Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A CIJ Malaysia forum on internet sponsorship - Part 1

A CIJ Malaysia forum on internet sponsorship - Part 1

A CIJ Malaysia forum on internet sponsorship - Part 1

Posted: 09 Feb 2011 09:29 AM PST

What's the Printing Presses and Publications Act and what will be the impact if the government succeeds to also include the internet and online media with amendments to the Act?
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Littorally desirable: Why the Royal Malaysian Navy should proceed with purchase of the LCS

Posted: 09 Feb 2011 10:10 AM PST

Before we start, I just want to make sure everyone understands the meaning of littoral, because I had to look it up in a dictionary to be sure


  [lit-er-uhl]  Show IPA
of or pertaining to the shore of a lake, sea, or ocean.
(on ocean shores) of or pertaining to the biogeographicregion between the sublittoral  zone and the high-water lineand sometimes including the supralittoral  zone above thehigh-water line.
of or pertaining to the region of freshwater lake beds fromthe sublittoral  zone up to and including damp areas on shore.Compare intertidal.

War is costly, in fact it is the most costly of all human endeavours in terms of money, time, lives and general suffering.

Yet war seems to be the one habit that the human race is unable to kick.

As a small nation Malaysia is probably capable of defending itself against its neighbours because we are generally of similar financial and military capability. and I say this even as the spectre of Singapore hangs in the back of everybody's mind.

USS Freedom (LCS1)
Designed and Built by Lockheed Martin
Cost USD 637 million (RM1.911Billion)
Length 115 metres

With limited resources available at hand and ever increasing responsibilities being handed to our military in these uncertain times, we have to be careful with our spending and as we al know being careful with our money doesn't necessarily mean buying the cheapest option available.

Being careful with our money means buying the most effective solution that we can afford.

USS Independence (LCS-2)
Designed and built by General Dynamics
Cost USD704million (RM2.112Billion)
127.4-metres long

So here we are faced with two questions: Is LCS the most effective way to spend our defense ringgit? Can we afford it?

The first thing we need to do is decide whether the country needs such a fighting vessel, So lets get a bit of backround so we understand what the concept is all about and what the LCS is meant to do.

The LCS is the newest idea in naval warfare, the first of such vessel was built for the American navy, an aluminium-hulled catamaran with stealth features called the Sea Fighter

FSF-1, USS Sea Fighter......the world's first glimpse of the future of combat ships

Now, you may be wondering why this vessel looks so strange and where are the guns? Well, the Sea Fighter was built to prove the concept of a combat ship that is capable of delivering considerable firepower comparable to a corvette while offering such flexibility that it can play the role of a landing craft.

Front his short and perhaps inadequate description of the sort of demands that navies will impose on their future vessels, we can see that even the US is trying to cut down on cost and the LCS is their way of designing multi-functionality into a combat ship.

as the name suggests, an LCS is a combat ship that is able to tightly follow coastlines and operate in shallow water while still maintaining the tremendous firepower of a combat ship, as opposed to a patrol ship.

The other feature of the LCS is that it is relatively lightly armoured, the need for shallow draft means they have to reduce the displacement of the ship and the armour is the heaviest component of any combat ship.
TO compensate for the loss of armour, the LCS has to be fast so it can deliver the punch and get out of harm's way quickly.

The Sea Fighter can outrun most speedboats with a top speed of 55 knots (100km/h) while the USS Freedom and Independence has a top speed of 47 and 44 knots respectively.

Those are high velocities  for 110 metre ships. Imagine a small hotel zipping past you at 85 kilometres per hour.

So why do the Americans need small, fast, powerful combat ships that can lurk in shallow waters when they have aircraft carriers that can defeat entire nations?

The answer is quite simple, those large fleets that make up a carrier group is deployed as deterrent to any countries that may have any thoughts of invading America or America's significant interests in the seas of the world.

USS Abrahiam Lincoln and her Carrier Attack Group,
certainly not to be trifled with

It gives North Korea, Russia, China and other countries capable of mounting an attack on the Americans something to think about before they push the red button. The prospect of total anihilation by the aircraft carrier and ballistic submarine is very real.

USS Ronald Reagan CVN-76 undergoing rudder test
One of these babies carry 100 fighters and are accompanied
by a fleet that is larger than the combined navy
of several South East Asian countries
The US 7th Fleet consists of 24 main combat vessels,
including five nuclear submarines

Then there are problems of keeping sea lanes safe. As a trading nation, America needs to keep dangerous waters safe for its ships. This is why we hardly ever hear about American ships being captured off the African coast, or of the Indian ocean or anywhere really.

The LCS is also designed to plug into a networked battle arena, which means that it can be part of a centrally controlled battle with the vessel providing both eyes and ears as well as the firepower that can be executed by a single battlefield commander. (this is of course an oversimplification but you get the idea)

This will eliminate duplication and result in a more efficient way for the navy to operate.

Pirates and insurgents know that a large American presence is lurking somewhere nearby and there is really no escape.

So they go after South Korean ships, vessels from Malaysia and whichever countries which do not have a strong naval presence there. (now that we have brought back a few Somali pirates they may think twice about grabbing another Malaysian vessel).

The Americans know that keeping sea lanes safe is expensive if they have to rely on aircraft carrier groups, which have better things to do anyway, like thumbing their noses at China, Russia, North Korea and Iran, for example.

So the office of Naval Research came up with the Fast Sea Frame (FSF) and this gave birth to the Sea Fighter.

They laid down the aluminium keel of the Sea Fighter in 2003 and the ship went into service in 2005 and is still sailing the seas today, The Freedom and Independence joined the fleet and these three vessels are providing valuable feedback to the US navy before they commit to buy 55 LCS.

The US figured that the job of keeping America's economic bloodlines flowing smoothly can be achieved at a lower cost by using the LCS.

As a full-blown combat vessel, the LCS needs to have very long reach and this is why they can go for 4,000 nautical miles between refueling.

Bear in mind that America is a superpower and has staging ports all over the world and most of the world's waters is within 2,000 nautical miles from their nearest staging port.

Malaysia is a trading nation and unlike America we cannot afford or may not have the poltical/military.diplomatic clout to maintain staging ports all over the world.

The many faces of Somali piracy

With our ever increasing role in international trade, the country needs to project power in various sea lanes, or foreign offshore oilfields and also to our neighbours who may be thinking of disputing our resources.

For example, Petronas is active in the Sudan and the world knows that Africa is the next continent where natural resources will be found and exploited on a massive scale and things are not exactly hunky dory there.

We need a combat vessel that can, should the need arise, make a run from Malaysia, do the deed on the coast of East Africa and come back.

An LCS is not meant to suffer the full brunt of a full naval attack but it is designed to have a full array of capabilities such as surface to surface missiles for sea combat, anti-aircraft guns to defend against aerial attacks and troop landing capability for those quick excursions.

KD Lekiu is still one of the premier combat ship in the region
but can we afford to keep buying frigates when the LCS offers versatility,
firepower and range 

Currently we do not have a ship that can reach that far as our premier fighting vessels the Jebat and Lekiu can only reach 4,500 knots or so.

 this means that if they have to strike in the gulf of Aden, they will have to reach, refuel and then do the job,

Whereas the planned Malaysian LCS with its projected range of 8,000nautical miles, can go, have enough fuel to do at least 1,000 nautical miles of patrolling or fighting and strike and come back without ever stopping

The South Korean Navy carrying out anti-piracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden
The Pirates are more careful now with the Koreans,
but the pirates have pledged to strike back at the South Koreans
The fight continues

If the LCS were patrolling our region, it could be out at sea for an extended period and can go as far as the sea of Japan and make sure our gas transporters are never bothered by the Chinese pirates there

Considering that Singapore just bought six stealth frigates for slightly more than RM1 billion each and they are getting a single role vessel, Malaysia's decision to purchase a combat vessel with slightly less firepower but much greater mission flexibility and range is the first indication that we may be more wise in our defense spending.

