Archive for November, 2013


Students must pass ‘warped’ history for Umno’s sake

Is there more than what meets the eye behind the move to make history a compulsory pass subject for students who sit for the SPM examination?

According to Kempen Sejarah Sebenar Malaysia (KemSMS), there is an ulterior political motive at work.

In a media statement, KemSMS chairperson Thasleem Mohamed Ibrahim warned of dire consequences.

“We have strong fears that this new attempt to politicise education through the history syllabus will have disastrous effects on inter-racial and inter-religious unity and tolerance through the propagation of a predominantly Malay and Islamic version of history which will form the major content of the curriculum.

“Instead, what is required is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious view of Malaysian history, one that unfortunately this government continues to deliberately ignore for its own short-sighted partisan interests,” he said.

Thasleem pointed out that students from poor backgrounds would be the main victims of this measure which “would damage minds by instilling a warped version of the country’s true history.”

“The teaching of a ketuanan Melayu (Malay hegemony) and ketuanan Islam (Islamic hegemony) history may appear to be a victory for Umno supporters but in fact it will only make the community more unprepared to deal with the reality of a multi-ethnic, multi-religious Malaysia, as well as a multi-civilisational world,” he said.

Thasleem recalled that Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, when launching the National Education Blueprint, stated that it would result in students with world-class knowledge and skills, strong moral values and capable of competing with their peers from other countries.

“This has now been revealed to be an empty boast and a lie,” he said.

“Worse, it is a cover up for the greater politicisation and stultification of our national education system which Umno, the main component of the BN, is seeking to ensure so that it will continue to rule the country for the next 50 years,” he added.

Students must pass ‘warped’ history for Umno’s sake
Nov 14, 2013 – Malaysiakini


Former EC chief admits to gerrymandering?

EC Resign!

Abdul Rashid admits to gerrymandering?

Former Election Commission chairperson Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman’s speech at a Perkasa event yesterday appeared to be an admission of engaging in gerrymandering during his eight-year tenure as commission head.

Outgoing Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan said Abdul Rashid had, in a series of tweets, brazenly admitted to this when he said that three re-delineation exercises which he oversaw had ensured that Malays remain in power.

“(The) former EC chair joining Perkasa is one thing. More important is his admission of (as I see it,) gerrymandering.

“Some of the re-delineation worked against PAS. How is this for the Malays? Seems it was more to favour party in power. What an admission!” wrote Ambiga.

Abdul Rashid, who was the EC chief from 2000 to 2008 and the EC deputy chief before that, had made the admission when he addressed the Federal Territories Perkasa meeting in Kampung Baru.

“We did it in a proper way. Not illegally. The people who lost in the past general elections claimed that we did it wrong.

“But if we did, how did (the BN) lose to the opposition in Kelantan, Penang and Selangor?” he is reported as saying by The Malaysian Insider.

Was it legal?

However, Ambiga, who was the Bar Council president before leading Bersih, said that this admission meant that the re-delineation exercises Abdul Rashid had conducted in the past were illegal.

“(It) also means redelineation did not follow the Federal Constitution. Will this EC do the same? They should respond!” she said.

Abdul Rashid admits to gerrymandering?
Nov 25, 2013 – Malaysiakini


Challenging malapportionment and gerrymandering

‘Witnessing history’ by Wong Chin Huat

SHOULD the Election Commission (EC) commence the redelineation process before cleaning up the electoral rolls despite public outcry, citizens must organise themselves to reclaim the process.

As we know, any group of 100 or more voters affected by the redelineation can submit their representation (objection) to the EC and force the EC to hold local inquiries.

However, how should they assess the EC’s proposed boundaries? What can they challenge in malapportionment and gerrymandering respectively?

Three grounds to challenge Malapportionment

On malapportionment, we should remember that the Thirteenth Schedule, Part 1, 2(c) stipulates that the seats within the same state should be “approximately equal” although reasonable malapportionment may be allowed if in the “pro-rural” direction.

We can divide the latest available number of total voters in a state – if nothing newer, the GE13 figures would be good – by the number of parliamentary and state seats.

This would give us a state average of constituency size. We should then look out for the outlying constituencies and seek adjustment. While super-small constituencies can be sometime justifiable because of inland terrain, the outliers on the other end are not.

Take Sarawak for example, Hulu Rejang with 21,686 voters could be justified with a size of nearly Pahang. The severe under-representation of Stampin – with 84,732 voters – is blatant abuse of power when its neighbours were almost just half its size: Kota Samarahan (38,158), Petra Jaya (49,570) and Kuching (53,336).

