Friday, 30 November 2012

'BN scandals, not Pakatan policy, bankrupting M'sia'

11:37AM Nov 30, 2012  

It is not Pakatan Rakyat’s proposed policies but BN’s continued wastage, as shown in numerous government scandals, that will cause the country to be “bankrupt”, the DAP says.

“Without even going into the details of the accusations about Pakatan Rakyat policies that have been well rebutted by my colleagues previously, Prime Minister Najib Razak’s claims are completely preposterous,” Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua said today.

NONE“In fact, if the BN federal government's scandals are anything to go by, it is the current administration’s continued profligacy that will cause the country to be ‘bankrupt’ if BN are voted back into power,” Pua said in a statement.

He was responding to Najib, who in his speech at Umno’s general assembly yesterday said Pakatan’s poor policies would bankrupt the country if it came into power.

Pua blasted Najib, accusing him of cooking up figures to make Pakatan’s budget look bad.

He said Pakatan’s 2013 alternative budget compared with the BN shows Pakatan’s proposed expenditure of RM234 billion to be lower than BN’s RM252 billion and likewise, its projected deficit of 3.5 percent beats BN’s four percent.
Plucked from thin air

“How did Najib pluck a 30 percent, or an incredulous RM300 billion deficit, from thin air?” Pua asked.

On the other hand, the DAP national publicity secretary said, BN has been giving “all sorts of unacceptable excuses” over the Najib’s alleged scandals.

He cited two of these as the government’s failure to recover the RM250 million soft loan to the National Feedlot Corporation and Tajuddin Ramli’s RM RM589.6 million outstanding debt to government subsidiaries.

Pua also noted that Pakatan Selangor had recovered RM392 million of debt from Talam Corporation, and that the Selangor and Penang state governments have recorded budget surpluses since 2008. 

“Hence, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Malaysians throughout the country can evaluate and compare the performance of the BN administration against the Pakatan state administrations over the past five years and make informed judgments

“Pakatan Rakyat will implement prudent spending and will reallocate funds for our proposed expenditure by cutting wasteful expenditure, restructuring subsidies for target groups and eliminating corruption via open, transparent and competitive tenders and procurement systems,” Pua said.

“Pakatan Rakyat has more than proven that we are more than capable of strengthening the country’s finances and economy.

“On the other hand, the continued corruption, abuse of power and profligacy under the BN will inevitably lead to economic disaster for the nation,” he added.

Assembly fines Umno rep RM1,000 for sexist remark


BN state assemblypersons today staged a walkout after the Selangor state assembly passed a motion to fine Batang Kali representative Mohd Isa Abu Kasim RM1,000 for uttering sexist remarks in the House.

A Facebook posting by Rawang assemblyperson Gan Pei Nei says she proposed the motion which was supported by Hulu Selangor assemblyperson Saari Sungib and Seri Setia assemblyperson Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad.

NONEThe motion initially called for Mohd Isa (right) to be slapped with a fine of RM5,000, but this was later reduced to RM1,000.

"After Mohd Isa apologised... I proposed for the fine be reduced to RM1,000 on condition Mohd Isa (personally) makes a sincere apology to (Bukit Lanjan assemblyperson) Elizabeth Wong and attends a gender sensitivity course.

"This is a reminder to everybody not to be sexist to anyone," Gan said in another posting.

Last Thursday, Mohd Isa caused a stir in the House after he made a vulgar remark against Wong, the state exco member in charge of environment and tourism, when commenting on an alleged encroachment into the Templer Park forest reserve.

He had said: “I am very happy the exco is continuing to look after forest reserves to prevent encroachment, but don’t do this to the extent of neglecting to look after your own ‘forest’.”

(Saya juga cukup amat gembira kerana exco menjaga kawasan-kawasan... teruskan menjalankan aktiviti mengawas hutan-hutan simpanan ini daripada diceroboh... jangan sampai lupa jaga hutan diri you sendiri.)

Isa had later denied that theremark was vulgar saying he was referring to the forest in Bukit Lanjan, Wong's constituency.

Prior to the walkout today, Mohd Isa had denied, during the debate on the motion, that his remark was sexist.

However, he apologised if he had offended anybody's sensitivity.

It was after the motion was passed that Mohd Isa and the other BN assemblypersons staged the walkout.

'Cut off my ears if BN loses in Bentong'


Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob today boldly declared that Barisan Nasional will not lose the parliamentary seat of Bentong because of the Lynas controversy, and he is willing to literally bet his ears on that.

2012 selangor dap convention 041112 lim guan eng“I tell you, DAP cannot win in Bentong. Cannot win! If DAP wins in Bentong, you cut my ears and I’d jump into the Pahang river,” he said along the sidelines of the Umno general assembly today.

He boasted that even if Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng (left) were to contest for the seat, he would lose.

If MCA loses, he added, the party might as well "close shop" nationwide.

The Bentong parliamentary seat is presently being held by MCA deputy president Liow Tiong Lai, and Adnan’s Pelangai seat is located within.

Adnan was commenting on the possible political implications of the unpopular Lynas Advanced Material Plant (Lamp) in Gebeng, Kuantan.

Adnan insisted that whatever political implications will be confined to Kuantan and will not spread elsewhere in Pahang.

He added that the decision of Kuantan voters in the next general election will serve as a referendum of the Lynas issue.

“If we win in Kuantan, that’s it. That’s finished. Lynas is no more an issue,” he said, adding that he believes BN has a 60 percent chance of retaking the seat.

NONEWhen pointed out that there are many who participated in anti-Lynas protests, Adnan said, “they are all outsiders! They are all outsiders you know? Supporters from outside. We can identify.

“We take photographs from the top of the buildings, and then we will break it into squares, and then we identified everybody. All (are) outsiders, not Pahang people, not Kuantan. That’s why I’m not worried”.

No sympathy for Green Marchers
On a separate issue, Adnan claimed that he had spies follow the Green March protestors, and found that they did not walk the entire 300-kilometre journey from Kuantan to Kuala Lumpur as alleged.

“Come on, they don’t walk all the way lah. They stop everywhere then go by car, (then) they stop (and walk) where people are there to watch them. These are all tricks lah, I know!” he said, adding that he has no sympathy for their cause.

“I have no sympathy. No sympathy. Because they travel in luxury, in motorcars you know.

“They have their children, then they stop at restaurants eating, sponsored by many people. It’s nothing, so I don’t have sympathy for them.

NONE“If the walk right from Day One or from Kilometre One up to Putrajaya, I think I might have some sympathy for them. But then, I have to send that person for mental check-up first,” he said.

However, when asked, he said he would not persuade the cabinet to cancel the project if anti-Lynas protestors do march from Kuantan to Putrajaya because they had already exhausted all avenues of appeal.

“We have followed what they want. (Kuantan MP) Fauziah Salleh - two years back - she SMSed me saying why not we engage with international bodies and I said ‘why not?’

“We have engaged and they have got a u-turn,” he said, referring to an inspection on Lamp by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) representatives.

During the interview, the animated Adnan accidently knocked a reporter’s voice recorder off the latter’s hand.

“Sorry, I’ll buy you a new one,” he said before resuming the interview.

