Archive for August, 2012


 

The Sabah state assembly elections or the 13th General Elections will be held before March/April 2013.  The state is witnessing a political undercurrent in favour of Chief Minister Musa Aman. However, his critics and an analyst like Karim Gani stoutly argue against such a claim. Karim says, “Musa’s charisma may be there, but there is no undercurrent in favour of Musa.”

Here are some pointers favouring Musa Aman:

# Undoubtedly, there is no political leader in Sabah who has been as popular as Musa Aman since its inception in 1963. Musa Aman had charmed the poor and Natives, his influence is not limited in UMNO pockets.

Shafie Apdal is, largely, a Suluk leader and Lajim Ukin is, largely, a Bisaya leader. Both have theirs pockets of influence, but none could match Musa’s clout over young minds and men and women be it in the urban areas or even rural.

In the last five years, after appropriating the Best Chief Minister’s title, Musa has calibrated his communication with people through the language of development. That has clicked with people because the subtext of his act says that under Musa’s rule you could make money and have a comfortable life without many political, communal or social disturbances.

There is madness in crediting Musa Aman for every good thing happening in Sabah. In the last five years, the rains have been good, the KLSE is zooming up, agricultural income is booming and real estate is making middle-class families millionaires. Many middle-class voters say “Musa’s rule is auspicious.”

This shows that people are ready to re-elect Musa Aman. In his statewide meet the people sessions, men, women and youngsters gather to see him. Their faces evoke emotions. They look pleased to see their leader. The relation of trust between Musa Aman and his fans is certainly there.

In Sabah’s political circles, DAP and SAPP compete in the urban areas. Traditionally, they oppose each other with vengeance during election time as seen in the last Batu Sapi Parliamentary by-elections.

So is Datuk Pairin and Dr Jeffrey Kitingan both fighting tooth and nail for the indigenous KDM votes, although Pairin at this moment of time has still  got the numbers, but its dwindling. Musa knows this, Musa also knows Pairin is loyal, Musa also knows Pairin is “HUGUAN SIOW” to the KDMs and when push come to shove KDMs will still throw their support to their Paramount Leader.

Musa has transcended political rivalry and is expected to divide them successfully.

Then in Beaufort, as soon as Lajim Ukin declared Musa his enemy, Bisayas and Kadayans thought why strengthen Lajim by backing UMNO rebels? The Former Umno supreme council member Lajim Ukin says he will set up a new political party as a vehicle to field candidates in the upcoming general election. Lajim, had recently announced his resignation as an Umno supreme council member, Beaufort Umno division chief and Beaufort BN chairman with immediate effect and declared his support for Pakatan but remained an Umno member. So funny, people are not stupid, Lajim wants to have his cake and wants to eat it too. Like this, better to trust Musa Aman, the community leaders, both Bisayas and Kadayans argued. The Lajim stance is the only mysterious factor and will be known only after elections.

When the Pakatan argues that Musa’s leadership is not as much identified with the poor, natives as with urban, middle class and upwardly mobile voters of small towns, it is quite unbelievable.

But one can’t ignore the fact that today is Musa moment.

# Musa’s pluses and minuses are the only talking points of this election. Musa, being the experienced and cunning election strategist, has written the role for himself and has won not only his party but has captured the minds of UMNO leaders in Kuala Lumpur and the Prime Minister himself too.

This is the amazing factor of this coming election.

The coming 13 General Elections in Sabah will be known as the Musa versus Musa election. Musa Aman is in the battleground selling his own virtues, while Pakatan Rakyat and all the other wannabe opposition parties in Sabah is moving in lanes and bylanes of Sabah highlighting Musa’s vices, weaknesses and lies.

People are asked to vote for Musa’s virtues or against Musa’s lies. Right now the Musa magic works. Musa has staunchly identified himself with Sabah as Pairin did with Sabah in the 1985. He is raising regional parochialism to new heights by negotiating with the Federal Government for higher oil royalty for the state, getting the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the illegal immigrant to be conducted quickly before the 13th general elections. In fact according to LITTLE BIRD when Premier Najib comes to Sabah tomorrow 1st September 2012, Najib will announce and increase in oil royalty for Sabah. I don’t know for sure how many percent but definitely its going to be more than 10%. This is definitely going to create shock ways if what LITTLE BIRD told me comes true.

# In and around Tawau, and other coastal areas in the east coast a large section of voters believe that during the Musa government they have remained free of Abu Sayyaf and kidnappings. Absence of kidnapping means more tourism related development and more peace of mind for fishermen as safety and security is well taken care of. People here say “Musa means development without fear.”

On other hand, opposition voters, particularly urban opposition voters also acknowledge that when Musa is in the CM seat, it means, “Miscreant is the monitor of our class” and that guarantees peace in Sabah.

Musa unlike the earlier governments has successfully foiled all the kidnapping in the east coast of Sabah. This argument is appreciated by average people and they say previous governments were not been able to stop the kidnappings by Abu Sayyaf in the east coast.

# The Musa government has created the “feel good” factor by giving electricity supply to most homes in Sabah. There is a vital difference between the 2003 situation and now. Of course there is still power cuts but its not as bad as what it was before 2003.