Rural constituencies that find themselves larger than the urban ones – like Baling (93,376 voters) as compared to Alor Setar (69,189 voters) – have every reason to expect the EC to cut down their size. They would have powerful cases in court if the EC insists on violating the constitutional allowance for “pro-rural” malapportionment.

We can also make comparisons between parliamentary and state seats within the same state, even though there is no constitutional provision on this. By common sense, one would not expect a state assemblyperson to serve more voters than a parliamentarian.

In Selangor, the smallest parliamentary constituency in GE13 was Sabak Bernam, with only 37,318 voters. Scandalously, out of Selangor’s 56 state constituencies, 28 of them now have more voters than Sabak Bernam. While this was partly due to the growth of electorate, the main reason was malapportionment in 2003.

With 26 parliamentary constituencies and 56 state constituencies, an average parliamentary constituency in Selangor should be about 2.15 times that of an average state constituency. If the EC refuses to down the oversized state constituencies to at least that of Sabak Bernam, they should be prepared for legal suits.

Wong Chin Huat: Challenging malapportionment and gerrymandering
Nov 11, 2013 –


Allowing Rosmah on official jet an abuse of power

Allowing Rosmah on official jet an abuse of power, says Pakatan MPs

Opposition lawmakers have accused the Cabinet of acting irresponsibly and in an undignified manner for approving the use of a government jet for a recent trip by Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor (pic) to Qatar.

They said the decision was an abuse of power and interfered in the country’s administration.

“If the prime minister can’t attend, then a minister or an ambassador can be sent in his stead, not his wife.

“When Obama was unable to come to Malaysia, he sent his representative, not his wife,” PAS vice-president Datuk Mahfuz Omar said sarcastically, referring to the US President’s cancellation of his Malaysian visit last month. In his place were US Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

Mahfuz, questioning Rosmah’s credentials in representing the country, warned the Cabinet’s decision was dangerous for the future of the country.

“This is a Cabinet without any dignity and highly irresponsible to make a decision based on one person instead of taking national interest into account,” he said.

Rosmah was in Qatar last week to deliver a keynote address at the 4th Qatar International Business Women Forum in Doha, organised by the Qatari Businesswomen Association and the Interactive Business Network.

Accompanying her were Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, who is special adviser to the prime minister on women entrepreneurs and professionals; Datin Seri Siti Rubiah Datuk Abdul Samad, wife of the Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman; Datin Seri Khamarzan Ahmad Meah, wife of International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed; and Datin Seri Che Kamariah Zakaria, wife of Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh.

PKR Kelana Jaya MP Wong Chen said Rosmah was neither the country’s representative nor ambassador.

“It sets a terrible precedent and shows no semblance of decency on the government’s part,” he charged.

Allowing Rosmah on official jet an abuse of power, says Pakatan MPs
November 20, 2013 – TMI


Ibrahim Ali, blogger jailed in contempt case

Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali (pic) was sentenced to one day in jail and fined RM20,000 after being held in contempt by the Kuala Lumpur High Court today.

This was over an article by blogger Zainuddin Salleh published in the Perkasa website, which had allegedly tarnished the image of High Court judge Datuk V.T. Singham.

Singham had presided over a defamation suit by opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim against Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd.

High Court judge Datuk John Louis O’Hara today also sentenced Zainuddin to four weeks’ jail, leaving both Ibrahim and Zainuddin in shock when the verdict and sentencing were read out.

In an immediate response, Anwar’s lawyer, R. Sivarasa, said this was a fair verdict given the seriousness of the act, where the duo were responsible for the publication of the article which he described as a “personal and scurrilous attack on judge Singham”.

“This article could not have been let off without a response. This is the most extreme scurrilous written attack on the judiciary. I think Zainuddin can consider himself lucky he only got four weeks’ jail.

“In comparison, the imam who threw his shoes at the judge got 12 months’ jail,” Sivarasa said.

He was referring to the case of Hoslan Hussin, the imam who flung his shoes at the Federal Court bench in February last year after it struck out his bid to challenge an eviction order from a city mosque here in 1999 on a technicality.

According to Sivarasa, in his judgment today, O’Hara ruled that Zainuddin had written and published an article that scandalised the judiciary, and judge Singham, in particular.

Ibrahim Ali, blogger jailed in contempt case
November 19, 2013 – TMI


Moral question over exam shocker

‘Point Taken’ by Terence Fernandez

NO ONE wants to say this. But the question that should be asked is this: Was the sudden change to the SPM moral paper some subtle bureaucrat’s way of bringing down the number of straight A’s?