Parading May 13 proof of PM's 1M'sia hypocrisy


MP SPEAKS The irresponsible threats raised by Unmo leaders at their 66th general gssembly of "May 13" and chaos if the party loses the 13th general election, falsely claiming that Malays will lose political power and will be rendered "destitute in our own land", is the best proof of the failure and hypocrisy of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's 1Malaysia policy.

If the 1Malaysia Policy proclaimed by Najib after becoming prime minister in April 2009 is more than an election gimmick for votes in the 13GE, its philosophy "to create a Malaysian nation where every Malaysian will regard himself or herself as Malaysian first and race, religion, geographical region or socio-economic status second" should have been the guiding spirit of speeches of Umno/BN leaders and their party conferences.

But this is clearly not the case despite the onset of the 43rd month of Najib's premiership, as illustrated by the 66th Umno General Assembly.

NONEIn the first place, an Umno/BN leader fully imbued by the 1Malaysia spirit of "Malaysian first and race, religion, geography or socio-economic status second" would never entertain any notion let alone utter any threat of May 13 or chaos regardless of the outcome of the forthcoming polls, as anyone who could toy with any May 13 threat or warning of chaos because of the free democratic choice of Malaysians in their choice has not only failed to imbibe the spirit of 1Malaysia, but is acting in a most disloyal and unpatriotic manner utterly heedless of the higher interests of the nation and the best future for the country.

Such disloyal and unpatriotic notions are all the more reprehensible as they are built on despicable lies and falsehoods, that the defeat of Umno will result in the loss of political power of the Malays resulting in the Malays, to quote one speech: "..if we go down in this struggle, we do not have anything left. We will be brought down to our knees, and eventually become destitute in our own land".

students protest against price hike in putrajaya pm's departmentThat fate may befall party leaders - and that is if Umno is incapable of reform even after being ousted from Putrajaya - but definitely it will not be the fate of the Malays.

This is because replacing Umno/BN in Putrajaya will be the Pakatan Rakyat coalition comprising PKR, PAS and DAP - made up of Malaysians from all races, religions and regions representing the best interests of all.
Foolhardiness of playing racial card
Do MCA and the other BN component parties agree that if the ruling coalition loses in the 13GE, the Malays will lose political power?

MCA leaders are in fact saying the very opposite - telling the Chinese that if Pakatan Rakyat defeast Umno/BN in the coming polls, the Chinese will lose even more political, economic, educational, socio-economic and citizenship rights!

Let Umno and MCA leaders decide on one common message - whether it is the Malays or Chinese who will lose political power if Umno/BN is replaced by Pakatan Rakyat in the 13GE.

NONEThe true answer is that it is not the Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans or Ibans who will lose political power but the Umno-putras and their hangers-on in the other BN component parties - with ordinary Malaysians regardless of race, religion or region coming into their own to have a rightful share in the decision-making process in a more democratic Malaysia.

It is time that Umno and MCA leaders stop their irresponsible politics of "divide and rule" and compete with Pakatan Rakyat parties instead on "unite and rule" for a more democratic, just, prosperous and competitive Malaysia.

FGV's stock price falls as analysts see bleak Q3 results


Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd’s (FGV) share price fell four sen, or 0.87 percent, to RM4.55 as at 11.33am today as analysts expected a disappointing third-quarter result.

The price was also at par with the oil palm plantation giant's offer price at its initial public offering, which was Malaysia’s largest listing this year and the second in the world after Facebook.

An analyst said the expectation of disappointing third-quarter result was due to the weak crude palm oil (CPO) prices and low fresh fruit bunches (FFB) production growth during the three months under review.

“FGV could also struggle with its ageing oil palm trees that accounted for 53 percent of the 320,000 hectares of oil palm estates which rank among the highest in the industry,” he said.

He said a replanting exercise would mean even more loss of income for the group during the period for the trees to mature.

The analyst said the company was also reportedly suffered from a productivity issue in terms of tonnes per hectare that ranked as the third lowest among the major Malaysian plantations firms.

FGV, listed on the main market of Bursa Malaysia on June 28 with 72.96 million shares offered to the public, debuted at RM5.39 and rose to as high as RM5.50 on July 4.

- Bernama

‘Najib has a lot to answer’ - Alyaa Azhar and K Pragalath

PKR and NGOs want the prime minister to clear the air following allegations linking him to the murder of Mongolian interpreter, Altantuya Shaariibuu.

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak must come out and clarify the recent statement by carpet trader Deepak Jaikishan linking him to the murder of Altantuya Shariibuu, PKR leaders and NGOs said.

At a press conference yesterday, Deepak promised to reveal more details surrounding the murder of Altantuya.

He said he was involved in arranging for a second statutory declaration (SD) for private investigator P Balasubramaniam.

The second SD reversed the earlier SD which had directly linked Najib to the murder of the Mongolian national.

Deepak said: “I got involved in the second SD to protect the interest of Najib. There is no other logical reason, is there?”

PKR vice-president and Subang MP R Sivarasa said that Deepak’s statement clearly showed that the first SD was the truth.

“… Deepak’s decision for arranging the second SD was obviously to reduce the impact of Bala’s revelations.

“If this is true, then the prime minister has a lot of questions to answer with regard to the real murderers of Altantuya,” he said.

He added that the whole country knew that the two policemen who killed her had acted on instruction.

“So who were the ones who ordered the murder? The policemen acted as the gun, but who really pulled the trigger?

“The prime minister, his closest aides and his wife [Rosmah Mansor] should have been called as witnesses during the murder trial, which would have helped the court in determining the truth,” said Sivarasa.

Reopening murder trial

On whether Deepak’s revelation would benefit Pakatan in the coming general election, he said, “This revelation certainly shows whether the prime minister and his party can continue to lead the country. The people are also be aware of the continued cover-ups.”

On what PKR intends to do with the latest revelation, Sivarasa said, “It depends on the press reports; if the reports continue to reveal more things, we will decide then.”

He added that the latest revelation definitely strengthens the call for a re-opening of the murder trial for truth to be established.

However, Batu MP Tian Chua said, “I don’t need Deepak to tell me whether the prime minister is involved or not.”

“I already know the fact of the matter and what I do know is that the prime minister has a lot to explain,” he added.

He said that regardless of whether a person is a supporter of Barisan Nasional or Pakatan, everyone wants an explanation.

He also said that the people know that Najib cannot just sweep everything under the carpet.

Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah said that “we should all wait for the full revelation”.

Meanwhile, Suaram chairman K Arumugam said that Najib should clarify the allegation.

“Najib should either admit or deny. He must clarify the matter or he should lodge a police report against Deepak,” he said.

Bersih steering committee member Maria Chin Abdullah urged Deepak to raise his allegation in the court.

“Whatever Deepak alleged should be said in court if he wants justice. Then Najib can appear in court to clear the air,” she said.

Shame on you, Shahrizat: You are a fear-monger — P. Ramakrishnan

NOV 30 — As a former minister, Shahrizat Abdul Jalil should have more sense to be responsible and appreciate the democratic process. Instead, she comes across as someone who is not prepared to accept the verdict of the people in a democratic election if that verdict went against Umno.

Is she planting the seeds of hatred in the minds of Umno members and instigating them to run amok and create havoc?