Musa has succeeded in setting up new power plants and have changed infrastructure fundamentals big time. Now with the setting up of Kimanis RM1.5bil gas-fired plant a 300MW power plant to address the power supply issue in the state, things will get even better.

Now, a large number of people do mention that the government has given them uninterrupted electricity. For Musa Aman, whatever good government or its wings have done in the name of development is exclusively credited to “Musa” and is helping him to connect to people at this crucial time.

In last five years, even the supply system of drinking water has improved. Kampongs do have reliable system of water supply, now.

A large number of kampong people say they have a tap in their homes for the first time in their family history.

Again, there are problems in many areas. In some place the water supplied by government is not of good quality and at many places water is stored in tanks. But, there is perceptible improvement in the entire drinking water system.

# One of the most corrupt sectors of any state government is always the public works department. Sabah is no different, but in the last nine years after Musa Aman took charge of the state, a lot of work has been done and things move much faster now as many corrupted officials have been removed.

The quality of new roads in the interiors and kampongs have improved.

Musa is obviously not bluffing when he says, “I am not corrupt, I don’t allow corruption”.

Barisan National is visibly cash-rich.

Money plays an important role in the hype through mass-communication and in the craft of building of political perceptions for use of the media. But, still, the fact is that people are in a mood to believe that Musa Aman is not corrupt. In this election, his clean image will give him many marks.

# There are several reasons why Barisan National will do well in Sabah again this coming 13th General Elections although Musa’s government had reached its peak of getting 59 out of the 60 state seats in the 2008 elections.

Musa Aman without any doubt is pro-reforms and a moderate ruler. He has continued helping the under privileged and poor. He has even helped single mothers and has asked his administration to give them training. Now, trained widows are getting work and even getting pension.

There are many such situations where Musa has created new programs and projects for the poor and the underprivileged.

His penchant to give permission to new education institutes is appreciated, he gives permission to self-finance education bodies and schools which plan to run on government grants.

As a result the indigenous people don’t have to pay for uniforms shoes and text books for their school going children. Even milk and free food are supplied to these indigenous children in the interiors.

So the overall thrust  is such that Musa will score points.

The hidden social fight of upper/middle class versus the poor people is taking a new direction in Sabah. Musa is benefiting out of it.

He has successfully created hype over his social schemes.

The re-gazette of 183,000 hectares of Class 2 Commercial Forests into Class 1 Protection Forests to expand the expanse of totally protected forests in the state is another issue largely going in his favour.

The craving for forest protection in the state is so intense by Musa Aman that the story about him cutting all the timber and corruption is not getting people’s attention because they know its all lies to discredit him.

The e-government is a pet subject of Musa and its help in systemising land records does make an impact on the people. The Communal Titles a brainchild of Musa Aman, a move to issue communal land titles to resolve ownership woes among the indigenous people has paid off.  It has ensured that indigenous people receive the land they had cultivated or lived in for generations. It is also a way to ensure that land owned by the natives could not be sold off.

To repeat on a broader level, Musa is selling dreams in kampongs and towns where his development has reached and where his economic thinking is helping indigenous people to improve their lives.

The opposition has countered his attempt to sell starry ideas, but his charisma and the massive development seen taking place all over the state attempts to control the damage of robust opposition in many places.

While in urban areas Musa’s offer to have a “Developed Sabah” is clicking with people who love the multi-fold appreciation of their stock, homes and land prices.

If you look at the emotional connection between Musa and his audience in his statewide meet the people sessions, it is easy to predict that Musa is all set to win again.

Even Premier Najib recently in Bongawan was impressed by Musa’s performance, both as Umno head and chief minister and he complimented, “Musa is doing an excellent job leading the party and the state government.”


Written by Lee Kuan Yew

REPRINT My concern today is, what is it I can tell you which can add to your knowledge about aging and what aging societies can do.

You know more about this subject than I do. A lot of it is out in the media, Internet and books. So I thought the best way would be to take a personal standpoint and tell you how I approach this question of aging.

If I cast my mind back, I can see turning points in my physical and mental health.

You know, when you’re young, I didn’t bother, assumed good health was God-given and would always be there.

When I was about 57 that was – I was about 34, we were competing in elections, and I was really fond of drinking beer and smoking.

And after the election campaign, in Victoria Memorial Hall – we had won the election, the City Council election – I couldn’t thank the voters because I had lost my voice. I’d been smoking furiously.

I’d take a packet of 10 to deceive myself, but I’d run through the packet just sitting on the stage, watching the crowd, getting the feeling, the mood before I speak.

In other words, there were three speeches a night. Three speeches a night, 30 cigarettes, a lot of beer after that, and the voice was gone. I remember I had a case in Kuching, Sarawak . So I took the flight and I felt awful. I had to make up my mind whether I was going to be an effective campaigner and a lawyer, in which case I cannot destroy my voice, and I can’t go on.

So I stopped smoking. It was a tremendous deprivation because I was addicted to it. And I used to wake up dreaming…the nightmare was I resumed smoking.

But I made a choice and said, if I continue this, I will not be able to do my job. I didn’t know anything about cancer of the throat, or oesophagus or the lungs, etc.

But it turned out it had many other deleterious effects.

Strangely enough after that, I became very allergic, hyper-allergic to smoking, so much so that I would plead with my Cabinet ministers not to smoke in the Cabinet room.

