Sunday, December 26, 2010

Malaysiakini: Outrage: Beaten and robbed by cops over expired road tax... by S Pathmawathy

Beaten and robbed by cops over expired road tax
S Pathmawathy
Dec 24, 2010

For being frank with the police, 34-year-old Chia Buang Hing was detained for five days and beaten up until he vomited blood.

The businessman, who is frame-maker, narrated the "horrific" incident today, saying that the police bashed him up, threatened and robbed him of RM13,000 in cash he was carrying - all for the expired road tax of his wife's car that he was driving.

NONEChia's (left) nightmare began about 11pm on Dec 18, as he was driving from his house in Tropicana to Kota Damansara, where traffic police had set up roadblocks.

Having spotted the expired road tax, one of the police officers asked for his driver's licence and identification card.

It was then, he said, that the officer spotted stacks of RM50 notes, totalling RM7,000, sticking out of his pocket and demanded that he hand them over.

Chia said he refused and insisted he be issued with a summons but as the officer kept asking for the money, Chia warned that he would lodge a report. Then the assaults began.

"I tried to take his picture with my mobile phone, but I was repeatedly punched by him and two other officers.

"One of them then handcuffed me and I screamed for help (but) I was shoved inside a police car and beaten again," he said, adding that there were several witnesses to this, including a security guard and a friend of his who was in another car.

Chia said he was carrying a total of RM18,000 that he had collected from his three frame-making shops that night, with RM10,000 in his pockets and RM8,000 in the car.

'My money was thrown into the toilet'

The father of two said he was then taken to the police station in Kota Damansara and again assaulted.

NONE"I was outside a toilet at the station and seven officers kicked and stepped on me until I vomited blood and sustained injuries on my face.

"Then, one police officer took the RM7,000 from my front pocket and RM3,000 from my back pocket and they threw it on the floor."

"He (the officer) became angry when I demanded the money be returned and he threw the remainder he was holding into the toilet and hit me again."

Chia said the police then ordered him to write a report that his sustained the injuries in a traffic accident and when he refused, they threatened to plant a blood-stained machete and drugs in his car and get him locked up for a long time.

At about 3am the following morning, he said, he was threatened by an officer that drugs would be injected into his bloodstream. He was later assaulted again, by as many as five officers, at the police station and at another place he could not identify.

One thing he managed to do, Chia said, was to leave his bloodied fingerprints in many parts of the police station that he had been dragged to.

"Only when they saw that I was barely surviving - as I had vomited blood and white foams were trickling out of my mouth - they took me to the hospital. By the time we got there, it was already 7 in the morning.

Magistrate ignored his complaints

Chia was taken to the Sungai Buloh Hospital and after that to the Petaling Jaya magistrate's court, about 10am, for a remand order against him.

He said he informed the magistrate of his ordeal but he was ignored. The magistrate ordered Chia to be remanded by police until Dec 22 on suspicion of possession of drugs and weapons.

During that period, he said, he was taken to a officer at narcotics department in the Petaling Jaya district police headquarters.

NONE"He told me there was no case against me and called up the men who had abused me. He advised me to lodge a report and allowed me to contact my family," Chia added.

He said that he was then released on police bail and RM5,000 was returned to him.

Segambut DAP MP Lim Lip Eng (left) assisted Chia in lodging his report at the Mutiara Damansara police station yesterday.

Lim said the investigating officer accompanied them to the Kota Damansara police station where most of the Chia's bloodstains been removed, but there were some under a table, behind a mirror and under a cupboard, which were photographed by police.

'Nobody is above the law'

Malaysiakini was later informed that the Selangor police contingent headquarters has officially taken over the matter.

A task force has been set up to investigate the complaint in detail. There will be no cover-up in the investigation, police said in a text message.

"Nobody is above the law. If there is evidence, the persons responsible will be charged in court," added the contingent's officer in-charge of criminal investigations, Mohd Adnan Abdullah.


Who is to 'police' the police?
Dec 26, 10 8:04am

your say'Jensen (Chia, as I know him by), is the most likeable and generous person that you can meet anywhere. He definitely does not deserve this.'

Beaten and robbed by cops over expired road tax

Habib RAK: The myth that only a few black sheep are in PDRM (royal police force) is now busted. This blatant and wanton abuse of authority by not one or two police personnel but by more than 10 officers at different time and location indicates that brutality is widespread within the force.

Such abuse can only happen when we have highly incompetent police personnel whose only capability is to act and do work in thuggish and mafia fashion. If the police were professionals, they would have easily established the victim's background and credibility in no time.

Instead, they assaulted him and stole his money. This incident adds to the long list of blatant abuses by the police which once again demands for the implementation of IPCMC (Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission).

Anonymous: Jensen (Chia, as I know him by), is the most likeable and generous person that you can meet anywhere. I have my pictures framed by him in TTDI (Taman Tun Dr Ismail). He contributes every month to the poor. He definitely does not deserve this.

To know that this atrocious crime has been committed against him by none other than the very people who should be protecting society is sad and frightening. What should we do? Use your vote wisely to change this government that has no moral authority to make the necessary changes to the police force.

CarL: What's the big fuss? How do we know that this man is telling the truth. For what we know he might be a criminal. It is very common for any crime suspect to hallucinate following long hours of verbal grilling by the police.

No criminals would admit their wrongdoings and it is very common for them to blame others instead. The police were just doing their job. Imagine if there is no police force in the country, the criminals would have a field day.

Rolls-Royce: Someday I wish CarL or his love ones would suffer the same fate as this victim (and I am doing this on Christmas day. May God forgive me for my indiscretion).

It is simple; an abusive police force, a police force that is ill-disciplined, greedy, corrupt, and has no respect for human rights and human dignity will eventually have no respect for your political affiliation, race and religion.

Those who complained here I believed have not done so out of political reasons alone. We must always ask who is in charge of police force today. Who has the authority to discipline the police force today? The complaint is directed toward the authority in charge.
If Pakatan Rakyat is in control of the federal government and in charge of the police force today, I believe the people will go the street to demand that the minister concerned and the IGP resign immediately. They will demand that the police officers involved be investigated immediately.

Cala: Who is to 'police' the police? What is the lesson learned from Chia Buang Hing's ordeal in the hands of thug-like police (from Kota Damansara police station)?

Let me cover two issues. First, while no complete solution is in sight, we should act to prevent the police from getting oversized. To do that, do consider splitting them up according to states. Second, following from (i), make state police chief answerable to the chief minister of the state. Ultimately, this new system ensures that the police are accountable to the people.

In conclusion, Chia's ordeal is yet another reminder of the brutality of the enforcement agencies. In this case, Chia is lucky to have survived the beatings. Say 'no' to police gangsterism. Please, no more another TBH (Teoh Beng Hock), sir. One is too many.

Neders: I try not to consider this case to be a racial or political one. However, at the back of my mind, I am inclined to believe it is somehow connected with this 'ketuanan' crap. This warped social engineering perpetrated by TDM (Dr Mahathir Mohamad) has implanted into the Malay pysche that they are indeed a supremacist race in this country and that non-Malays must be shown their place.

Ibrahim Ali of Perkasa will go along with this I am sure. Chia was beaten to a pulp at four locations, one of which was at a public car park. Didn't the police officer involved fear that they may be severely punished for this crime of assault and robbery? No, simply because they believe they have the tacit protection of the Umno regime.

I ask myself: am I paranoid? I don't think so. I look around me and racism is as thick as pea soup and the way the PDRM behave these days leads me to believe that the present regime is their political master. How sad and frightening at the same time.

Pain Killer: If indeed a thorough investigating has been set up, then all those police officers involved should be suspended. The police force must be seen that they do not condone the act, and that they will come down hard on the transgressors. The forensic team should be able to identify whose bloodstains were found at the alleged crime scene.

But why is it that my intuition is telling me that the spin doctors will make this case slip away into oblivion and forgotten?

Not Confused: This is the most disgusting incident that I have read since arriving here eight years ago. Words fail me as to how this country could have sunk so low.

Pakatan must take control of Putrajaya and put a stop to this unbridled abuse of power by the PDRM (and others). The entire force should be fired and rehired only after thorough vetting to ensure their integrity. The IGP (police chief) should resign immediately. Such incidents call for dramatic and uncompromising action.


Pietiring: Where do we go from here? I've been suppressing myself in saying that very few cops are bad, while the majority are good cops. But how do I reason out after going through Chia's horrific experience with the law enforcers. Do I have to wait until I get the other side of the story from the official source?

Hardly a few days ago, news were screaming with the horrific accident in which 27 people, mostly Thai tourists, were killed when the local bus in which they were traveling overturned. I simply cannot fathom why tourists are coming here to die along with thousands of Malaysians who have been killed yearly on our highways-turned-graveyards.

Victor Johan: There should be an official statement from the home minister. Should his statement be a non-commital one, and/or an inappropriate recourse be taken by him, the victim should press charges and the court hearing must be conducted on an urgent basis.

