Archive for the ‘Prime Minister of Malaysia’ Category



To claim that things are getting better in their tenure and because of them is an old Prime Ministerial habit. A PM is undoubtedly a very important person in our dispensation. The office is vested with great authority and there is an aura about the incumbent that often fools even the cameras whose lights seem to caress rather than expose the object of their focus. Our system of government, with so much power of patronage concentrated in one person, ensures that mostly fawning and obsequious people who constantly whip up a lather of simulated adulation surround the Prime Minister. PM’s consequently confuse the power of patronage with the power that ensures compliance. It is small wonder when our supreme leaders start thinking of themselves as King Canute’s who can order the waves about.

The reality is that like the ocean’s waves, economic waves too are cosmically controlled and PM’s are like King Canute’s who futilely wave their hands about. Happily most PM’s realize this and make sure they are seen waving their hands appropriately with the tides of growth and the ebbs of inflation. But once in a while we get a leader who actually believes that the waves are obeying him. That is when we enter dangerous waters.

I recently attended an event that Prime Minister Najib Razak addressed. Unlike most other PM’s with the exception of Tun Dr Mahathir, he came promptly at almost the appointed minute and walked briskly to his place on the dais. He listened as the host, with a wry sense of humor, exclaimed how fortunate Malaysia is to be united as never before under one charismatic man. The Prime Minister looked on expectantly and the audience was suitably primed to roar its approval.

The Prime Minister then spoke and without much ado took the fight straight to the critics, a few of who like me were seated in the back row. He said: “For Malaysia to be at the top of the growth tables is an unusual situation. Obviously, there are some who find that difficult to digest and come up with imaginative and fanciful ideas to belittle that achievement.” This is unfair. But it is churlish to say that his critics do so because his government is perceived unable to resolve the debt-ridden government strategic investment arm, 1MDB’s RM46 billion debt or address the falling value of the Ringgit. To be truthful based on facts as perceived does not mean a person takes pride in belittling one’s own country? Is the next litmus test of patriotism going to be supporting the PM’s extravagant flights of fancy?

The Prime Minister’s case is that “Malaysia’s economic success is the hard-won result of prudence, sound policy and effective management.” He repeated: “Malaysia’s growth rate is acknowledged as the highest among major economies.” With evident sarcasm he added that his critics are confused when they say, “the growth rate does not feel right” and generously offered to alleviate the confusion with “facts in place of feelings.” The point here is no critic of any consequence ever argued that the growth rate “does not feel right.” They have just said that his government’s interpretation of the facts is not right.

Take GDP growth for instance. Few argue that the “real’ GDP growth is 4.97% as his government is claiming though there have been serious misgivings on how the GDP calculations were tweaked to jump growth a further 1%. The problem here is the use of the term “real.” In the real world the number that matters is the “nominal” GDP growth rate, which is a measure of current market prices.

For much of the past decade Malaysia’s nominal GDP growth was in the 4% range and corporate profitability growth was also in that range. Since inflation used to be in the 0.5% to 1.5% range, real GDP was in the 5% range. The present nominal GDP growth is 4.2%.

But the popular mood is determined by actual accruals and not by economic sleight of hand. In the real world it is the nominal GDP that matters. Corporate sales and profitability are calculated in nominal terms. Everyday commerce and business takes place in nominal terms. Government revenues are collected in nominal terms and levied on nominal incomes or sales. It is not a matter of feeling but the reality of life.

The fact is that 2015-16 has been a bad year for the Malaysian economy. In the budget for 2015-16 the government set a nominal GDP growth target of 5% . The nominal GDP growth turned out to be just 4.2%, which is below target. The real GDP growth of 4.97% is because of the collapse of world commodity prices and has little to do with the so-called “prudent policies.” Comparing apples with oranges can only fool some people for some of the time, and not all the people for all the time.

While on apples and oranges, food inflation is the inflation that matters to most people in this country where the average family expends over 60% of its income on food. This inflation has been well over 5% even though the government projected in the 2016 federal budget at 2% – 3%. Since the introduction of GST, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is used to measure inflation, has been on the increase. By the end of April 2015, the first month when GST was implemented, CPI increased 1.8 percent when seasonally compared to April 2014. In July 2015, four months after GST, CPI index was 3.3 percent higher than the same month a year earlier.

