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Political violence should not happen in a genuine democracy and the authorities must take stern action to curb such incidents, former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said today amid more reports of violent clashes between Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) supporters ahead of elections expected next year. He told a public forum organised by the Sinar Harian newspaper today that he hoped BN would reform and stop the culture of violence if it won the next polls. And if PR were to take power, the former top police officer said he hoped PR would not become “political thugs”.

Rough house tactics have become a feature of Malaysian politics, and went up a notch yesterday with the first stabbing at a political rally ahead of the 13th general elections. A group of people alleged to be Umno Youth members yesterday attacked a PKR rally in Gombak that left a few opposition volunteers injured, leading to swift condemnation from PR leaders. In the attack, a PKR supporter is believed to have been stabbed with a sharp weapon on his left shoulder, the party’s paper Keadilan Daily reported.

This is not the first attack on a PR rally, with a similar incident happening in Lembah Pantai earlier this year where a crowd at a rally held by Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was attacked. The PKR bus used by Anwar and party leaders for its nationwide pre-election campaign tour, Jelajah Merdeka Rakyat , has also been splashed with paint and attacked with rocks several times. “Political violence does not happen in a democratic country. In a democratic country the election of a government does not see matters that endanger security,” said Musa today.

He took a swipe, however, at the opposition for supporting street protests and demonstrations. “According to one book it is said that if a leader is not suitable there must be ‘reformasi’ on the streets. This is now a reference for the young. “Previous general elections were like festivals (but) in Malaysia the politics has been endless. Five years on and there is still politics and the endless blaming of each other.” Without naming anyone, he said accused political leaders of failing to control supporters, which he blamed for the rise in the political temperature in recent years.

He said election campaigns were no longer like festivals because it was now dominated by “politics of hatred.” Musa said that while the authorities must act to curb political violence, he pointed out that the job had become more challenging because of new laws which had introduced more freedoms. “The police must be fair. Previously one had to apply for a permit to organise a ceramah. But with new laws there are now problems and the police have to be prepared better. “In the past the police did not have to station much personnel at rallies but now speakers are challenging the authority of the police,” he said.

The rakyat are waiting to pocket the cash handouts that the government will be dishing out next year after polls are called but are just as eager to oust the ruling coalition, says Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim. “Even though people will be receiving the (RM500) BR1M (Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia), but I am confident that they are biding their time to cast out the BN,” he declared at the Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat (People’s Uprising Assembly) in Kota Baru last night. This uprising, Anwar said, was similarly reflected in rallies across the nation including Sabah and Sarawak previously described as the BN’s fixed deposit states.

“They (BN) are aware of this which is why they are becoming violent to the extent that we, including our friends in PAS, have become accustomed (to being targeted),” he said. The night’s rally itself, Anwar said, was testimony to his declaration as some 50,000 people, armed with, yellow, orange, green and red flags thronged the Sultan Muhamed VI Stadium. The colours represent several prominent protests groups of recent years, namely the Bersih, Felda rights, anti-Lynas and Kelantan royalty movements. Beyond symbolism, the gathering tonight was part of a series of Pakatan-driven rallies to capitalise on the existence of the diverse dissenting groups united against the government ahead of the looming polls to culminate in the mother of all rallies in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 12.

Graft probe challenge to BN

“Once we capture Putrajaya, the demands of yellow, orange, green, red, we will fulfill them all,” declared PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu as the sea of people waved the flags of four colours. Taking the podium later, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang broomed away Umno’s stand that corruption happens across the board in countering its self-confessed corruption perception problem, insisting that it wasn’t so in Pakatan-led states. “If there are states led by Pakatan that indulge in corruption, then relinquish power, we do not want a corrupt state. If what Umno claim is true, then investigate,” he said.

However, DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang said Umno’s issue with corruption was not merely perception but fact. Noting PAS’ commitment to join hands with Pakatan in capturing Putrajaya at its muktamar earlier in the day, Lim referred to several of the ruling coalition’s attack lines suggesting that the ‘unholy union’ with the DAP would threaten the Malay community. “They (BN) say if Pakatan wins power, Malays will lose power… the position of the monarchs would be threatened and Islam sidelined… Malays would be beggars in their own land… is this true?” he asked repeatedly to a loud “No!” from from the crowd each time .

Lim (left) said this was the first time since independence where a change of government was in sight with victory hingeing on the unity within Pakatan. “Our success will depend on the unity and commitment of all parties within Pakatan by moving in unison with the same objectives, let’s show we are different from the BN,” he said.

By CT Ali

Why do we want to change the most successful political entity in our country’s history? Umno has never failed itself! Like him, hate him; whatever you may think of Anwar Ibrahim, you cannot ignore him. His presence is overwhelming. For his detractors, he is the very personification of the excesses of Umno during his time as deputy prime minister and yet for those that have given up on Umno, he is the rising phoenix. And having risen from the ashes, he now soars like an eagle above everything else and waits to land. When and where will that eagle land? For those of you who are now in doubt about what good your vote can do in the millions to be cast during the 13th general election, I ask that you think again.

How do you think Anwar was able to keep his sanity and the fire burning within him to bring much- needed change to the way our government works throughout his solitary confinement in Sungai Buloh? You and I have not reached the heights of office that he has, so we would never know what really went through his mind through the years of incarceration, but this much I know: he would have had enough time to reflect on the future – his and ours. His future and ours will be determined by that vote you will cast among the millions on polling day. If you have persuaded yourself that you want our government to do things differently, then you can be rest assured that there will be others of similar mind. If enough of us are persuaded thus, there we have it, our ability to make change happen.

Umno won’t change

But what do we want to change? Umno? Why do we want to change the most successful political entity in our country’s history? Umno has never failed itself. Every political pundit, every analyst worth talking to, every authority worth his salt and every expert on the future of Malaysia, most of them confidently say that the time for Umno’s demise is nigh. Are any of them aware that Umno has won all of the last 12 general elections? At every twist and political turn, Umno has emerged victorious. How can you say Umno has failed itself when it has been the only government in Malaysia since independence? Every prime minister has been from Umno.

What has Umno set out to do, it has done.

Make every Umno president, their families, relatives, cronies, peers and sahabats wealthy beyond their wildest dreams? Done! Make Ketuanan Melayu its cornerstone for political survival? Done! Ensure that ethnicity – namely the Malays – will numerically outnumber the others through dedicated “pendatang asing” policies that welcome these immigrants and grant them citizenship – and in this way – ensures that the Malays now make up 60% of Malaysia’s population? Done!

Cement this numerical superiority by propagating a race-based “Ketuanan Melayu” policy that gives priority, economic advantage and “first among equals” advantage to the Malays in education, work opportunities and in all things Malaysian? Done! Ensure that all government departments and agencies, MACC, EPF, police, Rela and the armed forces are at the beck and call of their political masters? Done! Institutionalised money politics and endemic corruption into every nook and cranny of politics and into every facet of government functions? Done!

Power of our vote

It would be hard to persuade Umno and those that support Umno that we need to change the Umno-led Barisan Nasional government because it has been very successful in doing what it has wanted to do for itself. And there are many millions that think that there is no need to change this BN government. So the question we must ask ourselves today is this: are there enough of us out there who want change the way our government works? Are there enough of us to ensure that this happens? And we want change not through an armed insurrection, not through the winds of change that the Arab Spring blew violently across the Middle East, no, not through any other way but through the ballot box – our votes – if we are allowed to cast it freely at this 13th general election.

That is why every one of your votes counts.

That is why we want to change this Umno that has never failed itself but has certainly failed the people of Malaysia too many times in too many ways and for too long a time. It is time we ensured the survival of our nation by having a truly representative democracy – and this we can do by voting in a government of the people, by the people, for the people.
~CT Ali is a reformist who believes in Pakatan Rakyat’s ideologies. He is a FMT columnist.

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Malaysia faces a widening gap between wages and the profits of companies under the government’s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim warned today. He told Parliament when debating the government’s Budget 2013 proposals that not enough was being done by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor in Malaysia. The opposition leader claimed household wages remain low and that structured analyses show the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

“This means the economic growth and all the projects announced by BN do not bring effect on the incomes of a majority of the people,” Anwar said. He added surveys showed 44.2 per cent of Malaysian households make less than RM2,500 a month, and share only 14 per cent of the country’s economic prosperity in stack contrast to the 50 per cent shared by the top 20 per cent of wealthiest Malaysians. “The excitement in chasing economic forecast numbers without specific policy reforms to narrow the gap (between the rich and the poor) and ensure even distribution is more evident than ever in the prime minister’s ETP,” Anwar said.

