Archive for the ‘British government’ Category


William Dalrymple’s new book, “The Anarchy: How a Corporation Replaced the Mughal Empire, 1756-1803”, will be published next year by Bloomsbury & Knopf—–

A long but very interesting excerpt………

The East India Company: The original corporate raiders

For a century, the East India Company conquered, subjugated and plundered vast tracts of south Asia. The lessons of its brutal reign have never been more relevant

William Dalrymple

One of the very first Indian words to enter the English language was the Hindustani slang for plunder: “loot”. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, this word was rarely heard outside the plains of north India until the late 18th century, when it suddenly became a common term across Britain. To understand how and why it took root and flourished in so distant a landscape, one need only visit Powis Castle.

The last hereditary Welsh prince, Owain Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn, built Powis castle as a craggy fort in the 13th century; the estate was his reward for abandoning Wales to the rule of the English monarchy. But its most spectacular treasures date from a much later period of English conquest and appropriation: Powis is simply awash with loot from India, room after room of imperial plunder, extracted by the East India Company in the 18th century.

There are more Mughal artefacts stacked in this private house in the Welsh countryside than are on display at any one place in India – even the National Museum in Delhi. The riches include hookahs of burnished gold inlaid with empurpled ebony; superbly inscribed spinels and jewelled daggers; gleaming rubies the colour of pigeon’s blood and scatterings of lizard-green emeralds. There are talwars set with yellow topaz, ornaments of jade and ivory; silken hangings, statues of Hindu gods and coats of elephant armour.

Such is the dazzle of these treasures that, as a visitor last summer, I nearly missed the huge framed canvas that explains how they came to be here. The picture hangs in the shadows at the top of a dark, oak-panelled staircase. It is not a masterpiece, but it does repay close study. An effete Indian prince, wearing cloth of gold, sits high on his throne under a silken canopy. On his left stand scimitar and spear carrying officers from his own army; to his right, a group of powdered and periwigged Georgian gentlemen. The prince is eagerly thrusting a scroll into the hands of a statesmanlike, slightly overweight Englishman in a red frock coat.

The painting shows a scene from August 1765, when the young Mughal emperor Shah Alam, exiled from Delhi and defeated by East India Company troops, was forced into what we would now call an act of involuntary privatisation. The scroll is an order to dismiss his own Mughal revenue officials in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, and replace them with a set of English traders appointed by Robert Clive – the new governor of Bengal – and the directors of the EIC, who the document describes as “the high and mighty, the noblest of exalted nobles, the chief of illustrious warriors, our faithful servants and sincere well-wishers, worthy of our royal favours, the English Company”. The collecting of Mughal taxes was henceforth subcontracted to a powerful multinational corporation – whose revenue-collecting operations were protected by its own private army.

It was at this moment that the East India Company (EIC) ceased to be a conventional corporation, trading and silks and spices, and became something much more unusual. Within a few years, 250 company clerks backed by the military force of 20,000 locally recruited Indian soldiers had become the effective rulers of Bengal. An international corporation was transforming itself into an aggressive colonial power.

Using its rapidly growing security force – its army had grown to 260,000 men by 1803 – it swiftly subdued and seized an entire subcontinent. Astonishingly, this took less than half a century. The first serious territorial conquests began in Bengal in 1756; 47 years later, the company’s reach extended as far north as the Mughal capital of Delhi, and almost all of India south of that city was by then effectively ruled from a boardroom in the City of London. “What honour is left to us?” asked a Mughal official named Narayan Singh, shortly after 1765, “when we have to take orders from a handful of traders who have not yet learned to wash their bottoms?”

It was not the British government that seized India, but a private company, run by an unstable sociopath

We still talk about the British conquering India, but that phrase disguises a more sinister reality. It was not the British government that seized India at the end of the 18th century, but a dangerously unregulated private company headquartered in one small office, five windows wide, in London, and managed in India by an unstable sociopath – Clive.

In many ways the EIC was a model of corporate efficiency: 100 years into its history, it had only 35 permanent employees in its head office. Nevertheless, that skeleton staff executed a corporate coup unparalleled in history: the military conquest, subjugation and plunder of vast tracts of southern Asia. It almost certainly remains the supreme act of corporate violence in world history. For all the power wielded today by the world’s largest corporations – whether ExxonMobil, Walmart or Google – they are tame beasts compared with the ravaging territorial appetites of the militarised East India Company. Yet if history shows anything, it is that in the intimate dance between the power of the state and that of the corporation, while the latter can be regulated, it will use all the resources in its power to resist.

When it suited, the EIC made much of its legal separation from the government. It argued forcefully, and successfully, that the document signed by Shah Alam – known as the Diwani – was the legal property of the company, not the Crown, even though the government had spent a massive sum on naval and military operations protecting the EIC’s Indian acquisitions. But the MPs who voted to uphold this legal distinction were not exactly neutral: nearly a quarter of them held company stock, which would have plummeted in value had the Crown taken over. For the same reason, the need to protect the company from foreign competition became a major aim of British foreign policy.

[Robert Clive, was an unstable sociopath who led the fearsome East India Company to its conquest of the subcontinent.Photograph: Hulton Archive/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The transaction depicted in the painting was to have catastrophic consequences. As with all such corporations, then as now, the EIC was answerable only to its shareholders. With no stake in the just governance of the region, or its long-term wellbeing, the company’s rule quickly turned into the straightforward pillage of Bengal, and the rapid transfer westwards of its wealth.]

Before long the province, already devastated by war, was struck down by the famine of 1769, then further ruined by high taxation. Company tax collectors were guilty of what today would be described as human rights violations. A senior official of the old Mughal regime in Bengal wrote in his diaries: “Indians were tortured to disclose their treasure; cities, towns and villages ransacked; jaghires and provinces purloined: these were the ‘delights’ and ‘religions’ of the directors and their servants.”

Bengal’s wealth rapidly drained into Britain, while its prosperous weavers and artisans were coerced “like so many slaves” by their new masters, and its markets flooded with British products. A proportion of the loot of Bengal went directly into Clive’s pocket. He returned to Britain with a personal fortune – then valued at £234,000 – that made him the richest self-made man in Europe. After the Battle of Plassey in 1757, a victory that owed more to treachery, forged contracts, bankers and bribes than military prowess, he transferred to the EIC treasury no less than £2.5m seized from the defeated rulers of Bengal – in today’s currency, around £23m for Clive and £250m for the company.

No great sophistication was required. The entire contents of the Bengal treasury were simply loaded into 100 boats and punted down the Ganges from the Nawab of Bengal’s palace to Fort William, the company’s Calcutta headquarters. A portion of the proceeds was later spent rebuilding Powis.

The painting at Powis that shows the granting of the Diwani is suitably deceptive: the painter, Benjamin West, had never been to India. Even at the time, a reviewer noted that the mosque in the background bore a suspiciously strong resemblance “to our venerable dome of St Paul”. In reality, there had been no grand public ceremony. The transfer took place privately, inside Clive’s tent, which had just been erected on the parade ground of the newly seized Mughal fort at Allahabad. As for Shah Alam’s silken throne, it was in fact Clive’s armchair, which for the occasion had been hoisted on to his dining room table and covered with a chintz bedspread.

Later, the British dignified the document by calling it the Treaty of Allahabad, though Clive had dictated the terms and a terrified Shah Alam had simply waved them through. As the contemporary Mughal historian Sayyid Ghulam Husain Khan put it: “A business of such magnitude, as left neither pretence nor subterfuge, and which at any other time would have required the sending of wise ambassadors and able negotiators, as well as much parley and conference with the East India Company and the King of England, and much negotiation and contention with the ministers, was done and finished in less time than would usually have been taken up for the sale of a jack-ass, or a beast of burden, or a head of cattle.”