In his speech the PM also specifically referred to The Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia (BR1M) monetary aid which will be increased to RM1,200 next year from RM 1,000 under the 2017 federal budget. The BR1M allocation will cost the government RM6.8 billion, to be delivered to 7 million households. The PM then goes into Tun Dr Mahathir bashing and says that BR1M is not “dedak”, but rather, it is a sincere assistance from the government to prioritise the rakyat’s needs.

Look at theses figures, Goods and Services Tax (GST) to rake in RM39 billion in 2016 (3.1 percent of GDP) (2015: estimated RM27 billion from April). Malaysia’s fiscal deficit is projected to decline to RM38.8 billion or 3.1 percent of GDP in 2016 (2015: 3.2 percent). Oil-related revenue to drop 14.1 percent in 2016 due to lower global crude oil prices (2015: 19.7 percent). The federal government expenditure to increase 1.7 percent to RM265.2 billion in 2016 (2015: RM260.7 billion). Nominal GNI (gross national income) per capita to increase 5.6 percent to RM38,438 next year from 4.2 percent anticipated growth to RM36,397 this year.

One is tempted to dismiss this as just fanciful claims, but in these times when ones patriotism and professional integrity is apt to challenged for lesser lese majeste, it will be prudent to just say: It’s time to get real!

Meanwhile honest heart-centered Malaysians continue to struggle to make ends meet, their ideas, talents finding little or no nourishing context in which to flourish.

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The Daily Express, Sabah’s largest daily newspaper has not often taken political sides. Indeed, Sabah journalism has not had the western tradition of the media declaring its political preferences. The 14th General Elections of Malaysia (GE14) could be held by next year as indicted by Premier Najib Tun Razak recently after the landslide victories for Barisan National in Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar twin by-elections, plus the impressive win in the recent 11th Sarawak State Elections, however, the choice is clear and preferences should be stated. Sabah’s voters have to choose between five more years of a government led by Musa Aman, or five years or less of confusion created by an uncertain and split verdict, or five years of some nameless politician serving his tenure in Kota Kinabalu at Putrajaya’s beck and call.

There are many reasons why Sabah deserves Musa Aman. First, he is a decent chap. In the rough and tumble of Malaysian politics it is not easy to come across men and women of basic and simple decency. That in itself should be a good reason for his remaining at the forefront of Sabahan politics. Second, he has done an impressive job. While the state opposition parties has every right to criticise his government and question his record, the fact remains that Musa Aman has done more for Sabah than any other chief minister of this state in the past five decades. Consider some simple numbers.

According to the state’s economic survey published earlier this year, Sabah’s economy registered an annual growth rate of more than 6 percent, covering most of the term of Musa Aman. It was less than 2 per cent when he first took over as Chief Minister in 2003. This should rule out the idea of returning to a opposition regime. Sabah’s per capita income rose to RM 19,672 per year in 2014, compared to less than RM 7,443 in 2002. Even the Prime Minister recently said the number of hardcore poor in the state had at one time stood at 30,000 families and this had been reduced to about 7,000 families.This impressive growth comes from an across the board improvement in the state’s performance, barring the industrial sector.

Through the well-diversified economy, Sabah under Musa Aman has been able to raise our real gross domestic product (GDP) by 110 times — from RM527 million in 1963 to RM58 billion in 2014. Similarly, GDP per capita has also increased almost 67 times from RM688 to RM46,000 per capita over the same period.

Sabah’s agriculture sector, tourism, construction, education, health and services sectors have all witnessed impressive growth

Sabah has recorded a surplus in the balance of payments between 2002 and 2015. What this means is that the state’s exports have exceeded imports for 13 consecutive years.Sabah’s exports for 2015 were valued at RM15,582million or 70% of the state’s gross national product (GNP). Hence, the export market remains a key economic generator for Sabah. Sabah’s main exports are raw petroleum (38.8%), crude and processed palm oil (35%), and fresh farm produce and fisheries (15.4%), palm oil kernels (3.8%), methanol (3.2%) and plywood (2.1%).