“The analyses and comparisons in economic value made by the ETP projects and wages given to workers show that by 2020 workers will be paid much less in relation to company profit. “If now, the ratio of wages to profits stands at 28 per cent, under the ETP it is expected to fall to 21 per cent,” he added. Earlier, Anwar had said the national economic plan should shift from only meeting equity targets and growth to ensuring a minimum household income of RM4,000 a month by the end of a first-term Pakatan Rakyat (PR) administration. He also said economic growth should be generated by small and medium-sized businesses and not just by “one or two big bosses.” Speaking in Parliament, the opposition leader pitched his PR’s Budget 2013 proposal to focus on disposal income instead of chasing equity and growth targets.

Anwar Ibrahim

Lim Guan Eng

Tuan Guru Abdul Hadi Awang

Datuk Yahya Lampong, a former federal deputy minister, has joined Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), it was announced last night by PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Anwar made the announcement at a Malaysia Day celebration organised by the opposition pact in Dalit, near here. Yahya, who had joined Umno after Usno was dissolved, was present at the event. Also present were former Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin and former United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) deputy president Datuk Seri Wilfred Bumburing. Lajim and Bumburing, the MPs for Beaufort and Tuaran respectively, had defected to the opposition earlier. Yesterday morning, Anwar Ibrahim also announced that corporate figure Tan Sri Ibrahim Menudin had joined PKR in Labuan. — Bernama

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PKR today demanded equal punishment on all those who have stomped on photographs of political leaders and activists regardless of their political leanings, accusing the authorities of using selective prosecution to quell dissent against the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN). Party president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail pointed out that similarly unruly acts committed in the past by Umno or pro-BN activists against Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders like Lim Guan Eng had not resulted in any probe by the police.

But she noted that several youths found guilty of stomping on or mooning over pictures of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, his wife and Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof during last week’s pro-democracy gathering are currently facing the full extent of the law for their actions. “It is selective prosecution. If you want to take action, take action against all those who have committed similarly offensive acts... take equal action against all. “If the act was committed against Lim Guan Eng, take action, if against the PM, take action, if against (PAS spiritual adviser Datuk) Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, take action... then it is fair,” she told reporters at the launch of PKR’s “Merdeka Rakyat” mobile stage here.

A 19-year-old student, who was caught on camera exposing his bottom and stomping on the photographs of Najib and his wife, has reportedly been expelled from college — the Cheras-based Cybernetics International College of Technology — for insulting a national leader. The police had earlier arrested the boy, as well as a number of other teenagers, for stomping on the photographs, in what opposition politicians have described as an over-reaction to the exuberance of young activists. It is unclear what charges the boy faces, but the police have arrested him under the Sedition Act, which Najib had announced earlier this year would be repealed.

“This goes to show that they just want to use any instrument to prosecute people whom they think are against them. “But when it comes to the opposition, it is like — never mind, there is no need to prosecute,” Dr Wan Azizah said. Sedition is not clearly defined and this was one of the reasons for the planned repeal as its use has sparked complaints of abuse by the authorities. Similar offensive acts committed by pro-BN activists have gone unpunished in the past, including the performance of butt exercises by a group of army veterans at the home of Bersih 2.0 co-chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan.

A firestorm erupted last week after several individuals were recorded tearing up posters bearing images of the prime minister, his wife and Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof at the same event. Several other people were spotted waving a flag with an alternative design ― now identified as the Sang Saka Malaya ― instead of the Jalur Gemilang at the National Day bash last Thursday night. Bukit Aman’s CID director Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin told The Malaysian Insider that the police were probing the two separate incidents under the Sedition Act ― despite Putrajaya’s decision to repeal the controversial law that has been widely panned as a tool to curb political dissent.

Mohd Bakri said the police were probing the flag incident as an attempt to incite hatred with intent to create public disorder under Section 4 (1)(a) of the Sedition Act 1948. He added that stepping on pictures of Najib and wife were considered offences under Sections 290 and 504 of the Penal Code for being public nuisances and intentionally causing insult with an intent to provoke break the public peace, respectively. Those convicted under Section 290 may be fined up to RM400 while those found guilty under Section 504 are liable to be jailed up to two years or fined, or both. However, Section 4 (1)(a) of the Sedition Act prescribes a mandatory jail term of three years or a fine of up to RM5,000 for first offenders, which is subsequently raised to five years’ jail for repeat offences.

After getting off to a rocky start on Friday with his bus being attacked, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has reportedly been attacked during a talk at a mosque in Alor Setar, Kedah. According to a flurry of tweets from PKR leaders, a group they allege to be right wing Malay rights group Perkasa members disrupted the event at Masjid Pumpong in the northern state capital.

“I just received information that Anwar Ibrahim has been attacked by Perkasa members at a tazkirah event…,” tweeted Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh. “Perkasa member trying to storm the masjid to stop Anwar from tazkirah,” tweeted vice president Tian Chua. “Anwar now safe at Imam’s house after the Perkasa assault,” reported vice-president N Surendran. previously, Anwar’s Jelajah Merdeka Rakyat bus was splashed with red paint and damaged while on its Kelantan leg. ~malaysiakini~

Borak bersama Anwar

Malaysia is unlikely follow a caliphate system of government any time soon but will stay a democracy that recognises the rights of non-Muslims, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said last night in a bid to sooth a fevered public as debate continues to rage over the set up of a Islamic state in the run-up to key elections. The controversy erupted after an Umno politician in Johor mooted for hudud, the Islamic penal code, to be implemented nationwide and to cover both Muslims and non-Muslims; prompting several religious conservatives of the faith to question PAS’s commitment to an Islamic state and driving a wedge between the opposition Islamist party and its secular ally, the DAP.

“There are those who say because the Muslim ummah is... a single entity, therefore there should be one ruler,” Anwar (picture), who leads the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) opposition pact, said in his Google Hangout session called “Borak Bersama Anwar (Chat with Anwar)” late last night. But the PKR de facto head said current realities did not allow Malaysia to follow a caliphate system where the government is based on Islamic religious law or syariah.

“If we look at Malaysia, while the Muslims are the majority (and) Islam is the religion of the federation, the existence and rights of non-Muslims must be taken into account and recognised,” he said in reply to a question over Google+ from Internet user Mohamad Fairul Hamikey on Google+ who wanted to know if a caliphate system could be used here. While Islam is stated to be the religion of the federation, religious power is decentralised. Each of the nine Malay state Rulers is also the head of religion in their respective states while the Yang di-Pertuan Agong acts for four other states, Penang, Malacca, Sabah and Sarawak, and in the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan.

Questions on whether PR would implement hudud law should it take power at the next polls, due in April next year, were also posted on both the search engine’s Google+ webpage and social network Facebook for the event but were not picked up. Anwar said the questions involved polemics and discourse that were very wide. He added that because of this Islamic scholars in general had decided that the best way forward was to let the people elect their leaders to ensure a clean democracy. “If this is allowed, then people can elect a legitimate government representing the needs of many,” he said, adding that upholding democracy was crucial to fulfil the people’s goals as seen in the Arab Spring that swept through the Middle East and North African nations last year.

“Because with this realisation, they are free to choose leaders which they believe can bring the aspirations of everyone,” he added. Anwar’s live Google Hangout event is seen as a chance for the federal opposition leader to showcase his ability to answer “uncomfortable” questions from the public. The 65-year-old is “the first Malaysian and Southeast Asian politician to be featured on a Google Hangout on Air event,” PKR’s communications director Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad told reporters. Praba Ganesan, the party’s social media strategist, said that other Southeast Asian leaders have not had similar online forums yet “because it’s direct engagement and it puts leaders in the hot seat”.

