Monday, June 28, 2010

malaysiakini: 426 deaths at hands of the police since 2000

426 deaths at hands of the police since 2000
Jun 28, 10 7:44pm
A total of 279 suspects have been shot dead by the police between 2000 and 2009, while 147 died in police lockup during the same period, revealed Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein today.

NONEThe minister disclosed these figures in a written parliamentary reply to Teluk Intan parliamentarian M Manogaran.

Manogaran's question also demanded statistics for those injured during police shootings and custodial deaths at detention camps.

The minister's reply however did not address these two questions.

In another written parliamentary reply to Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj (PSM-Sungai Siput), Hishammuddin revealed that the police shot dead 82 suspects in 2008, and 88 in 2009.

He added that in those two years there was only one case of police injury in the shooting incidents. No police personnel were killed during the same period.

kugan family bukit aman 230109 bannerThese figures came in the wake of public outcry over the fatal police shooting of teenager Aminulrasyid Amzah, which re-ignited allegations that the police were trigger happy.

Opposition lawmakers and human rights activists have also long decried the issue of custodial deaths, often occurring under suspicious circumstances.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

malaysiakini: Has the Internet made us shallow? by Oon Yeoh

Has the Internet made us shallow?
Oon Yeoh
malaysiakini, Jun 22, 10
I spend a huge part of my day – and night as well, actually – online. So, it was of great interest to hear that my favourite tech writer, Nicholas Carr, has written a new book about the impact of the Internet on how our mind works.

Carr, who wrote the controversial book 'Does IT Matter' a few years ago, has just come out with 'The Shallows – What the Internet is doing to our brains'.

In a nutshell, his argument is that the Internet, while immensely beneficial, has caused us to have short attention spans and has made us less capable of deep, focused, contemplative reading.

indonesia and internet"When we go online, we enter an environment that promotes cursory reading, hurried and distracted thinking, and superficial learning," Carr says, equating consuming content online to "reading a book while doing a crossword puzzle".

Note that he is not saying the content on the Internet is inferior to what you can find in books. What he's saying is that when we go online, we are in a constant state of distraction because it's so tempting to open multiple tabs on our browser.

Too much exposure to this constant state of distraction, Carr says, has caused our brains to actually change and become inclined towards constantly multitasking. Before you dismiss this as a kooky theory, you should know that this view is actually shared by a number of neurologists.

You are what you consume
However, famed Harvard psychology professor and author of 'The Stuff of Thought', Steven Pinker, is not one of them.

In an opinion piece published in the New York Times, Pinker denounces media critics who argue that the brain takes on the qualities of whatever it consumes.

"As with primitive peoples who believe that eating fierce animals will make them fierce, they assume that watching quick cuts in rock videos turns your mental life into quick cuts or that reading bullet points and Twitter postings turns your thoughts into bullet points and Twitter postings," Pinker says.
He adds: "Fortunately, the Internet and information technologies are helping us manage, search and retrieve our collective intellectual output at different scales, from Twitter and previews to e-books and online encyclopaedias. Far from making us stupid, these technologies are the only things that will keep us smart."

Carr fired back through a long posting on his blog, where he maintains that "changes in our habits of thought echo through our neural pathways, for better and for worse".
He quotes a multitude of credible people who support his point of view. For example, Carr cites neurobiology professor Russell A. Poldrock who says, "Our research has shown that multitasking can have an insidious effect on learning, changing the brain systems that are involved so that even if one can learn while multitasking, the nature of that learning is altered to be less flexible. This effect is of particular concern given the increasing use of devices by children during studying."

Carr acknowledges that electronic media may enhance some aspects of our intelligence, like the ability to spot patterns in arrays of visual data, or to discover pertinent facts, or to collaborate at a distance. However, the price we pay for that is the negative impact on our ability to reflect on our experiences, or to express ourselves in subtle language, or to read complex narratives critically.

"Our most valuable mental habits – the habits of deep and focused thought – must be learned, and the way we learn them is by practising them, regularly and attentively," Carr says.

"And that's what our continuously connected, constantly distracted lives are stealing from us: the encouragement and the opportunity to practice reflection, introspection, and other contemplative modes of thought."

Use technology responsibly

For his part, Pinker acknowledges that the Internet can indeed be distracting and addictive but argues that distraction is not a new phenomenon and that the solution is not to bemoan technology but to develop strategies of self-control.

"Turn off e-mail or Twitter when you work, put away your Blackberry at dinner time, ask your spouse to call you to bed at a designated hour," he says.

It's worth pointing out that Carr is hardly a Luddite and he neither thinks it's possible nor preferable to roll back time.
Internet users in china 
"We should all celebrate, along with Pinker, the many benefits that the Net and related media have brought us," he says. "But we should not share Pinker's complacency when it comes to the Net's ill effects, and we should certainly not ignore the mounting evidence of those effects."

Reading the cogent arguments and counter-arguments of these two thought leaders is fascinating. On the one hand, I do see Pinker's point. The Internet has certainly allowed me to acquire knowledge, gain experiences and achieve things that would not have been possible otherwise.

Yet, I can't disagree with Carr's central point that my constant exposure to the Internet has fundamentally changed the way I consume content. I don't really have the patience to read books for long periods of time anymore.

After a while, I feel fidgety and want to grab a magazine or a newspaper or another book, check for e-mails on my phone, and ultimately, get back to my laptop so I can launch my browser.

What about you? As you read this article, are you also chatting with someone? How many tabs are opened on your browser? Are you tweeting your thoughts while doing all this?

