Archive for October, 2015

31
Oct
15

The Criminalization of Peaceful Expression in Malaysia – HRW report

Human Rights Watch

The 143-page report, “Creating a Culture of Fear: The Criminalization of Peaceful Expression in Malaysia,” documents the government’s use and abuse of a range of broad and vaguely worded laws to criminalize peaceful expression, including debates on matters of public interest. The report also spotlights a disturbing trend of abuse of the legal process, including late night arrests and unjustifiable remands, and a pattern of selective prosecution.

The report is based on an in-depth analysis of laws such as the Sedition Act, the Printing Presses and Publications Act, the Communications and Multimedia Act, the Peaceful Assembly Act, and various provisions of the penal code. The report includes interviews with civil society activists, journalists, lawyers, academics, opposition politicians, as well as public statements by the government and media accounts of criminal proceedings involving free speech or peaceful assembly. Human Rights Watch wrote to the Malaysian Minister for Home Affairs, the Attorney General, the Inspector General of Police and the chairman of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission requesting their views on the issues raised in the report; none of them responded.

Download report

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30
Oct
15

New Crony Scandals for Malaysia’s Najib

In the middle of two gigantic scandals involving hundreds of millions of US dollars, the Malaysian government may be courting another mess, according to critics in Kuala Lumpur.

In mid-September, in an affair that is being widely talked and written about in Malaysia, the government-owned Prasarana Malaysia Bhd. (Infrastructure Malaysia Bhd) awarded a RM11.5 billion contract to extend the capital area’s light rail system from the city center to the port city of Klang on a so-called project-delivery-partner basis to the government-linked Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd, an engineering firm, and George Kent (M) Bhd — despite the fact that it was the third-highest bidder and was in fact nearly RM1.62 billion higher than the UEM consortium, owned by the state investment fund Khazanah and a full RM2 billion higher than the lowest bidder, whose name hasn’t been revealed.

The new major shareholder and group managing director of Malaysian Resources is Mohamad Salim Fateh Din. His son, Mohd Imran, is executive director. Salim is a close friend of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s, Rosmah Mansor. Malaysian Resources has never done a rail project. Its expertise is in construction, not rail.

George Kent (M) Bhd. is headed by Tan Kay Hock, 67, who has bragged that he has been a golfing buddy of Najib’s for 25 years. His wife is said to be close to Rosmah and reportedly accompanies her overseas on shopping trips. In addition to George Kent, he is also chairman and CEO of his umbrella company Johan Holdings Bhd.

George Kent won a similar contract to construct the RM1.1 billion Ampang light rail extension project in 2012 despite the fact that for the previous 76 years, the company was known as a minor-grade manufacturer and supplier of water meters with an annual income of RM 30 million. Tan denied at that point that George Kent won the contract because of his links to the prime minister. The project’s completion was delayed by a year although George Kent officials said it wasn’t their fault.

Malaysia is notorious for this kind of crony capitalism. In 2014, before he was jailed on what many consider spurious sexual abuse charges, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim calculated that more than 80 percent of the country’s richest businessmen – both Malay and Chinese – owe what Anwar called “a significant portion of their wealth and success to who they know, instead of what they know.” In 2014, The Economist ranked Malaysia third in its world rankings behind Russia and Hong Kong for the extent to which businessmen linked to government handouts owed their fortunes.

…more
New Crony Scandals for Malaysia’s Najib
September 17, 2015 – Asia Sentinel

29
Oct
15

Stop Treating Criticism as a Crime – Human Rights Watch

Malaysia: Stop Treating Criticism as a Crime

(Kuala Lumpur) – The space for public debate and free speech in Malaysia is rapidly narrowing, as the government resorts to criminal laws to silence its critics and quell public discontent, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. United States President Barack Obama and other world leaders will gather in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, on November 18, 2015, an opportunity to press for reform of the draconian laws and an end to censorship.

“Prime Minister Najib Razak and the Malaysian government have repeatedly broken promises to revise laws that criminalize peaceful expression. Instead, Malaysia has gone on a binge of prosecutions of critics,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “The government is making a mockery of its claims to democracy and fundamental rights by treating criticism as a crime.”

The 143-page report, “Creating a Culture of Fear: The Criminalization of Peaceful Expression in Malaysia,” documents the government’s use and abuse of a range of broad and vaguely worded laws to criminalize peaceful expression, including debates on matters of public interest. The report also spotlights a disturbing trend of abuse of the legal process, including late night arrests and unjustifiable remands, and a pattern of selective prosecution.

The report is based on an in-depth analysis of laws such as the Sedition Act, the Printing Presses and Publications Act, the Communications and Multimedia Act, the Peaceful Assembly Act, and various provisions of the penal code. The report includes interviews with civil society activists, journalists, lawyers, academics, opposition politicians, as well as public statements by the government and media accounts of criminal proceedings involving free speech or peaceful assembly. Human Rights Watch wrote to the Malaysian Minister for Home Affairs, the Attorney General, the Inspector General of Police and the chairman of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission requesting their views on the issues raised in the report; none of them responded.