While Anwar has seized on the Internet to deliver his message after being shut out of the mainstream media, his online presence is still less than his rival, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s. A check with the social media monitoring site on August 8 showed Najib has 1,135,529 “likes” on Facebook and 801,833 followers on Twitter against Anwar’s 379,612 “likes” on Facebook and 179,830 following him on Twitter. But his followers hope the Google Hangout will expand his appeal to Internet-savvy young voters, who are said to make up three million of the country’s 12 million-strong electorate.

The PR opposition pact has always been seen as having the upper hand in cyberspace presence over Barisan Nasional, but in recent months the ruling coalition has expanded its online presence with several pro-BN news portals and a rising number of supporters taking to Twitter. US President Barack Obama and Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard have also used Google Hangout to engage their citizens, with the former using it as part of his re-election campaign.

Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim will be the first Malaysian politician to host a Google Hangout next week, expanding his social media experience to widen his appeal among the country’s hip and technologically-savvy youth who form a quarter of the electorate.
The “Borak Bersama Anwar” live chat-room on YouTube is set for 10.30pm local time on August 17, just two days before Malaysia celebrates Hari Raya Aidilfitri after the Ramadan fasting month. A Facebook page and a Google+ page went live early this morning to publicise the event, seen as a step above Barisan Nasional’s (BN) rising activity in cyberspace. “Politicians are discovering cyberspace in a big way before the next elections and Anwar is at the forefront of it. His Google Hangout is the first in the country,” a source told The Malaysian Insider.

US President Barack Obama hosted a Google Hangout last January as part of his re-election campaign. The forum comes in the form of live video connections and video YouTube questions. The Facebook and Google+ pages described “Borak Bersama Anwar” as a Google Hangout event with the de facto PKR leader and opposition chief that will be broadcasted live via YouTube. “We would like to encourage people to post their video questions on YouTube and share the link on our Facebook or Google Plus event page. We will also go through your notes and questions to determine our topics for the night.

“If we find your questions interesting, we will also invite you to be one of our panels live as well. Thank you, and hope to see you at Borak Bersama Anwar,” said a statement on both the pages. The party has also set up #BorakAnwar as the official hashtag for the event, to be used on the Twitter microblogging site.

Anwar Ibrahim
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Lajim Ukin

Last weekend’s decision by two Barisan Nasional (BN) lawmakers in Sabah to back Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has intensified the tussle for seats among the federal opposition even as it seeks to loosen the ruling coalition’s hold over the East Malaysian state in the general election expected soon. It is understands that PR and the local Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) are already close to brokering a power-sharing deal but Tuaran MP Datuk Seri Wilfred Bumburing’s and Beaufort MP Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin’s sudden entry into the game so close to the polls may throw a spanner in the works for the state’s colourful opposition front. When announcing his departure from BN over the weekend, Lajim, a federal deputy minister, also stated his intention to field his men in 17 of the state’s 25 parliamentary seats in the coming election. But this may clash with the PR-SAPP power-sharing deal, which SAPP president Datuk Yong Teck Lee told The Malaysian Insider today included an agreement that would see the peninsula-based PR taking on a larger share of the state’s federal seats.

The former Sabah chief minister, however, dismissed this as an “internal issue” for PR to resolve among its three component parties of DAP, PKR and PAS. “The principle here ― and this is the basis that we have been discussing for the last three years ― is that SAPP takes on more state seats and the federal parties take on more federal seats. It has more or less been crystallised now,” “I think this whole Lajim-Bumburing situation... they are basically internal PKR and Pakatan issues. “But with SAPP, yes, yes, we are making our agreements... even yesterday, PR leaders told us that talks between SAPP and PKR will progress further,” he said.

The experienced politician pointed out that both Lajim and Bumburing would be contesting under PKR’s flag, saying this further indicated that the negotiation should not affect PR and SAPP’s deal. When asked if SAPP would be willing to back down should either Lajim or Bumburing push to field their choice of candidates in a greater share of seats, Yong said this was not part of the opposition’s agenda. “Only in the stage of fine-tuning... because Lajim’s base is Beaufort and Bumburing’s in Tuaran. The fine-tuning (of candidates) will only be in these areas,” he said. Yong’s SAPP has been pushing hard for its emotive “Sabah for Sabahans” agenda, which it says means that administrative control over the state known as the “Land below the wind” must remain in the hands of a local party.

During a March interview with The Malaysian Insider, SAPP leaders said the opposition front’s seat-sharing formula must entail Sabah parties contesting in two-thirds of the state’s 60 state seats while PR takes on two-thirds of the federal seats. This, they said, is a win-win formula that would enable all parties to achieve their goals in addition to toppling BN. Another opposition party, STAR (State Reform Party), led by 65-year-old political veteran Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, is also singing the same tune but The Malaysian Insider understands that its seat negotiation with PR has yet to be resolved. While SAPP’s Yong admitted that STAR has local advantage in some of Sabah’s interiors, a local PR leader revealed that the newly-formed political front may contest against PR during the polls.

When contacted here, Sabah DAP chief Jimmy Wong said the party was willing to be “flexible” in seat negotiation, despite noting that DAP has its sights set on fielding candidates in 20 of the state’s 60 state seats.“We have new shareholders now ― Lajim and Bumburing. So we should all give a little, take a little. “To me, the important thing is the BN wall... the great war in Sabah is about breaking the BN ‘fixed deposit’, about toppling this BN wall, which we now see cracks appearing in,” he said. Sabah PKR chief Ahmad Thamrin Jaini told The Malaysian Insider that PR parties would have to meet again at the negotiation table to accommodate its new allies.

“We need to observe, of course, their strength in their areas and our strengths. It is about the bigger picture here. “Of course, anything affecting the seats that we have agreed should be given to us in PR.... it should require renegotiation,” he said. Federal seats in east Malaysia’s Sabah and Sarawak are expected to be BN’s focal point come the general election as both states, including the federal territory of Labuan, contribute a significant 57 seats, or 25 per cent of the 222 Parliamentary seats available. In Election 2008, BN lost its customary two-thirds parliamentary majority largely due to significant losses in the peninsula, where it won just 85 seats while the opposition swept 80 seats.

Anwar Ibrahim
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Welfred Bumburing part 1
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Welfred Bumburing part 2
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Umno supreme council member Datuk Lajim Ukin announced today he is quitting all party positions to work with the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) pact in Sabah’s interest, in the run-up to key national polls. The Sabah lawmaker said he would leave it to the ruling party to decide on his Umno membership and his position as deputy minister of housing and local government. Lajim was also reported as saying he was not joining the federal opposition as a party member despite widespread rumours that he would be defecting to PKR. “As for my post as deputy minister, that will be decided by Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Najib Razak) at his discretion. 
“Meanwhile, the Umno supreme council will determine my membership in Umno... if they feel I have violated the party’s regulations then they can dismiss me,” Lajim (picture)was quoted by state news agency Bernama as telling reporters during the breaking of fast at his home in Likas Jaya, near Kota Kinabalu this evening. The news agency also reported him publicly declaring the setting up of a new movement called the Pakatan Perubahan Sabah (PPS), or the Sabah Reform Front, at the same event, saying the group has a line-up of 17 representatives — one for each parliamentary constituency — in the state.
Apart from sitting on the Umno supreme council, Lajim was Beaufort Umno division chief and Beaufort Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman. He said he was resigning with immediate effect. The Beaufort MP had last month told reporters the rumour had likely spread because “I speak like I am in opposition” but that he has made “no decision to leave and no offer has been made.” “This is just speculation because I speak like I am in opposition. But it is not because I am against the government but I want improvements to my constituency. We have faced problems like flooding for over 15 years. “But nothing is impossible in politics. If the public wants me to go, I will go, if they want me to stay, I will stay,” he had said then.
Lajim also said that because of his independent stance, “the speculation could have started internally with the intention to sideline me from BN.” He had come under fire from Sabah BN secretary Datuk Rahman Dahlan last week for his vocal internal criticism of the coalition. “There is no room in Barisan and Umno for prima donnas,” Rahman was quoted as saying byThe Star on July 20. “No one is indispensable. People, including prime ministers, have come and gone,” the Kota Belud MP was quoted further. Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who earlier today confirmed he was visiting the ruling BN coalition’s eastern stronghold tomorrow for a mystery function, has deepened speculation of a major political shift in Sabah.
Anwar’s chief of staff, Ibrahim Yaacob, confirmed to The Malaysian Insider the PKR adviser would be in Beaufort, Lajim’s parliamentary seat, but kept a tight lip on the nature of the function. “He has just arrived from Medina this morning and will be in Beaufort tomorrow, but what programmes he will be attending we don’t know,” Ibrahim said when contacted today. Anwar has also been mum on the invitation. Yesterday, Sabah PKR chief Ahmad Tamrin Jaini was reported by news portal Malaysiakini as saying the party had been invited to attend the launch of the Sabah Reform Front (SRF), which was organised by Lajim and Tuaran MP Datuk Seri Wilfred Mojilip Bumburing.
Lajim had quit his post as Kerambai Kebatu Umno branch chief last month but maintained that he was not leaving the party to join the opposition, while Bumburing, who is also deputy president of the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (UPKO), quit his BN division chief post last week. The latter has been coy of his chances of crossing over to PKR. In Sabah, the deep-seated issue of illegal immigrants will likely be used as a key campaign issue in the coming polls, with the Najib administration holding the trump card for having finally agreed to investigate the issue by forming a royal commission of inquiry.
Federal seats in east Malaysia’s Sabah and Sarawak are expected to be PR’s focal point come the elections as both states, including the federal territory of Labuan, make up a whopping 57 seats, or 25 per cent of the 222 parliamentary seats available. In Election 2008, BN retained power over the Putrajaya administrative capital largely due to wins in east Malaysia and Labuan, where it made a near-clean sweep, winning 55 seats against PR’s two. But the ruling pact lost its customary two-thirds parliamentary majority after only securing a five-seat margin ahead of PR in the peninsula, winning in just 85 constituencies while PR secured 80 seats.