OON YEOH is a new media consultant. His upcoming book on social media will be published by MPH in July. He invites you to connect with him via Twitter and Facebook.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Malaysian Insider: Non-Malay citizenship not given at behest of Malays —P. Sivakumar

Non-Malay citizenship not given at behest of Malays —P. Sivakumar

Malaysian Insider, June 18, 2010

JUNE 18 — I refer to the article entitled, “The Tunku, Merdeka and Malaysia,”  by V. Chakaravarthy in Aliran Monthly Vol 30.No1 where he stated,  “Tunku was able to convince the Malays and they showed their magnanimity by granting citizenship to the non-Malays in exchange for the ‘special position’ of the Malays .This was the social contract which was bequeathed to us by our founding fathers”.

Although the article was written in praise of the Tunku, certain aspects of the article, with particular reference to the granting of citizenship to the non-Malays, need to be addressed and put in proper perspective as the above statement is generally the theory propounded by the Malays. At the same time it is also pertinent to reaffirm certain relevant issues regarding the role played by the non-Malays in achieving independence for Malaya.

While the non-Malays are without any reservation grateful to the Malays  for accommodating them as citizens of this nation, but to say that it was by the magnanimity of the Malays that enabled the non-Malay to enjoy citizenship status is, to say the least, an exaggeration and a distortion of a historical fact. Some Malay politicians even keep harping now and then that the granting of citizenship by the Malays was a great favour done to the non-Malays for which the latter should remain indebted to them for life.

This sentiment is also echoed at the Biro Tata Negara (BTN) courses conducted by the Government where it was alleged that some Malay speakers had blatantly told the non-Malay participants that they should be grateful to the Malays for their magnanimity in granting them citizenship. It looks like even the Government is tacitly reiterating this fact to the non-Malays openly. Such a preposterous statement will not help to foster harmonious relationships between the Malays and non-Malays but will only mar the goodwill that exists between them.

First of all, the Malays do not have the legal authority to grant citizenship to others as the granting of citizenship is governed under the Constitution. It is quite clear that under the Constitution citizenship may be acquired by a person by (a) operation of law (b) registration (c) naturalization and (d) incorporation of territory.

However, it must be pointed out that prior to the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1948 there was no Federal Citizenship. One was either a citizen of one of the Malay states or a British citizen if residing in the Straits Settlement states of Malacca, Penang or Singapore.

However, by virtue of the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1948, non-Malay residents in Malacca or Penang, who were British citizens, were entitled to acquire Federal citizenship automatically by operation of law. Thus the acquisition of citizenship by the non-Malays by operation of law is a vested right under the Constitution and not something given at the behest of the Malays as claimed by some.

To support my statement I quote below from the book entitled, “The Constitution of Malaysia “written by Harry E Groves, Head, of Department of Law and Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Singapore, which is self-explanatory.

“Malays are subjects if born in the State. Others are subjects if born in the State and one parent was born in the Federation of Malaya. Malacca and Penang, being without Rulers, did not have any State citizenship. Those who came within the terms of the Federation of Malaya Agreement , 1948, recognized operation of law, registration and naturalisation as methods of acquiring citizenship of the then Federation of Malaya. In addition to all subjects of rulers having Federation citizenship by operation of law, so did citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies who had certain designated contacts with the Settlements of Malacca or Penang or with the Federation of Malaya.’’

Social contract
The so-called Social Contract is a term used by latter day Malay leaders like Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to refer to the reciprocal concessions agreed to by our Malay and non-Malay founding fathers to safeguard the interest of the respective communities, as a sequel to independence. Only our founding fathers would know exactly in what context the concessions or compromises were made as the Constitution only speaks of “safeguarding the special position of the Malays and the legitimate interest of the other communities” — and nothing more.

However, some Malays claim that the Social Contract was a pledge to confer citizenship rights to the non-Malays upon their agreement to recognise the special position of the Malays. It is a pity that our founding fathers are not around to-day to confirm the true position. Nevertheless going by the version propounded by some Malays it would appear that the granting of citizenship to the non-Malays was compromised on a quid pro quo basis and not by the sole decision of the Malays. If so, then what is there for these Malays to insist and state that the Malays were the ones who gave citizenship to the non-Malays and to that extent they were very magnanimous.

What about the magnanimity shown by the non-Malays in agreeing to recognise the special position of the Malays in reciprocation to give them a better life? Wasn’t that a magnanimous act on the part of the non-Malays? What if the non-Malays had from the outset refused to concede to the Malay demand on this issue and had remained unyielding till the end. Would the Malays be enjoying the sort of life they are leading without the goodwill of the non-Malays? So, the question of magnanimity did not rest with the Malays alone but with the non- Malays as well. This fact must be appreciated by the Malays at all times. The majority of Malays of goodwill have no problem recognising this fact.

Furthermore, when the NEP was passed in 1970 after the May 13, 1969 debacle, didn’t the non-Malays unselfishly agree to pass over to the Malays 30 per cent of their business equity in the interest of the Malays, as required by the Government? Wasn’t that a magnanimous act and a great favour done to the Malays by the non-Malays in order to uplift them from their poor economic standing?

Giving citizenship alone is not a bounty for the non- Malays have reciprocated in no small measure by developing and contributing immensely to the economic progress of this nation, the fruits of which are also enjoyed by the Malays. Hence, it may not be an exaggeration to say that the non- Malays have given more to the Malays than taken from them in the form of just citizenship only. Yet, the non- Malays do not brag or crow about it as it is everyone’s duty to help one another.