However, if Sabah has to have a chance, if it has to finally catch up with Malaysia’s more developed regions, it needs another five years of the kind of development-oriented administration that Musa Aman gave the state. If Sabah can move closer to the national average in terms of the various indicators of development, that national average will itself rise significantly. Malaysia cannot sustain growth rates of over 8 and 9 per cent, not to mention 10, if large states like Sabah and Sarawak remain stuck in the morass of backwardness, both economically and socially. Musa Aman has remained focussed on development, he is a model chief minister that other Malaysian states should also aspire for. My vote goes out to Musa Aman.



Musa Aman is well known in Malaysia and across the globe as a leader who is totally committed to development and good governance. His record 3 terms as the Chief Minister of his home state of Sabah exemplifies Musa Aman’s commitment to a development Agenda, rising above all other political considerations. He ushered in a paradigm shift towards pro-people and pro-active good governance, bringing in a positive change in the life of many in Sabah. His tireless efforts were guided by the principle of Collective efforts, inclusive growth where each and every person was an important stakeholder in Sabah’s development journey.

When he took over as Chief Minister on 27th March 2003 Musa Aman did not have much time to settle into his new job. The state was reeling under the aftereffects of a severe cash crunch and there was nothing much in the State Treasury. Even Yayasan Sabah (YS) was badly in need of funds and retrenchment and Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) was the order of the day. The entire world had written off Sabah and it was believed that Sabah would take years to develop. Musa Aman proved them all wrong. In a record span of time Sabah was up and running and today it’s reserves in the State Treasury is more than RM3 billion and has become the cynosure of the world’s eyes.

Musa’s success as an administrator lay in his out of the box thinking. That’s why when he recently spoke to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak he emphasised that the Sabah State government needs greater autonomy for rural development projects.

The Sabah government wants autonomy in terms of planing, funding and implementation of rural development projects so that they can be completed and delivered on time. There are too many Federal agencies involved at the Federal level at the implementation stage that contributed to the delay of projects. Development of rural areas has been hampered due to delay in channnelling of funds, bureaucracy and politicking.

Billions of ringgit were channelled by the Federal Government for development projects involving rural roads, rural electricity, rural water supply and household assistance program via Shafie Apdal’s Rural Development Ministry in the past, but, there was so much hiccups and many projects were delayed and some have not even taken off. With greater control of development funds by the State Government, the planning and implementation of infrastructure projects would be more structured, streamlined and aligned with the State’s overall development objective. Hence by giving more autonomy, Sabah can plan and implement projects in a more holistic manner.

Sabah State Government knows the Sabah turf better. Besides, Sabah State Government is more than able to manage funds from the Federal. Sabah State Government under Musa has a good track record in managing its finance which is proven by Sabah having the best record of financial management in Malaysia for two consecutive years and awarded a ‘clean bill’ by the Auditor-General for 14 consecutive years as well as given ‘AAA’ ratings by Rating Services Berhad RAM for six years in a row. All these happened during Musa tenure.

It is Musa’s firm belief also that – “a Government does not have any business doing business”. What a government should do, however is to create a positive climate that will bring investment. Instances of these approaches were seen time and again, last year Sabah received RM2.4 billion from local investors and RM1 billion was injected by foreign investors and gave a boost to employment creation in Sabah. There was quantum jump in both the MoUs inked and the investment coming. Sabah development Corridor (SDC) has RM135 billion worth of cumulative investments, out of which, RM45 billion have been realised.

Musa did not have much time to catch his breath when he took over as CM in 2003 facing grave adversities and in challenging circumstances. But he rose to the occasion, turned every challenge into an opportunity and transformed Sabah into a state that not only Malaysia but also the entire world is today proud of.

This was told to me by Musa a long time ago but its so meaningful even now, “It is said that community who fails to learn lesson from the past lag behind. Our own experience is no different from this saying. We have to build a better Sabah by taking appropriate lesson from our own history. And we have to define the road today itself. The challenge before this ever-changing society and time is to turn change into progress. Like what Nelson Mandela said: “Vision without action is, but a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with the action changes the world”.