Citizen: This is terrible. Things are getting out of hand as far as the police is concerned. It is time that the 27 million Malaysians go on a protest march against the police and the government for crimes against the citizens of Malaysia. I call upon every political party to rise and act. Let all NGOs rise against the barbaric actions of the police.

Simon Lee: We are living in a false sense of security. This is a lawless county. When the very institution (the judiciary, the MACC, the AG or the police) that has sworn in the name of Allah to protect the rakyat and ensure peace in our nation, are the main perpetrators of crime against the innocent rakyat, and when the innocent rakyat are treated with such injustice: brutality, torture and abuse, we cannot imagine how real criminals: juvenile and petty criminals are being treated by such institutions. This may explain the countless death in the police lockup.

MySecret: I'm surprise they didn't find any 'parang' in his car and that he did not attempt to commit suicide out of shame for not having a valid road tax.

Ravindran Supiiah: All I can say is to wish the PDRM Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. What a shame to our nation.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Malaysian Chronicle: 100-day reforms: BN has lost and Pakatan deserves a chance... by Mariam Mokhtar

100-day reforms: BN has lost and Pakatan deserves a chance

by Mariam Mokhtar
Malaysia Chronicle
Thursday, 23 December 2010

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin scoffed at Pakatan’s 100-day reforms in the event that they formed the federal government and reminded the public ‘why BN has been in power for more than half a century and counting’.

His shameless attempt to discredit Pakatan is an insult to the electorate. He said, “Pakatan can promise the sun, moon, stars and mountains… But that is not the way of the BN government. We cannot squander our nation’s wealth.”

Muhyiddin is far removed from reality. People are disillusioned. After 53 years, the nation is more divided than ever, and our economy is in tatters. Our standards in education are falling, our defence budget is spiraling out of control and the civil service is bloated. The Prime minister’s residence and the King’s palace are undergoing a multi-million magical transformation whilst some people live without piped water and electricity.

Does Muhyiddin still think the electorate deserves to give BN another chance? Is 53 years of failure not long enough?

Muhyiddin said, “For BN, the prime minister has already a long road map for a high-income nation. But Pakatan only has plans for their first 100 days. They have absolutely no plans to reform the economy or anything.”

Only a megalomaniac will equate ‘high-spending’ with ‘high-income’? The mega-projects that the Prime minister announced are mere monuments to vanity, to satisfy BN’s perverse ego that bigger is always better.

The Pakatan led states of Penang and Selangor are examples of good governance and they have introduced younger voices to have a greater say in shaping policy On the other hand, BN’s talk sounds outdated and wearisome.

Malaysia’s lack of political reforms means that our ranking in ‘The Democracy Index’ is 71 out of 167 countries. Ours is defined as a ‘flawed democracy’. The Economist Intelligence Unit which compiles this index bases its findings on electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, functioning of government, political participation and political culture.

Muhyiddin should realise that amongst other things, there is a restriction on our freedom of expression, the Internal Security Act is used to stifle criticism and university students are barred from participation in politics.

Would the DPM care to come up with a similar package for reform because the only things most people remember from the BN convention are Najib’s four political diseases ‘inertia, delusion, amnesia and arrogance’. Besides, its 7-point charter lacked not just lustre but also substance.

Unsurprisingly, Muhyiddin belittles not just the opposition, but also the public and companies. He said, “They probably think that the general election is close, so maybe they know better than us. They are just luring voters with their empty promises, like a supermarket sale.”

Not content with insulting the electorate, our DPM must also ridicule the retailers. He believes that ‘supermarket sales’ are just a gimmick with ‘their empty promises’.

One sincerely hopes the consortium of Malaysian retailers such as Giant, Tesco and Carrefour will protest at such a damaging charge.

If Pakatan has to make good on its promises, as pledged in its 100-day reform, then it also faces a long, thankless slog repairing the damage and economic mess of 53 years of BN rule.

Pakatan has dared to announce their reforms and it is for the electorate to choose if they are attractive enough for deciding their future.

Has BN been as ambitious in its political reforms? As far as many can see, BN’s policies are more of the ‘same-old, same-old’.

At least Pakatan leaders are on the right track. It has shown preparedness, clarity and bold vision for a better government. Who dares wins!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

TMI: The future!! Happy people!? Beautiful country!? by Ahmad Mustapha Hassan

The Malaysian Insider

The future!! Happy people!? Beautiful country!? — Ahmad Mustapha Hassan

December 22, 2010

DEC 22 — In the 50s and the early 60s, when I was actively involved in the struggle for independence, I was more than convinced that with independence the country would experience a future full of promise, stability, prosperity, with a happy  and united nation.

During the colonial period, economic activities had been segregated by race. The British were only interested in making as much as possible from the country. The arrangement that they had created had served them well.

Independence would mean the integration of all these activities, and as such, there would be interactive relationships among all. The breaking down of these segregated economic walls, however, did not materialise in a systematic and speedy way. Thus conflicts occurred.

Remedial measures were carried out but it was hijacked by greedy and self- centred politicians. Instead of moving forward, the country went backwards and more acute problems arose. The vision and goals of independence had been thrown into the gutter. We thus moved towards a failed state status.

This is the problem faced by all former colonies. Leaders after tasting power, instead of taking care of the welfare of their people, took care of themselves first and forever. The people remained poor and neglected. Just see the conditions in the African states. See what is happening in Myanmar. Malaysia is no better. See the palaces built by politicians in power.

In Malaysia, to remain in power and continuously rape the wealth of the country, race is used to frighten the followers, that if they abandoned this (greedy) leadership, their future will be in jeopardy.

In fighting for independence, the people were cajoled to support the cause but after the achievement of independence, the people are again coerced into fear of their future if they abandoned the current leadership.

Race is the menacing factor that is being used to their personal advantage, that it will threaten the stability of the country. Not only that, it will also bring about intense communal feelings.

For failure to improve the lot of the Malays, the powers that be encouraged the phrase emphasising the supremacy of the Malays — “Ketuanan Melayu”. This never cropped up during the struggle for independence, nor was it ever used after independence. Only now suddenly it rears its ugly and venomous head, to frighten the non- Malays.

Naturally, a much wider chasm is created and the authorities simply have turned a blind eye to what it has unleashed. The agenda is to create divisions as done by the British colonial powers for self enrichment. But it must be remembered, this is the 21st century and not the late 19th or the early 20th centuries.

The environment and the scenario have changed and the situation is now wrought with all kinds of happenings that can become examples for fear and suspicion. Killings and ethnic cleansing in the name of race have become common occurrences.

The world too has become a smaller place and with that people are no longer incapable of sizing things up. People turn to emigration to escape what they feel may be an impending catastrophe. Even the Malays have no hesitation leaving the country as they feel things have gone too far in this mania of seeking wealth without regards to the welfare of others. The country is suffering from brain drain and only the corrupt are happy with this.

The situation cannot go on like this indefinitely. It is bound to proceed towards disaster. Children in schools have already been made familiar with racial profiling. Teachers are no longer dedicated in their professions. Instead of showing good examples to the students, they have become the source of creating tensions among the students with their brainless comments about the races in the country. But the authorities have shown reluctance in meting out stern action against these recalcitrant so-called teachers.

As long as they are Malays, they can commit these hideous acts and the government will try to provide excuses for their unpardonable acts.

The non-Malays will fall into a different category. Any slight excuse, they will be hauled up as what had happened to the young man Namewee. The young man will be persecuted for all kinds of reasons. This is done to satisfy and pacify the Malay communal extremists.

That racism has been on the increase in the country cannot be denied. Evidence is everywhere, be it in the social sphere, economy or even education.

The activities of the Malay ultra group have only pushed the other racial groups to emphasise more on their own well being and not that of the country. This is the direct result of not stopping the actions and utterances of those advocating the supremacy of the Malays.

The government only talks of racial unity but very little positive action has taken place. Even the governing political party has not moved towards integrating all the parties into one single political entity.

Of greater danger, however, is not the racial element but the religious aspects. This is a much more vicious and serious threat to the country. Unless the country maintains its secular nature and eliminates the dominating character of the religious authorities, the future does not augur well.

Although Islam is the official religion of the country, it does not mean that Islam overrides the interest of other religions in the country. The unwarranted religious conversions have to stop and the episodes of body snatching will have to be put to an end.

These incidents have caused a lot of family sufferings and the government must not condone such acts. The government will have to be bold if it wants to safeguard the future of this country. The Syariah courts now seem to be having the upper hand in every family dispute. The courts will naturally support the Muslim member of the family at the expense of the other members. The civil courts have been reluctant to play its role in all these conflicts.

This only brings about a sense of injustice to the aggrieved parties. They have no recourse to correct the injustice that they suffer. The government has not acted on these conflicts for fear of antagonising the religious zealots.

A church that was erected by the Orang Asli who professed the Christian faith was demolished on reasons that could easily had been overcome and the word “Allah” has been banned from use by Christians although in East Malaysia, the word had been in use for a very long time.