…more
Malaysia: Stop Treating Criticism as a Crime
October 27, 2015 – Human Rights Watch

28
Oct
15

Shahbudin: Resist sweeping wrongdoing under the carpet

No one can get away with anything if the people are determined not to allow them to get away.

KUALA LUMPUR: It’s high time that the people rise up in defence of the nation and future generations, urged a political analyst. He warned in his latest blog posting that covering up wrongdoing and sweeping them under the carpet was not the way to enlist the confidence of the international community in the country. “The consumer sentiment and the confidence of investors in the people, government, economy, market, ringgit and country would be affected too.”

No one, he said, should think that he can act with impunity i.e. do what he or she likes and expect to get away. “No one can get away with anything if we are determined not to allow them to get away.”

Shahbudin Husin, the analyst, pointed out that it was really shameful that the world outside does not hesitate to investigate wrongdoing by Malaysians, at home and abroad, while the authorities concerned in the country maintain an ominous silence on the matter when they are not busy covering up or sweeping them under the carpet. “Who at this stage will replace Najib Abdul Razak as Prime Minister is a secondary matter. I will write about this separately.”

“What’s important now is that he must first be removed one way or another. The pressure must be maintained until he goes. We can no longer accept him as Prime Minister.

Najib’s departure, he added, can only bring good to the people and the country and their future. “He can longer face the international community or look other world leaders in the eye.”

“The departure of Najib will send a clear message and signal to others in the corridors of power to think twice before they convince themselves that they can act with impunity,” said the analyst. “They should not think that they can manipulate the system to cover-up wrongdoing and sweep things under the market.”

Shahbudin was commenting on a Federal Grand Jury convening in the US to examine allegations of corruption involving the Prime Minister and people linked to him on the matter. “What’s really shameful is that this investigation not only involves corruption and wrongdoing but also greed and recklessness in piling wealth of uncertain and dubious origin outside the country.”

“Meanwhile, consider the fate of the people especially in the kampungs who have to queue up to receive their RM500 BR1M once a year from the government. Compare their plight with the billions in ill-gotten gains being salted away overseas by those who claim to serve them.”

The analyst expects Najib to be faced with investigation after investigation, from all directions, in the wake of the US Federal Grand Jury convening on him. “This alone should convince the people in our country, from all walks of life, that Najib’s days are even more numbered now and he has no choice but to go and go soon. This time he doesn’t even have the luxury of working out an exit strategy.”

…more
Shahbudin: Resist sweeping wrongdoing under the carpet
September 24, 2015 – FMT

27
Oct
15

Zahidonomics: What a frightening thought

Can the DPM’s idea for cheaper superbikes help revive the economy?

COMMENT

Deputy Prime Minister by day, leather-clad biker by night. That sounds like a script for a hilarious B-movie. Can you imagine the gallant figure of Ahmad Zahid Hamidi astride his loyal metal behemoth, flanked by his leather-clad followers? Together they patrol the streets of Kuala Lumpur in the war against the terrible Yellow Cleaners.

But it would be petty to begrudge and belittle Zahid’s beloved pastime. After all, this writer wishes to one day own a Harley Davidson of equal stature to the DPM’s beloved Honda Goldwing. Such are the dreams that linger past adolescence, thanks to films like The Terminator. One day, I shall achieve my ambition, even if I may come to question my own lack of judgement.

But one truly has to question Zahid’s judgement, or lack of it at times. As we all know, the DPM likes his superbikes and is in fact the executive chairman of the Superbikers Association of Malaysia. Unfortunately, his passion for the steel beasts seems to have skewed his earnest desire to see the country grow. He has now promised to ask the Prime Minister to approve a reduction in the import duty and sales tax on superbikes.

Could we be seeing the emergence of a new class of bikers on Malaysian roads? Could we be witnessing the birth pangs of the greatest automotive movement to grace asphalt and gravel? Could this be the advent of Zahid’s Angels? No, no, as in Hell’s Angels, not Charlie’s Angels. No one wants to see our DPM in spandex and pleather, thank you very much.

Malaysia is currently facing problems of the worst kind – plunging oil prices, a weakening ringgit, a slowing economy, and to top it off, investigations by several countries into the doings of our Prime Minister due to certain dubious transactions involving the sovereign wealth fund he oversees, 1MDB. This is not exactly the time to be indulging one’s personal passions, especially when one happens to be the PM-in-waiting of a country experiencing some extremely worrying difficulties.

Can you imagine it, though? Even with everything that is going on, with all the turmoil and uncertainty, the PM-in-waiting thinks that priority should be given to reducing the taxes for luxury products like big bikes. It’s sad to consider just how disconnected Zahid seems to be from the concerns of normal Malaysians, especially when his party desperately needs leaders who are capable of empathising with the rakyat as they struggle to live.