There is also an erroneous perception on the part of some Malays that independence for Malaya was fought by the Malays only. This view is not only unfair to the non- Malays but is without any foundation. Although it must be admitted that the Malays were the ones who initiated the Merdeka movement, they could not, on their own, have succeeded in their mission as the British government was not inclined to grant independence without the participation of the other races namely, the Chinese and Indians. As such the Tunku, as leader of Umno and the Merdeka movement had to seek the support and co-operation of MCA and MIC respectively to achieve his goal.
These non-Malay political parties  gave the Tunku their whole-hearted support in his hour of need. If the Chinese and Indians had dissented they could have left the Tunku in the lurch by telling the British that they were not interested in independence and preferred to remain as British subjects. But the non-Malays, being magnanimous, didn’t do that. Instead, they  co-operated with the Tunku to lift the country from the colonial yoke. To pursue their goal, the three political parties namely, Umno, MCA and MIC formed a coalition, known as the Alliance to ask for independence from Britain and what followed next is all history, with Malaya attaining independence on Aug 31,1957 to the jubilation of all the races.

I quote below the relevant passage from Harry E.Groves book  (pages12 and 13) which reveals that the quest for Merdeka was the joint effort of all the races and not that of the Malays alone. To say otherwise is tantamount to ignoring and dismissing the non-Malays and their loyal support to the Tunku in his effort to gain independence for Malaya.

“The sentiment for independence continued to grow during the ‘emergency’ period of Communist warfare. In time it became apparent that independence could only be achieved through some joining of forces of the communal parties; and in 1952 the United Malays National Organisation, the Malayan Chinese Association, and the Malayan Indian Congress formed a political coalition, the Alliance, which carried a number of State and Settlement elections. The British Government in 1954 agreed to make a majority of the seats in the Federal Legislative Council elective rather than appointive as formerly. Of the fifty-two seats to be filled in the first such election in July, 1955, fifty-one were won by the Alliance, with voting across racial lines being one of the most striking features of the elections. Discussions were begun in August,1955, between the British Secretary of State, the Rulers and the new Alliance Ministers on the next steps toward self-government.

Reid Commission
It was agreed that a Commission to review the Constitution of the federation should meet in London early in 1956. The Federation of Malaya Constitutional Conference met in London in January and February,1956. Agreement was reached on full self-government  and independence within the Commonwealth. A Commonwealth Constitutional Commission was agreed upon to make recommendations for a constitution. Only five members served on this Commission: Lord Reid, a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, as Chairman, Sir Ivor Jennings, Master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, Sir William McKell, a former Governor-General of Australia, Mr. B. Malik, a former Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court, and Justice Abdul Hamid of the West Pakistan High Court . No Malayans served on this Commission.

The Commission was given five specific terms of reference : (a) the establishment of a strong central government with some autonomy in the States, (b) safeguarding the positions and prestige of the Rulers, (c) providing for a constitutional head of state, (d) creating a common nationality and (e) safeguarding the special position of the Malays and the legitimate interests of the other communities.

The Commission met in Malaya in the summer of 1956. It solicited memoranda from organisations and individuals and received 131 such memoranda. It held 81 hearings in support of the memoranda throughout the peninsula. It visited each State and Settlement conferring with officials, British and Malay, and met informally with other official and private persons

• The Commission went to Rome to prepare its report.
• The new constitution came into being with the new nation on Aug 31, 1957 ,Merdeka Day.

However, notwithstanding the fact that independence was achieved some 53 years ago, it is lamentable that we are still living as Malays, Chinese and Indians and not as one people. It will be noted that an interesting feature of the terms of reference to the Commonwealth Constitutional Commission, as revealed in Harry E. Groves’s book, at page 13 (see above extract) was the creation of a “common nationality”, following independence. It is regrettable that the Government has failed to achieve this noble objective hitherto. On the other hand the Government has divided the people into Bumiputeras and non-Bumiputeras to be treated differently contrary to the spirit of the Constitution.

Perhaps the Government prefers to run the nation on ethnic lines as it brings advantages to certain groups of people. This kind of classification certainly does not augur well for the future of the nation as it is bound to create chauvinistic instincts in some people, especially among some Bumiputeras, and keep them apart from the others forever.

If Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is really sincere about uniting the people under his 1 Malaysia concept then it is high time we dismantle racial borders and treat all as one people.
In conclusion, suffice to say that ours is a wonderful nation where all the races have been living together harmoniously for generations in the spirit of give and take. Hence, let not a few overzealous Malay leaders distort historical facts on the pretext of seeking glory for their race by portraying themselves as the only magnanimous people on earth. What these misguided individuals are doing is using the name of the Malay community to promote their own selfish interest. Thinking people can see through them..

* The intention of the writer in writing this article is not to criticise anyone but to stress that historical facts should be projected in the right perspective without any bias so that our harmony and peace can be preserved for our mutual benefit.
* P. Sivakumar is a member of Aliran and President of the Malaysian Indians Business Association.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

malaysiakini: Race hatred a factor in 'May 13' by Helen Ang

Race hatred a factor in 'May 13' 
Helen Ang
malaysiakini, Jun 17, 10
This photograph (below, right) of the PAS muktamar last weekend shows Malay men stepping on the Star of David. Now how would you feel if it were the cross or crescent? The event organizer deliberately etched the religious symbol of Judaism on the floor so that those present could not avoid trampling on it.

Two weeks ago at an anti-Israel protest, the demonstrators chanted 'Allahu akhbar' and 'Khaibar ya Yahud' (the Arabian Jews were subjugated when Khaibar was conquered), marching from NONEKampung Baru. 

