Friday, January 27, 2006

Besok balik kampung makan, minum ...

My handphone line is now restored with the original number 01x-6x6x4x3. If you're in Ipoh, feel free to drop by for a cup of Chinese tea or kopi-o kau-kau and some simple kuih-muih. By the way, many thanks to Pak Abdullah CD and Makcik Suriani for the beautiful greeting card. Wish everybody up there happy and healthy.

Dr. Wan Azizah's Chinese New Year Greetings

On behalf of KeADILan, I wish all Chinese Malaysians as well as Chinese friends of Malaysia over the entire region and the world a very prosperous and happy New Year. The multi-religious celebration of CNY by the Chinese people of all faiths, including Muslims, shows that the Chinese culture is indeed tolerant and inclusive and that it is possible for diversity to thrive in unity.

This principle and concept of diversity in unity can also be extended to the national context of Malaysia which is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society by nature. Indeed, in the civil society, Malaysians of all ethnic and religious community have been sharing the joy of Chinese New Year for a long time. However the spirit of tolerance and mutual respect must also be extended into the political sphere.

Despite four decades of sharing a common nationhood, the ruling political elite remains deeply racially divided. Lately many events reflect a lack of political will by the governing parties to resolve or even discuss problems truthfully in a gracious and conducive atmosphere.

Unfortunately mistrust and discord among the elite undermine the process of creating a harmonious and united Malaysian nation.

Chinese New Year is the celebration of Spring and the ending of Winter. The changing season symbolizes the resolve to abandon what is bad and welcome what is good. It is this admirable progressive outlook that has enabled us to overcome many difficulties, trials and tribulations in life. The celebration of Chinese New Year also reaffirms the primacy of justice and integrity. Meanwhile the responsibility of eradicating corruption and vices is equally imperative.

Taking the spirit of traditional annual family reunion dinners held on the eve of the New Year, it is time for Malaysians of all ethnic origins to renew pledge to come closer together when facing great challenges. To overcome the hardship ahead, especially in the present context of a very competitive global economy, we must have the courage to put aside prejudices and start building trust in our plural society.

In this time of global political, economic and social changes, family is indeed a crucial institution to provide social stability and checks against the decline of ethical values. Let me reiterate KeADILan’s habitual slogan, "we are all one family" and wish all people in our big Malaysian family a joyful and blessed holiday festival.

Once again, Xin Nian Jin Bu and Wan Xi Ru Yi.

Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah
President, Parti KeADILan Rakyat (PKR)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Gong Xi Thaipusam to our Hindu friends

Our Hindu friends' Thaipusam falls on 11 Feb this year which is the second last day of the 15-day Chinese New Year celebration. My family and I also wish our Hindu relatives, friends, neighbours and colleagues in Ipoh, Batu Gajah, Tanjong Tualang, Kuala Lumpur and Subang Jaya Gong Xi Thaipusam.

A test of faith

Coconut shortage for Thaipusam

Devotees pierce bodies to make penance during Thaipusam festival

Youth group: Declare Thaipusam public holiday for KL

Thousands throng Batu Caves to mark Thaipusam

Thaipusam festival kicks off with annual chariot procession

Attending Australia Day 2006 cocktail party

Last evening, I attended the Australia Day 2006 cocktail party at the High Commission in Kuala Lumpur. I also met up friends like MCA's Tan Chai Ho, DAP's Ronnie Liu, PAS's Kamarudin Jaffar as well as KeADILan's Tian Chua and Dr. Xavier Jayakumar.

Since about 10 years ago, attending Australia Day cocktail party has been my pre-Chinese New Year 'ritual'. As a matter of fact, I spent 5 Chinese New Years in Melbourne from 1982 to 1986.

Australia issues Chinese "Year of Dog" stamps

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

My handphone line resumes with same number

I have got back the same handphone line with the same and original number 012-6xx7xx3. So, we can be in touch again.

Minta maaf for any inconvenience caused.

More 'pornographic' materials for dirty minds

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Nothing useful to do? go for a good movie!

January 23, 2006 22:57 PM

Umno Overseas Clubs Lodge Police Report Against MP Teresa Kok

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 23 (Bernama) -- The Umno Overseas Clubs Alumni Organisation Monday lodged a police report against Seputeh Member of Parliament Teresa Kok for storing, distributing and disseminating at the Parliament lobby on Nov 25 last year pornographic material of a nude woman doing squats.

The report was made by a member of the organisation, Abd Razak Mohd Ghazali, at the Sentul District Police Headquarters at 5 pm.

He had claimed in the report that Kok had by intention, words and deed distributed the video clip by way of a laptop computer to several members of parliament and journalists.

Cinema Online

Monday, January 23, 2006

History becoming clearer, less one-sided

My intellectual life last week was thrilled by reading Associate Professor Mohamed Salleh Lamry's Gerakan Kiri Melayu Dalam Perjuangan Kemerdekaan (Bangi, Penerbit UKM, 2006).

Now, I have finished reading it for the first round. I have no doubt at all that it is an excellent book that I must share with friends. There may still be debatable points here and there, but on the whole, this book should serve as an example of how a controversial subject in our history can be narrated and discoursed in a rational manner with a moral committment to factual truth and intellectual objectivity.

I hope the book would be translated into Chinese and English.

Situs Kaum Marxist Indonesia

Marxist Internet Archive

A letter from an old friend

Hi James,

I am Ong Boon Teck. Still remember me?

At lately 89 and early 90s, i was working with a tabloid Malay paper, Watan.

At that time, we always met at parliament lobby when you still as Kit's assitant before became as MP for Kampar.

Just say hello to you. Will you ready come out for another book about Chin Peng's story? Our company now is trying to see any potential book to translate to BM.

I think Malay readers are very intrested to read about Chin Peng's story. How do you think? Keep in touch.


(This letter by Boon Teck was posted as a comment under the entry Latin America continues to turn Left.)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Exchanging ideas with an American scholar

Just came back from KLCC after having an one-hour exchanges of broad ideas on the rise of China with an American scholar associating with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He had already met some of my friends in the Chinese-language media and academia and he is going to meet more of them later.

Broadly speaking, my central idea on the subject at the back of my mind is that the resurgence of China is not a linear event but a dialectical process of ups and downs as well as twists and turns in the past 150 years or so.

Also, I said that it seems that the specific triangular relations among China, Singapore and Taiwan have more dimensions than popularly reported in the American or other Western media. I must say I have learnt a great deal from the former journalist specialising in Indochina and Thailand.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Between Islamofascism and Islamophobia

In this age defined in extremis by physical and verbal rampages of Islamofascists who claim to be defending Islam on one hand and Islamophobes on the other, books written by Anglo-American Jewish scholar Professor Bernard Lewis such as What Weng Wrong? The Clash Between Islam And Modernity In The Middle East (London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2002) are always controversial.

On one hand, he is intensely disliked by many Islamofascists because he knows Islam and Muslim societies more than them, on the other, he is also not favoured by people who suffer from Islamophobia (Islamophobes) because he never attacks the five fundamental tenets of the religion.

However, the depth and width of Bernard Lewis' knowledge about Islam and Muslim societies in all their stages of historical development is beyond doubt or question. He also articulates and presents his knowledge, ideas, observations and analyses with elegant and easy-to-understand English. He shows the way of observing, evaluating as well as commenting on certain aspects of Muslim societies critically and intelligently without malice or hatred.

