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Isnin, 23 September 2013

Anwar Ibrahim

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Anwar Ibrahim


Najib-Muhyiddin re-elected without contest CONFIRMS Umno’s political bankruptcy – PR

Posted: 22 Sep 2013 11:17 PM PDT

Malaysia-Chronicle

he unopposed contests of Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in Umno's top two posts despite Barisan Nasional's (BN) disastrous Election 2013 results, shows the party's lack of credible leaders, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders said today.

PKR vice-president N. Surendran pointed out that under Najib's leadership, BN had recorded its worst-ever electoral performance in the recent May 5 polls, where it failed to win the coveted two-thirds parliamentary majority and lost the popular vote for the first time since 1969, when it was the Alliance then.

"That despite his poor showing, Najib is re-elected is a sign of Umno's bankruptcy as a political force," Surendran said.

"They did worse in this election and are steadily heading towards GE defeat. But Umno is desperate; they have no one better and can't afford the massive blood-letting of a presidential contest," added the Padang Serai MP.

Najib and Muhyiddin returned unopposed as Umno's president and deputy president yesterday in the party elections.

Malaysia's prime minister and deputy prime minister are typically the top two leaders in BN's mainstay party.

PAS central committee member Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said today that the absence of a challenge against the top two posts in Umno spelled doom for the dominant Malay party.

"Najib failed on both passing marks on the two-thirds majority and winning back Selangor," Dzulkefly said.

"Despite all those, there's none in the party that is willing enough to come out and give a strong reprimand over his failures…The challenge is meant to convey a very strong message that you are not indispensable and you must be accountable for your failures," he added.

Dzulkefly also stressed that although Umno had increased its federal seat tally from 79 to 88 in the 13th general election, BN's performance as a whole needed to be taken into account.

"They can't go round bragging they won nine more seats. The question is, at what price? You have to put that in perspective," said the PAS research centre director.

"The effect of killing your comrades, your partners…there's only Umno left in BN," added Dzulkefly.

MCA had suffered a crushing defeat in Election 2013 by winning just seven federal and 11 state seats, leading the main Chinese party in BN to refuse government posts.

DAP strategist Liew Chin Tong said that no one in Umno dared to challenge Najib and Muhyiddin as the duo had the power of incumbency.

"No one has the numbers. The electoral system favours the incumbent. There's no taker because they don't see they're going to win," Liew said.

AND THE MURDERERS ARE Najib & Umno: Race-based policies are killing the economy

Posted: 22 Sep 2013 11:16 PM PDT

Malaysia-Chronicle

Over the last two days, the death of a very young girl in an apparent suicide bid by a family of four has captured the attention of the nation. The story which was front-paged by a daily English newspaper for two days in a row, if anything, is perhaps a glaring and stark indication of the state-of-the-nation now.

Initial investigations by the authorities show that the family was facing a financial struggle. They lived in a shop-house in Taman Sri Sentosa, off Old Kland Road, Kuala Lumpur and made several attempts to end their lives. The couple and a son survived the attempts but their little girl succumbed to death.

Their horrifying decision to kill themselves came about after the father, a contractor, failed to obtain a loan of RM30,000 to do business and the mother was unsuccessful in a bid to become a kindergarten teacher.

They were reduced to living on pittance and the shame and misery was just too much for them to bear that they made the drastic decision to commit suicide together as they felt there was no more point in living.

This is Malaysia now in the real New Millennium where the doors are beginning to close on people and families and this story is starting to cause Malaysians to wonder if there are other such tragedies waiting to happen, if this is the tip of the iceberg.

How really do Chinese and Indians figure?

We are well accustomed to hear tales of the Indian community whereby many languish in Malaysian jails as gangsters for crime and why the number of Indians who are assessed as mentally unstable rising in numbers.

Are the Chinese and Indians now in such despair and despondency that there is no way out or manner of affirmative action in place by the Barisan Nasional (BN) Government for these communities? They have been long neglected by the implementation of The New Economic Policy from 1970 and which ran for a 30-year period only to be replaced by the New Economic Model.

