Saturday, November 30, 2013

BAD POLICIES, RACISM:From Siti Aishah to Azahari, Chin Peng - what‘s wrong with M'sia.... Written by Simon Neoh

BAD POLICIES, RACISM:From Siti Aishah to Azahari, Chin Peng - what‘s wrong with M'sia

Written by Simon Neoh
Malaysian Chronicle: Friday, 29 November 2013 09:38
BAD POLICIES, RACISM:From Siti Aishah to Azahari, Chin Peng - what‘s wrong with M'sia
The Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said there was no need to arrest Siti Aishah Abdul Wahab if she returned to the country.
Although Siti Aishah was on the ‘wanted list’ in Malaysia in the 70’s for her involvement in ‘extremist (I repeat, extremist) communist activities,’ Malaysians who have read about her plight being a slave for 30 years in London, would agree with Khalid to welcome her return with an open heart.
TV3 would probably be flashing the human interest side of the story as part of its version of Jejak Kasih, and everyone would forget Siti Aishah’s earlier years as a leftist.
She is after all a fellow Malaysian, who had her sets of beliefs. They do not call it ‘puppy love’ without a reason. Yes, it was a threat back then, when communism was very much alive. Today, a frail woman of 69, the only way Malaysians should respond is to allow her to be re-united with her family on humanitarian grounds.
Azahari and Noordin Top
Two Malaysians, Dr Azhari Husin and Noordin Mohammad Top were believed to be the masterminds behind several bombings in Indonesia -- the 2003 JW Marriott hotel bombing in Jakarta, the 2004 Australian embassy bombing in Jakarta, the 2005 Bali bombings and the 2009 JW Marriott - Ritz-Carlton bombings, and perhaps, even the 2002 Bali bombing.
If my memory does not fail me, when one of them was killed during a police raid on his hideout in Indonesia, the Malaysian government ordered for a special RMAF flight to collect his body for a proper Muslim funeral in Malaysia. This had initial shocked me, when the death of a “wanted” terrorist was given such a “heroic” treatment that some of our soldiers would dare even to dream of having.
“Gosh! What would our American friends think about Malaysia, a land of the terrorists?” I had asked myself, when I read it in the news. “And what becomes of a government that glorified the ‘martyrdom’ of its citizens out there operating as terrorists?”
But then again, when you think about it, what can a dead man do? Going by the thwarted logics of some, wouldn’t the return of his dead body revive the spirit of terrorism in this nation? Common sense tells us that a dead man for whatever cause he believes in, is as good as gone.
At least, on humanitarian ground, the wishes of his family should be granted that the dead body be given a proper burial in his home ground amidst grieving relatives.
Chin Peng
What a big contrast the political scene was less than six months ago, when an ailing 88-year-old Ong Boon Hua, born and bred in Setiawan, Perak, was hoping to return to Malaysia, but was refused entry by the Malaysian government.
The former leader of the now-defunct Malayan Communist Party (MCP) had fought against the British and Commonwealth forces in an attempt to turn Malaya into another independent communist state. He then waged a campaign against Malaya after it had gained independence in 1957 but the guerilla warfare ended when the MCP signed a peace accord with the Malaysian government in 1989.
MCP is as good as gone, with the collapse of the Berlin wall, the break-up of the former USSR, and the adoption of capitalism by the world’s only surviving Communist government. Double-headed UMNO Baru politicians, while establishing the full diplomatic ties with Communist China, told us that the return of Chin Peng, who operated mainly from Beijing, China, would open up the wounds of its veteran soldiers.
One of my own relatives was a Special Branch with the Royal Malaysian Police in the seventies, and his assignment was to fight the communist insurgency. While Siti Aishah, born and bred a Malay, is known for her ‘extremist communist activities’ in the 70s, UMNO politicians have time and again equated Communists with the Chinese. I wonder why!
During Chin Peng’s exile, although the MCP was a Malayan branch of the worldwide communist influence, the communists under him had also fought with the Thai army. Yet, the retired Thai army general was forgiving enough as to advise his counterpart in Malaysia to allow Chin Peng to return to his place of birth, but to no avail. It makes me wonder if Thai’s Buddhism has taught its people better, while UMNO Baru’s brand of Islam has only created more division amongst the people.
Instead of allowing the ailing communist leader back to his hometown, there was a big flare up of emotion, understandably of certain families who were killed by the Communists during the Insurgency. But which Chinese family did not have a relative killed by the Japanese Army, yet when former prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad looked East, were the Chinese ever resentful?
Stretching this further, one has to ask: Doesn’t the word ‘forgiveness’ exist in the Malay dictionary? If Allah is great, and He is merciful, even to those who are wicked and evil, who are we to condemn Chin Peng before the great Judgment Day? In legal terms, we have committed a prejudice, or forming an opinion before a case has been brought before the judge.
Instead, Chin Peng, a Malaysian citizen, was buried in Bangkok, Thailand, much to the shame of the Malaysian Government!
What is the Big Difference?
The question is: “What is the big difference between Siti Aishah, Noordin Top, Azahari Husin and Chin Peng?”
This question has to be asked. All four of them believed in ideologies that were not friendly to Malaysians at large, but why the special treatment given to one and not the other?
To call this another form of racism is unfair to most Malaysians, because most Malaysians would in fact frown upon the Home Minister’s recent statement that he would not even allow Chin Peng’s ashes to be smuggled back into the hometown.
You can say that I am out to debunk Zahid Ahmad Hamidi’s anything but shallow thinking. If Chin Peng’s ashes would not escape the immigration checkpoint, the country should not be burdened with tens of thousands of illegal immigrants!
If the return of Chin Peng’s ashes would lead to the building of a monument to remember him, then our museums should remove all traces of the colonial days and play up only the glories of the Malacca sultanate, with big names like Tun Perak, Sultan Mansor Shah, Puteri Hang Li Po, Laksamana Hang Tuah and his four comrades with the same surnames.
When one compares this treatment against Chin Peng with other incidences and controversies, what comes out clearly is that we are allowing a minority of people to run the country with a blinker mentality. If we continue to live with such narrow minded people, we will all just go bonkers, won’t we?
UMNO elite few, who are helming the government, make their decisions based on what is politically expedient only for their own survival. While they and their cronies continue to get richer by the seconds, majority of middle and lower income Malaysians are now being increasingly burdened with higher cost of living. Period.
The goodness of GST has suddenly become a religious topic. Gosh, guns – all 44 of them – got flushed down the toilet bowl! Jets without the engines could still soar up the sky. A Sin Chew reporter was arrested under ISA for her own safety and the Mamak Prime Minister which this country had for 22 “ugly” years, for want of cheap publicity, suddenly turned his topic to talk about his erective dysfunction, much to the shame of the Kutty family tree from Kerala.
It’s time for Malaysians everywhere, including Sabah and Sarawak, to wake up! UMNO has a membership of 3 million, so it claims. This is equivalent to about 10 percent of the country’s population, but the powers that are vested in the elite few are far too great that it has led to unending abuses. And, we Malaysians have ourselves to blame for being too timid and not speaking up enough to stop this minority few from further destroying this harmony of the races in this country.
I am personally impressed with blogger Hishammuddin Rais’ courage as a person. Despite being intimidated a number of times, he soldiered on. He was also not ashamed to say that he knows Siti Aishah personally. A friend in time of need is a friend, indeed!
If Hishamuddin can stand up for a good cause, why are we so afraid to speak up? By remaining silent, this is how the perpetrators of injustice can get away easily in this “safe” side of heaven they call Malaysia, while the rest of us would in one way suffer the consequences of their wrongdoings. - Malaysia Chronicle

