Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Is Taib's Family Fortune Actually Worth 5 or 10 Times More Than This?

Keruah Usit
11:56AM Dec 7, 2011 
Sarawak's Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud famously boasted that he has more money than he can ever spend.

A Swiss NGO campaigning against corruption in Sarawak, the Bruno Manser Fund, has now fleshed out this assertion. The BMF reports that Taib's family owns US$1.46 billion (RM4.6 billion) in corporate assets in 14 wealthy companies - in Malaysia alone.

azlanAccording to the BMF, Taib himself, his four children, eight siblings and his first cousin, Abdul Hamed Sepawi, have a stake in 332 Malaysian companies. In the three largest of these companies, the BMF contends, the Taib family owns substantial shares in Cahya Mata Sarawak or CMS (84 percent of net assets of RM2.4 billion), Custodev Sdn Bhd (25 percent of RM1.6 billion) and Ta Ann Holdings Bhd (at least 35 percent of RM1.4 billion).

CMS, popularly known by its nickname ‘Chief Minister's Sons', is a listed conglomerate with construction, cement, steel, property, private education and stockbroking interests. Custodev is a property development company. Ta Ann is a logging and oil palm giant. The BMF also says Taib's family are sole owners of Achi Jaya Holdings, a monopoly holder over log exports, with assets of RM550 million.

These findings contradict Taib's claim that his relatives have grown rich only outside Sarawak, using their entrepreneurship talent.

Taib denied using his family members as his proxies, claiming instead that his relatives are rich because they are "good" and "clever".

"We consider these corporate interests of the Taib family to be illicit assets. There are many clear indications that Taib has abused his public office to build a corruption and fraud-based billion-dollar empire," BMF director Lukas Straumann alleged in a press statement released internationally last weekend.

azlan"We are shocked to see that the Taib family has so shamelessly enriched itself while the people of Sarawak have to struggle with widespread poverty and an appalling lack of infrastructure and government services."

As a yardstick, Taib's recently announced budget estimated a total state revenue of RM4.04 billion in 2012.

The BMF readily admits that the RM4.6 billion figure is an underestimate, saying there are likely to be hidden Malaysian assets, as well as enormous capital flight.

The NGO says its research shows Taib's inner family circle has a stake in 85 companies in 24 countries and offshore jurisdictions worldwide, including Australia, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, the Cayman Islands, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Jersey, Saudi Arabia, Labuan, New Zealand, China, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, the UK, the US and Vietnam, and holds "illicit assets worth several billion US dollars".

The BMF has been a constant gadfly in the side of Taib's family, one of Malaysia's richest. It has collaborated with investigative journalists in the anti-graft website Sarawak Report to trace the financial trail of Taib's self-proclaimed fortune. These human rights campaigners have unearthed astonishing statistics from publicly available corporate and stock exchange documents.

NONESarawak Report founder Clare Rewcastle-Brown, during an interview on Family Trees, a Canadian prime-time television programme screened last Saturday on Global News, pointed out that investigating Taib's financial network is highly workable, because Taib family members openly own so many companies and such a huge chunk of international real estate.

Despite the wealth of accumulated information available, numerous reports by local human rights actvists to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the Malaysian police have been futile. However, the governments of Switzerland and Germany have begun graft investigations into Taib's family, and Canada and the United Kingdom have expressed concern.

Rewcastle-Brown alleges that Taib, as state minister in charge of land and forestry for some four decades, dealt out vast land parcels and logging licences to family members and cronies. Ta Ann, for instance, has been awarded over 675,000 ha of logging and plantation concessions, an area the size of Negri Sembilan, in three decades.

"I've seen that most of the companies that have received the lands have been companies owned by his siblings and his children and political allies that he needs to keep sweet... mainly, his own family. I've painstakingly researched what I can of many of these contracts," she said.

NONE"It has been possible for me, sitting in London, to go through the company records online and to trace how this money has gone from Sarawak in the early 1980s to Canada."

Taib has admitted giving ‘seed money' to his eldest daughter Jamilah to finance her Canadian property business, Sakto, said to be worth more than US$100 million (RM310 million).

Her Canadian husband and business partner, Sean Murray (left in photo), wrote a letter to the Global News programme, complaining that "Jamilah and I find these statements about ourselves and our business false, highly defamatory and very damaging".