Are Chinese and Indians not citizens of this country that are on par or equal footing with the bumiputras? Must they be at the mercy of banks, insurance companies, money lenders and loan sharks for financial assistance while the bumiputras are given a guaranteed safety net by the Malaysian Government?

In what is seen as a complete reversal and betrayal of Najib's "Satu Malaysia" concept, just prior to Malaysia Day, the BN government announced a slew of initiatives in a grand, affirmative action plan exclusively for bumiputras.

This was to thank the bumiputras for supporting the government and standing by BN in the 13

GE which was a clear slap in the face by Najib for the Chinese and Indians who went out on a limb to support Pakatan Rakyat.

This immature move by the BN government which continues to reek of their lop-sided justice in practicing partisan politics has sparked outrage and inflamed the fires of race relations as this is a sheer case of racism being practiced against the minority races.

The Bumiputra Economic Empowerment Agenda

The agenda as outlined by the Malaysian government focuses on five main thrusts:

> Empowering bumiputra human capital.

> Strengthening bumiputra equity ownership in the corporate sector

> Strengthening bumiputra non-financial asset ownership

> Improving bumiputra entrepreneurship and businesses; and

> Strengthening the services delivery ecosystem

This slew of initiatives will also cause a 10 billion unit injection into a New Amanah Saham Bumiputra 2, expand PSD and Mara post-graduate programmes to increase highly-qualified bumiputras, give an additional RM1 billion loan or "freebie" to bumiputra entrepreneurs and the CEOs of Government-Linked Companies to have Key Performance Indicators on bumiputra participation and a bumiputra development unit is to be set up within every ministry.

The questions non-bumis are beginning to ask

In the light of this new agenda which will supersede the New Economic Model, non-bumi's are beginning to ask when affirmative action for the bumiputras will come to a close. The bigger question on their mind is why since 1970 non-bumis have been separated from bumiputras and hardly been given any kind of affirmative action.

The kind of affirmative action that could have spared the death of a little Chinese girl whose hopes to live a meaningful live was actually snuffed out by an apathetic and indifferent government in power. Not only her but the numerous other non-bumi's who are the casualties of Malaysia's weakening economy.

By failing to practice meritocracy and by opting for partisan politics and showing favoritism to the bumiputra community for such a long period of time is really to the degradation of the country and it is high time the spotlight of the international community begin to focus on Malaysia and the atrocities practiced by the BN regime.

Non-bumi's are being unfairly overlooked and the plight of even those non-bumi's who are well off are beginning to start to weaken as the BN government turns to skewer the economy in favor of the bumiputras only.

There is little hope and there is little left for the non-bumis when the economic pie is being chopped nearly wholly to be given to the bumiputras on a silver platter. Indians such as those belonging to Hindraf must now be wondering why on earth they supported BN in the first place.

If truth was a casualty of the 13th GE, then the truth of the matter is that Malaysians of all walks of life including those from PKR and Parti Pas and DAP have been hoodwinked by BN-Umno. They have pulled the rug from under the feet of Malaysians.

What about the future?

Malaysia is now a country that is beginning to be taken note of by the international community. The BN-UMNO leadership has come to the forefront of world attention owing to their refusal to toe the line of globalization.

While the whole wide world is becoming increasingly globalized, it appears that Malaysia is starting to become like a fish out of water and all calls by the global community requesting Malaysia to practice the full tenets and obligations of democracy have so far fallen on deaf years. It's like pouring water on a duck's back.

Despite the peril, Malaysia still wants to go ahead and be stubborn and defiant in wanting to see that the country is governed not democratically, but by the whims and fancies of the UMNO big-wigs. When will Malays start to realize that UMNO is not leading them along a healthy path but instead beginning to ostracize and isolate the Malays.

By spewing out affirmative action only for the benefit of bumiputras, UMNO has begun to paint itself into a corner. It will be hard in future for the Malay to gain respect and acceptance on merit among Malaysians and on the global stage owing to much favoritism that has been shown to them.

Whatever the Malays and other bumiputras achieved will then be considered a hollow achievement, something which does not carry merit as it goes to show that it was actually not achieved through a level but lop-sided playing field in which bumiputras were basically being handed success to them without any effort.

