Saturday, February 27, 2010

From The Office Of Anwar Ibrahim

'They Are Not Being Honest',
in response to Najib's claim that the "worst is over"


Dear Supporter,

Malaysia was hit by the global recession and 2009 was a difficult year for many of us. More jobs were lost and more people were left unemployed than at any time in our nation's history.

There are some indications that the economic situation is improving in 2010 but I released a statement today urging people not to be misled by a few statistics. To say that the “the worst is over” is not only premature but irresponsible. READ MY STATEMENT HERE

For 10 years the government has spent more money than it has made. In fact increasing government expenditure has been the defining element of Malaysia's economic policy during this period. The natural outcome of its approach is to register some small amount of growth. But our continued reliance on an outdated strategy is taking us down the road of economic serfdom. And the government's failure to adopt creative economic policies to make us competitive in a global economy has left Malaysia lagging behind our neighbours in the region.

It is also true that corruption remains rampant and massive government projects are often unnecessary, cost too much, and benefit only a few people. We cannot afford to keep losing billions every year.

The private sector has not benefitted from the increase in spending. Small and medium sized businesses were more vibrant and active 20 years ago than they are today. This means that the economic policies of the BN are still not creating enough jobs and opportunities for the vast majority of Malaysians.

Pakatan Rakyat believes that the structural problems with the economy must be addressed urgently so that Malaysia can regain its competitive edge in the region. We promise to safeguard our future and our children's future by being a government that is accountable to the people, transparent in its dealings and committed to a reform agenda that restores confidence in the judiciary, strengthens institutions of civil society and shows zero tolerance for corruption and cronyism.

Please support Pakatan Rakyat and our pursuit of a brighter future for Malaysians.



Thank you,
Anwar Ibrahim

Friday, February 26, 2010

Sabah-Sarawak Consultative Council (SSCC)

Worst Fears Pre-Malaysia by Sarawak/Sabah Leaders Becoming Reality

Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, vice president of PKR, overseeing Sabah and Sarawak, has taken the intiative to set up the SSCC to service the party’s Federal-State National Integration Council (FSNIC).

The FSNIC is the party platform to review the Malaysia Agreement, which Dr Jeffrey laments, is “way off the mark” in implementing conditions for the formation of Malaysia in 1963.

Apart from promoting political and economic cohesion in the Borneo states, SSCC will also make “a thorough study” of historical documentation which include the Cobbold Commission Report, the safeguards known as the 20-Point Agreement , the Inter-Governmental Committee (ICG) Report, and review of the Malaysia Agreement.

Sarawak and Sabah have long nursed grievances in how they have been treated by the federal government since the formation of Malaysia in 1963.

The initiatives taken by Dr Jeffrey may be ‘too little, too late’, but it is always better late than never at all. After all, every long journey starts with the first small step.

We wish the SSCC every success and hope it will bear fruit very soon in the near future.

Monday, February 22, 2010

SPDP-PRS Merger To Fast Track?

We want immediate SPDP-PRS merger, says SPDP group

A group of Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) leaders want an immediate merger with Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) to consolidate rural-based constituencies in the state.

SPDP senior vice-president Peter Nansian said the move was to expedite the respect vision and objectives of both parties to strengthen BN in rural areas, especially in Dayak-held constituencies.

He said the proposed merger was agreed upon by the SPDP supreme council while the BN leadership at the state level had agreed to the merger in principle.

Nansian, who is also state assistant minister of environment, was speaking at a news conference at the SPDP headquarters in MJC Batu Kawa township, Kuching, today.

The group comprised state assistant minister of public utilities Sylvester Entri Muran, the SPDP merger committee secretary-general who was dropped as party secretary-general after the party election last December, and SPDP vice-president and Mas Gading MP Dr Tiki Lafe.

The other members of the group are Batu Danau state assembly member Paulus Palu Gumbang, Bekenu state assembly membeer Rosey Yunus, Meluan state assembly person Wong Judat and supreme council members Eda Igar, George Garai and Peter Gani.

Nansian, the state assemblyman for Tasik Biru, said with the 1Malaysia concept, they wanted to answer the call of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to put the people, and not self-interest, first.

PRS not keen?

From feedback received on the issue, however, Nansian said the PRS leadership was not keen to merge with SPDP due to differences with some personalities in the latter's current line-up.

He declined to say if such reservations was linked to the recent internal crisis involving some party members and leaders who had questioned party president William Mawan's prerogative to drop Entri as secretary-general's and the reversal of his earlier promise to maintain the balance of power in SPDP.

Asked if Mawan was informed of the group's intention, Nansian said, he had given them the mandate to initiate the merger five years ago.

- Bernama

Saturday, February 13, 2010

GONG XI FA CAI

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Malaysia Federal Court Declares Zambry Rightful Chief Minister of Perak

PAS' Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin Loses Appeal

The Federal Court, the highest court in the country, has delivered a unanimous decision in declaring that Zambry Abd Kadir of BN is the rightful Perak menteri besar.

