- [KENYATAAN MEDIA] KEADILAN Kecam Rampasan Akhbar, Najib Perlu Mansuhkan Akta Mesin Cetak dan Penerbitan
- [KENYATAAN MEDIA] Sah Harga Minyak Naik Lagi Dengan GST
- [KENYATAAN MEDIA] Pemimpin Masyarakat dan Pemimpin NGO Negeri Selangor Menyokong Penuh Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail Menjadi MB Selangor Yang Baharu
- Malaysia favors Palestinians but buys from Israel
- [SPEECH] Keynote Address by Anwar Ibrahim, On The Eve of Malaysia Day
Posted: 15 Sep 2014 03:25 AM PDT
KEADILAN KECAM RAMPASAN AKHBAR, NAJIB PERLU MANSUHKAN AKTA MESIN CETAK DAN PENERBITAN
Hari ini umum dikejutkan dengan berita rampasan 300 naskhah akhbar Suara Keadilan di Kedah, iaitu di Jitra, Kuala Kedah, Alor Setar, Pendang dan Kepala Batas pada 10hb September lalu oleh pegawai-pegawai Kementerian Dalam Negeri.
Saya difahamkan bahawa para peniaga yang menjual Suara Keadilan di kawasan-kawasan itu telah diberi amaran, jika mereka terus menjual akhbar tersebut maka kedai-kedai mereka akan ditutup. Jika benar, perkara ini amat mendukacitakan dan cukup zalim. Pihak KDN perlu mengesahkan sama ada perkara ini benar-benar berlaku, dan jika ya amalan ini wajib dihentikan.
KEADILAN mengecam tindakan KDN ini yang mengekang kebebasan bersuara, satu hak asasi yang termaktub di dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan.
Pada masa yang sama, KEADILAN menggesa Menteri Dalam Negeri, DS Zahid Hamidi untuk menjelaskan status permohonan permit Suara Keadilan yang telah dihantar sejak tahun lalu.
KEADILAN turut menggesa Perdana Menteri, DS Najib Razak untuk memansuhkan Akta Mesin Cetak dan Penerbitan. Walaupun akta tersebut telah dipinda pada 2012, namun pindaan tersebut tidak mencukupi dan akta itu masih bersifat kukubesi dan tidak demokratik. Perdana Menteri harus menunjukkan kesungguhan politik sebagai seorang “demokrat moderat” dan memansuhkan akta ini dengan segera.
Posted: 15 Sep 2014 03:23 AM PDT
SAH HARGA MINYAK NAIK LAGI DENGAN GST
Laporan akhbar Sin Chew Daily yang turut dipetik oleh laman kereta paultan.org mengesahkan bahawa Umno/Barisan Nasional akan mengenakan Cukai Barang dan Perkhidmatan (GST) ke atas petrol dan diesel.
Mengikut laporan, pengesahan ini dibuat oleh Ishak Daud, Penolong Pengarah Kanan Jabatan Kastam dan Eksais dalam satu taklimat GST anjuran Universiti Tuanku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) minggu lalu.
Ini mengesahkan sangkaan saya selama ini bahawa Umno/Barisan Nasional akan mengenakan GST ke atas petrol dan diesel yang secara langsung bermakna harga minyak akan dinaikkan apabila GST dilaksanakan dalam April 2015 kelak.
Pada kadar GST 6%, harga seliter petrol selepas ini adalah RM2.27 sen. Jika seorang pengguna biasa dianggarkan menggunakan 80 liter seminggu bersamaan 320 liter petrol sebulan, kenaikan harga minyak akibat pelaksanaan GST ini bermakna bil petrol satu isi rumah biasa akan meningkat sebanyak RM50 sebulan.
Pada masa yang sama, kenaikan harga minyak ini juga akan menyebabkan kenaikan harga barangan dan perkhidmatan yang lain.
Akhirnya, bebanan bulanan setiap isi rumah akan bertambah dan saya anggarkan sekurang-kurangnya meningkat RM100 sebulan (kenaikan terus harga minyak dan kenaikan harga barang dan perkhidmatan yang lain) bagi setiap isi rumah di kawasan bandar dan separa bandar.