You want to smoke, please go out, because I am allergic.

Beer belly

Then one day I was at the home of my colleague, Mr Rajaratnam, meeting foreign correspondents including some from the London Times and they took a picture of me and I had a big belly like that (puts his hands in front of his belly), a beer belly.

I felt no, no, this will not do.

So I started playing more golf, hit hundreds of balls on the practice tee.

But this didn’t go down. There was only one way it could go down: consume less, burn up more.

Another turning point came in 1976, after the general election –

I was feeling tired. I was breathing deeply at the Istana, on the lawns.

My daughter, who at that time just graduating as a doctor, said: ‘What are you trying to do?’

I said: ‘I feel an effort to breathe in more oxygen.’ She said: ‘Don’t play golf. Run. Aerobics..’

So she gave me a book, quite a famous book and, then, very current in America on how you score aerobic points swimming, running, whatever it is, cycling.

I looked at it sceptically. I wasn’t very keen on running. I was keen on golf.

So I said, ‘Let’s try’. So in-between golf shots while playing on my own, sometimes nine holes at the Istana, I would try and walk fast between shots.

Then I began to run between shots. And I felt better. After a while, I said: ‘Okay, after my golf, I run.’

And after a few years, I said: ‘Golf takes so long. The running takes 15 minutes. Let’s cut out the golf and let’s run.’

Slower & Sluggish

I think the most important thing in aging is you got to understand yourself.

And the knowledge now is all there. When I was growing up, the knowledge wasn’t there.

I had to get the knowledge from friends, from doctors.

But perhaps the most important bit of knowledge that the doctor gave me was one day, when I said:

‘Look, I’m feeling slower and sluggish.’

So he gave me a medical encyclopaedia and he turned the pages to aging. I read it up and it was illuminating.

A lot of it was difficult jargon but I just skimmed through to get the gist of it.

As you grow, you reach 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 and then, thereafter, you are on a gradual slope down physically.

Mentally, you carry on and on and on until I don’t know what age, but mathematicians will tell you that they know their best output is when they’re in their 20s and 30s when your mental energy is powerful and you haven’t lost many neurons. That’s what they tell me.

So, as you acquire more knowledge, you then craft a programme for yourself to maximise what you have. It’s just common sense.

Dad’s DNA

I never planned to live till 85 or 84.! I just didn’t think about it.

I said: ‘Well, my mother died when she was 74, she had a stroke.. My father died when he was 94.’

But I saw him, and he lived a long life, well, maybe it was his DNA.

But more than that, he swam every day and he kept himself busy!

He was working for the Shell company. He was in charge, he was a superintendent of an oil depot.

When he retired, he started becoming a salesman. So people used to tell me: ‘Your father is selling watches at BP de Silva.’ My father was then living with me. But it kept him busy. He had that routine: He meets people, he sells watches, he buys and sells all kinds of semi-precious stones, he circulates coins. And he keeps going. But at 87, 88, he fell, going down the steps from his room to the dining room, broke his arm, three months incapacitated.

Thereafter, he couldn’t go back to swimming. Then he became wheelchair-bound.

Then it became a problem because my house was constructed that way.

So my brother – who’s a doctor and had a flat (one-level) house – took him in.

And he lived on till 94. But towards the end, he had gradual loss of mental powers.

Angiogram

So my calculations, I’m somewhere between 74 and 94. And I’ve reached the halfway point now.

But have I?

Well, 1996 when I was 73, I was cycling and I felt tightening on the neck.

Oh, I must retire today. So I stopped. Next day, I returned to the bicycle.

After five minutes it became worse.

So I said, no, no, this is something serious, it’s got to do with the blood vessels.

Rung up my doctor, who said, ‘Come tomorrow’. Went tomorrow, he checked me, and said: ‘Come back tomorrow for an angiogram.’

I said: ‘What’s that ?’

He said: ‘We’ll pump something in and we’ll see whether the coronary arteries are cleared or blocked.’

I was going to go home.

But an MP who was a cardiologist happened to be around, so he came in and said: ‘What are you doing here?’

I said: ‘I’ve got this.’ He said: ‘Don’t go home.

You stay here tonight. I’ve sent patients home and they never came back.

Just stay here. They’ll put you on the monitor. They’ll watch your heart.

And if anything, an emergency arises, they will take you straight to the theatre.

You go home. You’ve got no such monitor. You may never come back.’

So I stayed there. Pumped in the dye, yes it was blocked, the left circumflex, not the critical, lead one.

So that’s lucky for me. Two weeks later, I was walking around, I felt it’s coming back.

Yes it has come back, it had occluded. So this time they said: ‘We’ll put in a stent.’

I’m one of the first few in Singapore to have the stent, so it was a brand new operation.

Fortunately, the man who invented the stent was out here selling his stent.

He was from San Jose, La Jolla something or the other. So my doctor got hold of him and he supervised the operation.

He said put the stent in. My doctor did the operation, he just watched it all and then that’s that.

That was before all this problem about lining the stent to make sure that it doesn’t occlude and create a disturbance.

New danger points

So at each stage, I learnt something more about myself and I stored that. I said: ‘Oh, this is now a danger point.’

So all right, cut out fats, change diet, went to see a specialist in Boston, Massachusetts General Hospital.