USS Freedom LCS-1, aat full speed

Bear in mind, also, that our LCS will be a major step forward compared to the American LCS, for one it will have double the range, and versatility that is tailored to suit our needs. This will likely be among the most versatile LCS in the world because we simply do not have the money to buy corvettes, missile frigates, destroyers, aircraft carriers and the like.

Tagged at RM1 billion a ship, it does seem pricey but then again we are talking about a combat vessel and not a fishing boat. So let us look at some baseline costs.

USS Freedom, LCS-1 making a splash at launch and later in congress
due to massive cost overruns.
The Pentagon kept changing things because it was a new concept
so the cost continued to go up

As you can see from the two pictures at the top of the post, the first two operational LCS in the world cost the US navy between RM1.9 to USD2.1 billion. This is clearly too much so the Americans went back and forth through Congress before agreeing to a cap of USD590 million (RM1.77billion) while the navy said they could probably get the job done for around USD460 million (RM1.38 billion) per ship.

When you have perspective and a yardstick to measure, suddenly the price tag seems reasonable huh?

Our LCS, priced at RM1 billion per ship will likely not have the sophistication or firepower of the US ships but it will still be a proper combat ship rather than a patrol vessel. It will have the ability to project Malaysia's naval power while playing visual deterrent to pests and parasites on the high seas

Piracy closer to home

Tony Phua may think that he has a handle on naval strategy but the future is rather uncertain and the Royal Malaysian Navy can no longer afford to be contented to patrol our shores adn help out with escorting Thai fishing vessels, we can leave that duty to Maritim, the RMN needs to carry out more global duties and they have to be equipped for the job.

We will probably never see the full specification of the LCS that is being planned but sources say that it is likely to be of similar size to the American ships and feature similar capabilities while keeping to our budget.

As Malaysian economic interests expand throughout the world, we will need a navy that can ensure that trade is not disrupted and to do that we need to have tools that can participate in independent, bilateral or multilateral efforts to keep the global economic artery unblocked.

The question of whether we can afford it or not in terms of dollars and cents, is one that we will have to debate but it is quite clear that the LCS is one of the better ways to spend our naval spending budget and it will give our naby the capability that we should have for the next 20 to 30 years.

Really, the question is can we afford not to buy htese ships now, we need them in teh future and it's just going to go up in price anyway.

Fund boss tries to sidestep responsibility in hotel deal and the King is coming back in March

Posted: 09 Feb 2011 06:45 AM PST

Note: I am not going to mention the name of the fund for legal reasons, namely because I don't have an army of lawyers. SO I will leave you guys with guesses about this leader in Syariah investments

The latest news from our source indicates that the fund's boss may be trying to evade responsibility and culpability in the purchase of an abandoned skeleton of a five-star hotel in the Golden Triangle of Kuala Lumpur.

With the investment committee scheduled to meet and decide on the fate of the project on Friday, the management report/recommendation on the investment is ready for presentation but the man who is allegedly set to enjoy an RM38 million benefit if it goes thru is not putting his signature on the recommendation...

I guess this is a pretty smart way of handling the deal but of course you can only hide the truth, it will still be there to be found.

Apparently the boss is so keen to protect his buttinski that he is trying his best to make everyone that counts happy...we hear he has given promotions and pay rise to all his enemies...but in the modern world silence is only temporary, after all, once the new position has been confirmed there is no real benefit from keeping a crooked boss is there?

On a related note, this fund also has a 'King' and that 'King' is now on an overseas assignment....he calls himself 'King' because he has been acting without fear of any retribution at his overseas posting....we will shed some light on his shady deals soon....

BN A”Prison”for Dayaks ..!!”

Posted: 09 Feb 2011 06:34 AM PST

The carrot was dangled and it really was just a matter of time when the journalistic minds starts to take over. Hop, Step. Jump and and the Rabbit not only Hopped as after pleasantries and filling the stomachs the main menu remains to be discussed.

The first topic obviously was regarding SNAP who was given a new lease of life and the Secretary General Stanley Jugol said SNAP was once in BN and now they are in alliance with Pakatan. This doesn't mean that we will not have our say as they have already informed the reasons why they are pursuing with Anwar and in the Pakatan fold. If after the elections Pakatan does not keep to their promise and if BN does approach them its the offers that is on the table and uppermosts its the Oil royalty.  

We do not want to be like before,"A prisoner in our own party and to him BN is a Prison for the dayak YBs where the land is taken and the Minister is so powerful whereas in other countries the land is auctioned by the government and not taken and also that the Oil royalty should be more than 5%.

 Do you hear any of the ministers requesting for more as doing so will make the ruling Federal BN government unhappy. These land belongs to the people of Sarawak and as peoples representatives they must not keep quiet as they are more or less like Prisoners.  The Ybs must wake up and they must not be in their "prison' but defending their rights says Stanley.

Even now you will not hear the Masings,Mawans or Jabus in direct confrontation with ATM..?(ATM-Abdul Taib Mahmud who is CM and holds the powerful Ministry of as Minister of Resource Planning)

The DAP assemblyman Voon Lee Shan concurred with the SNAP SG and he  continued by saying,"this information should get to the ground and the more we harp on it the more BN will be on their toes. Look at whats happening in Eqypt and Tunisia and very soon elections will be held in Sarawak.

An opposition supporter said to audie61," Could Voon(DAP) and Ng Dominique(PKR) use the SNAPs symbol if they are not picked by their respective parties to stand. What do you think? They are so friendly with each other and this might justs be a start of a New Alliance. Nothing is impossible they say in Politics which is very often being used by the PKR Padungan assemblyman Dominique.

The year of the Rabbit will make many YBs hop and it seems after Chap Goh Mei the main talking point would be Elections,elections elections….. 

( The Heading-sms to us by SNAP YOUTH CHIEF DAYRELL  )

Nurul: Explain RM70,000 per metre walkway

Posted: 09 Feb 2011 06:02 AM PST

Malaysiakini Feb 8, 11 2:43pm

Lembah Pantai parliamentarian Nurul Izzah Anwar demanded to know why RM10 million is needed to construct a 142m air-conditioned elevated pedestrian walkway in Kuala Lumpur. 

pkr congress 281110 nurul izzah anwarNurul (left) explained that the figure translates to an average of RM70,422 per metre and insisted that Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin clarify on how the money is being spent. 

The first phase of the pedestrian walkway project links the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre to Impiana Hotel. 

Another six pedestrian walkways will be constructed linking Pasar Seni LRT-Dayabumi, DBKL main building-Sogo Shopping Complex, KTM Komuter-Bandaraya LRT, Jalan Sultan Ismail-Maju Junction-Medan Tunku monorail station, Plaza Rakyat-Puduraya terminal bus station and Albukhari Mosque-Hang Tuah LRT station.

Syarikat Prasarana Sdn Bhd (Prasarana) has invested about RM60 million to build the six walkways which are part of 12km project.

"As a Federal Territory Pakatan Rakyat MP I am happy that such infrastructure is built for the benefit of Kuala Lumpur residents and tourists… (but the) amount (spent) demands clarification as public monies were undoubtedly used," she said. 

According to a Bernama report, national oil company Petronas contributed RM100 million towards the development of the two-phase facilities. 

Nurul said that the project must be taken to task as government-linked companies (GLCs) are backing the project. 

"What are the exact figures for the construction of these walkways? As the elevated pedestrian walkway is air-conditioned, what are the maintenance and operational costs involved and as the unit price of energy increases how will these costs increase over time?" she asked. 

NONE"As GLCs and agencies – Petronas, KLCC Holdings Sdn Bhd, DBKL (Kuala Lumpur City Hall) and Prasarana – are involved, was there an open tender process to ascertain whether there were any lower-priced options available?" she added.

"These are all questions that I hope will be answered dutifully and truthfully by Raja Nong Chik (right) as the minister in charge, as well as by the mayor of Kuala Lumpur Ahmad Fuad Ismail."

