- [JEMPUTAN] Majlis Rumah Terbuka Aidilfitri Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim
- Pak Lah book will reignite embers of feud with Dr M
- Crime wave intensifies even as IGP offers excuses: Guan Eng TAKES ACTION
- ‘WEAKLINGS’ JOIN FORCES IN UMNO: Dr M the perfect scapegoat for Pak Lah, Najib
Posted: 09 Aug 2013 04:34 AM PDT
Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim akan mengadakan Majlis Rumah Terbuka Aidilfitri:
TARIKH: Sabtu, 10 Ogos 2013
MASA: 11 pagi – 2 petang
TEMPAT: Kawasan lapang kediaman Pak Ya Bas, Simpang 3, Kubang Ulu (berhadapan kilang sardin), Pulau Pinang
Jemput beramai-ramai. Salam Eid Mubarak.
PEJABAT DATO’ SERI ANWAR IBRAHIM
Posted: 09 Aug 2013 04:14 AM PDT
A little over four years after he left office, a book has been compiled on Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s years as prime minister.
By dwelling on his rocky relationship with his predecessor Dr Mahathir Mohamed in the advance publicity prior to the book's launch, Abdullah has made sure the publication will gain maximum publicity and that sales will be brisk.
From the tenor of Abdullah's pre-publication remarks about Mahathir, 'Awakening' is set to be a bestseller; anything critical of Mahathir is certain to be lapped up with avidity by the public.
This is because the man revels in controversy and leaves both critics and admirers struggling for nuanced judgment. One either likes Mahathir or abhors him.
Probably, there are an equal number of people who admire Mahathir as abominate him. Both sides would be interested in Abdullah's take on a man who chose Abdullah to be his successor only to quickly repudiate him as misfit.
The first prime minister of the country, Tunku Abdul Rahman, came to rue his favoring of Abdul Razak Hussein as his successor.
But that regret, expressed to visitors to the Tunku (right) when the latter was in retirement in Penang and near the end of his life (he died in December 1990), coalesced only in retrospect rather than when Razak, who died in January 1976, was in the saddle as PM from September 1970.
Malaysia's third PM, Hussein Onn (1976-1981), also came to regret his choice of Mahathir as his successor but, in accordance with the norms of Malay political culture, was discreet about his disapproval; only a few were privy to Hussein's remorse.
Slow to choose No 2
Mahathir, no respecter of cultural norms, wasted little time in going public with his quickly acquired distaste for Abdullah.
The latter was not so much the obvious choice of Mahathir to succeed him as a selection that was deemed to be the most acceptable at the time it was made in January 1999.
Incumbent president Mahathir was inclined to wait for Umno's triennial elections in 1999 to decide who should be the party's No 2 after he had sacked Anwar Ibrahim, the deputy prime minister and deputy president of Umno, from both party and government in late August-early September of 1998.
The sacking caused a major upheaval in Malaysia politics with consequences that reverberate to this day.
After Anwar's (right) sacking, humiliation and arraignment on corruption and sodomy charges, the No 2 post in Umno and in government was left vacant from early September 1998 to the third week of January 1999.
This vacancy had senior members of the party's supreme council worried that if anything should happen to Mahathir, who was 73-years-old then, a mad scramble for the No. 2 post would occur.
Given the political tremors occasioned by the sacking of Anwar, the seniors pressed a reluctant Mahathir to choose a No 2 to forestall a repeat of the instability that followed Anwar's extirpation from party and government.
Mahathir's procrastination had the effect of stirring speculation that perhaps he did not think that there was anyone in the upper echelons of the supreme council especially fitted to succeed him.
It must be remembered than in sacking Anwar, Mahathir had run through three deputies; all thee wound up as discards.
Must be ‘fate’
Senior Umno supreme council members were perturbed at speculation that perhaps Mahathir was looking beyond the confines of the council, having wearied of finding a suitable successor from within.
The ever-aspiring Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah just then decided to host a breaking of the fast (it was Ramadan in January 1999) function at his house in a plush district of Kuala Lumpur.
Mahathir and anyone who was someone in the supreme council were invited.