This piece came out in Daily Express Sunday Forum today 13th September 2015


LETTER

by Joe Fernandez

Some Hindraf Makkal Sakthi veterans are demanding that the NGO’s chairman, P. Waythamoorthy, decide whether Indians should support the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) or the Opposition Alliance led by Pakatan Rakyat (PR). It’s not the done thing to give Waytha a 48-hour ultimatum.

Besides,  it’s not Waytha’s idea to meet with Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Najib himself asked for the meeting with Hindraf. How can the Hindraf leader spurn the Prime Minister? That would be downright kurang ajar! It must be remembered that Hindraf wanted to meet with then Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2007. Badawi initially agreed but backed off when the racists in Umno made a hue and cry and insisted that the Prime Minister should not “lower himself” — jatuh standard —  by meeting with any Indians. The Indians, the racists insisted, should meet with MIC President S. Samy Vellu, the man who had been squatting on the Indians for over three decades and had no power to decide on anything. Apparently, the Malaysian Prime Minister was only for Malays. Samy was the Prime Minister for Indians. The Indians had no choice, in the absence of dialogue with the Government, to take to the streets on 25 Nov, 2007 and in mid-Feb 2008 in Putrajaya.

According to these veterans, the Indians are confused as to who they should support in the 13th General Election. There’s nothing to be confused about!

Why should Hindraf dictate to the Indians who they should support? These so-called Hindraf veterans should have their heads examined! Such stupidity even after 56 years of suffering under BN. These people deserve whatever they have been getting since 1957. Probably, it’s a congenital thing, brought about by not mixing with anyone outside their own tiny little circle of katak di bawah tempurung.

Hindraf is not the self-serving MIC which has been squatting on the Indians for over half a century in return for some crumbs from the Umno table for a handful of its leaders.

The Indians should draw lessons from the tragic fate of the Christian minorities in the Middle East in the wake of the Arab Spring and focus on avoiding political victimization when the polls are over.

If they root for BN and PR comes in, what will be the fate of the community for the next five years? Likewise, if they root for PR instead and BN still manages to cling on to power as in the past 56 years, are the Indians going to head for the nearest toilet bowl to put their heads in for a dose of bitter reality? BN cannot be even more vicious and vindictive than they have already been towards Indians. But what about Anwar Ibrahim? This man will be even worse than Mahathir Mohamad. You can see it in his conspiratorial face and his sneaky, cynical, sneering smile. The Indians didn’t get even one tiny benefit from the PR Governments in Selangor, Kedah, Penang and Kelantan. So great is the hatred this man, a grandson of a Tamil, has for Indians. That’s why Mahathir, another Indian, is shitting bricks these days and is leading the BN campaign together with Daim Zainuddin, his Siamese comrade in plundering the Public Treasury, instead of Najib who has been virtually pushed to one side as a Bugis puppet.

God help Malaysia if Anwar Ibrahim becomes Prime Minister! This is a very bitter man plotting, scheming and conniving to be the head of Government. The voters will be extremely foolish to take such a risk. Anyone who aspires to be Prime Minister must be someone like Obama, not someone who has more than his fair share of skeletons in the cupboard and has a poor track record. The Opposition should woo Tengku Razaleigh, the man who Mahathir cheated out of the premiership in 1987, if they want to maintain some credibility on the issue of who among them should be Prime Minister. Not that turbanwallah Hadi Awang from Pas. Karpal Singh, as Mahathir suggested, would make a better Prime Minister for PR. In his own warped and jaundiced way, Mahathir is pointing out that PR has no Prime Minister in Waiting to lead the charge.

Indians should support neither BN nor BN come the GE.

The issue is simple.

Indians, despite nearly one million of them being on the electoral rolls, do not have even one seat in any legislature in Malaysia, whether Parliament or state. This is the biggest crime perpetrated by the MIC against Indians.

This means no Indian can be elected by Indian votes. In Segamat for example, where MIC Deputy President Subramaniam is the incumbent, Indians make up only ten per cent of the voters while the remainder are equally divided between the Chinese and Malays. How can Subramaniam claim to represent the Indians on speak up on their behalf? No wonder he never opens his mouth in Parliament on Indian issues.

Any Indian elected to any legislature would need non-Indian votes. Such vulnerability rules out the possibility that they can open their mouth in the legislature on Indian issues. The Indian legislator, naturally, degenerates into being a political mandore, i.e. one to marshal Indian voters to the ballot boxes on behalf of the Malays and Chinese in return for some crumbs from the powers-that-be for himself. This has been the classic MIC modus operandi over the last 56 years.