Although she welcomed the efforts to develop the basic infrastructure for pedestrians in the city centre following the hike in prices of domestic goods and petrol, she insisted that the hefty cost must be well accounted for.

Nurul urged all related government ministries, agencies and organisations to lead by example and end such excessive expenditure.

Perkasa Out To Protect Crony Politics, Says Guan Eng - By Yow Hong Chieh.

Posted: 09 Feb 2011 06:10 AM PST

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng described Malay rights group Perkasa today as fighting only to protect the politics of patronage and cronyism under Barisan Nasional (BN) rather than demand action against graft.

He pointed out that Perkasa has been silent on the Cabinet's failure to resolve MIC's Maika Holdings scandal, MCA's Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) debacle and the RM52 billion in Bumiputera shares that "disappeared" instead of being given to the Bumiputera poor.

"Worse, is the biggest scandal reported by the US-based financial watchdog Global Financial Integrity (GFI) that illegal money outflows from Malaysia for the period 2000-2008 topped US$291 billion or RM888 billion," Lim said in a statement today.

He said that RM888 billion exiting the country over a nine-year period was equivalent to four times the national budget in 2011, and warned that failure by BN to "come clean" will only result in greater losses and possible bankruptcy in future.

Lim also said that it appeared as though Perkasa was as influential as the ruling coalition, given the Malay rights group's ability to "censor" key provisions in the Najib administration's New Economic Model (NEM).

"What difference is BN from Perkasa when Perkasa can exercise such strong influence to completely sabotage the NEM?" he said.

He added that BN's kowtowing to Perkasa's demands showed up 1 Malaysia as an empty slogan that does not embrace the future but will drag Malaysia backwards with "fears and threats" instead.

National Economic Advisory Council (NEAC) member Zainal Aznam Mohd Yusof said yesterday that Perkasa and similar groups had "wanted to burn" part one of the NEM for suggesting reforms which lacked "roh Melayu" (Malay spirit).

He revealed that Malay rights groups were particularly incensed over the proposal to abolish the 30 per cent Bumiputera equity requirement and set up an equal opportunities commission.

Speaking at a forum organised by the Institute of Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) in Kuala Lumpur, Zainal Aznam said the cabinet had failed in its economic reform agenda by listening to these Malay rights groups.

"This was the government's litmus test and, at this time, I have to say that there is no political will," he had said.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak took office in April last year pledging reforms to rejuvenate investment and reverse the 2008 election losses suffered by BN, which has governed Malaysia for 52 years.

Investors, however, have so far greeted Najib's NEM with disinterest, owing to the lack of detailed policies, timelines and the apparent rollback of ambitious Bumiputera quota reforms detailed in the first part of the NEM.

The bold recommendations set out there to boost competitiveness by reducing quotas appear to have been sidelined in the second part launched in December last year.

Observers attribute this to stiff resistance from Malay rights groups concerned that such moves will erode the community's interests.

Courtesy of The Malaysian Insider

RCI panel meets Teoh's sister, lawyers

Posted: 09 Feb 2011 04:49 AM PST

Teoh Beng Hock's sister Lee Lan and lawyers Gobind Singh Deo, Malik Imtiaz Sarwar and Karpal Singh attended the final meeting of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) today, prior to the start of proceedings on Monday. Full story here:
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Malott, Zainal Aznam are sick, says Ibrahim Ali

Posted: 09 Feb 2011 04:20 AM PST

There is no love lost between Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali and two of his latest detractors, as he spared nothing in attacking former US ambassador to Malaysia John R Malott and National Economic Advisory Council (NEAC) member Zainal Aznam Mohd Yusof today. In his trademark fiery rhetoric, Ibrahim called both men "sick" - Malott for undermining Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's administration and Zainal Aznam for accusing Perkasa of forcing the government to water down the New Economic Model (NEM). Full story here:
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Khalid: We'll help Selangor Cairo students

Posted: 09 Feb 2011 01:13 AM PST

Selangor MB Khalid Ibrahim said that the state government will assist Selangor students who were studying in Cairo prior to the anti-Mubarak protests. The state will arrange for relevant courses at the University of Selangor for the students.
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Indian community leader joins PKR

Posted: 08 Feb 2011 10:08 PM PST

Former journalist and translator and now lawyer Ponmugam Ponnan joins PKR and kicks off the party's new 'ranting' under the Seputeh cabang...
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Mahathir Rewriting History On Ops Lalang - By Lim Kit Siang.

Posted: 09 Feb 2011 05:56 AM PST

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is rewriting history when he blamed the police for the 1987 Operation Lalang mass Internal Security Act (ISA) arrests, claiming that he was furious over the mass crackdown.

In the new book, "Doctor M: Operation Malaysia – Conversations with Mahathir Mohamad" by Tom Plate, Mahathir said:

"Well, I would have handled it differently, except that the police wanted to do these things because they say it is necessary…

"I actually met all of the opposition members (beforehand) and assured them that they would not be arrested. And you know what the police did? They arrested them. My credibility is gone."

Mahathir is not only suffering from selective memory and faulty memory but is spinning untruths about his misdeeds in his 22 years as Prime Minister.

I never met Mahathir and he never gave me any assurance that I would not be arrested before the launch of Operation Lalang on Oct. 27, 1987, although a day earlier I had spoken in Parliament in the 1988 budget debate warning of escalation of racial tensions and calling on all political parties "to agree to a one-year moratorium where no racial, language, cultural or religious issues will be created or raised for every Malaysian to concentrate on the national priority of achieving economic recovery and growth".

Let Mahathir name the Opposition leaders had had met and given assurance that they would not be arrested but subsequently overruled by the police in the Operation Lalang crackdown!

It is unworthy of Mahathir to "pass the buck" to the Police for the responsibility for the Operation Lalang crackdown, as he not only defended the initial 106 arrests by the police under Section 73 of the ISA, he exercised his powers as Home Minister under Section 8 to formally issue two-year ISA detention orders for 49 Malaysians, including seven DAP MPs!

Mahathir had always made the false and baseless claim that DAP MPs had not been detained because they were MPs or their political beliefs, but for "trying to stir racial unrest".

For instance, Mahathir told Asiaweek (11th November 1988): "A few are still under detention because they refuse to give up stirring racial hatred. (Lim) was arrested not because he was leader of the opposition but because he was stirring racial tension in the country…They will be detained until they come around to thinking it is not the right thing to do…"

I did not change a jot of my thinking during my detention that none of the Operation Lalang detainees should have been detained especially as "the real culprits of the tensions and grave situation" in Malaysia in October 1987 were left free completely, and not a single police officer interviewed me to secure my agreement to purportedly "give up stirring racial hatred" before my release in April 1989.

This applied to all the six DAP MPs detained under Operation Lalang – Karpal Singh, Lim Guan Eng, Dr. Tan Seng Giaw, the late P. Patto, the late V. David and Lau Dak Kee – who were released without the so-called "come around to thinking it is not the right thing to do", when they had done nothing wrong in the first place!

In fact, the personal, petty and vindictive nature in the misuse of an already very oppressive ISA was further highlighted by the fact that Guan Eng and I were the last two of the 49 Operation Lalang detainees to be released in April 1989 – when the various batches of releases started in June 1988.

I had always conceded that there were racial tensions in October 1987, but these racial tensions were not created by DAP MPs or others detained under Operation Lalang, but solely the deliberate and irresponsible creation of certain power-seekers in UMNO at a time when there was general insecurity at all levels of the UMNO leadership because of deep UMNO party split between two factions, one led by Mahathir and the other by Tengku Razaleigh-Musa Hitam.

As Bapa Malaysia and the first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman said immediately after the Operation Lalang crackdown in November 1987, "It's not a question of Chinese against the Government but his own party, UMNO, who are against him". – The London Times, 9th November 1987.

The Government White Paper "Towards Preserving National Security" issued in March 1988 to justify the Operation Lalang detentions referred to the UMNO Youth Rally at the Jalan Raja Muda Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on 17th October 1987 with banners displaying slogans: "MAY 13 HAS BEGUN" and "SOAK IT (KRIS) WITH CHINESE BLOOD" but no action was taken against the UMNO Youth leaders who enjoyed immunity and impunity for such seditious and criminal incitements.

