Archive for February, 2013


It’s Now Or Never (Video)

Anwar Ibrahim: It’s Now Or Never


10 Reasons Why We Must Vote in GE13

Without doubt, we are into the final lap of what must be the most hotly contested general election in our nation’s 56 years of history and one that many would consider to be a pivotal moment.

To many, the match is between the incumbent ruling coalition, the Barisan Nasional(BN) and the opposition coalition of Pakatan Rakyat(PR). To some the choice is between Najib and Anwar whilst to others it is between maintaining status quo or change.

But I want to put it to you that this election is not about BN or PR. Why? For usually in any contest, the winner is the one with the better skills, strategy, funds and luck even. But in an election, the winner or loser is decided not by the contending parties but by the audience or in this case the voters.

For in a democracy, we, the people more literally, have the power to decide who wins or loses, who to serve us as our government and who to serve us as the opposition for the next 5 years. This election is really about us, the voters, being able to exercise our democratic right to vote in a free and fair election.

More than ever before, if we are registered voters, we must vote in the upcoming 13th General Election. If you are still undecided or unconvinced if you should vote, let me offer you 10 reasons why you MUST vote in this election.

IT IS OUR RIGHT – Under Article 119 of the Federal Constitution, if we are a Malaysian citizen above the age of 21 and have not been convicted of any crime or are of unsound mind, we have the right to one vote in the constituency where we reside. But currently if you want to exercise that right, you must be registered as a voter with the Election Commission.

IT IS OUR DUTY AS A CITIZEN – Going beyond our right, it is also our duty as a responsible citizen to vote. Choosing not to vote is like a family member who chooses not to take out the trash in the house but then complained about the stench, or who chose not to participate in the decision-making process of repainting the family house but gripes about the colour chosen.We lose our right to complain about the state of affairs in this country when we choose not to vote when we can. Hazen Pingree who was Detroit’s mayor in the late 19th century said, “Voter apathy was, and will remain the greatest threat to democracy.”

IT IS STRENGTHENING OUR DEMOCRACY – We are not a true democracy until the majority of eligible voters vote. Some would say that Malaysia has a healthy and vibrant democracy as in the last general election we had a 75 percent voters turnout.But because we have a electoral system where you have to first register as a voter before you can vote, the actual number of eligible voters casting their votes is only around 53 percent, if you include eligible voters who did not register and those who registered but did not vote. If you take voters turnout against the total population of 28 million in 2008, it is only 28 percent of citizens whose votes decided who governs all of us.

We can definitely improve on this number by making sure we register ourselves and then turn up to vote on polling day. Power to the Rakyat!

IT IS WHERE EVERYONE IS TRULY EQUAL – It doesn’t matter if you are the Prime Minister or a labourer, rich or poor, young or old, male or female, as long as you are a Malaysian above 21 with no criminal record and are of sound mind, you have one vote each. That is the beauty of democracy, everyone is truly equal at the ballot box.In this way, in a functioning democracy, this system ensures that the rights of the masses are protected and the rich and powerful cannot exploit the system to their advantage. If we don’t realise this fact and allow the rich and powerful to buy our votes or to bully us into voting for them, then we don’t have a democracy.

IT IS MINIMIZING THE IMPACT OF ELECTORAL FRAUD – With the revelations from the Royal Commission of Inquiry in Sabah about the ‘citizenship for votes’ scandal. There can be no more doubt about the length that this government would go to to secure election victories.Even now we are discovering unusual spikes in new voters in some marginal constituencies like Subang (32%), Kota Raja (30%) and Hulu Langat (25%), all coincidentally held by PR.

Who are all these new residents and voters? Are they foreigners being given the right to vote like in Sabah or are they phantom voters, people who uses another’s identity to vote? A huge turnout of valid voters can dilute the impact of such dubious voters.

IT IS HOLDING OUR GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABLE – Political satirist P.J. O’Rourke commented, “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” There is truth in that observation.Perhaps we are where we are as a nation is because we have given the keys of power to the same coalition for 56 years and they have gotten drunk with power to the point that they don’t feel the need to be accountable to us anymore. We need to remind them who is the real boss in a democracy. We want to hold our government accountable, be it BN or PR.

IT IS THE BEST WAY TO BRING ABOUT REAL REFORM – The result of BN’s political hegemony over the last five decades is that the ills confronting us are systemic, i.e. part of the system. Corruption, abuse of power, violations of human rights, racial discrimination and intimidation are part and parcel of life in Malaysia. Is BN capable of reform? One just has to look at the fate of ex-PM Tun Abdullah Badawi to know that it is impossible.Former US President Lyndon B, Johnson said, “The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.” If we don’t use our vote to bring about systemic change, I fear that our children one day, in desperation, will have to spill their blood on the streets to bring about that change.