Sidenote: Prime real estate slated for development, Kg Baru will remain "100 percent bumiputera" as its landowners strongly object to non-Malays investing in this area located in the heart of KL.

Another popular rally cry by the Malays is 'Yahudi laknatullah' or accursed Jews. Then there was that brilliant idea of a nationwide 'Teach children to hate Israel' campaign in schools, mooted by Hishamuddin Hussein back when he was education minister.

If you read Malay media and Malay blogosphere, you'd be acquainted with the fevered pitch of race hate exhibited against Jews.

Yet even in English, media coverage is lopsidedly anti-Israel. On June 7 alone, The Star online carried nine articles that made it proudly deserving of the tagline 'The Palestinian People's Paper'. A day earlier on June 6, it published not one, not two but three! opinion-editorials excoriating the Jewish state – I wrote about that piece of top brass initiative in my CPI article 'Umno heroes and Star spear Israel'.

The frenzy of race hate in cyberspace is patent each time the Israeli-Palestinian conflict flares up and Malaysian blogs start bashing Israel. "MM, most of the time, you only posted international news about Gaza and Palestinians here, very few others. I bet your whole world spin around that tiny land?" one reader calling himself 'Joseph' wrote in Marina Mahathir's blog last Dec 30, directing his comment at her.

However the hatred manifested is not confined to anti-Jewish sentiments. In some of the Malay-ultra blogs, expressions of hate are targeted at Chinese and Indians. The common denominator of these blogs is that they all have Che Det (Mahathir Mohamad's blog) on their blogroll.

'Mahathiracism' speech
The May 13 death toll was predominantly Chinese, hacked to pieces. Malays were the aggressors armed with parangs.

It is a monumental task to untangle distortion about the massacre because the ketuanan melayu hegemony tightly controls official storylines permitted public airing. However, through studying the coverage of Gaza as a present-day comparison, we can get an inkling of the one-sidedness on what content the Malaysian public is encouraged or allowed access to.

It is fair to assume that a lot of information has been obscured, withheld or doctored, be it about Israel, Palestine or May 13.
In such a vacuum and hedging on our absence of knowledge, Mahathir Mohamad (left) in his 'Gertak' speech attempted to turn the Malays into May 13 victims – instead of the perpetrators that they were – by calling the bloodletting a "class war".

It is not to say that the economics of class struggle as well as the politics of divide-and-rule did not play a part in precipitating the outbreak of racial violence.

What I'm saying is Mahathir's motives are suspect since he has never been a socialist icon like Ahmad Boestamam, Pak Sako and the like. His posturing now as a champion of the working class rings hollow, especially when Umno was led by the elites just as its Alliance partner MCA had the reputation as a towkay party.

A major factor for the mass killings to have happened – really, it takes the utmost extremism for a man, or a mob to beat a victim till he bleeds to death – is that the Chinese were nothing short of hated by the Kg Baru amoks.

And lately, loathing again has been fanned after the opposition made great strides in the 2008 general election, similar to May 13 occurring after opposition gains in the 1969 GE.

This suspicion of minorities is egged on by stereotyping. Mahathir wrote in 1970's 'Malay Dilemma': "The Jews, for example, are not merely hook-nosed but understand money instinctively. … And the Chinese are not just almond-eyed people, but are also inherently good businessmen."

His keynote address in Terengganu on Monday is a facsimile of the Dilemma screed. After 40 years, Mahathir is still repeating his sly insinuation that Chinese, as a race and collective, were filthy rich in the 1960s.

While the above is disingenuous, it becomes quite dangerous for him to be trotting out accusations that Chinese today are still robbing the riches of Tanah Melayu. The gist of Mahathir's continual agitprop bodes ill for peace and stability, particularly if Malaysia were to go bankrupt in a few years and prompting social unrest.

'Gertak' is to intimidate
The ketuanan melayu demagoguery conveniently ignores the fact that prior to 1969, British suppression of the communist insurgency saw 1.2 million Chinese resettled in more than 500 New Villages which were little more than shantytowns fenced behind barbed wire.

How could those one million-plus Chinese villagers in the peninsula – out of a population totalling only 10.5 million in 1969 including Sabah and Sarawak – be considered prosperous in such huge numbers as to provoke the 'rich Chinese-poor Malay' class war that Mahathir invokes?

Lest it be forgotten, the Chinese came to this land as coolies. The dictionary does not define 'coolie' as millionaire. A great number of the community remained the underclass eking out a meagre living.

But even before the ex-premier's devotees turned up at the stadium for their dose of vintage 'Mahathiracism', the Gertak gathering already started from a lie. Its organizer Razali Idris claimed he chose the acronym Gertak meaning 'bridge' [sic] for his group Gerakan Kebangkitan Rakyat because it "embodied all that they stood for", i.e. "to connect" the races and foster harmony.

Oi! Jangan nak tipu lah. In the Terengganu dialect, bridge is 'getok'. The pronunciation of 'getok' is quite distinguishable from 'gertak'. And Gertak itself was a mono-racial rally scheduled for May 13 – a date picked by Mahathir himself.

The intent to intimidate was clear from the outset, and framing the event as 'Malay uprising' does not leave room for doubt. The identical 'Melayu bangkit' battlecry was a front-page banner headline not too long ago in Utusan Malaysia, and unmistakably to incite.