The UMNO Youth leader at the time is none other than the present Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Mahathir cannot shirk responsibility by passing the buck to the police but must come clean and apologise to the nation for masterminding Operation Lalang, the darkest chapter of human rights in Malaysia, paving the way for a wholesale clampdown and subversion of the media, the judiciary and organs of state, whether the Police, the Election Commission or the Anti-Corruption Agency in the rest of his premiership.

Or is Mahathir going to blame the judiciary, the police, the Election Commission, the Anti-Corruption Agency, the media and the key national institutions for their failure to stand up to oppose him to protect, preserve and promote their efficiency, independence and professionalism during his premiership?

Courtesy of

The Price Of Malaysia’s Racism — John R. Malott

Posted: 09 Feb 2011 06:09 AM PST

A former ambassador's (to Malaysia - from 1995-1998) observations:


FEB 8 — Malaysia's national tourism agency promotes the country as "a bubbling, bustling melting pot of races and religions where Malays, Indians, Chinese and many other ethnic groups live together in peace and harmony." Prime Minister Najib Razak echoed this view when he announced his government's theme, 1 Malaysia. "What makes Malaysia unique," Najib said, "is the diversity of our peoples. 1 Malaysia's goal is to preserve and enhance this unity in diversity, which has always been our strength and remains our best hope for the future."

If Najib is serious about achieving that goal, a long look in the mirror might be in order first. Despite the government's new catchphrase, racial and religious tensions are higher today than when Najib took office in 2009. Indeed, they are worse than at any time since 1969, when at least 200 people died in racial clashes between the majority Malay and minority Chinese communities. The recent deterioration is due to the troubling fact that the country's leadership is tolerating, and in some cases provoking, ethnic factionalism through words and actions.

For instance, when the Catholic archbishop of Kuala Lumpur invited the prime minister for a Christmas Day open house last December, Hardev Kaur, an aide to Najib, said Christian crosses would have to be removed. There could be no carols or prayers, so as not to offend the prime minister, who is Muslim. Hardev Kaur later insisted that she "had made it clear that it was a request and not an instruction," as if any Malaysian could say no to a request from the Prime Minister's Office.

Similar examples of insensitivity abound. In September 2009, Minister of Home Affairs Hishammuddin Hussein met with protesters who had carried the decapitated head of a cow, a sacred animal in Hinduism, to a Hindu temple. Hishammuddin then held a press conference defending their actions. Two months later, Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told Parliament that one reason Malaysia's armed forces are overwhelmingly Malay is that other ethnic groups have a "low spirit of patriotism." Under public pressure, he later apologised.

The leading Malay-language newspaper, Utusan Melayu, prints what opposition leader Lim Kit Siang calls a daily staple of falsehoods that stoke racial hatred. Utusan, which is owned by Najib's political party, has claimed that the opposition would make Malaysia a colony of China and abolish the Malay monarchy. It regularly attacks Chinese Malaysian politicians, and even suggested that one of them, parliamentarian Teresa Kok, should be killed.

This steady erosion of tolerance is more than a political challenge. It's an economic problem as well.

Once one of the developing world's stars, Malaysia's economy has underperformed for the past decade. To meet its much-vaunted goal of becoming a developed nation by 2020, Malaysia needs to grow by 8 per cent per year during this decade. That level of growth will require major private investment from both domestic and foreign sources, upgraded human skills, and significant economic reform. Worsening racial and religious tensions stand in the way.

Almost 500,000 Malaysians left the country between 2007 and 2009, more than doubling the number of Malaysian professionals who live overseas. It appears that most were skilled ethnic Chinese and Indian Malaysians, tired of being treated as second-class citizens in their own country and denied the opportunity to compete on a level-playing field, whether in education, business, or government. Many of these emigrants, as well as the many Malaysian students who study overseas and never return (again, most of whom are ethnic Chinese and Indian), have the business, engineering and scientific skills that Malaysia needs for its future. They also have the cultural and linguistic savvy to enhance Malaysia's economic ties with Asia's two biggest growing markets, China and India.

Of course, one could argue that discrimination isn't new for these Chinese and Indians. Malaysia's affirmative action policies for its Malay majority — which give them preference in everything from stock allocation to housing discounts — have been in place for decades. So what is driving the ethnic minorities away now?

First, these minorities increasingly feel that they have lost a voice in their own government. The Chinese and Indian political parties in the ruling coalition are supposed to protect the interests of their communities, but over the past few years, they have been neutered. They stand largely silent in the face of the growing racial insults hurled by their Malay political partners. Today over 90 per cent of the civil service, police, military, university lecturers, and overseas diplomatic staff are Malay. Even Talent Corp, the government agency created in 2010 that is supposed to encourage overseas Malaysians to return home, is headed by a Malay, with an all-Malay board of trustees.

Second, economic reform and adjustments to the government's affirmative action policies are on hold. Although Najib held out the hope of change a year ago with his New Economic Model, which promised an "inclusive" affirmative action policy that would be, in Najib's words, "market friendly, merit-based, transparent and needs-based," he has failed to follow through. This is because of opposition from right-wing militant Malay groups such as Perkasa, which believe that a move towards meritocracy and transparency threatens what they call "Malay rights."

But stalling reform will mean a further loss in competitiveness and slower growth. It also means that the cronyism and no-bid contracts that favour the well-connected will continue. All this sends a discouraging signal to many young Malaysians that no matter how hard they study or work, they will have a hard time getting ahead.

Najib may not actually believe much of the rhetoric emanating from his party and his government's officers, but he tolerates it because he needs to shore up his Malay base. It's politically convenient at a time when his party faces its most serious opposition challenge in recent memory — and especially when the opposition is challenging the government on ethnic policy and its economic consequences. One young opposition leader, parliamentarian Nurul Izzah Anwar, the daughter of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, has proposed a national debate on what she called the alternative visions of Malaysia's future — whether it should be a Malay nation or a Malaysian nation. For that, she earned the wrath of Perkasa; the government suggested her remark was "seditious."

Malaysia's government might find it politically expedient to stir the racial and religious pot, but its opportunism comes with an economic price tag. Its citizens will continue to vote with their feet and take their money and talents with them. And foreign investors, concerned about racial instability and the absence of meaningful economic reform, will continue to look elsewhere to do business. — The Wall Street Journal

Pakar Haram Valentine

Posted: 09 Feb 2011 02:55 AM PST

Oleh Anak Mami

Cara cara Melayu Islam menabur kebencian terdadap agama lain, budaya lain supaya menghindar Melayu Islam masuk neraka, Cara ini tiada bezanya sama dengan pengganas Islam mencuci otak hingga sanggup jadi pengebom tahan mati.Cara ini lah wujudnya Al Qeada, pengganas Islam yang dihina dunia.Cara ini lah Islam diperlekehkan dan dihina oleh golongan intelektual, akademis dari mana mana pelusuk dunia.

Tengoklah video ini pada 3.20 Wanita alim yang bertudung ini menyatakan "Maksiat, Disco, Couple Couple bersunyi sunyian, inilah tradisi masyarakat yang beragama Kristian". – tengooklah cara macam mana Melayu Islam ini boleh bergaul mesra engan bangsa lain? Cara ini lah melayu islam menggunakan agama Islam menabur kebencian serta cuci otak terhadap melayu Islam. Kafir mengaki kaum lain, kutuk, hina agama lain, kalau lah sikap sedemikian eloklah melayu ini tinggal di planet lain,

- Cegah dengan kuasa

Itu lah pandangan orang Islam, gunakan kuasa untuk mengawal aktiviti orang lain. `Kuasa , siapakah yang berikannya kuasa? Mana datangnya kuasa? Ajaran ini semata mata mengajar orang Islam gila kuasa. Agama di jadikan kuasa untuk mengawal, agama dijadikan bagai peraturan dalam penghidupan seseorang, Nampaknya pensyarah ini cuba nak membawa Melayu balik ke zaman jahilliah, dimana dia menganggap budaya asing semuanya melengkupkan kaum Islam. Wa kah kah ……

- Cegah dengan lidah – Fitnah tomahan menggutuk dan ambl tahu perihal orang lain, dijadikan senjata dalam umat islam mengawal kegiatan orang lain, Dalam dunia ini tiada sesiapa memaksa anda celebate valentine day, kenapa punla nak mengutuk tradisi amalan bangsa lain? Ini lah memberikan peluang untuk kaum melayu jadi Hakim tak rasmi, kalau tidak ikut teguran maka di jatuh hukuman dan memperlekehkan identii dan aruah seseorang.