Bernard Lewis, 90, has also been a proliferic writer and author. His latest magnum opus The Crisis of Islam - Holy War and Unholy Terror (New York, The Modern Library, 2003) has sold millions of copy throughout the world, including Arabic edition in the Middle East. Another one I have read is the magisterial The Middle East - 2000 Years of History From The Rise of Christianity to the Present Day (London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2000).

His books are sold in bookshops like Kinokuniya in Malaysia and Singapore. They also be ordered online from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Even now, you can google "Bernard Lewis" to read some of his writings as well as those of his critics for free. You don't need Umno's or Internal Security Ministry's or any Snoop Squads' approval to know or read Bernard Lewis.

Bernard Lewis

Patrick Keith's Ousted! is still hot in S'pore

The late Patrick Keith's book on the 1965 separation between Malaysia and Singapore, Ousted-An insider's story of the ties that failed to bind (Singapore, Media Masters, 2005) is still on the top selling list in Singapore's Horizon distributor. The story may be old but, in Patrick Keith's words written in Melbourne in July 2005, " the same political power structures operating 40 years ago (in Malaysia and Singapore), in essence, remain in place today".

Author of 'Ousted!' passes away in Melbourne

Govt allows Ousted! in

Insider account of ties that failed to bind

Ousted! But still waiting to enter

‘Very controversial’ book heading this way

Where to, Malaysia? goes for second print

Congrat to my friend Kim Quek who authored the book Where to, Malaysia? A future with Anwar's Reformasi or back to Mahathirism? (Kuala Lumpur, SIRD, 2005).

The book sells so well that it is now going for a second print.

Why not translate into Bahasa Malaysia for people like 'Dr. Ng Seng' ?

Where to, Malaysia?

Anwar: Time to suspend NEP

Senior Umno ministers divided over non-Umno colleagues' public memorandum on religious law to PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi

Najib says Memo by Ministers improper and against cabinet system

(Bernama) -- Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Friday the action by nine non-Muslim Cabinet ministers in submitting a memorandum to the Prime Minister calling for a review of laws that affect the rights of non-Muslims was "improper" and "not nice".

"It is against the Cabinet system and unprecedented," he told reporters at the Malaysian-French Chamber of Commerce annual dinner here Friday night.

The memorandum, signed by nine of the 10 non-Muslim ministers, was handed to Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Thursday.

The ministers were Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting (Housing and Local Government), Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy (Transport), Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn (Human Resources), Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek (Health), Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu (Works), Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik (Energy, Water and Communications), Datuk Peter Chin (Plantation Industries and Commodities), Tan Sri Bernard Dompok and Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili (Ministers in the Prime Minister's Department).

The exception was Tourism Minister Datuk Dr Leo Michael Toyad who was abroad.

Najib said he hoped everyone would let the Prime Minister make a correct and just decision after considering all views and without any pressure.

Najib, who is also Umno deputy president, said Umno stood firmly behind the Prime Minister whatever the decision he would make.

"This is a very sensitive issue, and it is not proper to act in this way. It should have been brought to the Cabinet to be discussed in the spirit of the Barisan Nasional family," he said.

Najib hoped the matter would not drag on because it could produce unpleasant reactions and might even cause anger in many people.

He advised the public to stay calm as "in the history of our nation, we have faced many issues regarding racial sensitivities. We already know the best way and to use the Cabinet to resolve complications through open discussions," he said.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz said the action by the non-Muslim ministers represented the views and thinking of non-Muslims regarding the issue.

"I think my colleagues in the Barisan Nasional presented constructive views, which can be a guide to the people who will review the laws.

"The memorandum is their input on what should be done," she told reporters after chairing a meeting of the Wanita Umno Exco today.

Rafidah, who is Wanita Umno chief, said the memorandum was not discussed at the meeting but the movement was concerned about the issue of conversion and supported a review to avoid conflicting jurisdiction.

"If there is inconsistency or misinterpretation and so on, if the procedure is not clear-cut, we should correct it so the public will not be confused and there is no incorrect interpretation," she added.

In PUTRAJAYA, Umno Youth said the non-Muslim ministers behaved as if they were not in the Cabinet.

"By right they should have used meetings of the Cabinet and the Barisan Nasional to voice their views," Youth Exco member Datuk Pirdaus Ismail told a news conference.

"As Cabinet ministers, they must uphold and abide by the principle of collective responsibility," he said.

Pirdaus said the culture of sending memorandum to the Prime Minister by ministers should not become a practice as such an action only belittled the ministers and the Cabinet and embarrassed the government.

It also showed disrespect to the Prime Minister, he added.

Did or did not PM Abdullah say that ?

The Star, Saturday January 21, 2006

Q: You said earlier that the laws in the country have to be made clear with regards to conversion.

A: I did not say that. I said other laws that seem to create problems and could be misinterpreted should be looked at to see whether amendments should be made. I did not touch on any specific law.

Bernama, January 10, 2006 18:52 PM

PM Says Laws Need To Be Clear On Religious Conversion

KEPALA BATAS, Jan 10 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Tuesday that the issue of religious conversion needed to be spelt out clearly in the Constitution and other laws to prevent confusion among Malaysians.

He said there were indications that such confusion was happening and the Constitution and other laws were not clear on the matter.

"Many feel it is necessary to clarify the question in the laws and Constitution to avoid further confusion," he told reporters after attending a Hari Raya Aidiladha gathering at Masjid Kubang Menerong here.

However, he said, whatever action that would be taken regarding the matter should be done with care so as not to violate the beliefs of any community and the followers of other religions.

The Prime Minister was asked for his comment on the case of Mount Everest climber M. Moorthy alias Mohamad Abdullah, whose death resulted in a controversial tussle between his widow and the Federal Territory Religious Department for the right to bury his body.

Moorthy, who died on Dec 20, was eventually buried by the department on Dec 28 after the Syariah High Court ruled he was a Muslim and the civil High Court decided it had no jurisdiction to intervene in the case.

Abdullah said the right of Malaysians to follow the religion of their choice must be respected and urged them to practise mutual respect and cooperation to maintain harmony in the country.

"We must handle whatever problems that arise with care. We don't allow emotions to be whipped up over religion and race," he said.He said he was looking into the issue and hoped such a problem would not recur.-- BERNAMA

Glad to hear Pak Lah's denial

Most of us who sincerely hope that PM Abdullah would not tarnish his own image and credibility by appearing to be practising cronyism and nepotism are glad to hear that he has reportedly denied any knowledge of ongoing merger talks between investment outfit ECM Libra and Avenue Capital Resources Bhd, a government-owned financial services company. Hope he would do the necessary and further ensure that his public image and credibility are not incessantly affected by the boy's hyperactivities in business or politics.

Merger talks: PM claims to be in the dark

Friday, January 20, 2006

It has nothing to do with English common law

I think there is no denial now that some Malayans were decapitated by British soldiers or the oriental mercenaries of the British Empire in Malaya during the 'Emergency' (see page. 303 of Alias Chin Peng: My Side of History). However much I oppose to and condemn that practice, I still have to say that decapitation has nothing to do with English Common Law or 'methodology' of English Common Law.

Respect concept of individual autonomy

Capital accumulation under Islam Hadhari ?

If the claim of PAS's vice-president Husam Musa on Pak Lah-Kairy's politics-business nexus is proven true, then Malaysians can conclude that old and bad habit of the ruling elites indeed dies hard.

PM-Khairy link gets clearer in merger

Thursday, January 19, 2006

'Our' Education Minister's image to the world

Lisa, thank you for drawing my attention to the article.