OK. Let us be more specific. Were the sudden unannounced changes in the format of the SPM Moral paper a sneaky way to ensure fewer students scored straight As? This would give public universities and matriculation centres another excuse to turn bright students away and further polarise our institutions of higher learning.

Well, that seems to be the reason of choice when scores of students sitting for the examination on Wednesday were shocked by the drastic changes to the examination format.

Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli seems to endorse this theory saying the problem was symptomatic of fragile race relations.

“People do not trust the system and the government. The majority have long felt that the subject (Moral Studies) only serves to penalise them (non-Malays).

“There is a need to re-look at the education system because it only serves to further divide the society,” he is reported as saying by FMT.

Moral is a paper that is taken by non-Muslim students, while Islamic Studies is the compulsory subject for Muslim students.

It is considered a bonus paper that is a sure-A for many, while the level of difficulty is higher for Islamic Studies.

So while this year, 15,793 students obtained straight A’s in the SPM (a slight increase from 15,079 the previous year) – there was a drop in those scoring in Islamic Studies. Moral Studies however, recorded a stark improvement.

So one can argue, that revising the moral paper was to make it a more open playing field for all students.

But while no one is preventing the Education Ministry’s Examinations Unit from improving the syllabus and making the paper more challenging, to do it in a clandestine manner is something that is unfair to the students and opens up the government of the day to scrutiny.

This is especially so when almost everything it has been doing of late – from the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST); the 100- 300% assessment hike in Kuala Lumpur and the proposed cap of 12 years on cars – do not seem to have the rakyat at heart.

Moral question over exam shocker
Nov 22, 2013 –


Why is Shafee leading prosecution against Anwar?

Why is Shafee leading prosecution against Anwar, Surendran asks Najib

The Prime Minister must explain why his personal lawyer, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, has been chosen to lead the prosecution against opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, said PKR vice-president N. Surendran (pic, left).

“Najib must break his silence, and explain why his personal lawyer has been chosen to conduct the prosecution against Anwar.”

Surendran was responding to the insistence of the Federal Court to use Shafee as prosecutor in the government’s appeal against Anwar’s acquittal of a second sodomy charge.

“The Malaysian public is entitled to know,” Surendran said in a statement.

In rejecting Anwar’s appeal, the Federal Court ruled yesterday that there was no conflict of interest in Putrajaya’s decision to appoint the prominent Umno lawyer to act as deputy public prosecutor.

Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Mohd Rauf Sharif, who chaired a five-man bench, said the law allowed anyone who was fit to be appointed as prosecutor.

“The shocking decision plunges prosecutorial standards in Malaysia to a disgraceful new low and further undermines public confidence in the judiciary, as it deprives Anwar Ibrahim of his basic constitutional right that the prosecution against him be conducted fairly and ethically,” Surendran said.

Surendran added that Shafee was at Najib’s residence when Saiful Azlan Bukhari met with Najib, claiming that Anwar sodomised him.

Aside from being Najib’s personal lawyer, Surendran said, Shafee also has close links with Umno.

“Knowing the political animosity of Najib and Umno against Anwar, how can the Federal Court allow Shafee Abdullah to be prosecutor against Anwar?”

Surendran added that the court had failed in its duty to oversee justice for Anwar as an accused person seeking redress from the courts.

Why is Shafee leading prosecution against Anwar, Surendran asks Najib
November 22, 2013 – TMI


Poser over RM720 million interest in PKFZ scandal

Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik’s acquittal in the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal has sparked questions over who the prosecutors will now charge for the RM720 million “double interest” imposed on the controversial land deal.

Former Port Klang Authority (PKA) chairman Datuk Lee Hwa Beng (pic, right) said there must be accountability although the Attorney General’s Chambers had a right not to appeal the former transport minister’s acquittal.

“I am happy that Dr Ling is in the clear. But someone must be accountable for the RM720 million, it is taxpayers’ money,” said the politician who lodged a police report four years ago that started the
PKFZ probe.

Lee added that in acquitting Dr Ling, the judge had implied that there was double interest imposed and that Ministry of Transport officers were responsible.

“So will the AG charge these officers?” Lee questioned.

Dr Ling was said to have deceived the Cabinet by failing to disclose there was an additional interest rate of 7.5% to the purchase price of RM25 psf in the PKFZ deal, despite knowing that the interest rate was already included in the price.

He then allegedly induced the Cabinet to approve the land purchase, which caused losses to the government.

In acquitting Dr Ling on October 25, High Court Judge Datuk Ahmadi Asnawi had ruled that the former minister could not be held accountable for any mistake, misleading information or inaccuracy in the preparation of the ministry’s documents regarding the land acquisition although he signed the documents.