This really means that all that affirmative action has actually caused bumiputras to weaken and heavily dependent on the government with the government continuing to bail them out to stay in power. This is a vicious cycle that is causing bumiputras to get nowhere in life and exasperating to non-bumis.

Election Commission took orders from Putrajaya, Ambiga tells Bersih tribunal

Posted: 22 Sep 2013 11:12 PM PDT

TMI

Bersih co-chair Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said the Election Commission (EC) acted under the instructions of Putrajaya when it should have acted as an independent body.

Ambiga, who was the last witness at the Bersih People's Tribunal in Subang Jaya, stressed that the EC had taken a partisan approach when making statements.

"EC acted like they were under Putrajaya's control. I have problems with the commission for their failure in giving proper explanations on the issues surrounding the electoral roll and others under their purview," she said today.

She added that the commission would not say anything when election-related issues cropped up.

"They failed to fulfil their responsibilities to investigate political violence and other serious allegations during GE13," said Ambiga.

She told the tribunal the EC's sole responsibility was election matters. "If they have not got it right, it just shows their lack of empowerment," said Ambiga.

"It's like their hands were tied."

Among the issues brought to the tribunal's attention was how the electoral roll did not tally with the data kept by the National Registration Department, the indelible ink, and phantom voters as well as postal voters.

Ambiga said the EC had failed Malaysians on the indelible ink issue.

"They cannot do this and give wishy-washy answers. They are just letting it fade away and hope everybody will forget all about it.

"Many questions were not answered. This is not right.

"EC should be the one advising the government, not following their orders," said Ambiga.

She said the EC should be independent as it managed the selection process that decided which party would form the next government.

The attitude of the EC leadership, like its deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar, was also raised as he was seen to be always criticising the opposition.

One of the tribunal's members, Professor Madya Dr Mavis Puthucheary, later said the tribunal should focus on how to improve the EC structure instead of only looking at the weaknesses of its members.

"Our role here is not to criticise the EC but to improve the system. Maybe their hands were really tied legally," said the former Universiti Malaya Faculty of Economics and Administration associate professor.

The tribunal started on September 18 and ended today.

Ambiga also stated it would be difficult to remove the EC members as they were appointed by the King.

Ambiga testified to a packed room. Among other witnesses today was former Kuala Selangor MP Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad. Also seen there was Bersih co-chair Datuk A Samad Said.

Malaysia’s PM Capitulates to the Hardliners

Posted: 22 Sep 2013 08:52 PM PDT

Asia Sentinel

The Sept.14 announcement of an array of new economic benefits for ethnic Malays by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak represents the premier’s final post-election capitulation to radical Malay nationalists in the United Malays National Organization.

The new plan signifies a U-turn back to the New Economic Policy of affirmative action for ethnic Malays that was put in place in 1971 following disastrous 1969 race riots. Economists are largely in agreement that the policy has saddled the economy for three decades. Najib, an economist himself, has been attempting to undo the policy for three years through his 1Malaysia economic liberalization program. The new plan will play a major role in UMNO’s deliberations at its Oct. 5 annual general assembly and is key to Najib’s keeping his job, UMNO insiders say. If nothing else, it is recognition that reform inside the party is dead.

The prime minister has been largely powerless against Malay supremacist forces led by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad since the May elections, in which the opposition shocked the ruling Barisan Nasional by winning the popular vote, 50.27 percent to 47.38 percent, with the remainder going to splinter parties. The Barisan kept its hold on parliament, 133-89, because of extensive gerrymandering and malapportionment of parliamentary districts.

Mahathir and the forces aligned with him blame Najib for the Barisan’s poor showing because of his attempt to reach out to multi-ethnic voters instead of putting all of his resources into inciting the Malay base to capture all potential of Malays, who comprise 60.1 percent of the population. The Barisan captured only about 60 percent of the ethnic Malay vote, taking a drubbing from ethnic Chinese and Indians.