Cegah dengan hati: Ini lah cara mengajar umat Islam jalan kepangkal serong, kalau niat dan hati tidak lurus iada jujur, macam mana nak membimbing orang lain? Hati busuk Cuma memusukkan kan insan yang lain.. Otak berfikiran finatik maka pengikutnya akan ikut jalan fanatic. Ini lah gejala yang amat jelas berlaku di Malaysia.

Soalannya bukan valentine day tu haram tak haram, perangai teruuk dalam Melayu yang cukup hipokrik ini lah menyebarkan fahaman kebencia keatas penganut agama lain,, Fahaman ini lah merasai bangsa melayu bangsa yang paling suci dan alim di bumi. Kaau di pandang valentine day setahuan sekali, tetapi Melayu telah celebrate hari valentine ini sepanjang tahun, dimana anak haram kaum melayu dilahirkan dibumi ini telah mencecah seramai 226 ribu. Fikirkanlah, sejauhmana Islam itu berjaya mendidik kaum Melayu ? Kenapa gagal gunakan strategi cegah dengan kuasa, lidah dan hati?

Melayu Islam memang mempunyai pilihan atau kuasa untuk menentukan sama ada ingin celebrate Valentine, Tiada orang memaksa anda dan tiada siapa pun menjemput anda merayakan valentine day, Malah tiada siapa mengajar kamu membeli bunga mawar, dan bertelanjang didepan kekasih anda. Sama ada anda suka atau tidak suka, terpulang lah kepada diri anda, ini lah hak kebebasan anda dibumi ini. Tetapi kamu tidak mempunyai hak memperlekehkan atau menjatuhkan maruah budaya bangsa lain, tetapi anda berdiri di pinggiran hipokrit dengan ego syaitan.

Melayu Islam baginya semua ini "Haram", Haram belaka. Tetapi terkecualinya corruption, nepotism, racism and unaccountable deaths while under government custody, those are "not Haram". Mana letaknya humanitarian dan hak asasi manusia?

MAHATHIR : ‘Intelligence’ Failure or Failure of Intelligence? Blame the police over Ops Lalang,You have to learn to live with the people with guns,”

Posted: 09 Feb 2011 12:25 AM PST

Dr M blames police for Ops Lalang: "My credibility is gone"
How much more abuse should Malays receive from the likes of Mahathir and the Umno elite?
First. Former Prime minister Mahathir Mohamad told us that the country belonged to the Malays and everyone else had to accept the culture and language of the dominant community.
He said, "This country belongs to the Malay race. Peninsular Malaysia was known as Tanah Melayu but this cannot be said because it will be considered racist. We must be sincere and accept that the country is Tanah Melayu"
Second. Mahathir said that Malays will feel less threatened if the country adopted the concept of "Bangsa Malaysia". According to him, "Bangsa Malaysia" would allow better co-operation between the different races and thus guarantee the future of the country.
Third. Mahathir said that the race affirmative programmes such as the New Economic Policy (NEP) were still important as the Malays were still weak economically.
"We must not reject every government effort to help us. We must push away the crutches and realise that we are still limping.
Mahathir has not disappointed us. He is as divisive as ever and many Malays, his target audience, simply cling onto every word.
So, when will Malays understand that this man is insulting our intelligence?
Mahathir made the comments during his talk "Malay race and the future", at the Tun Hussein Onn Memorial. He is insulting the memory of Hussein Onn who was called 'Bapa Perpaduan' for his unceasing efforts in promoting racial unity.
Where is our integrity and Malay pride that we continually allow him to abuse us? He tells us this is our land and at the same time manages to insult us by saying we are too stupid and incapable to hang onto it.
He said the Malay community may risk losing the country without the affirmative action policies.
He alluded to this: "Which is better? To be dependent on policies which will save us or depend on others hoping that they will save us? Sooner or later, we will be under their rule".
When he said that the Malays owned Tanah Melayu, he callously ignored the Orang Asli, the Sarawakians and Sabahans. He managed also to slight the non-Malays without whose help, we would not have gained our independence from the British.
Why are Malays condoning the various acts of discrimination?
Isn't it time we took charge of this country, wrestle it from the likes of Mahathir and others like him, and tell them that their ingrained prejudices against non-Malays and non-Muslims are unacceptable?
Mahathir claims we are weak. Why do we continue to take orders from a non-Malay?
Why do the majority of Malays keep quiet when racist leaders divide us?
At some point in time, Malays must alter their mindset. Now, would be perfect.
We have been conditioned for decades by leaders who only wanted to promote their own interests.
They told us we were weak and that we could not think for ourselves.
They offered to do the thinking for us and make decisions on our behalf.
They softened us with their policies which made us lazy and gave us incentives which meant we need not work as hard.
They denied us a good solid education and flip-flopped in between policies. They broke up the mission schools which was once the bedrock of education.
They encouraged large families and allowed polygamous husbands to proliferate and act irresponsibly, so that many children lacked a father figure and thus were denied a solid family unit. Single mothers had to manage on one income and struggled to support their children. Some children became feral. Large families lacked adequate health-care.
These Umno leaders control the Malay mind. They realise the importance of influence over the Malays.
They dominate and control the Malays, by keeping us in a hopeless and continually pessimistic state. That is what Najib, Mahathir and the other leaders are doing to us.
First, they frighten us and second, they demoralise us.
It is all about power. Control the Malays and power is all theirs.
These uninspiring leaders cannot afford to lose their domination over the Malays.
Without the weak Malays, they are nothing.
They know that educated, healthy and confident Malays are much harder to govern.
Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had pointed at the direction of the police over Ops Lalang, which saw 106 people arrested including top political dissidents under the Internal Security Act in 1987.
In the most recent book on Mahathir, 'Doctor M: Operation Malaysia – Conversations with Mahathir Mohamad', the former premier of 22 years revealed that he was furious over the mass crackdown.
"Well, I would have handled it differently, except that the police wanted to do these things because they say it is necessary…
"I actually met all of the opposition members (beforehand) and assured them that they would not be arrested. And you know what the police did? They arrested them. My credibility is gone," he said.
"You must have been furious!" retorted Tom Plate, the interviewer and author of the book.
"Yeah, but what can I do? You see, I have to accept that they are the people on the ground that makes a decision. I give general authority to them," continued Mahathir, who was known as a strongman who brook little dissent.
Regrets, I've had few
In the 1987 crackdown on Oct 27, over one hundred people – mostly opposition and a handful of MCA and Umno politicians – were arrested while the publishing permits for The Star and Sin Chew Jit Poh and Watan were revoked.
The government had explained that the second largest ISA swoop since the May 13 racial riots were 'necessary' to contain rising 'racial tensions' from the protests over the appointment of non-Chinese educated principals to Chinese vernacular schools.
In response, Umno held a counter protest, where notably then Youth chief Najib Abdul Razak led a mammoth rally in Kampung Baru days prior to the arrests.
Mahathir, who was the PM at that time, also said that in retrospect, he may have had some regrets over the clampdown.
"Yeah. Regrets … I mean you have to trust the police, because you have to work with them. They are the people who have to look after security, and when they advise you that the tension is very high, that it might explode into racial riots, and they need to take this action, you can't tell them no.
"You don't, you see, because you know less than they do. See, and you have to trust the people who are the implementers. I have no means of verifying everything that they say," he said.
You don't argue with men with guns
Later on in the book, Mahathir betrays a hint of timidity with the police force.
When Plate asked whether Mahathir's control over the police, even as a powerful prime minister, was not absolute, the elder statesman agreed.
"No, not absolute. You have to learn to live with the people with guns," he said.
"But then, does that make you to some extent a hostage of the people who have guns?" asked Plate.
"To a certain extent… everybody is. You see, you have to give people the means to enforce, and then of course they are better equipped than you are. You have to accept the fact that when they tell you that certain things need to be done, you have to respect them.
"If you keep running them down – there have been instances where they were run down by the government as being incompetent, corrupt and all that – what happens then?" he asked, hinting that the police may in the end go on strike.
Choosing the 'wrong' successors
While recounting his previous experience with former protege and deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim – whom Mahathir would later sack from the cabinet in 1998 – the former PM conceded that he had problems picking his successors.
"I got my blind spots, you know. You could say that I choose all of the wrong successors," he said.
"One of my biggest mistakes was choosing my successor," Mahathir repeated himself later.
Mahathir had quarrelled with most of his anointed deputies, including former deputy premier Musa Hitam.
After stepping down from power in 2003, he appointed Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as the fifth prime minister. However, the two too quickly fell out of favour.
'Conversations with Mahathir Mohamad' is based on a series of interviews by veteran American journalist Plate.
It is the instinct of rulers to greedily take credit for any success and to shed responsibility for any failure. Barack Obama has perfected this art form. His repertoire ranges from the magical transmutation of manifest failure into alchemic 'success' to the "I take full responsibility; so now let's together go forward in bipartisan spirit rather harp on the past" gambit. The stuttering, contradictory response to the crisis in Egypt has prompted something cruder. It's all the fault of the intelligence people who didn't tell me when, how, by whom and with what consequences this uprising was going to occur.
Our intelligence agencies, all five of them, do have a far from impressive record. But this accusation is misdirected. A responsible government would have been acutely aware of the Mubarak regime's crumbling support and loss of credibility. It should immediately have recognized in the Tunisian revolution a spark that could ignite the highly combustible conditions in Egypt. A responsible, competent government would put itself on alert by anticipating an uprising and thinking on a contingent basis as to how it might respond.
Barack Obama has told people that he in effect is his own National Security Adviser. This despite his total lack of experience in foreign policy and diplomacy, and a lack of interest in foreign affairs throughout his adult life. That helps to explain his selection of someone as unqualified as Thomas Donilon to serve in the post. Donilon spent the last decade as Executive Vice President for Law and Policy at the disgraced Fannie Mae after serving as a corporate lobbyist with O'Melveny & Roberts. The rest of the Obama team is little better prepared for crises of this delicacy, complexity and profound implications.
The misjudgments that have prompted our hesitant, 'stick with the friendly despot we know' response to the Egyptian convulsion is not due to an alleged 'intelligence' failure. It is due to a failure in intelligence. Mr. Obama's exalted sense of his abilities once again has been exposed as a national liability. To tell the Egyptian youth who are passionately and bravely reaching for their freedom that "we hear you" while maneuvering behind the scenes to stymie them is no more convincing than telling his dispirited young American ex-devotees that he still is the prophet of "change that you can believe in." Some change, some prophet!
Armed women on guard at one of Tehran's main squares at the start of the Iranian Revolution [Getty]