When there was a no-show by more than half of those invited, it was taken as a clear sign that most of the supreme council wanted Mahathir to choose a No 2 from within their set rather than outside of it.
Mahathir kept putting the choice off until an attack of pleurisy he suffered in January made the implorations of the senior Umno supreme council members that a No 2 be announced irresistible.
At the end of a supreme council meeting in the third week of January, Mahathir announced quietly – almost anti-climatically – that Abdullah was the choice as acting deputy president of the party and deputy prime minister.
"Takdir" (fate), sighed the modest Abdullah when he received the news.
But it was a fate that turned out to have its own crown of thorns.
Posted: 09 Aug 2013 04:12 AM PDT
Malaysia’s top cop Khalid Abu Bakar may insist he’s got everything under control but it looks like the criminals in the country are not ready to listen to him!
Not only are gangland-style assassinations “virtually a daily occurrence” as Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has warned, extortionists appear to be the next group to go on a ‘free-for-all’ strike at helpless victims.
Affluent George Town in Penang was the latest to suffer from the recent spate of crime that has erupted across the nation. The northern island was the site of three high-profile crimes on Thursday, the first day of Hari Raya.
An Indian man with suspected links to drug trafficking syndicates was shot 14 times in the head and neck when his car stopped at a traffic in busy Anson Road. He died on the spot. [ Read DRUGS LINK? Shot in the head 14 TIMES at Anson Rd traffic light on 1st day of Hari Raya]
From Anson Road to Pulau Tikus
Then at nearby Pulau Tikus, at least six shots were fired at a businessman’s bungalow.
His 29-year-old son, wife and their domestic worker were at home when a gunman struck at around 1.15am. No one was injured in the shooting.
According to the Star, the man had earlier lodged a police report, claiming that he received an extortion letter together with six bullets.
“Based on the CCTV footages, the gunman fired the shots randomly outside the house,” police said, adding that the owner had a shock after discovering fragments of broken window panels and bullet marks on them.
The owner, who is now abroad, told police that he received a text message in Chinese demanding for money to be deposited into a local bank account.
“We have since frozen the telephone numbers and the bank account,” police said, adding that the case is being investigated for criminal intimidation.
Shot 7 TIMES at Jalan Datuk Keramat
Over at Jalan Datuk Keramat, a 43-year-old man, believed to be the chief bouncer of a dance club, was shot 7 times in front of the entrance to a mall. Fortunately for the victim, only a single bullet from the found the target, hitting him in the left thigh.
According to the Star, the chief bouncer was talking to a man at the open car park who then shot him as he headed towards the entertainment outlets. He then rushed limping to one of the dance clubs to seek help from friends, and was taken to the Penang Hospital.
He is now in a stable condition.
The victim, known only as Too Pek, was said to be one of the top guns of a notorious triad in Penang state.
Crime wave intensifies while IGP offers excuses
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has expressed his alarm over the shooting spree, demanding an explanation from the state police.
“This morning I have called up the Penang Chief Police Officer, who is still in Penang. He briefed me on the situation and that the Penang police are doing what they can to be on top of the situation,” Guan Eng said in a statement.
“Whilst some of these shootings and casualties may be related to criminal gangland rivalry, 3 shootings in a day indicates a deteriorating crime situation that will place doubts on public safety.”
According to Guan Eng, the Penang state government would offer to pay for increased staff to monitor CCTV placed around the island so as to help lighten the workload of the police.
Guan Eng also urged Penangites to be on alert and to report to the authorities any incidents they may have witnessed in order to help the fight against crime.
As for IGP Khalid, he may have spoken too soon. Instead of abating, critics say it looks like the crime-wave will continue until he is able to come up with concrete measures rather than make bare denials and excuses.
"We are trying to get to the root of this problem and in order to do so, we will be liaising with our neighbouring countries and have more frequent exchanges of information.
"While we are at it, we need the people to understand that this does not mean the situation is out of control. It merely seems such as it's all occurring at the same time," Khalid had said.