The Fatwa Council has become very powerful. Their approach is always negative in nature. Instead of trying to bring about the understanding of Islam to a wider circle, it functions as if everything about Islam is its prerogative to interpret and nobody else’s.

It also takes on the role of seeing that the unfortunate Muslims, who it believes being ignorant and stupid, are not led astray by the non Muslims. Thus non Muslims cannot quote from the Quran as this will confuse the Muslims. There are other major issues which have passed the scrutiny of this wise and able council.

All these are trends that will create greater suspicion among the people in the country. There is no attempt to make each understand the others’ religion and beliefs. The Muslim authority has kept away from associating itself in the interfaith group as this will affect Islam’s standing in the country. This is arrogance of the highest order.

The two most critical factors that will determine what the future of this country will be are race and religion. The government must act fast to counter the ruinous nature and the possible catastrophe that can be brought about by the uncontrolled and emotional makeup of these two elements.

The ugly writings are on the wall.

* Ahmad Mustapha Hassan is the author of “The Unmaking of Malaysia” and a former general manager of state news agency Bernama. He was also the press secretary to prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and the then deputy prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fan Yew Teng: Funeral fit for a king.... By Dr Chen Man Hin

Funeral fit for a king

By Dr Chen Man Hin, DAP life advisor

On December 16th, about 10 DAP members attended Fan Yew Teng’s funeral, which was held at the Church of the Redeemer in Bangkok.  Sdr  Lim Kit Siang, Sdr Fong Kui Lun, Sdr Lee Kow and Dr Chen represented the DAP.  Five other, members from Selangor drove all the way from KL to Bangkok for the funeral.

There was also a second service, this time in a Buddhist Wat.  Fan Yew Teng found the chants, prayers and psalms very soothing when situations were stressful. He requested for buddhist rites, according to his wife, this service was well attended.

At both services, there were crowds of people. Among those present were Thais and members of the diplomatic corps representing countries of the world. You could say that  Sdr Fan Yew Teng had a funeral fit for a king.
And rightly so, as Fan was a champion of the poor and oppressed not only of Malaysia but also the countries of the world through his participation and links with international socialist organisations.

It is also well known that his wife, Noeleen Heyzer  shared his enthusiasm to save the world. Her work as a United Nations Under Secretary General all these years had helped many countries to take the road to peace and prosperity.

Sdr Fan must have been a very happy man to have a lifetime companion who share his ideals and hopes. They would have mutually encouraged and inspired each other in the task to achieve a better world.
True to character, Fan does not abandon his ideals or unfinished business. Although he has gone, he has left us a legacy which will ensure that his lifetime work is left to posterity. His work will live on through the FAN-HEYZER FAMILY — his wife Noeleen and daughters Lilian and Pauline.

Noeleen was a champion of human rights and justice in her own right. While  quietly pushing for peace, security and progress in the poorer and less developed countries. She has achieved international recognition for her work.  she won a Fulbright scholarship in her youth. To day she holds the post of the Chief Executive of United Nations ESCAP (Economic Social Commission Asia Pacific), headquartered in Bangkok.

He also left a legacy of two very bright daughters, Oxford scholars Lilian and Pauline who think and speak in the fashion of their late father. Maybe they might become the future Fan Yew Tengs also?

malaysiakini: Politicians, put collective good above self... by Capt Abdul Aziz Abdullah

Politicians, put collective good above self
Capt Abdul Aziz Abdullah
Dec 20, 2010

I refer to the article 'This time, Guan Eng is the star of the show' on Dec 19, 2010.

Indeed, if many amongst the diehard members of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) can readily accept the fact that the party is not the domain of a particular individual and that its existence is for the betterment of Malaysia's society at large, then, in my humble opinion, I think it will survive with greater success and stronger support.

It may have been initially conceived with the pristine aim of ensuring justice to a particular individual, then, enduring unjust acts by powers-that-be, but, now, as a national political party with aspirations to rule the nation, that raison d'etre must be discarded and all focus ought be towards amalgamating the diaspora of conflicting interests by individual parties within the Pakatan Rakyat coalition.

All effort must be made to focus on this fundamental objective, no more on trying to ascertain that a prima donna's aim of being numero uno in the political hierarchy be the penultimate target!

We should adhere to the notion that no individual is so indispensable that the party/coalition is unable to function should he not be present. If one truly loves the party and all that it stands for, then, in my mind, it would be a far, far noble task for one to ensure that the party succeeds without him around!

That would, indeed, be an act of a genuine statesman, a patriot!

As such, may I remind all who care to listen that the rakyat is tired!

Exhausted by the relentless jibes of those currently in power exhorting that they, and only they, know best what is good for the country and assuming that Malaysians do not have the ability to think and discern for themselves of what is going on.

Exasperated at the antics of those who were given a sudden mandate to rule, not because they were good, but more so due to the indignation of blatant arrogance of the then incumbents, but, now appearing to be no better than those who were kicked out!

Is this the fate to befall us, fellow Malaysians? We speak of a two-party system, but the looks of it infer that neither is much different from the other!

We would wish to try out the alternative, but, need more convincing that it is a viable one, concerned and caring for the plight of ordinary folks and not beholden to the attraction of the mighty ringgit! We dream of ideals that can carry Malaysia into the developed world, but, not at the expense of maligning the environment. We abhor corruption, we adore frugality, we applaud transparency, but, above all, we cherish highly the unity that ordinary Malaysians practice, despite what many may try to destroy for their own selfish needs!

Thus, Pakatan, prove to us that you are that alternative that we can rely on. Shed the cloak of mistrust and back-stabbing that some are prone to practice within the coalition. You have some quite splendid personalities in your grouping with potential to shine and rise. Give them a chance, let those tried and tested, but, failed to deliver, rest and write their memoirs.

We appreciate their deeds, we'll remember their contributions, but, do not let them hold sway that sans their presence, the party will go to the dogs! That would be quite unfair to us, fellow Malaysians!

malaysiakini: All this race nonsense... by KJ John

All this race nonsense
KJ John
malaysiakini, Dec 21, 2010

I am no sociologist by any definition or imagination. My good friend who is now a Distinguished Professor at UKM, is probably the most recognised sociologist in Malaysia; and founder or director of three Institutes at UKM. His current position is the founder-director of the Inter-ethnic Studies Unit at UKM. Therefore, if I make any serious mistakes with this column, I am sure at least he will correct me.

Recently, someone told me that the root word “melayu” actually describes the wilting process of a plant or flower. I then asked where did this word come from and why were the Malays (the English equivalent word) called such?

The closest answer I have received from a researcher is that there is a Sungai Melayu in Sumatra from which this sea-faring community originated. Therefore they were called Orang Melayu or Orang Sungai Melayu to be accurate. True? I do not know but I am floating these ideas so that I can be corrected if I am wrong.

How then did this one of 300-plus ethnicities of Indonesia become the “dominant race of Malaya?” After all in the Sejarah Melayu (which I have not read) I am told that the same thesis of the origin of the Melayu is also recorded.

So, why then did the British, or Dutch, or Portuguese create the Orang Melayu as a racial category and the Bahasa Melayu as the uniting language of the then-region called the Malay Archipelago and the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu?

azlanAnd, even more so, why did the British craft into our federal constitution the 'Malay language and culture' as a formal definition of “Malays - as those who follow Malay culture and practice Islam?” This constitutional definition is what appears to now have been misapplied as the new racial definition for all and sundry, when in fact, premised on modern genetic science research, there can only be one race in the world; that is the human race?

Therefore, from 1957-1963 there were Malays, Chinese and Indians in Malaya as they were almost explicitly referred to in Article 153; and there was very little confusion as to who the 'constitutional Malays' are or, who were the 'other races'. But then in 1963, with the formation of Malaysia, the new nation-state became called Malaysia not 'Melayu-sia!'

Always only Malaysians first

Therefore today, we are always only Malaysians first, with our various religions second, and various ethnicities third, and so on. Finally, also because we are always part and parcel of the human race, the God-given human conscience makes us all part and parcel of the epitome of God's created animals.

So, why is there all this overemphasis on the so-called “Malay race nonsense?” Sure, we know who is and who is not Malay by the constitutional definition. All Malay Rulers are these without doubt. But, they are not of the Malay race by any definition. In fact, they each have a different historicity and are from differing ethnic origins. If I am wrong, can anyone please correct me? I do not think they can now choose to deny their history and past either.

azlanTherefore, while PM Najib Abdul Razak may have not consciously and clearly defined his 1Malaysia in such ethnic terms; my simple and logical argument is that it really and only means we are only Malaysians first and foremost; with our religious affiliations second, and our ethnicities third. While both nationality and religions can be changed in the global world of nations, we do not allow for such a crossover only for Muslims in Malaysia.

Therefore, we condemned Lina Joy to migrate because of her faith. Ethnicities too, we cannot change, as God does not allow for it; and for those who try to do so, they may pay with their dear lives, as Michael Jackson found out.

Let me try therefore to apply the above logic towards the nation-state we call Malaysia. First and foremost, the word Malaysia is not a 'Melayu' word. It is an English equivalent for the Melayu peoples of Sungai Melayu in Sumatra.

