Archive for April, 2013

30
Apr
13

People’s Awakening in Sabah (Video)

Tawau, Sabah
(courtesy: Mediarakyat)


Newsflash: Lautan Manusia Melimpahi Tawau Sabah
Tawau Sabah 28/04/2013

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30
Apr
13

GE13 – The 2M-Government 2.0?

MANY expressed surprise when Zulkifli Noordin was nominated as the BN candidate for Shah Alam and later when the BN candidate for Pasir Mas pulled out to give way to Ibrahim Ali.

This could simply be the early sign of the 2M Government 2.0. The original 2M Government refers to the Mahathir-Musa partnership, which ended in 1986 when Musa resigned from deputy prime ministership.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Musa Hitam were both dynamic Young Turk leaders and they quickly captured the imagination of the nation with the “Bersih, Cekap dan Amanah” (Clean, Efficient and Trustworthy) campaign, the forerunners of administrative reforms under Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Najib Razak two decades later.

The new 2M Government would be one of Mahathir-Muhyiddin. Unlike Singapore’s former minister mentor Lee Kuan Yew, Mahathir will not hold any formal position in the Muhyiddin cabinet but he would, however, have the final say on key matters.

A straight fight between Ibrahim Ali and the PAS candidate in Pasir Mas is in fact a testimony to such paramount influence held by Mahathir, who has forced the retirement of three prime ministers (Tunku Abdul Rahman, Hussein Onn who chose to step down after unprecedentedly being challenged by a lightweight, and Abdullah) and the exit of two deputy prime ministers (Musa and Anwar Ibrahim).

While Najib did not adhere to Mahathir’s controversial statement that the country needs more Ibrahim Ali for her salvation and Ibrahim should be adopted as the BN candidate in Pasir Pas, the no-show of the BN candidate allowed a straight fight and indirectly made Ibrahim the unofficial BN candidate.

The 2M Government 2.0 would phase out the Najib Government if the BN were to retain power in the coming elections.

Despite the societal change since the political tsunami in 2008, Mahathir and some Umno leaders are creating the impression that the BN will reclaim its two-thirds parliamentary majority this round.

This is however a mission impossible for Najib whose position is now weaker than Abdullah on the eve of the 2008 polls.

Out of the total 270 independent candidates for parliamentary and state contests, 61 or nearly a quarter came from Umno, including heavyweights like deputy chief of Wanita Umno, Kamalia Ibrahim and former deputy agriculture and agro-based industry minister Shariff Omar.

Najib, whose campaigning style is described as presidential, looks far from being presidential in his debut premier election. Hence, if BN manages to survive the Pakatan onslaught, Najib is likely to retire like Abdullah. The interesting question is not how many months Najib can stay on, but how the 2M Government 2.0 will run the country should it get its chance.

The end of the reformist 2M Government in 1986 was followed by a protracted Umno schism, Operasi Lalang which saw 108 political dissidents being detained without trial under the (now-defunct) ISA, the deregistration of the original Umno, and the sacking of the Lord President Tun Salleh Abas and five Supreme Court judges.

…more
The 2M-Government 2.0?
by Wong Chin Huat
Apr 27, 2013 – fz.com

30
Apr
13

Najib Picks Race-baiting Candidates for Malaysia Poll

The extent to which the United Malays National Organization has abandoned Malaysia’s historic multiracial governance is exemplified by last Saturday’s naming of flamethrowing Malay nationalists Ibrahim Ali and Zulkifli Noordin as parliamentary candidates in the upcoming May 5 election.

In addition, UMNO has “borrowed” at least five parliamentary seats from the faltering Malaysian Chinese Association, the second-biggest party in the Barisan Nasional, or ruling coalition, and filled them with candidates picked by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

“We have taken back many seats from the MCA,” said an UMNO source. “A lot of MCA seats were actually UMNO seats in the first place as Malay majority areas but in the spirit of cooperation we gave them the seats. Now we take them back.”

The decision for UMNO to basically go it alone is viewed as ominous for the country by political analysts in Kuala Lumpur, who say that if, as expected, the party pulls out a victory in the 13th general election, they fear that it consigns the ethnic minority Chinese and Indian populations, who make up 22.9 percent and 7.1 percent of the country’s population respectively, to powerlessness in government and society. Ethnic Malays make up 60.1 percent according to the 2010 census.

Ibrahim and Zulkifli are the president and vice president respectively of Perkasa, a conservative, extreme-right Malay superiority organization that got its start after the country’s 2008 electoral debacle that cost the Barisan Nasional its two-thirds majority in the Dewan Rakyat, or Parliament. It has the backing of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who urged that the two be named candidates.

Mahathir has become increasingly strident over protecting the status of ethnic Malays in Malaysian society despite Najib’s continued stressing of Malaysia’s composition as a moderate multiracial country. The naming of the two Perkasa leaders as candidates is a clear demonstration of Mahathir’s continuing clout despite having left power a decade ago, in 2003. After bequeathing the premiership to his chosen candidate, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Mahathir turned on Badawi after the 2008 election and played a major role in driving him from power so that Najib Tun Razak could take over.