The ensuing insistence on revenge has demonstrated the ruling coalition’s slippery hold on the concept of democracy, with UMNO cadres demanding that opposition voters be punished for what was regarded as their disloyalty rather than a recognition that corruption, cronyism, rent-seeking, favoritism and growing fear of the Malay supremacists had played a bigger role.

Since the election, the weakened Najib has largely had to bend to the wishes of the Malay supremacists despite the fact that the most virulent of the Melayu Ketuanan (Malays first) candidates, Ibrahim Ali, Zulkifli Noordin and Puad Zarkashi of the NGO Perkasa, were rejected by the voters in constituencies in which there were strong Malay majorities.

The demand to punish opposition voters first resulted in a July decision to cut the allocation of public university seats for Chinese students to 19 percent down from 23 percent last year, in line with their representation in the overall population. Indians, who make up about 8 percent of the population, were awarded only 4 percent of the university seats. The rest went to bumiputeras.

The other shoe dropped Saturday when Najib held his widely anticipated press conference to announce the package of new perks in government and finance for ethnic Malays. Najib, also the country’s finance minister, said the focus areas would include enhancing bumi equity ownership in the corporate sector as well as asset ownership, according to the prime minister’s website.

“The government heard the cries for help from the bumiputeras regarding their level of participation in socio-economic development programs,” he said. Targets will be set for quotas for the chief executive officers of government-linked companies (GLCs), including for projects awarded to vendors. To enhance bumiputera equity ownership in the corporate sector, government investment funds will assist bumi-owned companies to be listed on Bursa Malaysia. Other measures will aid bumis in ownership of homes, industrial premises and commercial complexes.

These policies, or ones very much like them, resulted in unqualified ethnic Malays being handed executive positions in GLCs including the state-owned airline, a state-owned construction company and others only to either run them into the ground or to loot them of hundreds of millions of ringgit.

It has also resulted in so-called Ali-Baba companies, in which Alis — ethnic Malays — for decades have been given executive posts in companies run by Babas, the nickname for Straits-born Chinese, creating a relatively wealthy class of ethnic Malays who have lived off their positions without learning the businesses or doing much real work; they are treated with disdain and irritation by the executives who make the real decisions. Most economists feel the NEP hobbled the economy, encouraged rent-seeking and enriched a handful of well-placed cronies at the top of the party.

In all, for foreign and domestic investors, this largely signals a dispiriting return to policies that Najib had sought to erase, but which met the virulent opposition of the ketuanan Melayu crowd. Those policies can be expected to put more roadblocks in the way of a dynamic economy, probably permanently crimping Najib’s goal of pulling the country out of the so-called middle income trap in which it has been mired for more than a decade.

It is expected to discourage both foreign and domestic investment and spur both capital flight and immigration by qualified ethnic minorities seeking advancement elsewhere. Already, according to a World Bank study, at least 1 million Malaysians live permanently overseas.

Najib’s announcement of the policy takes place against the backdrop of a worsening racial situation, which the respected news portal Malaysia Insider, in an editorial last Friday, said has never before “been this bad, this widespread, this debilitating and potentially irreversible for Malaysia.”

Since the election, the drumbeat of racial hatred, fanned by the Malay-language broadsheet Utusan Melayu, which is wholly owned by UMNO and can be considered its mouthpiece, has grown ever more powerful, with ethnic Indians and Chinese, particularly Christians, coming under withering criticism.

It can only be expected to get worse in October when the UMNO annual general assembly gets underway. The conclave has always featured strident calls for emasculating the political and economic power of the Chinese and has always portrayed ethnic Malays as economic and political victims done out of their rightful place in a country where other races are interlopers.

Najib, initially thought to be in danger of losing his job as premier, as Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had done before him, is expected to survive the AGM as both UMNO president and prime minister, sources in UMNO say, partly because there is nobody who is either ready or wants the job, and partly because Najib is now wholly a captive of the Mahathir wing of the party.

The wild card is that this year for the first time, because of party changes engineered by Najib, all 160,000 UMNO rank and file will vote for the top positions in the party. Prior to this year, the voting was confined to top cadres from each of the party’s districts, representing the larger numbers. This time, the party will learn for the first time how deep the resentment runs against the losses the party underwent in the 2013 general election.

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