The safest approach for Indians to take is to vote against all incumbents, whether from BN or PR, by spoiling their ballots. This would be the best way to protest against marginalization and disenfranchisement and bring international attention to bear on Malaysia on the plight of the Indians. There’s nothing in the two-party system for Indians.

If new faces are fielded, Indians should decide for themselves which candidate deserves their support.

Obviously, it must be a candidate who takes note of the following: (1) the Sapu Bersih deviations and distortions in the implementation of Article 153 and the NEP — shades of Apartheid, Nazism, Fascism, Communism, Political Islam, caste system —  must be ended; (2) the Government of the day must stop enacting administrative laws — not law at all but government policies in action — which are anti-non-Malay minorities and anti upward social mobility for the non-Malays. There’s a case for a Ministry of Orang Asal and Minority Affairs (MOAMA); (3) the Syariah and the Syariah Court must not intrude into civil law; (4) Islam must be kept in its proper perspective as per Article 3 of the Federal Constitution which doesn’t mention an official religion; and (5) change must mean change of the ruling party at regular intervals through free and fair elections.

Indians must bury MIC once and for all to end mandore politics.

In the 67 parliamentary seats in Malaya, and the related state seats, where Indians decide, the community should support Hindraf if it fields any candidate.

The purpose of such an exercise, win or lose, is to demonstrate that Hindraf has more Indian support than PR and BN combined.  Hindraf can count on other 3rd Force allies as well. Hindraf co-Founder P. Uthayakumar is showing the way here.

So, Indians should stop being confused.

Forget the Hindraf Blueprint.

Both PR and BN will never endorse it although the amount involved is a measly RM 4.5 billion, just a tiny fraction of the RM 225 billion Budget for this year. If the Hindraf Blueprint is implemented by the Government of Malaysia, the sky will fall down.

The Government of the day, whether PR or BN, can appoint Indians to the Senate and even the Federal Cabinet, GLCs, and the government sector to represent the Indian Nation in Malaysia. One good start would be the Ministry of Orang Asal and Minority Affairs which can be headed, for a start, by either an Orang Asal or an Indian. Many countries have such a Ministry to cater to the Original People and Minorities. If the Federal Government is interested, Jeffrey Kitingan, Waytha and this writer can suggest who should head the Ministry. We have discussed the issue at length. Keep out the vested interests so that we can see some real change for the communities concerned and Malaysia. the Government should not surround itself with the usual bunch of sycophants, hangers-on, fat cats, and cronies claiming to represent the Orang Asal and Indians.


All through childhood my mother would tell me: “You have to work hard to get whatever is in your destiny. But, remember, you can never get more than you are destined to get and never before the time that you are destined to get it.’’

I am reminded of that again as I watch Najib Tun Razak fight against his destiny to continue as Prime Minister after GE13. Perhaps it is in his destiny, perhaps not. Perhaps it could even be RAHMAN’s prophecy signifying the end of the line of Umno. But he is, at least, putting up a great fight for it and it is good to see that the man who wanted us to believe that the UMNO was a party with a difference, is himself now at the head of those differences with so many others.

However, it is satisfying to know that what we have been saying all along about Barisan National – that it is actually doing much worse than the Pakatan Rakyat despite seeming so scatter-brained and incapable of holding their act together – is now being reiterated by the grand old man Dr Mahathir. And though it might be due to the threat of losing his power as Prime Minister that might have brought forth the realisation of impending doom, it could actually be time for others within the Barisan National coalition to heed Dr Mahathir’s warning.

The party is usually better at hiding its bickering than the Pakatan Rakyat is under similar circumstances. Dr Mahathir’s latest diatribe seemed to be aimed at Najib as usual, but it is not just Dr Mahathir who is attempting to bring him down a peg or two. Muhyiddin Yassin is also sending feelers that he wants to contest for the Number One position in UMNO after this coming polls.

