16-25 August 2008 Permatang Pauh by-election campaign (no more campaigning allowed on Polling Day) to explain what happened to the ‘six boxes’ of evidence he has hidden that proves almost everyone in Umno and Barisan Nasional are corrupted. He can also explain why his mother took an oath in the name of Allah and declared it haram for any member of her family to join or rejoin Umno. And while he is at it, he can also explain the sumpah keramat or sacred oath that he took where he swore he would never rejoin Umno even if he died and was reborn. Yes, that would certainly make the Permatang Pauh by-election very interesting indeed. And while he is at it, he can also do what Rafidah Aziz suggested: that he apologise to all the Umno leaders who he ‘slandered’ while he was the PKR (then PKN) Youth Leader.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dr Mahathir Mohamad will migrate if Anwar becomes PM

KUALA TERENGGANU, Aug 10 — Saying he did not want anyone like Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim "who stabbed him in the back" as Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday he would rather migrate if the former deputy prime minister succeeds in toppling the Barisan Nasional government.

"If he becomes Prime Minister, I will get out of the country. Give everything to him," Utusan Malaysia quoted the former prime minister's reply to a question at the Current Challenges for Malays forum here.

However, the acerbic Dr Mahathir was confident that Anwar will not become Prime Minister by September 16 although he was sure his former protégé would be victorious in the Permatang Pauh parliamentary by-election this Aug 26.

He said Anwar was greedy enough for support that he would forsake the special privileges for his own race to cooperate with the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) which is filled with racism.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Take Anwar’s Threat Seriously

Present govt must sit up and address people’s grouses or lose their loyalty: Dr Mahathir

PUTRAJAYA: Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has asked the Barisan Nasional (BN) federal government to take the threat made by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim seriously in that Pakatan Rakyat will form the next federal government in the near future as it had convinced more than 30 BN members of Parliament to cross over to the opposition front.

“Well, I think it is a possibility that you can’t dismiss lightly. Now, these politicians are interested in how much they get, they are not interested really in serving the nation.

“People who feel that they did not get what they wanted presently and they are offered positions, the urge to to cross over especially when there is no inherent loyalty to the party.

“I feel very strong (about it), it can really happen. I first wanted to dismiss this possibility but on studying the situation I feel that there is great danger. Of course, if this government loses power, it will not be in a position to dole out all kinds of goodies because at that time, the clout is gone,” he told reporters after delivering a keynote address on ‘National Sovereignty’ at the 7th Perdana Discourse Series at the Perdana Leadership Foundation, here.

Asked if this was his greatest fear, he replied that if the crossover were to take place, then Malaysia would experience “a lot of conflicts”.

“We see the response of the Malays, for example. They have come up with a list of demands for this and that in response to the demands made by the others.

“They think that the solution is to abandon this concept of democracy, that they should go back to the feudal style of government. There is already talk among them … I don’t know how serious it is but the fact that it is being actually voiced (out) is very disturbing,” Dr Mahathir said.

Asked if there was a possibility of anarchy in the country, he said: “Probably, but not great anarchy but certainly instability where the government of the day would not be active in attending to the progress of the country.”

To another question on where the opposition would obtain the 30 MPs, the former Prime Minister pointed towards Sabah and Sarawak.

“If we take Umno, MCA and MIC, they have their roots here (in the peninsula) but not in Sabah and Sarawak. Although you have Umno in Sabah, it is transplanted from here to there. They are used to smaller parties. So can we be sure that they will remain strongly loyal to Umno? I don’t think so,” he added.

He said even in the peninsula, there could be MPs who could cross over since they knew that they could be in the new opposition-led government.

Dr Mahathir said this crossing over would not be a problem if BN had won by a two-thirds majority in Parliament as even if a BN MP were to cross over, he or she would not be able to gain much since the MP would still be with the opposition.

He felt that Pakatan Rakyat was a force to be reckoned with not because it was strong or the people loved the opposition but because of “the feeling of disappointment.”

(Penang Chief Minister Lim) Guan Eng, for example, is quite smart. He is not antagonising the people, instead he is winning their respect.

“You see in the last election, BN voters and supporters voted for opposition, thinking that this will send a message to the BN. Apparently, the message is not properly read and if the governments headed by the opposition show good governance, (are) concerned about the people, not greedy, not corrupt, then when the next election comes those who voted for them will continue voting the opposition,” he said. - Bernama

Monday, August 4, 2008

THE PERMATANG PAUH BY-ELECTION: A POLITICAL DISTRACTION - A NON-EVENT - WHY UMNO MEMBERS MUST FOCUS ON PARTY ELECTIONS AND NOT ON ANWAR IBRAHIM

Matthias Chang
Future FastForward, Sunday, 03 August 2008 11:28

Political Distraction – All Thunder, But No Rain!

Annuar Musa, the UMNO Warlord from Kelantan is not a politician that I pay much attention, but his recent statement to “boycott” the Permatang Pauh By-Election makes good sense.

I had intended to write an article to UMNO members to ignore Anwar, but I was in Penang on Saturday and could not do so till Sunday.

However, my reasons for UMNO and the Barisan Nasional to ignore the theatrics of Anwar are different from Annuar Musa, but I have grave doubts that Badawi and Najib would adhere to my call to ignore Anwar Ibrahim and let him be elected unopposed.

What are my reasons for ignoring Anwar?

Firstly, UMNO is now fighting for its very political life and members must not be distracted from addressing urgent issues – the priority being the selection of new leaders to replace Badawi and Najib if UMNO is to survive beyond 2010.