Saya juga telah menyatakan bahawa Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak akan melaksanakan penarikan balik subsidi minyak dengan menghadkannya kepada golongan tertentu dan sebahagian pengguna akan terpaksa membayar harga penuh tanpa subsidi.
Saya dimaklumkan keputusan itu telah dibuat tetapi belum dilaksanakan sementara memuktamadkan syarikat yang dianugerahkan kontrak untuk menaiktaraf semua pam minyak bagi tujuan ini.
Sudah tentu apabila ini juga dilaksanakan, bebanan akibat kenaikan harga minyak itu adalah lebih tinggi dan kenaikan harga barang dan perkhidmatan yang menyusul juga lebih tinggi.
Pada ketika pegawai-pegawai Jabatan Kastam dan Eksais telah mula mengesahkan mengenai kenaikan harga minyak akibat pelaksanaan GST ini, Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak masih diam seribu bahasa dan mahu berahsia.
Saya menggesa supaya Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak mengesahkan dengan segera bahawa harga minyak akan naik dengan pelaksanaan GST dan berterus terang dengan rakyat.
Pada masa yang sama, saya seru seluruh rakyat Malaysia menzahirkan bangkangan mereka kepada kenaikan harga minyak ini melalui laman-laman sosial terlebih dahulu sebelum disusuli dengan protes yang lebih besar.
Naib Presiden KEADILAN
Ahli Parlimen Pandan
Posted: 15 Sep 2014 03:20 AM PDT
KAMI PEMIMPIN MASYARAKAT & PEMIMPIN NGO NEGERI SELANGOR MENYOKONG PENUH DATUK SERI DR WAN AZIZAH BINTI WAN ISMAIL MENJADI MENTERI BESAR SELANGOR YANG BAHARU
Kami pemimpin masyarakat dan pemimpin NGO di Selangor merafak sembah Ke Bawah DYMM Tuanku Sultan Sharaffudin Idris Shah Sultan Selangor Darul Ehsan, mohon perkenan Tuanku agar Tuanku Sultan dapat menyelesaikan konflik yang berlaku dalam Negeri Selangor berkaitan isu Perlantikan Menteri Besar yang Baharu dengan bijaksana.
Kelemut isu perlantikan Menteri Besar ini sudah terlalu lama. Ia boleh mengakibat pentadbiran kerajaan tidak dapat berjalan dengan baik. Banyak urusan kerajaan boleh terganggu dan boleh dicabar kesahihannnya. Penyelesaian perlantikan Menteri Besar ini akan dapat meredakan konflik politik di negeri Selangor. Rakyat Selangor harus bersatu bagi memastikan Selangor terus maju dan membangun.
Kami menjunjung setia konsep Raja Berpelembagaan dalam sistem demokrasi di Malaysia seperti yang termaktub dalam Perlembagaan Negara dan Undang-Undang Tubuh Negeri Selangor. Konsep konvensional dalam amalan demokrasi dalam membentuk sesebuah kerajaan harus dipatuhi, bahawa mana-mana Ahli Dewan Negeri yang mendapat sokongan majoriti dari ahli-ahli Dewan Negeri hendaklah dilantik sebagai Menteri Besar dan mendapat perkenan dari Tuanku Sultan. Proses seumpama inilah telah berjalan dengan sempurna sejak dari kita mula membentuk kerajaan dari PRU yang pertama sampailah sekarang dan yang paling akhir sekali ialah perlantikan menteri besar Terengganu.
Pada pandangan Kami Para Pemimpin Masyarakat dan Pemimpin Badan Bukan Kerajaan (NGO) ingin merujuk kepada Undang-undang Tubuh Negeri Selangor berkaitan syarat dan kelayakan seseorang untuk dilantik menjadi Menteri Besar.
