- [PRESS STATEMENT] Stop Sweeping Our Financial Dirt Under The ‘Off-Balance Sheet’ Carpet
- Dr M and the Malays
- Malaysia Worries Over a Crime Wave
Posted: 31 Jul 2013 11:21 PM PDT
The latest downgrade by Fitch of Malaysia's outlook from "Stable" to "Negative" is a matter of grave concern though it should come as no surprise.
We have consistently maintained that the government's management of the economy particularly the profligacy in spending without proper safeguards of transparency and accountability will take us to the brink.
Prior to the 13th General elections, independent analysts had raised the red flag about our debt-to-revenue ratio of 237 per cent in 2012 and our over dependence on oil revenue but the UMNO-BN controlled media went to town to paint the critics as traitors out to destabilise the economy.
Instead of taking cognizance of the legitimate concerns and rectifying the situation, Najib has plunged the country into greater fiscal deficit, eating into our current account surplus and ignoring the clear signs of structural weaknesses.
How much longer does Najib want to be the proverbial ostrich in the sand by pretending that his administration's mismanagement of public finances has no significant impact on the economic outlook? No amount of creative accounting practices can change our financial red to black.
Thus, while the sharp rise in the Federal Government guaranteed debt to nearly RM150 billion in 2012 from RM96.9 billion in 2010 has not been factored in our budget deficit calculations, it cannot escape the radar of impartial economic and financial analysis.
In this regard, we call on Najib to stop hoodwinking the people by bragging about our so-called 'healthy debt-GDP ratio' when in reality it is a case of sweeping our financial dirt under the 'off-balance sheet' carpet.
Unless urgent remedial action is taken, it is clear that the promises made in the last elections about holding in trust public finances and more responsible fiscal management will remain hollow and the culture of reckless spending, opaque government procurement and privatisation processes and disregard for accountability remains the hallmark of Najib's 'transformation' government.
Let the government be warned that this cannot be allowed to continue. As the management of the nation's public finances is not a game of one-upmanship, we urge Najib to stop grandstanding and immediately step up to the plate to put the nation's and the people's interest above self and partisan interests.
Posted: 31 Jul 2013 08:11 PM PDT
If some of you think that this nation is in a mess, then blame the Malays because they are the problem. Malays know that Malaysia is not the land of gold and honey any longer.
In these difficult times, they have become more aware of their surroundings; but one other person has noticed this sea-change in the Malays.
He is former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad. He knows that a thinking and independent Malay is detrimental to his legacy, his creation – Umno-Baru – and to the well-being of his family's fortunes. Today's self-aware Malay is Mahathir's downfall.
Malays are in positions of power in government and the civil service. They dictate policies and run the wheels of government; but Malays are also the nation's worst hypocrites.
They are greedy. They are happy with short-term solutions. They do not think of the consequences. They are happy to hide behind the cloak of race and religion if it will bring them some material benefit or status. The day they lose everything is probably the day they will regain their humility, values and self-respect.
With the downturn in the economy, Malays have noticed that jobs are hard to come by, that only the chosen Malays receive government tenders, and that the cost of living is increasing. Scholarships for the poor Malay child are snapped up by children of Umno Baru politicians and cronies, leaving only a few places for the needy.
Crime is rife and foreigners are a common sight in every community, schools and hospitals. The Malay market-trader has to compete with a foreigner, who is willing to work harder for less money. Children in the rural areas are disillusioned and difficult to motivate. Many drift to the cities looking for jobs, then find that there are no jobs, so they add to the Mat Rempit menace.
The most privileged section of the community also has the highest proportion of drug users. Why are Malays more prone to drug addiction? Are they trying to escape reality? People who volunteer in charitable organisations allege that Malays have the highest incidence of problems, ranging from domestic violence to sexually transmitted diseases, and sexual problems such as rape, incest and illegitimate children.
Corruption is killing the country, but Malays are quite happy with the RM50 or RM500 offered by Umno Baru. The muftis order ridiculous fatwas and Friday sermons are politicised, but few Malays voice their objections. If this were Indonesia, the Indonesians would have walked out of the mosques, in protest.
Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation. If Indonesian women were subjected to acts of humiliation, many Indonesian women and men would have picketed to protest and demand that stern action be taken. Malay women would rather watch the latest TV soap.
Malays are aware that government tenders above a certain value involve bribery but will they lodge complaints? Perhaps, they are aware that nothing will be done. The people who head these anti-graft bodies are Malay.