“Maybe Mahathir didn’t tell Najib directly, but the message was clear, and having seen what he did to Badawi, Najib didn’t want to clash with him,” a well-wired political source said. Ibrahim Ali will contest a seat in Kelantan, a largely mountainous state dominated by rural Malays. Zulkifli was picked to run in Shah Alam, a Kuala Lumpur suburb.

It is questionable whether naming the two will cause the Barisan to lose the affection of more ethnic Indian and Chinese voters. Continuously calling for Ketuanan Melayu, or a Malays first policy, Perkasa, which claims 300,000 members but actually appears to have far fewer, has been called Malaysia’s Brownshirts, a reference to the Nazi militia created by Adolf Hitler in 1921 that disrupted rallies and beat and intimidated bystanders during Hitler’s rise to power.


…more
Najib Picks Race-baiting Candidates for Malaysia Poll
Written by John Berthelsen
22 April 2013 – Asia Sentinel

30
Apr
13

Malaysia’s oil royalty rumble

APRIL 9 — One of the issues that is bound to crop up in the 13th general election campaign is oil royalty. In the past, many reasons have been presented by political parties from both sides of the divide on who is entitled to what. Perhaps this article will help shed some light on the issue.

When the Rulers and representatives of the Straits Settlements, the Federated Malay States and the Non-Federated Malay States signed the Federation of Malaya on January 31, 1948, nobody imagined the significant petroleum money conflicts that would ensue for the years to come.

One component made all the difference — jurisdiction over all areas beyond three nautical miles of the state shores is handed over to the federal government. Section 4 of the Emergency Ordinance 1969 also defines territorial waters as three nautical miles, subject to some exceptions, including the newer states of Sabah and Sarawak.

This is the case against petroleum-related royalty payments from the federal government to some state governments today. For oil found beyond three nautical miles (beyond state territories), no royalty monies are due because they belong within federal government territories.

If we hold that the story ends here, we will conclude that no royalty is due to currently the petroleum-producing state of Kelantan, or rightfully, even Terengganu and Pahang. But, the story does certainly did not end here.

Petroleum Development Act 1974

In 1973, the world witnessed an oil shock caused by a six-month embargo on oil supplies by the Arab members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Crude oil prices climbed four-fold overnight, causing severe disruptions to many industries. Most developing economies that produce oil, including Malaysia, then began to realise the strategic and economic importance of having national control over this black gold.

Malaysia responded by setting up Petroliam Nasional Bhd or Petronas on August 17, 1974, our home-grown oil giant which we have slowly grown dependent upon, up to 40 per cent of the federal government budget. It was oil money that financed the RM6 billion Petronas Twin Towers and the RM22 billion Putrajaya. In fact, oil-generated income, thanks to soaring crude oil prices in the past decade, was the only way we could have afforded the whopping RM135 billion increase in government operating expenditure in 2012 compared to 2000.

The incorporation of Petronas paved the way for another defining milestone in the history of Malaysia’s petroleum industry, namely the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA). The PDA is the “antagonist” to the Federal Constitution, used by proponents of royalty payments to states when it comes to oil exploration beyond three nautical miles of state shores. By section 2 of the PDA, Petronas is vested with the “entire ownership in petroleum lying onshore or offshore Malaysia”, as well as exclusive rights, power, liberty and privilege of exploring, exploiting, winning and obtaining them. The generic term “offshore Malaysia” is thus the main contention, since neither specific length from state shores was explicitly stated, nor were references to the Federal Constitution “three nautical miles” component made.

The PDA was a powerful manifestation of Malaysia’s control and sovereignty as it essentially made uniform all previously separate standing agreements between the international oil operators and state governments with regards to Malaysia’s hydrocarbon resources. It entailed three major developments; one, that all finding will be under Petronas custodianship; second, that existing concession agreements will be replaced with Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) where the government via Petronas effectively undertakes expenditure; and third, that there would be an additional five per cent royalty payment to the federal government (from Petronas) on top of five per cent royalty payment to state governments (also from Petronas). There were monies paid to state governments under the previous concession models but the specific magnitude is not known.

Supplementing the PDA 1974 were 13 identical Assignment Deeds and Vesting Grants, which were also separately signed between each of the 13 states and the federal government between 1975 and 1976. All of them vested the rights to “petroleum whether lying onshore or offshore of Malaysia” to Petronas, in return for cash payments in the form of a yearly sum equivalent to five per cent of the value of petroleum produced. Again, no length from state shores was specified with the generic term “offshore”. Thus, these new deeds only exacerbated the controversy.

…more
Malaysia’s oil royalty rumble — Anas Alam Faizli
April 09, 2013 – TMI

30
Apr
13

Sivarasa: Vote For Us To Change Putrajaya (Video)


Sivarasa Rasiah: The Whole Of Malaysia Comes & Votes With Us To Change Putrajaya
Kota Damansara PJ 13/04/2013

30
Apr
13

From fixed deposits to kingmakers

APRIL 9 — Malaysia’s coming general election, widely characterised as a potential “watershed” event, will see many first-time voters play a decisive role in determining which way the country will go. Will they vote to retain the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition or opt for the opposition alliance, Pakatan Rakyat?