Branch elections have commenced and the grassroots (the backbone of any political party) are being mobilized to save the party. If this process of renewal and rejuvenation is derailed for selfish, power-centred interests by a few UMNO leaders, I dare say that UMNO will be totally rejected by the rakyat, specifically the Malays in the next general elections.

But there is time enough to make the changes and prepare for the Final Battle if the two top leaders are replaced. The Branch members must, by their ballot and resolutions passed at their AGM, make it plain and direct that Badawi and Najib are the millstones around the neck of UMNO and must be discarded.

Secondly, UMNO must not play into the hands of Anwar by diverting precious party resources for a battle which will have no significance on the future direction of UMNO.

Who in UMNO would gain most from this distraction?

The two top leaders, who are burdened by scandals are the key beneficiaries. It is a no-brainer that Badawi and Najib will attempt to use this opportunity to rally the members to support their “leadership” to defeat Anwar Ibrahim in Permatang Pauh.

I don’t foresee UMNO being able to defeat Anwar, but in the unlikely event that Anwar is denied the political prize, what is the big deal? Anwar Ibrahim can still turn such a defeat to his advantage by prolonging the theatrics and casting more allegations against the Barisan Nasional. UMNO will be engaged in a war of attrition with no end in sight.

The Pakatan Rakyat will still be in control of the five critical states of Kelantan, Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor.

Let Anwar have Permatang Pauh and then ambush him in Parliament!

Thirdly, as the global financial crisis deepens and takes its toll on the Malaysian economy, the opposition state governments will get away with their mismanagement of the respective state economies by simply asserting that the Federal Government withheld critical allocations and abandoned strategic projects identified in the 9th Malaysia Plan.

The Barisan Nasional will bear the brunt of the criticisms when the economy turns ugly.

Badawi is so power hungry that he will do anything to divert the people’s attention from his failings to Anwar’s theatrics. And if UMNO plunges into the trap of the By-Election, the mass media will inevitably focus on the slug-fest, and the lies and disinformation being churned out by their respective spin doctors.

In the meantime, the country is on auto-pilot and soon the economy will go into a tailspin.

I dare say that when that happens, people will take to the streets to hunt down UMNO leaders who have let them down.

Fourthly, other component parties of the Barisan Nasional are caught up with their own problems and need to address and resolve them quickly as well. When the leaders of these component parties are fighting for survival, their hearts and soul will not be ready for such a battle.

They are still smarting from the grievous wounds suffered in March and it is down right stupid to ask them to go to battle when they are not fit and ready. Additionally, the rank and file believe (rightly or wrongly and it matters not what UMNO thinks) that UMNO was to a large extent responsible for their defeat and humiliation at the recent general elections.

Fifthly, the principal issue facing UMNO and its survival as a political party is not Anwar Ibrahim and Pakatan Rakyat for the people did not vote for PKR, DAP and PAS because they believe in their policies and their leaders. It was a protest vote principally against Badawi and Khairy and the scandals and stupid antics of Najib, Nazri and Hishamuddin.

To put it bluntly, what we have at the present moment is a Strategic Stalemate between the Barisan Nasional and the Pakatan Rakyat, the former controlling the Federal Government, while the latter controls the five critical states that constitute 70% of the national economy.

But with each passing day of “auto-pilot” leadership and a faction-ridden Cabinet, the balance slowly tilts in favour of the Opposition.

And unless UMNO undergoes major surgery by the replacement of the two top leaders, UMNO leaders – not tainted and or associated with the Badawi regime and his principal parasites (Kamaluddin Badawi and Khairy Jamaluddin) – will not have the time and resources to mount a successful counter-attack in the next General Elections.

Sixthly, Anwar wants this fight, not so much to distract the people from the sodomy allegation (he has already won the psychological warfare, as most people believe his innocence), but to shield the Pakatan Rakyat’s mismanagement of the five states in the coming months when our economy goes into a tailspin.

Since the March elections, the Barisan Nasional has been merely reacting to Anwar’s taunts and has not been pro-active at all! This agony will continue so long as Badawi remains as the Prime Minister and President of UMNO.

Appeal to UMNO

Replace Badawi as Prime Minister first and do this now in the month of August by demanding his resignation as Prime Minister during the Branch AGM and elections. Then throw him out in December by denying him any nominations for the post of President, if he fails to resign as President.

For fifty years, UMNO has been given the mandate to elect the Prime Minister from among its ranks. UMNO will forfeit this “right” if it fails to do what is right and required under the present dire circumstances.

And don’t you dare blame others for taking power to lead the country out of this sordid mess, a mess of your own creation, should UMNO fail to do what is required.

FORGET PERMATANG PAUH.

FOCUS ON THE REMOVAL OF BADAWI AND REJUVENATE THE PARTY.

PERMATANG PAUH IS A NECESSARY NUISANCE, BUT UMNO NEED NOT GET CAUGHT IN THIS NON-EVENT.

WHY GIVE ANWAR IBRAHIM FREE PUBLICITY AND A POLITICAL PLATFORM TO ADVERTISE HIS OUT-DATED POLITICAL WARES?

I DARE GUARANTEE UMNO, THAT IF BADAWI IS REPLACED NOW, BARISAN NASIONAL WILL REGAIN THE FIVE STATES AND 2/3 MAJORITY, EVEN BEFORE THE NEXT GENERAL ELECTIONS.

I HAVE THE NECESSARY STRATEGY AND I AM WILLING TO SHARE THIS STRATEGY IF BADAWI IS NO LONGER PRIME MINISTER AND PRESIDENT OF UMNO.

DO NOT TAKE THIS CHALLENGE LIGHTLY.

SHOULD YOU DISMISS ME AND WHAT I CAN CONTRIBUTE, YOU DO SO AT YOUR OWN PERIL!