OUR VOTE DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE – In 2008, BN won 139 parliamentary seats whilst PR won 83. To form a government with a simple majority, PR needed 112 parliamentary seats thus it was short by 29 seats. Based on the results of that election, 39 seats were decided by less than 6 percent of the voters who turnout and 57 by less than 10 percent. Thirteen seats were decided by less than a thousand voters.GE13 will be an even closer race as both coalitions are more ready than they were in 2008 and the stake is high for both. Our vote will make a difference.

WE ARE VOTING FOR OUR CHILDREN – In any general elections we are voting for a government that would carry us into the next five years of their term. But in GE13, perhaps for the first time ever we have a viable alternative government.The choice for us is clear, we either vote for more of the same or vote for change. If we are dissatisfied with the way our country has been managed and believe that things should be better, then this is our chance to vote for change. We are not voting for our own comfort but for all our children.

But before we make our choice, it is imperative that we find out for ourselves the vision of the future these two coalitions are offering by reading from a variety of sources, not just the mainstream media and attending talks. American journalist Tony Snow said, “Voting is a right best exercised by people who have taken time to learn about the issues.”

IT IS A PRIVILEGE WE STILL HAVE – According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Index of Democracy 2011, Malaysia is ranked 71 out of 167 countries surveyed. 25 countries are considered “full democracies, 53 including Malaysia are considered “flawed democracies”, 36 are “hybrid regimes and 53 are “authoritarian regimes”. Malaysia’s score of 6.19 out of 10 is just 0.2 points away from being considered a hybrid regime.Yes, we are a democracy but just barely. If we don’t use our right to vote and to reform our democratic system, we may slide further down the ranking and pay the price for our apathy. Compared to many countries ruled by hybrid or authoritarian regimes we are privileged but it is not something we should take for granted.


Not too long ago I was at a forum where the speaker started off his talk with a question to the audience present. He asked, “What or who do you think is the biggest obstacle to political reform in this country?” The audience offered various answers – Mahathir was a popular one, Najib, corruption, the judiciary, etc. But his answer took us by surprised. He suggested that it is the Rakyat and proceed to explain why. At the end, most of us saw his point and agreed with him.

Our apathy and fear have allowed our elected officials to mismanaged our national wealth, enact laws that violates our constitutional rights, used our public institutions to serve their own ends and divided the people of this nation so that the elites among them can rule over us.

For too long we have handed over the power of governance to ambitious and greedy politicians, and then sit back and watch in despair and hopelessness as they trampled upon our rights and future. With the awakening that started from the last general election in 2008, we, the voters of this country, have a golden opportunity to reclaim our power and our voice. Let us not lose this chance to vote.

10 Reasons Why We Must Vote in GE13
Thomas Fann
February 10, 2013


The decline and fall of Najib

The prime minister had the perfect opportunity to act, but he neglected to do so. Consumed by greed and power, like many politicians in Malaysia, he looked the other way.


As soon as Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak announces the date for 13th general election, it will probably sound his political death knell.

For the benefit of the rakyat, and in front of the television cameras and news photographers, Najib and his Cabinet present a united front; but behind the scenes, another story emerges.

Damaging leaks about the shortcomings of his leadership continue to undermine Najib. His grip on the party is tenuous. His strongest ally, the self-styled First Lady Rosmah Mansor, will do her utmost to ensure he succeeds.

Last month, the independent organisation, the Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research, found that Najib had high popularity ratings of 63% among voters in Peninsular Malaysia.

For the sake of “completeness”, why not a survey among voters in Sabah and also, Sarawak? It would have been interesting to gauge Najib’s popularity in Sabah, before and during the proceedings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) for Sabah.

If the same survey had been conducted among ministers in Najib’s own Cabinet, the results would be a good gauge of their confidence in his leadership.

The war that is being waged against Najib is on two fronts – he has to defend himself against the opposition and fight off guerrilla raids from invisible enemies, within Umno.

Najib, the son of Malaysia’s second prime minister, has had a poor grounding in life. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he is only exposed to the suffering of the rakyat, in the months before election. To alleviate their pain, Najib distributes bags of rice and food, and tars their roads, rather than sorting out the issues which have plagued the people, over the past five years.

The prime minister’s privileged schooling is denied to the ordinary Malaysian. Najib may have been a product of a mission school, but mission schools are dying a slow death, deprived of money and support from the Education Ministry.