He said: ‘Take statins.’ I said: ‘What’s that?’ He said: ‘(They) help to reduce your cholesterol.’

My doctors were concerned. They said: ‘You don’t need it. Your cholesterol levels are okay.’

Two years later, more medical evidence came out. So the doctors said: ‘Take statins.’

Had there been no angioplasty, had I not known that something was up and I cycled on, I might have gone at 74 like my mother.

So I missed that decline. So next deadline: my father’s fall at 87. I’m very careful now because sometimes when I turn around too fast, I feel as if I’m going to get off balance.

So my daughter, a neurologist, she took me to the NNI, there’s this nerve conduction test, put electrodes here and there.

The transmission of the messages between the feet and the brain has slowed down.

So all the exercise, everything, effort put in, I’m fit, I swim, I cycle.

But I can’t prevent this losing of conductivity of the nerves and this transmission. So just go slow.

So when I climb up the steps, I have no problem.

When I go down the steps, I need to be sure that I’ve got something I can hang on to, just in case.

So it’s a constant process of adjustment.

Worst thing – isolating oneself

But I think the most important single lesson I learnt in life was that if you isolate yourself, you’re done for.

The human being is a social animal – he needs stimuli, he needs to meet people, to catch up with the world.

I don’t much like travel but I travel very frequently despite the jetlag, because I get to meet people of great interest to me, who will help me in my work as Chairman of our GIC.

So I know, I’m on several boards of banks, international advisory boards of banks, of oil companies and so on.

And I meet them and I get to understand what’s happening in the world, what has changed since I was here one month ago, one year ago.

I go to India, I go to China.

And that stimuli brings me to the world of today. I’m not living in the world, when I was active, more active 20, 30 years ago. So I tell my wife.

She woke up late today. I said: ‘Never mind, you come along by 12 o’clock. I go first.’

If you sit back – because part of the ending part of the encyclopaedia which I read was very depressing – as you get old, you withdraw from everything and then all you will have is your bedroom and the photographs and the furniture that you know, and that’s your world.

So if you’ve got to go to hospital, the doctor advises you to bring some photographs so that you’ll know you’re not lost in a different world, that this is like your bedroom.

I’m determined that I will not, as long as I can, to be reduced, to have my horizons closed on me like that.

It is the stimuli, it is the constant interaction with people across the world that keeps me aware and alive to what’s going on and what we can do to adjust to this different world.

In other words, you must have an interest in life.

If you believe that at 55, you’re retiring, you’re going to read books, play golf and drink wine, then I think you’re done for.

So statistically they will show you that all the people who retire and lead sedentary lives, the pensioners die off very quickly.

So we now have a social problem with medical sciences, new procedures, new drugs, many more people are going to live long lives.. ….

If the mindset is that when I reach retirement age 62, I’m old, I can’t work anymore, I don’t have to work, I just sit back, now is the time I’ll enjoy life,

I think you’re making the biggest mistake of your life.

After one month, or after two months, even if you go traveling with nothing to do, with no purpose in life, you will just degrade, you’ll go to seed.

The human being needs a challenge, and my advice to every person in Singapore and elsewhere:

Keep yourself interested, have a challenge.

If you’re not interested in the world and the world is not interested in you, the biggest punishment a man can receive is total isolation in a dungeon, black and complete withdrawal of all stimuli, that’s real torture.

So when I read that people believe, Singaporeans say: ‘Oh, 62 I’m retiring.’ I say to them: ‘You really want to die quickly?’

If you want to see sunrise tomorrow or sunset, you must have a reason, you must have the stimuli to keep going..’

Mailbag


LETTER TO THE EDITOR

The situation in Labuan continues to be one that is embarrassing. For a second time in a row, we have yet another MP who has been declared a bankrupt.

The local Municipal Council falls under the current MP. Labuan Corporation is also under the management of the current MP. In fact, the vast majority of important decisions relating to the island fall under the preview of the MP. Yet he is now in court and has been declared a bankrupt.

How on earth does he have time to manage his constituency, manage all the relevant departments under him, attend to the needs of the business community and the people of Labuan and also have time to attend to his court case and remain sane enough to play politics?

The fact remains there is and has not been any leadership in Labuan for a decade. Some even dread the thoughts of predecessor Suhaili returning to the fold.

It is absolute madness – Labuan folks seem to keep ending up with politicians who are neither capable nor mature enough to be able to manage the island and their own personal finances without some controversy.

Even the first MP (before Suhaili), Abdul Mulok, had a court case for Criminal Breach of Trust (CBT) involving several million ringgit.

Nobody seems to know who to talk to when dealing with issues relating to work passes for foreign workers, given Labuan has a ban on it which has yet to be lifted till now and business are struggling to hire local staff and workers as the demand for local workers is too great.

Why is Labuan the only constituency in Malaysia that cannot bring in foreign labour or workers?

There has yet to be a solution to the Hotel Labuan eyesore which everyone has to put up with on a daily basis. Once an iconic building, it is a source of embarrassment and a daily reminder of the way things are in Labuan. A lot of talk, no action.

The Labuan market project, new bus terminal, a number of major road projects on the island which remain unfinished, not to mention the parking problems in the town center and lack of care as far as improving the infrastructure of the town center remain unresolved because there doesn’t appear to be any interest or money available to finish these projects.