That is why Malaysia's education reform at the primary level needs to emphasize on the building of peaceful character and peaceable temperament through the inclusion of more children's classic bedtime storybooks like Charles Dickens' The Life Of Our Lord. It would also be good to teach children not to grow up like those MCA youths who threw chairs and tables at each other as a mechanism of dispute settlement in their party assemblies.

Hishamuddin Hussein

China Press incident politicizes M'sian youths

Although the Internal Security Ministry obviously intended to show power, the net result of its action against the China Press is, in my assessment, negative. First, the two editors who were sacrificed by MCA have probably found better jobs now for themselves but the collective images of MCA and Abdullah's government has been greatly tarnished by its own self-deluding arrogance and counterproductive folly.

Second, the incident has also politicised another generation of Malaysian youths in their 20s with a classic, concrete, specific and easy-to-understand real-life example of how, in the words of British historian Lord Acton, "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely". It is what Brazilian theorist of social education Paulo Freire calls " pedagogy of the oppressed".

The Road Not Taken

Robert Lua Khang Wei

Who made the decision on China Press ?

The China Press incident continues to be a hot topic quietly talked about by many people, including young journalists in their 20s. Everyone I have met or talked to strongly opines that the selective punishment meted out against the China Press by the Internal Security Ministry is absolutely wrong and unfair.

But why did the Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi do it? Has he not been talking about 'justice', 'fairness' and things like that under 'Islam Hadhari'?

What didn't Gerakan's Deputy Minister Chia Kwang Chye advice Abdullah not to take such a wrong and unfair action? Has Gerakan not been priding itself to be the ' democratic conscience' in the National Front government? Chia Kwang Chye is the only ministerial trio who knows Chinese.

Is there, or is there not, a dimension of MCA-Gerakan petty rivalry or Umno-MCA power struggle in the decision-making process? If there is, then why did MCA lost out on such a vital matter that affects its image? If MCA cannot protect its own property or managers of its property, then how can it be expected to protect the larger interest of the Chinese Malaysian community?

Or, is the Internal Security Ministry now in the total control of Noh Omar and his faceless junta leaving Abdullah and Chia as powerless puppets or mere covers who only sign letters of warning and notice of action to newspapers prepared by Noh Omar and his faceless junta?

My own view is that, whatever the internal politiking in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, it is Abdullah who is ultimately responsible because in a Parliamentary System, the buck stops at the Minister, especially on such an important decision that affects the image of the nation in the world as well as the credibility of the government and ruling coalition within the country.

To the ordinary people in the streets, the decision against China Press is a decision of the National Front whose symbol is a white scale against a deep blue backdrop.

Teresa Kok: Mistake not confined to China Press

Oriental Daily warned

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

USA, world remember Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Latin America continues to turn Left

While American rightwingers and their ideological clones in parts of Asia, Middle East and Europe are singing hallelujah to dog-eat-dog capitalism, Latin America, that part of the world which has traditionally and unilaterally been regarded in the United States as 'our backyard' under the 1823 Monroe Doctrine, is fast turning Left again.

China's People's Daily has published a rather perspective, naunced and insightful analysis of the Left Swing in the land of Augusto César Sandino, Che Guevara and Salvador Allende. History, it seems, is still progressively and dialectically vibrant.

Latin America continues to "turn left"

Left reinforces its position in Latin America

Socialist Michelle Bachelet becomes Chile's first female president

Celebrating Bachelet looks ahead

Monday, January 16, 2006

Malay Left & the struggle for Merdeka!

Since this afternoon, I have started to read with intense interest another new book published by the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in Malay. It is titled Gerakan Kiri Melayu Dalam Perjuangan Kemerdekaan (Bangi, UKM, 2006) and written by Associate Professor Mohamad Salleh Lamry.

At this point of time, I have just covered only 48 out of 203 pages but it has already given me a strong impression that it is a balanced and scholarly narrative of a long suppressed and distorted dimension of the struggle for independence of our land from British colonialism and Japanese fascism.

The author, for example, makes his stand very clear at the outset of not using terms like 'terrorists' or 'communist terrorists' to describe or label members, fighters and leaders of the Communist Party of Malaya like Abdullah C.D., Chin Peng, Rashid Maidin, Suriani Abdullah @ Eng Ming Ching and Abu Samah Mohamad Kassim because the Cold War is over and there is a Peace Accord signed between the Government of Malaysia and the Communist Party of Malaya on 2 December 1989.

Like me, Associate Professor Mohamad Salleh Lamry also met and interviewed Abdullah C.D., Rashid Maidin, Suriani Abdullah and Abu Samah in southern Thailand before and was granted access to some of the important documents in the party's archive.

Utusan-UKM lock horns over CPM memoirs

Critical discourses on ASEAN, East Asia

University Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) has recently published a very timely and useful book titled The Emerging East Asian Community - Security & Economic Issues (Bangi, UKM, 2006). It was edited by three prominent scholars, namely Professors Lee Poh Ping, Tham Siew Yean and George T.Tu.

Besides editing the book, Professor Lee Poh Ping has also contributed two articles to it. The first, co-authored with Tham Siew Yean and George T.Tu, is the Introduction itself while the second, titled Small States in European Community and Asean in Asian Regional Groupings Compared, is, in my opinion, a very insightful exercise that shows the similiarities and dfferences between Europe and Southeast Asia in their respective efforts to promote regional integration.

Singapore's Professor Wang Gung Wu also contributed a piece titled Reflections on an East Asian Community.

The East Asian Community

Penerbit Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Ralph Miliband's classic on Marxism & politics

A friend who is a lecturer in a local university recently asked me what is the best introductory book on the political theory of Karl Marx's school of thought. I did not hesitate to answer that it is Ralph Miliband's Marxism And Politics (London, Merlin, 2004).

It is not a new publication because it was first published in 1977 but it is considered classic and still relevant enough to be republished in 2004 in London. My copy of the 2004 edition of Marxism And Politics was bought in Singapore's Border Bookshop at Orchard Road last September.

The author Ralph Miliband (1924-1994) was associated with the London School of Economic and Political Science for a long time. As a scholarly interpreter of the political texts of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Mao, Gramsci, Luxemburg and Trostsky, Miliband was non-sectarian. Two sons of his were once elected to the British Parliament on Labour's ticket.

As for the basic and original texts referred to in Miliband's book, there is now a free archive located in the United States. The archive is also multi-lingual.

Marx the millennium's 'greatest thinker'

Merlin Press

Ralph Miliband in Wikipedia

London School of Economics & Political Science

Marxist Internet Archive

Situs Indo-Marxist

Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist now as movie

When I was about 8 or 9 years of age, my sister Rachael used to teach me to read simplified and abridged versions of Charles Dickens' classics like Oliver Twist.

Although I have grown much older now, I still enjoy Charles Dickens' works which always show strong sympathy and empathy for the weak, poor and marginalised or social underdogs.

Oliver Twist was first published in 1837-8. Its socio-economic background was the dark side of the dog-eat-dog capitalism in Britain in the 19th century which was so brilliantly observed and analysed by Karl Marx's lifelong intellectual partner and revolutionary comrade Frederick Engels in The Condition of the Working Class in England.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Will Najib be a ' better ' Prime Minister ?