By the time the original painting was shown at the Royal Academy in 1795, however, no Englishman who had witnessed the scene was alive to point this out. Clive, hounded by envious parliamentary colleagues and widely reviled for corruption, committed suicide in 1774 by slitting his own throat with a paperknife some months before the canvas was completed. He was buried in secret, on a frosty November night, in an unmarked vault in the Shropshire village of Morton Say. Many years ago, workmen digging up the parquet floor came across Clive’s bones, and after some discussion it was decided to quietly put them to rest again where they lay. Here they remain, marked today by a small, discreet wall plaque inscribed: “PRIMUS IN INDIS.”

Today, as the company’s most articulate recent critic, Nick Robins, has pointed out, the site of the company’s headquarters in Leadenhall Street lies underneath Richard Rogers’s glass and metal Lloyd’s building. Unlike Clive’s burial place, no blue plaque marks the site of what Macaulay called “the greatest corporation in the world”, and certainly the only one to equal the Mughals by seizing political power across wide swaths of south Asia. But anyone seeking a monument to the company’s legacy need only look around. No contemporary corporation could duplicate its brutality, but many have attempted to match its success at bending state power to their own ends.

The people of Allahabad have also chosen to forget this episode in their history. The red sandstone Mughal fort where the treaty was extracted from Shah Alam – a much larger fort than those visited by tourists in Lahore, Agra or Delhi – is still a closed-off military zone and, when I visited it late last year, neither the guards at the gate nor their officers knew anything of the events that had taken place there; none of the sentries had even heard of the company whose cannons still dot the parade ground where Clive’s tent was erected.

Instead, all their conversation was focused firmly on the future, and the reception India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, had just received on his trip to America. One of the guards proudly showed me the headlines in the local edition of the Times of India, announcing that Allahabad had been among the subjects discussed in the White House by Modi and President Obama. The sentries were optimistic. India was finally coming back into its own, they said, “after 800 years of slavery”. The Mughals, the EIC and the Raj had all receded into memory and Allahabad was now going to be part of India’s resurrection. “Soon we will be a great country,” said one of the sentries, “and our Allahabad also will be a great city.”

***

At the height of the Victorian period there was a strong sense of embarrassment about the shady mercantile way the British had founded the Raj. The Victorians thought the real stuff of history was the politics of the nation state. This, not the economics of corrupt corporations, they believed was the fundamental unit of analysis and the major driver of change in human affairs. Moreover, they liked to think of the empire as a mission civilisatrice: a benign national transfer of knowledge, railways and the arts of civilisation from west to east, and there was a calculated and deliberate amnesia about the corporate looting that opened British rule in India.

A second picture, this one commissioned to hang in the House of Commons, shows how the official memory of this process was spun and subtly reworked. It hangs now in St Stephen’s Hall, the echoing reception area of parliament. I came across it by chance late this summer, while waiting there to see an MP.

The painting was part of a series of murals entitled the Building of Britain. It features what the hanging committee at the time regarded as the highlights and turning points of British history: King Alfred defeating the Danes in 877, the parliamentary union of England and Scotland in 1707, and so on. The image in this series which deals with India does not, however, show the handing over of the Diwani but an earlier scene, where again a Mughal prince is sitting on a raised dais, under a canopy. Again, we are in a court setting, with bowing attendants on all sides and trumpets blowing, and again an Englishman is standing in front of the Mughal. But this time the balance of power is very different.

Sir Thomas Roe, the ambassador sent by James I to the Mughal court, is shown appearing before the Emperor Jahangir in 1614 – at a time when the Mughal empire was still at its richest and most powerful. Jahangir inherited from his father Akbar one of the two wealthiest polities in the world, rivalled only by Ming China. His lands stretched through most of India, all of what is now Pakistan and Bangladesh, and most of Afghanistan. He ruled over five times the population commanded by the Ottomans – roughly 100 million people. His capitals were the megacities of their day.

In Milton’s Paradise Lost, the great Mughal cities of Jahangir’s India are shown to Adam as future marvels of divine design. This was no understatement: Agra, with a population approaching 700,000, dwarfed all of the cities of Europe, while Lahore was larger than London, Paris, Lisbon, Madrid and Rome combined. This was a time when India accounted for around a quarter of all global manufacturing. In contrast, Britain then contributed less than 2% to global GDP, and the East India Company was so small that it was still operating from the home of its governor, Sir Thomas Smythe, with a permanent staff of only six. It did, however, already possess 30 tall ships and own its own dockyard at Deptford on the Thames.

Jahangir’s father Akbar had flirted with a project to civilise India’s European immigrants, whom he described as “an assemblage of savages”, but later dropped the plan as unworkable. Jahangir, who had a taste for exotica and wild beasts, welcomed Sir Thomas Roe with the same enthusiasm he had shown for the arrival of the first turkey in India, and questioned Roe closely on the distant, foggy island he came from, and the strange things that went on there.

For the committee who planned the House of Commons paintings, this marked the beginning of British engagement with India: two nation states coming into direct contact for the first time. Yet, in reality, British relations with India began not with diplomacy and the meeting of envoys, but with trade. On 24 September, 1599, 80 merchants and adventurers met at the Founders Hall in the City of London and agreed to petition Queen Elizabeth I to start up a company. A year later, the Governor and Company of Merchants trading to the East Indies, a group of 218 men, received a royal charter, giving them a monopoly for 15 years over “trade to the East”.

The charter authorised the setting up of what was then a radical new type of business: not a family partnership – until then the norm over most of the globe – but a joint-stock company that could issue tradeable shares on the open market to any number of investors, a mechanism capable of realising much larger amounts of capital. The first chartered joint-stock company was the Muscovy Company, which received its charter in 1555. The East India Company was founded 44 years later. No mention was made in the charter of the EIC holding overseas territory, but it did give the company the right “to wage war” where necessary.

Six years before Roe’s expedition, on 28 August 1608, William Hawkins had landed at Surat, the first commander of a company vessel to set foot on Indian soil. Hawkins, a bibulous sea dog, made his way to Agra, where he accepted a wife offered to him by the emperor, and brought her back to England. This was a version of history the House of Commons hanging committee chose to forget.

The rapid rise of the East India Company was made possible by the catastrophically rapid decline of the Mughals during the 18th century. As late as 1739, when Clive was only 14 years old, the Mughals still ruled a vast empire that stretched from Kabul to Madras. But in that year, the Persian adventurer Nadir Shah descended the Khyber Pass with 150,000 of his cavalry and defeated a Mughal army of 1.5 million men. Three months later, Nadir Shah returned to Persia carrying the pick of the treasures the Mughal empire had amassed in its 200 years of conquest: a caravan of riches that included Shah Jahan’s magnificent peacock throne, the Koh-i-Noor, the largest diamond in the world, as well as its “sister”, the Darya Nur, and “700 elephants, 4,000 camels and 12,000 horses carrying wagons all laden with gold, silver and precious stones”, worth an estimated £87.5m in the currency of the time. This haul was many times more valuable than that later extracted by Clive from the peripheral province of Bengal.

The destruction of Mughal power by Nadir Shah, and his removal of the funds that had financed it, quickly led to the disintegration of the empire. That same year, the French Compagnie des Indes began minting its own coins, and soon, without anyone to stop them, both the French and the English were drilling their own sepoys and militarising their operations. Before long the EIC was straddling the globe. Almost single-handedly, it reversed the balance of trade, which from Roman times on had led to a continual drain of western bullion eastwards. The EIC ferried opium to China, and in due course fought the opium wars in order to seize an offshore base at Hong Kong and safeguard its profitable monopoly in narcotics. To the west it shipped Chinese tea to Massachusetts, where its dumping in Boston harbour triggered the American war of independence.

By 1803, when the EIC captured the Mughal capital of Delhi, it had trained up a private security force of around 260,000- twice the size of the British army – and marshalled more firepower than any nation state in Asia. It was “an empire within an empire”, as one of its directors admitted. It had also by this stage created a vast and sophisticated administration and civil service, built much of London’s docklands and come close to generating nearly half of Britain’s trade. No wonder that the EIC now referred to itself as “the grandest society of merchants in the Universe”.