In his secondary schooling at Malvern College, a Church of England school, Najib would have attended daily chapel services, compulsory Sunday service, Remembrance Sunday, and Carol services in the Christmas term.

Najib has remained a Muslim despite attending these services, but he would have gained a thorough understanding of Christianity. Despite that, he has said nothing to persuade the extremists in Malaysia to practise tolerance and moderation.

He missed the chance

What can one expect from a career politician? When he defended his father’s seat, which had become vacant on his death, he won, presumably because of the sympathy votes.

How can a man who has not experienced the perils faced by the unskilled worker, the struggling graduate, working man and father know what it is like to live in Malaysia, where house prices are beyond most people’s reach, where car prices are jacked up, where justice is sold to the highest bidder and where most services require a sweetener? Najib’s education has not been put to good use to help his fellow Malaysian.

This privileged son of a former premier has been in politics for almost 37 years. Those years have been marred by scandal and sexual intrigue. They have been stained by corruption and murder. The highlights are excesses and abuse of power. Najib started his premiership by betraying the Perak people. He claimed that he would tackle corruption but became deeply embroiled in it, himself.

When he became prime minister, Najib portrayed himself as a moderate, and his calls for moderation won praise from the delegates at the UN’s 65th General Assembly. The hollowness of his claims could damn him at the polls because he failed to take any action against Ibrahim Ali, the leader of a right-wing extremist Malay NGO, when he announced that he would torch Malay language Bibles.

The decline and fall of Najib
Mariam Mokhtar
February 8, 2013 – FMT


Screening of Tanda Putera is reckless

The litany of offences by the BN is now not only alarming but also is dangerous.

The latest, the closed door screening of ‘Tanda Putera’ to Felda settlers is not just reckless but is begging a spark to ignite a powder keg created by the BN.

Mature citizens have long forgotten this aberration in our history. By raising the spectre of May 13, it would seem that all rational thinking has departed from the BN political mindset.

It is akin to the scorched earth policy employed by Napoleon and Hitler whose armies laid waste to the land as they retreated from the battlefield, leaving the victors nothing but burnt land.

Meanwhile, the Home Affairs Ministry has lifted the ban on the ‘Viswaroopam’ movie after much delay due to public calls.

The film was banned on Jan 25 following complaints made to the Home Ministry by the Indian Muslim Congress (Kimma) and the Federation of Indian Muslim Associations (Permim).

The Film Censorship Board made 12 cuts on the film. But Kimma and Permim made further complaints which resulted in the ministry setting up a special panel comprising of the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) and censorship board officers to review the film, focusing on religious and security aspects.

The Home Affairs Ministry then made another 12 cuts and now has announced the lifting of the ban. I understand that the film distributor, Lotus films, doesn’t want to screen the movie after 24 cuts.

Kimma and Permim are Umno cronies and they want to be more Malay than Indian. They have more influence than all the other BN beggar parties like MIC, PPP and IPF.

These Indian based parties have no backbone and are depending on Umno and Premier Najib Razak to win back Indian votes.

In India itself ‘Viswaroopam’ is being screened after seven cuts on the movie after protests from smaller Muslim groups.

But in Malaysia, the film censor board has made 24 cuts before lifting the ban.

‘Viswaroopam’ is just like any other Hollywood or for that matter Tamil movie. This movie has been slaughtered beyond recognition.

Yet, without considering the consequences and the possible repercussions, Najib has allowed the screening of ‘Tanda Putera’ to 3,000 Felda settlers.

A movie criticised by many as seditious and harmful to a multi-racial society is screened to targeted rural groups to poison their minds.
On the other hand Najib is reaching out to Indian and Chinese communities with sweet promises with no results yet.

Najib and Umno are now possessed by sheer desperation to stay in power. They don’t care if its action can harm the people or the economy and take the country backwards.

Screening of Tanda Putera is reckless
S Ramakrishnan
Feb 21, 2013 – Malaysiakini letters


Quick guide to Malaysian electoral system

I.M. Magazine


Will Najib be around to keep his promises?

FMT LETTER: From Kenneth Lee, via e-mail

Najib is certainly the most Indian-centric PM just as Mahathir was the most anti-Indian PM. He is attending any and every Indian function in KL and across the country. Looking at his actions and promises to the Indians, one may even start to think that he is an Indian who has finally realised the pathetic state of his people and seriously wants to do something to rectify their dire state.