Some smart, seasoned and multi-purpose survivalists have already been talking, albeit still very discreetly, about another round of succession in Umno and the government just after two year of PM Abdullah coming into power. For out of the blue, the Chinese-language Oriental Daily published several eulogies of Tun Abdul Razak, the second Prime Minister of Malaysia and father of current DPM Najib Tun Razak, yesterday and today.

Even one young DAP researcher also joined in the chorus of singing hallelujah to Najib's father. I don't know if this rookie's very 'Umnoish' views on the chief architect of the New Economic Policy (NEP) reflect the collective position or strategy of the top political leadership of his party which has been campaiging against the NEP since 1970.

So, the big question now is, assuming such a rapid movement of succession is possible operationally, whether Najib Tun Razak would make a 'better' Prime Minister without Umno's ethno-authoritarian ideology, moral character and the political culture of corruption, cronyism and nepotism as well as the country's bad law and policies like the Internal Security Act, Universities and University Colleges Act, Printing Presses and Publications Act, Police Act, Sedition Act, education policy and race-based affirmative action programme, etc being amended, changed or abolished altogether.

The assumption that such a rapid movement of succession is operationally possible is, of course, debatable.

Security minister, not editors, should resign

Joint statement against political interference in media

Noh Omar should resign instead of the editors-in-chief of China Press

Abusive practices in the police force are increasingly getting out of hand, as shown by media exposure of long-standing practices, such as the strip search of four women from China and the video clip of a woman being forced to squat naked while holding her ears.

While the public is waiting for the report of the independent commission on the “nude ear-squat issue”, the media is being attacked, the most serious being the resignation of the editor-in-chief and the executive editor-in-chief of China Press.

We, civil society organizations committed to social reform, are appalled and saddened by these developments. We are appalled that no one has yet resigned and taken full responsibility for this abuse of power. At the same time, the press is being persecuted by the Internal Security Ministry. These incidents are hampering the effort of new national leaders to expose wrong-doing and initiate reform.

To support the media exposing corruption and abuse of power in the police force, to uncover political interference in the media and to push for legislation that safeguards press freedom and the right to freedom of speech, we have formed “Action against Political Interference in Media” (API-Media). Freedom of speech and media freedom are part of freedom of expression. They are basic civil rights. The series of interferences by the Government has eroded these basic civil rights as guaranteed by the Constitution.

We will continue to pressure the Government to take action against the corruption and abuse of power in the police force. We further call on the Government to implement the recommendations of reform as proposed by the report of the Royal Commission on the Police and set up the permanent Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission.

We urge members of the public to stand up and be counted in support of media practitioners committed to exposing social injustices. Their bravery in exposing the truth will serve as a force for reform.

We would like to draw the attention of public members to the following:

The Government should accept monitoring by the media and public opinion. If Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi wants the people to work with him, he should not turn a blind eye on government officials abusing their power to put pressure on the media and conceal the truth. He must take action against Deputy Internal Security Minister Noh Omar for protecting the police and further threatening media freedom.

We are against the annual licensing of the press. It is merely a tool to form government control of the media. Freedom of speech and freedom to publish are basic civil rights, they cannot be infringed arbitrarily. We call for the abolition of clauses that infringe freedom of speech, the press and freedom to publish in the Printing Presses and Publications Act and the Communications and Multimedia Act.

We also demand that the Internal Security Act be abolished. We call for a bill on freedom of information or the right to information to promote press freedom and uphold the right to know of the people and for the Official Secrets Act to be amended or abolished.

All media have a responsibility to correct reports if necessary. However, the Internal Security Ministry, or any other ministry, should have no power to interfere in the operations of the media or to use the threat of suspending a publishing license to put pressure on the media.

This statement is endorsed by:

1. Writers Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)
2. Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
3. Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Youth (SCAHY)
4. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
5. National Human Rights Society (HAKAM)
6. Parti KeAdilan Rakyat (PKR)
7. Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (Komas)
8. Komite Seni Jalan Telawi (KSJT)
9. Institut Kajian Dasar (IKD)
10. Civil Rights Committee – SCAH
11. Democratic Action Party (DAP)
12. Red Rose Youth Center
13. Women’s Development Collective (WDC)
14. Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor (PERMAS)
15. Merdeka Review
16. Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
17. Partners of Community Organization (PACOS)
18. Tenaganita
19. Sisters in Islam (SIS)
20. Persekutuan Persatuan-Persatuan Lembaga Pengurus Sekolah Cina Malaysia (Dong Zong)
21. United Chinese School Teachers’ Association (Jiao Zong)
22. Malaysian Youth and Students Democratic Movement (DEMA)
23. Malaysian Voters Union (MALVU)
24. Save Ourselves (SOS)
25. Media Agenda Malaysia
26. Indigenous People’s Development Centre (IPDC)
27. Kaki Seni
28. Group of Concerned Citizens
29. DAP Wanita
30. DAP Socialist Youth (DAPSY)
31. Centre for Orang Asli Community (COAC)
32. Labour Resouce Center (LRC)
33. Sustainable Development Network Malaysia (SUSDEN)
34. Cahaya Suara
35. Malaysian Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET)
36. Malaysiakini
37. Kumpulan Aktivist Media Independen (KAMI)
38. Jemaah Islah Malaysia (JIM)
39. Gabungan Mahasiswa Islam Se-Malaysia (GAMIS)
40. Kelab Rakan Islah Malaysia (KARISMA)
41. Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS)
42. Community Development Center (CDC)
43. Negeri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall Youth Section
44. The Federation of Chinese Association, Johor State Youth Section
45. Selangor Hokkien Association Youth Section
46. Bahagian Belia Persatuan Shing An Selangor & W.P
47. Bahagian Belia Persatuan Kwang Tung Rawang
48. Bahagian Belia Persatuan Kaum Nam Ann Low Malaysia
49. Selangor & Kuala Lumpur Nam Ann Association Youth Section
50. Bahagian Belia Persatuan Hui An Quangang Wilayah Persekutuan dan Selangor
51. Bahagian Belia Persatuan Fui Chiu Wilayah Persekutuan & Selangor
52. Bahagian Belia PersatuanWui Leng Selangor & Kuala Lumpur
53. Charter 2000-Aliran

Memorandum to Suhakam on the political interference in China Press


On 23 November 2005, China Press reported that a video clip of a China women doing nude squatting was in public circulation. The next day, DAP’s member of Parliament Teresa Kok showed the MMS video clip to the media in the Parliament.

Subsequently, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi announced the setting up of an independent commission to investigate the incident on 1 December 2005 and the Home Minister Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid was sent to China to explain the incident on 4 December 2005. On 7 December 2005, Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid issued an apology to the China government.

The event took a turnabout when the probe of the Royal Commission revealed on 13 December 2005 that the woman involved in the video clip was actually a local and not a China citizen.On 28 December 2006, Merdeka Review reported that China Press was issued a show cause letter by the Internal Security Ministry dated 19 December 2005 over its news report alleging the woman in the video clip being a China woman.

On 6 January 2006, China Press announced the resignation of its editor-in-chief, Chong Choong Nam and the executive editor-in-chief, Wong Siew Peng. China Press also issued an apology over the misreport of the nationality of the woman involved in the nude squat video.

Abuse of power by the Executive

In a democratic society, the free press plays an important role in monitoring the behavior of the government in order to prevent any abuse of power. The Executive therefore should refrain from directly interfering the press and upset the checks and balances system that is the cornerstone of a democracy.