This category of people, when mixed with other people groups (or ethne's) of Borneo (of which two states are now called Sarawak and Sabah) and Singapore; they all became called Malaysians. The concept of Malaysian is not an ethnicity but rather a nationality; much like the British or Americans (as opposed to Welsh or Irish or the American Indians).

That new nation-state definition includes all the original people groups (or ethnicities) of Malays of peninsular Malaya, Chinese of Penang (also an English equivalent of Pinang) and Malacca (or English equivalent of Melaka) and the Indians of the original rubber industry scattered all over peninsular Malaya but maybe mainly in Kedah, Perak and Selangor.

They also included the different Chinese ethnics of Singapore and all the different ethnicities of Sabah and Sarawak. For that matter in constitutional terms, the different Chinese and Indian ethnicities of Sabah and Sarawak are actually naturalised Malaysian citizens and should not have to apply for blue ICs by default.

The federal government, with due respect, cannot deny every natural Sarawakian or Sabahan this right and privilege which is only denied in peninsular Malaya.

A federation of three states

Now, let me further emphasise my nation-state argument. Malaysia is today a federation of three states; and not of thirteen states. The Agong is the Head of State for the Federation of Malaysia; and not just the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu. When he is the Head of State of the Federation; is he first and foremost an ethnic Malay by constitutional definition but is he is always first and foremost a Malaysian; like all the rest of us.

Only within the nine Malay States of the peninsular do we have Heads of a State who are both; constitutional Malays and the Head of Islamic religion in their states. My argument is that when they rotationally and democratically become Head of the Federation of Malaysia; they are always and by definition only a Malaysian first, religionist second and ethnic third.

The Agong as representative Head of the Council of Rulers of the nine Malay States and other Heads of State are therefore only symbolically of “the socially constructed reality” called an ethnic Malay by the Malaysian constitutional definition.

sultan mizan zainal abidin the new agong agung kingConsequently too, for example, the Sabahans and Sarawakians can ask in Parliament for the Agong to protect and preserve the practice of their religions; regardless of their particular form of faith, including those from an Animistic faith.

And it is the job and responsibility of the elected Constitutional King of the Federation of Malaysia to do so because he is just not a mere Malay Ruler of solitary state but the King of the new nation-state; whenever elected to this portfolio, and never by lineage or birth.

Former member of Parliament for Kuching and now a contributor to Malaysiakini, Sim Kwang Yang summarised this well in his last opinion piece: “I am personally against all politics of race, because I do not think there is such a 'thing' as a real 'race'. Our polity is made up of individuals, and not of races. The concept of race has no ontological basis.”

I fully agree! May God bless Malaysians to understand this.

KJ JOHN was in public service for 29 years. He is now dean of the Faculty of Economics and Policy Science at UCSI University, Malaysia. The views expressed above are truths that matter to him as an individual citizen wearing private and civil society hats and therefore are not opinions of the university or faculty. Do send feedback to him at

Malaysiakini: Our lost decade.... by Neil Khor

Our lost decade
Neil Khor
Dec 21, 2010
COMMENT The end of 2010 brings to a close our first decade in the new millennium. It might be profitable to reflect on the last 12 months and see what we have achieved.

More importantly, what were the opportunities that we missed? The focus is in the realm of politics, the economy, environment, culture and society.

Politics remain at the top of everyone's mind. Politicians, almost all opinion polls show, are still distrusted. There has been little attempt to forge a middle path.

In 2009, after the now legendary routing of the BN and the resignation of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as premier, all types of provocations were thrown at the Malaysian public. We have been very fortunate as Malaysians ignored ethnic and religious baiting.

In 2010, the voices of discord have become so shrill that with each passing article, the sales of newspapers plummet to new depths. In cyber-space, opinions of all hues continue to pervade with social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter the main instruments of alternative political messages.

Whilst government supporters are now better organised, the battle for hearts and minds continue to favour contrarians. Will this translate into votes? Nobody knows and nobody wants to take chances.

The monopoly on information by traditional media is gone but it remains to be seen how effective the alternative media is in the semi-rural and rural areas. In short, polarisation continues to intensify in the political arena.

The missed opportunities in the political arena is that we do not have leaders who dare to be different; who can bridge the great divide and provide leadership on a national-scale.

Najib Abdul Razak is trying very hard and to his credit is gaining ground in his personal likeability index but this does not necessarily mean votes for the ruling coalition. Anwar Ibrahim although charismatic is now so wounded that it would be surprising if he can reprise his role as a unifying figure.

There is little indication of credible second and third liners. In short, we are politically screwed. With no middle ground there can be no possibility of proper parliamentary debate; instead there is increasing pettiness and obsession with self-preservation.

Nation of acronyms

On the economic front, we continue to bleed capital and talent. We are now a nation of acronyms. There are so many acronyms representing diverse development strategies that this writer will be very surprised if the average Malaysian understands what these policies are and why we need them.

The government isazlan trying very hard to be everything to everyone. The New Economic Model will be race-blind when it comes to eradicating poverty, especially of the bottom 40 percent yet the NEP is still relevant.

The reality is one the government is unable to articulate: our institutions including the civil service has decayed for so long that national policies need to be validated by consultants.

The government is concerned enough about Malaysia's future to acknowledge that we are in dire need of new economic strategies.

Whilst we are all agreed that a more equitable Malaysia is a common goal, there does not appear to be any consensus on how to achieve it. The BN's strategy is to grow the pie bigger but we have had that for 53 years and we are still a rather unequal society.

The opposition wants to crown the rakyat,advocating a rakyat-based economic strategy. 

Like governmental acronyms, the opposition has not shown us the cards in their hands. If the BN's policies are not working, what is the alternative?

We now have a group of people who call themselves the 'Third Force', some even aspiring to be the Liberal Democrats of Malaysia. 

Fine, but please someone tell us what should be our economic strategy to attract talent and capital to drive economic growth that is sustainable and as equitable as possible?

Un-sexy issues

Malaysians are also growing very uneasy about the environment. Floods in Kedah are a clear indication that global warming is having very real effects on the ground. We have not spent nearly enough attention to prepare for the full-effects associated with climate change.

So much attention is focused on politics that a very important conference on renewable energy was hardly registered. In the meantime, we have literally mountains of waste to manage. 

Tazlanhe government is suggesting nuclear power as an option for our future energy needs and a lot of attention is given to it.

But what we've not focused upon is the continued degradation of our natural resources owing to commercial agriculture resulting in the loss of 1m of top-soil over the last century or that we are now building dams because we want to get at the valuable timber.

Culture and society are also subjects that are not 'sexy' and only come up if it is associated with a political statement. Interlinked with these two subjects is education.

Now, what sort of country needs to revise its history syallabus every time there is a political debate?
What kind of society kills women and children; where the crime rate is so high that even the homes of retired police officers are not safe?

As we mull over politics, do we even ask ourselves what is the point of it all? These questions, which cannot be quantified, are irrelevant. It is as though we have lost touch with our own gut-feeling; our internal moral compass.

In the next week there might still be some interesting political fireworks. Whilst we obsess about who will win the next general election, the world continues to march. Some will say the human race is marching towards its own extinction whilst others feel that we are being left behind by the van of progress.

Whatever your view, it cannot be good if we are unable to think nationally about education, healthcare, the economy, culture and society without being coloured by politics.

Some see Malaysia's problems as indications that we are the sick man of Southeast Asia. It is more correct to say that Malaysia is a nation in transition. It is our duty as citizens to make sure that we transition to become a better nation.

Happy New Year.

NEIL KHOR completed his PhD at Cambridge University and now writes occasionally on matters that he thinks requires better historical treatment. He is quietly optimistic about Malaysia's future.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Malaysiakini: 1Choice for Malaysia... by Mariam Mokhtar

1Choice for Malaysia

Mariam Mokhtar
Dec 20, 2010

Malaysia’s upcoming general election offers the country its most significant choice for several decades.

The political tsunami of 2008 was an eye-opener. At the second Pakatan Rakyat convention in Kepala Batas, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang acknowledged the weaknesses in the opposition pact and urged party member to unite and remain focused.

The nation faces enormous challenges in the years to come. The economic demands are tremendous.

The next government needs to stabilise the economy and stimulate growth in the private sector. It has to deal with its burgeoning debt, cut subsidies and rein in borrowings if it does not want to risk bankruptcy.

Our problems are not just economic. We are faced with a rising tide of extremism from Malay groups, borders which are porous, a rise in Islamic fundamentalism, a rise in racist incidents, problems in our schools and hospitals, the destruction of the police and judiciary, babies being abandoned, high levels of corruption and a weakening of civic society.

These problems demand a robust solution and a strong government to tackle them. The burning question is: Which party is best suited to lead us out of this quagmire?

PKR recently held elections, whilst BN and the other component parties have deferred theirs. DAP and Gerakan have followed suit. This is indicative of the pressures these political parties face. All want to mount a strong challenge when the country goes to the polls.