In the final episode, Julian Assange talks to Malaysia’s opposition leader, who faced prison terms twice in what he calls politically-motivated cases. But he never gave up fighting for democracy in a country he brands less democratic than even Myanmar. When Anwar Ibrahim, the former deputy prime minister of Malaysia and currently leader of the opposition party, says democracy, he means “an independent judiciary, free media and an economic policy that can promote growth and the market economy.” However, at the same time, he told Assange that the people of Malaysia should understand what abuses all these elements of freedom may bring to their country. “Arab Spring – one area clambering for freedom. Then we have Occupy Wall Street… and the limitations, the unbridled greed and the gap between the very rich and very poor, the complicity between the big business groups and politics – these we need to avoid,” Ibrahim says.

From prison to parliament

Nowadays Ibrahim’s opposition political party is gaining more and more support from the people. However, before his voice was heard, he went through six years in solitary confinement in prison and two criminal cases. Ibrahim was first arrested for supporting land farmers in the north and demanding better treatment from the government. As a result he spent two years in detention without trial. The activist was released after Mahathir Mohamad became prime minister, whose reforms he supported. He even became his deputy. But in 1998 Ibrahim was imprisoned for six years ‘for corruption and sodomy’ after he fell out with his boss. He was released in 2004 largely thanks to campaigning by his wife. Thousands of people went into the streets in his support.

In 2008, a significant year for Malaysian politics, Ibrahim tried to get elected to parliament. He maintains this was a real challenge because his opposition party was not given even a minute of air-time. “We won 10 out of 11 parliamentary seats, and so I believe we are ripe for some sort of Malaysian Spring through the electoral process,” he says. And despite the fresh allegations of sexual harassment he faced in 2008 and the abuse he suffered on a daily basis at the hands of the national media, his party gained more support from people. In January 2012 he won the case. But with Malaysian elections looming and Anwar tipped to win, he has recently been charged with unauthorized assembly.

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Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah opinion held street demonstrations do not help strengthen the existing democracy in the country. He said, because it invites a variety of risks to many parties, including visitors, traders, regulators, journalists. Umno Supreme Council members also said that the objective demonstration of making a demonstration that it is not achieved, but ended with chaos.

"There are other elements to take advantage. Waiver (right) of others, first he supported us, ultimately with our behavior, he did not support us. "And perhaps the real goal is not achieved, but the talk of the demonstration is another story. Story disorder, summons to sue, go to cordon off the house and so on. "Peaceful rally or street demonstration, there are (and) I do not deny. It is a lot happening. Demonstration in a democratic country that is demanding the right of expression and organization. "But in a democracy, there are rights of the community, the right of public order, security rights, the right to property and so on," he said adding article 10 of the Federal Constitution guarantees the right of both.

He was speaking in a debate organized by the Daily Herald entitled "Demonstration Street: Demolition or strengthen demoskrasi" which was held in Shah Alam last night. Saifuddin said the existence of differences between the demonstrations that occurred in the context of democracy that existed against the democratic atmosphere that does not exist as cont0h struggles of the people against the Malayan Union. "There is no difference to create democracy, with the strengthening of democracy. This is the question," said Saifuddin argument PAS vice-president slammed Salahuddin Ayub before. In fact, he also criticized the view that equates Salahuddin street protests by religious processions as a form of demonstration and described as "a big mistake". "If so, I can say, the Prophet went umrah after Hudaibiyah Agreement, it is also a demonstration, stir us, gentlemen. "There's the difference between street protests and political context of democracy with religious processions," he said to applause supporters in attendance. In this regard, he described the views and arguments Salahuddin, who is also a member of parliament in the early debate Kubang Kerian have "structural deficiencies".

Saifuddin, who is also a member of parliament said there are various channels Temerloh and a more peaceful approach to strengthen the democratic ideal that have arisen. Among increasing public participation in decision-making process and strengthen existing institutions such as political parties, parliament and the electoral system and to further strengthen government relations with civil society. Replying to the arguments presented, Salahuddin said that the country in this world as long as it recognizes street demonstrations took place peacefully, peaceful and unarmed. While describing it as a universal right, he also stressed that the country does not challenge the practice of freedom between individual freedom and human rights. "This is the philosophy of law should we defend," he said. However, unfortunately, happen what is considered in the philosophy of law "the small print to take over the role of the big print".

Citing the magistrate issued a directive enclosed square NET assemblies, while it is claimed contrary to article 10 Constitution. Salahuddin said that the country is going to be a country that practices the philosophy of "autocratic democracy" and if people given enough space, then the demonstration is not necessary. "If space is insufficient, we do not need to say this protest in the streets or what was feared earlier. Street protest in a country with a perfect democracy, it strengthens democracy. "But for countries that reject democracy, or trial and error to pretend to democracy, justice, democracy or hide, street demonstrations to produce a demonstration," he said as he received thunderous applause and cheers from his supporters. Agree that the demonstration could damage property, Saladin, however, maintained the majority of these protests ended peacefully. "What is so chaotic because there is a gas. Throw the snake in front of you gentlemen, what will happen in this hall," he said to loud applause and cheers once again.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has said he is prepared to open all the accounts he owns only if Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin does likewise. “If there’s a case he should have charged me. This shows how desperate Muhyiddin is. “I challenge him open up every single case. I will open up every single account and Muhyiddin must do likewise,” he told reporters here. “I challenge Muhyiddin to be investigated, I am prepared to submit everything,” said the PKR de facto leader. The deputy prime minister had demanded Anwar clarify an allegation by ex-Bank Negara Assistant Governor Datuk Abdul Murad Khalid that the opposition leader owns 20 master accounts worth RM3 billion. Muhyiddin (picture) said the allegation was not a small matter, and the former deputy prime minister must be responsible in promptly explaining the matter to the people.

“The figure (RM3 billion) mentioned is big. So, it is the duty of the opposition leader to clarify it. It is true or not. If not true, answer...the people want to know...the NGOs which are making the demands for an explanation also represent a large number of people. “If untrue, Anwar must take action against the parties making the allegation, including the ex-Bank Negara Assistant Governor,” he told reporters after launching a State-level ‘Love Gardeners’ Programme at Dataran Sarang Buaya, here, today. Muhyiddin who is also education minister, said Anwar’s authority and integrity would be affected if he did not clarify the allegation. Last Tuesday, Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali was reported to have raised the status of the investigations by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on Abdul Murad’s allegation made almost 13 years ago. Ibrahim said that the exposure by the Bank Negara Assistant Governor, among others, alleged that Anwar (picture) controlled 20 master accounts involving assets, shares and money worth RM3 billion, which were obtained when he was Finance Minister towards the end of the 1990s. Newspapers today reported that several NGOs also urged MACC to speed up investigations in the claim as the matter was of public interest.