How does one view her statement when she said at the Wanita Umno assembly: “If we are no longer in power, we would lose political stability. Certainly, the Malays, the majority in this country, would be unsettled” (Malaysiakini, November 28).

“I am concerned and worried that this would bring racial tensions that could lead to a repeat of the May 13, 1969 tragedy.”

Is she threatening Malaysians that there will be a recurrence of the May 13, 1969 tragedy if Umno were to lose power? Why should that be so? Is she calling on Umno members to get ready to do the unthinkable if they were forced by the electorate to vacate Putrajaya?

Is she aware of the terrible consequence of rioting following the likely routing of Umno? She doesn’t care to think for a moment of the destruction and the loss of innocent lives that can ensue in such an eventuality. Her concern seems not to be for the well-being of the country and the people but only focused on remaining in power at whatever cost.

This is utterly irresponsible!

Her unintelligent gibberish only bewilders thinking Malaysians. Consider this for a moment when she rambles: “We must address this now if we don’t want to be refugees in our own land. A split in the Malay vote would dull the political power of the Malays.”

How can citizens become refugees in their country? Refugees are people who flee their own country because they no longer feel safe for their lives. Refugees run away to another country for some valid reasons: political oppression, social upheavals, unrest, persecution, absence of rule of law, absence of protection from the government, inability to eke out a livelihood, etc.

Can anyone foresee this ever happening in this country i.e. people being forced to flee? She has to exaggerate this lie to create fear and horror in the minds of unthinking Umno members!

How would “a split in the Malay vote dull the political power of the Malays”? The Malay vote has been split for decades. That has not dulled the political power of the Malays. This goes to show that Umno doesn’t necessarily equate with the Malays, and vice versa. The political reality is much more complex than Umno would like us to believe. Besides, Malays, like any other ethnic group in the country, should instead unite around noble principles of justice, equality and compassion.

Take Kelantan, for example. There was and has been a split in the Malay vote but has that dulled the political power of the Malays? Has that forced Umno members to seek refuge elsewhere outside the country?

There was a change in government in Kedah. Has that dulled the political power of the Malays? How many Umno members fled Kedah to seek safer haven elsewhere?

Take the case of Perak that was taken over by the Pakatan Rakyat. In recognising the political reality and the make-up of the polity of this country, Datuk Nizar Jamaluddin was appointed the mentri besar of Perak. Obviously, Pakatan was very sensitive to the Malay sentiment and did not do anything that could be upsetting. We are not aware if Umno members were involved in any exodus from Perak!

Then there is Penang, which fell to Pakatan Rakyat in March 2008. In keeping with the tradition and original understanding — unlike Malacca — Lim Guan Eng was sworn in as chief minister. There was no unrest. There was no flight of refugees from Penang.

So there is no basis to claim that the Malays will become refugees or that their political power will be diminished. What has been established is the fact that change can be peaceful and that the harmony of the country will not necessarily be destroyed.

As long as we accept and respect the political process as a legitimate avenue of expression, political change will be without any untoward incident. By and large, the majority of Malaysians are peaceful, sensible and responsible. However we must be on the lookout for the few who may try and stir up trouble. We should leave them to the police to take care of.
Umno must be desperate if such lies have to be manufactured! —

EC fails to deliver on overseas voters


MP SPEAKS On Nov 19, in a special meeting with over 40 members of parliament, the Election Commission (EC) promised that it would submit to Parliament the necessary changes on the regulations for Malaysians overseas to be registered as voters so that these changes can be gazetted and implemented.

NONEYesterday, the last day of the final parliamentary sitting for this year and possibly the last sitting before the next general election, the EC has once again failed to deliver on its promise because no amendment to the election registration laws has been tabled in Parliament.

The EC has, time and time again, promised to take the necessary steps to ensure that Malaysians overseas would be allowed to register in time to vote for the next general election, which has to be held by the end of June 2013.

This is one of the eight demands of Bersih. This is also one of the recommendations in the Preliminary Report of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reform. [1] The EC has also agreed to this recommendation in principle. [2]

The only caveats given by the EC with regard to Malaysian overseas being registered as voters was that they would have to vote via postal ballots rather than going to the various Malaysian embassies and high commissions and that they would have to return to Malaysia once every five years in order to be eligible to be overseas voters.

No amendments tabled

The failure of the EC to table any amendments pertaining to the eligibility of Malaysian overseas to vote shows that the Malaysian government is not sincere about wanting to have a clean, fair and transparent elections.

Nor is it sincere in wanting to adopt the recommendations of the PSC on Electoral Reform including those which have been agreed upon by the EC such as allowing Malaysians overseas to vote.

This throws into doubt the sincerity of the Malaysian government in wanting to carry out the other recommendations made by the PSC on Electoral Reform, including the cleaning up of the electoral roll.

azlanIf Malaysians overseas are not given the right to register as overseas voters by the end of the year, it is likely that they will not be able to vote in the next general election since the gazetting of the electoral roll only takes place once every three months.

In addition, as long as Wisma Putra does not give explicit instructions to register Malaysian overseas as voters, a late decision to allow them to register would likely be met with a poor response.

The inconsistent responses by Malaysian embassies and high commissions pertaining to the registration of Malaysian students overseas has already been highlighted by MyOverseasVote, an organisation which is advocating for the right for Malaysians overseas to vote.

This shows that the EC, in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry, needs to take action immediately to ensure that Malaysian overseas can register in time to vote in the next election.

Still not too late for EC

Although the final parliamentary session for 2012 has concluded, it is still not too late for the EC to take the necessary steps to allow Malaysians overseas to register as absent voters.

Section 16 2(n) of the Elections Act 1958 already allows the Election Commission to "prescribe the facilities to be provided for voting by post and the persons entitled to vote by post".

NONESection 3 1(f) of the Elections (Postal Voting) Regulations 2003 states that "a member of any category of persons designated as postal voters by the Election Commission from time to time by notification in the Gazette" is entitled to be vote as postal voters.

The EC already has the power to designate Malaysians overseas to be eligible for postal voting under the current elections regulations.

We call on the EC to exercise this power by making a public announcement that all Malaysian overseas are eligible to be registered as postal voters.

We also all on the Malaysian government to ensure that the Wisma Putra give its fullest cooperation to the EC to register Malaysians who are currently living and/or working overseas to be postal voters so that they can vote in the next general election.

The failure to do so would once again demonstrate that this government is not sincere about conducting a clean, fair and transparent 13th general election.

[1] The exact recommendation was "Meluaskan kategori pengundi tidak hadir luar negara kepada semua warganegara Malaysia yang layak".

[2] In a media statement in April 2012, the EC stated that "SPR telah meneliti syor tersebut dan bersetuju untuk memberikan kemudahan kepada rakyat Malaysia di luar negara yang berdaftar sebagai pemilih untuk mengundi secara pos."


Chinese guilds optimistic Kelantan will relax rules

A meeting with state government officials yesterday has left Kelantan Chinese guilds feeling optimistic that the Kota Baru Municipal Council will relax its controversial ruling on unisex hair salons.

Kelantan Chinese Chamber of Commerce chairperson Goh Tee Chew said that the meeting lasted about one hour and the state government had promised to look into their recommendations.