Now Najib himself is unable to espy the mischief afoot against him in his home town by his own men — those who claim proximity to him have already begun to work the wires to ensure that he does not win in Pekan, in the 1999 general election, dominated by Anwar’s dismissal and marked by mass defections from UMNO, Najib’s 10,793 majority in Pekan fell to just 241 votes, thanks to the postal votes he won. And the Pakatan Rakyat has, of course, opened out its arms to such backstabbers and is wholeheartedly aiding their game plan. Whether, then, Najib overcomes the image of being a coward, as Anwar has suggested, due to a refusal of a debate, remains to be seen. This is exactly what I have been saying all along about Najib — and being called all sorts of names for that observation.

Clearly, Mahathir has more friends in the UMNO than Najib does and so the orchestration has begun in preparation for polling day GE13 2013 — though, I believe, the national party leaders were waiting with bated breath for the announcement of the dissolution of parliament on April 3rd 2013 before really outing themselves. There is a whole group of anti-Najib people who despair that he might win with a small majority but the opposite is felt over at UMNO, as loud whispers points to figures and statistics, proving that neither Malaysia nor its current PM are doing as well as they pretend.

The meeting of anti-Najib heavyweights earlier this week, which openly declared war against Najib, could not have happened without some covert support from Dr Mahathir . This is an indicator that the party has clear-cut division of camps, if not a split – those for and those against getting  Najib out of Putrajaya. Ironically, those who want to confine Najib to Pekan also wish to see Pahang fall to Pakatan Rakyat GE13 for that would truly clip his wings even if he might redouble his efforts in continuing on as UMNO President , seeking a national role for himself.

As I gather from some BN leaders I spoke to, it is clear that this is what they are waiting for — and not just because it would bring back control of the four Pakatan controlled states, including Selangor. UMNO fears handing over the party nationally to Najib, yet BN seems to be simply looking forward to that very prospect. For a while, Najib’s national ascension might have cut short the ambitions of Muhudeen Yassin’s dream of becoming PM in the event of a BN victory. However, UMNO is certain that that a BN victory will never happen with Najib at the helm as they would then be the automatic beneficiaries of the consolidation of votes against the BN.

Whichever way UMNO might resolve this very real headache growing in the party, my money is on Anwar, even though I am no fan of his. I had said multiple times in my past entries that Anwar was an old fox; he would never let go and could be expected to outfox all the foxes, old and new, in both UMNO and BN. Not for nothing did Anwar toil hard to bring the Pakatan Rakyat together and cemented both PAS and DAP which are so diverse in their ethos and pathos, but today, they are able to sit together in one table and talk. Anwar has done the impossible (politically at least) and we have to accept that. Pakatan Rakyat came from nothing and is now steadily working towards the formation of a government at the Centre.

Now, for once, will destiny be on Najib’s side in this battle against the Umno leaders, against Anwar and against Dr Mahathir? There could be many twists in the tale between now and May 2013. But with friends like these in their own party, no UMNO leader — Najib or Muhideen Yassin — need enemies?

Food for thought: It was Anwar Ibrahim who said upon his dismissal in 1998  “I have been betrayed not by others but by my own  people.”


Development without corruption is an ideal situation in Malaysian politics. Corruption and development is, at a stretch, somewhat acceptable. But corruption without development is completely unacceptable. Sadly, the Malaysian political scene has somehow have found ourselves in the second scenario and moving rapidly towards the last scenario. And it is within this such formula that incumbent Chief Minister, Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, the undisputed leader of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) and Chairman of the ruling coalition in Sarawak’s victory in the recent 10th Sarawak state elections 2011, needs to be seen.

The issue whether or not Taib Mahmud is a clean politician was never the key. It was whether Taib Mahmud had delivered, and on that count he scored. Perhaps not in the most raring of percentages but but he was adequately high on a scale of one to ten. In the Malaysian context, irrespective of corruption, development scores. If a politician at the helm of affairs demonstrates his intent and will to deliver as well as takes positive steps in that direction, similar to that of the Taib Mahmud Sarawakian government, then the electorate reposes its faith in him. This more often than not overlooks the incumbency factor. Taib Mahmud was voted in as chief minister for eight terms: the last one going beyond anyone’s expectations. The grapevine has it that Taib himself was not sure of winning but the people voted him in on three counts; the first being that only he can keep UMNO from coming into Sarawak, the second being that he had done for Sarawak what no other Chief Minister had and third being that development was high on the agenda.