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Divisive Malaysian Mindsets and Stereotypes...


Sad indeed that our Malaysian mindsets have become more and more encrusted with the worst stereotyping perceptions against each other that we've seen for decades!

Unfortunately our ethnic divide has been inflamed and torn asunder because of repeated systematic political shenanigans and one-upmanship, BTN and spineless gutless MSM...

All sides are now so entrenched of their own hunkered down rights, perceived mistreatment, marginalisation and entitlement that there is minimal room to compromise and appreciate our unique diversity....

But my 'bias' is one of universal values, not parochial ones, based on perceived immovable privileges... but how do we get the Chinese to accept that divergent separate educational schools cannot help foster interethnic understanding. Malays too must also recognise the minority's insecurities of an increasingly mono-ethnic, monolithic bureaucracy, police, judiciary, heads of almost all civil institutions, teachers, policy makers.

The current race-based entitlement affirmative approach and culture only breeds complacency, mediocrity and diminishing competitiveness in this globalised borderless world! Truly marginalised poor have been victimised and forgotten!

Our skewed Gini index 0.43 confirms that every ethnic group have widening differences in wealth distribution... the very rich in each group contrasts starkly and unfairly with the very indigent and underprivileged in all our ethnic groups!

We really need an empowered 'royal' national reconciliation council/commission to reinvigorate our ethnic unity and understanding and to tamp down escalating racist extremist views or perceived superiority condescending complex. BTN must be revamped to remove all racial taunts, stereotyping and undertones which breed and propagandise intolerance, separateness and apartheidism. We must learn to be less colour-aware and consciously become true Malaysians!

Let's start by stopping at not sneering or belittling against each other, behind each others' backs! Let's look and appreciate the positives in each other.

And pray that our leaders walk the talk by acting as vocal role models or respected icons of tolerance, acceptance and justice. Let them be brave enough to eschew all forms of racism and extremism that only corrode our already threadbare national fabric of unity and accommodation!

We must learn to harness our true potential to be better than the sum of our separate parts! Malaysia Boleh! Start today!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Malaysia: Nation of Strangers.... by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah

Malaysia: Nation of Strangers
by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah

Where have all the non-Malays gone?
This is the excerpted text of an address given by Malaysia’s former finance minister recently to a breakfast meeting at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center organized by Paddy Schubert Sdn Bhd

As you are aware, our nation became free from the fetters of colonial domination about five and a half decades ago. Sadly and strangely, after 55 years of independence, I think we are now farther apart than we have ever been before. On Aug. 31, 1957, our freedom from the shackles of a colonial past was greeted with euphoria by the different races who came together on the basis of a common vision for a shared future.