Carrying a critical weight in the outcome will be the east Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak.

Out of the 222 seats in Parliament, more than a quarter are in Sabah (with 25 seats) and Sarawak (31), leading some to label these states as kingmakers in the polls that are expected to be closely contested.

In Peninsular Malaysia, any potential loss by BN of its predominantly non-Bumiputera seats can be counterbalanced by gains in predominantly Bumiputera seats. This would give a net election result in Peninsular Malaysia like that in 2008, when BN only narrowly surpassed Pakatan. Had Sabah and Sarawak not brought in the 56 seats then, there could have been a change of government in Putrajaya.

THE SWING PHENOMENON

Sabah and Sarawak enjoy special rights distinct from other Malaysian states, such as state controls over immigration and land matters, as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement of 1963 when Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore formed Malaysia supposedly as equal partners.

The ties between the federal government and the two east Malaysian states were sometimes strained in the initial decades after the formation of Malaysia, as each side manoeuvred and tussled over rights and privileges in a new federation.

But as the state governments of Sabah and Sarawak have almost always been formed by BN component parties, the past few decades witnessed no serious contestations in federal-state relations.

This has in part led to the two east Malaysian states being hailed as fixed deposit states for BN, having consistently delivered the bulk of their parliamentary seats to the ruling coalition.

While the majority of the east Malaysian parliamentary seats are likely to return to BN in the coming elections, changes in popular sentiments and heightened awareness of popular rights could translate into an increase in the number of swing seats.

In other words, the slim voting majority could sway to either side of the political divide — what with the Lahad Datu episode throwing into the pot a new factor in unpredictability. It remains to be seen how this swing phenomenon will impact federal-state ties.

…more
From fixed deposits to kingmakers — Oh Ei Sun
April 09, 2013 – TMI

30
Apr
13

Incredible generalisations in BN propaganda ads

NEGATIVE advertisements are flooding mainstream newspapers in this very electric season of the 13th general election campaign, but many fail to convince. One full-page advertisement caught my attention, paid for by the MCA, a component party of the Barisan Nasional.

Its title reads “Ubah (Change) for the worst? What can we learn from the Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain free fall?” and describes what it imagines to have taken place in these countries during and after the Arab Spring.

The advertisement outlines the following series of events: “People get fed up with the government; Ruling party is forced to step down; Civil war in the streets and chaos in the country; Political instability, economic turmoil; Economy goes down, unemployment goes up; People get fed up with new government; Want to go back to the previous government.”

These are incredible generalisations about the named countries to create an argument against changing the government in Malaysia.

Change they did

I had the privilege of attending the 9th Aljazeera International Documentary Film Festival last week in Doha, Qatar, where my documentary on the late Teoh Beng Hock was competing. At the festival, documentary makers had the chance to share their stories from around the world.

Many films portrayed stories of hope and liberation juxtaposed against oppressive regimes, which included the Tahrir Square uprising in Egypt.

In the documentary After the Storm: A New Beginning for Egypt’s Economy, it was clear that although Egypt continues to struggle with poverty and unemployment, these were caused by decades of the previous regime’s economic mismanagement which distorted competition and benefited the wealthy at the expense of the poor.

Second, it also showed how it is precisely because of the revolution that locals were now more optimistic and able to take control of their own economic situation.

By placing this poorly thought-through advertisement, is the MCA then implying that Egyptians ought to have been content with their previous leader Hosni Mubarak, and continue living under such appalling conditions?

This would have made them out to be weak and spineless, supporting a regime that would shamelessly continue to subject them to atrocities.

Different circumstances

Equating Malaysia to Egypt is inaccurate, since both countries operate under different circumstances and contexts.

Although this country is suffering from a heavy national debt and tremendously unhealthy levels of wastage and corruption, it is nowhere close to the conditions in which the Egyptian uprising took place.

In fact, each point laid out in the ad can easily be rebutted. First, Mubarak was forced to step down due to a people’s revolution; in Malaysia, any change in government would take place as part of the normal processes of democratic elections.

Second, it is presumptuous to predict that there would be chaos in the country should there be a change, since Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has already committed to there being a peaceful transition of power should it come to pass.

One hopes he will also ensure all accompanying government agencies like the police and military would assist in this.

Third, the ad assumes that the economy would get worse under a new government. The financial performance of Pakatan Rakyat state governments over the past five years speaks for itself, with budget surpluses and higher savings than ever before.

Bank Negara Malaysia, Securities Commission, Bursa Malaysia, and other fundamental institutions would also play their roles to responsibly ensure that no major shake-up would take place, safeguarding interests of investors and businesses.

Finally, the ad says that as a result of these upheavals, people would get fed up and want to return to the previous government, to which anyone who believes in free and fair elections would say, “By all means!”

– Tricia Yeoh

…more
Malaysia is no Egypt
Tricia Yeoh
25 April 2013 – Sun Daily




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?

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