Posted: 09 Aug 2013 04:08 AM PDT
Umno has always been a murky party, some say downright dirty and full of political backstabbing. It is now headed for possibly its most pivotal-ever party election, where chances are high a completely unexpected and ‘new’ guard might sweep to power.
To outsiders, the fight in Umno is basically between the party’s ‘liberals’ and its ‘hardline conservatives’. The question though is, who are the liberals and who are the conservatives?.
This is why Umno politics has often been described as being “dirty” because the players themselves hardly dare to show their faces and which side of the fence they really belong to. Loyalties can switch at a moment’s notice, loyalties can bought easily if not cheaply.
The master at straddling two boats
Take for instance, Prime Minister Najib Razak who is also the Umno president – is he a liberal or a hawk? Perhaps, even Najib himself doesn’t know.
When speaking to the urban Malays and to the non-Malays, Naijb’s aides are quick to claim he is held back from reforming the system by Mahathir Mohamad, the hardline former premier who still wields significance influence in their Umno party.
But when they are in the Felda settlements and rural Malay ‘hot spots’, Najib’s aides are just as quick to assure there is no need for Dr M, Najib himself will stop the advances of the cunning Chinese and stand firm against the endless demands of the Indians. He will ensure the Malays get everything or everything that matters anyway.
By speaking different languages to different crowds, they are able to imply to their core Malay electorate that Najib is Malay supremacy and Malay supremacy is Najib without offending the non-Malays too much.
This is the two-faced pitch of the Najib camp. And while it may seem to work, the gains are short-term at best because the real problems faced by Malaysia are only being swept under the rug, left irresponsibly to foment until a dangerous breaking point is hit.
No wonder that with just weeks to go to the October 5 Umno polls, no one knows if Najib is pro-Mahathir or if Mahathir is pro-Najib. With so much at stake and so many layers of intrigue to get past, both men are wise enough to have their own Plan A, B and C.
Badawi returns – but what is he after?
Enter another former prime minister and Umno president into the scene – Abdullah Badawi or Pak Lah.
This sleeping beauty is suddenly breaking his silence. Yes, Pak Lah did literally fall asleep on the job on many occasions although some critics have alleged he did stay awake long enough to salt away some RM11 billion of the country’s wealth.
In his book that is due to hit the stands later this month, Pak Lah’s salvos are clearly directed at Mahathir, while offering an olive branch to Najib although Najib was one of the main players who together with Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had ousted Pak Lah from the top post in 2009.
Of course, Mahathir was the main engineer behind the Pak Lah ouster but the 88-year-old doesn’t seem to have forgiven his former deputy for pulling the plug on some of his pet mega-projects including the S-shaped bridge to Singapore.
So is Pak Lah now taking political revenge?
Is he preparing to strike a pact with Najib to take on any challenge initiated by the Mahathir camp? Does Pak Lah really believe that he and Najib have more in common because they share the same reform ‘zeal’ ? Certainly, this is what some of the media aligned to the two men are trying to suggest.
Dr M the perfect scapegoat
It may be true that both men are trying to explore some sort of common platform. Why shouldn’t they? Of course, it could also be that their media are merely trying to pull a quick one by using Pak Lah’s comments to frighten Mahathir into fully endorsing Najib.
Whichever it is, what really needs to be questioned is the reform quality of both Pak Lah and Najib. Are they really serious or sincere? If Mahathir was not around, would they really stop Umno’s divide-and-rule policies or would they launch their own variation of the same old themes.
Given the weak track records chalked by Pak Lah and Najib, any coming together would be due more to political expediency than to high moral agenda to reclaim Malaysia or Umno from the clutches of a megalomaniacal Mahathir and his racist allies such as the Perkasa faction in Umno.
In Pak Lah’s new book Awakening: The Abdullah Badawi Years In Malaysia, he makes sure he draws a very clear line as to what he had intended to achieve when he was PM, and how it was Mahathir who prevented him from carrying out his ideas.
This, Pak Lah kindly offers, is also the difficulty that Najib faces.
“Najib is trying to do many good things. But he faces the same problem I did – resistance. Unfortunately, there are still people in Umno and Barisan Nasional who refuse to accept we did badly in 2008 because we did not meet the people’s expectations in carrying out reforms.