I remember the images well, even though I was too young to understand their political significance. But they were visceral, those photos in the New York Times from Tehran in the midst of its revolutionary moment in late 1978 and early 1979. Not merely exuberance jumped from the page, but also anger; anger fuelled by an intensity of religious fervour that seemed so alien as to emanate from another planet to a "normal" pre-teen American boy being shown the newspaper by his father over breakfast.
Many commentators are comparing Egypt to Iran of 32 years ago, mostly to warn of the risks of the country descending into some sort of Islamist dictatorship that would tear up the peace treaty with Israel, engage in anti-American policies, and deprive women and minorities of their rights (as if they had so many rights under the Mubarak dictatorship).
I write this on February 2, the precise anniversary of Khomeini's return to Tehran from exile. It's clear that, while religion is a crucial foundation of Egyptian identity and Mubarak's level of corruption and brutality could give the Shah a run for his money, the situations are radically different on the ground.
A most modern and insane revolt
The following description, I believe, sums up what Egypt faces today as well as, if not better, than most:
"It is not a revolution, not in the literal sense of the term, not a way of standing up and straightening things out. It is the insurrection of men with bare hands who want to lift the fearful weight, the weight of the entire world order that bears down on each of us – but more specifically on them, these … workers and peasants at the frontiers of empires. It is perhaps the first great insurrection against global systems, the form of revolt that is the most modern and the most insane.
One can understand the difficulties facing the politicians. They outline solutions, which are easier to find than people say … All of them are based on the elimination of the [president]. What is it that the people want? Do they really want nothing more? Everybody is quite aware that they want something completely different. This is why the politicians hesitate to offer them simply that, which is why the situation is at an impasse. Indeed, what place can be given, within the calculations of politics, to such a movement, to a movement through which blows the breath of a religion that speaks less of the hereafter than of the transfiguration of this world?"
The thing is, it was offered not by some astute commentator of the current moment, but rather by the legendary French philosopher Michel Foucault, after his return from Iran, where he witnessed firsthand the intensity of the revolution which, in late 1978, before Khomeini's return, really did seem to herald the dawn of a new era.
Foucault was roundly criticised by many people after Khomeini hijacked the revolution for not seeing the writing on the wall. But the reality was that, in those heady days where the shackles of oppression were literally being shattered, the writing was not on the wall. Foucault understood that it was precisely a form of "insanity" that was necessary to risk everything for freedom, not just against one's government, but against the global system that has nuzzled him in its bosom for so long.
What was clear, however, was that the powers that most supported the Shah, including the US, dawdled on throwing their support behind the masses who were toppling him. While this is by no means the principal reason for Khomeini's successful hijacking of the revolution, it certainly played an important role in the rise of a militantly anti-American government social force, with disastrous results.
While Obama's rhetoric moved more quickly towards the Egyptian people than did President Carter's towards Iranians three decades ago, his refusal to call for Mubarak's immediate resignation raises suspicion that, in the end, the US would be satisfied if Mubarak was able to ride out the protests and engineer a "democratic" transition that left American interests largely intact.
The breath of religion
Foucault was also right to assign such a powerful role to religion in the burgeoning revolutionary moment – and he experienced what he called a "political spirituality", But, of course, religion can be defined in so many ways. The protestant theologian Paul Tillich wonderfully described it as encompassing whatever was of "ultimate concern" to a person or people. And today, clearly, most every Egyptian has gotten religion from this perspective.
So many people, including Egypt's leaders, have used the threat of a Muslim Brotherhood takeover to justify continued dictatorship, with Iran as the historical example to justify such arguments. But the comparison is plagued by historical differences. The Brotherhood has no leader of Khomeini's stature  and foreswore violence decades ago. Nor is there a culture of violent martyrdom ready to be actualised by legions of young men, as occurred with the Islamic Revolution. Rather than trying to take over the movement, which clearly would never have been accepted – even if its leaders wanted to seize the moment, the Brotherhood is very much playing catch up with the evolving situation and has so far worked within the rather ad hoc leadership of the protests.
But it is equally clear that religion is a crucial component of the unfolding dynamic. Indeed, perhaps the iconic photo of the revolution is one of throngs of people in Tahrir Square bowed in prayers, literally surrounding a group of tanks sent there to assert the government's authority.
This is a radically different image of Islam than most people – in the Muslim world as much as in the West – are used to seeing: Islam taking on state violence through militant peaceful protest; peaceful jihad (although it is one that has occurred innumerable times around the Muslim world, just at a smaller scale and without the world's press there to capture it).
Such imagery, and its significance, is a natural extension of the symbolism of Mohamed Bouazizi's self-immolation, an act of jihad that profoundly challenges the extroverted violence of the jihadis and militants who for decades, and especially since 9/11, have dominated the public perception of Islam as a form of political spirituality.
Needless to say, the latest images – of civil war inside Tahrir Square – will immediately displace these other images. Moreover, if the violence continues and some Egyptian protesters lose their discipline and start engaging in their own premeditated violence against the regime and its many tentacles, there is little doubt their doing so will be offered as "proof" that the protests are both violent and organised by the Muslim Brotherhood or other "Islamists".
A greater threat than al-Qa'eda
As this dynamic of nonviolent resistance against entrenched regime violence plays out, it is worth noting that so far, Osama bin Laden and his Egyptian deputy, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, have had little – if anything – of substance to say about the revolution in Egypt. What they've failed to ignite with an ideology of a return to a mythical and pure beginning – and a strategy of human bombs, IEDs, and planes turned into missiles – a disciplined, forward-thinking yet amorphous group of young activists and their more experienced comrades, "secular" and "religious" together (to the extent these terms are even relevant anymore), have succeeded in setting a fire with a universal discourse of freedom, democracy and human values – and a strategy of increasingly calibrated chaos aimed at uprooting one of the world's longest serving dictators.
As one chant in Egypt put it succinctly, playing on the longstanding chants of Islamists that "Islam is the solution", with protesters shouting: "Tunisia is the solution."
For those who don't understand why President Obama and his European allies are having such a hard time siding with Egypt's forces of democracy, the reason is that the amalgam of social and political forces behind the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt today – and who knows where tomorrow – actually constitute a far greater threat to the "global system" al-Qa'eda has pledged to destroy than the jihadis roaming the badlands of Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Yemen.
Mad as hell
Whether Islamist or secularist, any government of "of the people" will turn against the neoliberal economic policies that have enriched regional elites while forcing half or more of the population to live below the $2 per day poverty line. They will refuse to follow the US or Europe's lead in the war on terror if it means the continued large scale presence of foreign troops on the region's soil. They will no longer turn a blind eye, or even support, Israel's occupation and siege across the Occupied Palestinian territories. They will most likely shirk from spending a huge percentage of their national income on bloated militaries and weapons systems that serve to enrich western defence companies and prop up autocratic governments, rather than bringing stability and peace to their countries – and the region as a whole.
They will seek, as China, India and other emerging powers have done, to move the centre of global economic gravity towards their region, whose educated and cheap work forces will further challenge the more expensive but equally stressed workforces of Europe and the United States.
In short, if the revolutions of 2011 succeed, they will force the creation of a very different regional and world system than the one that has dominated the global political economy for decades, especially since the fall of communism.
This system could bring the peace and relative equality that has so long been missing globally – but it will do so in good measure by further eroding the position of the United States and other "developed" or "mature" economies. If Obama, Sarkozy, Merkel and their colleagues don't figure out a way to live with this scenario, while supporting the political and human rights of the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa, they will wind up with an adversary far more cunning and powerful than al-Qa'eda could ever hope to be: more than 300 million newly empowered Arabs who are mad as hell and are not going to take it any more.
Mark LeVine is a professor of history at UC Irvine and senior visiting researcher at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University in Sweden. His most recent books are Heavy Metal Islam (Random House) and Impossible Peace: Israel/Palestine Since 1989 (Zed Books).