In the case of China Press, although it misreported that the woman involved in the video was a China woman, this is however a mistake that can be resolved by requesting China Press to publish a clarification announcement and a public apology, an international accepted practice in most democratic country. In other democratic countries with independent press council, complaints can be made as well against any media and punitive fine can be meted out, but definitely not suspending or revoking their publishing licenses.

Hence, we condemn strongly the show cause letter issued to China Press, the threat to suspend the license of the evening version of China Press by the Internal Security Ministry, which eventually led to the resignation of the two top editors of China Press. This is a direct interference of the press and an abuse of power by the Internal Security Ministry to shut the media from further exposing the scandals in the police force and embarrassing the Internal Security Ministry.

We view the non-transparency of the Internal Security Ministry and the failure of the Deputy Minister Noh Omar in providing correct information to the public and the government as the main root-cause for the confusion in the media and the unnecessary apology to the China government. We question why no immediate clarification was made by Noh Omar if the nationality of the woman in the nude squat video was mistakenly reported by the media.

We question the rationale of our government sending a delegation to China to make a public apology if the woman in the video is a local.However, instead of taking the responsibilities of being non-transparent and giving wrong information to the public and government, the ministry under Noh Omar chose to dish out its threat to suspend the evening version license of China Press, an uncontrolled power to the government provided by the Printing Presses and Publication Act (PPPA).


The China Press incident, if left unchecked, will send a chilling effect to all other media agencies and will result in the media in refraining themselves or practicing extreme self censorship when it comes to reporting the abuse of power of the Executive. This will undoubtedly have an adverse implication to the right to free press and the crucial checks and balances system in our democracy.Therefore, we call on the Suhakam to defend the democratic right to free press and the right to information and expression of the people by:

Initiating a public inquiry on the China Press incident and investigate the abuse of the Printing Presses and Publication Act by the Executive.

Taking all possible measures to abolish the annual licensing of the press.

Ensuring the government adopts a Freedom of Information Act in order to safeguard the right to information of the people.

Endorsed by:
1. Writers Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)
2. Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
3. Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Youth (SCAHY)
4. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
5. National Human Rights Society (HAKAM)
6. Parti KeAdilan Rakyat (PKR)
7. Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (Komas)
8. Komite Seni Jalan Telawi (KSJT)
9. Institut Kajian Dasar (IKD)
10. Civil Rights Committee – SCAH
11. Democratic Action Party (DAP)
12. Red Rose Youth Center
13. Women’s Development Collective (WDC)
14. Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor (PERMAS)
15. Merdeka Review16. Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
17. Partners of Community Organization (PACOS)
18. Tenaganita
19. Sisters in Islam (Sis)
20. Persekutuan Persatuan-Persatuan Lembaga Pengurus Sekolah Cina Malaysia (Dong Zong)
21. United Chinese School Teachers’ Association (Jiao Zong)
22. Malaysian Youth and Students Democratic Movement (DEMA)
23. Malaysian Voters Union (MALVU)
24. Save Ourselves (SOS)
25. Media Agenda Malaysia
26. Indigenous People’s Development Centre (IPDC)
27. Kaki Seni
28. Group of Concerned Citizens
29. DAP Wanita
30. DAP Socialist Youth (DAPSY)
31. Centre for Orang Asli Community (COAC)
32. Labour Resource Center (LRC)
33. Sustainable Development Network Malaysia (SUSDEN)
34. Cahaya Suara
35. Malaysian Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET)
36. Malaysiakini
37. Kumpulan Aktivist Media Independen (KAMI)
38. Jemaah Islah Malaysia (JIM)
39. Gabungan Mahasiswa Islam Se-Malaysia (GAMIS)
40. Kelab Rakan Islah Malaysia (KARISMA)
41. Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS)
42. Community Development Center (CDC)
43. Negeri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall Youth Section
44. The Federation of Chinese Association, Johor State Youth Section
45. Selangor Hokkien Association Youth Section
46. Bahagian Belia Persatuan Shing An Selangor & W.P
47. Bahagian Belia Persatuan KwangTung Rawang
48. Bahagian Belia Persatuan Kaum Nam Ann Low Malaysia
49. Selangor & Kuala Lumpur Nam Ann Association Youth Section
50. Bahagian Belia Persatuan Hui An Quangang Wilayah Persekutuan dan Selangor
51. Bahagian Belia Persatuan Fui Chiu Wilayah Persekutuan & Selangor
52. Bahagian Belia Persatuan Wui Leng Selangor & Kuala Lumpur
53. Research for Social Advancement (REFSA)
54. Amnesty International

Friday, January 13, 2006

Anwar holds dialogue sessions with M'sians

Former DPM and Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim today held two separate dialogues with NGOS and young professionals. The first session (photo) on current issues and political situation was held in Brickfield's PKR HQs and the second one in Petaling Jaya's Shah Hotel. The second session on Malaysia's economic outlook was so crowded that I could not get into the room and so there was no opportunity to take a picture or two. I just sat beside the swimming pool and enjoyed a cup of coffee.

Time for a non-race based agenda

Anwar: Time to suspend NEP

PM: NEP still relevant

Where to, Malaysia?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Sybil Kathigasu's memoirs being reprinted

The classic and once immensely popular memoirs of Ipoh’s World War Two resistance heroine Sybil Kathigasu titled No Dram of Mercy is being reprinted and will be available in a month's time

No Dram of Mercy was first published in London in 1954 by Neville Spearman and reprinted in Singapore in 1983 by Oxford University Press (OUP). Last year, the English original was translated into Chinese and published for the first time in Kuala Lumpur by Prometheus Enterprise.

Sybil Kathigasu (1900-1948), a Eurasian Malayan, was the wife of Dr AC Kathigasu who operated a clinic at No 141, Brewster Road in Ipoh. Days before Japanese troops occupied Ipoh on Dec 26, 1941, the family escaped to the nearby town Papan. Japan began to land troops on Peninsular Malaya on Dec 8, 1941 at the Sabak Beach in Kota Baru, Kelantan.

While staying at a shop house at No 74, Main Road, Papan, the British loyalist Sybil Kathigasu secretly kept shortwave radio sets and clandestinely listened to BBC broadcasts to be kept informed of the situation around the world, especially in Britain and Europe. Those acts were considered criminal and highly subversive by the military administration of Japan in Malaya.

Later, she also secretly supplied medicines, medical services and information to the underground communists and guerilla forces of the 5th Independent Regiment of the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA) fighting against the occupation in nearby hills and jungles.

Sybil Kathigasu and her husband were eventually arrested in 1943, severely tortured and ‘convicted’. They were jailed until the liberation of Ipoh by communist partisans in August 1945.

She was then flown to Britain for medical treatment. There, she began to write No Dram of Mercy and was awarded George Metal in Buckingham Palace by the King of the United Kingdom.

As a result of the injury sustained during her incarceration, Sybil Kathigasu passed away in 1948 in Britain but, to fulfill her last wish as a Malayan, her body was flown back to Ipoh and buried at the Catholic cemetery besides the St. Michael Church.

Besides detailing her own clandestine activities in Papan and torture in Ipoh, Sybil Kathigasu also outlined the socio-cultural landscape and wartime atmosphere in the Ipoh-centered Kinta Valley during the 1940s.

She also vividly recorded the pre-occupation bombing in early and mid-December 1941 as well as the liberation of Ipoh in August 1945. Last year, the Chinese translation of No Dram of Mercy was launched in Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh where a memorial service was also held in her honour. 2005 was the 60th anniversary of the end of the Pacific War and the liberation of Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore.