Why does the Federal Government keep getting it so wrong with the people it selects to represent the party every single time?

This time around if Ibrahim Manudeen a Labuan born accountant who was Sabah State Treasury Boss at one time, CEO of Malaysian Mining Corporation at one time, is to contest under Anwar Ibrahim’s PKR, for sure Barisan National with its terrible track record is finish for good in the island of Labuan.

Anak Labuan


Musa Aman has the distinction of being the longest serving Chief Minister of the state of Sabah. He firstly assumed this responsibility in March 27th 2003. Thereafter, he has had sweeping victories in two successive Assembly Elections held in 2004 and March 2008. He has also won successive byelections for Barisan National, example, the Batu Sapi Parliamentary elections where Taiko Yong Teck Lee the President of SAPP was trashed badly and so was PKR’s Ansari Abdullah. The victory of 2008 12th General Elections where he won 59 seats out of the total 60 seats is a reaffirmation of the people’s faith in his leadership, statesmanship and governance which he displayed as Chief Minister from 2003.

Widely regarded as a youthful and energetic, innovative and a determined leader, he has successfully communicated his vision to 3 million people of Sabah and has been able to instill a sense of confidence in what they have and a hope for a golden tomorrow. An astute politician, a skilled orator and a deft negotiator, Musa Aman has earned the love and affection of the people from kampongs, towns and city alike which makes him a rare leader of the masses. When he became the Chief Minister of Sabah for the first time in March 27th 2003, he already had experience in banking and business earlier, besides, he was Minister of Finance since March 27, 2001 in Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat’s cabinet. His utmost commitment and dedication have rendered him as an outstanding administrator and after being elected for the 2nd term, in March 2008, as chief minister, the Sabah Chinese Chamber of Commerce had a lot of good words to say about Musa Aman and the prudent ways he handle the state’s finance, a rare comment from Chinese business community.

When the Musa government was sworn-in in 2003, the economy of Sabah was reeling under several adverse trends. The growth in various sectors was stagnant, major parts of the state were facing water scarcity and power shortage, infrastructure was in shambles and investments had slowed down. Moreover, the mood of the people was despondent. The biggest challenge was to resurrect the spirits and the economy, revive the livelihoods and to construct the infrastructure. However Musa Aman, a master strategist enriched by national and international exposure and experience, decided to take the bull by its horns and turned an adversity into an opportunity. He re-oriented and re-organized government’s administrative structure, embarked upon a massive exercise for construction of infrastructure, recreation of the business environment and rejuvenation of the traditional entrepreneurial spirit of Sabah, putting Sabah back on the road to progress and prosperity.

Even when the construction of infrastructure was going on, Musa Aman did not lose sight of the bigger picture. He emphasized on all-inclusive and uniform development of all communities and districts. In the very first year of his tenure, he came out with an integrated strategy for overall development of the State which I call the EIGHT PILLARS:

1) Rural Development and Poverty Eradication

2) Quality and coverage in Education

3) Development of Human Resources

4) Power of energy Resources

5) Good Forest and Environmental Governance

6) Sustainable Development

7) Good Governance

8) Security and well being of people.

Sabah has registered a GDP growth of over 7% over past five years which is one of the highest growth rate among all the states in Malaysia. The efforts of Musa’s government have resulted into metamorphosis of a revenue deficit state into a revenue surplus state with reserves of 2.32 billion ringgit . Last year alone, the state’s export value stood at RM49.4 billion with trade surplus of RM16.6 billion.

Musa Aman mooted a model of development through people’s participation. USP of his development model has been a quantum leap (think big) and change right from the roots (no cosmetic changes). Sabah recorded the biggest gross output in agriculture compared to other states in the country. Agriculture production including short term and long term crops have quadrupled. Sabah produced RM13.21 billion or 24.7 per cent of the total of RM53.45 billion agricultural output in Malaysia last year. Sabah leads in energy production. Sabah has been able to supply uninterrupted three phase round the clock electricity to most of the kampongs in the state. The rural economy is now vibrant owing to this and some kampongs have turned into centers of production.

Working in harmony with the Federal Ministries, Musa’s Government has brought qualitative change in health services and health infrastructure to ensure a healthy mother and child in the very remote areas of Sabah. Focus on cent per cent enrollment of children through campaigns and resultant drooping drop out rates have been able to reverse the trend of high illiteracy rate from Sabah. The focus is putting Sabah at par with the developed regions in Human Development Index and work towards the achieving Millenium Development Goals declared by the UN. To ensure all round, all inclusive and uniform development, comprehensive and well conceived packages like indigenous people welfare in remote areas, development of coastal dwellers, upliftment of urban poor are under implementation.

Musa believes in the fact that good infrastructure is the driver of economic development. He therefore, paid utmost attention on physical and social infrastructure and involved private sector in their development. The rapid and qualitative development of ports, roads, bridges, LNG terminals, water distribution networks and other infrastructure facilities are being implemented in a big scale. Setting up of Kimanis RM1.5bil gas-fired plant a 300MW power plant to address the power supply issue in the state and water grid are exemplary achievements in infrastructure. Musa Aman has also created excellent infrastructure at tourist places. Urban sector has been enlivened by up gradation of civic amenities, state of art sports complexs, parks i.e the Perdana Park in Tanjung Aru and emphasis on cleanliness and greening. The well conceived, meticulously planned and professionally organized Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA) the one stop authority to drive Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) have put Sabah as a preferred investment destination among global investors. SDC has managed to secure a planned investment of RM112 billion as at the end of June 2012. SDC have not only attracted investments worth billions of USD but also created huge employment opportunities in the state. Its logical fall out is skill development for various class of people on a massive scale.