There were stories about several family members benefiting billions during his regime but those allegations waned in the face of the work he had done. A great deal still remains undone but his intention and will to work benefited the people who voted him in and this alone is enough reason for the electorate to back him and ensure his return to office which he held for eight terms. In the case of Dr Mahathir, the issue also worked in his favour was the perception that his heart beats for the Malays although he is half-Indian and that even while the party or his confidantes made money left, right and center, he had electoral support till of course he made the fatal mistake of sacking Anwar Ibrahim for corruption and sodomy charges.

In Malaysia, race, religion or corruption comes into play when development takes a backseat. In situations like this, non-performing politicians have a field day in exploiting race and religion blocks to their advantage and they often succeed. Koh Tsu Koon was able to rule Penang and later managed to name chairman Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan as his successor primarily because he helped UMNO and had the support of the Feds in the center, get electoral power and in turn had a role in decision making. But what dented Koh Tsu Koon’s unassailable position were his non-performance and confining his tenure solely to UMNO politics. That worked initially but later Penangites wanted results of governance where of course he failed miserably. The consequence: a total rout from which recovery seems a near impossibility as the recent 2008 election-results have demonstrated.

This is in great contrast with Lim Guan Eng’s human development agenda in which the situation is crystal-clear. Koh Tsu Koon’s UMNO discrepant policies brought Lim Guan Eng center-stage: His initial victory had little to do with him and more with being the protégé of then Penang Chief Minister Lim Chong Eu and UMNO. Koh Tsu Koon’s Parti Gerakan who vouched for him throughout the years deserted him on the grounds that his UMNO sucking up politics were limited to his family and an inner circle comprising his relatives and maybe a handful of supporters. At the macro level Koh Tsu Koon had failed to deliver or do anything for the state, they argued. Worse still, he had put the clock back.

Lim Guan Eng reign checked these: corruption, accountability and transparency and followed this up with development. Not only did he bring back the dignity of Penangites but also stressed on the state’s CAT (competency, accountability and transparency) principles. It is after many years in Penang that the state is finally transparent in its governance. In the face of all this, whether Lim Guan Eng and his minions are corrupted or not were non issues when it comes to voting him and his boys back to power. This can be said about Taib Mahmud or Musa Aman for that matter. Upon a better look, the way Musa Aman went about getting The Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants in Sabah to investigate the Mother of ALL Problems, “Project IC”, the alleged systematic granting of citizenship to foreigners, was a brilliant move in spite of so much objections and even sabotage by Shafie Apdal and some UMNO Sabah chaps. Despite the drama he still managed to get it thru and convince Premier Najib against all odds, that this is the true meaning of development!

I stand corrected on my theory that people accept corruption only if it rides piggyback on development and never the former without the latter. Lim Guan Eng substantiates the first and Koh Tsu Koon the second. And although the the third option of development without corruption is an ideal situation, it is sadly rarely found in Malaysian politics. Even honest politicians, Musa Aman, who was voted in on grounds of his honesty and integrity, rued the fact that political parties need money to survive.

So with the way things are, it is less about corruption and more about being found out. Or even getting caught. Hence, solo development or clean governance in Malaysian politics is an ideal situation. In lieu with this, I have to single out Former Prime Ministers Tengku Abdul Rahman and Tun Hussein Onn whose integrity is beyond doubt, despite the various scams their Government had been besmeared with. But ask the man on the street or even Tengku or Tun Hussein Onn’s former political rivals and they will charge them with inaction but not dishonesty. In this case the clean image scores over governance.



No Prime Minister in Malaysia’s history has ever expressed helplessness in facing challenges that have come up during his tenure. No Prime Minister has ever sought refuge in compulsions in dealing with crucial national matters. No Prime Minister has admitted to the failings of his Cabinet colleagues while trying to absolve himself. No Prime Minister has ever tried to correct his image at the expense of his party or his coalition partners. The reason is simple: the buck stops at the Prime Minister’s office.