Everyone bumi except Chinese
At the Gertak occasion also, Mahathir as head of the Perdana Global Peace Foundation was presented the proceeds from the Fly2Gaza drive, totalling more than RM120,000. Interesting isn't it, that the Malay supremacist showboating just had to tie in with the Malaysian Muslims' pet cause?
The Kuala Terengganu (KT) venue of Gertak (right) may have something to do with the lukewarm response the event received.

Terengganu is 95 percent Malay in population. There were no May 13 tensions there or in its East Coast cousin Kelantan which has a similar demographic. May 13 happened not in the Malay heartland but in Kuala Lumpur where the populace was racially half-half.

By the same token, the Kg Medan racial clash would not have happened in KT or Kota Bharu because the minorities there are not significant enough to be a threat or to cause friction. This could be the reason why Mahathir when in Terengganu (that has only 2.6% Chinese) failed to draw the crowd the organisers wanted.

Adding to that, the Gertak gathering was held in the morning of a working day during World Cup season – which football fans have waited four years for. The turnout might be a different story another time, another place though … say, in Kg Baru.

The institutional basis of this country that makes it almost a point of honour to discriminate against Chinese and Indians rests on racism, period.

Make no bones about this selectivity in discrimination as Malaysians of Siamese and Portuguese descent are inexplicably categorized bumiputera, although Article 153 of the federal constitution denotes the 'special position' as referring to Malays and natives of Sabah and Sarawak.
'Bumiputera' is a coined word facilitating the suppression of Chinese and Indians. I'm just surprised that some women rights sub-committee from political groups like Kimma (comprising wannabe princes and princesses of the soil) has not yet campaigned for the use of 'bumiputeri'.

HELEN ANG used to be a journalist. In future, she would like to be a practising cartoonist. But for the present, she is in the NGO circles and settling down to more serious writing and reading of social issues. 

Comments (DQ):
A brave, brilliant but blunt analysis of what most Malaysians would rather not discuss or debate in the open. Racism still underscores our ethnic relationships, our less than sincere interaction with others not quite like us. We're constantly reminded by politicians who play to the gallery of the mob, constantly baiting and perpetuating irrational fears and bigotry--ghosts of prejudice which supposedly strengthen one's supposed power base... So cynical, so Machiavellian, so bestial, so racist, period!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Malaysian Mirror Summary: 'Rolling plan' for 10MP projects

'Rolling plan' for 10MP projects

Thursday, 10 June 2010 11:42
KUALA LUMPUR – Beginning with the 10th Malaysia Plan, programmes and projects approved for development will be carried out on a 'rolling plan' basis.

 With this approach, allocation for 10MP programmes and projects will be provided on a two-year basis beginning 2011-2012.

This allows commitment to be made based on the financial position of the Government and provides flexibility to respond to new priorities and changes in the global and domestic economic environment.
najib-10mp-2Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who tabled the 10MP at te Dewan Rakyat Thursday, said the detailed list of the programmes and projects for the first rolling plan will be ready by the end of August.

Old biz rules to be abolished
Najib, who is also Finance Minister, also disclosed that business regulations which are outdated will be abolished.
Towards this end, the Malaysian Productivity Corporation (MPC) will be restructured to spearhead a comprehensive review of business regulations and improve processes and procedures to increase productivity and competitiveness of major economic sectors.

In addition, considering that healthy competition is needed to make the economy more efficient and dynamic, a Competition Law will be introduced to provide a regulatory framework against market manipulation and cartel practices that may affect market efficiency.

A Competition Commission and Appeal Tribunal will be established to ensure more orderly and effective implementation of the law.

Najib also said smart and effective partnerships between the public and private sectors will be established to drive the economic transformation agenda. This new wave of public-private partnership will ensure equitable sharing of risks and returns.

To date, 52 high-impact projects have been identified for implementation.
Folliwing are more programmes that were highlighted in Najib's presentation of the 10MP:


* 30% target bumiputera corporate equity remains
* Develop a bumiputera commercial and industrial community
* Create stronger and more competitive industry champions
* Broadening wealth ownership to ensure sustainability
* Promoting bumiputera representation in high-paying jobs through enhanced
capability building and demand-side incentives


* To grow at 2.4% yearly to create 1.4 million jobs mostly in services sector
* Employment to reach 13.2 million jobs in 2015
* Full employment status with unemployment rate of 3.1% in 2015 

 * Standardised and recognition of technical education and vocational training by Malaysian Skills Certificate
* RM150mil to train 20,000 school dropouts
* RM7.5mil to train coaches, instructors and facilitators
* Strengthening performance culture in universities


* More flexible labour market
* Upgrade skills of existing workforce
* Enhance Malaysia's ability to attract and retain top talent
* RM80mil for Relief Fund for Loss of Employment from 2010 to 2012 to
provide assistance to workers retrenched without compensation
* Part-Time Work Regulations under Employment Act 1955 to be introduced to
tap workforce from amongst housewives, retirees and disabled persons
* Increase female labour force from 46% in 2010 to 55% in 2015
* RM500mil each to provide loans to workers and school leavers for
training and skills upgrading
* RM50mil to continue the matching grants for training and skills
upgrading of small and medium enterprise employees
* RM50mil to fund apprenticeships involving more than 8,000 students
* RM50mil to co-sponsor employees to obtain industrial PhDs
* RM350mil allocated to continue programme of partial financial
assistance for PhDs in local universities started in 2009


* Broadband penetration of 75% by 2015
* RM2.7bil to build roads and rails leading to key ports and airports
to improve trade efficiency and logistics systems
* Energy security through development of alternative sources i.e. hydro,
coal and liquified natural gas by 2015