Yet, like more recent mega-corporations, the EIC proved at once hugely powerful and oddly vulnerable to economic uncertainty. Only seven years after the granting of the Diwani, when the company’s share price had doubled overnight after it acquired the wealth of the treasury of Bengal, the East India bubble burst after plunder and famine in Bengal led to massive shortfalls in expected land revenues. The EIC was left with debts of £1.5m and a bill of £1m unpaid tax owed to the Crown. When knowledge of this became public, 30 banks collapsed like dominoes across Europe, bringing trade to a standstill.

In a scene that seems horribly familiar to us today, this hyper-aggressive corporation had to come clean and ask for a massive government bailout. On 15 July 1772, the directors of the East India Company applied to the Bank of England for a loan of £400,000. A fortnight later, they returned, asking for an additional £300,000. The bank raised only £200,000. By August, the directors were whispering to the government that they would actually need an unprecedented sum of a further £1m. The official report the following year, written by Edmund Burke, foresaw that the EIC’s financial problems could potentially “like a mill-stone, drag [the government] down into an unfathomable abyss … This cursed Company would, at last, like a viper, be the destruction of the country which fostered it at its bosom.”

The East India Company really was too big to fail. So it was that in 1773 it was saved by history’s first mega-bailout

But unlike Lehman Brothers, the East India Company really was too big to fail. So it was that in 1773, the world’s first aggressive multinational corporation was saved by history’s first mega-bailout – the first example of a nation state extracting, as its price for saving a failing corporation, the right to regulate and severely rein it in.

***

In Allahabad, I hired a small dinghy from beneath the fort’s walls and asked the boatman to row me upstream. It was that beautiful moment, an hour before sunset, that north Indians call godhulibela – cow-dust time – and the Yamuna glittered in the evening light as brightly as any of the gems of Powis. Egrets picked their way along the banks, past pilgrims taking a dip near the auspicious point of confluence, where the Yamuna meets the Ganges. Ranks of little boys with fishing lines stood among the holy men and the pilgrims, engaged in the less mystical task of trying to hook catfish. Parakeets swooped out of cavities in the battlements, mynahs called to roost.

For 40 minutes we drifted slowly, the water gently lapping against the sides of the boat, past the mile-long succession of mighty towers and projecting bastions of the fort, each decorated with superb Mughal kiosks, lattices and finials. It seemed impossible that a single London corporation, however ruthless and aggressive, could have conquered an empire that was so magnificently strong, so confident in its own strength and brilliance and effortless sense of beauty.

Historians propose many reasons: the fracturing of Mughal India into tiny, competing states; the military edge that the industrial revolution had given the European powers. But perhaps most crucial was the support that the East India Company enjoyed from the British parliament. The relationship between them grew steadily more symbiotic throughout the 18th century. Returned nabobs like Clive used their wealth to buy both MPs and parliamentary seats – the famous Rotten Boroughs. In turn, parliament backed the company with state power: the ships and soldiers that were needed when the French and British East India Companies trained their guns on each other.

As I drifted on past the fort walls, I thought about the nexus between corporations and politicians in India today – which has delivered individual fortunes to rival those amassed by Clive and his fellow company directors. The country today has 6.9% of the world’s thousand or so billionaires, though its gross domestic product is only 2.1% of world GDP. The total wealth of India’s billionaires is equivalent to around 10% of the nation’s GDP – while the comparable ratio for China’s billionaires is less than 3%. More importantly, many of these fortunes have been created by manipulating state power – using political influence to secure rights to land and minerals, “flexibility” in regulation, and protection from foreign competition.

Multinationals still have villainous reputations in India, and with good reason; the many thousands of dead and injured in the Bhopal gas disaster of 1984 cannot be easily forgotten; the gas plant’s owner, the American multinational, Union Carbide, has managed to avoid prosecution or the payment of any meaningful compensation in the 30 years since. But the biggest Indian corporations, such as Reliance, Tata, DLF and Adani have shown themselves far more skilled than their foreign competitors in influencing Indian policymakers and the media. Reliance is now India’s biggest media company, as well as its biggest conglomerate; its owner, Mukesh Ambani, has unprecedented political access and power.

The last five years of India’s Congress party government were marked by a succession of corruption scandals that ranged from land and mineral giveaways to the corrupt sale of mobile phone spectrum at a fraction of its value. The consequent public disgust was the principal reason for the Congress party’s catastrophic defeat in the general election last May, though the country’s crony capitalists are unlikely to suffer as a result.

Estimated to have cost $4.9bn – perhaps the second most expensive ballot in democratic history after the US presidential election in 2012 – it brought Narendra Modi to power on a tidal wave of corporate donations. Exact figures are hard to come by, but Modi’s Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), is estimated to have spent at least $1bn on print and broadcast advertising alone. Of these donations, around 90% comes from unlisted corporate sources, given in return for who knows what undeclared promises of access and favours. The sheer strength of Modi’s new government means that those corporate backers may not be able to extract all they had hoped for, but there will certainly be rewards for the money donated.

In September, the governor of India’s central bank, Raghuram Rajan, made a speech in Mumbai expressing his anxieties about corporate money eroding the integrity of parliament: “Even as our democracy and our economy have become more vibrant,” he said, “an important issue in the recent election was whether we had substituted the crony socialism of the past with crony capitalism, where the rich and the influential are alleged to have received land, natural resources and spectrum in return for payoffs to venal politicians. By killing transparency and competition, crony capitalism is harmful to free enterprise, and economic growth. And by substituting special interests for the public interest, it is harmful to democratic expression.”

His anxieties were remarkably like those expressed in Britain more than 200 years earlier, when the East India Company had become synonymous with ostentatious wealth and political corruption: “What is England now?” fumed the Whig litterateur Horace Walpole, “A sink of Indian wealth.” In 1767 the company bought off parliamentary opposition by donating £400,000 to the Crown in return for its continued right to govern Bengal. But the anger against it finally reached ignition point on 13 February 1788, at the impeachment, for looting and corruption, of Clive’s successor as governor of Bengal, Warren Hastings. It was the nearest the British ever got to putting the EIC on trial, and they did so with one of their greatest orators at the helm – Edmund Burke.

Burke, leading the prosecution, railed against the way the returned company “nabobs” (or “nobs”, both corruptions of the Urdu word “Nawab”) were buying parliamentary influence, not just by bribing MPs to vote for their interests, but by corruptly using their Indian plunder to bribe their way into parliamentary office: “To-day the Commons of Great Britain prosecutes the delinquents of India,” thundered Burke, referring to the returned nabobs. “Tomorrow these delinquents of India may be the Commons of Great Britain.”

Burke thus correctly identified what remains today one of the great anxieties of modern liberal democracies: the ability of a ruthless corporation corruptly to buy a legislature. And just as corporations now recruit retired politicians in order to exploit their establishment contacts and use their influence, so did the East India Company. So it was, for example, that Lord Cornwallis, the man who oversaw the loss of the American colonies to Washington, was recruited by the EIC to oversee its Indian territories. As one observer wrote: “Of all human conditions, perhaps the most brilliant and at the same time the most anomalous, is that of the Governor General of British India. A private English gentleman, and the servant of a joint-stock company, during the brief period of his government he is the deputed sovereign of the greatest empire in the world; the ruler of a hundred million men; while dependant kings and princes bow down to him with a deferential awe and submission. There is nothing in history analogous to this position …”

Hastings survived his impeachment, but parliament did finally remove the EIC from power following the great Indian Uprising of 1857, some 90 years after the granting of the Diwani and 60 years after Hastings’s own trial. On 10 May 1857, the EIC’s own security forces rose up against their employer and on successfully crushing the insurgency, after nine uncertain months, the company distinguished itself for a final time by hanging and murdering tens of thousands of suspected rebels in the bazaar towns that lined the Ganges – probably the most bloody episode in the entire history of British colonialism.