Anwar Ibrahim

Nurul Izzah

Tian Chua

A PKR ceramah featuring Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and daughter Nurul Izzah Anwar turned ugly when the crowd as well as opposition leaders were pelted with stones and eggs. Tensions were already running high before the event began last night, as the scheduled PKR function was located a mere 100 metres away from another ceramah — one organised by Umno. Some 100 Lembah Pantai Umno youth members were earlier seen blocking the main road leading to the PKR ceramah venue, carrying banners which read “Anwar causes violence in this country.” PKR’s ceramah had an unceremonious start as guest speakers tried to speak as loudly as they could to compete with the Umno ceramah nearby. Chaos occurred when Nurul Izzah was about to speak — the wiring to the sound and lights system was cut, delaying the Lembah Pantai MP’s speech by a good 15 minutes.

Shortly after she spoke, Anwar arrived and that was when the stone- and egg-pelting commenced. The night saw one major casualty where a senior citizen suffered injuries to the head after being hit with a stone. The PKR de facto chief ordered the bleeding man to be brought to the nearest medical centre for treatment. Anwar also immediately blamed Umno for the incident. “This is the way of Umno youth. A man has been injured because stones were thrown at him by the accursed Umno youth! “I challenge (Datuk Seri) Najib (Razak) to a debate, not to send his thugs to do this,” said Anwar to cheers from the 1,000-odd crowd who were mostly PR supporters. “Throwing stones, it means a total lack of respect for democracy in Malaysia... it is a sign of an Umno-BN that is desperate to hold on to power,” added Nurul Izzah.

In contrast, Umno’s 500-odd ceramah attendance degenerated into a verbal shouting match as its star speaker Ummi Hafilda Ali screamed verbal abuse each time Anwar or any PR leader spoke. “Anwar is al-juburi. He is pro-Jewish. He is the father of womanisers,” shouted the woman whose complaint led to Anwar’s first sodomy trial, as she tried to drown the former deputy prime minister’s speech. This prompted Anwar to say: “We want to win the elections not by insulting people but by rule of law. “I am used to getting insulted every night, for 14 years I have been insulted by TV3 and Utusan Malaysia,” he said to cheers from the PKR crowd. This marks the third time a PR function has been disrupted after similar incidents in Merlimau and Malacca last weekend

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Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim flayed the National Fatwa Council for issuing an edict barring Muslims from participating in unproductive and unlawful assemblies, saying that such a move was “disgusting” as it was using religion to “defend cruelty”. The PKR de facto leader claimed the council relied only on “Umno propaganda” for reading material, which he said contradicted another one made four months ago by Islamic scholar Dr Yusuf Al Qardawi, who hailed Egyptian protesters as freedom fighters intending to bring change and freedom to the north African nation. “Using religion to defend cruelty — that is the most disgusting thing." “Qardawi had already discussed the fatwa before the council had issued theirs. But they are unaware of this because they don’t read such books. They only read Umno propaganda,”.

Last year, thousands of Egyptians occupied Tahrir Square for days to rally for the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak. Despite being peaceful in nature, BBC News reported that official figures show that at least 846 people died and 6,000 more were injured during the 18 days of protests. “But while Qardawi commended the Egyptian protesters’ efforts, Abdul Shukor (Husin), who leads the council, said ‘rioting, causing disturbances and damaging public property are all forbidden by Islam. This also applies to any intention to topple a duly elected government by organising such demonstrations. “During the early period of Islam, preaching was done in secret and in private because the Muslims were threatened by the infidels. But eventually, Umar Al Khattab announced to his friends, ‘we must walk out in the open with our friends with pride and courage. We must demonstrate for Islam’,” said Anwar. “(Demonstrations) have occurred in our history before. But this fact has not yet reached the chairman of the council,” he said.

Yesterday, Perlis Mufti Juanda Jaya defended the fatwa council’s edict last week barring Muslims from participating in “unproductive” and unlawful assemblies, saying it was not specific to the April 28 Bersih rally which ended in violence. “In fact, the council did not focus on Bersih but all assemblies that bring damage. There is no scripture that bans assemblies to protest absolutely. But it may be haram because of other issues,” Juanda was quoted as saying in the Mingguan Malaysia newspaper. The fatwa council’s statement, which came a week after chaotic scenes in the city, was criticised by opposition leaders who said it was Umno’s ploy to stifle dissent and that it was police, accused of brutality against demonstrators calling for free and fair elections, who had violated the fatwa.

Tan Sri Abdul Shukor’s statement had come after Datuk Seri Najib Razak asserted that the rally was an attempt to oust the country’s duly elected government, a claim that has been echoed by former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Despite an initially peaceful start to the rally, Bersih’s third since 2007, police took action later that day which some civil society movements and media have condemned as more brutal than those employed during last July’s Bersih gathering. The April 28 rally, which saw tens of thousands gather at six different locations before heading to Dataran Merdeka, was peaceful until about 2.30pm when Bersih chief Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan asked the crowd to disperse. But her announcement was not heard by most of the crowd who continued to linger around the historic square which the court had already ruled as being inaccessible to the public over that particular weekend.

Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) initial joy at a larger crowd for this year’s Bersih rally turned sour after demonstrators broke down barricades and engaged in open battles with police yesterday, giving Umno hawks fodder ahead of coming elections. Barisan Nasional (BN) supporters spent the night flooding social media networks claiming that participants of the rally for free and fair elections, backed by the opposition, attacked police with missiles and even overturned a patrol car. It has put PR on the defensive, with PKR deputy president Azmin Ali telling The Malaysian Insider “Umno will try to link this to 1998,” a reference to claims that the Reformasi movement caused widespread street violence after Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was sacked as deputy prime minister.

“This will be widely contested over the media the next couple of days,” said political analyst Ong Kian Ming. The UCSI lecturer told The Malaysian Insider that there was a “50-50” chance of a delay to polls, currently expected to be called by June, depending on the impact to Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s popularity with the international media playing a key role. The foreign press’ condemnation of the government’s crackdown on last July’s Bersih rally led the prime minister to announce a raft of reforms including a parliamentary select committee on electoral improvements and the Peaceful Assembly Act that came into force on Monday. But both have been criticised for being cosmetic and yesterday’s planned sit-in at Dataran Merdeka, which drew at least 25,000, was the first major test for the assembly law the Umno president says abides by “international norms.”

Initial international press reports have already been negative as police once again fired tear gas and water cannon at demonstrators. But the fact that protestors caused damage to persons and property when trying to force their way into the historic square will give BN some breathing space. Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein also insisted police acted with restraint, and other BN leaders will likely point to how just 388 had been arrested as of 9pm yesterday, about a quarter of the total number who were swept up in last year’s clampdown. Already, Bersih and PR leaders are distancing themselves from those who attacked police after Hishammuddin said at least 20 officers had sought hospital treatment. Bersih chief Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan conceded the violence may be a blow to the push for democratic reforms as some may feel the rally “had gone wrong.” But she called on the Najib administration to “go further and ask themselves why would the people be so prepared to put themselves in such a situation?”

After police fired tear gas and water cannon at demonstrators, some retaliated by attacking a police car whose driver tried to speed away but lost control and eventually crashed into a few rally-goers. They were prevented from further attacking the police officers but still turned the car on its side. Others later refused to disperse but began throwing broken bottles and concrete slabs at riot police and a convoy of police special forces ferrying KL mayor Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad Ismail in one of its cars. Windows of two cars were smashed, forcing the convoy to turn around and flee. Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia political science professor Shamsul Adabi Mamat said the scenes were the result of the opposition’s desperation ahead of polls that must be called within a year. “Because the election is nearing, they (the opposition) must provoke and create an issue"

The Tun Dr Mahathir who still stubbornly remains fixated on the falsified notion of his that the Malays and the Chinese are potent forces with ingrained enmity against and for each other deserves outright condemnation. It in fact is a racist remark and deserves the Rule of Law to act decisively. The Tun fails to see that the DAP, PKR and PAS all have all races within their party as members. Has he ever walked the streets of Kota Bahru to see how Malays and Chinese eat, work, play, live and laugh side by side? Has he walked into any Taman in sprawling Kuala Lumpur to see how all races live side by side and in the same flats happily?