Posted by the headhunter


Siapa Kata Pembangkang Tidak Terlibat Dalam Aktiviti Pertolongan Mangsa Banjir Johor?

Posted: 08 Feb 2011 11:29 PM PST

Chua Soi Lek pernah mengatakan Pakatan Rakyat hanya datang ketika ada pilihanraya, semasa banjir melanda, mereka tidak pernah muncul langsung? Saya tidak perlu mencerita panjang kerana gambar akan membuktikan segalanya...

The Star

On the floods which hit several states including Johor, Dr Chua reminded the people to take note that only those from Barisan Nasional especially Umno, MCA and MIC were on the ground helping out.

"In times of floods, the people from DAP and PAS are not around.

"They only come when there is a by-election or election," he said, adding that MCA has a mechanism whenever there was a flood which would be activated at the division level to provide assistance to flood victims in terms of food, water and even welfare.

Siapa yang muncul dalam gambar?

Beliau merupakan Ahli Parlimen bagi kawasan Bakri dari Pakatan Rakyat - DAP

Beliau telah menolong mangsa banjir sehingga turun padang sendiri. Inilah pemimpin yang diperlukan dalam arena politik negara, dimana mereka sanggup mendekatkan diri mereka untuk mendengar penderitaan penduduk setempat.

Apa kata pemimpin MCA di Johor?

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Gambar dipetik dari FaceBook YB Er Tech Hwa

Kohilan - a MGR in Cairo's ordeal!

Posted: 09 Feb 2011 01:44 AM PST

He didnt bath for 2 days and was holed up at the Cairo airport with Malaysians and foreigners trying to get out of strife-torn Egypt. What an experience, and what a horrifying ordeal!

I think Deputy Foreign Minister Senator A Kohilan Pillay deserves a 'datukship' for his bravery and good job. Stranded for 2 days at a fully air-conditioned international airport and without shower, makes him a 'hero', dont you think so (here).

With him were PM's sec-pol Datuk Shahlan Ismail dan a few National Security Council officers.

Try to compare his ordeal with this - retiring deputy sec-gen of Ministry of Information Datuk Mohammed Mohd Daud was our trade commissioner to Kuwait in 1990 when the US launched the 'Desert Storm' operation.

He was assigned to lead about 200 Malaysians and Singaporeans to safety. Know what? He managed to take them from Kuwait City to Baghdad in an 18-hour journey filled with obstacles, among which were booby traps, bombs and gunfire.

And he didnt tell Malaysians or the Press about it.

Back in 1982, I was in Iraq, covering the Iran-Iraq war, moving with the UN and Iraqi armies from north border t0wn of Suleimaniyeh to Kirkuk, Khanaqin, Mosul, Karbala and south port of Basrah. Together with Indonesian 'Kompas' editor Petrus Suryadi, we slept in tents or bunker dug beneath army tanks, exposed to extreme cold weather and night and burning hot during the day, no shower for a week and had to survive on limited food and water supply.

I remember the adjacent building of El-Mansour Melia hotel was shelled at 10pm, two hours after we checked-in, killing 9 people and injuring dozens others.

Try talk to former NST senior journalist Ben d'Cunha who joined me in Iraq in 1984. We embarked on a 12-hour midnite train from Baghdad to Basrah, accompanied by 3 Iraqi officers, only to discover on arrival that the train was carrying about 300 corpses!

And that was part of the stories which was not published by our editor then. Why, we went there on our own expenses and at our own accord! (During that era, Malaysians were barred from visiting any Communist country while a trip to Eastern Europe or any Socialist country would be deemed as not appropriate).

Many other Malaysians, especially former students and embassy staffs in Baghdad during the 1980s were subjected to various difficulties. Ask our Ambassador to China Datuk Norulzaman whom I first met in Baghdad in 1982 when he was the Second Secretary to the mission. Ambassador was Nadanarajah.

I am writing a special book about their ordeals, hoping to send it to print sometimes in May this year. It will also include

To our Deputy FM, it was nothing what you had experienced. It was your job, like it or not. If you want to know about real ordeals, talk to our war veterans, including those who used to serve in Congo, Somalia, Lebanon and in other countries.

Anyway. good job bro!

Feds shun Selangor govt’s offer to help combat crime? Why?!

Posted: 08 Feb 2011 10:30 PM PST

I wanted to highlight an initiative of the Selangor state government, who for the second time has written to the Home Ministry, asking that they be allowed to contribute auxillary personnel to the police in order to help prevent crime.

My family lives on one of those roads with private security. Truth be told, the guards don't do much except sit there and move a little road marker when cars pass by. It's not rocket science or high tech crime prevention.