* Elevate livelihood of 40% of households
* Ensure bumiputera economic participation
* Reduce poverty from 3.8% in 2009 to 2% in 2015
* Raise average monthly income of bottom 40% of households from RM1,440
in 2009 to RM2,300 in 2015
* Increase percentage of SPM qualification and above in bottom 40% of
households from 30% in 2009 to 45% in 2015
* Education assistance for children from bottom 40% of households


* Housing assistance for rural poor
* Affordable housing and low-cost housing expanded for urban/semi-urban poor
* Income support for eligible groups within 40% of households when
subsidies are restructured
* Income support for disabled old and single mothers
* Encourage GLCs to tailor CSR programmes to target the needy
* 1Malaysia clinics expanded to urban poor and other underserved areas


* Halve poverty among Orang Asli communities in Peninsular Malaysia to 25% in 2015
* Reduce poverty among Sabah ethnic minorities from 22.8% to 12% and
Sarawak ethnic minorities from 6.4% to 3%
* Financial assistance to Chinese new villages to renew land lease, upgrade homes and fund business
* Improve access to basic amenities in estates and re-skilling programmes
for displayed estate workers

* 6,312 km of new roads in Peninsular Malaysia, 2,540km in Sabah and
2,819 km in Sarawak to benefit 3.3 million people nation-wide
* Clean water to 99% rural households in Peninsular Malaysia, 98% in Sabah and 95% in Sarawak
* Electricity for rural areas almost 100% in Peninsular Malaysia and 99% in Sabah and Sarawak
* At least one 1Malaysia telecentre in every sub-district (mukim) to promote


* 161,00 new units of public housing
* Housing designs to incorporate Green Building design and technology
* 78,000 units low-cost public housing units for qualified individuals of
less than RM2,500 per month
* One federal agency responsible for federally-funded housing instead of
several ministries and agencies
* RM500mil to set up Housing Maintenance Fund to assist residents of
both public and private low-cost houses for major repair and maintenance based
on 50-50 matching grants from residents
* Government to continue assistance to rehabilitate abandoned projects


* Federal government assumes full responsibility of solid waste management
from local authorities
* Collection of household solid waste to be privatise to three
concessionaires with contract negotiations expected to be completed by end 2010
* Other private operators to be licensed to operate solid waste management
and public cleansing services
* Waste collection for households twice a week and daily for wet markets
* Existing 112 unsanitary landfills to be closed and rehabilitated, some to
be upgraded to sanitary landfills


* RM2.04bil for programmes to encourage volunteerism to fight crime
* Reduce crime index by 5% yearly 2015 to cut overall crime by a quarter
* Increase volunteer police by 5,000 by 2015
* RM2.4bil to upgrade police stations, living quarters and improve
career prospects to motivate police
* Improve effectiveness of treatment of drug addicts to reduce crimes driven
by drug abuse
* RM120mil to support volunteer patrolling scheme under Rukun Tetangga
* Expand Rakan Cop scheme for citizens to report crimes or suspicious
behvaiour via SMS
* RM150 million allocated for Safe Cities Programme

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

malaysiakini: The Great Malaysian Heist

The Great Malaysian Heist
Manjit Bhatia
malaysiakini, Jun 9, 2010
COMMENT And so you have it. Najib Abdul Razak, for all his bluster, for all his attempts to be seen to be all things to all Malaysians, has again shown his true stripes.

He's hardly a chameleon. He's poltergeist. He manifests himself when the political winds suit him and his party Umno and its coalition partners in the BN, with the regularity of bumptious idiocy.
It's not a far cry from any previous regime in Malaysia. If you look closely at the country's political history since 1957, it's the same old thing.

So it's barely surprising that a week ago Najib avowed his undying support - no, protection - of the New Economic Policy that his father Abdul Razak Hussein had pronounced in the immediate aftermath of the murderous May 13, 1969 racial violence.

NONEIt must have been a rousing speech, since it was given before the Bumiputera Economic Congress - the very group, more like a lobby group, whose existence depends on the political and economic largesse of the Umno regime.

Recall the mid-1960s: the ultra right wing of Umno had given similar speeches of Malay-ness and Malay special rights to Malay economic association in a care-mongering campaign of the rampage of Chinese business interests throughout the country - saying that the yellow horde menace had to be stopped. The idea was that the Chinese were robbing the Malays blind.

And what did Abdul Razak do? He introduced laws to entrench those already in the constitution. These laws would allow Malays in general, and Malay business in particular, to use crutches from which they would benefit in economic terms from Malaysia's embryonic industrialisation.

This industrialisation was half constructed on a resources export economy and half on import-substitution (viz the protection of nascent Malaysian companies producing for the domestic economy).
Truth is, it also protected Chinese business interests because a whole lot of so-called Malay entrepreneurs used policy loopholes to practice Ali Baba-ism. Like dills, they sold their business interests to Chinese entrepreneurs for a song.

mahathir lee kuan yew visit comment 110609 02When Dr Mahathir Mohamad came to power in 1981, he changed some laws and added others, but the end result was always the same - more crutches for Malays. But this time he introduced the specter of rentier capitalism by taking it to new heights. Corruption existed, but Mahathir expanded it, nurtured it,and made it an art form.

But this time a new configuration of rentier capitalists emerged from the crevices of Malaysian political economy: more and more bumiputera, Chinese and even some Indian so-called entrepreneurs relied on Mahathir's hell-bent policy of privatisation.