Even in the forest sector Musa has done a wonderful job as he has been pursuing for good forest and environmental governance in the interest of future generations to come. Recently, The Sabah Forestry Department had decided to re-gazette 183,000 hectares of Class 2 Commercial Forests into Class 1 Protection Forests to expand the expanse of totally protected forests in the state. This “bold” upward reclassification exercise involves principally lowland forest ecosystem in Ulu Segama and Gunung Rara Forest Reserves, in pursuance of Musa’s decision. This exercise shall mean that Danum Valley on its eastern fringes will be buffered by totally protected forests and in particular, the biologically rich Ulu Segama Forest Reserve (127,890 hectares) can no longer be logged now or in the future because of legislative protection.

At the same time, Northern Gunung Rara (55,000 hectares), which forms a vital wildlife buffer from Maliau Basin and Imbak Canyon to Danum Valley, will also be accorded full protection. Both areas, although logged over, are important wildlife habitats and are homes to iconic species such as orang-utan, pygmy elephants and the Bornean clouded leopard. Class 1 Protection Forests are given strict protection primarily for safeguarding water sheds, maintenance of stability of essential climatic and environmental factors, in addition to biodiversity conservation. Under the Forest Enactment 1968 (Sabah), the law forbids any form of conversion such as conversion into oil palm plantations or timber exploitation in a Class 1 Forest. After the gazettement of the Protection Forest Reserves in 1984, a total of 44 were gazetted as class 1 Forests, including the controversial Kukusan Hill Forest Reserve, Tawau, which was declassified to Class 2 in 2003. The last Class 1 gazettement was Maliau Basin Forest Reserve in 1997.

The latest decision by Musa will increase the area under total protection to about 1,300,000 hectares or some 17.5 per cent of Sabah’s total land area, exceeding the IUCN standard of 10 percent. Musa’s model of good governance is being applauded within the country and beyond. The way he has won the hearts of people of Sabah and his popularity at the national level shows that ‘Good governance is also good politics’.


Wishing all my Muslim brothers and sisters, young and old, near and dear, wherever you are, a very happy and blessed Eid Mubarrak! May there be peace and love among all… and may all your wishes come true.

And also not forgetting my friend Raja Petra Kamaruddin aka Pet and his family in Manchester, UK.

SELAMAT HARI RAYA AIDIL FITRI..MAAF ZAHIR DAN BATIN!

from my heart,

Salam!


The much anticipated Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on Sabah’s illegal immigrant issue has just been announced by Najib Tun Razak. This is good news for Sabah and certainly a historic moment. Finally this issue after so many years is being investigated and given utmost attention by the Federal Government who is actually responsible for the mess Sabah is in today.

With this announcement it is confirmed that Dr Mahathir and Najib Tun Razak are at loggerheads.

Mahathir’s politically provocative statement on the eve of Najib’s announcement of the RCI was to create tension within BN Sabah and sabotage the RCI. Now it is proven that Dr Mahathir was all along making systematic attempts to change the political demography of Sabah under his adminstration at the expense of the local indigenous population. Dr Mahathir’s use of history to justify free movement of foreigners into Sabah is seriously flawed, and by his own logic, he seemed to justify the Philippines’ claim on Sabah.

I nevertheless give credit to Musa Aman for working behind the scenes convincing all parties within UMNO Sabah to accept the RCI for the good of Sabah. Must congratulate the chief minister for his foresight to set up the Sabah BN committee on citizenship under the chairmanship of Pairin Kitingan which actually served as a catalyst in the formation of the RCI. It was really difficult for Musa as there were UMNO warlords within UMNO Sabah like Shafie Apdal with vested interest refusing the RCI and manipulating Putrajaya on the process.

Some time back some people have claimed that Sabah is replete with complex socio-politico problems because of the presence of millions of illegals and if not controlled in time then this wonderful creative race called Kadazan Dusun Murut (KDM) will disappear from the surface of the earth forever. I understand why some people could think to this extent. Are the problems that Sabah have witnessed, especially in recent times, myriad enough to exterminate this intelligent and creative tribe? I do think such enormous and myriad problems have taken place in Sabah and its serious.

A national population census in 2010 showed an exponential 390 per cent increase in Sabah’s population from 636,431 citizens in 1970 to 3,120,040 citizens in 2010 ― more than double the national population growth of just 164 per cent. Of the 3.12 million Sabahans today, reports have estimated that 27 per cent are foreigners.

Then look at this figure, in 1960, Sabah population comprised 32% Kadazan-Dusuns, 23% Chinese, 15.8% other Muslims, 13.1% Bajaus, 5.5% Indonesians, 4.9% Muruts, 1.6% Filipinos and 0.4% Malays. But in 2006, the state’s ethnic composition changed drastically, comprising 25% non-citizens, 17.76% Kadazan-Dusuns, 14.62% other Bumiputeras, 13.4% Bajaus, 11.48% Malays, 9.6% Chinese, 4.8% others and 3.3% Muruts.