Malays know that cheating was rife in GE13 and in the by-election in Kuala Besut on July 24. It appears that Malays were more concerned about getting in the queue for their "travel allowance", than stopping corruption.
The hundreds of millions of ringgit should instead have been pumped into schemes to benefit the community. The scoundrels are the Election Commission (EC) chairperson and his deputy; both Malays. Men who lack principle and dignity are championed by Umno-Baru.
Umno Baru seems to be promoting the Malays, whereas Pakatan Rakyat appears to be inclusive of all Malaysians, but the irony is that the only way for Malays to prosper is to vote against Umno-Baru and ensure that Pakatan forms the next government.
Mahathir knows which buttons to push. He is good at making you react, he excels at getting your attention and is pleased when you become all worked up – his expertise is that of a master manipulator. Mahathir would have made a better psychiatrist than a general practitioner.
Those who claim that Mahathir's policies "help" the Malays, are wrong. What he does under the pretext of helping Malays is designed to have the opposite effect. He is exacting his own vengeance on the Malays. Sadly, the Malays are too blind or stupid to notice.
When Mahathir was a child, which traumatic episode in particular made him turn against the Malays? He appears to be torn between pleasing the Malays, so that he is accepted by them, but at the same time is driven by feelings of guilt, to redeem himself for being cast as an outsider.
Was he teased in the school playground and called derogatory names pertaining to his background? Was he ashamed of being registered as an Indian at medical school in Singapore? Despite having a Malay mother, did elite Malays, royalty and the community treat Mahathir as an outsider? Did an incident deprive Mahathir of a deep emotional connection with the Malay community, which fostered a deep seated envy of the Malays?
This week, Mahathir has again tried to pit Malays against Chinese, and vice-versa; he queried whether the Chinese wanted to share, or to seize power, in Malaysia.
The non-Malay colleagues or beneficiaries of Mahathir's largesse are silent. If they are angry with Mahathir, none would dare voice their objections publicly. Mahathir knows that patronage has its advantages, and its limits.
Today, we are a nation divided along racial and religious lines and all of us are to blame. From the beginning, Mahathir had a racist agenda. The Malays were mesmerised by Mahathir's spin but then, the non-Malays are not entirely innocent.
In the WikiLeaks cables released in April 2013, it was revealed that the US embassy expressed surprise that Mahathir had been appointed deputy PM in 1976, but they were probably more amazed by the lack of opposition from the non-Malays despite Mahathir's "Malay chauvinism".
Francis T Underhill Jr, the ambassador at the time noted that "… the small, predominantly Chinese Democratic Action Party (DAP) has expressed some concern over Mahathir's past record but has not openly opposed his selection. Other Chinese parties or politicians have either not commented or have welcomed Mahathir's appointment in a pro forma manner".
Malaysia does not have a Malay or a Chinese dilemma. Our only dilemma is Mahathir. His latest outburst about the Chinese seizing power is merely a side-show. He wants to deflect attention from the greatest show in Malaysia, the Umno Baru general assembly.
Behind the scenes, the Malays in Umno-Baru are positioning themselves, like pieces on a chess board. The rakyat's problem is that we have poor quality Malay Umno Baru leaders, who only want to maintain their vested interests.
Malays are the problem of this country but they could also be the solution. Right now, any aspiring Malay who wants to be leader must listen to the needs of the lower-income groups and families with aspiration. He must address concerns of the rakyat like illegal immigration, corruption, education and rising crime.
Nothing gives Mahathir a greater sense of schadenfreude than seeing the Malays suffer, despite the Ketuanan Melayu and Umno Baru.
Posted: 31 Jul 2013 08:00 PM PDT
Contract hits raise concern over rising street violence
Two contract-killing attempts – one successful – on Malaysian streets have focused attention and growing anger on perceptions of a worrying rise in violent crime in the country, turning it into a political issue between Malays and Chinese as well.
An alarmed Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak held a press conference to say the government is prepared to give the police whatever is needed to fight crime and expressed concern over the spate of killings, saying it affected public confidence and increased fear with regard to security and serious crime.
In the most spectacular incident, banker Hussain Ahmad Najadi, 75, the founder and head of Arab-Malaysian Development Bank, was gunned down along with his wife on the street as they walked to his car. Hussain was hit in the chest and lower abdomen and died on the spot while his wife was hit in the arm and leg. She survived the shooting.