Stop your racist view points for this is 2012 not 1969, Tun. You have seemingly deep frozen your philosphies with your Malay Dilema, really. The same type of Malays, Chinese, Indians, Sabahans and Sarawakians that still float within BN are also the members within the opposition coalition. Opposition does not have Japanese, Russians, Mongolians or any other as their party members. They are all citizens of this land, please do not forget Che Det. Loose coalition? What about Samy Vellu telling you off. Now the Tun also spoke of PR being a loose coalition that would spilt up quite easily. How presumptuous.

He fails to recall that only last week his MIC kingpin, Samy Vellu, who stood by him for 22 years revealed that he was stabbed in the back by none other than the Tun himself. Is this not worst than splitting because of ideology? It is very clear that either the Tun is living a life too high up or that his gurkas are not keeping him piped on the ground realities today. In any case PR better be forewarned. As the General Election looms around a mysterious corner, it is obligatory and a categorical imperative that all three members – PKR, DAP and PAS get their act cemented together. There should be no space for even a hairline crack or tiny chip to your solidarity, viewpoints and coalition principles.

It is mandatory that you script the same verse, sing the same song and dance to the same tune. You cannot afford any disagreement and conflicting statements to hit the sail. If you are not vigilant and are unable to harness the changing winds that is proving to be increasing in your favour, you risk losing all of it with any signs or even a whisper of your in-congruent positions. And it certainly calls for solidarity and sacrifice; forget about compromises. Your combined intentions is to act in the best interest of nationhood and the future of all Malaysians who are the subjects of His Majesty and Council of Rulers and citizens of the same land. Pakatan must stay united behind their anointed Leader

Let your anointed Leader be the torch bearer at all times; let your lieutenants be a team. Put aside your ideologies and stand united for a common goal and agreed pathways. This is not the season to go to battle with internal conflicts and jostlings with a mysterious enemy who cannot even tell you fairly and squarely when election date is. Hold on to a nation-manifesto not a party-blueprint. The 13th GE is not about political party winning; it is about returning to society what rightfully belongs to a nation’s citizens. Once you have won the battle hands down, you can get back to your drawing boards to see how best you can galvanise your divergent strengths and distinct ideologies to work together in delivering on the promises to nationhood. Tough yes, but it is do-able. It is worth all the price and prize because we get to put the nation back on its path that is not riddled with corruption, racism, divisive politics and personal, self-serving greed. Like they say,:When the going gets tough, only the tough can get going.

DSAI must prove the Tun wrong. And having said that, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the responsibility falls on your shoulders. Surely you can carry the yoke with ease given your incarceration in prison, the unceremonious and acrimonious slanders slammed upon you and your family, and most importantly with the dedicated support of the coalition members who have come a long way of fifty over years struggling with commitment and determination despite the mammoth and almost insurmountable challenges and frustrations thrown in their way. In short, prove the Tun wrong. There is no space for self-centered mistakes. PR cannot afford to make apologies like their opposition the BN.

Let us march on and show the world that we have made Malaysia ‘Truly Asia’ – a nation of solidarity, harmony, co-existence, justice, civil liberties and democratic to the dot. And on that score, dear Tun, please also be informed that people who vote for the opposition are not lacking in common sense. It is just that the voters have grown tired of all the promises undelivered and the hurt thrown at them for half a century. And you Sir will have to take the whole blame because we gave you the benefit of doubt for 22 years only to drive us to the other side of the wall. ~Malaysia Chronicle~

The proposed as GE-13 date

Malaysia’s government is discussing the possibility of an early election in May or June, ahead of the due date in early 2013, according to four officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are private. Prime Minister Najib Razak is scheduled to speak on March 26 to as many as 4,000 information ministry staff, who help oversee elections, the government officials said. One date proposed for the contest is June 3, according to three of the officials. The ruling National Front coalition is seeking to extend its 55 years in power, and an early vote would allow Najib to take advantage of rising public approval after the government announced cash handouts and vowed to overhaul security laws. Satisfaction with Najib’s leadership rose to 69 percent last month from 59 percent in August, according to a poll by the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research. “All signs seem to be pointing toward an election at the end of May or early June,” Ong Kian Ming, a political analyst at UCSI University in Kuala Lumpur, said by phone. “It’s the best timing for Najib. If he does wait longer there may be other scandals that emerge and the goodwill that he’s enjoying from the budget handouts given out earlier this year may be lost.”

Election Sweeteners

While Najib has offered election sweeteners, he is also grappling with a potential scandal after a member of the ruling party said she’ll resign from the Cabinet amid a corruption probe against her husband. Shahrizat Abdul Jalil will step down next month as minister for women, family and community, according to the Star newspaper. Najib had already sparked speculation of an early vote when he said in December that preparations had begun for the contest. His budget announced in October featured cash payments to low- income families. Malaysia will also announce plans for a minimum wage this month, a government official said earlier this week. Najib’s cabinet has yet to complete the plan, according to the official. Najib’s rising popularity has reduced the risk of a surprise election result such as one that occurred in 2008 and led to a stock market sell-off, according to a March 13 report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch. In 2008, the ruling National Front lost a third of its seats.

Stock Rise

Since Najib took office in April 3, 2009, the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index (FBMKLCI) has risen 74 percent compared with a 47 percent gain for the MSCI Asia Pacific index. “The Prime Minister is focused on delivering prosperity, security and democracy for all Malaysians and will call an election when the time is right for the country,” a Malaysian government spokesperson said by e-mail. Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was acquitted of sodomy charges in January that he claimed were politically motivated. He pledged to “clamor for reform” in a bid to unseat Najib after the verdict. Gross domestic product may expand 5 percent to 6 percent this year, Najib said in the annual budget speech on Oct. 7. The economy expanded by 5.1 percent last year, the government said Feb. 15. Before 2008, the worst showing for the National Front was in 1969, when candidates representing urban ethnic Chinese and rural Islamic opposition groups won more than a third of seats in Parliament. Ethnic Chinese victory marches prompted a backlash from Malay groups that led to emergency rule. Najib’s father, Abdul Razak, took over as prime minister in 1970 and responded by creating an affirmative-action policy that gave Malays educational, housing and job preferences.

- Bloomberg

NEW YORK, February 9, 2011 – The US should actively support the burgeoning democratic movements in Egypt and throughout the Muslim world, argues Anwar Ibrahim, who sees American support for embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in the context of a larger “policy of ambivalence.” “You talk about democracy and freedom; you support autocrats and dictators,” said the former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia. “I’m not suggesting the Americans send troops. I’ve always consistently opposed the sending of troops. “But you have to take a position—like [Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdo?an. His position is clear: when it comes to the people against the corrupt, repressive rulers, you must be with the people. That is what we stand for. You use the term ‘inalienable rights,’ but when it comes to some communities you can compromise.”

Ibrahim, who many feel has been unfairly persecuted by the Malaysian government because of his calls for democratic reform, was joined in conversation by Asia Society Associate Fellow Ann Marie Murphy, who is Associate Professor at Seton Hall University’s John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations and adjunct research scholar at Columbia University’s Weatherhead East Asian Institute. The implications of the Egyptian uprising for the entire Muslim world are enormous, according to Ibrahim, who noted that “no Muslim country, from Pakistan to Indonesia, Malaysia, South Thailand, or South Philippines, did not produce thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of graduates from Egypt.” Ibrahim denied that the revolts in Egypt and elsewhere were being hijacked by radical Islamists, as some in the West fear.

“Let us be clear that these initial revolutions, be they in Tunisia or Egypt, are quite spontaneous. They are popular movements. You can’t say that they are either Islamic or secular movements; they are just peoples’ movements, and the issues are clear: they want to rid their country of decadent, corrupt, repressive rulers. They want democracy and freedom, and of course more transparent policies that guarantee their welfare and economic well-being. The basic issues are still economic.”
~Reported by Ben Linden From Asia Society~

The prime minister may make light of the survey findings which indicate that most Malaysians want him to debate with Anwar Ibrahim but the sad fact is that this man has too many skeletons and question marks next to his name to risk a debate even with Jelapang Hu.