In doing so at 11am, it also dimissed the application by Pakatan Rakyat's Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin for a full bench of 11 judges or an enlarged panel.

With the judicial decisions, it seems to be the end of the road for Mohd Nizar's claim to the post. His lawyer Leong Cheok Keng said a review of the decision would not be sought.

Shouts are heard outside the courtroom, with the Pakatan Rakyat crowd shouting "Bubar DUN", "Zambry penakut", "tipu" and "rasuah".

Perak BN senior exco Hamidah Osman said: "I am grateful for the decision and hope everyone will accept it. This is a victory for the people of Perak."

President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Alauddin Mohd Sheriff, led a five-member bench in delivering the verdict.

The others were Chief Judge of Malaya Justice Arifin Zakaria and Justices Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin, Mohd Ghazali Mohd Yusoff and Abdull Hamid Embong of the Federal Court.

Justice Arifin who read the judgment ruled that it is not necessary for a vote of confidence to be done in the state assembly, and that the sultan can sack the MB. Zambry therefore commands support in the House with 31 seats

Nizar's lawyers were Philip Koh, Chan Kok Keong, Leong, Edmund Bon, Miohd Hanipa Maidin, Ranjit Singh, and Razlan Hadri Zulkifli.

Zambry's lawyers are Cecil Abraham and Sunil Abraham. Zambry himself was not present in court for the decision.

Background
BN was seen to have usurped power in Perak when three Pakatan Rakyat assemblypersons switched sides to become BN-friendly Independents in February last year, leading to Pakatan seeking legal recourse.

On May 11, Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim had ruled that Nizar is the rightful menteri besar.

"He is, and was, at all material times the chief minister of Perak," Abdul Aziz told the court.

However, the appellate court's three-member bench unanimously overturned the decision in favour of Zambry, saying that the High Court judge had failed to properly and adequately appreciate the entire evidence before him.

"We hold the view that the granting or the withholding of the request for the dissolution of the state legislative assembly is royal prerogative,” ruled Justice Md Raus Sharif.

The Federal Court had, on Nov 5 last year, heard Nizar's appeal and submission for more then six hours but defer its decision

Source: malaysiakini.com

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Malaysia In International Limelight

Malaysia In The Dock

More than a decade after he was beaten, tried and jailed, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim will once again face a Kuala Lumpur court today on charges of sodomy. The accusations are highly dubious and raise a serious question: Is this moderate Muslim democracy becoming a nation with no real rule of law?

The circumstances surrounding Mr. Anwar's prosecution are suspiciously familiar to most Malaysians. In 1998, he was arrested as he was mounting serious arguments against the increasingly erratic government of United Malays National Organization chief Mahathir Mohamed. On a nearby page, Mr. Anwar's former aide Munawar Anees describes being tortured and forced to confess to sodomy, a criminal offense in Malaysia. Mr. Anwar was convicted of sodomy and abuse of power and served six years in jail before the sodomy ruling was overturned in 2004. He was allowed to run for political office again in 2008, which he did, in earnest.

Mr. Anwar was arrested again in July 2008, a day after participating in his first nationally televised debate in more than a decade—an event that showcased his political skills and highlighted the growing momentum behind his three-party opposition coalition. He was accused of sodomy with a 23-year-old former aide, Saiful Bukhari Azlan. Mr. Saiful was taken into protective police custody after he made his allegation and has since rarely been seen in public. The government denies any political motivation for the charges. Mr. Saiful himself has not been charged.

As in 1998, the evidence in this case is thin at best. The police made a show of arresting Mr. Anwar, put him in jail for a night, and forced him to undergo a humiliating medical "examination." The government then passed a bill in parliament to give the police expanded powers to collect DNA in criminal cases. Mr. Anwar's lawyers claim they have a hospital report that shows no sodomy occurred.

Also troubling is the public involvement of Prime Minister Najib Razak, who was deputy leader at the time of Mr. Anwar's 2008 arrest—and the man most politically threatened by Mr. Anwar's popularity. Mr. Najib acknowledged that he was photographed with and spoke to Mr. Saiful after he was allegedly sodomized and before he went to the hospital for tests. Mr. Najib says he didn't influence Mr. Saiful's decision to press charges. Mr. Saiful couldn't be reached for comment.

This story would sound familiar in a tinpot dictatorship. But Malaysia isn't one. Along with Indonesia, it forms the backbone of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Its citizens today have far more access to news and information through the Internet than they did 12 years ago. They also have the power to vote.

And that may be the mechanism that keeps Malaysia free and honest. Ordinary citizens—including the majority ethnic Malays—increasingly support Mr. Anwar's secular platform of religious tolerance, economic liberty and modernization. The opposition won five of 13 states in national elections in 2008, and it has since won seven of nine by-elections. Mr. Anwar was re-elected to parliament in a by-election the month after his arrest in 2008. There will likely be protests in front of the courthouse to show support for him.

The trial that begins today threatens domestic political unrest and undermines confidence, at home and around the world, in Malaysia's rule of law.