Berdasarkan kepada syarat serta kelayakan yang dinyatakan dalam Undang-undang Tubuh Negeri Selangor maka kami tanpa sebarang keraguan menyokong penuh YB Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah binti Dato’ Wan Ismail sebagai Menteri Besar Selangor yang baharu kerana kelayakan yang jitu lagi padu, di mana beliau mencukupi segala syarat serta kelayakan;
1.Ahli Dewan Negeri Selangor kawasan Kajang
Kami penuh yakin YB Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah binti Dato ' Wan Ismail akan menjadi seorang Menteri Besar Selangor yang mementingkan rakyat dengan mengamalkan corak kepimpinan secara masyuwarah melalui pembentukan majlis Syura’ kerana latar belakang pendidikan, pengalaman dan rekod cemerlang beliau antaranya;
1. Berkhidmat sebagai Doktor Perubatan selama 14 tahun di Hospital Universiti.
2. Menjadi Pensyarah di Fakulti Perubatan Universiti Malaya.
3. Mendapat Anugerah ‘Gold Medal’ Pingat Emas MacNaughton Jones untuk jurusan Obsterik dan Ginekologi, Royal College of Surgeon, Ireland.
4. Menerima Anugerah Medal Memorial David Gault daripada Royal College of Surgeon, Ireland.
5. Menubuhkan Parti Keadilan Rakyat pada 1999 dan menjadi Presiden selama 16 tahun hingga kini 2014.
6. Menjadi Pengerusi Barisan Alternatif pada 1999.
7. Menjadi Ahli Majlis Gerak 1999.
8. Dipilih dalam Pilihanraya Umum menjadi Ahli Parlimen Permatang Pauh 1999, 2004 & 2008.
9. Dilantik menjadi Ketua Pembangkang Parlimen Malaysia 2008.
10. Dipilih menjadi Ahli Dewan Negeri Selangor Kawasan Kajang dalam Pilihanraya Raya Kecil 2014.
11. Dianugerahkan "Distinguished Pathfinders Award" oleh The Board of Trustees of Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Foundation – Los Angelas, California, USA.
12. Menerima Anugerah Darjah Panglima Pangkuan Negeri (DPSN) sempena hari jadi Yang Di Pertua Negeri Pulau Pinang yang membawa gelaran Datuk Seri.
13. Anugerah Sayidatina Khadijah, bersempena Himpunan Helwa Kebangsaan ABIM. Lambang perjuangan menegakkan kebenaran
14. Mempunyai hubungan yang akrab dengan syarikat-syarikat dan pedagang Arab, Sheikh Saleh Kamal al-Barakah (Arab Saudi)
15. Hubungan baik dengan mantan, Presiden B J Habibie, Indonesia yang juga pengasas pertubuhan "The Habibie Centre" yang mengangkat rakyat yang demokrasi.
16. Hubungan baik dengan mantan Presiden Joseph Estrada, Filipina
Dengan rekod cemerlang serta pengalaman beliau serta yang amat membanggakan kami, beliau kini merupakan Presiden Parti Politik di Malaysia yang paling kanan dikalangan Presiden Parti-Parti Politik yang ada di Malaysia (sebagai contoh TGHH memangku Jawatan Presiden PAS jun 2002 dan pada 2003 Presiden, Dato' Seri Najib November 2008, semua Presiden Parti Politik yang lain memegang jawatan selepas tahun 2000), jadi sangat sangat wajar dan tidak boleh diragui YB Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah binti Dato' Wan Ismail adalah Wanita pertama menjadi Menteri Besar Selangor.
Maka kami dengan penuh hormat dan takzimnya menyeru supaya semua pihak yang berkaitan agar tidak lari atau keluar dari kaedah ini dalam menyelesaikan kemelut proses perlantikan Menteri Besar yang baharu.. Sekiranya semua pihak berlapang dada, berfikiran terbuka, berpolitik secara matang dan mengutamakan kepentingan rakyat serta menunjukkan kesepakatan yang padu, maka isu ini akan dapat diselesaikan dengan cara yang paling hikmah, telus dan bijaksana dan Insha Allah akan diperkenankan oleh Tuanku Sultan. Muga Allah SWT akan memberkati dan merahmati kita semua.