The parties have resolved to capture the imagination of the voters and the differences between them are obvious. BN believes that only it can solve the country’s economic and social ills. Its slogan 1Malaysia remains just that – a slogan because in practice, certain races are held back by an invisible wall – the ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy) concept.

In contrast, the Pakatan coalition believes that it can do a better job. It realises that the public mindset is changing. Race-based politics is a thing of the past. It is convinced that Malaysia is an increasing enlightened nation which believes in justice, the recognition of the rights of everyone regardless of race and that each Malaysian desires to be a part of the nation and be able to contribute towards its future.

The future of Malaysia, according to the BN administration, is to capitalise on mega-projects to boost the economy, just as during the Mahathir era.

In his Budget 2011 debate, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim said the BN’s obsession with “grandeur” will presage its fall.

He said: “This rush for symbolic mega-projects, supposedly to portray pride for the country, is being repeated now under the present prime minister. Here I would like to question the wisdom of Permodalan Nasional Bhd’s order from the government to involve itself in mega projects.”

One of these is the 100-storey Warisan Merdeka skyscraper which is expected to cost over RM5 billion. When completed, it will be the tallest building in Malaysia.

Risky strategy
PM Najib Abdul Razak’s plans for mega-projects to stimulate the economy is risky as it fails to consider the country’s current economic standing and the need to lower the budget deficit and improve competitiveness.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Idris Jala has said that Malaysia’s debt would rise to 100 percent of GDP by 2019 from the current 54% if the government does not cut subsidies.

He said: “We do not want to be another Greece. We do not want to end up like Greece with a total debt of EUR300 billion. Our deficit rose to record high of RM47 billion last year.”

Malaysia’s foreign direct investment (FDI), he said, dropped 81 per cent from RM23.47 billion in 2008 to RM4.43 billion in 2009, in comparison with Thailand which recorded an FDI of RM19.01 billion and Indonesia with RM19.08 billion.

Pakatan has warned of an economic crisis due to crony capitalism and corruption; a social crisis due to narrow racial policies; and a political crisis due to democratic fatigue arising from the BN’s abuses of power.

Corrupt practices only bring benefits to cronies and hefty losses to the people. Malaysia’s failure to attract foreign investment shows a desperate need for change in the management of the economy. Both good governance and a need to improve its competitive edge are vital.

Pakatan has decided to uphold a joint policy and welfare programme to defend the people based on four basic principles:

• A transparent and real democracy
• A high and stable economic performance
• Social justice and human development
• A close relationship between state-federal and international policies

Armed with these principles, Pakatan is determined to make Malaysia a better place. The three parties may have their roots in different ideologies – PAS (Islamic credentials), DAP (social ideology) and PKR (liberal ideals).

Perhaps you would prefer to have a government which relies on the Internal Security Act to stifle criticism, one in which corruption goes unchecked and where the judiciary and police are mere stooges of the state.

In order to make the necessary changes to this country, Anwar and his coalition must have a clear mandate to govern.

The best choice for Malaysia is in your hands. Vote wisely! May all your wishes come true – Happy Christmas!

MARIAM MOKHTAR is a non-conformist traditionalist from Perak, a bucket chemist and an armchair eco-warrior. In ‘real-speak’, this translates into that she comes from Ipoh, values change but respects culture, is a petroleum chemist and also an environmental pollution-control scientist.

Malaysiakini: Pakatan Rakyat ready to rule? by Azly Rahman

Pakatan Rakyat ready to rule?

- by Azly Rahman
Malaysiakini: Dec 20, 2010

Just do it.” – Nike slogan.

As a disinterested and apolitical analyst of Malaysian politics I believe that for the good of all Malaysians, democracy needs renewal, either through evolution or revolution all through its inevitable march towards its final solution. It is not political philosophy that is at issue here but the people that translates it into practice.

Except for the allegedly orchestrated bloody racial riots of May 13 1969, Malaysia is fortunate to have seen peaceful stages of evolution although her prime ministers hailed from the bourgeoisie-class of hybridised Malays helming the race-based party that has no clear ideology; a party that is losing its effect in rallying the Malay electorate due to its own poor understanding of the meaning of nationalism and cosmopolitanism in an age of cybernetics and globalisation.

Is the death of Malaysia’s National Front or the Barisan Nasional near? Can Malaysian politics be “gentlemanly” or borrowing Kung Fu Tze’s word for gentleman, “Chuan tze” enough for the 50-year race-based coalition regime to give way for a coalition of multiculturalists such as Pakatan Rakyat to rule for the next 50 years? Are Malaysians ready enough for this gentlemanly act that will give meaning to the evolutionary democracy Malaysian-styled?

Perhaps the nation is ready. An era awaits no nation. It only needs to be cemented by political will.

A historical juncture
We have come to a historical juncture in which the debate between the hegemonising nationalism of one race is giving way for an emerging amalgamated cosmopolitanism of many races. America of the 100-years-ago Teddy Roosevelt era gave way to the America of Barack Obama; the idea of a WASP (white anglo-saxon protestant) America has succumbed to the global hip-hop Obama’s America in which the hyphenated, hybridised, and heteroglossic form of Americanism is prevailing.

While the current regime of the National Front continues to insist on its Machiavellian hypocrisy in its push for a Malay-centric Malaysia amidst trumpeting its 1Malayisa slogan, the voices of the subaltern of a generation of hyphenated and hybridised Malaysians fed up by cliché, slogans, and double-speak are coming out in the open voicing their support for a Malaysian Malaysia that demands for all the rights accorded them in the constitution.

While the intensity of the hypocrisy of the ultra-nationalist sentimentality intensifies, in the form of ideologically-ridiculous village/kampong-Malay type of organisations such Perkasa and Pekida continue to make headline news in ultra-Malay nationalistic-tabloidic publications, voices of multicultural reason calling for political change becomes louder.

The younger generation are Malaysia’s global hip-hop Obama generation of the salad bowl/rojak bowl Malaysia, wanting to make changes so that their generation will not become victim to race-based discrimination left as a truncated historical legacy and so that they will not have to become a victim of the sins of their grandfathers.

Enter the Pakatan Rakyat as an emerging powerful force not only as a check and balance to Malaysia’s outdatedly-ideologised and romanticised race-based coalition party, with the waning of the effects of Mahathirism and Samy-Velluism or Ling Liong Sik-ism – a tripartite of truncated political-tribalism.

Enter Pakatan Rakyat as a viable force for the most exciting general election Malaysia will ever see; a coalition of the willing in the Malaysian political scene that will willing to be scrutinised for its transparency, efficiency, and accountability by the public fed-up of 50 years of governmental secrecy and massive corruption.

Un-allowables to be allowed?
As the general election approaches, Malaysians must choose wisely.

Do they want a government that will continue to build useless world’s tallest towers, allow fascistic NGOs spewing hatred to be left unreprimanded, allow corruption left un-chemotherapied, allow university students with enquiring minds to be stupefied, allow prices of basic necessities to rise uncontrollably, allow every by-election to be a fiesta of gift-giving and a beggar’s banquet of the already-corrupted voters, and a host of other un-allowables in a democratic society to be allowed?
Or do they want a fresh mandate and be able to keep the new-ly elected regime on its toes and free to boot it out when it fails to deliver or fails to be truthful in its act?

Philologically and semantically the word “National Front” contains both a falsehood and a truth. It is false as a claim of a “national” derived from “nation” derived from the French “nation” since Malaysia is not a nation. It is a salad bowl of diverse cultures and peoples who have surrendered their natural rights to the general will called the state; so that they may enjoy the rights as a citizens.

The truth of the “National Front” lies in the word “front” of which the 1955-born Alliance Party has been putting a “front” or a “façade” of democracy whilst abusing the ideological state apparatuses in pursuit of a corporate-capitalist-cronyistic developmentalist agenda. The slogans employed since its inception as that coalition have become bricks in the “fronting” wall of the National Front.

Are Malaysians ready to start a brand new day? Will they give Pakatan Rakyat a mandate? This is a question of survival – of a gentlemanly nature.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

WikiLeaks and 9/11: What if? by Coleen Rowley & Bogdan Dzakovic

WikiLeaks and 9/11: What if?

Frustrated investigators might have chosen to leak information that their superiors bottled up, perhaps averting the terrorism attacks.

LA TIMES, October 15, 2010| By Coleen Rowley and Bogdan Dzakovic

If WikiLeaks had been around in 2001, could the events of 9/11 have been prevented? The idea is worth considering.

The organization has drawn both high praise and searing criticism for its mission of publishing leaked documents without revealing their source, but we suspect the world hasn't yet fully seen its potential.

Let us explain.

There were a lot of us in the run-up to Sept. 11 who had seen warning signs that something devastating might be in the planning stages. But we worked for ossified bureaucracies incapable of acting quickly and decisively. Lately, the two of us have been wondering how things might have been different if there had been a quick, confidential way to get information out.
One of us, Coleen Rowley, was a special agent/legal counsel at the FBI's Minneapolis division and worked closely with those who arrested would-be terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui on an immigration violation less than a month before the World Trade Center was destroyed.