Najib has made numerous promises, some lavish and others considered impossible by experts (such as his latest 3% equity in the Malaysian economy). Given Umno’s ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ mantra and the ‘Malay first, Malaysian second’ DPM Muhyiddin who speaks and acts contrary to him, Najib has to be more than a superman to deliver the promises he has made to the Indians in the next five years.

The fact that Najib is not able to check his deputy Muhiyidin, Umno warlords or even small fries like Ibrahim Ali tells a lot about Najib’s actual power and strength. It is obvious that Najib is PM only in name but not in authority and power. When you factor in Mahathir’s personal agenda and the immense power that he wields, the image of Najib as a functioning PM vanishes. All that one can see is Najib as a puppet-PM, dancing and acting in response to the puppet-master. Now, if a puppet can deliver promises, then the Indians can and should believe Najib when he asks them for their “nambikei” and votes.

Unfortunately, even if a puppet can deliver its promises, the puppet is not going to be around after GE13, regardless of whether Pakatan Rakyat or Umno/BN wins. That is plain and clear to all but the ignorant and stupid (let us hope that the Indians are neither ignorant nor stupid). Najib is the PM with the most scandals in Malaysia’s history. Various worms such as ex-IGP Musa, Deepak, etc. are crawling out with damning statements about Najib, Rosmah and Najib’s cousin Hishamudin, and all that Najib and Hishamudin can do is to keep quiet or deny meekly.

Umno is split and the Muhiyidin-Mukhriz faction is clearly the stronger one. Najib’s actions to counter threats from Mahathir are ineffective. The RCI on Sabah illegal immigrants has explicitly exposed Mahathir’s critical role in the granting of citizenship to illegal immigrants for political reasons. While Mahathir openly admits his role in this treasonous act and questions the great Tunku and the legitimate granting of citizenship to the non-Malays at independence, Najib appears deaf and dumb.

While the Rakyat are furious with Mahathir for betraying the country, Najib is travelling and attending functions and making promises. Mahathir has already said that if Najib does not deliver a strong win for Umno/BN, then Najib will have to step aside for Muhiyidin to be PM (and Mukhriz as DPM?). Still no words or action from Najib. After all, puppets cannot talk and cannot act on their own.

Will Najib be around to keep his promises?
February 7, 2013 – FMT


The economics of handouts

DURING a recent handout event of BR1M 2.0, or the 1Malaysia People’s Aid, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said this proved the Barisan Nasional government was a champion in administering the country and managing the economy. Under the scheme, some seven million people were estimated to receive the aid, including 4.1 million recipients of BR1M last year. In short, these were direct one-off payments of RM500 to households with a combined income of less than RM3,000 a month, and RM250 to singles earning less than RM2,000 a month.

This close to the polls, (the 13th general elections must be held in June at the very latest), one cannot help but draw a connection between the two. An Umno politician stated that it has nothing to do with the elections since the first payment was made last year, quite forgetting that if not for Bersih 2.0 in June 2012, an election may well have been called for that year.

It seems fairly obvious that these goodies are meant to boost Barisan’s popularity ahead of the elections. And although vote-buying itself would not be considered legal, this is where the lines are blurred. Article 10(3) of the Election Offences Act 1954 considers anyone who makes any such gift, offer or promise in order to induce or “procure… the vote of any… person” guilty of bribery. It can, however, be argued that there is no direct inducement taking place in this particular situation. Recipients of the cash aid are in no way obliged to vote for Barisan – of their own free will, anyway.

The more important question is whether such a cash handout should be considered good policy or not. On the one hand, the cash genuinely does help those struggling to make ends meet, and could be considered fair returns of money rightfully belonging to the rakyat. After all, Pakatan state governments also have cash schemes to help the poor and underprivileged.

But there is a difference. A big one. Selangor and Penang, both Pakatan-led states that provide financial aid for senior citizens, children and the disabled, have far surpassed their predecessors’ financial performance. Selangor increased its cash reserves to RM1.9 billion in 2011, its highest in 28 years while Penang successfully reduced its state debt by 95% from RM600 million to RM35 million in the same year.

This is not the case for the federal government, which has run a fiscal deficit since 1997. Although it has fallen slightly from its 22-year high of 7% in 2009 to 4.5% in 2012, our fiscal records aren’t very stellar. Our debt to GDP ratio is at 53%, just below the statutory limit of 55%.

Both BR1M packages will cost the government an estimated RM2.6 billion and RM3 billion respectively. Najib stated that because the economy continues to expand, this results in increased tax collection and therefore the reason for which BR1M can be dished out.