"They think that we did not do well because we allowed too much discourse and openness to the people and the opposition. And it is these people who are set in doing things the old way. This, I believe, is Najib’s biggest challenge.”
Pak Lah also says that with hindsight, he should have pushed through his reforms rather allow the hardliners to stop him.
“I underestimated the resistance to the changes and reforms that I wanted to implement. Perhaps, on hindsight, I would be more forceful in making those changes and less accommodating of those who resisted these changes. But that’s water under the bridge now,” Pak Lah said in the book, which contains essays by Malaysians and foreigners on his rather lacklustre one term in office.
Feared police reaction to IPCMC – how then to reform the whole country
However, critics don’t quite “buy it”.
“Put it this way. When there is a will, there is a way. It is easy to use Mahathir as the bogeyman and the source of all that has gone wrong in Umno and the country. Mahathir did rule Malaysia for 22 years, that’s a very long time and it is not easy at all to dismantle the ‘infrastructure’ he built into the government, the institutions, civil service and the political system to safeguard his own power,” an Umno watcher told Malaysia Chronicle.
“But the job of PM in Malaysia is one of most powerful in the world. Whoever is PM here wields enormous authority, there is almost no check and balance on the PM here. This too is Mahathir’s legacy. So Pak Lah and Najib have no excuses for failing to show the leadership expected of them by the people. The truth is Pak Lah and Najib also had their own ‘evil’ agenda to play. They too tried to divide-and-rule. Can either of them dare to say they are not corrupt?”
This piece of criticism seems borne out by Pak Lah’s own admission on why he did not hammer through the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission, which experts have claimed was critical to reform the police force and to help reduce crime in the country.
“On one occasion, the Inspector-General of Police himself made a statement on Police Day – in my presence – opposing the report. Feelings were running high and to be very frank, if we had tried to push it through, we were going to have problems with the police,” said Pak Lah.
“Well, of course. But let’s accept the reality. You can have ideals but you cannot pursue these ideals by not engaging reality,” he added, when asked wasn’t it a dangerous thing for a civilian government to be beholden to the police.
Chilling reminder: Men who waver
Looking at his answer, Pak Lah basically ‘feared’ the police or the reaction from the police. His use of the phrase “let’s accept the reality” is another chilling reminder to Malaysians of his compromising attitude. Or to put it more bluntly, his ability to U-turn on his own stated goals and principles.
Critics warn whether it was Pak Lah or Najib at the helm of Umno, the future will not be bright for Malaysia.
Mahathir was lucky, he got away because the turbulent 1980s and 90s was an era of breakout growth and development for the region and the world. Landmark economic developments took place such as the liberalization of market rules and the emergence of China’s economic powerhouse.
Malaysia, like the rest of Southeast Asia, was still far behind in the education and knowledge curve. The Internet was still preparing to be unleashed. Most citizens feared to speak up and preferred to be led by their governments rather than to lead their governments. With such public docility, it was not surprisingly there was major breach of trust and a lot of the cheating and corruption that went on was clearly CBT in nature.
It is worth noting that in his last weeks in office, Pak Lah had tabled a tepid Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Bill that did not give the anti-graft agency the powers to prosecute. This, critics had slammed, was a really glaring stumbling block as it failed to block the mass of loopholes used by offenders and their high-level government contacts to hide in. In other words, there was no real reform at all and corruption was allowed to carry on unheeded.
“Badawi is a man who wavers, who flip flops. While he was PM, he was also known as Mr Flip Flop,” Opposition politician Chua Jui Meng, a vice president at the PKR party, told Malaysia Chronicle.
“When Najib took over,he was slammed for being even more flip-flop than Badawi. But both men are kinder in their approach than Mahathir so they may appear to be more acceptable to today’s generation of voters. I think they are and I agree Mahathir is probably the worst option for the country now. But this isn’t to say racism, religious bigotry and corruption won’t be used by Umno to divide and rule Malaysia if Badawi’s camp or Najib’s camp are in power – not at all.”
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