Dato' Hj Mat Ghazali bin Abdul Rakim
Pengerusi Dewan Perdagangan Islam Malaysia Selangor
Di Sokong Penuh oleh Pemimpin Masyarakat serta Pemimpin Badan Bukan Kerajaan (NGO) Negeri Selangor;
1. Dewan Perdagangan Islam Malaysia Cawangan Selangor (DPIM Selangor)
2. Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM) Selangor
3. Persatuan Pelajar Islam Selangor
4. Wadah Selangor
5. Wirda Selangor
6. Ikatan Jawa Sejiwa Selangor (iJawa Selangor)
7. Pusat Khidmat Islah Selangor
8. Pusat Kerohanian Selangor
9. Pusat Komuniti Wanita Tg.Karang Selangor
10. Anak Muda Bersatu Tg.Karang Selangor
11. Ikatan Masyarakat Prihatin Parlimen Tg.Karang Selangor
12. Persatuan Pekebun Kecil Daerah Kuala Langat Selangor
13. Pesatuan Pemaju Perumahan Bumiputera Selangor
14. Rakan Muafakat Bisnes Selangor
15. Persatuan Pemandu Teksi dan Kereta Sewa Ulu Langat Selangor
16. Kelab Sahabat Alam Kuala Selangor Selangor
17. Persatuan Darul Wardah Selangor
18. Persatuan Penduduk Rinching Selangor
19. Persatuan Komuniti Pulau Indah Selangor
20. Kelab Rakan Penduduk Puchong Selangor
21. Persatuan Kebajikan Penduduk Paya Jaras Selangor
22. Kelab Kebajikan Sg Kendi Sabak Bernam Selangor
23. Wakil Ketua-Ketua Kampung – 22 Kawasan Parlimen
24. Wakil Ketua-Ketua Kampung Baru – 22 Kawasan Parlimen
25. Wakil Ketua-Ketua Komuniti – 22 Kawasan Parlimen
26. Wakil Pengerusi-Pengerusi Persatuan Penduduk – 22 Kawasan Parlimen
Posted: 15 Sep 2014 01:08 AM PDT
Lack of diplomatic relations and hostility to Israel don't stop several Islamic nations from (quiet) trade
In the winter of 2013, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak stepped across the Egyptian border at Rafah and made a rare visit by a head of government to Hamas-ruled Gaza. Razak, whose country does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, told reporters: "We believe in the struggle of the Palestinian people. They have been suppressed and oppressed for so long."
It was crystal clear which side he was on. Yet all that time, his country was importing more and more Israeli products — but not talking about it much, certainly not in Gaza.
Official data published by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) tells of a booming, but very discreet, trade relationship that is blossoming between the two countries, despite a hawkish prime minister in Jerusalem and Razak's Islamist and proudly pro-Palestinian government in Kuala Lumpur.
Total trade between the two countries in 2013 reached $1.529 billion, almost double that of 2012, according to the CBS. That figure consists mostly of Israeli exports, at $1.457 billion. Trade continues to accelerate: Between January and July this year, Israeli exports to Malaysia soared to $884.7 million, a 27% jump over the same period last year.
By contrast, Malaysia's foreign trade figures don't carry any mention of Israel at all. In its annual data for 2012, for instance, trade with Israel is included in an entry for "Other Countries."
A significant chunk of the trade boom can be traced to Kiryat Gat in Israel's sandy southern plains, where global giant Intel has a plant churning out computer chips. It exports these to a second assembly plant in Malaysia. Every shipment is duly recorded in Israel's foreign trade statistics but studiously ignored by Malaysia. Intel is a US-based company, but the Israeli government promised a 5% co-investment in its Kiryat Gat plant that could amount to one billion shekels ($290 million).
In addition to the officially recorded movement of goods, there is a heavy current of trade flowing beneath the surface, making it hard to calculate the value.
A raft of Israeli exporters and eager buyers in Malaysia and also neighboring Indonesia — the world's most populous Muslim nation — are braving the political headwinds in order to do business – largely through third countries such as Singapore. Israel's embassy there says that most trade is done this way, and in the case of Indonesia, with the embassy's assistance. Including deals done through a third country, the estimated value of trade between Israel and Indonesia runs as high as $250 million last year, 10 times the $24.9 million of direct trade detailed in official figures.