Following up on a tip from flight school instructors who had become suspicious of the French Moroccan who claimed to want to fly a jet as an "ego boost," Special Agent Harry Samit and an INS colleague had detained Moussaoui. A foreign intelligence service promptly reported that he had connections with a foreign terrorist group, but FBI officials in Washington inexplicably turned down
Samit's request for authority to search Moussaoui's laptop computer and personal effects.

Those same officials stonewalled Samit's supervisor, who pleaded with them in late August 2001 that he was "trying to keep someone from taking a plane and crashing into the World Trade Center." (Yes, he was that explicit.) Later, testifying at Moussaoui's trial, Samit testified that he believed the behavior of his FBI superiors in Washington constituted "criminal negligence."

The 9/11 Commission ultimately concluded that Moussaoui was most likely being primed as a Sept. 11 replacement pilot and that the hijackers probably would have postponed their strike if information about his arrest had been announced.

WikiLeaks might have provided a pressure valve for those agents who were terribly worried about what might happen and frustrated by their superiors' seeming indifference. They were indeed stuck in a perplexing, no-win ethical dilemma as time ticked away. Their bosses issued continual warnings against "talking to the media" and frowned on whistle-blowing, yet the agents felt a strong need to protect the public.

The other one of us writing this piece, Federal Air Marshal Bogdan Dzakovic, once co-led the Federal Aviation Administration's Red Team to probe for vulnerabilities in airport security. He also has a story of how warnings were ignored in the run-up to Sept. 11. In repeated tests of security, his team found weaknesses nine out of 10 times that would make it possible for hijackers to smuggle weapons aboard and seize control of airplanes. But the team's reports were ignored and suppressed, and the team was shut down entirely after 9/11.

In testimony to the 9/11 Commission, Dzakovic summed up his experience this way: "The Red Team was extraordinarily successful in killing large numbers of innocent people in the simulated attacks …[and yet] we were ordered not to write up our reports and not to retest airports where we found particularly egregious vulnerabilities.... Finally, the FAA started providing advance notification of when we would be conducting our 'undercover' tests and what we would be checking."

Why I'm Posting Bail Money for Julian Assange (A statement from Michael Moore)

Why I'm Posting Bail Money for Julian Assange
(A statement from Michael Moore)
Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Yesterday, in the Westminster Magistrates Court in London, the lawyers for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange presented to the judge a document from me stating that I have put up $20,000 of my own money to help bail Mr. Assange out of jail.

Furthermore, I am publicly offering the assistance of my website, my servers, my domain names and anything else I can do to keep WikiLeaks alive and thriving as it continues its work to expose the crimes that were concocted in secret and carried out in our name and with our tax dollars.

We were taken to war in Iraq on a lie. Hundreds of thousands are now dead. Just imagine if the men who planned this war crime back in 2002 had had a WikiLeaks to deal with. They might not have been able to pull it off. The only reason they thought they could get away with it was because they had a guaranteed cloak of secrecy. That guarantee has now been ripped from them, and I hope they are never able to operate in secret again.

So why is WikiLeaks, after performing such an important public service, under such vicious attack? Because they have outed and embarrassed those who have covered up the truth. The assault on them has been over the top:

**Sen. Joe Lieberman says WikiLeaks "has violated the Espionage Act."

**The New Yorker's George Packer calls Assange "super-secretive, thin-skinned, [and] megalomaniacal."

**Sarah Palin claims he's "an anti-American operative with blood on his hands" whom we should pursue "with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders."

**Democrat Bob Beckel (Walter Mondale's 1984 campaign manager) said about Assange on Fox: "A dead man can't leak stuff ... there's only one way to do it: illegally shoot the son of a bitch."

**Republican Mary Matalin says "he's a psychopath, a sociopath ... He's a terrorist."

**Rep. Peter A. King calls WikiLeaks a "terrorist organization."

And indeed they are! They exist to terrorize the liars and warmongers who have brought ruin to our nation and to others. Perhaps the next war won't be so easy because the tables have been turned -- and now it's Big Brother who's being watched ... by us!

WikiLeaks deserves our thanks for shining a huge spotlight on all this. But some in the corporate-owned press have dismissed the importance of WikiLeaks ("they've released little that's new!") or have painted them as simple anarchists ("WikiLeaks just releases everything without any editorial control!"). WikiLeaks exists, in part, because the mainstream media has failed to live up to its responsibility. The corporate owners have decimated newsrooms, making it impossible for good journalists to do their job. There's no time or money anymore for investigative journalism. Simply put, investors don't want those stories exposed. They like their secrets kept ... as secrets.

I ask you to imagine how much different our world would be if WikiLeaks had existed 10 years ago. Take a look at this photo. That's Mr. Bush about to be handed a "secret" document on August 6th, 2001. Its heading read: "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US." And on those pages it said the FBI had discovered "patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings." Mr. Bush decided to ignore it and went fishing for the next four weeks.

But if that document had been leaked, how would you or I have reacted? What would Congress or the FAA have done? Was there not a greater chance that someone, somewhere would have done something if all of us knew about bin Laden's impending attack using hijacked planes?

But back then only a few people had access to that document. Because the secret was kept, a flight school instructor in San Diego who noticed that two Saudi students took no interest in takeoffs or landings, did nothing. Had he read about the bin Laden threat in the paper, might he have called the FBI? (Please read this essay by former FBI Agent Coleen Rowley, Time's 2002 co-Person of the Year, about her belief that had WikiLeaks been around in 2001, 9/11 might have been prevented.)

Or what if the public in 2003 had been able to read "secret" memos from Dick Cheney as he pressured
the CIA to give him the "facts" he wanted in order to build his false case for war? If a WikiLeaks had revealed at that time that there were, in fact, no weapons of mass destruction, do you think that the war would have been launched -- or rather, wouldn't there have been calls for Cheney's arrest?

Openness, transparency -- these are among the few weapons the citizenry has to protect itself from the powerful and the corrupt. What if within days of August 4th, 1964 -- after the Pentagon had made up the lie that our ship was attacked by the North Vietnamese in the Gulf of Tonkin -- there had been a WikiLeaks to tell the American people that the whole thing was made up? I guess 58,000 of our soldiers (and 2 million Vietnamese) might be alive today.

Instead, secrets killed them.

For those of you who think it's wrong to support Julian Assange because of the sexual assault allegations he's being held for, all I ask is that you not be naive about how the government works when it decides to go after its prey. Please -- never, ever believe the "official story." And regardless of Assange's guilt or innocence (see the strange nature of the allegations here), this man has the right to have bail posted and to defend himself. I have joined with filmmakers Ken Loach and John Pilger and writer Jemima Khan in putting up the bail money -- and we hope the judge will accept this and grant his release today.

Might WikiLeaks cause some unintended harm to diplomatic negotiations and U.S. interests around the world? Perhaps. But that's the price you pay when you and your government take us into a war based on a lie. Your punishment for misbehaving is that someone has to turn on all the lights in the room so that we can see what you're up to. You simply can't be trusted. So every cable, every email you write is now fair game. Sorry, but you brought this upon yourself. No one can hide from the truth now. No one can plot the next Big Lie if they know that they might be exposed.

And that is the best thing that WikiLeaks has done. WikiLeaks, God bless them, will save lives as a result of their actions. And any of you who join me in supporting them are committing a true act of patriotism. Period.

I stand today in absentia with Julian Assange in London and I ask the judge to grant him his release. I am willing to guarantee his return to court with the bail money I have wired to said court. I will not allow this injustice to continue unchallenged.

Michael Moore
P.S. You can read the statement I filed today in the London court here.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

CPI: History syllabus furthering political interests... by Lim Teck Ghee

History syllabus furthering political interests
by Lim Teck Ghee
malaysiakini, Dec 16, 2010, 3:32pm

A few days ago, two senior academicians involved in the writing of history textbooks emerged from the shadows, saying that the history textbooks in the country are biased and littered with errors.

According to one of them, Dr Ranjit Singh Malhi, "secondary (school) textbooks have been used to promote political interests".

NONEThe other concerned author, Ng How Kuen, expressed the fear that making history a compulsory pass subject in Sijil Perlajaran Malaysia (SPM) would mean that students would have to subscribe to the official version of events or risk failing the entire examination.

It is said that history is written by the victors, but it is also true that we get the history we deserve. The disclosure that the teaching of history in schools has been skewed and has a political agenda - besides suffering from distortions and errors - is not the first time this issue has been brought to public attention.Earlier attempts to highlight the issue of what constitutes the true history of Malaysia and what is being passed off as officially-sanctioned history in the schooling and larger public system, such as the BTN courses, may have begun with a bang - but they have all ended with a whimper.