“If any, the blame should be apportioned wholly and squarely upon the officers of the Transport Ministry who drafted and prepared the documents,” the judge had said.

As such, Lee told The Malaysian Insider that the PKFZ case was far from over despite Dr Ling’s acquittal and the AG’s decision not to appeal, saying there were three more criminal cases in the messy free trade zone scandal.

In December 2009, former PKA general manager Datin Paduka Phang Oi Choo was charged with criminal breach of trust amounting to RM254 million.

Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB) chief operating officer Stephen Abok and an architect with BT Architect, Bernard Tan Seng Swee, were also charged for making false claims.

Then in February 2011, former transport minister Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy was charged with three counts of cheating in the PKFZ scandal.

After Dr Ling’s acquittal, poser over RM720 million interest in PKFZ scandal
November 11, 2013 – TMI


Will the National Feedlot Centre become NFA?

MP SPEAKS Stern action must be taken against the minister and senior officers responsible for the National Feedlot Centre fiasco after strong condemnation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

While we were disappointed that the MACC has failed to find elements of corruption in the RM250 million National Feedlot Centre scandal, we must commend the report put forward by the commission which detailed elements of where the whole deal went wrong. It is a report long overdue, but it is certainly better late than never.

The MACC has revealed that the Agriculture Ministry, then under the helm of Muhyiddin Yassin, had awarded the National Feedlot Centre project to a company without technical or financial capabilities.

The MACC also pointed out that there was no consideration of conflict of interest between any government officer and the recipient of the government soft loan for the project.

What is perhaps most damning of the report is the finding that the Agriculture Ministry “did not do due diligence” on the company awarded the project. “The Agriculture Ministry failed to select a truly competent company to run the National Feedlot Centre as it was selected through limited tender. The company which was allowed to present their proposals did not have technical background or strong financial standing,” it said.

The above has been known by all Malaysians ever since the scandal first broke out in 2010 and it took MACC nearly three years to finally confirm the obvious.

The next question on the minds of all Malaysians is “why” did the Agriculture Ministry award such an important project to a company which “did not have technical background or strong financial standing”.

Such awards, including the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone project which tends to be the norm rather than the exception in the BN administration leads to the suspicions of cronyism and corruption. If not cronyism and corruption, then at best it could be excused for incompetence and negligence.

The problem is, the number of ministers and senior government officials getting away with the excuse of “incompetence and negligence” from doing the same things repeatedly as highlighted annually in the Auditor-General’s Reports are just one too many.

‘Clever in acting incompetent?’

Hence, a typical Malaysian cannot be blamed for feeling that those responsible for the above misdeeds are either extremely clever in acting incompetent, or so obtuse that they are incurably incompetent.

Regardless of which is which, we urge the Najib administration to take stern action against these ministers and officers responsible for causing billions of losses to Malaysians.

Will the National Feedlot Centre become NFA?
Tony Pua
Nov 7, 2013 – Malaysiakini


Govt executive jets cost RM490k per flight

PARLIAMENT Trips taken using the government’s seven private aeroplanes and helicopter cost, on average, close to half a million in 2012, a written reply to Parliament reveals.

Replying to Anthony Loke’s query (DAP-Seremban), Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Shahidan Kassim said that this includes RM14.95 million in fuel costs and RM160.08 million in maintenance costs.

Shahidan said that this was for 372 trips to 339 destinations for official business.

The aircraft, meant for use by VVIPs including the prime minister and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, include a Falcon, Global Express, Boeing Business Jet, Blackhawk, two Augustas and a Fokker F28.

The Fokker has since been donated to the Royal Malaysian Air Force museum, Shahidan said.

“This (cost) does not include 2013, when we know that the prime minister travelled to many local destinations in the lead-up to and during the general election campaign.

“We know the aircraft cannot be used for party business but the BN seem to have no shame using government funds for party work,” Loke later told reporters at the Parliament lobby.

Loke also questioned the alleged misuse of these aircraft for “private holidays”.

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak reportedly used an Airbus A319-11x sporting the 1Malaysia symbol on its tail logo to fly to Perth allegedly for a family holiday in 2011.

The Airbus, which goes by the call sign NR1 – which is coincidentally the premier’s initials – is not listed among the seven aircraft.

Last month, another written reply in Parliament revealed that it cost taxpayers RM86.4 million to rent a jet for Najib for his official trips.

The written reply to Nga Kor Ming (DAP-Taiping) said that this was the cost to rent the PM’s private jet (pesawat VVIP kerajaan AJ319) from 2010 to 2012.

Gov’t executive jets cost RM490k per flight
Aidila Razak
Nov 7, 2013 – Malaysiakini

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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?