"We asked the state to relax the rules banning female hairdresser from cutting the male customer's hair and male hairdresser from cutting the female customer's hair.

"They still need to look into our demand. They didn't said it is okay yet. But I'm optimistic following the meeting," said Goh when contacted.

Exco members Takiyuddin Hassan and Muhamed Fadzli Hassan were among those in the state government's delegation which met the Chinese guilds.

Decision soon
Goh refused to divulge further details on the meeting as the two exco members will need to brief the state cabinet on the matter.

NONEMeanwhile, according to Harakah Daily, Takiyuddin (right) said that the state government welcomed the suggestions from the Chinese guilds.

"I believe that the state government will make a decision soon - one that will take cognisance of the interest of all parties," he said.

The controversy over Kelantan's strict enforcement of unisex hair salons first erupted when it was reported that a female hairdresser was summoned by the Kota Baru Municipal Council (MPKB) for cutting the hair of a non-Muslim male customer.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Pakatan dismisses Dr M’s street chaos claim

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders today dismissed former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s warning that the opposition pact will resort to street demonstrations if it loses in the upcoming 13th general elections.

PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar said that the federal opposition is committed to the democratic practice of elections.

“Our position is clear. We want free and fair elections, we have consistently participated in the electoral process and we believe in following through with processes allocated under the Federal Constitution, nothing more,” she told The Malaysian Insider today.

Nurul Izzah (picture) said that political violence against PR leaders has seen a rise under Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s rule as prime minister, alluding to pro-Umno groups such as Perkasa.

“We are asking and demanding for an end to political violence. You have not responded, instead you have hurled allegations against us,” she said.

The Lembah Pantai MP also mentioned an attack this year against her in her own constituency.

But PR leaders have not retaliated even though they have been provoked and physically attacked, she said.

“You should judge us based on our actions and we are committed to peace and stability in Malaysia but certainly not committed to allowing a corrupt government to continue rampantly abusing its powers and robbing the nation’s coffers,” she said.

DAP’s Liew Chin Tong pointed out that the federal opposition had never started any chaos due to polls results, which he claims are unfair.

“For the past 12 general elections since 1959, despite the elections being unfair, there was no opposition initiated chaos.

“What BN has to do is to guarantee free, fair and clean elections, and if it fails to win power, to guarantee a smooth transition,” the Bukit Bendera MP said.

PAS’ Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli went a step further, claiming that this could be a pre-emptive move by Dr Mahathir in the event that the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition is defeated at the polls.

“Mahathir’s statement clearly means violence that appears from their supporters.

“It looks like Mahathir is trying to mentally prepare the people to memberontak (rebel) if Pakatan Rakyat wins later,” the Kuala Krai MP said.

Two days ago, Dr Mahathir had warned that democracy does not guarantee the public safety and security as violence could ensue when groups rise to demand their rights.

The country’s longest-serving prime minister spoke extensively on how parties would refuse to accept defeat when they lose during elections, and would abuse democratic processes to negate the results of such a poll.

He predicted that if PR loses the upcoming polls, there would likely be more street violence in Malaysia through public demonstrations, even heaping the blame entirely on its opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Dr Mahathir said that street demonstrations were Anwar’s way of preparing for the elections, adding that “without Anwar, there are no demonstrations”.

He also said the opposition has already begun setting the stage for unrest, pointing to how Malaysians have been rallied by pro-PR groups to rise and reject the results of the election should Barisan Nasional (BN) retain Putrajaya.

“They are creating an environment where people are being told that the next election will be unfair so people must be prepared to reject the result of the election and hold demonstrations and disrupt the economy and all that so they can gain power even after losing,” he said.

Umno leaders yesterday told The Malaysian Insider that they agreed with Dr Mahathir’s warning of chaos and street protests if PR loses the upcoming elections.

Protests and rallies in Malaysia have been largely peaceful until the police intervene, with notable examples in recent years being the electoral reform rallies by Bersih.

Human rights activists including the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) have said peaceful assemblies and rallies should be allowed especially with new laws enacted to facilitate such events with appropriate notice given to the authorities.

Rethinking wage policy to reposition our economy ― Liew Chin Tong

NOV 28 ― Although the minimum wage law is scheduled to take effect in January 2013, the Barisan Nasional government does not seem to be particularly committed to re-imagine the Malaysian economy through wage policy reform. Efforts to smoothen the transition for small and middle industries are seriously lacking too.

Minimum wage is meant to tackle several long-standing structural issues of the economy at once. As the United States and Europe struggle to stay afloat economically, Asia can no longer remain as an exporter, we need to grow our domestic/Asian markets; a higher income among locals will help generate a more vibrant domestic market which in turn will generate more jobs.

Also, with minimum wage, companies and industries will likely to rely less on cheap labour but invest in longer term potentials, capabilities and hence productivity of the workforce.

This is a virtuous cycle that will check dependence on unskilled foreign workers and brain drain at once.  Skilled citizens who work in foreign countries are likely to consider resettling back to their homeland if the wage difference between their home and host countries is narrowed.  

Gangnum-style policy making

Essentially, BN lacks a coherent new economic framework.

I frankly do not think that the BN government and its leaders had any idea why there was a need to introduce a minimum wage. Like many other policies, it was done just to respond to the opposition’s agenda.

While BN is currently the longest serving elected government in the world that is still in office and wanted to be re-elected for policy continuity, most policies were made in what I call “Gangnam style manner” ― on the horseback, basing on just back-of-envelope calculation. Consultants were brought in later to make ad hoc decisions implementable.

So we hear hilarious claims by MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek and his son, Chua Tee Yong, that minimum wage leads to national bankruptcy and that paying foreign workers minimum wage will amount to more currency outflow through remittance.

By the way, Dr Chua Soi Lek also claimed that Pakatan Rakyat’s policy to renegotiate toll rates with concessionaires and to end North-South Expressway toll collection would result in tens of thousands of toll workers losing their employment.

To Pakatan Rakyat, removing many monopolies and rent seekers in the economy will help generate higher disposable income for ordinary Malaysians. To Dr Chua and BN, any change to the crony economy is a bad idea.

Why minimum wage?

Before we venture into the rationales for a minimum wage in Malaysia, let us first understand the regional economic dynamics.

On November 21, 2012, newly elected Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo raised Jakarta’s monthly minimum wage by 44 per cent to Rp 2.2 million (RM700).

On the subsequent day, West Java increased the minimum wage levels of its 26 districts and cities by an average of 25 per cent; one of which, Bekasi, is at Rp 2.1 million, just slightly below Jakarta’s level. More regions are likely to match Jakarta’s level close enough to prevent their own workers from flocking to Jakarta.

The immediate response from the Indonesian stock market was huge appreciation of share prices for companies producing consumer goods, as higher wages mean higher domestic consumption. Of course some employers were not happy with the rise but many can immediately spot the benefit of a bigger domestic market.

In the Eastern seaboard of China, such as Shenzhen, minimum wage is at RMB1,500 (RM735) while new daily minimum wage level in Thailand is at 300 baht a day (RM30, almost equal to Malaysia’s minimum wage).