The second shooting occurred on July 27 when a gunman riding pillion on a motorcycle pulled up next to a car occupied by R Sri Sanjeevan, the head of a local anti-crime organization called MyWatch, and shot him in the chest when the car stopped at a traffic light in a town in Negeri Sembilan state. Sanjeevan remains in critical but stable condition in a local hospital.
The two incidents are hardly similar. For instance, there is widespread conjecture that Hussain was killed over a land deal gone bad, and Sanjeevan had publicly said he had identified links between policemen and drug dealers, and that he intended to make them public, and unnamed forces on either side of that equation may have attempted to silence him.
However, the shootings tie in with the widening spread of violence including a series of contract killings, such as that in April of the Customs Department director general, Shaharuddin Ibrahim, who was shot dead at a traffic light while being driven to work. The department’s highest-ranking uniformed official and one who is believed to have gone after illegal schemes, his death is the focus of a task force that so far has turned up no suspects.
Nor are those alone. The Penang Institute has identified 38 gun murders between January and April of 2013, a shocking figure for a country unused to such carnage. Two street killings took place last week in addition to the shootings of Hussain and Sanjeevan. Street murders by gun have been averaging two a week, according to statistics. A 26-year-old Indian with a criminal record was shot and killed on the street today, according to local news reports.
The US State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, in a report dated April 27, describes Malaysia as possessing an overall crime rate designated as “medium,” with most streets safe to walk at night, except around some suspect bars. The police, the report says, are a “national police force that is well trained and equipped.”
But, residents say, that paints a very optimistic picture. A growing number of Kuala Lumpur acquaintances of all races report fear of being on the streets. Many have been mugged, often by the opposite races. One Chinese friend reported being in a minor fender-bender with a Malay woman who pulled out her cellphone and made a call to someone who showed up a few minutes later with a gang ready for violence.
“It is as bad as people say it is,” said a longtime resident of the Kuala Lumpur suburb of Petaling Jaya. “Yes, the crimewatch guy was shot and is in serious condition. Even snatch thefts have become very violent. The gangsters – they are Chinese, they are Indians, they are Malays. This is because guns are so easily available. Across the border they come. Others blame the lack of enforcement of laws. They acknowledge we have good laws but the enforcement leaves much to be desired.”
As is almost inevitable in Malaysia, the issue has become another bone of contention being worried over by ethnic Chinese and Malays. Hussain’s suspected killer is alleged by police to be a gangster known as Sei Ngan Chai or Cantonese for “four-eyed boy,” a Chinese. The taxi driver who dropped him off near the scene of Hussain’s shooting has been arrested and identified him as the shooter.
“A Chinese killer will add to the anger,” an ethnic Malay acquaintance told Asia Sentinel. “And I tell you we are angry.”
Much of the focus is on Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s decision to ask for repeal of the colonial-era Emergency Ordinance which allowed for preventive detention, and, as the Petaling Jaya woman said, the easy availability of guns because of the porous border with Thailand. Many residents are demanding that the preventive detention measure be reinstated.
“Ever since the government abolished the Emergency Ordinances Act and released 2,000 hardcore criminals, violent crime has gone up,” the Malay acquaintance said. “There is murder by hired guns on a weekly basis. The police know who all these guys are, know all who are capable of committing such crimes, know all who have the network to commit such contract killing.”
Local media said police counted 67 serious crimes committed by former detainees within the first six months this year, a 100% increase from 33 cases reported in the corresponding period last year. The increase is said to have followed the release of 2,473 detainees in July 2012.
Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has characterized the police force as understaffed, with one police officer for around 700 residents in any given area. The Democratic Action Party disputes that, saying the ratio is more like one to 250 residents.
DAP lawmaker Steven Sim, in a prepared release, charged that the police have plenty of manpower but that the force has been politicized and must be revamped to fight crime. The police budget, he said, had been increased by more than 65 percent from 2007 to 2012. But, he said, the additional officers had been steered into the Special Branch, the police intelligence arm, and the Special Task Force Department, which keeps an eye on political activity, while the number of line officers on the street has stagnated.
But, ethnic Malays charge, it’s the DAP that is responsible for the crime wave, by demanding that preventive detention continue to be off the books, and by preaching disrespect for the police.
“Opposition teaches people to rally on the streets break laws and kick the police. You teach children to disobey authority – police authority – and you expect the law to be enforced?”
|You are subscribed to email updates from Anwar Ibrahim |
To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe now.
|Email delivery powered by Google|
|Google Inc., 20 West Kinzie, Chicago IL USA 60610|