It is true that socio-political conflicts due to the huge number of illegals in the state has been taking place in Sabah and this has produced some good results rather than bad ones. I guess in the absence of these problems Sabahans would have not become more intelligent and conscious about their rights. Thus, problems can not be looked at cynically all the time. Moreover we can not even imagine a society without problems. Only when the problems are out of hand and when the State exhausts all its energy in overcoming the problems at hand one can argue that problems are impediments to the development/progress of Sabah. Until this stage is reached problems are in fact indispensable engines for pushing Sabahans to move forward. I feel that so many activists, so many social organizations and intellectuals would have not appeared on the soils of Sabah had the illegals gaining Malaysian citizenship via backdoor not happened. It is also to be remembered that there will not be any society where every member fully conforms to the norms and established laws of the State. Having said so, it is also wrong on the part of the authorities if they shirk their responsibilities of solving problems that are being faced by the people.

Riding on the high sounding idea of ‘no absolute wrongs’ in the social life, people like Mahathir or groups responsible for allowing the illegals to swamp Sabah use their own peculiar discourses and through them they try to rationalize their actions even though these people know very well that such actions would hurt or affect the lives of the indigenous people of Sabah. Whatever be the context in which they situate their actions and justify their actions my strong contention is that no human actions should be at the expense of the ‘common good’ of Sabah.

Fortunately, the Musa government has been really capitalizing on the opportunities thrown by the various problems that inflict Sabah and trying to improve its performances and serve the people better each day that passes by. It knows well that there are in-built solutions in every problems and tries to ferret out the solutions tirelessly rather than wasting time and energy on playing blame or ‘passing the buck’ games. Datuk Lajim Okim and Datuk Bumburing are examples of leaders who are playing blame games.

Humans are emotional so are the many participating members of Musa Aman’s government. But despite of many practical difficulties the leadership of this government, in many occasions, had tackled many sensitive socio-political issues and problems satisfactorily.

We have seen that the leadership of this government has never jumped into any hasty or irresponsible decisions. It never allows itself to be swept away or carried away by the quixotic emotional outbursts of other non-state stakeholders, including Dr Mahathir Mohamad or even “Sultan Sulu” Akjan. Instead the government tries to find or has found out solutions which are based on legal-rational principles, and are acceptable to all the parties. It steadfastly sticks to the moral and legitimate principle of democratic governance believing that the government is not for gratifying particular groups at the cost of welfare of the indigenous people.

Some may fret and fume about the existing State of affairs and fire barrage of diatribes inexorably against the handling of the illegals, against the handling of certain socio-political problems arising from the huge number of illegals and even the way the development programmes are being undertaken. But my logical question is how many of them have seen any better government than the earlier three governments USNO, Berjaya and PBS, under the present leadership. I know that I may not be politically correct to say this but I am saying this without any political leanings to any parties.

At the development front I do not see any inadequacy in the policies and programmes being pursued by the government. So, let us learn to call a spade a spade and appreciate the hard work put in by this Musa government. I also do not find any inadequacy or serious shortcomings in the measures contemplated or taken up by the leadership to address many of the gnawing socio-political problems i.e. due to the presence of millions of illegals in the state.

It is important for us to remember that many of the socio-political problems we witness today due to the illegals in Sabah do not come into existence in a day. This means that we can not afford to have quick fix solutions. Rather we need to find out the lasting solutions. This fact, it seems, is very much known to the leadership of the Sabah government. Musa knows he is answerable to the people. And as we all know GE13 is just round the corner and in any democratic set up the people are sovereign and people can deny their elected leaders a chance to become their representatives again if they feel that he or she does not live up to their expectations. Apparently Musa Aman know these democratic processes and values quite well and have outperformed his predecessors in duties of serving the people of Sabah and the Natives specifically.

Here, I can not help eulogizing Musa Aman for his political acumen and statesmanship. Under his leadership and guidance the present government has succeeded in getting the RCI on Illegals and has also succeeded attracting unprecedented developmental activities and is, relentlessly, endeavouring to lift the State to the status of one of the most developed States in the country. Take my hats off to the Chief Minister of the State.

Like any other leader Musa Aman may also be fallible. But one may not be doing any justice on one’s part if he or she is hell bent on critiquing his shortfalls unmindful of or forgetting about all the invaluable services that he has rendered so far in spite of the various constraints/limitations that he confronts with while governing this complex multi-ethnic society with their divergent vested interests.

It can also be sensed that Musa is very much familiar with the concept of ‘micro power politics’. As this element is present in all spheres of politics. And to my observation and belief Musa is well aware of the fact that until and unless the differences that arise out of the power politics at the micro level i.e. among his elected colleagues of his own party UMNO or otherwise, are resolved first, no solutions could be found out to the problems at the macro level. He has dealt with most of the problems that exists at the governmental level successfully and is able to steer his last two coalition governments for two complete terms, 2004 and 2008.