What do these figures mean for Malaysia? The Barisan Nasional government sets its minimum wage at RM900 for Peninsular Malaysia and RM800 for Sabah and Sarawak while Pakatan Rakyat proposed a RM1,100 package with transitional funds to facilitate vulnerable industries to adapt.

The challenge for Malaysia in the years to come is whether there will still be abundance of supply of foreign labour from neighbouring countries like Indonesia and Burma where their wages are close enough to that of Malaysia’s.

The Malaysian economy will soon to be at a standstill if supply of cheap labour dries while Malaysia’s skilled labour and professionals look elsewhere for greener pastures due to low pay and lack of upward mobility in general in Malaysia.

Minimum wage is but one of the many reforms Malaysia that needs to undertake to move to the next level.

A new agenda for SMIs/SMEs

Many of the reforms like helping labour-intensive industries to become skill and knowledge intensive should have happened twenty years ago in 1992 when Malaysia first reached middle income nation status. But because for every foreign worker brought into this country, someone close to the establishment makes a cut through licensing and other sorts of payment, there is a huge lobby to resist any change.

While minimum wage has very little impact on most industries especially those with very high value added, it is also clear that the implementation of minimum wage, even at RM700 – not to mention higher rate, causes problem for small and medium industries in low-end manufacturing.

To help them is not to stop implementing minimum wage but to support them with financing as well as skill development so that they can be less labour-intensive. What is lacking in BN’s minimum wage policy is a facilitation fund as proposed by Pakatan Rakyat to assist these affected industries.

Beyond minimum wage, Malaysia’s small and medium businesses face other challenges. Corruption, red tape and dominance of GLCs in the economy make it very difficult for the “small guys” to operate in. A form of “tax terrorism” in heightened tax collection and frequent tax raids on SMIs/SMEs have caused fear among small businesses.

What Malaysia needs is a rethinking of our wage policies in a new global and regional environment. Anything short of that won’t take us very far. ― The Rocket

* Liew Chin Tong is the member of parliament for Bukit Bendera

Mahathir's vicious cycle


Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad exelled even himself this week with a speech in which he claimed that “exercising democratic rights could place society in a never-ending vicious cycle of instability and insecurity”.

This from the man who systematically robbed Malaysians of their democratic rights and thus created the vicious cycle of corruption, cronyism, injustice and impunity for himself and his partners and successors in crime that so bedevils the nation to this day.

And now, even in his dotage, he is so lacking in regret or remorse for his vile misrule of the nation, as to go on to claim in the same “vicious cycle” speech that Malaysia could not possibly go to war against its neighbouring nations as “Malaysians are cowards who don’t want to be injured or die but would rather enjoy life”.

But he’s also vividly aware that many of the people he cowed with his draconian anti-democratic laws, compliant judiciary, politicised police and manacled media would vastly prefer to enjoy life without him and his whole fraudulent Umno/BN regime.

NONEThe mammoth Bersih rallies of courageous citizens calling for clean and fair elections first struck terror if not the fear of God into Umno/BN, and now the magnificent Himpunan Hijau walk against the Lynas plant has come as another bitter blow to their self-belief.

But Mahathir remains in denial, claiming that the regime “has done much to prove that it is committed to reform”, and sneering in his trademark sarcastic fashion that if people are calling for even great reforms he will “convey it to the prime minister and he will immediately do it”.

Meanwhile the vicious cycle of regime crime and no punishment swirls on unabated, with no sign whatever of anybody being brought to book for the massive robberies and repressions of the Mahathir era, or for any that I can think of since.

Countless questions surrounding the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu, the suspicious deaths of Teoh Beng Hock and dozens of others in regime custody, and a series of massive frauds and embezzlements ranging from the RM12 billion Port Klang Free Zone fiasco to the RM250 million National Feedlot Corporation scandal still go mysteriously unresolved.

NONEAnd still the vicious cycle continues, with the awarding of the Automated Enforcement System to crony privateers, and in the process the unexplained payment of 10 times the proper price for the system’s cameras.

Indeed, far from feeling any pressure to explain such wholesale thefts of public money, the perpetrators seem to be getting more and more arrogant in their alibis for such atrocities.

Witness the laughably lying recent “explanation” by Selangor Umno information chief Shukor Idrus that public land in Selangor sold dirt-cheap to a private company during Umno/BN’s rule of the state was for the purpose of providing public amenities.

Fake events

And this vicious cycle of fraud extends way beyond the strictly financial and criminal, to fake events designed to invest the regime with false perceptions of public support.

Like last Saturday’s so-called Himpunan Barisan 1Malaysia gathering of NGOs that its head organiser, Ahmad Maslan, claimed had “nothing to do with Umno or the coming Umno annual general assembly”.

NONEMaslan, a deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, was quoted by Malaysiakini as lamely claiming that “you can’t say that it is being held in conjunction with the Umno AGM, as the gathering is this Saturday and the AGM is next Tuesday”.

In any case the event was as big a flop as all Umno/BN’s displays of its “popularity” are, and was completely overshadowed by the 20,000-strong attendance at the final leg of the Himpunan Hijau walk to Dataran Merdeka.

But at least it achieved its fake objective, which was to provide Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak with yet another platform from which to spout yet another of his fraudulent speeches.

This time, according to Malaysiakini, he urged against a change of government with the worn-out Mahathir claim that the nation is the “envy” of others.

NONE“Why fix the government if it’s not broken? It’s not broken, far from it,” he lied, before proceeding to list all the “incentives” his crooked regime has doled out to the people with public money and declaring that “more can be given, and we will give more in the future on the condition that the nation is governed well”.

This cannot be done, however, he said, through “empty promises” like those mentioned in the opposition’s manifesto document the Buku Jingga - “or Buku jing-gay, as others say”.

Of course this latter was a sly slur on Anwar Ibrahim and a reminder of the vicious cycle of trials to which both Mahathir and Najib have subjected Anwar on trumped-up charges of sodomy.

And, sure enough, he followed this up with a typically witless Mahathir-style “joke” to the effect that Anwar “goes here and there and ‘pokes’ people against the Malaysian government. He’s not done with his poking, so maybe that’s why they built this rostrum like a cage - to protect me,” he chortled.

Laughing at, not with him

Najib had better get all the jollies he can now, as more and more Malaysians are laughing at, not with him. And also, as ever, at the antics of his spouse, the self-styled first lady of Malaysia, Rosmah Mansor.

azlanHaving been relatively quiet for a while following the torrent of scorn elicited by her collection of Birkin handbags and honorary doctorates, she burst back onto the world stage with a vengeance the other day following the Asean summit in Cambodia.

In an interview with the Phnom Penh Post, she defended Najib’s support of the watering-down of the Asean Human Rights Declaration with a weasel out-clause based on public morality and civil order on the grounds of what she claimed to be Malaysia’s “high morality” as well as “alarming” rates of HIV/Aids cases.

Such an outpouring of false sanctimony from the self-seeking wife of an unelected prime minister presiding over the system of virulent venality bestowed on Malaysia by the venomous doctor is nothing short of outrageous.

It is yet another of many signs that the vicious cycle of Umno/BN misrule of the nation could well be as close to its end.

Musa wants IGP to regain control, be 'tough'


Former inspector-general of police (IGP) Musa Hassan has urged his successor Ismail Omar to wrest back full control of the police force and to stave off political interference.