That said, crime on that road has dropped to nearly zero.


All it takes, is for someone to sit there all day and all night.

Is that beyond the power of the Selangor state government to help organise? I think not.

Now if only the federal government, who controls the cops, not letting them help?

What happened to People First? When such an offer that would clearly help combat the terrible scourge of crime affecting every Malaysian is shunned, it sure seems like Politics First :P

Also, check out the latest news – pregnant lady identifies cop who slapped her.

Malcolm Gladwell, Social Media and Revolutions

Posted: 08 Feb 2011 08:05 PM PST

Seriously, I just don't get it. Why is Gladwell, a well-respected author, is so against the social media? Of course, there were more revolutions before the Internet was born. But social media, for whatever purpose it may serve, is just part of the evolution of communication technology.

I think if Gladwell lived in the 50s or 60s, he must have had the same opinion on tv or radio or film.

Read his latest piece on The New Yorker here, DOES EGYPT NEED TWITTER?

Change: Breaking Point , Turning Point

Posted: 09 Feb 2011 12:56 AM PST

Obama brought the word "change" to current circulation. meaning "revolution". He could have been inspired by the parking vending machine which says "change is possible". How does change occur?

In general, people do not like change because change implies uncertainty. As I understand it, the whole economic apparatus that people have erected around ourselves is to reduce uncertainty and to create stability of some sort. So long as the existing apparatus is still workable, people will maintain it until there is a critical mass of sufferers of the system who then demanded that change be made of the apparatus or system or paradigm.

We can see very clearly that political change will be brought about by the masses of ordinary people when their quiet suffering and despair could no longer be tolerated, when what they see around them is unbearable daily difficulties in the face of opulence - which indicates to them somehow that it is a systematic problem, not a natural problem. Nature can of course make things worse, but in a stable system natural calamities by themselves do not call for structural breaks as they create uncertainty; if they have faith, they want the system to help them, as is the case now in Australia with politicians shedding tears for ordinary people who are suffering from the natural disasters. It is when the prevailing system is seen to have lost its integrity which means that the integrity of the system has been corrupted that ordinary people rise to demand the obvious - that the system be improved or, better still, changed. "Improvement" to a corrupted system doesn't usually bode well because it usually implies that the "second tier" will simply "move in" to take over the "first tier" as well as to take care of the "first tier" which has somewhat "gracefully" made way for the "second tier" to come up to the podium. As we know from the computer, once the system has been corrupted by viruses, and if the corruption is severe (which must be in the cases that we are talking about), then we need to reinstall a new system. Those impoverished may install the same old system which is not the wisest thing to do because it has been shown to be easily corruptible. A completely new system is required to be installed, as in the old system with new safeguards or a new system with a completely different platform or paradigm altogether so that the viruses as we know them to do be cannot penetrate. In the realm of politics, the opposition to the incumbent government is usually of the same mould except that it is the opposite. The real challenge for change is to come up with something that is completely different from the incumbent and the opposite, and in the comfort zone of human horizon, the third force is usually a synthesis of the first two (acknowledgment to Hegelian dialectics). I prefer the George Bernard Shaw vision: People see things as they are and ask Why?; I dream of things that are not and ask Why not? In this way, we truly move forward and beyond the ordinary, meaning beyond what we are used to.

As in politics, economic change can also be traumatic. In the world of economic theory that many of us grew up in, the economic change is very much Victorian - small little marginal changes (mathematically called perturbations) which do not really upset the system at all, merely to test the robustness of the system. What happens when the system is not robust? The system breaks down, and a new system has to be reconstructed from the old model or constructed completely new from scratch. That is in the world of economic theory. In the world of economic reality, what happens?

In the world of economic reality, when the economic system shows any sign of struggle such as the rattling of some parts, the political masters, being control freaks, instinctively try to and usually do takeover the economic system completely. This is usually done by a process called Emergency Rule when the system is deemed to be at the very breaking down and the Master must now be "hands on" to smooth things over. As when a non-doctor tries to cure a (severe) headache with blind prescription of panadol, likewise in economic policy, the non-economist blindly prescribes monetary expansion as the cure for all economic headaches. Central bankers in trying to please their political masters consciously try not to trigger off any economic adjustments in order the central bankers not be blamed for any consequent crisis that will be created later on. When this happens, it is a sure sign of weak leadership or technical ignorance in both the political and the economic policy arenas. As in medicine, if an illness is not cured immediately at the root (preventive medicine) while merely plastering over the obvious symptoms, we have been taught that the illness is going to become very bad and can even become life threatening. In economic policy, we know that when the root economic problems are not properly resolved, economic adjustments will be forced onto the system and explode. The 1990 Japanese Asset Bubble, the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, the 2010 US Financial Crisis. With political repercussions. These are all adjustments of the socio-politico-economic systems that politicians have been trying to lord over around the world in the last two decades or so.

At the very least, the US economy is now undergoing some drastic adjustments - collapse of property prices and the US dollar as well as some banks commercial and investment. In this way, I believe that the US economy will manage its find its own feet after a few years and give the Chinese a good fighting in the global economy. Malaysia, in looking east and following Japan, is still caught in an asset bubble, and banks with a huge loan book to households, can only stay solvent so long as loan growth is high enough to cover up the subprime problem which must be festering. The problem with monetary policy is that you really cannot stage manage a "soft landing". You are flying at 30,000 feet and suddenly you let go of the fuel pedal; what happens. Brakes become irrelevant. Such events are studied as chaos theory or catastrophe theory. It starts with a smooth ride with a little change, and the next thing that hits is breaking point or if lucking a turning point.

With the present being an accident of the past, the Malaysian economy is now saddled with some fairly difficult problems. Now truly Malaysian, the purpose in life is to be very very rich, and for that you do not need an education. Education in fact can become a hindrance to material wealth for you really do have to go to garbage dump and shift through while the government keeps bringing in truckloads of banknotes to dump. The scavengers now employ bodyguards to mark out territories in the name of politics and justice, and the only fellows who work are those poorly paid to do the manual work. The end result of the activities must be handled to the masters of monopolies who compete among themselves to see who is the cleverest. What else get done in the economy? Houses, roads, cars.

The current government in Malaysia is in a most unenviable situation. The party is over, the cash is spent, now we are living on borrowed money. But everybody is well trained to be mercenary. Grab and run. How do you change this mindset.

In the macroeconomic front, there are a few variable to grapple with. While the ringgit will try not to fall with the US dollar - and hence heading from 3.00 to 2.70 and 2.50 - it is not that particularly strong either as can be seen from its Singapore dollar rate of 2.30 although this is an improvement from 2.40-45. A real show of strength for the ringgit is when it can go to 2.00, 1.80 and 1.50 to the Singapore dollar. I would be happy to see sterling at 4 ringgit from the current 5.

Of course, now the financial markets are in turmoil in Malaysia. Will there be an election rally. Will interest rates be raised to curb inflation. These are rumours used by currency speculators from offshore financial centres to shore up the currency and equity markets for a while. Buy on rumours, sell on news. All these will be over by May, June. The central bank can be concerned with the reserve requirement to reduce the credit multiplier from capital inflows, and banks will be incredibly silly to lend long term using short term funds as we had seen in 1997.

In the meantime, let us try to build our economic foundation of a solid education system, a court of justice, an economic system where those who work hard will get the fruit of their labour. Let us bring proper pricing back to the local system. Let us continue to teach our children that they have a bright future in Malaysia if they work very hard. This will be real change.

Syariah Compliant 5* Hotel: A breakthrough is coming

Posted: 08 Feb 2011 07:01 PM PST

AS a blogger I write what I get, sometimes I get juicy bits and pieces so I write about it first and snoop aroudn some more

I see that a lot of people are now interested in this subject so I dug harder and some new piece of info is coming

I will put up a new post in a day or two...
Our whistle blower has brass balls
but still, we have to be careful

PS: sometimes our source also very careful, they leak slowly to ensure a controlled explosion.hehe

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