The Malays were generally to be well looked after under the guise of the New Economic Policy (NEP), but Malay entrepreneurs would be given financially lucrative state contracts, much of which would be shared amongst the Chinese and Indian towkay class as long as they provided political and financial succor to the Mahathir regime in return for his business patronage.

NEM a ruse

Fast forward to 2010. What has changed in the political economy? Nothing. Zilch. Read Barry Wain's book, 'Malaysian Maverick', amongst others over the course of two decades.

But what Wain has done is what people like Jomo KS and Terence Gomez have been doing for more than 10 years: that is to say, without saying too loudly, that every Umno-BN regime since 1969 has created the vestibule of a corruption-riddled kleptomanic state, run by kleptomanic so-called leaders - from Abdul Razak to Hussein Onn, Mahathir, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and now Najib.

And Malaysia's kleptomanic state is no better or worse than the ones found elsewhere, primarily South Africa under Thabo Mbeki and now Jacob Zuma, and Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe. In fact the southern African states have tried to 'model' theirs on Malaysia.

azlanWill these African states also usurp Najib's New Economic Model (NEM)? No. Why? Because the NEM won't get off the ground. Not in a million years. It's stillborn. Dead and gone. Snafued.

The NEM is no more a model than Vision 2020 was or, for that matter, the NEP. And if the NEP has run its course, replaced by New Development Policy, what is Najib doing repeating his steadfast support for the NEP?

The NEM is a ruse. In its present caricature, it barely has any credibility among the most serious economists and analysts in Malaysia and outside it. Najib may well say that people should wait for the second installment of the NEM. Why bother if the first installment is nothing short of a joke.

There is no intent. At least nothing that is genuine or believable because this is not a regime that can be believed, any more than anybody sane mind in Malaysia believes or is prepared to believe Najib.

There are reasons for this, one of which is that Najib cannot and will not give up Malay political supremacy when he knows full well that the ultra right wing nutters in Umno Youth led by Khairy Jamaluddin will only surrender the NEP over their dead bodies.

NONENow you have another main player: Malay Consultative Council chairperson and Pasir Mas MP Ibrahim Ali, whose hardcore racist streak equals only to Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. He has told Najib in unequivocal terms that the NEM is dead in the water and nothing, but nothing, will replace ever replace the NEP.

Adding clout to Ibarhim's demands is the Malaysian Association of Malay Automobile Importers which has been deriding Najib over the regime's decision to kill off Approved Permits by 2015.

Poor Rafidah Aziz would be beside herself with political and economic diarrhoea now that her family's vast fortune could be robbed by the state, after the state had been playing Robin Hood since 1970. Most powerful Malay interests, especially economic ones, have labelled the NEM as anti-Malay. And the more Ibrahim goes on his racist attacks against non-Malay Malaysians, the more Najib will backpedal.

Show us the model

Najib is a gutless worm. That has been clear for all to see for a long time now. But what is even clearer is that he has already begun to rollback and, I'll wager, shelf forever, the NEM. He'll come up with the line that the global economic situation does not make it viable.

He does not subscribe to sensible economic advice when offered. Nor to the Chinese idiom, Weiji (opportunity in crisis). This is precisely the time to reform the economy - fundamentally. The problem is that to do so would require associative but equally fundamental political reforms. But to do so, Najib and Umno fear Malay supremacy will be seriously undermined if not eroded.

new economic policy nepWhich is where, and why, Ibrahim steps in. He's the front man of Malay business interests and stand-in headkicker for Umno Youth and factions of the party's supreme council. All have a lot to lose from the NEM.

The real fear is that the NEM will open up economic competition within the domestic economy to such an extent that it may just show up the incompetence of most Malay businesses that thus far have survived on the kleptomanic Malay state's patronage and protection.

Even if the NEP premise is used - that an expanding economy means a greater share for all races in the political economy - you don't really find that predicated in the NEM. Because there are no guarantees that greater economic competition from within Malaysia and abroad will necessarily produce greater good for the greater majority. Look at Europe as a case in point.

Internationalising competition within Malaysia means invoking the possibility of Machiavellian possibilities or probabilities. And this is not a regime that is remotely intelligent, let alone clever, to deal with this kind of likelihood.
If you're looking for a Malaysian example, go back to the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s when Mahathir ordered the 'consolidation' of Malaysian banks and finance and insurance companies.

chinese people community and economyAnd the announcement that the Malaysian economy grew by 10.1 percent in the first quarter was another bold and stupid lie, a furphy (tall story) based on statistical manipulation to produce a grand illusion.

We're dealing within a deluded bunch of dimwits in Putrajaya. But let Bank Negara, the Statistics Department and the Economic Planning Unit show us the modelling used to come up with the figure. I'll poke a million holes in all the assumptions used in its modeling.

Bottom line: Najib is already laying the groundwork for withdrawing the NEM and hanging on to the NEP. And if you think about it, which government, if it were seriously competent, intelligent and genuinely truthful, would release Part 1 of the NEM while still writing up Part 2?
It just does not make any sense. Then again, when has any Malaysian government since 1957, and certainly since 1969, ever made any sense at all?

MANJIT BHATIA, an academician and writer, is also research director of AsiaRisk, a political, economic and risk analysis consultancy in Australia. He specialises in international economics and politics, with a focus on the Asia-Pacific.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

malaysiakini: Merdeka Poll: PM's approval rating at a record high

PM's approval rating at a record high
Jun 8, 10 5:04pm
Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's approval rating has hit a record high at 72 percent, up from 69 percent in April, according to independent pollster Merdeka Centre.