At a press conference in Petaling Jaya today, Musa said he and his successor faced such challenges of interference - and implied that this was more rampant under Ismail's administration.

hishammuddin ismail omar musa hassan 010910"I was informed that even the KSU (secretary-general of the Home Ministry) can direct the CPO (state police contingent head) to report back to him. So, who is in charge of the police?

"Section 4(1) of the Police Act 1967 states that command and control of the police force should lie with the IGP. No other person can issue instructions to the police. That is why we have the Inspector-General's Standing Orders (IGSO).

"You can't (take) instructions from the KSU and report back to him. How do we explain this? This is a thing that we should highlight so they can correct (the situation). We don't say this out of hatred.

"I want them to improve things because I love the police force. My children's studies were funded by gaji polis, loh!" Musa added.

Reporter: To put it bluntly, has Ismail lost control of the police force?

Musa: You ask him. You don't ask me (laughs).

Reporter: You said someone should correct the situation...

Musa: He himself. He is the IGP.

Asked for his personal thoughts on Ismail, Musa described his successor as "a good man" but that Ismail needed to stand his ground.

Being a 'yes man' won't help
"Being a good man alone, and to become popular, I think, is not a criteria to be the IGP. You have to be tough. Sometimes, your have to be vocal with your superiors. When it is not right, tell that it is not right.

NONE"I used to say before, if an IGP is the 'yes man' (then) he is the best IGP in the world. If he is vocal then he will be a bad IGP. He will have a lot of allegations against him.

"The 'yes man' just follows what the people want, then you are the best IGP. In Malaysia, it works that way," he said.

Musa also criticised the "high profile policing" strategy of the force, arguing that having the police top brass embarking on a public relations exercise would not yield results.

"There is no point for the IGP to go around and say he is close to the people. No one is going to call you. It is the people on the ground who do the job.

"When I was in service before, I gave my phone number to the public because I want to get involved with the public (and) so I can check (on) my officers," Musa added.

Ex-IGP accuses Hisham of meddling with PDRM

Former inspector-general of police Musa Hassan claimed today the police force under him faced interference from Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.

At a press conference in Petaling Jaya, Musa said Hishammuddin had once given instructions directly to junior police officers and a district police chief without his knowledge.

NONE“So, I highlighted to him (Hishammuddin) Section 4 (1) of the Police Act (1967, which says) that the command and control of the police is by the IGP and not the minister.

“Of course, I cannot be rude to him as (he is) a minister. I talked to him nicely. He didn’t like it,” said Musa.

He was responding to a question from the media on whether he had faced hindrance from Hishammuddin during his time as the country’s top cop. Musa retired in September 2010.

The press conference was called by Malaysian Crime Watch Task Force (MyWatch), with which Musa serves as patron.

Asked again if Hishammuddin reacted negatively to the exchange, Musa replied: “I think so. That is why (my contract) was not extended.”

No grudge

However, Musa was quick to add that this was not a case of “sour grapes” and neither was he raising the issue now because of a grudge he had with the home minister.

NONE“I am very happy with my retirement. You can get others to do it (run the police force), but do it properly. Take care of the security of this country, the people and society. That is the most important thing,” he said.

Nevertheless, he pointed out that a certain minister, alluding to Hishammuddin, still appeared to be by-passing the IGP and issuing instructions directly to police officers, and he based this on news reports quoting the said minister.

“You read the papers, sometimes you hear: ‘I have directed police to do this’, ‘I have directed the police to do that’. I think you know (laughs),” he said.

Additionally, Musa said other politicians and “top people” have also tried to interfere in the arrest of certain criminals.

“I can give an example. Whenever I arrest some crooks who are involved in illegal activities, there would be phone calls for me to release them. From top people, you know,” he said, adding  that it happened quite often.

Unlawful instructions

When asked how he handled such incidents, Musa said that he would not execute the instruction if it was unlawful.

“I just tell them ‘I cannot take action because it is against the law’. Okay? I can only take lawful orders as an IGP, under Section 20 (2) of the Police Act (1967), the police must only take lawful orders.

“You have to inform back to your superiors that it is an unlawful order. ‘Very sorry, no action will be taken’. If he still insists (I’ll say) ‘Can you please give it to me in black and white, because I won’t be responsible after that’,” he said.

Musa said that this applied even if the instruction came from the prime minister.

However, he said that his insistence on a written instructions usually dissuades his immediate superiors - the home minister and his deputy.

“When I say black and white, normally they stop,” he said.

Altantuya case: No interference

To another question, Musa said there was no political interference during investigations on the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu in 2006.

"There were no intereference, or else I won’t be investigating my own people and Razak Baginda," he said.

Abdul Razak Baginda, known for his close ties with then deputy premier Najib Abdul Razak, was acquitted in 2008 of abetting two police personnel in Altantuya's murder.

The two police personnel - Sirul Azha Umar and Azilah Hadri - were convicted of murder in 2009 and sentenced to hang. Their hearing at the Court of Appeal has been postponed twice.

At the time, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was both prime minister and home minister.

On the sidelines of the Umno general assembly, Hishammuddin was approached by reporters on Musa’s revelations, but he declined comment.

“I don’t know... Let me check... I do not want people to have any wrong perception,” he said.

Deepak says he paid Najib's family for land deal

EXCLUSIVE Businessperson Deepak Jaikishan claimed that he paid the family of Najib Abdul Razak an undisclosed sum for the premier's intervention to allow him to come in as a party in a Defence Ministry project deal.

According to Deepak, he stitched a deal with a Selangor Umno leader's company where he would participate as a third party in the proposed project.

NONEThis began, Deepak explained, with a privatisation agreement in 2005 where the company was tasked to work on a Defence Ministry project in Putrajaya.

In exchange for the estimated RM100 million project, which the company was to build at its own cost, the company would be paid RM20 million by the government and would acquire 223.3 acres of government land in Klang.

However, Deepak said the politician did not have the credit-worthiness at that time to secure a land bond of RM72.5 million necessary for the project and had therefore approached him for help.

The deal, he added, would require him to secure the RM72.5 million land bond and top it up with RM23 million in cash payments to the company.

In return, Deepak said the politician's company was to give him ownership of the said property, which is a piece of prime land adjacent to the now booming Setia Alam township.

najib abdul razak in perth chogm 1The names of the politician and the company involved have been withheld pending their reply to Malaysiakini's request for comments.

"She couldn't get the government to agree that the land bond be issued to a third party because under privatisation, the company that gets the privatisation (project), the land must remain under their name.

"So, I organised a meeting for her to meet (Najib), at that time our defence minister, to allow this land be transferred to a third party company," he said.

Deepak said the transfer was made possible after he "contributed heavily" to Najib's family.

Below is the excerpt of Malaysiakini’s interview with Deepak:

Malaysiakini: You mentioned earlier that there were bribes involved in this project?

Deepak: Okay, I think as far as the dealings with the politician were concerned, it was a business deal. But yes, as I mentioned - I wouldn't use that word that you used just now - but we had to contribute heavily to ensure that we get the approval from the defence minister at that time.

Contribute to whom?

A close family of his (Najib) lah. I will elaborate at later sessions.