Curiously, though, Taib and his family have all resisted taking the BMF or Sarawak Report to court. Tactics appear to have changed since the lawsuit brought by Taib against Malaysiakini in 2007, after the news portal reported a scandal in alleged kickbacks during timber exports.

The recent flurry of global news items on his family's ostentatious wealth seems to have overwhelmed Taib's lawyers.

Locally, Sarawakian lawmakers attempting to ask questions in Parliament have been stonewalled. Worse still, opposition representatives in the state legislative assembly have had their microphones silenced, and have seen parts of their speeches deleted from the Hansard.

Even so, Taib's family must not place much hope on being able to silence all their growing critics, throughout the world. They may speak softly and carry a big stick, but they may already have drawn too much attention to their wealth.

The BMF concluded its press statement by calling on anti-corruption and anti-money laundering authorities to investigate Taib's family, and urging international companies to shun doing business with the family, for "legal reasons" as well as to protect their reputations.

KERUAH USIT is a human rights activist - ‘anak Sarawak, bangsa Malaysia'. This weekly column is an effort to provide a voice for marginalised Malaysians. Keruah Usit can be contacted at

Taib Mahmud The Great Kleptocrat Of Sarawak

20 years on, NGO vows to fight corruption

The lifestyle of the Penan is endangered
The lifestyle of the Penan is endangered (AFP)

by Jessica Dacey,

After two decades of environmental campaigning for Malaysia’s Penan tribe, the Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) is stepping up its fight against local political corruption.

BMF remains one of the few non-Malaysian organisations still campaigning on behalf of the Penan, an indigenous people living in some of the world’s most biodiverse forests in Sarawak on the island of Borneo.

Two-thirds of its forests have been destroyed in recent years for logging or to build palm oil plantations. Now the BMF is targeting the political powers behind these developments.

The Basel-based BMF has spent the past 11 years carrying on the fight launched by its charismatic founder Bruno Manser, a Swiss activist who lived among the Penan for six years and introduced peaceful road blocks in a bid to stop logging.

He set up the BMF on December 7, 1990, but disappeared on a trip back to Sarawak in 2000. A Basel court declared him missing and presumed dead in 2005.

The BMF says it has been making progress in the past 20 years despite most of the primeval forests being cut down.

“We have been successful in Sarawak in keeping the campaign going, keeping resistance against logging going, in terms of helping the local indigenous communities to get organised and to empower them to do the right things themselves, and to know also that they have rights to their land, that they have a right to have a say about their livelihood,” BMF director Lukas Straumann told

As well as land mapping and setting up a pre-school and healthcare facilities, BMF have also helped the Penan take several land right cases to local courts and raised awareness of the situation elsewhere in Europe.

But faced with Sarawak’s “dictatorship-like rule”, it hasn’t been enough to make a significant change, the organisation says.

“Kleptocratic” rule

“Our biggest concern today is that the same government is still in place in Sarawak, as it has been for the past three decades, and the same family rules that state of Malaysia and it’s a kleptocratic form of governance,” Straumann said.

The family in question is that of Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, who Straumann says controls politics, the economy and the media. Taib is also the minister in charge of finance and planning.

The BMF website regularly reports on allegations of corruption in Sarawak. In February it launched an online campaign against Taib and 48 “blacklisted” companies, and this week the campaign stepped up a notch when BMF published a list of 332 companies in Malaysia with ties to Taib’s relatives, many of whom are directors or shareholders. Another 101 such companies are located elsewhere in the world.

BMF gathered the information from company records and registers and tried to find patterns. Dissecting the data further they found that Taib’s four children were involved in 342 firms worldwide.

“It’s really unbelievable. They are basically controlling the whole state,” Straumann said.

The BMF also alleges that the Taib family is hiding assets abroad. Probes into alleged illegally gained assets are being carried out in Switzerland and Britain.

Bruno Manser in 1993
Bruno Manser in 1993 (Keystone)

Rooting out corruption

Straumann said the time had come to widen their approach.

“We think corruption is one of the main drivers of environmental destruction in Borneo and I think it is also true in other countries. So I think it’s really important for us as an environmental and human rights group to see the broader picture,” he said.