In reality, a huge RM13.8 billion supplementary budget was tabled in June 2012, forming almost 5% of the original budget. Out of this, RM7.5 billion was for cash aid and oil and gas subsidies.

Perhaps we would feel at ease if the budget was more transparent and Malaysians could track where every ringgit and sen of taxpayers’ money is being spent. But here again the country falls short.

The economics of handouts
Tricia Yeoh
7 February 2013 – the Sun


UMNO & Cronies Are Striping The Wealth Of The Malay (Video)

Khalid Samad: UMNO & Cronies Are Striping The Wealth Of The Malay


GE13 a defining moment for Malaysia

COMMENT No matter how often one reads about the sordid corruption and abuse of power in Malaysia, one can never get used to the staggering scale of betrayal by those we trusted to govern in our name.

The latest scandal, that certain political leaders illegally and secretly manipulated citizenship grants in order to shift the balance of votes in their favour, is beyond outrageous. The full scope of their treachery might never be known.

What is particularly galling is that despite all the publicity, despite the fact that we are about to head to the polls, it’s still business as usual. It speaks of an overbearing sense of impunity and an utter disdain for the people of Malaysia.

It is mind-boggling, as well, that Malaysia, according to the international financial integrity watchdog Global Financial Integrity, is now second only to China in the outflow of illicit funds. Untold billions have been looted and squirreled abroad even as our nation sinks further into debt. At this rate, the day of our economic reckoning, a reckoning that will fall primarily upon the shoulders of the common people, cannot be too far off.

A government which allows these things to continue unchecked year after year surely loses all its credibility as well as its moral legitimacy.

The carnage that decades of misrule has wrought is now evident in nearly every area of national life – the justice system, the police force, the civil service, the Election Commission and the anti-corruption commission.

Abroad, meanwhile, Malaysia is increasingly seen as a nation in decline. Each year we sink lower and lower in critical benchmarks for corruption, transparency, good governance, education, human rights and press freedom. Where once we ran with the best, we now hunker with the outliers; where once we benchmarked ourselves with the finest, we now settle for being a cut above the worst.

Benjamin Franklin’s axiom

Part of the problem is that we, as a nation, have for too long put our trust in personalities and political parties rather than in the kind of institutions that alone can guarantee our democracy and help ensure good governance. So enamoured were we with personalities that we did little as the caudillos undermined our national institutions and weakened the fabric of our nation.

We unwittingly traded our fundamental freedoms for short-term prosperity and stability.

And now, we, like many other nations before us, have discovered the truth of Benjamin Franklin’s axiom – that those who trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both.

GE13 a defining moment for Malaysia
Dennis Ignatius
Feb 13, 2013 – Malaysiakini


Bernama report on EIU lifted from pro-BN website

A recent report on the possible election outcome by national news agency Bernama appears to have been plagiarised from another online news portal that published a almost identical article about two weeks earlier.

Checks by Malaysiakini showed that the Bernama article dated Feb 21 is almost a carbon copy of an article published on Feb 9 by the pro-BN website, The Choice (right).

The Bernama version of the story was widely reproduced by the mainstream and online media, including Malaysiakini, which was later alerted to the similarities with the article in The Choice by a reader.

Both articles quote the think-tank Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) as saying that BN is the likely winner in the coming general election.

A close scrutiny of both articles reveals that Bernama added three paragraphs to the version posted by The Choice.

There are also at least three sentences that were shifted about, while the rest were minor changes, such as changing the term ‘GE13′ to ‘the polls’.

Both articles have also wrongly attributed parts of BN’s criticism of Pakatan Rakyat to the think tank.

Malaysiakini contacted both EIU and The Choice, which is operated by a group of anonymous writers, for comment yesterday but has yet to receive their responses.

Bernama report on EIU lifted from pro-BN website
Koh Jun Lin
Feb 23, 2013 – Malaysiakini

Sabahans Unite!
Vote Warisan Plus!


The dawn of A Better Malaysia!
Rafidah Aziz, Hannah Yeoh, Ambiga at TTDI ceramah


Mahathir in Putrajaya ceramah


What happened to 1MDB’s money? – CNBC Video
Nuclear lessons for Malaysia (Part 1) (Part 2)
BN govt is directing attention to distant past and distant future, in order to distract people from present misdeeds and poor governance
Felda - A picture is worth a thousand words
How the 1MDB Scandal Spread Across the World (WSJ)
We cannot afford ridiculously expensive RM55 Billion ECRL!
All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men
to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke
When the people
fears their government,
there is TYRANNY;
when the government
fears the people,
there is LIBERTY.

- Thomas Jefferson
Do you hear the people sing?