* Prometheus Enterprise can be contacted through Mr. Ong Chong Lim whose handphone number is 012-3103300

A critical study of Japanese rightwing ideology & groupings

Children of Far East prisoners of war

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Wishing everyone happy Chinese New Year

James Wong and family wish everyone a very happy and prosperous Chinese New Year or Spring Festival. Xin Nian Jin Bu !

Surely, there were more than 50 people

According to a report in the MCA-owned The Star today, Penang state MCA deputy chairman Lau Chiek Tuan was quoted as claiming that, based on his "findings", fewer than 50 people were at the dinner hosted by PKR (Parti KeADILan Rakyat) to welcome the 1,009 applicants for PKR's membership, led by MCA's former Bukit Mertajam chief Tony Peh ( not Tony Blair).

Field report on the dinner 1 (Bahasa Malaysia)

Field report on the dinner 2 (Chinese Language)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Making sense of another worldwide conflict

Nowadays, the problem of trying to understand the United States and its politics, policies or strategies is not the scarcity of information but the excess of it. The problem is compounded by the outpour, after 9/11, of too many very nicely packaged books of dubious intellectual quality expounding all kinds of conspiracy theories, especially on the 'war against terror' from Afghanistan to Iraq.

Fortunately and happily, George Friedman has written an exceptional one on the strategic, operational and tactical thinkings of both the United States and its latest enemies in the forms of Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda, Taliban's Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein's Iraq, in their worldwide struggle.

America's Secret War - Inside The Hidden Worldwide Struggle Between The United States And Its Emenies (London, Little Brown, 2004) builds a broad, coherent, rational and big picture of whay Friedman calls "the Fourth World War" that began on 11 September, 2001. This book was once named on the recommended reading list prepared by the Council of Foreign Relations.

It makes the assumption that in spite of popular impression, both President Bush and his enemies like Osama bin Laden are " rational - if not necessarily moral or decent - actors" who "have shaped the world". According to Friedman, " while America's leaders might be knaves, they are not fools" and " while our enemies might have utterly different moral values that are repungnant to us, they are far from insane".

It is indeed a good book that can help us to connect the dots into lines and build a picture of what has been happening in the world since 11 September, 2001.

A real-life history about Bush's war cabinet

Another very enlightening book I read about United States' domestic politics and foreign policy (and how the two dimensions overlap and interact) the year before last was James Mann's Rise of The Vulcans - The History of Bush's War Cabinet (London, Penguin, 2004). The author, a veteran American journalist, tells a great story about the political and intellectual careers of the top national security decision-makers of the United States.

They include Vice President Dick Cheney, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, former State Secretary Colin Powell, former Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, former Assistant State Secretary Richard Armitage and the then National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. Condoleezza Rice is now the State Secretary while Dick Cheney remains as the Vice President and Donald Rumsfeld, Defence Secretary.

Although it is now outdated in some important aspects because of the changes of personnel after President Bush's re-election in 2004, the book remains an excellent reference book for those who wish to comprehend the dynamics of American politics and how national security and foreign policy decisions are made. Some equally important features of how the American decision-makers see the world and react to it would most probably persist in some years to come unless there is an ideological and institutional sea-change in the United States.

Understand conservative power in America

One of the good books I read last year was The Right Nation - Conservative Power in America (New York, Penguin, 2004) written by two respectable British journalists, John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge. Both of them work for the London-based Economist. In my opinion, the book has done the remarkable work of outlining and portraying the grassroot or social conservatism in the United States.

The grassroot or social conservatism form the power base of the Republican Party, particularly its neo-conservative wing. The word Right as appears in the book title has double meanings for the authors. One refers to the United States as a right-wing country, while another says that the United States always thinks it is right or correct in whatever it says or does.

Writing before the re-election of President Bush in early 2004, the authors had already prophetically argued that "the more you demonize the man (President Bush), the more you consolidate his base and alienate floating voters". The Democrats should have consulted John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, not Michael Moore, for electoral strategy.

There are plenty of other witty insights and sharp foresights on the domestic politics as well as foreign policy of the sole superpower on earth at the moment. The book is certainly a good reference material for American studies.

1,009 ex-MCA members join KeADILan

Former Bukit Mertajam MCA division chief Tony Peh (left) and another 1,008 ex-members of the second largest component party of the ruling National Front joined opposition Parti KeADILan Rakyat at a 126-table grand dinner last night.

President Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail reported to the 2005 Congress that the total membership of the party now stands at 160,000. Parti KeADILan Rakyat's is a union of the Parti KeADILan Nasional inaugurated in 1999 and Parti Rakyat formed in 1955.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Premier Zhou Enlai (1898-1976) remembered

Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the passing away of the great international and Asian statesman Zhou Enlai (1898-1976) who was also the first premier of New China.

Zhou not only secured for New China one of the five permanent seats of the United Nations' Security Council in 1971 but was instrumental in restoring the bilateral ties between New China and the United States in 1972 as well as establishing diplomatic relations between New China and Malaysia in 1974. Zhou, like Indian PM Jawahartal Nehru and Indonesian President Sukarno, was also a towering figure in the 1955 Bandung Conference championing mutual respect and peaceful co-existence of all nations, big or small.

Domestically, Zhou was a voice of reason, moderation and self-restraint in the 10-year turbulence of the 1966-1976 'Cultural Revolution' as well as the rampage of the 'Gang of Four' and their 'Red Guards'.

For my father, Premier Zhou was a true hero. In his forthcoming memoirs Dalam Ribuan Mimpi Gelisah: Memoir Said Zahari, Pak Said also ranks Premier Zhou as a great leader of the anti-colonial and national liberation struggle in Asia.

The Zhou Enlai Reference Archive

The Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Anwar to talk about M'sian economic outlook

I have just received an invitation from Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to attend a Young Professionals Dialogue on the Outlook of Malaysian Economy with former Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim. It is organised by the Institute for Policy Research (IKD).

The Dialogue will take place on 13 January 2005 (Friday) at 8.00 pm at the Shah Village Hotel, Petaling Jaya (beside A&W Drive-in Restaurant). It is printed in the e-invitation card that "All are invited" and "Please bring your friends along".

Time for a non-race based agenda for M'sia

Time for a non-race based agenda
Nurihsan Majid, The Sun
Updated: 06:31PM Fri, 06 Jan 2006

Parti Keadilan Rakyat is a party that is often accused of having only one ideal: to champion the cause of former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The recently concluded national congress however offers a promising sign for the party, and Malaysia as a whole to move forward, in particular replacing the remains of the New Economic Policy.

The NEP was launched to remedy the socio-economic inequality that led to the May 13, 1969 racial riots.

While the NEP itself is controversial, I do not think anyone can question the serious situation that plagued Malaysia when the Malays, the dominant race in Malaysia, were severely left behind in the economy.

The NEP was launched with a two-pronged objective to eradicate poverty regardless of race, and to remove economic identification with race. The NEP officially ended in 1990, but many of the aims and objectives of the policy are preserved in the New Development Policy.
Three decades later, the NEP is a true success story in many ways.

A Malay middle class (previously largely rural) has been created, living in the cities and suburban areas.

They are well-educated, working in well-paying jobs as professionals and entrepreneurs. The Malay corporate equity, which stood at a measly 2% in 1970, is now at 18%.

Yet, at the same time, no one should be blind to the failures and abuse of the NEP. The corporate equity target for the NEP, set to be achieved in 1990, is 30%.