Why the deal?

We couldn't procure the land to be given to a third party otherwise.

It happened around 2007?


Can you disclose how much?

Not (at) this session.

Was a substantial amount of money involved?


How big is the amount?

Maybe we go to the next question.

For clarity, this "contribution" is with regard to the meeting that you mentioned just now, set up between the politician and the then defence minister?


The contribution is in terms of money and not material?


Najib expressed 'no opposition'

Deepak noted that "a third-party scenario should not happen in normal circumstances", but was only made possible with Najib's help.

He claimed that he possessed the minutes of the meeting in which Najib expressed "no opposition" in approving the third-party land transfer.

The revelation comes following a land dispute in which Deepak's company had not received the promised land from the politician, despite, he said, having kept up his end of the bargain.

"He (Najib) is well aware (of this dispute) but I don't see any action coming out. I don't see him carrying the responsibility of solving this matter," he said.

Deepak has filed a legal suit in the Kuala Lumpur High Court and a police report on the matter was lodged in July.
The carpet trader told Malaysiakini yesterday that he regretted helping a female friend in the case involving private eye P Balasubramaniam.

This interview was jointly conducted by Fathi Aris Omar, Wong Teck Chi and Nigel Aw.

PAC told to probe AES, speed camera complaints

A PAS parliamentarian has submitted the complaints it has compiled to the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in relation to the controversial use of the Automated Enforcement System (AES) and speed cameras.

Pokok Sena MP Mahfuz Omar urged the PAC to probe the contract as well as the contractors for the AES, and the procurement of the speed cameras, which are managed by the traffic police.

NONE"I’m handing over this (matter) to PAC chairperson Azmi Khalid (right in photo) to investigate and take the necessary action, in the public interest," he told  reporters at the Parliament lobby yesterday.

Mahfuz, who chairs his party’s Anti-postal Summons Campaign (Kase) had recently alleged that the Home Ministry had paid 10 times more than the market rate in purchasing the speed cameras.

Azmi, who was at the press conference, declined to comment beyond saying he would raise the issue at the PAC’s next meeting on Dec 5.

The memorandum of complaint urged the PAC to examine how both the AES contractors secured their rights to manage the cameras, and to ensure that there was no abuse of power in the awarding of the contract.

PAC was further urged to look into the procurement process and price of the speed cameras, as well as the suppliers.

Mahfuz added that he would make an appointment to see the auditor-general in a week, to submit a copy of the memorandum.

MCA and its hair salon cause celebre

COMMENT While it has remained mum on many issues affecting non-Muslim civil rights and concerns over their religious freedom, Chinese-only party MCA now appears to suggest that nothing is more close to the hearts of non-Muslims than unisex hair salons.

Since last week, the BN component party has turned into a factory, dishing out statements condemning a Kota Baru Municipal Council (MPKB) ruling prohibiting unisex services in hair salons that came into force in 1991.

NONEThe rule was introduced amid complaints from members of the public that hair salons in the state, too, were being abused to solicit for sexual services, as was the case in the other states where many a raid by enforcement agencies revealed illegal brothels masquerading as unisex hair and beauty salons.

A report that a hairdresser was slapped with a fine by the MPKB recently for flouting the rule has given the Chinese party a cause celebre, at a time political pundits warn that the party could well forget about coming out of its political hibernation in the coming general election following its disastrous performance in 2008.

Yet again yesterday, party leaders took turns churning out their respective statements of 'outrage', to the extent that a person foreign to Malaysian politics reading them will be forgiven for thinking that unisex salons are a hallowed issue to Malaysian non-Muslims and considered something sacred.

Lowest form of wit in journalism

Within the last 24 hours, several MCA personalities have passionately argued in defence of the plight of the 'oppressed' hairdressers, issuing statements containing clichéd puns, arguably the lowest form of wit in journalism.

Wong Chun Wai, the party's master propagandist, was in the usual anti-PAS element when he tried to hint that women in many respected professions are exposed to vice.

"Will we see PAS banning women doctors from treating male patients?" asked the group chief editor of MCA-owned English-language daily Star.

The task given to MCA organising secretary, meanwhile, is to target DAP over its political alliance with PAS.

NONE Tee even suggested that DAP Socialist Youth chief Anthony Loke Siew Fook (right) "must carry some responsibility" for the hair salons rule, and went a step further by linking this to the hudud enactment of Kelantan.

"Immediately after the issue of the ban on hair salons, Loke should have spoken up against this regulation which have caused dissatisfaction among the people of Kelantan and creating difficulties for them," declared Tee.

Not to be outdone, MCA Youth secretary-general Chai Kim Sen chipped in, describing the MPKB rule as one that threatened "freedoms and livelihoods of non-Muslims".

Take on two weekend rallies?

The party, whose current president Dr Chua Soi Lek was caught on camera having sex with his girlfriend in 2008, also expressed dismay that MPKB has a rule disallowing cubicles in hair salons, a normal rule enforced by many other municipal councils nationwide on other businesses, including reflexology centres.

"From the regulations above, it is very obvious that the Kelantan state government encroaches into the freedoms and livelihoods of non-Muslims as their business operations have been greatly hindered," Chai said.

Meantime, the party has yet to give its take on two major demonstrations over the weekend: the protest in Petaling Jaya organised by the United Chinese Schools Committees Association (Dong Zong) against the National Education Blueprint 2013-2025, and the anti-Lynas walk that ended at Dataran Merdeka.

One cannot help noticing that the bulk of the participants in those two gatherings were Chinese, although they were joined in solidarity by other races.

The question whether MCA thinks the right to live without radioactive poison is secondary to the right to get unisex services is now answered by the party's outpouring of grief over the MPKB rule.

On hindsight, if this rule had been enforced by, say, the City of London or Singapore on the basis of public decency, it would not have evoked such false liberalism from some.

This, of course, again highlights the limits and shortcomings faced by an Islamic party in ruling within modern multiracial settings, even if it means well.

Mothers moot daycare centres for Parliament

There was a "googoo gaagaa" moment in Parliament yesterday. No, that was not a description of the usual childish behaviour in the House, but that of a four-month-old baby who followed her mother to work.

NONESerdang MP Teo Nie Ching said she brought her daughter Jinger Gan to Parliament to prove a point - that both the public and private sector have neglected working mothers by not providing daycare centres.

Teo said that she was inspired to do so after learning of Italian member of the European Parliament Licia Ronzulli, who brought her 44-day-old daughter to work two years ago.

Ronzulli made the symbolic move to highlight women's right in reconciling work with family life.

In the case of Malaysia, Teo said that government agencies and the private sector have provided 71 and 20 crèches respectively - far below what is needed by Malaysia's female labour force.

"Even Parliament, the symbol of democracy and rights in our country, does not provide such facilities," she lamented at a press conference at the Parliament lobby, with her baby in arm.

Women participation lacking

"It is therefore not surprising that many women leave their jobs in the midway through their career because Malaysia's workplaces are still not mother-friendly," she added.

NONETeo said women participation in Malaysia's labour force, which stood at 47.9 percent in 2011, is relatively low when compared regionally.

She said that Thailand, Singapore and Brunei's figures were 71 percent, 63 percent and 60 percent respectively.

Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, who accompanied Teo at the press conference, suggested that Parliament should lead the way and establish a daycare centre.

She said that such a facility would help MPs, senators, Parliament's staff and media personnel.

It’s the system that turns good leaders bad - Mohd Ariff Sabri Aziz

Malaysians think that by changing the present set of bad people with good ones everything will be all right, but nothing is farther from the truth.

People do not want to believe that if you have an intrinsically bad system, you are good at the beginning, but you are eventually going to degenerate.

But people don’t want to accept this.

Let’s assume Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is a good person (he probably is) but the system which sustains him is bad. It will eventually cause him to turn bad.

So it isn’t enough to transform society by changing the people leading it, but the system that structures our society must be changed too.

That is our (Pakatan Rakyat’s ) agenda now. Not just changing of guards, but changing the system that structures our society.

Just as a free market requires a libertarian system or liberal democracy, so do good people at the top who can stay good but only if we have a good system of government.

The leader who respects the opinions of the people he leads stays a good leader but only if the system sustains him so.

But Najib can’t stay a good leader because Umno structures the world around us in a bad way.

Najib’s New Economic Model (NEM) in reality is just an extension of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s way of renouncing the NEP and choosing to jump-start Malay economics by picking and choosing winners.

He, at that point, chose mostly devils he knew and enriched them.

Najib is now continuing to do the same by his market-driven affirmative action that forms his NEM.

Dangerous thinking

Author Fredrik Hayek makes an interesting point in his book, “The Road to Serfdom”. He explains why the worst get to the top.

If we interpret his observation against modern terms, it is that people are willing to suspend reality in exchange for a sanitised world.

Hayek opines that it is dangerous to think that “good men can overcome a bad system”. It is simply wrong thinking.

Malaysia unfortunately appears to be in that situation.

We adjust ourselves and accommodate totalitarian tendencies believing that such a system or political arrangement is not at fault.

We think that by changing the present set of bad people with good and decent people, everything is all right.
But nothing is farther from the truth.

The agenda the opposition seeks is not only changing the bad people on top, but reforming the structure of this country.

If we don’t put the correct structure in place, even when good men lead, they will soon be overwhelmed by the system.

The writer is a former Umno state assemblyman but has since joined DAP. He is a FMT columnist.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Hadi: Hair salon rule not meant for non-Muslims

5:46PM Nov 27, 2012  
The Islamic morality by-laws implemented by the Kota Baru Municipal Council are not meant to be expanded and implemented on non-Muslims, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang said today.

This is clear in the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment (II) 1993, which is not applicable to non-Muslims, Hadi said in a statement.

The party, he added, views seriously the concerns voiced by the non-Muslims.

NONE"At the same time, Kelantan has to enforce its responsibilities after getting the mandate given by the people to ensure that the good behaviour of Muslims is safeguarded," the PAS president said.

"Hence, PAS believes that the purpose of this by-law is towards that objective."

Hadi, who is also Marang MP, was referring to the uproar over the action taken by the Kota Baru municipality against a hair salon this month after its female hairdresser was seen cutting a male customer's hair.

The row led to MCA central committee member Loh Seng Kok calling on the DAP to quit the Pakatan coalition as it had no strength to fend off repeated provocations and oppression from PAS that impeded the dignity of the Chinese and non-Muslim voters.

Today, the PAS organ Harakahdaily quoted Kelantan Information, Development Information, Science and Technology Committee chairperson Mohd Fadzil Hassan as saying the Kelantan government would hold a discussion on the controversial ruling with non-Muslim community representatives and business operators.

Finding a solution

Hadi said the PAS central committee, too, was willing to consider proposals made by non-Muslims to find the best way to resolve the hair salon row, based on their right to practise their religion.

"Certainly, discussions and negotiations are the best way to resolve a problem. We welcome the openness adopted by the PAS-led Kelantan government in this (to hold the discussion)," he said.

"PAS is always committed to resolving issues faced through proper discussion," Hadi added.

Umno-owned daily Utusan Malaysia also quoted PAS Supporters Congress president Hu Pang Chaw as saying that Kelantan should cease enforcing rulings that affect non-Muslims in the state pending further study.

This, Hu said, would ensure fairness to non-Muslims rights, which Hadi had also stressed during the party's muktamar earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Kelantan Menteri Besar and PAS spiritual adviser Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat was quoted by The Star Online as saying that it is possible to exclude non-Muslim hairstylists in Kota Baru from attending to customers of the opposite sex.

“It is possible because they (those who object) are non-Muslims. Islam allows them to practice their culture, for as long as it is not in violation of the (Islamic) religion. First and foremost... we must uphold Syariah-based laws, Insyallah (God-willing),” Nik Aziz was quoted as saying, without making an official stand on the issue.

Nik Aziz said he had brought Kelantan dewan ulama chief Mohamad Daud for a discussion with five national PAS Supporters Congress members led by adviser its, Jeff Lee Weng Chun, who met him at his JKR 10 official residence, and promised that he will bring it up at the exco meeting for a decision to be confirmed. 

Carpet dealer says Wanita Umno leader cheated him in land deal

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27 — Controversial businessman Deepak Jaikishan has dropped a bombshell on the eve of the annual Umno general assembly alleging that a senior Wanita Umno politician had cheated him out of millions in a land deal.

Deepak, who deals in carpets, said he had agreed to buy three parcels of land in 2007 for RM13 million with a RM72 million bank guarantee for a land bond from the Wanita Umno leader, who was awarded a RM100 million privatisation deal for the development of the defence research centre called Pusat Pengajian Pertahanan Nasional (PUSPAHANAS).

But she had sold one parcel for RM2 million in cash and a RM16 million overdraft facility in a “joint-venture” with another company specialising in plasticware, prompting the carpet dealer to put a caveat on the land in Bukit Raja and lodge a police report last July.

“This is my land... I want to develop it,” Deepak told The Malaysian Insider, hours after he spoke to several other news portals about the matter.

The Malaysian Insider contacted the Wanita Umno leader but she did not respond to the calls.

The 40-year-old businessman (picture) said he has written to government leaders and officials about the matter but has yet to receive a response. The police have also been dragging their feet, he added.

“We want her to sign over the power of attorney for the land... but she hasn’t,” Deepak said.

In his police report dated July 9, 2012 at the Pudu police station, Deepak said the Wanita Umno leader and her company had committed a criminal breach of trust by not handing over the land titles to him and also selling his land to another party.

He said his company Astacanggih Sdn Bhd had signed a deal on May 16, 2007 to buy the three parcels of land measuring 89.281 acres, 88.629 acres and 45.420 acres from Awan Megah (M) Sdn Bhd, which was given the privatisation deal on June 8, 2005.

But Deepak said he never got the land or the title deeds, and had filed a lawsuit in December 2011 against the Wanita Umno leader, Awan Megah, the Selangor Land and Mines Office and the Ministry of Defence to get what was due to him.

He also found out last July that Awan Megah has signed a “joint-venture agreement” with Guppyunip Sdn Bhd on July 9, 2010 to develop one of the parcels he had bought.

“I am unsure if she has sold the same piece of land to others too,” he said, adding he hoped the police would get to the bottom of the case.