Hush-hush trade between Israel and hostile states has been going on for decades, through conduits such as Cyprus, Turkey and Jordan, although some direct trade is registered to countries as surprising as Saudi Arabia and Yemen. As in the case of Southeast Asia, the allure of Israel's high tech exports to businesspeople in these countries seems to outstrip the political hostility.
Israel sees commerce as a stepping stone that can lead to more co-operation with hostile states. Foreign Ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson labelled the volume of trade with Malaysia "pleasantly surprising" and that of Indonesia as "disappointingly low."
"Israel does a lot of trade with many countries that we do not have formal diplomatic relations with and we are more than happy with this," he said. When asked if plans were afoot for establishing more formal dialogue, he responded: "It is no secret that we have periodically engaged in dialogue with these countries. We would like nothing more than to establish diplomatic relations and representative offices."
For the moment, initiating personal relationships amid such a political minefield is a triumph on its own.
"When I was there and I met the private businesspeople it was like normal," says Ron Doron, an Israeli businessman with experience in Malaysia. "It's only coming from the top that people are afraid." The official anti-Israel sentiment is reinforced anytime Malaysians open their passport, which are all imprinted with the clear statement: "This passport is valid for all countries except Israel."
That doesn't stop the trade, though. Chemicals, medical equipment and pharmaceuticals are some of the most sought-after items. Those with knowledge of the trade say products are scrubbed of all insignia that could disclose their place of manufacture, to avoid hysterical scenes of the kind that erupted in Kuwait in January when rumors ran rife that Israeli potatoes had been spotted for sale at a local supermarket.
Discretion is essential, because the potential for reputation damage, and thus financial damage, to companies seen to be doing business with Israel exists as long as the Israeli-Arab conflict continues. According to Emanuel Shahaf, vice chairman of the Israel-Indonesia Chamber of Commerce, "There are two contradictory trends. The pro trend is that Indonesia demands more high-tech things… The negative trend is the political situation is not getting better (when it comes to Israel), in fact it's getting worse." Even so, this may not always suppress trade, according to Shahaf. "Sometimes in Indonesia … the forbidden is more exciting."
Recent political developments are not promising, but it's possible that even the collapse of the US-led Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in April and the renewed hostilities with Hamas, will not cause a slump in trade. Commerce continued to grow after the last flare-up in Gaza in 2012.
Political tensions mean that personal relationships are paramount when it comes to forging contacts and closing deals. "Israeli companies usually don't have the patience for the long term," says Doron. "That's one of the problems for Israeli companies. In Asia, you need to look for long term. You cannot do business for the short term. It takes time to build the relationship and the confidence."
Personal bonds have laid some ground work for Indonesians to be more receptive to Israel. Steve Stein has been coordinating humanitarian and development programs there since the early 90s and says that Indonesians see Israel in a "positive way" and "are eager to expend trade and investment." Expanding the relationship could involve creating "a special long term Indonesia program by expending academic, agriculture for food security and medical cooperation," says Stein. "This would expose the young generation of Indonesians to the land of Israel and its people, its academic and business community," he wrote in an email.
Last November, Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett made a visit to the Indonesian resort island of Bali, where he spoke at a World Trade Organization summit. It was the first visit of an Israeli minister to the world's most populous Muslim nation for 13 years. However, it is understood he did not meet with any Indonesian government representatives.
Posted: 14 Sep 2014 10:24 PM PDT
Keynote address by Anwar Ibrahim, Opposition Leader, on the eve of Malaysia Day, 15th September 2014 at the Penang Institute
As we approach the 51st anniversary of the formation of our nation, we find ourselves asking the fundamental question yet again 'what are we celebrating?'
Indeed, the term 'independence' is often used without a true appreciation of what it really means and signifies. Defined in our historical context, Independence for Malaya was freedom from British colonial rule officially granted on August 31st 1957. For Sarawak, it was the 22nd July 1963 supposedly given on the condition that Sarawak would, together with Sabah, join the Federation of Malaysia on 16 September 1963.
But that is the simplistic, if not entirely superficial, understanding of Independence where it is celebrated more by the appreciation of its form and colour and less by substance and true significance.