Many government contracts are inflated due to a bumiputra-only policy, which means that bumiputra companies without any know-how can land contracts, and then in order to get the job done sub-contract the project to non-bumiputra contractors - a practice otherwise known as the "Ali Baba syndrome".

Under the guise of securing equity ownership for the bumiputra, well-connected individuals are given lucrative shareholding that gives them instant wealth in order to fulfil the 30% target - whereas the majority of the Malays do not stand to gain any real benefit from the policy.

The real objective should have been to improve the capability and capacity of the Malays to participate in the economy.

Our public institutions of higher learning suffer from a policy which sets different pre-university standards for the different communities, effectively continuing the old quota system.

The fact that a substantial Malay middle class is in existence makes the injustice of the status quo only more prevalent.

How can one justify a policy that prefers a bumiputra regardless of his socio-economic status, and discriminates against a non-bumiputra regardless of his socio-economic status?

The policy assumes, blindly, that all bumiputras are poor and disadvantaged, while no non-bumiputra is.

It is therefore deplorable that Umno Youth in its 2005 AGM continued to play the NEP card. That only shows the drawbacks of a race-based party that sees the easiest route to survival as being to continue to play the race card.

A culture of dependence and subsidy has fostered a continuous belief that Malays can only survive in an increasingly challenging world by government preference and handouts.

A refreshing note came from the Keadilan national congress.

The congress unanimously approved an economic motion to forge a new deal on the economy, replacing the race-based NEP with a New Economic Agenda.

Such a call is significant coming from a party that while in principle multi-racial, is predominantly Malay.

Furthermore in the debate that ensued, none of the Malay delegates questioned the ideal of universality of the New Agenda.

The Keadilan supreme council had noted that while the NEP had some positive achievements, a racial approach is inadequate to deal with the complex socio-economic inequality at the moment.

In essence, the New Agenda proposed would be based on the following principles:

* An emphasis on justice for all Malaysians; eradicating poverty regardless of race;

* Narrowing the gap in development between rural and urban areas;

* Providing training and education opportunities to prepare all Malaysians to face a knowledge-based economy; promoting entrepreneurship in order for a stronger small and medium-sized enterprise backbone of the economy;

* Promoting a delivery system which is worker and business friendly, that inculcates accountability and openness for a more sustainable development;

* Ensuring government intervention is limited and strategic by forging positive partnership with the private sector that empowers economic actors for a growth-based economy;

* Forging a positive economic strategy to compete in a globalised economy.

Having passed the motion, Keadilan now plans to organise a convention involving politicians, NGOs, academicians, business leaders, unionists and other citizens to put forward constructive proposals based on the principles of the New Agenda.

It is likely a deeper debate will emerge in that convention, as abstract principles are translated into specific policies.

That is the next test for Keadilan. As of now, Keadilan must be congratulated for having arrived at such a brave and ground-breaking policy.

This proves that even a party that consists of a predominantly Malay membership can look beyond the issues of race.

If Keadilan succeeds, this will be a turning point not only in the fortunes of the fledgling party, but for our country as a whole.

The country needs to move forward. At the moment, beneath the issue of improving the fortunes of the Malays, a lot of abuse has been committed by a small group of elites while the real capability of ordinary Malaysians have been largely ignored. But the failure of the status quo will be borne by all Malaysians.

Anwar: Time to suspend NEP

Abdullah: NEP still relevant

Where to, Malaysia?

When Umno's media Utusan Malaysia made similar mistake of identification, it's okay ...

John Malott demands a retraction from Utusan Malaysia
FAC News - 1 April 2001

On Friday, 30 March 2001, Utusan Malaysia’s headline said that John R. Malott, one-time US Ambassador to Malaysia, had attended a "secret meeting" in Malaysia with the National Justice Party. Utusan Malaysia is a Malay language daily owned by UMNO, the dominant partner in the ruling coalition.

When John Malott awoke in his home in California and logged onto the Internet he was shocked to discover he could be in two places at the same time, halfway across the world. John Malott quickly learnt, in Malaysia this is possible – hence Malaysia’s well shouted slogan, "Malaysia Boleh" (which means "Malaysia Can").

After all, was Anwar Ibrahim not sentenced to nine years jail for committing sodomy in a Kuala Lumpur apartment that was not yet built and when he was not even in the country at that time?

That same day John Malott sent Utusan Malaysia an e-mail asking them to retract their false newspaper report. (Full text of John Malott’s e-mail to Utusan Malaysia can be read here).

In his e-mail, John Malott said that the article is a complete fabrication as he is in California and has not been in Malaysia since January 2000. John Malott added that it is an offense under Malaysian law to publish a false article and that he would be well within his rights to take legal action against Utusan Malaysia.

John Malott demanded that Utusan Malaysia publish the retraction in a prominent position in the newspaper as well as on its Website that clearly acknowledges the report was not accurate. John Malott also demanded that Utusan Malaysia include an apology and for them to remove the false article from the Website.

At the same time John Malott sent Malaysiakini another e-mail that said "it shows clearly that the paper is no longer a newspaper, but a political instrument". (Full text of John Malott’s e-mail to Malaysiakini can be read here).

"The article, with its screaming headline that I had attended a secret meeting in Malaysia, is a pure fabrication," said John Malott.

John Malott added, "After his arrest, Anwar Ibrahim said, "If this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone."

Utusan clearly has written a false report about me -- for I cannot be in two places, halfway around the world, at the same time."

"But of greater concern, it once again shows the evil that this so-called newspaper is capable of. If they can write such a false and concocted story about me, then they can write it about anyone."

"When Utusan's false stories are used to smear the political and personal reputations of good people in Malaysia and even lead to charges of sedition, it shows clearly that the paper is no longer a newspaper, but a political instrument."


Free Anwar

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Gov't not interfering in press freedom?

Now, BN politicians, including DPM Najib Tun Razak and Deputy Information Minister Donald Lim Siang Chai are telling the people and the world that the action against China Press is not meant for the government to interfere in press freedom.

But, I have also been told by some Chinese mainstream TV reporters that no public comments and analyses on the action against China Press itself would be published or aired. May be my informants are only themselves frightened whereas there is no explicit instruction issued by any authorities to that effect.

Could the Prime Minister and Minister for Internal Affairs Abdullah Ahmad Badawi issue a written and specific statement to clarify whether the mainstream media, whatever their language streams, can or cannot publish or air public comments and analyses on the government's action against China Press ?

Drop Noh Omar in next Cabinet reshuffle !

Two top editors of MCA's China Press have, under the pressure of the Internal Security Ministry, lost their jobs over the Squatgate scandal.

I think the Deputy Minister for Internal Security Noh Omar should also be dropped in the next Cabinet reshuffle for making far more irresponsible and damaging public statement to show that PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi does not subtly practise pilih kasih on grounds of race, religion or partisan affiliation.

PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi must also show that he does not discriminate against journalists in favour of ruling politicians like Noh Omar.

MCA should also call and work for for the removal of Noh Omar from the government to show that it has backbones and that its relations with Umno in the National Front and Government is not an emperor-eunuch type.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Keeping hearts and minds alive ...

I just came back from Jalan Riong where a group of young journalists from the alternative and independent media as well as some NGO activists gathered there to show their concern for what has happened to their friends in the China Press. Some of the mainstream media reporters were also there and they made it clear to me at the outset that while they would like to hear what I had to say on the China Press incident for archival records, it could not be published. I always love and respect honest blokes.