Enough was enough. The same parliament that had done so much to enable the EIC to rise to unprecedented power, finally gobbled up its own baby. The British state, alerted to the dangers posed by corporate greed and incompetence, successfully tamed history’s most voracious corporation. In 1859, it was again within the walls of Allahabad Fort that the governor general, Lord Canning, formally announced that the company’s Indian possessions would be nationalised and pass into the control of the British Crown. Queen Victoria, rather than the directors of the EIC would henceforth be ruler of India.

The East India Company limped on in its amputated form for another 15 years, finally shutting down in 1874. Its brand name is now owned by a Gujarati businessman who uses it to sell “condiments and fine foods” from a showroom in London’s West End. Meanwhile, in a nice piece of historical and karmic symmetry, the current occupant of Powis Castle is married to a Bengali woman and photographs of a very Indian wedding were proudly on show in the Powis tearoom. This means that Clive’s descendants and inheritors will be half-Indian.

***

Today we are back to a world that would be familiar to Sir Thomas Roe, where the wealth of the west has begun again to drain eastwards, in the way it did from Roman times until the birth of the East India Company. When a British prime minister (or French president) visits India, he no longer comes as Clive did, to dictate terms. In fact, negotiation of any kind has passed from the agenda. Like Roe, he comes as a supplicant begging for business, and with him come the CEOs of his country’s biggest corporations.

The idea of the joint-stock company is arguably one of Britain’s most important exports to India

For the corporation – a revolutionary European invention contemporaneous with the beginnings of European colonialism, and which helped give Europe its competitive edge – has continued to thrive long after the collapse of European imperialism. When historians discuss the legacy of British colonialism in India, they usually mention democracy, the rule of law, railways, tea and cricket. Yet the idea of the joint-stock company is arguably one of Britain’s most important exports to India, and the one that has for better or worse changed South Asia as much any other European idea. Its influence certainly outweighs that of communism and Protestant Christianity, and possibly even that of democracy.

Companies and corporations now occupy the time and energy of more Indians than any institution other than the family. This should come as no surprise: as Ira Jackson, the former director of Harvard’s Centre for Business and Government, recently noted, corporations and their leaders have today “displaced politics and politicians as … the new high priests and oligarchs of our system”. Covertly, companies still govern the lives of a significant proportion of the human race.

The 300-year-old question of how to cope with the power and perils of large multinational corporations remains today without a clear answer: it is not clear how a nation state can adequately protect itself and its citizens from corporate excess. As the international subprime bubble and bank collapses of 2007-2009 have so recently demonstrated, just as corporations can shape the destiny of nations, they can also drag down their economies. In all, US and European banks lost more than $1tn on toxic assets from January 2007 to September 2009. What Burke feared the East India Company would do to England in 1772 actually happened to Iceland in 2008-11, when the systemic collapse of all three of the country’s major privately owned commercial banks brought the country to the brink of complete bankruptcy. A powerful corporation can still overwhelm or subvert a state every bit as effectively as the East India Company did in Bengal in 1765.

Corporate influence, with its fatal mix of power, money and unaccountability, is particularly potent and dangerous in frail states where corporations are insufficiently or ineffectually regulated, and where the purchasing power of a large company can outbid or overwhelm an underfunded government. This would seem to have been the case under the Congress government that ruled India until last year. Yet as we have seen in London, media organisations can still bend under the influence of corporations such as HSBC – while Sir Malcolm Rifkind’s boast about opening British embassies for the benefit of Chinese firms shows that the nexus between business and politics is as tight as it has ever been.

The East India Company no longer exists, and it has, thankfully, no exact modern equivalent. Walmart, which is the world’s largest corporation in revenue terms, does not number among its assets a fleet of nuclear submarines; neither Facebook nor Shell possesses regiments of infantry. Yet the East India Company – the first great multinational corporation, and the first to run amok – was the ultimate model for many of today’s joint-stock corporations. The most powerful among them do not need their own armies: they can rely on governments to protect their interests and bail them out. The East India Company remains history’s most terrifying warning about the potential for the abuse of corporate power – and the insidious means by which the interests of shareholders become those of the state. Three hundred and fifteen years after its founding, its story has never been more current.

William Dalrymple’s new book, The Anarchy: How a Corporation Replaced the Mughal Empire, 1756-1803, will be published next year by Bloomsbury & Knopf

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The ascendance of separatists is a crisis not only for the Hong Kong government and Beijing, which already faces independence movements in Tibet, Xinjiang and Taiwan. It also threatens the political power of aging leaders of Hong Kong’s democratic camp, who have been advocating political reform for decades and now find themselves outflanked by young radicals with little patience for Beijing’s increasingly authoritarian ways.

The New York Times says it all…..

HONG KONG — Two years after China’s leadership slammed the door on political reform for Hong Kong, six young candidates running on separatist platforms won seats in the Sept. 4 election for the territory’s legislature. The rapid rise of a youthful political movement intent on gaining more independence for Hong Kong is a direct result of Beijing’s tightening grip on this former British colony.

The ascendance of separatists is a crisis not only for the Hong Kong government and Beijing, which already faces independence movements in Tibet, Xinjiang and Taiwan. It also threatens the political power of aging leaders of Hong Kong’s democratic camp, who have been advocating political reform for decades and now find themselves outflanked by young radicals with little patience for Beijing’s increasingly authoritarian ways.

The six new separatist legislators, all under the age of 40, were inspired by the 2014 Umbrella Movement, the 79-day mass sit-in protesting Beijing’s refusal to allow democratic reforms in Hong Kong.

The Legislative Council has restricted powers, but it can block government initiatives. Thirty of the 70 LegCo seats are heavily stacked in favor of Beijing and picked by interest groups, while 40 are chosen by the general public from designated districts.

A gain of six seats by separatists, who didn’t run in every district, is remarkable in such a controlled election, considering that two years ago few Hong Kongers publicly advocated breaking from the mainland. The separatists have become a potent third force in the city’s political landscape, where the battles have long been fought between pan-democratic parties and the pro-Beijing government.

For all of their consistent calls for political reform, the territory’s older generation of democrats have been patriotic and willing to work with the mainland, an approach that is not popular among younger Hong Kongers. The youth, frustrated with Beijing and the failure of the Umbrella Movement, are pessimistic about the city’s long-term prospects and Beijing’s creeping influence. They look to the future with trepidation, despair and anger.

When the British handed Hong Kong over to the Chinese in 1997, China committed to 50 years of a “high-degree of autonomy” for the territory, where free speech and a vibrant civic culture have flourished until recently. No one knows what Beijing will do in 2047, but the fear is that Hong Kong will be completely absorbed into China.

Although the separatists are divided into distinct groups with different goals — among them, making Hong Kong a completely autonomous city-state or outright independence — they all want the post-2047 political arrangement put up for public debate. Most of them are aiming to build enough popular support to force Beijing to allow Hong Kongers to vote on a binding referendum on the city’s post-2047 future.

By contrast, the older pan-democratic parties have had little new to offer. The Democratic Party’s political centerpiece in the recent election amounted to asking Beijing to reopen the door to electoral reform. The pan-democratic leaders, in sticking to what is widely viewed by the youth as a depleted strategy, have lost the trust and respect of younger people.

China’s leaders appear to think that taking a hard line against the separatist movement can contain it. A stern postelection statement from Beijing said the Hong Kong government should punish independence activists.

This strategy will backfire. It was the heavy-handed behavior of Leung Chun-ying, the pro-Beijing Hong Kong chief executive, that has fueled the separatist movement’s growth in the last two years. Mr. Leung singled out a separatist publication for public reprimand last year, angering Hong Kongers with what they saw as an implicit threat to free speech. He banned a student leader who supported independence from attending his university’s council meetings.

Direct interference from Beijing in local affairs has made matters worse. Last year, five workers at a Hong Kong publisher of provocative political books were kidnapped and brought to the mainland where they were detained.

It may be too late for China to convince the hard-core separatists to back down, but there are steps the leadership could take to stem the growth of the movement.

Beijing should remove its central government staff from Hong Kong. The Central Liaison Office has been blamed for many of Beijing’s illegal interventions in Hong Kong affairs. Pro-Beijing politicians are regularly seen visiting the office, giving the impression they take orders directly from the mainland. Shuttering it is an easy gesture that would remove a source of conflict.

The process of appointing top officials to the city’s anticorruption commission and to university governing bodies should be reformed. The power to appoint these officials now lies with the chief executive, but Mr. Leung has shown that he lets his personal interests influence his choices. A deputy head of the office of the Independent Commission Against Corruption appeared to be forced to resign this year after she allegedly insisted on investigating financial irregularities involving Mr. Leung.

All mainland funding of politicians and unfair efforts to gain votes should be stopped. In recent elections, busloads of elderly people were brought to voting booths by pro-government supporters with the names of their preferred candidates written on their palms. After voting, they were often bused to restaurants.

But even if China’s leaders choose a policy of détente with the people of Hong Kong, Mr. Leung is not the right person to carry it out. His positions have been too overtly pro-Beijing, rankling much of the population. Replacing Mr. Leung when his term ends in March would help mend ties between Beijing and the separatists.

Without a change of the chief executive, we can expect the separatists to make more gains in the next election four years from now.


Looks like Malaysia cannot be trusted. Yes, it reflects most adversely on the credibility and international standing of Malaysia for reneging on its commitments and undertakings in the Hatyai Agreement signed some 20 years ago.

The Hatyai Peace Agreement was signed at 8pm on November 30th 1989 in the Lee Gardens Hotel in Hatyai between the Malaysian Government the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) and the Thai Government. Malaysia’s long standing conflict with communism ended when Malaysia, Thailand government and the CPM finally signed the Peace Accord after a long-drawn conflict which was fought for 41 long years before finally laying down their arms.

The Malaysian Government was represented by Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Haji Wan Sidek Wan Abdul Rahman, Chief of the Defence Forces Jen Tan Sri Hashim Mohd Ali and Inspector-General of Police Tun Hanif Omar.

Thai Armed Forces Chief General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, Police-General Sawaeng Therasawat, Home Affairs Permanent Secretary Anek Sithiprasasana and Regional Internal Security Operations Command Director Lt Gen Yodhana Yamphundu signed on behalf of the Thai government.

The CPM side were represented by Chin Peng aka Ong Boon Hwa, Abdullah and Rashid Maydin.

During the signing of the Peace Accord Chin Peng in his speech even pledged his allegiance to the Yang diPertuan Agong and the country and said the accord was in line with CPM’s intention to make peace with the Malaysian government.

Then, why was not this agreement honoured by the Malaysian side? The Malaysian side didn’t even allow the CPM leader Chin Peng to come back to Malaysia to visit his hometown to pay respects to his parents’ graves in Sitiawan, when he requested. Now, after death, even Chin Peng’s ashes cannot be brought home. Why? Even Former inspector-general of police Abdul Rahim Mohd Noor is saying that Malaysia will become a laughing stock if the government adamantly refuses to allow Chin Peng’s remains to be brought into the country. I agree fully with the Former IGP.

Maybe the Malaysian side should go back and study history all over again, they should visit Imperial War Museum London or maybe just watch “Test Nationhood” a brilliant 35-minute propaganda film on Malayan Emergency, 1948-1960, by the Imperial War Museum.

Below is Chin Peng’s farewell letter obtained by Malaysiakini’s correspondent in Bangkok:

“My dear Comrades, my dear Compatriots,

When you read this letter, I am no more in this world.

It was my original intention to pass away quietly and let my relatives handle the funeral matters in private. However, the repercussions of erroneous media reports of me in critical condition during October 2011, had persuaded me that leaving behind such a letter is desirable.

Ever since I joined the Communist Party of Malaya and eventually became its secretary-general, I have given both my spiritual and physical self in the service of the cause that my party represented, that is, to fight for a fairer and better society based on socialist ideals. Now with my passing away, it is time that my body be returned to my family.

I draw immense comfort in the fact that my two children are willing to take care of me, a father who could not give them family love, warmth and protection ever since their birth. I could only return my love to them after I had relinquished my political and public duties, ironically only at a time when I have no more life left to give to them as a father.

It was regrettable that I had to be introduced to them well advanced in their adulthood as a stranger. I have no right to ask them to understand, nor to forgive. They have no choice but to face this harsh reality. Like families of many martyrs and comrades, they too have to endure hardship and suffering not out of their own doing, but out of a consequence of our decision to challenge the cruel forces in the society which we sought to change.

It is most unfortunate that I couldn’t, after all, pay my last respects to my parents buried in hometown of Sitiawan (in Perak), nor could I set foot on the beloved motherland that my comrades and I had fought so hard for against the aggressors and colonialists.

My comrades and I had dedicated out lives to a political cause that we believed in and had to pay whatever price there was as a result. Whatever consequences on ourselves, our family and the society, we would accept with serenity.

In the final analysis, I wish to be remembered simply as a good man who could tell the world that he had dared to spend his entire life in pursuit of his own ideals to create a better world for his people.

It is irrelevant whether I succeeded or failed, at least I did what I did. Hopefully the path I had walked on would be followed and improved upon by the young after me. It is my conviction that the flames of social justice and humanity will never die.

Farewell, my dear Comrades!

Farewell, my dear Compatriots!

Farewell, my dear Motherland!”


KOTA KINABALU: The polemics on Putrajaya’s internal colonization policies in Sabah and Sarawak appears to be getting increasingly shrill and out of hand and needs to be brought to a swift end and buried for good. Instead, it’s felt that it’s best to let bygones be bygones and “focus on regaining self-determination along the lines of 31 Aug 1963” for Sabah and Sarawak.

Self-determination in this form for Sabah and Sarawak would be “the best way forward and out from internal colonization”. Self-determination, in international law, “has come to mean the free choice of one’s own acts without external compulsion”.

This is the growing consensus within the State Reform Party (Star), a Borneo-based national party which initiated, formed and leads the United Borneo Alliance (UBA) to work towards a 3rd Force in the Malaysian Parliament.

“We feel it’s pointless, indeed counter-productive, to engage in further polemics on the issue of internal colonization in Sabah and Sarawak,” said Star deputy chairman Daniel John Jambun in a press statement. “We should stop participating in further polemics on the issue. It serves little purpose to debate anyone on internal colonization.”

He was commenting on a statement on Wed this week in the local media by the Yayasan Islam Sabah (YIS) virtually denying the basis on which Sabah and Sarawak formed Malaysia. The welfare body also claimed, “in defiance of international law”, that Sabah does not have the right to leave Malaysia.

Former Sabah Chief Minister Harris Salleh heads the YIS and recently challenged Star chairman Jeffrey Kitingan to a public debate on internal colonization. Jeffrey accepted the dare subject to Harris proving locus standi and “something more than hot air coming out of the debate”. Harris, in turn, called Jeffrey “chicken”, a label which the latter threw back at the former.

Daniel explained that UBA had hoped that a public debate on internal colonization would not be about scoring points or turning heroes into zeros or vice versa but instead facilitate the process of reversing the phenomenon in the two Borneo states in Malaysia.

“We feel that this – reversing internal colonization — is not going to happen now given denials and counter denials being issued daily by Putrajaya’s proxies in Sabah and Sarawak,” said Daniel. “These proxies have any number of stooges with them who are willing to sell their souls to the devil himself.”

Asked for the basis on which the party is in consensus on regaining self-determination, he replied that “it would facilitate us getting out of the quicksand being created by others on the issue of internal colonization”.

“International law is clear,” he said. “We have the right to get back our self-determination of 31 Aug 1963 and any number of traitors among us is not going to derail the process.”

Again, he reiterated that Sabah and Sarawak exercised the right of self-determination and won independence on 31 Aug 1963. Self-determination, explained Daniel, is the principle in international law that “nations have the right to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status with no external compulsion – think Malayan, British — or external interference”.

However, this freedom was taken away 16 days later by “a bad British idea called Malaysia”, he added. “We were blackmailed into Malaysia by claims that Indonesia and the Philippines are like crocodiles waiting to swallow us once the British leave. No one swallowed Brunei.”

“Sabah and Sarawak should go back to 31 Aug 1963 and reclaim the independence that we won that day,” said Daniel. “That’s our right to self-determination.”

Malaysia, according to Daniel, is not working out at all for Sabah and Sarawak just as it did not work out for Singapore and was a non-starter for Brunei.

“Brunei stayed out from Malaysia at the 11th hour and Singapore left two years later,” noted Daniel. “Look, where they are now! Meanwhile, Sabah and Sarawak are the poorest states in Malaysia. This is not what we bargained for when we were literally blackmailed by Malaya and Britain into Malaysia.”

Malaysia, claimed Daniel, had in retrospect nothing to do with the welfare of the people of Sabah and Sarawak and was mooted purely to protect the British commercial empire in the wake of decolonization. It was a time of the Cold War and communism terrorism raging in the region, he noted.

He lamented that the security promised Sabah by Malaysia did not materialize and instead it had been seriously compromised by the influx of illegal immigrants continuing to enter the electoral rolls, the changing demographic make-up and character and the increasing disenfranchisement and marginalisation of the local people.

“We can’t continue to live in a state of denial,” said Daniel. “It’s time to call a spade and spade so that we can move into the future that we all want for our children and grandchildren.”

Sabah, reiterated Daniel, needs to forge its own destiny in the community of nations instead of being tied to an unhappy relationship with Peninsular Malaysia on the other side of the South China Sea, several thousand kilometers away.

The Star deputy chief conceded that his state chapter had yet to discuss re-gaining self-determination with the Sarawak chapter of the party and their allies in UBA.

Besides Star, UBA includes the Sarawak National Party (Snap), the Borneo Heritage Foundation, Borneo Forum, Common Interest Group Malaysia (CigMA), KoKaKoBa, the Oil For Future Foundation and various NGOs who are on the verge of signing up with the alliance.

“We will first finalize the consensus within Star Sabah before reaching out to Star Sabah and our other allies in UBA,” disclosed Daniel. “We can only make an official announcement once we are ready.”

It’s crystal clear, said Daniel in citing various reactions so far, that Putrajaya will not play ball on the issue of complying with the four constitutional documents and/or conventions on Malaysia.

He cited the four documents/conventions as the 1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63); the 20/18 Points (20/18 P); the Inter Governmental Committee Report (IGCR); and the Cobbold Commission Report (CCR).

Putrajaya’s non-compliance of the four constitutional documents/conventions, claimed Daniel, rendered the Malaysian Constitution and Malaysia inoperable to the extent of the non-compliance and placed Sabah and Sarawak’s participation in the Federation as “non-existent”.

“The issue of whether we are in or out of Malaysia no longer arises,” said Daniel. “We are out and have been out since Putrajaya has been in non-compliance. This means we have gone back to the status we had on 31 Aug 1963.”

Constitutional lawyers familiar with the issue of compliance are in broad agreement that there’s no law on compliance and no mechanisms on compliance and therefore the Federal Government cannot be said to be acting unlawfully by being in non-compliance.

The other side of the coin is that the Federal Government can be said to be acting unconstitutionally by being in non-compliance, and by extrapolation and logical deduction, not acting lawfully on the issue of the participation of Sabah and Sarawak in the Federation of Malaysia.

The bottomline, it’s acknowledged, is that it’s difficult to argue with the consensus that non-compliance has meant that Sabah and Sarawak are not in Malaysia, and therefore, the two countries have the same status that they had on 31 Aug 1963 i.e. before Malaysia on 16 Sept 1963. In short, Putrajaya’s non-compliance has meant that the status of 31 Aug 1963 has never been taken away from Sabah and Sarawak or ceased to exist and has continued and continues to this day.

Daniel John Jambun
Deputy Chairman, State Reform Party (Star)
Contact: 012-834 0972

Wed 30 May, 2012


Or view playlist to play all at: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=84C9A27A62FC1FB2

My buddy Raja Petra affectionately called Pet is in London speaking publicly for the first time since having left Malaysia on self-imposed exile. This was organised by Solicitors International Human Rights Group, UK.

The video is in 7 parts.

You can also hear some parts of the video where Raja Petra talks about Filipinos/Pilaks in Sabah given Blue IC during Pairin’s time under Mahathir sponsored “Project M”.


L-R, Dr, Nicholas Bawin of Sarawak, P. Waythayamoorty, Chairman Hindraf movement, Labour party MP, Virenda Sharma, and Daniel John Jambun of Sabah.

This is the story of Sabah since joining in the formation of Malaysia, September 16, 1963, from being one of the richest territory with plenty of natural resources has become the poorest state in the Federation.

Sabah is in a real mess. There are close to 1 million illegal immigrants in Sabah. Over 600,000 thousand with false documents have been given genuine Malaysian identity cards and some have even become voters. The acquisition of citizenship by these illegal immigrants was never in accordance to our country`s federal constitution. To me this is Treason.

Politicians link with the Barisan National are helping illegals to become Malaysian citizens and this act is prejudicial to the security and sovereignty of this country and it seems as though these UMNO fellows who are the culprits are immune to the laws of our country.

Anyway, many thanks to Waythamoorty the Chairman of Hindraf for taking the initiative in London in the British Parliament to help Sabah and Sarawak highlight the issues haunting these 2 states since formation of Malaysia, at least some one who is not from East Malaysia, understands the problems and is making effort to help. Also congratulate my good friend Dr Jeffrey Kitingan for taking the trouble to go all the way to Singapore to meet up with Waythamoorty and to personally request for support from Hindraf.

Read below the Memorandum delivered by Daniel John at the House of Commons London.

SHATTERED HOPES
AND
BROKEN DREAMS
—————————————————————————————-
A Memorandum on the Fate of Sabah
in the Malaysian Federation
—————————————————————————————-

Presented by DANIEL JOHN JAMBUN, Esq.
At the House of Commons, London, the United Kingdom
March 9, 2010

Good afternoon all Honourable Members of the House, ladies and gentlemen.
First of all, I would like to record our most sincere gratitude having been given this honour of presenting this memorandum before this esteemed House. Today, marks a moment of honour for the people of Sabah, the former North Borneo, for having been accorded this rare opportunity to present a Memorandum a matter of grave significance, a matter which affect our fate as the people of the Federation of Malaysia. We see this as a historical event, a moment granted by God’s grace, in which we can communicate under this honourable roof, to reminisce a milestone of history half a century ago which was followed by sad events that in too many instances happened with numerous misgivings.
For decades now, we the people of Sabah, have been haunted by ghosts of history dating back to August 31, 1963, the day we gained independence from Great Britain. Malaysia was conceptualised and constituted with the best of promises, endearing in us hopes and dreams for a greater future. It is with sadness that I stand here to witness that what had transpired since September 16, 1963 had been a series of events that had led us to the present situation in which we can justly proclaim to be a situation of shattered hopes and broken dreams!

We therefore stand before this House, in good faith, to seek redress and to appeal for an inclusive dialogue, which we hope will lead to a clearer and brighter tomorrow to all parties concerned. I seek the indulgence of this House to hear our side of the story and adjudge the events of the past with a clear conscience and a sympathetic eye, and to lend us a hand in seeking a just and righteous solution to our problem.
I would like to present three pertinent issues, which may or may not have direct concern of the present British government. Firstly, we need to take a critical review of the rationales and instruments for the formation of Malaysia. There is the nagging question of justice in the drafting of the critical Malaysia Agreement, the efficiency and integrity off the Cobbold Commission, the reliability of the promises of the Twenty Points, the Inter governmental Committee Report and the Malaysian Act, historical documents which must be familiar to the knowledge of the Honourable Lawmakers in this House. Secondly, is the perennial issue of security which now affect the sovereignty of Sabah within Malaysia. And thirdly is the case of the spiraling deterioration in the economic wellbeing of the people of Sabah.

Sabah’s Expectations of Malaysia vs Reality and the Malaysian Agreement
The facts of history is that Sabah, a former British colony, achieved its independence on August 31st, 1963. On September 16, 1963, it merged with Malaya, Singapore and Sarawak to form the Federation of Malaysia on terms agreed by all parties. The concept of merger and equal partnership was introduced by Tunku Abdul Rahman to allay fears in Sabah and Sarawak of the possibility of Malaya recolonizing them upon the departure of the British masters.
The terms of this Federation are contained in various documents such as the Twenty Points, the IGC report and of course the Malaysia Agreement, which on paper protected the interests of Sabah and Sarawak within this new Federation so that they do not lose their autonomy in certain areas of governance which gave meanings and substances to their independence.
Without doubt, this was the expressed hope of the founding fathers, principally Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia; Lee Kuan Yew, the former Prime Minister of Singapore, Donald Stephens and Mustapha Harun of Sabah, Stephen Kalong Ningkan of Sarawak, etc. Independent speeches were delivered by various leaders including Razak, Tun Mustapha, Donald Stephens and Sir William Goode to during the historic celebration of Sabah’s nationhood. I present several quotes from them below:

Today, is a historic day for Sabah. It marks the beginning of self-government and independence and the end of colonialism.

* Sir William Goode, outgoing Governor of North Borneo

(Sabah Times, Jesselton, August 1, 1963)

The Tunku naturally uttered several historic statements on the matter:

“The granting of self-government too would enable Sabah to stand on its own feet as equal with Malaya, Sarawak and Singapore.”

(Sabah Times, Jesselton, August 30th, 1963)

“The important aspects of the Malaysia Ideal, as I see it, is that it will enable the Borneo territories to transform their present colonial status to ‘self government’ for themselves and absolute independence in Malaysia simultaneously…”

“The days of imperialism are gone and it is not the intention of Malaya to perpetuate or revive them. When the Borneo territories become part of Malaysia, they will cease to be a colony of Malaya, they will be partners of equal status, no more or less than the other States.”

(Strait Times, October 2nd 1962) The “other States” refer to the other States entities of Malaya, Singapore and Sarawak.”

Today, more than forty six years after independence, the people of Sabah are asking what happened to these rosy pronouncements and assurances. In fact the Sabahans have always been seriously clarification as to why Sabah is now functioning as if it is only a colony of Kuala Lumpur. Many still remember the warnings given by former Indonesian president Sukarno, who said that Malaysia will not change colonialism but will only shift its headquarters from London to Kuala lumpur. Has Sukarno’s prophecy come true today?
Tunku Abdul Rahman kept assuring us that Sabah was now independent; that it was no longer a colony and that Sabah will have its” absolute independence” in Malaysia. What Tunku Abdul Rahman said was exactly what we expected Sabah to gain and benefit from being part of the Federation, i.e. being a fully autonomous state within the Federation. But contrary to that promise, the reality today is that Sabah has become the 12th state of Malaya. Federal government leaders, dominated by Malayans, today can arbitrarily change, at their whims and fancies, whatever they wish to suit their needs and convenience. They even ignored the Twenty Points and the Malaysia Agreement and made it sensitive to even talk about them.
The Problem of the Illegal and Legalised Immigrants in Sabah
About half of Sabah’s population of 3.25 million today are foreigners. Out of this number, 750,000 are undocumented or without travel documents or work passes. Dr Chong Eng Leong paper, “Human Rights and Citizenship: Its impact on Economics, Social and Cultural Rights,” presented at the SUHAKAM Roundtable Discussion on July 31, 2006 refers.
Of these, 60,000 are categorized as refugees and about 153,000 to 418,000 are those supposedly given work passes. In addition there are those with false documents but over and above these numbers are the 600,000 who have been given genuine Malaysian identity cards or MyKads by higher authority under “Projek IC Mahathir” (Dr. Chong Eng Leong, Ibid.)
The most serious and obvious injustices inflicted upon Sabah is the deployment of non-citizen to become voters, thereby depriving citizens of the right to democracy and self-determination. The main category of foreign voters comprise the 600,000 who have been given Mykads, under “Projek IC Mahathir.” This project was widely debated in the local papers in 2006. A witness to a trial on an election dispute confessed in court to possessing a dubious identity card, telling the magistrate that he obtained his IC through “Projek President Mahathir.” This evidence was never contested, and nor has there been any denial form the former Prime Minister.
Security and Sovereignty
Most of these foreigners come from a neighbouring country (the Philippines) which, incidently, has yet to drop its territorial claim over Sabah. By the sheer number of the illegals from the Philippines alone, with their settlements surrounding all the major cities and towns, this claim could be easily legitimized. Sabah is now a haven for escaping terrorists, rebels and kidnappers. JI or Jemaah islamiyah, a terror network, has been identified as having its presence in Sabah. So is Darul Islam Sabah. Hence, with the presence of armed foreigners on our soil, Sabah is no longer a secure state.
This begs the question: Where is the security that the founding fathers of Malaysia had promised us? With the explicit support of Great Britain, we had been hard-pressed to join in the formation of Malaysia, in the name of security from Indonesia’s Confrontation and Phillippines’ claim. But as it turned out, today Brunei, which opted out following a rebellion, and Singapore which was later expelled, are doing so much better. There is therefore no denying that Brunei had been far-sighted, and Singapore had been ironically blessed by its expulsion.
Reverse Take Over
As the number of non-citizens are now rapidly outnumbering the local population in some areas (Dr Jeffery Kitingan, Justice for Sabah, Table 4.1), it is merely a matter of time for this foreign population to spread and overwhelm the whole of Sabah. SUHAKAM’s former Commissioner, Prof. Hamdan Adnan, once said that a foreigner reverse takeover is imminent if the trend continues unabated.
Poverty
Sabah is a rich state endowed with much natural resources such as oil and gas, timber, fertile agricultural land and tourism potentials. With a population of just about three million, Sabah offers abundant promises for vibrant economic development and enviable prosperity. Unfortunately, Sabah today is the poorest state in Malaysia (according to the government’s Malaysia Plan Report). Most of Sabah’s timber has already been harvested without any heed to sustainable supply management, and over eighty percent of the agricultural land develop for oil palm belong to corporate giants owned by west Malaysian companies. Ironically, Sabah is Malaysia’s largest oil palm producer with 60% of the nation’s palm oil being produced in Sabah. Sabah is also one of three Malaysia’s oil producing states, producing more than 73,000 barrels of crude petroleum per day. Why then is Sabah poor and financially dependent on the federal government? The answer is simple: It is either that Sabah is not getting its fair share of its own wealth or is the victim of mismanagement, or both. UNDP (United Nation Development Program) put the State poverty rate at 24.3% of the population.

Poorest State
Sabah, once the richest state in Malaysia, is now the poorest. Most of the poor are Natives in the rural areas, including paddy farmers, fishermen and smallholders. The state government of Sabah has one of the highest budget deficit in the country amounting RM252.89 million (2006). With a population of 3.25 million, its per capita income currently stands at RM9,536 compared to RM18,040 for Malaysia. This show a huge disparity with Sabah’s per capita income way, way below the national standard. Where do our riches go to? To be exact: to the Federal Government. Sabah can never be rich as long as our State cake” is continuously divided into thirteen.
Oil Revenue
Oil and gas belong to the state but in 1976 the federal government made the state surrender this state resource to a central government agency, PETRONAS. It is said that that the “Double Six” Tragedy (airplane crash at Sembulan which killed senior Sabah cabinet members, including the then Chief Minister Tun Fuad Stephens, the former Donald Stephens) was the result of the refusal by Stephens to sign away Sabah’s oil right in Labuan then. Soon after Tun Fuad’s funeral, Harris Salleh signed the agreement. In return the state gets only 5% of the oil revenue. Why? Why do we get only 5% of the revenue from oil, when in the first place, it is a state resource? Who gets the other 95%? How much revenue earnings have been generated from Sabah’s oil and gas, including their by-products?
Felda and Felcra
Land given out to Felda and Felcra by the State Government for the purpose of development assistance to the landless local was never implemented. According to the former Chief Minister, Harris Salleh, 300,000 hectares have been given to Felda/Felcra for this purpose. We know of no one Sabahan having benefited, although perhaps there may be a few. So who are the rest of the beneficiaries? Who is reaping the oil palm harvest from our land? Obviously, justice must be served. And these lands must revert back to the State Government and their utilisation reviewed as part of our economic revival and poverty eradication programmes.

Political
The enormous political implications of the non-citizens currently holding citizens’ identity cards are mind boggling. It is frightening to contemplate the ramifications of the fact that they can vote, as they have been recruited and mobilised by certain political leaders in the BN (the Barisan Nasional or National Front) ruling coalition. In fact most of these “voters for hire” have been recruited as members of UMNO (the United Malay National Organisation), the backbone of the BN.
Even a fellow BN member had openly admitted that illegals could be in BN parties. Chin Su Ling, Youth Chief of the Liberal Democratic Party, a component of the BN said there is a possibility that many illegal immigrants have become members of various BN component Sabah. (Borneo Post, Tuesday, September 19th, 2006). These foreigners may just be “voters for hire” at present but once they can organize themselves, they could be in a position to control Sabah UMNO and elect their own representatives into the State Assembly and Parliament. Once this is achieved they could take over the government and change the rules of the game in their favour. This is not impossible.
How did Sabah’s population grow so fast? Are we more fertile than Sarawak or the peninsular? NO! The high growth in Sabah’s population is explained by the high arrivals of foreigners, many of whom were later exploited to become voters through the “Project IC.” Worse, these foreigners who obtained MyKads through the backdoor also claim to be Bumiputeras (sons of the soil). They are in fact The New Bumiputeras! These new “natives” are now the same number as the natives!
Source of Socio-economic Problems
This large foreign population in Sabah also presents a heavy drain on the economy and social services fund. One estimate puts this cost to the State between RM271 million to RM811 million a year. They also take away from the local quota for education in schools and institutions of higher learning. They use a lot of medical facilities and health care services and encroach onto natives lands, producing squatter colonies. They also rely on low cost housing schemes provided by the government. They are also involved in drugs. According to the police, 90% of drugs are from the Philippines. They steal water and electricity through illegal connections and pollute the environment. Employment wise, many illegals are now running taxis, mini buses as drivers.
“The illegal immigrants are the mother of all problems in Sabah” – Dato Bakri Zinin . High ranking Police Officer, Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur

Conclusion
The root cause of Sabah’s dilemma is the fact that the Inter-Governmental Committee Report had failed to ensure Malaysian Government compliance with the Malaysia Agreement on a continuous basis. Various ‘modification’ and ‘adjustments’ had been surreptitiously inserted into the national governance mechanism which had trapped us into subservience and compliance and in the process eroding much of our rights and privileges.

The IGC must be revived and the United Kingdom, along with Singapore, Sarawak, Sabah and Malaya (the Federal Government), must play an active role as sympathetic and just former master to institute effective and enduring rectifications. This is the least that we can ask for. This is also the way forward. The United Kingdom is the first stop in our mission to revive the IGC. Efforts are also being made at this material time in Kuala Lumpur by Dr Jeffrey Gapari Kitingan, the chairman of the Common Interest Group Malaysia (Cigma) to seek the same redress and review of the terms of independence And formation of the Federation of Malaysia. Likewise we are mobilising a similar mission to Singapore prior to seeking a dialogue with the Sabah and Sarawak State Governments on the same issue.
With respect and reverence we lay our hopes and desires before this honourable House for a redirection of the negative trends that beset us in Borneo, in the full confidence that a vehicle to the future can be chartered for justice and truth, to pick up the pieces of the shattered hopes and broken dreams.

Thank you.


Just got word that Pet is safe and sound in England. Thank God!

Pet had to go away from Malaysia as he had reasons to believe that a new detention order under the Internal Security Act (ISA) had been issued by the Police and they were looking for him high and low the last few days to put him off permanently.

Even Pet’s buddies were not spared by the cops as they too had been monitored and in some cases even questioned by the apparatus.

Pet did not turn up to the Petaling Jaya Sessions court yesterday for the continuation of his sedition trial which was connected to the posting he made in Malaysia Today website which was allegedly a seditious article entitled ‘Let’s send the Altantuya murderers to hell’.

Hence, an arrest warrant had been issued against Pet for failing to appear in the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court yesterday for the continuation of this sedition trial.

Before Pet left for UK this is what he had to say, “I would never be allowed to leave. The police would immediately detain me and send me to Kamunting and this time I shall not be so fortunate as to see freedom in two months like in the last two occasions”.

So, what is Malaysia coming to? Why is Raja Petra being hounded and sought by the apparatus to be placed under fresh ISA arrest warrant and fresh charges of treason made against him, but, Razak Baginda tried for murder is acquitted and no appeal is made by the Attorney General’s office? Sounds funny here. Why the double standards?

It seems like Malaysia is in a state of anarchy where might is right. To anyone outside the Malaysian government it is obvious who Raja Petra is: a well-informed critic of a corrupt regime. Its not wrong to think that the fresh ISA detention order is a way of putting him beyond the reach of the courts, where the specious actions against him can be exposed for what they are.

As Pet says himself, “heads they win, tails I lose”.


It’s not every day the American president’s driver is told to move his bulletproof car.

But Queen Elizabeth II’s handlers made the request on Wednesday after U.S. President Barack Obama’s reinforced Cadillac limousine was found to be blocking the garden entrance driveway at Buckingham Palace.

After it was moved, Jaguars carrying Prince Charles and other members of the royal family pulled up for the queen’s reception for leaders attending today’s G-20 summit.

Obama and his wife, Michelle — wearing a black and white dress, pearls and a black coat — were two of the first dignitaries to meet the queen, who wore a salmon-colored dress and her trademark pearls.

During their private meeting, President Obama and first lady gave the queen a personalized iPod with video footage of her 2007 visit to Washington and Virginia. She was also given a rare songbook signed by composer Richard Rodgers.

In return the queen and her husband, Prince Philip, gave the Obamas a signed portrait of themselves.

Queen Elizabeth has met with 11 of the last 12 US presidents, including a meeting that took place with Harry Truman when she was a princess, according to Buckingham Palace spokesman David Pogson.

The only president she did not meet was Lyndon Johnson. His widow later met the queen.


Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein’s rewrites history when he said at the Umno general assembly that the process of  our independence and later developments were forged by “Umno and our Malay Rulers and no one else”.

Well done Hishammudin! You always have the habit of speaking the truth and nothing but the truth.

Remember Hisham, I don’t know if you were born before 1957, it was Tunku Abdul Rahman who led a three-man Alliance delegation comprising Tunku, Najib’s father and Tan Sri T.H. Tan from the MCA to England to hold talks with the colonial authority.

Later on or before 1957, Tunku Abdul Rahman also led an Alliance delegation comprising MCA and MIC to London to hold independence talks with the British.

STOP REWRITING HISTORY! STOP OPENING YOUR BIG MOUTH!


At least 200 schoolchildren in Britain, some as young as 13, have been identified as potential terrorists, prompting drastic new tactics to prevent teenagers becoming attracted to Islamic extremist ideology.

Sir Norman Bettison, Britain’s most senior officer in charge of terror prevention, revealed the number, which had leapt from 10 children identified by June 2008. “Channel project” had intervened in the cases of at least 200 children who were thought to be at risk of extremism, since it began 18 months ago. 

Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain agreed that in recent years youngsters have been attracted by terrorist propaganda emanating from al-Qaeda-inspired groups.

In recent years many British Muslim youngsters have been lured and seduced by terrorist propaganda emanating from al-Qa’ida-inspired groups.

The British government now realise that it has a role to play in making sure that Muslim youngsters who have been seduced by al-Qa’ida-inspired groups must be made to realise that the whole thing is seen for what it is i.e a nihilistic one which offers no hope, only death and destruction.