We then had a prime minister who believed that the purpose of independence was the pursuit of happiness for the different races in the country, and our success in that pursuit was to him the ultimate test of our success as a nation.

Tunku Abdul Rahman’s vision for the newly independent nation was based on the “greatest happiness principle,” a subject of intense political discourse in 18th and 19th Century Europe. Like the enlightened political philosophers in the western world, our father of independence believed that governments existed to provide for the happiness of the people, and nothing more.

Tunkuʼs policies were tied up with the golden rule that we must have respect for one another and treat others just as we wish others to treat us. This golden rule was an important principle in an interdependent, multi-ethnic society such as ours.

Tunkuʼs basic concept of happiness is best expressed in his favorite maxim, “live and let live.”

It is a maxim that calls for acceptance of people as they are, although they may have a different way of life. Tunku applied the maxim in the public domain.

If Tunku had boasted that he was the happiest prime minister in the world, it was only because the people were happy. In Tunkuʼs words at that time, “I pray and hope that this happy state of affairs will continue for all times.”

Unfortunately, however, Tunkuʼs dreams were dashed to dust by the events of May 13, 1969.

This once happiest prime minister expressed the pain he felt as Father of Merdeka (independence) as he relived those traumatic moments:

“I have often wondered why God made me live long enough to have witnessed my beloved Malays and Chinese citizens killing each other.”

Such was the man that Tunku was. He was the moving spirit of the nation. He has long gone, and today his premiership is a distant memory. Since the time he left, inter-ethnic relations have taken a turn for the worse on all fronts.

Today we have a regime that promotes the concept of 1 Malaysia with all its contradictions.

We have an official document that explains the 1Malaysia concept as a nation where every Malaysian perceives himself as Malaysian first, and by race second.

However, we have a leader who openly transgresses his own official policy by declaring that he is “Malay first” and “Malaysian second”.

The statement comes as a severe blow not just to the concept of 1 Malaysia, but also as a nullification of Jiwa Malaysia or the National Spirit that Tunku was trying hard to inculcate.

No wonder that people can no longer recognize the jiwa — they just don’t feel as though they are fully Malaysian.

It is strange that after 55 years of freedom, we have not learnt the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters. The country’s source of strength is unity, and this source of strength has been slowly whittled away over the years. We have become a nation of strangers, as evidenced in the fields of politics, the economy, education and the civil service.

The strong presence of communal political parties in the country is chiefly to be blamed for the sad state of race relations in the country. These political parties invariably support racial policies and imbibe racial sentiments among the people whom they represent.

In their day-to-day administration of the country, the powers that be often give scant regard to the constitutional provision contained in Article 8(1) which states that “all persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law”; and Article 8(2) which states that “there shall be no discrimination against citizens on the ground only of religion, race, descent or place of birth in any law relating to the acquisition, holding or disposition of property or the establishing or carrying on of any trade, business, profession, vocation or employment”.

One major sore point in the area of race relations is the New Economic Policy, whose original intention to create unity has been subverted to become a major source of disunity not only between the various races but also among the Malays and Bumiputeras in general.

The New Economic Policy, which was conceived in 1971, not long after the Tunku had retired as prime minister, was primarily created to address poverty and to raise the level of Malay participation in the economy.

It was intended for all Malaysians, and not just for the Malays or Bumiputeras. As a former finance minister, let me emphasize that it was never the intention of the NEP to create an incubated class of Malay capitalists.

If we visit the government departments or universities, we wonder where all the non-Malays have gone. After 1969, suddenly there was this attempt to recruit mostly Malays into the civil service.

It is tragic that the civil service does not reflect the racial composition of the Malaysian population, as the predominant presence of only one race tends to engender a sub-culture that is antithetical to the evolution of a dynamic and efficient civil administration in the country.

Our school system is not as it used to be. The non-Malays prefer to send their children to vernacular schools, as the national schools have assumed an exclusively Malay character.

Needless to say, national schools have become even less attractive to the non-Malays as English is no longer used in the teaching of mathematics and science. The situation will be very different if all discriminatory practices in the education system were to be abolished, and a common system of education for all is adopted.

National unity is the one area that we cannot afford to ignore, and the real genesis of national unity, I submit, is from an unlikely source: Parliament, warts and all. It is the Parliament that has the final say in charting the direction the country is heading to.

We must have a strong and resolute government which recognizes the needs of all Malaysians, and formulates the right policies for the propagation of a cohesive and integrated society. If Parliament enacts policies that are just and fair for all Malaysians based on meritocracy and need, more than half the battle for national unity would be won.

In this respect, the rakyat’s [people’s] voters must realize that in the ultimate they alone hold the key to the future of this country.