The one who interviewed me (photo) was a mainstream Chinese-language radio journalist. He and his former colleagues have now started an alternative website to continue their struggle to think, write and broadcast independently in the cyberspace. As long as the hearts and minds are not dead, there is always hope.

So, when the goings get tough, the tough get going.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Action against China Press boomerangs ...

The characteristically power-crazy, too-smart-by-half and vindictive security authorities in this country is notoriously well-known for over-kills that boomerang. The latest case of two China Press top editors having to 'resign' over the Squatgate scandal under the pressure of the Internal Security Ministry is classic.

Already, people in coffeeshops and pubs have started to raise more questions which may be politically damaging to parties and leaders of the National Front, like:

1. Is it fair to punish the editors so severely while the Deputy Minister for Internal Security Noh Omar was given only a relatively mild reprimand for his far more damaging statement asking foreigners (that include not only Chinese nationals, but also all Asians, Europeans, Americans, Latin Americans, Africans and Middle Easterners) to go home if they thought the Malaysian Police was cruel?

2. If the owner of China Press, namely MCA is powerless to protect its property and managers of its property, how can its members, supporters and Chinese Malaysians expect it to protect the legitimate interests of the community?

Of course, these two questions further open up more questions like:

3. If Umno's Noh Omar was only given a relatively mild reprimand for his 'foreigners-go-home' statement, is it fair for the Umno-dominated Cabinet to suspend MIC's secretary-general S. Sothinathan from holding government position for 3 months for making conscientious statement (allowed under Standing Orders of the British Parliament) in the Umno-dominated Parliament that was said to be "against government policy"?

4. Umno's MP for Jerai Badruddin Amiruldin is on public record for using racist word against the Indian community and yet he has never been punished or even officially reprimanded by Umno, BN or the Prime Minister. Is it fair?

Certainly, one of the original Squatgate scandal questions is still in circulation in coffeeshops and warung-warung:

5. If the Government could apologise to China for mistreating the latter's national, why can it also apologise to the people of our own country now that the victim is said to be a fellow Malaysian?

Well, as these are all moral-reasoning arguments that do not involve facts, figures and legalistic fine points, everyone can talk about it aloud in coffeeshops over breakfast or pubs during Happy Hours. And, you know, China Press's loyal supporters are taxi drivers, barber girls, butchers, shop keepers, hawkers, retirees and housewives who have plenty of times to chat and talk everyday in towns and villages all over the country without feeling restrained by Akujanji.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Antonio Gramsci for Malaysian intellectuals

Reader of this blog Catherine from LSE has asked me to use my platform to interest Malaysian intellectuals and academics in the works of Italian political thinker Antonio Gramsci (1891-1931).

As I was myself a fervent reader of Antonio Gramsci's Selections from the Prison Notebooks while I was in Monash University in the mid-1980s, I certainly share Catherine's interest and passion for Gramsci's critical observations and analyses of the strategies of the ruling elites to establish and perpetuate their ideological hegemony over the civil society. As I surfed through Amazon yesterday, I found that there are now many new works that continue to explore Gramsci's insights in new light and fields, such as media studies, political science and international relations.

In fact, my new copy of Antonio Gramsci's Selections from the Prison Notebooks (New York, International Publishers, 2005) which I ordered from Amazon arrived two weeks ago. My old second-hand copy which I bought in Melbourne in 1985 just disappeared without a trace two or three years ago. I guess someone has borrowed it and forgotten to return to me.

There is a website in the United States that provides FREE(!) articles written by Gramsci at:

In fact, a search in the website of the London School of Economics and Political Science has returned quite a number of also FREE(!) academic papers exploring Antonio Gramsci's concepts.

Happy Australia Day from James & family

James and family wish the Government and People of Australia as well as all our personal and family friends a very happy Australia Day.

National Australia Day

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

ZAM's 'poison' is M'sian children's meat

Teachers from US to coach students
Jan 2, 2006 New Straits Times

Students at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Agama Sheikh Abdul Malik may soon be speaking English with an American accent.They will be learning communicative English from American Fulbright scholar Leslie A. Thompson, who began work today.

For the next five months, she will drill them in proper English usage. Thompson is here on the State Government’s invitation and in co-operation with the US Embassy and Malaysia- American Commission on Educational Exchange (MACEE) to promote English among secondary school students.

She is among 10 US English teaching assistants in the programme who have been assigned to different secondary schools throughout the State.

The other schools are Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Padang Negara, SM Agama Khairiah, SMK Tengku Mahmud, Imtiaz, Kospint, SMK Tengku Ampuan Intan, SMK Mak Lagam, SMK Ibrahim Fikri and SMK Lembah Bidong.Met at the school, Thompson said she planned to inject new ideas and adopt approaches in getting students and teachers to use English often.

"I plan to use games, movies, music and newspapers such as the NST as interactive tools," she said.Thompson came to school in a baju kurung and headscarf to respect religious and cultural sensitivities.

The Middle Eastern Studies graduate from South Carolina said it was appropriate to adapt to her new environment.School principal Che Ku Razak Che Ku Mohd said Thompson would be helping students get comfortable with English."Our problem has always been communicative English.

"While most students and teachers are fairly competent in English, they find it hard to speak the language," he said.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Moorthy's case - a Muslim's voice of reason

Moorthy was a national hero. He had made great sacrifices for the nation and made all Malaysians regardless of race or religion proud. When he was stricken by illness, the government did not seem to care for his health and welfare.

When Moorthy passed away, the nation should have mourned and paid tribute to this great Malaysian.

Sadly, the controversy has resulted in grave injustice to Moorthy and his family.

KeADILan respects the right of the individual to embrace the religion of his choice as guaranteed under the Federal Constitution. In the case of M. Moorthy, if he had embraced Islam as claimed, we should respect his choice. Unfortunately, the manner in which the authorities, especially JAWI, handled this issue has only served to give Islam a bad name and has contributed to prejudices against Islam. The Syariah court has made a decision in haste and without full cognizance of the facts by summarily coming to the conclusion that Moorthy died as a Muslim knowing fully that his immediate family members have categorically disputed this.

In the interests of justice, the court should have listened to both sides before coming to any final decision. Islam enjoins on those sitting in judgment to give justice, not mere orders or commands. Islam also enjoins on those in authority to use their power with compassion and wisdom. We believe that in this entire affair if these matters had been addressed accordingly, taking into full consideration the grievance, the pain and the suffering that the family members of Moorthy are going through, a better solution would have been arrived at.

This entire episode has painted a negative image of Islam not just to Malaysians of other faith but to the rest of the world. More must be done to enhance mutual trust and harmony among the different communities and the manner in which the present authorities are doing it, under the name of Islam Hadhari, represents a step backwards in inter-racial and inter-religious relations. KeADILan is saddened that this controversy shows our society is deeply divided.

Thus, we urge all Malaysians to remain united in this time of crisis. We once again call on members of the judiciary both civil and syariah to carry out their judicial duties with courage and conviction and no to shirk their responsibilities when faced with sensitive cases such as this.

At the same time, we urge the legal fraternity to comprehensively review the provisions in the Federal Constitution pertaining to religion including Article 121 with a view to remedying the problems that have arise under the current provisions so that all Malaysians will be assured that they will not be victimized by the law.

We must continue to engage and promote greater understanding among all Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs to ensure greater peace and harmony in the country.

Mohamed Azmin Ali
Vice President, Parti KeADILan Rakyat
31 December 2005

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