Therefore the best he can do via his blog (again a safe option so he will not have to answer tough questions from the alternative media) is to talk about only debating with responsible leaders and not those prone to conspiracy theories.

This is diversion 101: when you are stuck, blame the other party. In truth, Najib Razak will not debate with anyone and these are the reasons:

1) He will be asked questions about his deafening silence in the wake of the campaign of violence by his party and their storm troopers Perkasa against the Opposition.

2) He will be asked about the ballooning national debt and the irresponsible manner in which his government is spending money to buy votes.

3) He will be asked to justify the unholy haste in which the government is pushing through the listing of Felda.

4) He will be asked to answer questions on the death of Mongolian model Altantuya Shariibuu, the infamous sms exchange between him and lawyer Shafee Abdullah and the hefty commission paid to a company linked to his confidant in relation to the submarine deal.

5) He will be asked to define his moving 1 Malaysia concept in the wake of his adoption of Perkasa’s Ibrahim Ali, Zulkifli Noordin and Hasan Ali.

6) He will be asked to debate the NEP and its love affair with cronies.

7) He will have to discuss the foot-dragging surrounding the National Feedlot Corporation and the reluctance to investigate the Attorney-General Gani Patail over a box full of serious allegations, not to mention the settlement with Tajuddin Ramli.

8) He will have to talk about the government’s embarrassing use of taxpayers money to pay FBC Media and buy good publicity abroad.

9) He will have to talk about his half-baked apology for the past sins of Umno.

10) He will have to talk about Sodomy II.

A debate will be too onerous for Najib and that is why he will not share the stage with Anwar Ibrahim or anyone. That is the plain truth and it hurts.

Updated: 'war' video from mediarakyat

PKR claimed today Umno supporters attacked Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s car in Sembrong, Johor last night before the opposition party’s de facto leader was due to speak at the PKR division headquarters there. Secretary general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution told a press conference between 50 to 80 teenagers on motorcycles threw stones, sticks, water bottles, rotten eggs and firecrackers at the Mercedes-Benz while at least 20 uniformed policemen stood by and watched. “These 15 to 18-year-olds are known to locals as Umno supporters. They did it in front of police who did not act at all until the car’s windscreen broke. “Police did not stop the Umno thugs. This happened in the constituency of Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein,” the Machang MP said, questioning if police failed to act to protect the political position of the minister in charge of the force. He said the 11.30pm attack disrupted the ceramah, which drew a crowd of nearly 3,000 from proceeding. Opposition leaders also accused police of failing to stop dozens of youth from disrupting a Anything But Umno (ABU) ceramah in Shah Alam last month. But Shah Alam police said they only arrived after the clashes in which a man was hospitalised took place as “we were not informed of the event.” Saifuddin said today “Umno gangsters” have been actively disrupting opposition events in Selangor, Melaka and Johor as the ruling party is “not under pressure and has no choice but to act violently to stop rising support for us.”

Two days after a rare rebuke by PAS spiritual adviser Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim again took pains to clarify his now-infamous statement as reported by the Wall Street Journal. In an interview last month with the paper, Anwar reportedly said he would “support all efforts to protect the security of the state of Israel”. To be fair on him, he was never quoted as saying that he would recognise Israel, as is being alleged by Umno leaders. Similarly, he was also never quoted talking about the two-state solution, like he is now, whenever attempting to clarify the statement in WSJ. Of course, the statement was a godsend for Umno, hitherto pushed into a corner by the brilliant stage-by-stage exposé involving its Wanita head Shahrizat Abdul Jalil and her family members, for their obscene abuse of government funds meant for the National Feedlot Corporation. A statement on committing himself to “all efforts” to protect the security of a state that the Muslims have regarded as a cancer in the Islamic heartland? Now, who would say anything like that unless it is a gaffe, a faux pas, a blunder, or just an honest mistake? It is like snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Umno’s moral ground One argument by a section of PKR leaders is that Umno leaders have no moral ground to criticise Anwar over his statement, owing to the party’s own secret dealings with the Zionist lobby and trade ties, despite spending millions in boosting its image as defender of Palestinians by sending media-embedded delegations to show solidarity with other pro-Palestine groups. Such an argument is not good enough, primarily because no one — not those who are enlightened about the history of the Palestinian struggle and Muslims who are politically savvy to understand the so-called “two-state” solution — has any expectation that Umno could be trusted to defend the Palestinians. After all, isn’t APCO Worldwide, the company hired by Umno president Najib Razak to boost his image, a company helmed at the top by some of the most notorious officials from the Israeli regime? Yet another defence, as first mooted by PKR’s information chief Dr Muhammad Nur Manuty is that even those in the Islamic movement, namely Hamas, have been supportive of a two-state solution, i.e., recognition of statehood to both Israel and a Palestinian state once the former fulfils all demands for peace. So far, this is a practical, realist, and pragmatic solution, bearing in mind that short of exterminating a whole population of Jews who now reside in what is called Israel, one could do little else. It follows logically, then, that the state of Israel should also be compensated for its civilised gestures, namely by rewarding it with cessation of hostilities and even recognition from its Palestinian neighbours. Yet, the fact is that this view is academic at best. It does not reside in the realm of real politik but in a political utopia that is as illusionary as the mirage in the Arabian desert. For it is unthinkable that in the present circumstances that Israel is in, especially in the wake of the Arab Spring that saw the downfall of Israel-friendly leaders, that it would agree to the pre-1967 borders and surrender the fertile lands of Palestine once cultivated by their indigenous Muslim, Christian and Jewish peoples. Did Hamas say it? The question now is, did Hamas actually offer any option of recognition for Israel? In his latest explanation following Nik Aziz’s remarks, Anwar repeats this claim by Nur about Hamas’ stance. Besides quoting the views of the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Jordan, Anwar also quotes Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority representing Hamas: “If Israel withdraws to the ’67 borders, then we will establish a peace in stages... Number one, we will establish a situation of stability and calm which will bring safety for our people — what (Hamas founder) Sheikh (Ahmed) Yassin called a long-term hudna (truce). If Israel declares that it will give the Palestinian people a state and give them back all their rights, then we are ready to recognise them.” Unfortunately, this statement quoting Haniyeh is not accompanied with any source nor any date given. A quick check, however, reveals that it is a quote from a Washington Post interview with the Hamas leader, six years ago, days before he was set to be appointed as prime minister following Hamas’ victory in the polls. But here is the problem: 24 hours after the Washington Post published the report on February 25, 2006, Haniyeh said he had been misquoted, and said what he meant was “political truce”, a cessation of hostilities that frequently flared up tensions between Hamas and the Israeli Defence Force. “I didn’t talk about recognising Israel during the interview with the newspaper,” Haniyeh said. In fact, a Hamas spokesman, Salah Bardawil, told the Jerusalem Post a day later that his movement had a recording of the interview with Haniyeh, to prove that Haniyeh did not make the statements that were attributed to him. “Haniyeh, in response to a question, said that if Israel met all of Hamas’s conditions, he would be prepared to consider ‘peace in stages,” said the Hamas spokesman. According to him, when the reporter pressed for further clarifications, Haniyeh explained that he was talking about a long-term truce with Israel. (Jerusalem Post, February 26, 2006) The spokesman also said: “...There is no connection to what the sheikh [Haniyeh] said to the headlines in the newspaper.” And further: “I call on all of the media to be cautious and accurate in the writing of their reports and not to revise the words of the interviewee.” (Ynet News, February 26, 2006). One then cannot help but wonder why it is so difficult for Anwar to retract the statement, which has all the characters of a political faux pas that politicians commit now and then. As much as one has no doubt about Anwar’s commitment to Palestine just like most Muslim leaders — despite them not putting money where their mouths are — one is also not convinced with his latest explanation. Ever much so when Israel is in no immediate security threat, not even of getting a slap on the wrist by the United States, nor any mild threats from the many illegitimate and unelected Arab regimes surrounding Occupied Palestine. The only real and present danger faced by Israel is from Iran. The Iranian stance and the statements by its leaders, however rhetorical they may sound, are the only ones taken seriously by the regime in Tel Aviv. Indeed, Iran’s political and military durability has been the underlying factor behind anxieties over Israel’s security. Meanwhile, Nik Aziz has said that Anwar should either retract his statement, or sue the WSJ for inaccurate reporting. Anwar’s explanation, however, indicates that neither is his option. So, like Haniyeh in 2006, would Anwar at least say that he did not mean what he stated? That will be better than hanging on to a statement that Hamas had never said, or to the views of regimes in Jordan and Saudi Arabia — two dictatorships which have yet to get a taste of the Arab Spring that brought down three of their brother rulers, with many more waiting to be relegated to the dustbins of history.