When the true substance of Independence is ignored or, when the powers that be consider it "…more honoured in the breach than the observance" then it is time again to take stock of things.
To my mind, independence has to mean among other things liberation fromoppression. In the historical context, it was liberation from the British colonial master. But history has not ended because we know that the post-war independence that was gained by most of the countries of Asia and Africa was eventually supplanted by a new-fangled oppression imposed from within by the powers that be.
So, for most of these countries, what was supposed to be the end of an era of oppression in reality saw the birth of a new era of tyranny and injustice, which turned out to be more insidious than the one it replaced.
How our independence went astray
For Malaysia, our attainment of independence was followed by the initial yearsof growth and development as a free nation.
However, it was interrupted by the outbreak of 'Confrontation' with Indonesiaand the mass arrests that ensued and subsequently that dark patch known as May 13. But the interaction between the Opposition and the ruling government saw intense and vibrant debates in Parliament, and our new found freedom wasas palpable as it could realistically be at that point in time.
However, as we moved into the last three decades, the path that should have taken us to the next level of political maturity and stability as a truly independent nation went off the track and took us instead to a new era of oppression, marked by harsh police crackdowns, mass arrests and detentions without trial and government lording over the people with impunity.
We cannot have true independence when repressive laws of the colonial era that should have been repealed with the passage of time still remain in our statute books.
Now, not only are these laws still in force, they are being used with a renewed vengeance and rigour. The Sedition Act, for example, is now employed as a newweapon of mass oppression.
To my mind, not only is this a negation of true independence, but the recent spate of arbitrary arrests and selective prosecution of Pakatan Rakyat leaders as well as lawyers doing their job and even academicians represents a gross affront to the democratic process and signifies a breakdown in the rule of law.
It is a blatant and shameless attempt by the UMNO-BN government to hijack democracy by having duly elected law makers from Pakatan to be denied their legitimate representative capacities and disqualified from contesting in the subsequent by-elections. In doing so, they are attempting to stifle the voices of the rakyat.
Democracy is being hijacked and the electoral process is being undermined.True independence would mean that such abuse of power by the Executive will and cannot be tolerated.
It is an attack on the very foundation of our constitution which guarantees freedom from arbitrary arrests and prosecution. It violates the democratic process which renders elected representatives to be duty-bound to speak for the people against injustice and abuse of power.
Meanwhile, racist remarks and speeches by UMNO ministers and MPs aregiven full media coverage by UMNO's propaganda network machine with complete impunity. Extreme right-wing groups and countless other racistorganizations continue to spread and incite communal hatred. Racists andpurveyors of religious extremism get off scot free while those who speak the truth for the sake of a better, more harmonious Malaysia are treated as criminals.
True Independence means that we must reject these archaic laws and that the maxim everyone is equal before the law must be observed strictly.
The concept of Federalism and Malaysia
Malaysia is in theory a Federation of states buttressed by the Federal Constitution. However, when we go through the Federal List, it would soon begin to dawn on us that we are more a unitary state.
The concept of federalism entails a division of power between the federalgovernment and the state governments while in a unitary state, power is centralised. A rather common misperception is that we cannot afford real federalism or decentralization because this diverse country will fall apart. Calls for decentralization are therefore often dismissed as conspiracies to undermine the nation-state or worse still, viewed askance as campaigns for separation.
Nothing could be further from the truth. True federalism ensures proportionate allocation of power so that all component states can work as separate unitswhile the overall federal structure remains firm and intact. This is essential to allow the Federal Government to move the nation forward as a sovereign state recognised in the international community.
To maintain cohesiveness as a multi-cultural multi-religious nation, all national policies must be inclusive and sensitive to the fundamental rights of the diverse communities.
Collective platform approach
True federalism can only be realised where there is a collective platform approach in first ensuring real independence.
Regardless of partisan affiliation, a pre-requisite must be the sharing of the values that will form the bed rock for a nation to maintain true independence. These are none other than respecting and honouring the fundamental rights and liberties as enshrined in the charter for statehood; cherishing and defending justice for all regardless of ethnicity, regional background, social class or religious calling; and last but not least subscribing to the basic principles of democracy and rule of law.