Forcefeeding the 'four diseases'
If we go by previous experience we can expect the following responses:
  • Bureaucratic foot-dragging and feigned ignorance on the issue;
  • Justification and cover-up of the existing history textbook and syllabus system and attempts to prevent any public discussion and reform;
  • Use of the mask of impartiality and superior knowledge to deflect criticism;
  • Attacks on the credibility of whistleblowers; and
  • Deafening silence from key stakeholders, including the academic community, political parties and professional organisations.
Why is the great majority of our Malaysian public not concerned about the version of history that is being propagated in the schools?

Why do the people close their eyes and their minds to the distorted history that is being taught to their children and grandchildren?

Do they not realise the consequences of the victory of a history that is radically different from the history that they themselves learnt when they were in school not so long ago? Was the history that they studied so wrong that it needs to be substantially changed in emphasis, content and scope?

Why are they silent on the development of a propagandistic and truncated history that is increasingly infiltrated by the forces of Islamisation and crass nationalism, and where the four major diseases that afflict BN - delusion, amnesia, inertia and arrogance - are prominently evident and force-fed to the young minds of the country?

The answers are complex, but they essentially boil down to apathy and lack of concern, especially among the educated and elite groups of our society on these important issues that are crucial to our future as a rational and thinking society.

Underscoring this 'tidak apa' attitude is the dominant factor of self-interest and self-preservation.

Those involved with writing history text books and who are in the know about the deplorable and compromised standards of their peer group want to protect their lucrative side-employment.

Others, such as academicians or teachers of the subject in the schools, do not dare to speak out for fear of being labelled as 'anti-national', or as in the case of those in the public universities, for fear of running foul of the Universities and Universities Colleges Act, which will be selectively enforced on them should they write or speak publicly on issues that are out of line with the official position.

Academics BN sycophants
It is no coincidence that academicians and opinion writers who are regularly trotted out in the mainstream media are those who seek to justify or reinforce the current status quo. These sycophants have not only academic or intellectual immunity but they also enjoy perks akin to those enjoyed by the business cronies of the BN.

If there is any reaction from the academic community to the two whistleblowers, we can expect their comments to come from those who will toe and reinforce the official position and circumvent from the main issue of the Islamisation and politicisation of the Malaysian history school syllabus.

Dissenters, on the other hand, have to face the possibility of lost or delayed promotions and other forms of punishment not easily discernible to the public eye.

"Shut up, mind your own business" and cari makan (even though this may be through rent-seeking, queue-jumping, plagiarism and other unethical practices) have been the credo of the great majority of the professional elite in Malaysia. It is a culture that has served them well personally, but at what cost to the nation?

Malaysian history must be based on facts and the scrupulous depiction of historical reality. The writing of textbooks should not be left to those who regard it as a business or their political agenda and are prepared to bend the truth so that it meets with the vision of an Islamic and Umno-dominant Malaysia.

Unless we are prepared to fight for a scholarly, reliable and representative history, we will end up with a future - as well as a past - that reflects the dominant ethnic and religious culture and community, and marginalises or erases the contributions of other cultures and communities.

Dr Lim Teck Ghee is director of the Centre for Policy Initiatives.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Free Malaysian Today: Keeping March 8 alive.... by Stephanie Sta Maria

Keeping March 8 alive

by Stephanie Sta Maria
Free Malaysia Today
Tue, 14 Dec 2010

FMT EXCLUSIVE The day had not begun particularly well for Kee Thuan Chye. A friend – once a staunch supporter of political change – had confided that he was contemplating reverting to the “devil he knew” in the next general election.

“I was very upset,” Kee said. “After staying for so long on the track of change, he is giving up because he has lost faith in Pakatan Rakyat’s ability to get its act together to govern this country.”

It was the sort of sentiment that the former journalist found deeply troubling as it preyed on a simmering disquiet that the tide behind the March 8 tsunami may be turning again, this time in favour of the ruling party. And that, in Kee’s view, would spell imminent political tragedy for Malaysia.

March 8 is a historic date that Kee holds close to his heart. Two years ago he paid tribute to it with a book entitled “March 8: The Day Malaysia Woke Up”, an anthology of the voices that believed in and voted for change.

Now a second edition of that volume has hit the shelves. Only this time it bears the title “March 8: Time For Real Change”.

“The new title is apt for these times and besides, the publisher liked it!” he said, the corners of his eye crinkling. “But seriously, the next general election is approaching and there is an urgency now to talk about real change. There is also a need to assess all that has happened in the past two and half years.”

“The real purpose of a second edition is, of course, to keep the March 8 spirit alive. That is extremely important because Malaysia has not been the same since that day.”

Defining moment
There is a marked distinction between the spirit of March 8 and that of reformasi (the basis upon which PKR was formed). In drawing a line between the two, Kee declared that the former was much bigger in that it involved the country’s future while the latter was intertwined with the “Anwar personality”.

“March 8 was the defining moment when Malaysians realised that they had been taken for a ride for decades and that it was time for change,” he added. “It was a very important watershed which has to be commemorated.”

“Our spirit is different now and we must maintain it because with it comes the spirit of standing up for our rights. Of defying with a cause and of even showing healthy disrespect for authority when it is necessary. We have been docile and unquestioning for far too long. March 8 changed all that.”

Some 60% of the second edition is new material that was cobbled together within an impressive five months. But if the earlier sentiment of Kee’s friend is any indicator of a waning adrenaline, then it begs the question of whether this new volume is a boon or a bane. Kee already knows the answer.

“I think the enthusiasm is still there though it may be flagging a little now,” he said quietly. “I asked someone the other day whether a book like this would still sell and he said that people are a little tired of March 8 because of all the politicking that followed it.”

Nevertheless, he forged ahead in fierce determination to do his bit in keeping the enthusiasm pulsing.
To keep fanning that spirit that pushed people to raise and debate issues, exercise their rights and lobby for change.
“There are some very good and even brilliant ideas in this edition,” he promised. “And good advice for the next general election. There are good assessments of the chicanery that has been going on since March 8, and good summaries of how we have come to where we are now. The book will also remind people to think hard about their vote at the next general election.”

This hard thinking, unfortunately, may be sparked less by Barisan Nasional’s gaffes than by PKR’s recent antics. Even Kee voiced alarm over the less than savoury image that the BN is painting of the opposition coalition.

“Pakatan is losing ground and public confidence,” he noted. “Perception is so important in politics. DAP and PAS are very solid. PKR is the only weak link and it really has to buck up fast. There’s not much time left. It has to go to the ground to convince the people, especially the fence-sitters, that the opposition is still a viable option.”

Irrelevant concern
Many have questioned whether Pakatan is ready to take over the government but to Kee, this is an irrelevant concern. He believes that if one is thrown into the deep end of the pool, one will learn to swim. He also believes in giving the underdogs a chance.

“There is never a time when one is ready,” he asserted. “You have to approach the moment and when the moment arises you have to rise to the occasion. You have to give people a chance.”

“If it doesn’t work out there will be another election five years later. But it’s always worthwhile to take that chance because if you don’t, the change may never happen or it will happen too slowly.”

The most pressing need, according to Kee, is to remove a coalition that has been in power for 53 years so it knows what it is like to wear the other shoe. In the best-case scenario, that newly minted opposition will be forced to reform itself and the people would be presented with two stronger choices in the next general election. And in his opinion, two choices are enough.

“We don’t need a Third Force,” he said plainly. “It would be better for those who want to be part of this Third Force to offer themselves as candidates to Pakatan instead.”

“The Third Force here won’t be like the Tea Party in America. They had two years to build their profile and were very active and well organised. And even then quite a number didn’t get elected. Frankly I don’t know if the Third Force will do well because many of them will be unknown.”

Kee pointed out that many of the Third Force candidates would also be greenhorns in the political arena with only integrity for their sword and shield.

While he acknowledged that this would lessen the likelihood of defections, he warned that being person of integrity and a politician were two different matters altogether.

“It isn’t enough to just have integrity,” he reasoned. “You also have to be politically savvy. A person with integrity alone will get disillusioned very quickly. But if they want to continue with this Third Force, then they should make a pact with Pakatan. Even if it doesn’t win the next election at least we have a strong opposition.”

And if Pakatan stays on a losing streak? Kee, who has long refused to migrate, laughed.

“I’m still hoping that if there is a new government then perhaps the political reform can happen. But if there is still no change, I should really pack my bags and leave.”

Centre for Policy Initiatives: May 13 more accurately ‘genocidal’ than racial riots... by CT Wong

May 13 more accurately ‘genocidal’ than racial riots
Written by CT Wong   
Centre for Policy Initiatives: Tuesday, 14 December 2010 14:11

The deputy Utusan editor-in-chief Zaini Hassan (left) had recently written that May 13 should be celebrated as ‘tarikh keramat’ -- an auspicious and sacred day. He opined that May 13 is a blessing in disguise and without May 13 the Malays would not have enjoyed the benefits as what they are enjoying today.

From the Oxford Fajar bilingual dictionary, ‘keramat’ means “place or object that is (believed to be) sacred with supernatural or magical powers.”

The powers refer to the special ability to cure sickness or to provide protection.