The highest approval rating was noted among Indian respondents (80 percent), followed by Malays (77 percent) and Chinese (58 percent).
The upward trend in Najib's approval rating was consistent for all three races since Merdeka Centre began gauging his popularity in March last year.

However, Najib's high approval rating does not translate into comparable responses to subsequent questions, with many respondents expressing skepticism over his major plans.

For example, only 50 percent of respondents were “confident” that Najib could achieve his targets for his 1Malaysia concept, Government Transformation Plan and New Economic Model, within two years.

Of the three races, Indians (65 percent) and Malays (60 percent) were confident that it could be achieved while conversely, Chinese (60 percent) were not confident it could be done.

In another question, 58 percent of respondents agreed that Najib's administration were good planners but weak implementers, like his predecessors.

Almost three quarters of Chinese respondents (74 percent) agreed to this statement, followed by Malays (51 percent) and Indians (43 percent).

The Najib factor
The survey was done between May 6 and 16 this year - a 10-day period just after the Hulu Selangor by-election (April 25) and before the Sibu by-election (May 16).

Najib's popularity confirms that he is still the key asset in the BN's electoral campaign.

His approval rating was a dismal 44 percent when he took over as the economy was slipping into unforgiving negative territory, and he seemed vulnerable as he was pelted by bad news everywhere he turned.

According to Merdeka Centre, a total of 1,028 Malaysians were randomly surveyed by telephone and the poll has an error margin of 3.1 percent.

Interestingly, almost half or 47 percent of the respondents said they are unemployed or "not in the workforce".

Crime and corruption
On the government's six National Key Result Areas (NKRA), majority of respondents said they were “satisfied” with the:
  • Government's assistance to the needy
  • Improvement of rural living standards
  • Improvement in urban public transport
  • Improvement in primary and secondary education
On the negative side, 61 percent of respondents said they were unsatisfied with government efforts to stamp out corruption, while 57 percent said they were unsatisfied with crime reduction efforts.

Compared to a similar questioned asked in a December 2009 survey, there was a marked increase in dissatisfaction over the government's graft-busting effort, from 52 percent to 61 percent.

Similarly, disgruntlement over crime-fighting efforts were up from 46 percent in December 2009 to 57 percent in the current survey.

In terms of satsifaction to improvements to education and transport, ratings increased only marginally compared to December 2009 data.

Follow-up questions on areas which need the most attention from the authorities saw respondents choosing graft-busting and crime reduction as the government's main priorities.

Najib introduced the NKRAs on July 27 last year and appointed lead ministers for each NKRA to ensure achievement-based management.

Download survey slides here.

malaysiakini: Merdeka Poll: Malay opinion over NEM varied

Poll: Malay opinion over NEM varied
Jun 8, 10 9:53pm
A new survey by independent pollster Merdeka Centre appears to indicate mixed reactions among Malays towards the draft of the New Economic Model which outlines the need to phase out pro-bumiputera affirmative action policies.

On one hand, 67 percent of the Malay respondents want government contracts to be awarded to the best bidder, regardless of the ethnic group the bidder belongs to, but at the same time 69 percent of Malay respondents want bumiputera business quotas to be maintained.
A whopping 79 percent of Malay respondents also want the government to reserve contracts for bumiputera companies and create competition among them.

"At the very basic level, I would conclude the respondents generally want some form of assistance or protection from the government but they could also tolerate or accept some level of competition," said Merdeka Centre director Ibrahim Suffian.
Ibrahim believes that Malay businesses would be looking to see the final NEM document - which will be tabled at the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday along with the 10th Malaysia Plan - to see what are the steps outlined to help them eventually compete in an open market.

The draft of the NEM, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's brainchild, has drawn flak from Malay pressure groups because the document mentions that racial quotas must be phased out.

According to the draft, quotas have been applied on less-qualified recipients and this has bred inefficiency and in the interim, should only be applied on 40 percent of the population which constitutes the low-income group.

Economy a major concern
The survey also indicated that bread and butter issues were the biggest concern of respondents.
Of the 1,028 respondents, 22 percent wanted the government to resolve economic issues over other topics such as social issues (14 percent), national unity (13 percent), politics (10 percent), crime (10 percent) and corruption (9 percent).

On the whole, only 47 percent felt that the current economic conditions was favourable.
The majority of Malay respondents (57 percent) believed that the economy was favourable while 46 percent of Indians expressed the same.

Conversely, only 30 percent of Chinese respondents said the economy was favourable, down from 50 percent last May.

However, 53 percent of respondents as a whole believe that the economy will improve over the 
next year.

It is a notable mention that only 37 percent of Chinese respondents believe that the economy will improve while 35 percent believe things will get worse.

Meanwhile, public sentiment on whether the government spends public funds prudently was split down the middle - 46 percent agreed to this, while 45 percent disagreed.

Police shooting
The survey also gauged sentiments concerning the fatal police shooting of teenager Aminulrasyid Amzah, which saw 58 percent of respondents stating that they were dissatisfied with the police handling of the matter.

The highest dissatisfaction was noted among the Chinese (70 percent), followed by Indians (64 percent) and Malays (50 percent). 

Aminulrasyid, 14, was shot on April 28 following a high speed car chase in Shah Alam, prompting public outcry over the police's apparent trigger-happy tendencies.

A police corporal has since been charged with causing death by negligence but Aminulrasyid's family are demanding for a royal commission of inquiry into the incident.

The latest Merdeka Centre survey was conducted by telephone between May 6 and 16 through random stratified sampling according to gender, locality, ethnicity and age.