If nothing else, Zahid has served as another example of just how shallow the current political leadership of this country is. We have tone-deaf, out-of-touch and self-serving leaders, and yet they expect support from the rakyat at large.

This is the time when, more than ever, our politicians need to show that they have substance. Zahid’s pronouncement comes at a time when his party is under siege for its indulgences and excesses, and he only reinforces the image that people have of an elitist, out-of-touch party. The people have no stomach left for more nonsense, least of all the introduction of something called Zahidonomics.

…more
Zahidonomics: What a frightening thought
September 14, 2015 – FMT

26
Oct
15

Did Gerakan Youth chief said BN MPs are fools?

Gerakan Youth chief puts foot in mouth, again

YOURSAY | ‘If it’s ‘gaji buta’ for not attending Parliament, then no one can beat Najib.’

Fools give Kit Siang ‘gaji buta’, rues Gerakan Youth chief

SRMan: The cannon is on the loose again when he tweeted: “You fools just gave Lim (Kit Siang) six months of holiday plus gaji buta.”

What Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang simply means is that all the 107 BN MPs who voted for Lim to be suspended six months are fools or plain idiots.

This man is really in the same league with BN politicians such as Abdul Rahman Dahlan, Salleh Said Keruak, and Ismail Sabri, who often shoot their mouths off.

And Tan, if you talk about taking ‘gaji buta’ for not attending Parliament, then no one can beat PM Najib Razak.

His extremely poor attendance record of only 26 out of 358 days (or 7.3%) in Parliament over past five years should make him the highest ‘gaji buta’ PM.

Lone_star: Why was the motion to suspend Lim proposed? Because the Dewan Rakyat speaker claims he was insulted.

Tan, the House speaker might have you called up for labelling BN MPs as foolish.

Bluemountains: Does he realise that he is calling Gerakan MPs, including his party president, fools?

FellowMalaysian: Who would ever think that being kicked out of Parliament was a good thing and meant a free holiday other than the obnoxious big mouth Tan Keng Liang?

He has even resorted to calling voters ‘fools’ as no politician in his right mind will make such suicidal remarks.

Lim was lobbying for the speaker to allow the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to reveal their probe findings concerning 1MDB when he was unceremoniously thrown out from Parliament and slapped with a six-month suspension order.

But by the looks of Tan’s behaviour and his past odious conduct, this wayward child is best left to his own party to reprimand him as his actions as the youth chief speaks of the party as well.

Rick Teo: Tan never cease to amaze me with his stupidity.

His recent remark about not serving under a sex offender but would serve under a corrupt Najib has not even blown over, and this stupid idiot comes out with another gaffer.

Does he know that Lim has no choice in being suspended? So how could you blame him for getting a six-month paid vacation?

Can someone of authority in Gerakan get this fool out of the media. He is doing more damage to Gerakan with his stupid comments.

CQ Muar: Tan, don’t get carried away thinking you’re being smart and witty with those insults about DAP supremo Lim.

The latter had been in politics long before you even started to suck milk. Why pick on someone who can well be your father, and not Lim, who can easily tuck you in his pocket?

Tan, no amount of your “showmanship” can forge Gerakan ahead any further – the party will kick-the-bucket come GE-14.

It makes more sense getting back to your legal practice.

Goku: You want to see a fool? Try looking into the mirror.

How do you face yourself each day knowing that you are part of the reason Malaysia is on a steep decline?

Real fools are those who support the likes of you and the logic-defying narratives you present to the masses.

I hope no one is stupid enough to vote you into public office in the future. If there are, may the heavens have mercy on us all.

Ipohcrite: Tan is the epitome of the type of politician that BN produces – the type that any right-thinking member of the rakyat will despise.

His comments on Lim Kit Siang can only come from a true blue fool.

LKT: Where are all the good men and women in the government and Umno-BN?

Don’t tell me that when practically every ordinary Malaysian (irrespective of race or religion) outside the government and Umno-BN is able to see what is wrong with 1MDB or the RM2.6B in Najib’s personal account, these people in government/Parliament/enforcement agencies are unable to see what is wrong?

…more
Gerakan Youth chief puts foot in mouth, again
25/10/15 – Malaysiakini

25
Oct
15

Budget like haze

Budget like haze
Cloudy in areas
Slashes here cutting there
Only his needs top it up

Fixing the economy
There is no clear cut measures
Only draining out the resources
The civil pay list hike

The middle income groups
Nothing really to boost
With costs rising high
It never help the situation

Minimum wage jumps
Naturally the costs will take hike
The middle income groups will lose
What gains they lose out everyday

Like haze sometimes visible sometimes bad
A short heavy pour then silence in the sky
The wind keeps blowing of smog dust
The smog of white carpet returns

The ‘cash is king’ man
He doesn’t need to worry
He has billions to enjoy his breaks
Turn a blind eye walk away

The placards say it
Only ministers say it childish
We don’t expect them to say the truth
They want to enjoy their perks and power games

…more
Budget like haze – caravanserai
October 25, 2015




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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