So far, May 13 has not cured the malignant sickness of racism dating from colonial times – colonialism is a form of racism. Neither do the citizens feel more protected from its relapse. What we witnessed was not supernatural powers, but authoritarian powers that destroy the very foundation of democracy – separation of powers of the executive, the judiciary and the legislative.

I find it difficult to understand how May 13 might wish to be celebrated as sacred, as spiritual. The predators become heroes and idols. Where is the sacredness? When unarmed Malaysians who were non-combatants were sacrificed by those in the deadly pursuit of power and wealth, God or gods were also sacrificed. In fact, civilisation, if not God, abandoned us during those dark days.

To the Germans who are proud of their Einstein, Beethoven and Sigmund Freud, these names are forever linked to Auschwitz in the land of Germany. To many a Malaysian, ‘Islamic’ civilisation and the ‘Malays’ are eternally linked to the May 13 genocide.

The Germans do not celebrate the Holocaust, but to create a museum right in the centre of the SS headquarters and exposing all the crimes against humanity of Hitler and the Nazi party, lest the future generations forget. In this land of Malaysia, the ethnic minorities are repeatedly reminded of “May 13 or equality!”, lest they forget.

We can always look for a silver lining in our tragedies if we want to. However, the Utusan editor seemed to find the smell of death quite sweet and fragrant. This brings me back to the times how I lived through the days of May 13.

May 13 to me
I was an adolescent living in a rather isolated Chinese-owned rubber-holding up north. Just a mile away was a formerly foreign-owned rubber estate with mostly Indian rubber tappers. And a few miles away was a Malay kampung. When the news or rumours of 'racial riots' in KL reached us, we were shocked not only by the killings but the way it was carried out.

On May 13, life and death depended on skin colour; the skin that protects us as a biological organism suddenly becomes a death sentence and our vaguely friendly Malay neighbour could suddenly be a murderer. Such fearful thoughts disturbed me for quite a number of days.

My family and I had been forced to move to the nearest small town to stay just in case we happened to be the victims.

As times went on, the traumatic memories and the rawness of receiving a rude shock out of the deep slumber of racial accommodation slowly faded. I moved on with my life. But, time and again, non-Malays like me are being reminded of May 13.

What is May 13 then? And why call it racial riots?

Social contract destroyed
To me, May 13 means that the Alliance government of the day failed to protect its citizens. It means that the social contract between the state and citizens was deliberately broken.

May 13 means the killing of civilians. It cannot be justified by any rules of war.

May 13 means the extension of politics by an unjust and immoral war.

The use of the phrase ‘May 13 racial riots’ is constantly being circulated and recycled in all our narratives, including that from the opposition parties. It is understandable if we use euphemistic terms to describe something awful so that we can cushion off the emotional overwhelm. But the phrases ‘racial riots’ or ‘racial clash’ or "May 13 incident" only serve the purpose of bleaching the mass atrocities, the mass murders of May 13.

Dissecting the label
The word ‘racial’ is quite a harmless term. You can use it for ‘racial harmony’ also. It does not bring out the sense of cruelty embedded in racism. When killing based on race is so ruthless, you don't call it ‘racial’ anymore. It would be more appropriate to use ‘genocidal’ instead.

From etymology of the word, ‘geno’ refers to race and ‘cide’ refers to killing (e.g. homicide, suicide, patricide, etc).

From a definition by the United Nations, genocide refers to the destruction in part or whole of an ethnic group based on religion, ethnicity and racial identity. It does not need to be total as the Final Solution of the Nazis; neither does it need to be deaths in the magnitude of the hundreds of thousands or millions as in the Rwanda genocide.

S.A. Budd, the British High Commissioner to Malaysia in 1969 was quoted as saying "...that of 77 corpses in the morgue of the General Hospital on 14 May, at least 60 were Chinese..." (Kua Kia Soong, 2007). The demography of ethnic identities is obvious.

Gregory Stanton, the President of Genocide Watch, argued that “The motive of the killer to take the victim’s property or to politically dominate the victim’s group does not remove genocidal intent if the victim is chosen because of his ethnic, national, racial or religious group.”

The intent was clearly genocidal in the case of May 13. So, May 13 may be more accurately redefined as the May 13 genocidal mass killing, or May 13 genocidal massacre, or genocidal mass atrocity, or if we retain the ‘riots’ terminology, at least May 13 genocidal riots, lest we celebrate the historical events for the wrong reasons.

Riots as we understand it from the experience of the United States, Britain and Europe is that of an expressive act of hostility by the aggrieved and subordinate group or class. The American blacks, for example, were so marginalized economically and culturally that violence was used as a counterbalance against power inequalities. Rioting is often used defensively by the ethnic minorities to confront the authorities who are from the dominant group, in particular the police, to bring them to the negotiating table.

Riot is not usually an instrument employed by the state.

May 13 was not perpetrated by the skinheads or a Chinese secret society. It was "a planned coup d'etat by the ascendant state capitalist class against the Tunku-led aristocracy." (Kua, 2007).

In other words, it was state-sponsored, or at least state-tolerated with deliberate and conscious planning.

Nothing sacred to celebrate
Without the green light from the top and Malay power elites, the scale and magnitude of the destruction would not be possible within a mere few days.

The Malaysian official statistics of casualties as of May 21, 1969 were: “137 killed -- 18 Malays, 342 injured, 109 vehicles burned, 118 buildings destroyed, 2,912 persons arrested, mostly curfew breakers.”(Kua, 2007).

TIME magazine (May 23, 1969) cited Western diplomatic sources as believing the death toll was closer to 600, with most of the victims Chinese. It also wrote that "...By the time the four days of race war and strife had run their course, the General Hospital's morgue was so crowded that bodies were put into plastic bags and hung on hooks."

Hence, May 13 may be re-conceptualised as the 1969 Malaysian Genocide, of which there is nothing sacred to celebrate. We, whatever our race and religion, would like to die with dignity in a spiritual or cultural sense. This desire is a human norm as only men bury our dead.

The violent deaths of May 13 were otherwise than dignified.

I could still remember those days when the adults were talking excitedly, at times with horror, under the rubber trees about the deadly slaughter happening hundreds of miles away in Kuala Lumpur.

There were the stories of the Chinese secret societies which were viewed as a nuisance in peaceful times but during May 13 becoming the protector of community. Also, I heard that there were courageous soldiers who refused to be willing executioners. The truth, be it from the perspective of the perpetrators or of the massacre survivors or the conscientious objectors, is yet to be openly told.

Ian Ward of the London Daily Telegraph reported on May 23, 1969 that “The initial stages of the government crackdown produced glaring discrimination against the Chinese.” (Kua, 2007).

Minorities vulnerable to violence
I would celebrate May 13 if an anti-genocide standby unit is formed today in the armed forces or the police forces specifically trained and dedicated to handle racist malignant conflicts.

It is risky to pray for heroes to emerge or to hope that soldiers would act professionally rather than become willing executioners in ugly and brutalizing times. On May 13, there were some heroes and some soldiers who valued professionalism. But we have a better chance of saving more lives if the prevention of massacres is taken as a professional duty of the armed forces.

Gregory Stanton in his “8 Stages of Genocide” proposed that genocide is also a cultural question. He wrote that “… A plan for genocide doesn’t need to be written out. An act of genocide may arise in a culture that considers members of another group less than human, where killing members of that group is not considered murder. This is the culture of impunity characteristic of genocidal societies.”

Those who use genocidal threats of May 13 are in fact operating in a cultural environment that condones or affirms a new moral code of behaviour: Killing is not murder.

Killing is repulsive to many a human. Once it is rationalised, the normal moral restraint is removed. Police could kill suspects when they believe or justify that they are killing crime, and not criminals, real or imagined. Or a soldier could kill old people, women or children if he believes that he is killing ideological enemies and not human beings.

And the intelligentsia would have no qualms about justifying mass murders.

Brutalizing ideology can kill
Of course gun or machete kills. But it is the justifying words of a destructive racist ideology that direct the brain to give green light to the fingers to pull the trigger. Hence, ideology kills, be it in the print or electronic media.

Being conditioned by a coercive and brutalizing ideology, the power elites rationalise unequal and oppressive treatment of the others when perceiving themselves as the victims due to historical injustices. This sows the seeds of genocide and waters its growth.

The threat of repeat of May 13 is to suppress the raising of civil rights issues. May 13 is in actual fact democide, a mass killing because of democratic demands by the ethnic minorities. Genocide is justified because democratic demands pose a threat of the loss of power of the dominant race or rather the power elites.

May 13 is state-tolerated genocidal violence deeply rooted in cultural and social conditions.

May 13 is an unjust and immoral war against the ethnic minorities asking for legitimate democratic demands. The threat of its repeat is being used to legitimise social inequalities and to deprive citizens the freedom of thought and discussion.

The intelligentsia class is often guilty of complicity in mass murders. Our own intelligentsia class urgently needs critical self-examination and self-reflection, not celebration and not bleaching of mass murders.

Kua Kia Soong, 2007, May 13 Declassified Documents on the Malaysian Riots of 1969, Petaling Jaya, Suaram Komunikasi.