Published in the Wall Street Journal, 1 February 2010



A Damning Indictment Of UMNO

One ought to be able to laugh at the absurdity of it. But the message is one of ignorance, religious and racial prejudice and political opportunism.

Last week, the Malaysian government declared that Christians in one part of the country could use “Allah” as the word for God when speaking Malay, but that those in most of the country could not. This is the same government that is currently running a public relations campaign called One Malaysia emphasizing the common identity of the nation’s racial and religious mix.

In reality, a government dominated by the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) is using spurious religious/linguistic arguments to shore up its support among a majority Malay electorate, which has been fed for years with preferences and privileges. Meanwhile, non-Malay money and talent exits the country.

The government had earlier tried to stop the use of the word Allah by all Christians. This was successfully challenged in the High Court. But instead of letting the matter rest, the government declined to back down, setting the scene for the fire bombing of churches. While these could not be laid directly at the door of UMNO, hotheads in the party may well have taken their cue from what non-Muslims see as a deliberate attempt to stir up ethnic/religious issues for political gain. Last year it was Hindus who were the target of Malay provocation.

UMNO political calculation demands that the organization sticks to its demands about the use of the word Allah in peninsular Malaysia , where all Malays are deemed Muslims and where Christians are ethnic Chinese or Indian, but not in the Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak where there are large communities of Malay-speaking Christians. The UMNO-led coalition needs the support of the multi-ethnic parties in those states.

The word Allah has always been used without Muslim objection by Christians in the Arab world, as well as those in Malay-speaking Indonesia , where there are 10 times as many Muslims as in Malaysia . The word is itself derived from pre-Islamic Semitic language roots. Even Malaysia ’s strictly Islamist opposition party, Parti Islam (PAS), agrees that all Abrahamic faiths are entitled to use the word Allah.

But such facts are of little relevance to UMNO politicians determined to drum up any issue that can be used to show their commitment to defending Malay and Muslim privileges and thus retain the support of a Malay majority against the appeal both of PAS and the multi-ethnic Keadilan party of the former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

UMNO cannot claim to be a party of the pious. Half a century in power has turned it into a vast patronage machine that enriches the Malay elite, providing support for luxurious lifestyles. Its insistence that all Malays are Muslims (and cannot convert) is an attempt to give religious backing to the message of Malay racial preference. That is barely in accord with the universalist notions of global Islam but keeps the loyalty of many Malays otherwise resentful of growing income gaps.

However, the racial and religious divides among the opposition still make an UMNO-led government seem a better choice than the alternatives — most likely ones in which the fundamentalism of PAS would replace the opportunism of UMNO. So despite the deterioration of communal relations in peninsular Malaysia , no major changes are in sight.

This carries two main dangers. The first is the continuing large scale exodus of capital and of talented non-Malays. Five years of generally good prices for its main commodity exports, oil, gas and palm oil, have delivered huge trade surpluses and a current account surplus of more than 10 percent of gross domestic product. But economic growth has been slow due to very weak private investment, only partly offset by large government deficit spending. Once a major recipient of foreign capital, Malaysia is now a source of flight capital. This is only sustainable while commodity prices remain at double levels of five years ago and three times those in 2002.

A longer term danger, at least as perceived by some leading Malays, such as the former Finance Minister Tunku Razaleigh, is that a combination of religious intolerance and resentment of federal exploitation of their natural resources will generate secessionism in the Borneo states. They joined Malaysia in 1963 without much enthusiasm but as the best option open to them as the British withdrew from empire. They do not want their traditions of racial and religious diversity to be poisoned by peninsular prejudices. Their separate treatment on the Allah issue will have some immediate benefits for Kuala Lumpur , but can only underscore just how different they are.

In short, the episode is sad commentary on a nation whose mix of races, its fine infrastructure and wealth of resources has held such promise. If only there really were One Malaysia.

Published in The New York Times, 19 Jan 2010

Sarawak and Sabah Must Insist On State Rights

Zaid Wants Sabah, S'wak To Lead On Reform Agenda


Pakatan Rakyat pro-tem chair Zaid Ibrahim is convinced that Sabah and Sarawak are in a unique position to make the opposition coalition’s agenda for change and reform really work.

“They can reach across to moderate Malaysians on the peninsula, to save the country from Umno which has become a lunatic fringe.”

The starting point, according to the former Umno de facto Law Minister, is East Malaysia's insistence on federal government compliance with several legal arrangements.

This includes the 20 Points, state rights, autonomy and the 1963 Malaysia Agreement, among others.

“Together, you (Sabah, Sarawak) have 56 seats in Parliament. Use this to full effect,” said Zaid at a gathering of opposition leaders in Kota Kinabalu last night. “When you succeed, the states in Peninsular Malaysia will benefit too.”

It was often forgotten in the east-west polemics over Malaysia, said Zaid, that the federal government is also not honouring the 1948 Federation of Malaya Agreement.

“The states must be given back their powers and rights under the three-tier system of government that is the very basis of the federation,” said Zaid.

Read more at www.malaysiakini.com
 
superiorpapers.com