“In a way after having run campaigns for 20 years we had to ask ourselves why these campaigns at a local level are not successful. The Malaysian government and Sarawak government in particular have not given in at all. And then we found out it’s all about corruption.”

Taib has denied taking any kickbacks or hiding assets abroad. He maintains deforestation is being done in the name of much needed development.

Straumann said Bruno Manser himself had tried to take on Taib but became depressed when he realised Taib was too powerful.

Role of NGOs

As well as its anti-corruption campaign, over the next year the BMF will also be looking closely at 12 dam projects in Sarawak which it says would flood villages and be “devastating” to the Penans’ livelihood.

In 2010, at the ten-year commemoration of Manser’s disappearance, forestry campaigner Saskia Ozinga bemoaned the lack of organisations supporting the Penan people – a cause that attracted a lot of attention in the 1980s and 1990s but which had waned due to Malaysian NGO disunity and possibly a wrong focus by European NGO on timber instead of human rights.

She told “As the problems in Sarawak are caused by incompetent or corrupt government, I think it is wise of BMF to focus on the corruption charges.”

The Swiss branch of the Society for Threatened People says organisations like the BMF are “extremely important” to indigenous people who are often marginalised or ignored.

“Without Bruno Manser, I am quite sure, nobody would know about the destiny of the Penan people,” branch director Christoph Wiedmer told

He added: “It is very important that support is done in a positive way that does not risk becoming contrary to the interest of the indigenous peoples.”

BMF and other organisations have a role to play in raising issues at the United Nations level, putting pressure on governments and companies, helping with legal defence and in carrying out socio-economic projects on the ground, Wiedmer said.

Jessica Dacey,

The 18 Or 20 Point Agreement Between Sarawak, Sabah & Malaya

The 18/20 Point Agreement
Point 1: Religion
While there was no objection to Islam being the national religion of Malaysia there should be no State religion in Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah), and the provisions relating to Islam in the present Constitution of Malaya should not apply to Borneo.

Point 2: Language

* a. Malay should be the national language of the Federation
* b. English should continue to be used for a period of 10 years after Malaysia Day
* c. English should be an official language of Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) for all purposes, State or Federal, without limitation of time.

Point 3: Constitution
Whilst accepting that the present Constitution of the Federation of Malaya should form the basis of the Constitution of Malaysia, the Constitution of Malaysia should be a completely new document drafted and agreed in the light of a free association of states and should not be a series of amendments to a Constitution drafted and agreed by different states in totally different circumstances. A new Constitution for Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) was of course essential.

Point 4: Head of Federation
The Head of State in Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) should not be eligible for election as Head of the Federation.

Point 5: Name of Federation
“Malaysia” but not “Melayu Raya”

Point 6: Immigration

Control over immigration into any part of Malaysia from outside should rest with the Central Government but entry into Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) should also require the approval of the State Government. The Federal Government should not be able to veto the entry of persons into Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) for State Government purposes except on strictly security grounds. Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) should have unfettered control over the movements of persons other than those in Federal Government employ from other parts of Malaysia Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah).

Point 7: Right of Secession

There should be no right to secede from the Federation

Point 8: Borneanisation
Borneanisation of the public service should proceed as quickly as possible.

Point 9: British Officers
Every effort should be made to encourage British Officers to remain in the public service until their places can be taken by suitably qualified people from Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah)

Point 10: Citizenship
The recommendation in paragraph 148(k) of the Report of the Cobbold Commission should govern the citizenship rights in the Federation of Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) subject to the following amendments:
* a) sub-paragraph (i) should not contain the proviso as to five years residence
* b) in order to tie up with our law, sub-paragraph (ii)(a) should read “7 out of 10 years” instead of “8 out of 10 years”
* c) sub-paragraph (iii) should not contain any restriction tied to the citizenship of parents – a person born in Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) after Malaysia must be federal citizen.

Point 11: Tariffs and Finance
Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) should retain control of its own finance, development and tariff, and should have the right to work up its own taxation and to raise loans on its own credit.

Point 12: Special position of indigenous races
In principle, the indigenous races of Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) should enjoy special rights analogous to those enjoyed by Malays in Malaya, but the present Malays’ formula in this regard is not necessarily applicable in Borneo(Sarawak & Sabah).

Point 13: State Government 
* a) the Prime Minister should be elected by unofficial members of Legislative Council
* b) There should be a proper Ministerial system in Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah).

Point 14: Transitional period

This should be seven years and during such period legislative power must be left with the State of Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) by the Constitution and not be merely delegated to the State Government by the Federal Government.

Point 15: Education
The existing educational system of Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) should be maintained and for this reason it should be under state control.

Point 16: Constitutional safeguards
No amendment modification or withdrawal of any special safeguard granted to Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) should be made by the Central Government without the positive concurrence of the Government of the State of North Borneo

The power of amending the Constitution of the State of Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) should belong exclusively to the people in the state. (Note: The United Party, The Democratic Party and the Pasok Momogun Party considered that a three-fourth majority would be required in order to effect any amendment to the Federal and State Constitutions whereas the UNKO and USNO considered a two-thirds majority would be sufficient).

Point 17: Representation in Federal Parliament
This should take account not only of the population of Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah) but also of its size and potentialities and in any case should not be less than that of Singapore.

Point 18: Name of Head of State
Yang di-Pertua Negara.

Point 19: Name of State
Sarawak or Sabah.

Point 20: Land, Forests, Local Government, etc.
The provisions in the Constitution of the Federation in respect of the powers of the National Land Council should not apply in Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah). Likewise, the National Council for Local Government should not apply in Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah).

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

UMNO-BN From One Scandal To Another

COMMENT For weeks, just in time for Umno's annual general assembly which opened yesterday, the party has been embroiled in an embarrassing scandal involving a 2007 government decision to spend RM300 million to establish a national feedlot corporation to slaughter as many as 60,000 cattle annually under Islamic halal dietary requirements.

The scandal seems emblematic of a long series of such situations that imperil Prime Minister Najib Razak's vow in April 2010 that the government "can no longer tolerate practices that support the behaviour of rent-seeking and patronage, which have long tarnished the altruistic aims of the New Economic Policy."

The National Feedlot Corporation (NFC), as it is known, has never slaughtered 10 percent of the projected total and has since scaled back its target to 8,000 head but hasn't been able to meet that target either.

Worse, the company has been losing millions of dollars every year - while pouring funds into RM10 million into two condominiums in Kuala Lumpur, among other things, and spending RM800,000 for overseas travel and entertainment.

NONEThe scandal is doubly embarrassing because the agreement to establish the NFC, made when Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was prime minister, went to the family of Shahrizat Abdul Jalil (right), the
minister of women, welfare and community development and head of the women's wing of Umno.

Her husband, Mohamad Salleh Ismail, is the chairman. Her three children are respectively the chief executive officer and executive directors of the company. None had any experience in cattle production or beef supply prior to the establishment of the company.

The report of the NFC's operations was contained in the 2010 report of the auditor-general, which was delayed for weeks before it was finally released. The scandal has generated tensions inside Umno, with some reformers demanding that Shahrizat be forced out of her job as minister.

NONEHowever, the leadership has circled the wagons to protect her. In particular, Muhyiddin Yassin, the deputy prime minister, has said there was no case to be brought against her. Muhyiddin was the agriculture minister in 2006 when the project was approved. Others who have come to her defence are Abdullah Badawi and his son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin, the head of the Umno Youth Wing.

The NFC scandal is said to have the potential reformers worried because party operatives thought they had the Selangor electorate turned around and that they could take the state back from the opposition Pakatan Rakyat in national elections expected to be called early next year.

However, Asia Sentinel has been told, the refusal to hold anybody to account in the feedlot scandal could well turn the tide back against them, especially as other patronage scandals continue to bubble up.

Mahathir's cadre of 100 super-rich bumis

The depth and breadth of the scandals also calls into question moves earlier this year with Najib launching a series of programmes to develop bumiputera, including allocating an RM2 billion fund for development.

NONEIn the 2012 budget, Najib also announced the government would allocate RM200 million to guide 1,100 high-performing bumi companies with the potential for listing on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange. Critics are concerned that the patronage system will continue unabated.

The current Umno general assembly was hoped to provide a dramatic backdrop for Najib to win back disaffected Malay voters.

For decades, this patronage has involved highway construction and defence contracts and a variety of other government arrangements with Umno cronies in a plan formulated by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

His ambition was to create a cadre of 100 super-rich bumis who in turn would help rural Malays into prosperity under a ‘konsep payung', or umbrella concept routed through Umno, much the way he envisioned driving the country into industrialisation through massive

However, many of the companies eventually collapsed and are being supported by government institutions such as Kazanah Nasional, the country's sovereign investment fund, or the Employee Provident Fund.

NONEContained in the same 2010 auditor general's report, for instance, is a passage on the decision to privatise a 77-km stretch of highway from Senai to Desaru in Johor.

The land acquisition turned out to have doubled - from RM385 million to RM740.6 million - with the road surface described as "undulating." The project completion "was not in accordance with specifications, causing damage to the road surface and endangering road users."

The company failed to complete construction within the stipulated period of the contract. However, the construction agreement didn't specify damages in the event it wasn't completed. Required maintenance is described as "unsatisfactory."

NONEThe company that won the RM1.7 billion contract is Ranhill Corp Sdn Bhd, which has long been described as Umno-linked. It is partly owned by Lambang Optimia Sdn Bhd. Both are headed by Hamdan Mohamad, described as Malaysia's ‘water baron', who operates several utilities and power companies.

He was one of several ethnic Malay businessmen who followed former PM Mahathir's vow to take Malaysian companies overseas. Another shareholder is YPJ Corp Sdn Bhd, an arm of the Johor state government, and yet another appears to be Umno itself, which owns a minority share through an account at Public Bank Bhd, according to records.

Ranhill has had a lackluster two to three years, capped by disaster earlier in 2011 when its Libyan operations were caught between the Muammar Qaddafi forces and those of the Libyan rebels aided by Nato air strikes.

Overpriced defence hardware

Also, earlier this year, Deftech, a wholly-owned subsidiary of DRB-Hicom, won a contract without an open tender to produce and deliver 237 eight-wheeled armoured personnel carriers to the Defence Ministry.

DRB-Hicom is 55 percent owned by Etika Strategi Sdn Bhd, which is wholly owned by billionaire Syed Mokhtar Al Bukhary, one of Mahathir's targeted bumiputeras and a man who is extremely tight with Umno.
NONEOpposition member Tony Pua (left) complained on the floor of Parliament that the average price of RM29.4 million for each unit compared unfavourably with a Portuguese Army purchase of 363 similar vehicles for the equivalent of RM4.4 million each from the Swiss MOWAG CmBH Corp, Malaysia is paying a 6.6-fold increase over the Portguese purchase.

Saudi Arabia, he said, bought 724 such vehicles for the equivalent of RM9.9 million from General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada, with Malaysia paying almost three times as much government officials said the contracts don't compare with each other and that the government is getting more equipment, maintenance, etc. for its money.

"Further research has revealed that DRB-Hicom will be acquiring the AWC technology from a Turkish company - FNSS Defence Systems Inc which manufactures the Pars 8x8 AWV models," Pua said.

"With this deal, Malaysia will be its first foreign customer for this vehicle. What is perhaps of greater alarm is the fact that FNSS has announced that they have sold 257 units of Pars 8x8 AWVs to Malaysia for approximately US$600 million or RM1.83 billion or only RM7.1 million per unit," Pua said in a prepared statement - considerably different from what the Malaysians said they bought the vehicles for.

Pua also complained about the cost of six offshore patrol vessels from Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd at RM1 billion each in the aftermath of another total fiasco.
NONEThe auditor-general, in a 2007 report tabled in Parliament, alleged that a contract to build naval vessels given to PSC-Naval Dockyard, a subsidiary of Penang Shipbuilding & Construction Sdn Bhd, which was owned by another Umno crony, Amin Shah Omar Shah (right).

PSC-Naval Dockyard, which was taken over by Boustead, contracted to deliver six patrol boats for the Malaysian Navy in 2004 and complete the delivery in 2007. Those were supposed to be the first of 27 offshore vessels ultimately to cost RM24 billion plus the right to maintain and repair all of the country's naval craft.

But only two of the barely operational patrol boats had been delivered by mid-2006. There were 298 recorded complaints about the two boats, which were also found to have 100 and 383 uncompleted items aboard them respectively.

The original RM5.35 billion contract ballooned to RM6.75 billion by January 2007. The auditor also reported that the ministry had paid out RM4.26 billion to PSC up to December 2006 although only RM2.87 billion of work had been done, an overpayment of RM1.39 billion, or 48 percent. In addition, the cabinet waived late penalties of RM214 million.

Between December 1999, according to the auditor-general, 14 "progress payments" amounting to RM943 million despite the fact that the auditor-general could find no payment vouchers or relevant documents dealing with the payments.

AG: Serious financial mismanagement

The auditor-general attributed the failure to serious financial mismanagement and technical incompetence stemming from the fact that PSC had never built anything but trawlers or police boats before being given the contract.

patrol vessel shareholdings in boustead naval shipyard 110907Once called ‘Malaysia's Onassis' by Daim Zainuddin, Amin Shah was in trouble almost from the start, according to a report in Singapore's Business Times in 2005.

Eventually Boustead PSC was born out of the Royal Malaysian Navy's dockyard facilities which were to provide ship repairs and maintenance services. Under the corporatisation programme advocated by the Malaysian government, the dockyard was set up as Limbungan TLDM, a wholly-owned government company.

It has modern facilities to meet the maintenance requirements of the Royal Malaysian Navy fleet, from hull repairs to major overhauls and from radar refitting to weapon systems refurbishment.

The six patrol boats have now cost five times what the Royal New Zealand Navy paid for its patrol vessels, bought at only RM210 million each from BAE Systems, the second largest global defence company.

patrol vessel progress of construction 110907The irrepressible Raja Petra Kamarudin in early November found that the Philippines was buying Hamilton-class patrol ships from the US that would be deployed to the West Philippine Sea area to secure the country's natural resources.

The latest one is to be transferred by the first or second quarter of next year, to guard energy projects in Malampaya off Palawan.

"Malaysia is going to buy six patrol boats at a total cost of RM6 billion or RM1 billion per patrol boat. Of course, Malaysia's patrol boats are going to be far advanced and more sophisticated than those of the Philippines who paid only RM31.5 million for theirs," he wrote.

"The Philippines's patrol boats can only patrol the waters. Malaysia's patrol boats can...well...patrol the waters."

- Asia Sentinel

Friday, December 2, 2011

Thursday, December 1, 2011

UMNO The Real 6 Jahanam

I refer to Six hooligans to avoid (Sun Dec1) and see that UMNO Youth Chief, Mr. Khairy Jamlauddin is determined to carry on in the same ethnocentric disingenuous vein that characterizes the ruling UMNO led coalition. What follows is a brief opinion on the “Enam Jahanam” that Mr. Khairy points to as understood by an average member of the voting public. 

(1) Destroying the democratic system. Mr. Khairy points to the fact that Pakatan Rakyat’s inability to reach a consensus on the hudud law somehow destroys the democratic and administrative system led by the Barisan National. However the reality is that only if UMNO and PAS join forces will the implementation of hudud become a reality. Non-Muslim interest both in BN and Pakatan ensures that this reality never comes to fruition. As it is at this very moment PAS wants to implement hudud law but its ambitions are thwarted by the Barisan National, its component parties and certain Opposition parties. Has the democratic system been destroyed? How would it be any different under a Pakatan-led government?

If anything under the BN, the democratic system be it the courts, law enforcement, the right to peaceful assembly, have been eroded to the point of farce. Disparity of treatment between two opposing voices also destroys the democratic system of this country. For example, when we have a law professor who is demonized and sanctioned by the establishment for pointing out the factual errors in the administration of the country and a lecturer who teaches at a military college advocating that hudud law be forcefully implemented, his virulent racist rhetoric unchecked and not to mention his anti-Semitic posting on his blog going unsanctioned, this destroys the democratic system. 

(2) Destroying the system of administration. All Pakatan has done is point to the systemic corruption that plagues the current administration as evidenced by the Auditor General's reports year in year out. If anything pointing out the shortcomings of any system of administration strengthens the system, not weakens it. This is something that any ruling coalition should desire, not fear. 