These values are not to be merely proclaimed for political expediency, trumpeted about when the occasion demands or articulated wantonly in public forums for the sake of grandstanding.
They must be sincerely believed in, actualised through word and deed and when push comes to shove held on to even at the risk of losing political power. For power gained through unprincipled means will be illegitimate power and all actions derived therefrom will be likewise illegitimate.
For Pakatan Rakyat, developments in the last two months have demonstrated a case of acute consensus deficiency flaring into open disputes and unwarranted washing of dirty linen in public. They should have been resolved if all members adhered to the shared values on a common platform.
In respect of the states under Pakatan rule, it must be reiterated that true independence must compel us to subscribe to the rule of law and the established process of Parliamentary democracy as well as to honour and respect our system of constitutional monarchy.
The words and actions of Pakatan leaders must reflect this conviction. They must reflect what Pakatan is fighting for. And in all situations, they must reflect a faithful adherence to the precepts and principles of the Orange Book.
Admittedly, people are beginning to question whether our words and actions do indeed reflect these shared values and perspectives. On the contrary, some are convinced that the rhetoric that is being spewed out by some of the leadersactually run counter to our shared values.
Ours is a "majoritarian democracy" highlighted by a concentration of power in the hand of winners while the losers are excluded from participating in any kind of power sharing. The inherent problem of such a system is the possibility of tyranny of the majority.
It was Edmund Burke who said that "The tyranny of a multitude is a multiplied tyranny."
But in theory, federalism in our system which incorporates the Senate representing state interests in our Parliament should have served as a good check to the majoritarian tendency and move us more towards an alternative, "consensus democracy". Unfortunately, our federalism is overly centralized and our Senate is, with all due respect, essentially incapable of advancing the states' interest.
Some stark examples of the tyranny of the majority have been unfolding and threatening the sensitive social fabric of our multi-religious and multi-racial society. We know the myriad problems caused by the insistence of certain members of one community on disallowing the use of certain words they claimto be exclusive to them; or the demand that the religious books of onecommunity cannot be translated into a certain language.
The community that feels victimised naturally insists on its fundamental rights. The more dominant group threatens retaliation. That is unwarranted and confrontational. There is no reasoned discourse. It is less about theology than about generating mass psychology.
Bahasa Malaysia as the national identity
Language identity as a nation cannot be separated from its sovereignty. Anyproposal to enhance federalism without giving pride of place to Bahasa Malaysia as the national unifying language for all Malaysians is doomed to fail.
Thus, the position of Bahasa Malaysia must not be questioned at all. This is a struggle not just for the champions of the language but a conviction for all of us regardless of our mother tongue. While no community may be denied its fundamental right to its native tongue, Malay is the only language that will bind us linguistically as a nation.
We should be guided by such an overriding principle so as to maintain unity in diversity while preserving national sovereignty as a nation and this can done without an overconcentration of centralised power.
Rather than being fixated on amassing power at the centre, the Federal government must seriously consider a general decentralisation agenda that will add invaluable economic synergies and cultural empowerment to the states regardless whether they are controlled by Pakatan or Barisan Nasional.
To ensure the preservation of the national statehood, essential matters covered in the Federal List such as national defence, internal order and security and raising revenue should never be compromised.
Governance and accountability
Often, the discourse on decentralization and true federalism proceeds without sufficient thought being given to the issue of governance and accountability.
This cannot be overstated for decentralization from the federal nexus of powercould lead to over-centralization to the respective states. This in turn may generate an overconcentration of power and the host of problems that will accompany power that is unchecked. Even without this devolution we can see the level and magnitude of power abuse and corruption in certain states where governance proceeds without the slightest regard to demands of transparency and accountability. Therefore, the devolution of central power must go hand in hand with putting in place a system of checks and balances.
To conclude, true federalism can only proceed from true independence. The notion that we cannot afford real federalism lest the country will fall apart has no basis in truth. Calls for devolution of power from the Federal government must never be associated with campaigns for separation. As true federalism ensures proportionate allocation of power, decentralization will enhance thestrength of the Federal Government and positively contribute to its consolidation as a sovereign state recognised in the international community.
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