10 years as Chief Minister, being a seasoned statesman rising above the petty politics he shepherds the transition of Sabah towards the pinnacle of development. His mind boggling personal charisma and aura reach far beyond the boundaries of the State. His many bold decisions against the odds and his ‘never-buckle-under pressure-tactics’ quality least bothering about such actions may make more political foes than friends endear himself to many Sabahans. He is a ‘cult figure’ in the hearts of many of his admirers in the state.

Musa Aman is well aware of the fact that in democracy there is no place for those power elites i.e. Yang Berhormats who try to monopolize the power and the state machineries to their own personal aggrandizement. He makes his colleagues realize that in democracy none of them could remain in power if they do not go in tandem with aspirations of the people. That is the one obvious reason why Musa Aman could win a thumping majority in the last general election in 2008 where he won 59 out of the 60 state seats.

Problems are bound to be there. Heroes are those extraordinary humans who fight not only the evils but also who always try to solve the problems or hardships that people face. And to me Chief Minister Musa Aman is a hero. The leadership of the present government had shown in earlier occasions that it believed in the ‘virtues of adversity”. It knows well that if it could not meet the adversities with responsible responses it shall perish. Therefore the leadership of the present government has, time and time again, shown the grit, sagacity, skills and other bold decisions as responses to deal with the situations or challenges which rear its ugly head just like phoenix rising from the ashes. In earlier occasions the government might have faced some difficulties as to how to deal with such situations. It must have really racked its head over the solutions. But as time passes by it is able to have explored really well thought out responsible responses to deal with all the challenges. I am citing the RCI as an example.

Extraordinary people are those who face the challenges and adversities with extraordinary ingenuity and with the only available resources boldly rather than meekly surrender. Sabah government under the able and extraordinary leadership of Musa Aman, have met with all the challenges all the turbulent phases daringly and fearlessly and on every occasion it came out victorious and triumphant. The main reason of the success of the leadership of this government, I believe, is that it has faith in the core values of democracy and always capitalizes on the ‘virtues of adversities’.

The present Sabah government is an epitome of statesmanship and democratic values. At the end I have to confess that this small write-up is not an insider’s comment on the workings of the government. It is just a common man’s observation.



My Muslim hero has always been Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī. He is better known as Rumi. Rumi is an Islamic Sufi mystic from the 13th century who lived in what is now Konya, Turkey. I got really interested in Rumi when I first read about Rumi a number of years ago and ever since then I have been searching and learning about Sufism. I chose Rumi as my Muslim hero because I believe that Rumi is a shining example of the things I admire most about culture. Growing up as a non-Muslim in Malaysia I had become accustomed to the powers-that-be treating me differently because of my religion. I got used to thinking that the first thing the government see when they look at me is not the type of person I am, it’s my religion.

I assumed that’s how its going to be for a long long time in Malaysia because religion is used to the maximum by the powers-that-be. That all changed when for the first time I met a Sufi in India in 1980. I was welcomed with open arms and he wanted to get to know me the person. He brought me to the Sufi Center in New Delhi. For the first time in my life I forgot about my religion and could just be myself. It was a complete culture shock for me because for once I wasn’t judged based on my religion. I cannot even put into words how good it felt. I think this is a shining example of Rumi’s teachings on love and tolerance.

I see so many similarities between Rumi’s teachings and Hinduism and even Christianity. Sufism also has meditation as an essential part of prayer. For instance Rumi and his followers used simple music in meditation and prayer so that they can bring themselves closer to God. Perhaps the most critical and mind boggling event was when I saw both Muslims and non-Muslims praying together. This made me open my eyes. It taught me that I too can participate in things like Ramadan without compromising my identity or my belief.

These cross culture experiences have led me to be a stronger and well-rounded person. Therefore Rumi will always be my Muslim hero because he has helped me to understand the true meaning of peace, tolerance and love.

I want to post here a video of another Muslim I admire a lot, someone I recently discovered. He is Author of “The Arab Awakening” and Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University, Tariq Ramadan. In this video Professor Tariq shares his thoughts on applying Islamic values in a multi-ethnic society like Malaysia. Among some of the other things he talks about in this video is the Hudud Law, equality between the rich and poor, setting up of an Islamic state and the level of tolerance Muslims should have towards homosexuals.

Watch this…


The “Janji Ditepati” (Promises Fulfilled) melody picked for National Day celebration this year is actually stolen from a gospel song by the Jakarta-based Christian band True Worshippers, featuring Indonesian songstress Ruth Sahanaya.

This is not the first time. It’s not OK to keep stealing materials from Indonesia and claiming its ours. It shows a lack of class and ethics. At least give Indonesia some credit. If a million people have already seen it on YouTube, all Malaysians will be turned off when they realize it’s not our original material. How embarrassed will we be when Indonesians spread the word (or call us out on the spot!) that we Malaysians stole their melody and made it our melody for our National Day Celebration? Come on Rais Yatim you can do better than this! Please lah this is melody picked for our National Day celebration. You just cannot steal ideas, vibe, style… etc… Indonesians are going to say we Malaysians are master of stealing their original ideas and commercializing them and claiming its ours. Worst still we use it for our National Day Celebration.

Watch both the videos and make your own conclusion guys. Rais Yatim says its our version, what rubbish.

(Indonesian gospel song titled “Serukan Namanya” (Call out His name))

(“Janji Ditepati” lyrics, penned by Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim)