Archive for the ‘malaysiakini’ Category


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!”

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by Premesh Chandran

COMMENT: The attacks against Malaysiakini signal that the government is getting desperate.

For the past week, the mainstream media – TV3, Utusan Malaysia, New Straits Times and The Star – have launched an attack on Malaysiakini and civil society organisations for receiving grants from international foundations in what they claimed is a plot to destabilise the government.

Malaysiakini has been further attacked for having a foreign investor which is allegedly linked to billionaire financier George Soros. Further aspersions have been cast on Malaysiakini that some of our shareholders have political links.

I understand the reason for the attacks. After all, elections are around the corner, and by all accounts, the results could go either way. Hence, the mainstream media have been ordered by their political owners – UMNO and MCA – to attack and discredit voices that are calling for free and fair elections, for investigations into various corruption scandals and for democratic principles to be observed and upheld.

It is no surprise that they repeatedly report accusations, insinuations and half-truths, along with an ugly dose of racism – a strategy perfected by none other than Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels.

Let’s look into these accusations one by one and put them to bed:

1. Same accusation 11 years ago

Former Malaysiakini news editor YL Chong’s repeated accusations that in 2001 we hid a RM188,000 grant from Media Development Loan Fund (MDLF) and that he resigned after taking a stand on the matter.

This accusation is not new. It was paraded in the mainstream media 11 years ago – back in 2001 – as “proof” of our links to Soros. We have published our rebuttal shortly after those accusations were made.

In a nutshell, Malaysiakini was open with its staff about a contract to build a software application for the Centre for Advanced Media Prague (Camp), which is MDLF’s technology division.

Chong went to the media with the accusation that the deal was a grant and we’re hiding the deal. In fact, Malaysiakini had already made an announcement of the software deal on the site.

The question is, why would Malaysiakini be so open with its staff on the deal. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to keep Malaysiakini staff in the dark?

2. ‘Soros man on Malaysiakini Board’

On the back of successfully completing the technology development and successfully launching a subscription model in January 2002, MDLF decided to invest in Malaysiakini – their first in an online medium, breaking away from their traditional investment in newspapers, television and radio stations.

Malaysiakini received RM1.3 million for 29 percent of equity and MDLF agreed to sign an editorial non-intervention agreement. Following that, Malaysiakini held a press conference and made an announcement about the matter.

At the time of the investment, MDLF was led by its co-founder Sasa Vucinic, a journalist whose independent radio station B92 in Belgrade fought a long and hard battle to help bring down Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. Milosevic was subsequently charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity in connection with wars in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo.

Sasa went on to set up MDLF with the strategy of helping independent media in Eastern Europe grow following the fall of communism. Soros, a Hungarian with a track record of supporting press freedom, was among the many major donors of MDLF. Do watch Sasa’s fantastic TED talk to know more about MDLF’s philosophy.

To date, MDLF is involved in 269 projects for 85 independent media companies in 27 countries. Not only does MDLF have a right to be on Malaysiakini’s Board given its stake in the company, it is hardly business sense for us to pass on the opportunity to have such distinguished individuals to serve on our board.

The advice and guidance from MDLF and their current CEO, Harlan Mandel, have been a tremendous boost to Malaysiakini’s business strategy. How is Mandel a Soros’ man? Indeed, using the tenuous link between MDLF and Soros to argue that somehow MDLF is doing Soros’s bidding is definitely straight out of the Goebbels handbook.

3. But why attack Soros?

The entire attack by the mainstream media is premised on a link between Malaysiakini and Soros. But why the hatred of Soros?

The Malaysian Central Bank chose to gamble our hard-earned reserves on defending the pound. When the pound collapsed in 1992, Malaysia was left with a major hole in the Treasury, and Soros made a name for himself for breaking the Bank of England.

Instead of asking why was our central bank engaged in highly speculative and risky action, Malaysia attacked Soros.

Despite a heated exchange of words in the wake of the Asian financial crisis, former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad later conceded that Soros was not responsible for the damage to Malaysia. Mahathir subsequently met Soros in Kuala Lumpur and asked for his support for his global campaign to outlaw war.

During his visit to Malaysia, Soros met with a host of government and business leaders. We have even heard of there were subsequent private meetings between Soros and top UMNO leaders, which to date have gone unreported but will come to light soon.

4. Malaysiakini gets grants from foreign donors

The mainstream media have portrayed that Malaysiakini has been hiding the fact that we receive grants from international donors and we now “admit” to this long-hidden fact. The truth is that Malaysiakini has always declared the grants it receives.

Malaysiakini funds its core activities from subscription and advertising revenues. Grants are used to fund projects that are of social benefit but are not likely to be revenue generating or profitable. So while Malaysiakini as a whole is a for-profit organisation, we do solicit funds to support our “non-profit” projects.

For example, Malaysiakini trained over 300 citizen journalists around Malaysia and established a website called http://www.cj.my. Malaysiakini also established Komunitikini.com to encourage local news coverage. Malaysiakini built Undi.info to provide electoral information and Digitalibrary.my as an online archive of important documents.

5. Malaysiakini has opposition figures as shareholders

In order to start up Malaysiakini, the founders invested their own funds and appealed to friends in civil society for investment in 1999.

R. Sivarasa (left), then a prominent human rights activist had yet to join any political party; Sivarasa’s sister-in-law, Mary Agnes, who is a banker; Bruno Pereira, a prominent trade unionist; and Joseph Paul, also a human rights activist, took the risk to make the initial investment in Malaysiakini. Their contribution was converted to shares and they represent not more than a couple of percent of the company.

Up to this date, unfortunately, they and other shareholders have not received any dividends but we hope their investments have been worthwhile. In no way do any of the shareholders have an influence in Malaysiakini.

The Selangor MB’s press secretary, Arfa’eza Aziz, is a former Malaysiakini journalist, a fact conveniently omitted by The Star’s report. She, along with 50 other Malaysiakini staff, hold shares amounting to about 12 percent of the company.

6. Malaysiakini is controlled by outside forces

Nothing can be further from the truth. Despite many offers to buy Malaysiakini, the founders continue to hold on to their majority stake.

Malaysiakini asks our readers to pay a subscription fee so that Malaysiakini remains financially independent and does not have to seek funding for its core operations. Who would know best about how editorial decisions are made but our editors and journalists?

Over 13 years, hundreds have worked on our editorial floor. If asked, I believe they will tell a tale of hard work and toil and long hours, but never a tale of stories being spiked, censored or twisted to suite external powers, something so prevalent in the newsrooms of politically-owned media.

Editorial decisions rest with the editorial desk and the editor-in-chief, and that is the way it should be. We do not believe the accusations against Malaysiakini will stop. After all, desperate times require desperate measures. Nevertheless, for those who are really interested to know more about Malaysiakini, we are more than happy to talk to them.

Besides that, we need to get on with our job of reporting the news that matters, without fear or favour.

PREMESH CHANDRAN is Chief Executive Officer of Malaysiakini.



(Picture taken from Sabahkini.net http://sabahkini.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=13401:joe-fernandez-wartawan-kehabisan-modal&catid=37:politik&Itemid=41)

Dear Editor,

Attached a COMMENT piece, Everyone has Right of Reply, no need to run amok!, for your kind attention.

Thanking you
Regards

Joe Fernandez

COMMENT It’s not the done thing for Jeffrey Kitingan’s State Reform Party (Star) to take a leaf from the mosquito political parties in Sabah and run amok, samseng-style, whenever they run into a spell of stormy weather in the media. The verdict from the Barisan Nasional (BN) is that the party (Star) needs a dose of its own medicine after running amok in recent weeks with numerous statements in the media.

Star’s inspiration stems from one particular mosquito party in the opposition – allegedly planning a reverse frogging after the 13th GE — in Sabah which has been known to avoid press interviews like the plague, preferring to hide behind public relations statements structured as “news stories” and written by journalists on the take – “ang pow journalism” — in the local media, and responding to criticisms with venomous personal and offensive attacks against journalists who incur its wrath.

Again, it seems that Star has now adopted the same approach as well.

If it’s a storm in a tea cup, no need to carry on as if one has been hit by a tsunami.

Not the end of the world

Criticisms in the media are not the end of the world. One must think of living to fight another day. There’s no need to get carried away in politics by one’s own bulls..t. We need to know where politics ends and good government begins. The people are watching!

Two recent articles in the alternative media, and they are self-explanatory, has Star up in arms:

https://selvarajasomiah.wordpress.com/2012/06/30/jeffrey-extends-olive-branch-to-party-rebels/

http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=35608:no-indications-jeffrey-is-a-game-changer&Itemid=2

The piece in selvarajasomiah was also carried in borneoherald.blogspot.com which is run by Dusuns including one who was formerly political secretary to Jeffrey when he was Deputy Federal Minister for Housing and Local Government post-1994.

Star can exercise Right of Reply.

It has waived this right.

Instead, the party’s cybertroopers are now out in full force running amok all over blogosphere and FaceBook, Twitter, Chat and emails, launching downright racist, personal and highly offensive attacks in spin on yours truly. One comment made an unflattering comparison between this writer’s tan and “another Keling but putih” who recently passed away after serving as a press secretary of sorts to former Sabah Chief Minister Harris Salleh.

It’s not known whether Jeffrey is behind these attacks which is very much unlike him but what’s certain is that he’s in the know and apparently making no attempts to stop these attacks.

“Nothing but spin and bullshit”

The cybertroopers attack has been set by the following article originally penned for Sabahkini.net, where it was not greeted enthusiastically, and therefore lifted by a mosquito political party-linked wikiSabah and for good measure posted in Malaysia-today.net where it drew only criticisms against the cybertroopers, among others.

The article – “nothing but spin and bullshit” — is self-explanatory.

http://wikisabah.blogspot.com/2012/07/joe-fernandez-wartawan-kehabisan-modal.html?showComment=1341374898226#c5367884390854390412

Sabahkini.net, malaysiakini.com, freemalaysiatoday.com, selvarajasomiah.wordpress.com, borneoherald.blogspot.com have all been dragged into the debate without the slightest respect for even an ounce of the truth.

The fact is that malaysiakini is yet to settle its legal bill in Kota Kinabalu after being sued by a PKR division chief. The case was struck out by the High Court in the Sabah capital.

To add insult to injury, yours truly has been bombarded with text messages, however not all as virulent as those in blogosphere, and many long telephone calls, some threatening, to put it mildly.

Hit-men from the Philippines

One caller in particular in the dead of night, who sounded as if he had one too many for the road, said that he just has to give the word and his “boss” will finish off yours truly for good. Visions of hit-men from the nearby Philippines came to mind.

Another foul-mouthed caller, liberally spicing his call with various derogatory terms, swore he had a battery of lawyers ready to spring into action on behalf of Star.

The thrust of the matter is Jeffrey Kitingan who has the unenviable reputation of being the King of the Frogs in Sabah. His latest contribution to political theatre in Sabah has been to label all Sabah politicians, including his brother Joseph Pairin Kitingan, as frogs. The Jury is still out on this.

He has yet to convince the voters beyond a shadow of doubt that he has been truly rehabilitated since the dark days of 1994 and that he would not betray the people’s cause in the run-up to the 13th General Election.

Drums of war on Sabah, Sarawak rights

In recent months, the Star Chief has been beating the drums of war on Sabah and Sarawak rights in Malaysia but without producing any concrete evidence that he’s not all just hot air to get the votes.

Jeffrey was in fact accused of betraying Pairin in 1994, albeit through various media statements, and causing the downfall of the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Government. Many believe that then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad made many promises to Jeffrey, after allegedly seizing the latter’s international accounts, and which (promises) he had no intention of keeping. Jeffrey had then just been released from detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) after being incarcerated for two two-year terms.

Jeffrey, who has a PhD from Harvard University, has also yet to convince his former colleagues in PBS that he has fully recovered from the PhD – “permanent head damage” – which he reportedly suffered at the Kamunting Detention Centre. PBS loyalists believe that Jeffrey was subject to repeated attacks on the head with telephone directories to “damage his brains and thinking faculties”.

Exercise Right of Reply

The bottomline is that if Jeffrey is on the level, he will exercise his Right of Reply.

He will also say what he means and mean what he says and not go all over the place bogged down by ancient history.

As Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice president, his major complaint was that the party did not respect Sabahans and Sarawakians and did not subscribe to their rights in Malaysia.

So, he left in a huff to form his own political party instead of standing firm with the opposition alliance to bring about a much-needed change in Putrajaya.

Now that Jeffrey is on his own, there’s no indication either that he’s serious about Sabah and Sarawak rights beyond generating hot air to provide entertainment of sorts in the rural areas in particular.

Hindraf Makkal Sakthi was serious about assisting Jeffrey & Co to internationalize the plight of Borneo in Malaysia. The Star Chief appears to have spurned the offer, withdrawn on co-operating with the London-based NGO, and tried to squat on anyone in the party thinking of taking the UN route with or without Hindraf.

Meeting Najib the Mother of all Lies

Jeffrey and a girlfriend had all their bags ready to leave for London in early 2010 to address the House of Commons on Borneo. Suddenly, he had cold feet, and withdrew after telling his supporters that Prime Minister Mohd Najib Abdul Razak wanted to see him to discuss Borneo.

In fact, it turned out to be the Mother of All Lies and Hindraf chairman P. Waythamoorthy was shocked beyond belief.

As a cover-up Jeffrey claimed that it was de facto PKR Chief Anwar Ibrahim who suggested that he try to see Prime Minister on the plight of Borneo in Malaysia.

The latest is that Jeffrey has put the much awaited party manifesto and its vision, mission statement in cold storage although the drafts are ready.
The people are waiting with bated breaths to see how much of the content reflects the plight of Borneo in Malaysia.

Ominous sign

An ominous sign is that his aides have meanwhile dismissed the draft manifesto and the party’s vision, mission – reflecting the plight of Borneo in Malaysia and prepared by party seniors — as just spin and bullshit.

If Jeffrey doesn’t stick with the plight of Borneo in Malaysia, he would have betrayed the cause of the people and betrayed the opposition alliance as well after having found them more than wanting.


Open Letter to Hindraf Makkal Sakthi

 

Borneo-based and led national 3rd Force in Parliament

Dear Waytha and Uthaya,

Johore may be set for interesting times as it faces an uncertain future as an Umno bastion.

Muhiyiddin is reportedly trying to do a number on Najib here by planning to get rid of Ghani in a bid to prepare for the post-13th General Election period. He must think that Johore’s and Mahathir’s support alone are sufficient to help him mount a successful challenge against Najib for the Umno presidency.

The Sultan should continue to remain above politics and not agree to bring in, as rumoured, Khalid Nordin.The MB should be free of palace control.

The national Opposition alliance meanwhile is spreading any number of rumours on its political foes.

Among these rumours: infighting in Umno (also in BN over seats); MIC will be alloted less parliamentary seats and state seats than it won the last time lest the Opposition wins even more seats from the party — MIC is set to lose Segamat, Tapah and Hulu Selangor — and the party to be compensated by other non-elected positions in government; the companies in the submarine case in France will be found guilty of giving out bribes for the deal. Mahathir, Mukhriz and Muhyiddin — the 3Ms — will be jumping up and down with joy as they will finally have an opportunity to oust Najib before the GE; Ananda Krishnan’s money meant for the GE has been frozen by India for money laundering (That does not seem to have prevented Astro from giving out RM 500 million to RTM a few days ago to improve services.); Syed Mokhtar’s money alone is not enough to finance the GE; Najib has either finished his RM 500 million from the submarine deal or is not willing to part with anymore money for politics just in case he loses the GE; Mahathir is not willing to part with any money for the GE; Daim Zainuddin is willing to finance individuals, not parties, provided they can be useful to him in some way.(How is he going to finance anyone without knowing who will be selected as candidates?) Taib’s money meant for the GE was frozen in Switzerland after the Bruno Manser Foundation tipped off authorities there; Umno branches have squandered the money given to them for the GE etc

In retaliation, one word from Umno making the rounds is that Azmin Ali is trying to get rid of Nurul Izzah Anwar from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and politics “because he fears that she’s eyeing his deputy presidency which she can win if push comes to shove”. Here, it seems that Anwar is keeping mum because Azmin has a “hold” on him. So, it seems that fugitive blogger-cum-fairy-tale writer Raja Petra Kamarudin — “I will eat my beret if I am caught lying” — is trying to unilaterally mount some sort of heroic one-man campaign for Nurul against Azmin. (Petra seems to be more disappointed that the blogs did not claim that he’s having an affair with Nurul and is instead giving that credit to that “ugly bugger” Tian Chua “when he — Petra — is more handsome”. He forgot to mention old and senile in describing himself.)

If politics in the country is in the shithouse, it’s a different picture on the economy.

Malaysia in fact will do very well but always in the long-run as it keeps bouncing back and not just on paper. This would be despite the politics and politicians because it’s tied to China and increasingly to India and it’s not just on the economy either but also on security which is the most important factor in creating and maintaining wealth..

We are no longer putting all our eggs in one basket or banking on the west and Japan.

However, we have yet to give the Indian community a place in the sun.

This factor, more than anything else is annoying India and the diaspora in more ways than one and thereby undermining our national security, and by extension, our economy and future.

By short-changing the Indian community for no rhyme or reason, we are literally sabotaging the economy in an act of high treason.The deprivation of the Indian community is Malaysia’s loss as it stifles potential and doesn’t do anything to unleash the creative genius of the victimised. The Indian community can produce more hotshots like Tony Fernandes and Ananda Krishnan if the Umno government stops squatting on them. All the country needs is another two or three people like Tony Fernandes and Ananda Krishnan to propell it into among the best in the world in other fields.

The Indian community nevertheless has turned away from PKR — over Anwar consistently denying the community’s role in the political tsunami of 2008 and labelling community activists as racists — but is unlikely to return to the BN. It remains with Dap and Pas because it probably sees them as the lesser of the two evils, the other being PKR/Umno.

So, Najib will hesitate in calling for the GE as long as he can hesitate for any number of other reasons as well but not, as stated before, the economy. So, the economy is not a factor at all in deciding when to call the GE. Najib’s alphabet soup recipes on the economy — GTP, ETP, PTP, NEM, NKEA, NKRA, NEAC, EPP, KPI etc — are just so much cosmetics, gimmicks and hype, if not pure, unadulterated BS.

Najib’s fear of losing the GE is there and real. He has been reported as saying that the next GE date is a secret like the Coca Cola recipe. Coke has kept its recipe secret for well over a century and will never reveal it. Is Najib trying to say that he will never reveal the GE date because it will never be held under him?

In Sabah and Sarawak, Umno’s electoral Fixed Deposit states, Najib is taking things for granted.

He has done nothing to bring Taib in Sarawak under control or reach out to Jeffrey Kitingan in Sabah by at least giving him a hearing on Malaysia.

Jeffrey is “equally dangerous” as Taib, if not more. He’s quite capable of pulling out the proverbial rabbit from the hat in the quest for the tataba, the magical wand of power which Umno wrested from his elder brother Joseph Pairin Kitingan in 1994. The brothers are working together — “blood is thicker than water” — across the political divide.

Jeffrey, under his Plan Z, would go for all 60 state seats in Sabah and 26 parliamentary seats including Labuan. He expects the multipilicity of issues to favour his party even if the opposition in the state fails to agree to take on the ruling BN one-to-one.

Star is still work in progress in Sarawak under the United Borneo Alliance.

Regarding the national debt, the national Opposition alliance would of course continue to politicise the situation but the fact is that it’s not at all even a bit scary although our money is at present fleeing to Singapore on its way elsewhere.

If the Malaysian ringgit is at present falling against the Singapore dollar for example, blame it on the continuing national Opposition alliance’s rhetoric on the national debt.This is economic sabotage tantamount to sedition and treason. The national opposition alliance is meanwhile claiming that it’s Umno money that is fleeing to Singapore and weakening the ringgit against the Singapore dollar.

Perhaps that’s why Anwar Ibrahim and Azmin Ali have been hauled to Court for their allegedly “wink wink” participation in Bersih 3.0. If they can’t be clobbered for their “sins” elsewhere, the modus operandi seems to be to throw anything and everything at them …failing to pay parking tickets, glaring at Mahathir on TV etc etc

The issue is not the national debt level per se but our ability and willingness to pay which is not in question right now but may definitely be so, as in Greece, if the national Opposition alliance is not careful with its mouth if and when it comes to power. We saw what happened in Greece. The Greek problem is economics only in the immediate and long run but more about politics in the short-run.

The national Opposition alliance in Malaysia, like in Greece, is likely to politicise the national debt level in order to knock Umno/BN (by then in Opposition if crossovers take place) in a bid to prevent it clawing its way back to power.

Values — property, shares, currency — will all definitely fall if a PR Federal Government is loose-mouthed in the short and immediate-run.

This is because we have at present a disloyal national Opposition, one which doesn’t know where party politics ends and good government begins.

We need a loyal national Opposition i.e. one loyal to the country.

In any case, some people with money to spare for rock-bottom bargains will be set to make a killing when values pick up — as they will — in the long-run. Perhaps Pakatan Rakyat (PR) can then collect 20 per cent royalty on such capital gains and windfalls.

Public and investor confidence in the short-run would nose-dive under a loose-mouthed PR Government, the foreign lenders would get jittery and recall their loans and given “the run on the bank situation”, Malaysia would have to run to the IMF for aid but not necessarily under a “tail between the legs” Federal Government. It must also be remembered that the systemic problems in the economy were not resolved by avoiding the IMF in 1997/98.

Fortunately, most of the government debt is domestic.

But what about the local lending institutions invested in Government securities which by then may be PR’s responsibility?

What the IMF would do, as with the other countries, is to take over Malaysia’s foreign debts to prevent a contagion effect on the lender economies.

Then, Malaysia would owe the IMF — in fact the Treasuries of the foreign countries/companies which lent Malaysia the money and not the IMF itself — and would be subject to strict supervision until the loans are repaid. It means no AliBabaism and Umnoputeraism (or rather PRism) and Government contracts and procurements would have to be open to all.

If the national Opposition alliance doesn’t politicise the national debt when in power, there would be no problems. The economy will not be affected then by the fall of Umno/BN from power.

Another, and more worrying issue is that the national debt is presently being incurred not in the genuine interest of the people and the nation but because the ruling elite are busy plundering the Public Treasury for themselves, albeit indirectly, while “if necessary enticing the Sultans in the process for political reasons”.

There’s a sort of “make hay while the sun shines” syndrome at work.

PR is waiting to emulate Umno/BN on this in Putrajaya but no doubt after the IMF, if invited, has left the country. They are all waiting to become super rich overnight at the expense of us all. Blame it all on the pervasive culture of corruption of the process and system.

So, the more things appear to change, the more they will appear to remain the same if we have a two-party system in Parliament.

It’s not enough to have regime change.

There must be system change.

That’s why we need a Borneo-based national alliance to lead a 3rd Force in Parliament to steer evenly between PR and BN, both the latter Peninsular Malaysia-based alliances/coalitions. Besides, the 3rd Force will be the best guarantee for Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia. This can be done by the 3rd Force getting the Federal Government to comply with the four constitutional documents and/or conventions on the membership, partnership and participation of these two states in the Malaysian Federation i.e. the 1963 Malaysia Agreement; the 20/18 Points; the Inter Governmental Committee Report; and the Cobbold Commission Report. Non-compliance renders the partnership of Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia inoperable to the extent of the non-compliance.

This is where Hindraf comes into the picture as a crucial element in the 3rd Force and to focus on the 67 parliamentary seats in Peninsular Malaysia where the Indians decide.

There are also other 3rd Force elements in these 67 seats i.e. the Orang Asli, the Christians, other minorities and the fence-sitters who can help to make a difference for the better.

However, Hindraf needs to work together with Dap and Pas, if not PKR, on the 67 seats. It can contest under a Peninsular Malaysian chapter of the State Reform Party (Star), as earlier envisaged, to truly ensure the emergence of the 3rd Force in Parliament. Waytha’s intended return from political asylum by Nov 25 this year for the Hindraf National Convention at the Chinese Assembly Hall in Kuala Lumpur should provide a kickstart.

The national Opposition alliance should give way to the 3rd Force not only in Peninsular Malaysia but also Sabah and Sarawak or risk Umno/BN winning the GE by default.

If the national Opposition alliance refuses to play ball, hopefully the issues will carry the day for the emergence of the 3rd Force. The longer the GE is delayed, the greater the prospects for the emergence of a more respectable 3rd Force in terms of numbers.


by Joe Fernandez
Guest Columnist

COMMENT Perkasa’s latest allegations on the Christians, given undeserved space by Malaysiakini, are going viral on the net.

This is the first time that a Muslim, Ibrahim Ali, has threatened to launch a Crusade — Perang Salib or War of the Cross — against Christians. So far, all Crusades in world history have been launched by Christians against Muslim occupation of the Holy Land.

If Perkasa wants to fight for the Cross, Christians would no doubt welcome it.

Christians have long considered Islam as a protestant branch of their faith.

If World Islam had a head, it could have decided like all the other Protestant Churches to join the Ecumenical Council initiated by the Vatican. The result so far, among others, has been a decision by the 77 million strong Anglican Church to return to the Vatican’s fold.

Perhaps what Ibrahim really means is a War of the Crescent or Perang Bulan Sabit against Christians and not Perang Salib. Why would any Muslim, unless he has become an apostate (murtad), launch a Perang Salib?

Ibrahim Ali is one confused character.

That’s why his threat to launch a Perang Salib against Christians has drawn no response from them and has sent malaysiakini, his equally ignorant co-backer besides Mahathir Mohamad, up the wall.

Ibrahim, the right-wing NGO’s Chief, has accused Christians of almost everything from converting Malays to the faith to plotting to put a Christian as the Prime Minister of Malaysia and declaring Christianity — presumably Roman Catholicism — as the national religion to thereby place the country on the world map as a Christian state, whatever that means.

There’s not even one Christian state in the world, given the separation of Church and State in the religion.

So, if Malaysia becomes a Christian state, it would be a world first.

Malaysia Boleh!

It was not so long ago that the Serbs fought tooth-and-nail against Bosnia-Herzegovina emerging as the first Islamic state in Europe. The Dayton Peace Accord subsequently outlawed the concept of an Islamic state in Europe and renewed its commitment to secularism.

In any case, if Perkasa’s allegations are the Gospel truth, to put a pun on them, the Christians could not be wrong by any yardstick.

The majority of the land area of Malaysia — Sabah and Sarawak — is Christian.
The 1963 Malaysia Agreement and the 20/18 Points clearly states that Sabah and Sarawak would have no state religion.

The Dusuns — including Kadazans or urban Dusuns — and Muruts, the overwhelming majority of the Natives in Malaysia, are Christian.

The Orang Asli, the only recognised Native group in Peninsular Malaysia, are mostly either Christian or Pagan.

The Federal Constitution, and rightly so, does not state anywhere that the Malay-speaking communities in Peninsular Malaysia are natives of the land. Bumiputera is not a term in law or the Constitution.

Again, while Article 3 of the Federal Constitution states that Islam is the religion of the Federation, it goes on to add that followers of other religions are free to practice their respective faiths in peace and harmony in all its constituent parts.

The freedom of worship guaranteed by the Constitution covers all citizens.

Under law, the Malay-speaking communities are free to profess any religion. There can be no compulsion to get anyone to profess this or that faith only. That would not only be against the very letter and spirit of the Constitution but also against international laws, against the United Nations Charter and against the Human Rights Charter.

The truth cannot be swept under the carpet just to serve the political interests of an elite group in power or aspiring to come to power.

There’s no contradiction here since no faith, according to the Federal Constitution, is the national or even official faith of the country.

Malaysia remains a secular state despite Perkasa raving and ranting against Christians and Mahathir declaring not so long ago, during his last days in office, that the country was an Islamic state. Pas was among the first to point out the sheer lunacy of Mahathir’s statement.

An Islamic state is one in which God is the head of state, the Quran is the Constitution and the Syariah — the Path of God — forms the basis of a still to evolve legal system.

By this definition, it need not be repeated, that Malaysia is no Islamic state. A state cannot be classified as an Islamic state simply because members of the Muslim faith are in a slight majority in the demographic make-up.

In fact there’s not even one Islamic state in the world and that holds true for Saudi Arabia as well and Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan — which broke away from India to form an Islamic state — and, among others, Indonesia which has the largest Muslim population in the world.

If Malaysia is not an Islamic state, it’s not a Christian state either.

However, that does not mean the Natives in Sabah and Sarawak are not free to declare their respective states as Christian states and provided of course the Church agrees. The 20/18 Points and the Malaysia Agreement, in letter and spirit, merely prevents a non-Christian faith from being hoisted on the people of the states as the national or official one.

Ibrahim should mind his language and not make it seem somehow that the concept of a Christian state is a mortal sin. That’s not only sacrilegious but a blasphemy. Before the advent of secularism in Europe, all states in the continent were Christian states. The Pope crowned the heads of these states.

The Perkasa Chief should also stop harping on Muslims turning to Christianity or any other religion.

It’s their fundamental right to pursue any religion without someone trying to force anything down the throat.

Religion is a private matter. It’s only proper that the adherents of any faith be allowed to pursue their beliefs in peace and harmony without this or that religion being knocked in the process or the Church, or any other organisation, having to run the gauntlet on the issue.

There’s nothing that states that members of the Malay-speaking communities or Muslims have to declare themselves or that they cannot practise any other faith, whether openly or secretly. We know from history that the first Christians in Rome, during a time of Empire, had to practise their faith in secret unless they wanted to risk being fed to the lions in the Coliseum in a new form of entertainment to amuse the Romans. This may be the case with the secret Christians in Malaysia.

The Christians in Malaysia must be left alone to practise their faith without being flogged to death on the matter.

Likewise they are free to install a member of their faith in the Prime Minister’s chair.

The Constitution does not bar any citizen, except for insolvents and the insane, from taking the oath of office as Prime Minister. Insanity is not a medical but a legal concept. That goes for insolvency as well.



Remember Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, my good friend, that old gadfly of Sabah politics? Well, after spending several years on the margins of mainstream politics, the maverick at long last might be on his way back to the Parti Bersatu Sabah. The return of the prodigal son, as it were, has the blessings of the PBS supremo, Pairin Kitingan.

Even though a couple of second rung leaders are rather apprehensive of their own place in the party should Dr Jeffrey be allowed to stage a comeback, Dr Maximus Ongkili is still opposed to his return, known to keep his own counsel in these matters, however, cannot be too pleased at the prospect of one of his more trenchant critics a more capable leader than him being allowed admittance in the PBS.

On his part, Dr Jeffrey has been wooing the PBS leadership for sometime now, clearly with an eye on making himself relevant yet again in the state polity. Having come a cropper as the head of his own one-man United Borneo Front (UBF), this highly positive, former Harvard scholar has taken up causes dear to the pro- Sabah outfit, now pro-Borneo outfit or the Borneo Agenda. Along with some strong supporters from PBS days, Jeffrey alone, among all well-known pro-Sabah protagonists, defended the 20 Points, when the then Mahathir government had locked up the latter in Kamunting Detention Center under the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) for 3 years in connection with the taking “out”  Sabah from the Malaysian Federation.

Now read this report Daily Express dated 13 June, 2011

Pairin stepping aside?

Kuala Lumpur: For the past two weeks there has been speculations that Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) may see some changes in its leadership as its top leader is said to be preparing a transition plan.

The talk became intense after PBS Deputy President Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili was reported to be shifting his political base to his Tambunan hometown where his family is said to be building a big house on ancestral land, just a stone throw from the house of his uncle and PBS President Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan.

Pairin is currently Tambunan assemblyman and also Member of Parliament for Keningau. Pairin 71, is said to be contemplating winding down his public role as he has been an assemblyman for Tambunan for the past 35 years, uninterrupted since 1976 when he was still with Berjaya.

He also is the “huguan siou” or paramont leader of the Kadazandusun, a Deputy Chief Minister-cum-State Minister of Rural Development, president of the Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) and sits in many committees, including the Asean Eminent Persons Committee.

READ HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE


First it was the Kimanis Power Plant project, Sabah’s new 300-megawatt power plant, a whooping RM1 billion contract. Then Sabah has been allocated another RM10.723 billion to implement 424 new projects in the first phase (2011-2012) of the Rolling Plan under the Tenth Malaysia Plan. Then there is another RM3 billion in MoUs signed by Sabah State Government with private sectors to invest in agriculture and forestry and manufacturing.

It is a commentary on the bizarre priorities of our information order that investment commitments total-ling $14 billion, equaling nearly one tenth of Malaysia’s GDP, are either ignored or put on par with anodyne political statements. This, however, is not the occasion to lament the lack of even-handedness in the treatment of anything remotely connected to Sabah chief minister Musa Aman. It is the time to celebrate something that is fast becoming undeniable: the emergence of Sabah as the investment powerhouse of Malaysia.

The start of the Rabbit Year, there was a stark contrast between a Sabah bubbling with optimism and the rest of the country despairing over economic mismanagement and missed opportunities. It is not that all the MoUs signed with private sector will be translated into reality. Many will remain paper commitments . But when the who’s who of Malaysia industry line up to proclaim their faith in Sabah as a wholesome place for investment, having already put their money where their mouth is, neither Malaysia nor the rest of the world can afford to be in denial.

The proclamations of faith in Sabah are all the more meaningful because they have been made despite KL’s unremitting displeasure with anything that could bolster Musa Aman’s credentials. Musa Aman doesn’t usually win awards for being the “Reformer of the Year” or for innovative governance. In fact, he doesn’t even make it to the shortlist. But he has invariably secured an unequivocal thumbs-up from those who have a real stake in the emergence of Sabah as a Malaysia economic power house.

The skeptics, who insist that the rise and rise of Sabah has little to do with the state government, are partially right. Entrepreneurship and business are part of the Musa Aman’s DNA and not because he is Sabahan, and its reason why Sabah has always proudly cloaked itself in the business ethos since Musa took over as CEO of the state.

The reason Sabah has registered the highest, near double-digit GDP growth in the past 2 years owes much to the targeted, business-friendly approach of its government. Four features stand out. The first is quick decision-making—what Musa Aman has dubbed the “red carpet, not red tape” approach, ask corporate philanthropist Datuk Victor Paul, for example, recount how the land allotment and development for the Perdana Park in Tanjung Aru was made possible. Datuk Victor Paul built the multi-million ringgit park all with his own money, there was no such thing as land swap and he build the park entirely as part of his Corporate Social Responsibility and as a gift to the state and the people without any form of payment or reward. Victor Paul completed the whole project in less than two years, a quick-fire decision that has fetched Sabah this park.

The second feature is the curious phenomenon of the near-absence of political corruption at the top. Even Musa Aman’s worst enemies will not deny that the chief minister’s fanatical personal integrity has had a salutary trickle-down effect. Irritated by politically inspired extortion, industry has identified Sabah as a place where it is possible to do ethical business.

Third, Sabah since Musa Aman 2003, has been marked by social and political peace. Particularly important for industry is the absence of political unrest, which unseated Pairin in 1994 and is now so marked in Perak. This is because Sabah has bucked a national trend and is witnessing high growth in agriculture—last year the sector grew by 9.9%. This means that farmers mainly natives, now have a stake in the larger prosperity of the state and aren’t swayed by populists like Anwar Ibrahim.

Finally, the growth of Sabah has been spurred by a philosophy of “minimum government and maximum governance”. In plain language, this means that the state government has concentrated on creating the infrastructure for growth and left it to the private sector to get on with the job of actual wealth creation. In Sabah, politicians don’t talk the language of class conflict; they too mirror the preoccupation with business. So all-pervasive is the respect for enterprise that even the Perdana Park which I call Victor Paul’s Park, which has the state of the art facilities, someone has even suggested that Victor Paul create amusement features for kiddie games centred on the use of virtual money!

The extent to which this vibrant Sabah capitalism will benefit Musa’s ambitions is difficult to predict. But one thing is certain. As Sabah shines and acquires an economic momentum of its own, more and more businesses will find it worthwhile to channel a major chunk of their new investments into Sabah. Kuala Lumpur may not like the resulting uneven growth but the alternative is not to thwart Sabah by political subterfuge-such as preventing public sector from engaging with the state government and the whimsical use of environmental regulations. Sabah has shown that accelerated and sustained growth is possible when the state plays the role of an honest facilitator, rather than a controller.

Musa Aman didn’t create the Sabahan character; he was moulded by it. He merely gave it a contemporary thrust and an ethical dimension. If politicians focused on these, Malaysia as a nation will be a much better place.


Sabah, synonymous with poorest state in Malaysia with million plus illegals and hundreds of thousand more waiting at its doorstep to enter and settle down, today wears a new look. From better health care to improved education to greater security and safety from criminals across the border, Sabah now has everything it needs for it to prosper.

How did this metamorphosis come about?

The able Musa Aman has given Sabah a much needed makeover. Under his charismatic leadership, the Barisan National has pulled up the sagging fortunes of the state.

Musa Aman, who took over as Sabah’s CM in 2003, turned the state’s economy around: it went recorded 6 per cent growth every year between 2007 and 2009, as compared to 3.5 per cent in the prior five years.

After the Sabah landslide win in 2008, a research by a Think-Tank said: “We believe the Sabah election results underscore the upside risk to Malaysia’s growth and development, given what we view as the electorate’s resolve to incentivise politicians who focus on these issues.”

Sabahans think Musa Aman has a comprehensive vision, and is not focusing only on the state’s capital Kota Kinabalu. Even in remote places like Sook and Kalabakan, people are saying development is even.

His landslide win in 2008 has shocked the opposition, but the people of Sabah knew the opposition days were counted. Musa Aman has given them Sabahans the safety they crave for. After coming to power, many illegals were locked up as criminals and thrown out of the state, which made Sabahans, especially the ones near the Philippines waters, feel safe.

Another example of his farsightedness was his donating of more than RM 24 million for Chinese temples, Sikh temples, Hindu temples and churches all over the state which was never done to such a scale by previous chief ministers.

It was not easy for Musa Aman to break the grip of race and religion over Sabahans. Over 15 long years, they had lived with the complex arithmetic of race and social engineering equations imported from Peninsular Malaysia and UMNO. Musa Aman managed to break all myths of race politics but without seeming like a hard leader.

A seasoned and down-to-earth man of simple tastes, Musa Aman, delicately balanced the interests of his party UMNO and the Barisan National. He has managed to carry people along, even in the absence of populist views on job reservations for Sabahans, both Muslims and Non-Muslims.

Did women play a major role in Musa securing a second term? Yes, it did. They went out in hordes to vote for him. By reserving more seats for women in institutions and giving them a role in decision-making at the kampong level, Musa Aman has won the confidence of women in Sabah. His first tenure as CM created an environment, and influenced women to give him their vote.

Has Musa Aman changed the way Sabahans vote? A difficult question to answer, but one thing has changed for sure – the Sabah Natives now want to see development and growth. They want the same lifestyle as people in Peninsular Malaysia, and they refuse to be trapped in the politics of race and religion like in Peninsular Malaysia. Don’t forget that for ages Sabahans have been more open when its comes to race and religion compared with West Malaysians, as, many families in Sabah, including my wife’s own family, have Christians and Muslims and even Taoist as family members. This was not new to Sabah until UMNO and West Malaysian politicians try to change this concept of moderation among the more than 30 ethnic tribes and groups here in Sabah.

Musa Aman’s votes came from all communities, and not just one, a sea change in a state where votes had always been divided on race and religion lines.

Musa Aman managed to do the impossible: he routed Anwar Ibrahim’s Party Keadilan and Yong Teck Lee’s SAPP in the recent Batu Sapi Parlimentary by-election, parties that thought they had Sabahans support.

How did Musa Aman pull this off? The answer is simple. He made development his agenda, and it worked. He was careful not to make the same mistakes as Pairin-PBS did from 1985 to 1994. In fact he learned what not to do from them.

Musa convinced people of the seriousness of his effort and the sincerity of his intent. This is the reason he managed to cut through Sabah’s thick race politics imported from West Malaysia since Mustaffa.

In all this mayhem, there is a lesson for all our leaders: playing the race and religion card is not enough to get voted to power. The ‘rakyat’ does vote for growth and development, and not just for some Ketuanan Malay cause. Besides, the more than 30 ethnic groups in Sabah may have political differences but they all reject attempts to propagate politics of racial superiority like those hardcore UMNO chaps from Peninsular Malaysia.

So, apart from the pride I have for my wife and both my kids as Sabahans, I too have expectations as a Malaysian.

The magic of Sabah be replicated elsewhere.

There is no doubt that Sabah enjoyed the status of the most grim, dismal and dangerous state of Malaysia at one time. Now, speak this to anyone who has been to Sabah recently and he will rectify you. Acting courageously with simple but effective strategies, Musa Aman has indicted recently that the GDP growth rate of Sabah for next year will be close to 7 per cent.

Definitely, change is possible. All States can do the things Sabah has done. And why only Sabah – commendable results have been achieved in Penang under Lim Guan Eng. And Tan Sri Khalid in Selangor has done marvelous job even Tok Guru Nik Aziz has done a fantastic job in Kelantan. Incidentally, the above states were decreed as the black sheeps of the nation. Trends are changing.

Apart from a brave and visionary leader, it is people and the hope they harbour that matters. Hope dispels complacency. No person likes to languish in miserable conditions. People in many other states want things to get better. They have to be given Hope!!

This hope is not delivered by rhetoric, garlands and slogans or just our Premier Najib’s “feel-good” 1Malaysia concept….it’s more than that!



The jostling for a new Sabah Yang Di-Pertua Negeri will come to an end soon. The services of Sabah Yang Di-Pertua Negeri Tun Ahmadshah Abdullah may be extended for yet another one year after serving two terms so far. His term ends in December, 2010.

Tun Ahmadshah’s name was apparently sent to Premier Najib for approval, who would then get the Agong for the final approval of the appointment. No formal announcement has been made yet.Tun Ahmadshah’s tenure will be extended to another year beginning Jan 1, 2011. Tun Ahmadshah, who will turn 64 this December, was appointed as Sabah’s ninth Yang Di-Pertua Negera, replacing Tun Sakaran Dandai on Dec 2 2002.

Although Tun Ahmadshah is close ally to Musa Aman and was classmate to Musa Aman during Sabah College days, his extension of service only reinforces that Musa Aman will continue to be Chief Minister of Sabah way after the anticipated upcoming 13th General Elections.

Even before Tun Ahmadshah’s term is extended as Governor is announced, the maneuvering for the position had begun about six months ago. But, with this move now, various groups which aggressively insisted on who they believed should be the Governor of Sabah will come to a stop. Initially, rumors swirled that Musa Aman may step down as Chief Minister of Sabah and be appointed as the new Governor of Sabah, as a compromise for him to leave the Sabah Chief Minister-ship gracefully. But this is not the case now. Another individual mentioned was Speaker of the Parliament, Pandikar Amin Mulia. Pandikar is eager but he has to wait for Parliament to be dissolve first and that might take awhile, so he is out too. The other player who is lobbying for this price position is Yahya Hussein, the minister of agriculture and food industry but Yahaya it seems have been promised the position as the next Speaker of the state assembly.Another front-runners for the post was also the current State Assembly Speaker Juhar Mahiruddin. The other contender was former Finance Ministry permanent secretary Yusof Kassim but he has been promised the position of Mayor of Kota Kinabalu. Then we also had the Mayor of Kota Kinabalu Iliyas Ibrahim, whom is Musa’s very close ally, also a classmate and favored by Musa to be the next Governor. Mayor Iliyas Ibrahim was the strongest contender in fact, as he had the blessings of Musa himself. He’s been mayor for two terms already and doing a great job as Mayor of Kota Kinabalu, and should be about to step down, but hear that his contract as Mayor has also been extended for a year.

So with Ahmadshah’s extension as TYT, it is a conclusion that his appointment was the result of a political compromise that advanced Musa Aman’s Sabah development credentials and Premier Najib is in total agreement to that. Premier Najib is happy with Musa Aman’s performance as Chief Minister and after spearheading the Batu Sapi Parliamentary By-Election victory, everything goes Musa Aman’s way- Musa Aman is riding high. Besides, Premier Najib would not want to rock the boat in Sabah for the time being, as Musa has displayed his leadership abilities quite well so far.

With this, it means Musa Aman could be poised to become the most powerful man in Sabah and Premier Najib is very much in favour of Musa Aman to be in the helm of Sabah even after the upcoming 13th General Elections.


This by-election in Batu Sapi is seeing an unprecedented amount of activity on the part of the educated Urban Sabahan – Young and Old. There is a never-seen-before sense of wanting change, wanting change from the present to a rosier, better future! First time voters mostly MalaysiaToday Readers and FaceBook Users could make this by-election an election where the urban voter and indeed the young vote count!

The rhetoric and sloganeering of Political parties and willing internet portals and media continue unabated and doesn’t make the choice of who to cast your vote for easier and as one young first time voter-to-be asked me in Sandakan quite innocently – how do I decide who to vote for ba?

Actually the answer to this question is far simpler than you think.

Anyway, I just got back from Sandakan. Batu Sapi to be exact.

Batu Sapi by-elections has a day to conclude, polling day is this November 4th and that’s Deepavali eve. This parliamentary seat has 25,582 voters comprising 15,099 or 59.02 per cent are Muslim bumiputeras, 689 or 2.69 are non-Muslim bumiputeras, 9,737 or 38.06 per cent are Chinese and 57 or 0.22 per cent are others.

This is going to be a close contest between SAPP’s Taiko Yong Teck Lee and PBS/BN’s Datin Linda Tsen Thau Lin who is said to be the favourite in the race and I can say for sure she is going to win, and my friend the third contender, Lawyer Ansari from PKR, is having an uphill battle and unlikely to make any impact in this election since falling 2 times into the sea during campaigning.

Normally the voter turnout hovers between 65% to 70% here in Batu Sapi. So at 65% to 70% about 12,000 to 13,000 registered voters are expected to cast their ballots on Nov 4, and this is not going to be a very close call.

Would like to talk a little bit about Taiko Yong Teck Lee mainly because he is giving the other contenders in this by-election a run, which he thinks he does as he is bragging openly that he is going to win. But I doubt it.

Yong Teck Lee unveiled his slogan which he is using to contest this by-election – “Sabah For Sabahans” “Autonomy For Sabah”. Yong Teck Lee in fact hijacked this slogan from PBS as it was the same battle-cry of the Parti Bersatu Sabah 25 years ago that saw PBS unseat the Parti Berjaya state government in 1985.

Yong Teck Lee is also urging voters to take a second look at his SAPP and he has accused the BN and PKR being a Westmalaysian party, which is, but true.

But he was together with all of them in one big BARISAN family and was even made Chief Minister for 2 years and had all the chance to highlight all the issues and get the attention of the Federal Government during his many years as part of the ruling coalition, but he did not do so. Yong Teck Lee NEVER raised the issues he is now shouting so loudly about when he was a state minister, deputy chief minister and later as chief minister. How come?

I have a few more questions for Yong Teck Lee.

I wanna know Datuk Yong, before you stepped down as chief minister, how many acres of Sabah agricultural land were given to west Malaysian companies during your 2-year term as chief minister? Plenty right!

How may acres of coastal lands were given to companies and individuals during your 2-year term as chief minister? Most of Kota Kinabalu sea frontage all gone right!

How many acres of forest reserves were given away as Forest Management Units (FMU) and as individual logging concessions during your 2-year term as chief minister? 100,000 acres? More like 100,000 hectares right!

How many logging licenses were issued to private companies to harvest logs from areas within FMUs during your term of office? 50?

What action has been taken during your 2-year term as chief minister to rescue the unit value of Saham Amanah Sabah (SAS) which now stands at a mere 17 cents per unit???? No? Yes?

In my opinion, SAPP is trying to remain unaligned in the hopes that they can opt to join the winning side in the next GE. I doubt SAPP is really committed to reforms of any kind. As far as I can tell, SAPP’s platform is not for support of reforms in our political, judicial and justice system in Malaysia. I wouldn’t give parliamentary seats to SAPP unless SAPP agrees to champion reforms for the entire nation and not just for Sabah.

Parliamentary By-election is always a referendum on the incumbent KL Government, in this case, the Najib government! Similarly State by-elections are a referendum on the performance of Musa Aman State government! Therefore the question to ask yourself before you vote in the coming days is – Are you happy with the performance of the Najib’s Government over its term or do you want Change? Similarly, are you happy with the performance of Najib’s CEO for Sabah Musa Aman?

So either you are amongst those Sabahans, who have followed the Internet and read MalaysiaToday or the newspapers and agree that Premier Najib ran a great government and deserves to be given a pat and Musa Aman his CEO for Sabah is also doing a great job and should be supported with a win in this by-election.

Or you are amongst those who think that – a government with each minister pursuing his own agenda, the cash for votes enabled confidence vote victory in Parliament, allegations of fixing the Judiciary by its own Political ally, constantly changing political alliances/partners with no constant ideology, a derailed economy with concerns of security, illegals and joblessness – are not signs of great achievement  then you say Thanks but no thanks to another term and get change!

And if you are amongst the second category of Sabahans, Who do you vote in as the change?

Ask the same questions – With the 150,000 Filipinos waiting to come into Sabah, at our borders, with failed/ unstable Philippines around us – Who will provide us the leadership for a secure Sabah? Who can take our economy and the increasing joblessness and revive the economy with strong, decisive steps? Who can take our broken Government and fix it and make it more accountable and responsive to all of us? Who can put a stop to the illegals coming into Sabah once and for all? Yes, only Musa Aman can do it. Remember, after all, Musa Aman is doing a fantastic job for Sabah and history has shown us that no other chief ministers from Sabah, from Tun Mustapha right up to Pairin Kitingan to Chong kah Kiat or even Haris Salleh could ever match Musa Aman’s performance index since taking over in 2003.  This by-election is not about PBS but its about Musa Aman  and his role in the development of Sabah and his role in helping Premier Najib achieve 1Malaysia objectives.

Voting is never difficult if you ask the right questions!