(3) Destroying the country’s dignity. Every time racists groups like Perkasa demonstrate (which is their God given right) in the name of Malay supremacy the country’s dignity is destroyed. Every time a government official misbehaves badly in a foreign country, the country’s dignity is destroyed. Every time a government official is charged with mismanagement of public funds, the country’s dignity is destroyed. Pointing out these facts does not destroy a country’s dignity, in fact it strengthens it. 

(4) Destroying the country’s history. As has been pointed out numerous times, the ruling coalition has distorted our history to fit its ethnocentric agenda. Numerous non-partisan scholars have pointed to the sinister diminishment of the role non-Malays have played in the formation of this country. Less we forget that it is from the ruling coalition (Deputy Prime Minister) that this absurd notion that we were never colonized emanates from. If anyone has destroyed the country’s history perhaps Mr.Khairy should look to his own party. “Bogus history fuels present day national delusion, as Polly Toynbee often reminds us. 

(5) Destroying the ethnic identity. Whose identity has the opposition been destroying? We are told that we are 1Malaysia and the multiethnic Pakatan seems to symbolize this spirit. The only party who sees their ethnic identity under threat is UMNO. The only party which coddles racist groups like Perkasa and Perkida is UMNO. And now a new addition, The Crazy Squad. The only party that instead of engaging in open dialogue but resorts to the race card is UMNO. I put it to Mr.Khairy that it is not an ethnic identity which is at stake but a culture cultivated by the Ruling coalition. 

A culture which has had a deleterious effect on this country. One only has to refer to the sad history of Utusan Melayu and the great Said Zahari, perhaps the most overt symbols of ethnic identity, to understand how the establishment has battered asunder any form of honest intellectual dialogue. History was repeated when Hata Wahari, was ingloriously kicked from his tenure by the once great newspaper. 

(6) Destroying the country’s economic prosperity. As far as the Auditor General is concerned opposition states are being run very effectively with Penang taking pride of place. Perhaps what is destroying this country is the culture of corruption that has been uninvestigated for years. Perhaps what is destroying this country are the ethnic divisions perpetuated by a political system bent on dividing the population not embracing it. Perhaps what is destroying this country are the policies that favor one ethnic group over all others. 

Mr.Khairy’s response to his Pakatan counterpart about amending the constitution that only a Malay can be prime minister is both feeble and dishonest. As it is, it was Mr.Khairy who not too long ago was publicly pondering the change of Ketuanan Melayu to Kepimpinan Melayu. The Honorable gentleman from Rembau should have the courage of his convictions and push for the necessary amendments to the constitution. Unless of course he has had a change of heart and believes anyone who is qualified should be able to be prime minister? 

I’ll end with an appropriate G.K Chesterton quote. Cruelty is perhaps the worst kind of sin. Intellectual cruelty is certainly the worst kind of cruelty.” 

Commander (R)
Royal Malaysian Navy

When Will We See The Fall Of These Idiots?

Dean Johns

Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad has told a gathering of diplomats and other foreigners that, due to scholarships and higher education, “there are hardly any idiots left in Malaysia” and that “this gives the government a headache”.

perodua tea time with mahathir function 271011 04But from all the symptoms I see, the vast majority of Malaysians are as “slightly less intelligent” as Dr M and his Umno/BN colleagues could possibly wish them to be, and gibbering idiots are as plentiful as ever.

In fact Malaysia’s perennial epidemic of political idiocy continues to rage unchecked, with millions of apparently sentient adults still so intellectually or ideologically-impaired as to be somehow unable or unwilling to register to vote.

And even more Malaysians are so stupid or at least naive as to still swallow the overdoses of lies perpetually prescribed by Dr M and the rest of Umno/BN’s teams of spin-doctors, and forced down their throats day after day by the editors (ediots?) of the mainstream media.

Then there are those political figures who are ever ready to resort to idiocy, whether genuine or cunningly simulated to disguise rat-cunning, in attempts to dupe anyone feeble-minded enough to take them seriously.

Like Hasan Ali in his recent support of the claim by the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department that Christians are proselytising Muslims using “solar-powered hand-held talking bibles”.

Like Deputy Sports Minister Razali Ibrahim in his statement last week that the hostile reception given by Indonesian fans to Malaysian teams at the SEA Games in Jakarta was because “opposition leaders have been making a beeline for Indonesia to bad mouth our country”.

Like that serial offender in the idiocy stakes, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz, who recently outrageously proclaimed that “homosexuality goes against Islam, the religion of the federation of Malaysia, and its practice in the country is therefore unconstitutional”.

ibrahim ali press conference at his home in taman melawatiLike dimwit Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali, who welcomed the government’s retrograde Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 as a “positive move”, adding that “after 54 years we have come to this stage. Maybe in the next 25 years people will be educated and can enjoy full freedom, but for the moment Malaysia still needs time to educate its citizens.”

Or like the allegedly educated Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin with his warning the other day to his junior Umno idiots against stupidly hurting their corrupt party’s “more progressive and liberal” image at its annual general assembly.
And the most idiotic performer of all, of course, is Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who seems to be operating under the delusion that the whole world is full of dummies just dying to be deceived by his lying words and devious deeds.

Witness his promised ‘reforms’. The Printing Presses and Publications Act, for example, the very legislation designed to keep the Malaysian electorate as idiotic and ignorant as possible, will remain utterly unchanged save for the need to apply annually for a government licence.

Then there is the ‘Improvement’ of Malaysia’s grossly unjust, unfair and outright corrupt electoral system to be ‘studied’ by a committee until, if possible, after the next general election.

Malaysia’s detested and disgraceful Internal Security Act is supposed to be ‘abolished’, but in practice seems set to be rendered an Eternal Security Act by new provisions for detention without charge or trial.

Tops and bottoms

And the lifting of current prohibitions against public assembly, only to replace them with a piece of legislation that puts so many fresh obstacles in the way of public expression, and gives so many discretionary powers to the police, that rather than the Peaceful Assembly Bill it should rightly be dubbed the Policeful Assembly Bill.
azlanSo many far-from-idiotic and even formerly idiotic Malaysians have vented their outrage at all this chicanery, however, that Najib was recently moved to “implore” his Umno colleagues to “accept reform efforts or face an Arab Spring-style revolt”.

“When you have been in power for such a long uninterrupted period, you have a sense of political invincibility; you may think that whatever happens you will be in power,” he said.

So far so accurate, I guess, but soon he slipped back into tell-Malaysian-idiots-anything mode, claiming that “what has happened in the context of the Arab Spring and many other countries, change is coming from the bottom up. In Malaysia, change is coming from top to bottom.”

Then he proceeded to get his tops and bottoms mixed up, so that he felt the need to explain that he meant “top down in the sense that we are listening to the people. I started by saying that the day of government knows best is over...we must feel the pulse of the people.”

Feeling the pulse of the people would surely be an improvement on Umno’s long-standing practice of stealing from the purse of the people.

But apparently undaunted by the fact that government largesse and outright loot is precisely what attracts so many snouts to the Umno trough, in another speech he attempted to pretend otherwise.

In a brazen bid to win the sympathies of any citizens so idiotic as to have forgotten such Umno/BN thefts as the Scorpene submarine, PKFZ, NFC and countless other daylight robberies by Umno/BN and its cronies, not to mention his own and his wife’s jet-setting lifestyles, he staged a press conference in which he called on Umno members to “put party above self interest”.

But lest such a clarion call for idealism lose him masses of the rent-seekers and commission-hungry contractors planning to attend the then imminent and now ongoing annual Umno general assembly, he quickly explained that “we are not asking them to sacrifice their wealth for the party or take personal risks”.

Of course there will be loads more Umnonsense like this over the next few days as one ass after another addresses the appropriately-named assembly.

And every asinine word will give the lie to Najib’s claim that the programme is “not primed for the general election, but a vehicle to highlight the party’s intellectual value.

Umno? Intellectual?? Unelectable, more like it. Except, of course, by a bunch of utter idiots. Of whom, despite Mahathir’s regrets that there are hardly any left, there are evidently still millions of them either supporting the Umno/BN regime, or too dumb or nit-witted to oppose it.

DEAN JOHNS, after many years in Asia, currently lives with his Malaysian-born wife and daughter in Sydney, where he coaches and mentors writers and authors and practises as a writing therapist. Published books of his columns for Malaysiakini include ‘Mad about Malaysia’, ‘Even Madder about Malaysia’, ‘Missing Malaysia’ and ‘1Malaysia.con’.