part 1

 part 2 

part 3

Recent comments by Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim have demonstrated yet again how issues related to Israel continue to divide this majority-Muslim country – and could influence the country’s next national election. In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Anwar responded to the question of whether he would open diplomatic ties with Israel by stating his “support” for “efforts to protect the security of the state of Israel,” while at the same time backing the “legitimate rights of the Palestinians.” He stopped short of saying he would establish diplomatic relations between the two states – what he describes as a “tricky” issue – and stated that any change to the status quo would remain contingent on Israel recognizing the aspirations of the Palestinians. Malaysia is one of three Southeast Asian nations including Indonesia and Brunei that does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, though limited economic ties exist between private companies in both countries. “Some refuse to recognize the state of Israel,” he said, “but I think our policy should be clear – protect the security [of Israel] but you must be as firm in protecting the legitimate interests of the Palestinians.” The comments triggered a storm of debate and criticism, with members of the ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO) and other groups accusing the leader of abandoning the Palestinian cause – an emotive cause long-supported in the majority-Muslim Southeast Asian nation. Lawmakers called on Mr. Anwar’s opposition coalition to release an official statement on the issue, while president of the right-wing Malay group Perkasa Ibrahim Ali said he would raise the issue in Parliament. Mr. Anwar responded by saying he supported a “two-state solution” with Palestine, a policy he said was no different from the official stance adopted by the United Nations and Malaysia itself. “I am issuing a stern warning to anyone trying to twist my statement just so that they can say that I have betrayed the aspirations of the Palestinian people,” he said in a statement to the press. His party’s stand “is to defend the rights of whoever it is that has been victimised,” the statement said. Though an ethnically-diverse nation that practices freedom of religion, Malaysia has declared Islam as its state religion and tensions over Israel-Palestine issues often boil over. A large percentage of the country’s population supports the Palestinian cause, and jumped to criticize Israel after it launched raids on Gaza in December 2008 and stormed a flotilla in May 2010 that was carrying activists and humanitarian aid to Gaza. Tensions over the issue are even more on edge now, as Malaysia gears up for its next general election, which must be called by early next year, giving politicians more incentive to argue their views in the press than usual. “The issue is tied in with Malaysia being an Islamic country,” and the idea that “therefore it should support Palestine,” said James Chin, a professor at the Malaysian branch of Australia’s Monash University. He added the caveat that support for the Palestinians became a much larger issue in Malaysian politics after the era of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who has been accused by world leaders of holding anti-Semitic views, which he disputes. In a statement to the local press, Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, a member of the ruling UMNO, disputed Mr. Anwar’s claim that Malaysia’s current policy on Israel is the same as his own. Although Malaysia officially supports a “two-state solution” in settling the Israel-Palestinian conflict, it has also sharply criticized actions taken by Israeli forces in the past, which the foreign minister indicated means Malaysia isn’t supporting “all steps” to protect Israeli security. “[Anwar’s comments] show a blanket support for anything Israel does,” said Khairy Jamaluddin, the chief of UMNO’s youth wing, who disputed any suggestion Malaysia’s ruling party was trying to politicize the issue ahead of an election. “The issue of Palestine is a top foreign policy priority for my party, it would be an issue during the election year or otherwise… timing doesn’t matter.” In 2010, Mr. Anwar – who in the past has been described as the face of liberal democracy in Malaysia – found himself on the other side of the argument after he lambasted UMNO for its relationship with a public relations firm called APCO. In Parliament, he said the firm was “controlled by Zionists” and working on behalf of the American government to influence Malaysian government policy – a charge denied by both the government and the public relations firm. At the time, American-Jewish groups such as B’nai B’rith accused the opposition leader of “anti-Jewish” and “anti-Israel” slanders, and called on American officials to suspend their ties with Mr. Anwar. Still, many analysts believe the latest kerfuffle is largely electioneering on the part of the ruling coalition, preoccupied with the looming possibility that the next election will be the hardest-fought yet. “They’re just using it as a weapon to bring (Mr. Anwar) down,” said Mr. Chin at Monash University. ~wall street journal~

It comes as no surprise that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim got into trouble with the federal government and Umno when he came out stating that he would support a final resolution to begin lifting sanctions against Israel. After all, there are already Malaysians booing Israeli footballers. And Malaysia was not the first nation to start discriminating against Jews, Zionists and Israel, all three of which I look upon separately. Heck, don’t look at Germany alone. If one were to head to MPH, you can find a collection of anti-Semitic articles written by Henry Ford, the person who started the Ford Motor Group ages ago called “The International Jew”, which is available in four volumes.  Personally, I have no agenda against the Jews. After all, from a Muslim perspective all you have to remind yourself is the knowledge that the last prophet was granted to the descendants of Ismail and not that of Ishak. However, be reminded fellow Muslims that both sons, who gave birth to the Arabs and the Jews, did come together to bury their father Abraham regardless of whatever disputes they had. That being said, let’s talk a bit about Israel and the truth about Malaysia’s relationship with the country. Israel has been lobbying for Malaysia to recognise them and begin relations through diplomacy and trade. In fact, from an online document from the Centre of Jewish Affairs forwarded to me by a friend, it seems clear that it is not the Malaysian head of the opposition who is wrong, but our federal government which would rather continue this policy of bedevilling the Zionists than tell the Malaysian people the truth. It is easy to blame the Zionists and state that the Jews “owned everything”, a trademark of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s constant speeches to the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), especially during the economic crisis when George Soros was blamed for everything. Funnily enough, nobody stood up to blame Soros a decade later during the current economic downturn. After all, if one were to watch a documentary called “Inside Job” you will see Soros denying any involvement by stating that he is an “old school” person who did not believe in the US system. It is even more disturbing when you see a picture of Mahathir being friendly with Soros, as posted by Jeff Ooi on his blog years after. We have been trading with Israel for some time already. We have been sending Malaysians — royals, business leaders and students — at one point to Israel for some time now. In fact, until the period of Mahathir’s 23 years in office as prime minister, our bilateral ties were honestly quite diplomatic but not done within our own borders. Only during the period of Mahathir did it become a nationwide condemnation of the Israelis. And now, people within Umno are stating that should Anwar win, Israel could open a consul in Kuala Lumpur. In fact, some are already hooting that due to this so-called gaffe of his, Umno can now win back Kedah and Kelantan. Really? Allow me to dampen your glee, fellow Umno people. Let’s take a look at the European Commission’s trade website which details Israel’s trade with the world. According to their charts, Malaysia imports €63.9 million (RM255 million) from Israel, exports €603.7 million to Israel and Malaysia was in fact the 15th largest trade partner of Israel in 2010. Prime Minister Najib Razak and his government took office when, exactly? In fact, if we were to go back further, were we doing business with Israel even when Mahathir was prime minister? According to a paper available online at the Institute of Jewish Affairs website which was published in October 2006, there was the notion of trade with Israel from Malaysia’s side during the Mahathir administration in 1993, and only in mid-January 1996 there began the insinuation of Malaysian trade with Israel, of which it was noted to have “no political significance.” But what is worth noting is this paragraph from the article: “In mid-February 1996, however, a Malaysian businessman visited Israel to discuss co-operation between Israeli and Malaysian companies. In late March, a delegation of Malaysian businessmen came to Israel and held talks with heads of chambers of commerce. Although Malaysia’s official boycott of Israeli products still stood, the head of the Malaysian delegation said he had been authorised by the minister of industry and trade. In early May the Israeli Port Authority sponsored an international conference, and a 16-member Malaysian delegation attended with government approval.” As such, I raise the question again. Who exactly is helping the Zionists? It is not Anwar Ibrahim, but instead our own federal government, which continues to bask in its constant hypocrisy of using the words of the opposition leader against him while they claim brownie points. ~Hafidz Baharom~ from malaysianinsider.

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