Over the weekend, rumors were rife that Najib had fallen ill with mild stroke. According to friends from Putrajaya, doctors have been on standby in Pekan where Najib is said to be recuperating. Najib and his wife Rosmah has been under tremendous pressure because of his corruption scandals expecially in connection to the Scorpene submarines and the Altantuya Shaariibuu C4 murder. To make matters worst his Deputy Muhyideen has ganged-up with former Premier Mahathir to oust him as UMNO President and Prime Minister before the 13th GE is held and this is an open secret.

What is his helplessness all about even if he considers it is due to Mahathir’s interference? If Najib is the Prime Minister today is because Najib took over as UMNO President and the country’s 6th Prime Minister after helping Mahathir and Muhyiddin to oust Abdullah Badawi who was blamed for the UMNO-BN’s weak performance in the 2008 elections. Had the Barisan National got a two-third majority in 2008, he would not have been the chosen one. But being Prime Minister is not a license for corruption or inefficiency. If anyone feels as strongly about the evils of interference by the “puppet master”, there is no compulsion of being associated with such politics or the offices it brings along with it.

When the Prime Minister shows he is helpless, is he not letting down the rakyat? Is he showing that he is helpless in serving the poor, who elected his government and have great expectations? The poor would have wanted prices to be in check, corruption within his ministers curbed and the influence of corporate giants contained.

Najib must realize that he is occupying a seat that was once occupied by a great visionary and statesman: Tun Abdul Razak his father, the man who faced many challenges in his life. But he never said he was helpless. The same office was held by humble but strong willed Tun Hussein Onn, acclaimed for his discipline and against all corruption. He was never helpless.

Neither was Tengku Abdul Rahman, a leader whose mass base was astounding and who came to power after getting independence. He was faced with confrontation with Sukarno’s Indonesia, he was faced with political crisis with Lee Kuan Yew and even within Umno he had to face people like Mahathir who was undermining him from inside,including racial riots and the separation of Singapore but did not yield to the pressure of the syndicate. He dug his heels and abolished privy purses. He was never helpless when he even fought the Singapore leaders with all chips down.

Even Abdulah Badawi never displayed helplessness. When his time was up, he just went but did not blame political situations, colleagues and circumstances. But perhaps all these leaders were from the political class and were not there after their tenures in other fields had ended. Perhaps they were made of sterner stuff. But they all realized and respected the fact that Prime Ministers can never show helplessness. If they were then what would happen to the country? If they lose relevance, they go.

Before going public with his limitations, Najib should have stated his piece before Malaysians, who elected Barisan National as its leader and subsequently the Yang Dipertuan Agong endorsed his elevation to the position of the Prime Minister. He must learn from his predecessors and dig in his heels to fight corruption and inefficiency. He must always remember that the buck stops at his doorstep.


by Joe Fernandez

COMMENT Prime Minister Mohd Najib Abdul Razak, in his Deepavali Day message, asked the Indian Nation in Malaysia – a people without territory in the Diaspora – to place Nambikkai (trust) in him. If he wants to be given the benefit of the doubt, there’s little indication that he deserves it.

This should not be about a man, a personality cult, but a system. Leaders come and go, but a system lives on, a people live on.

Indians, others as well, cannot continue to be held to ransom by whoever occupies the Prime Minister’s chair.

Instead, they need to see concrete action on the ground to dismantle the apartheid-like structure that Umno has foisted on Malaysia.

Indians in particular are victims of this structure of evil which is a manifestation of racism – feelings of inferiority – prejudice (being against something for no rhyme or reason) and opportunism (the ruling class monopolizing all opportunities).

Deepavali is a Time for Remembering that the Government continues to take away from the Indian Nation in Malaysia what little they have in order to reduce them to a community of thieves, beggars, and prostitutes eaking out a living in the shanty towns so that some other people can look good and feel good.

Indians are bearing the brunt of government policies which works against them. If this process continues, Indians will become refugees in their own land, internally-displaced people confined to the shantytowns.

Indians first in Peninsular Malaysia after Orang Asli

If we go back in history, we will discover that Indians were the first people to be in Peninsular Malaysia after the Orang Asli who themselves made their way from East Africa by way of the Indian coast. Between now and the coming of the Orang Asli, there have always been Indians in Peninsular Malaysia. The Kedaram Civilisation in Kedah arose from more than a millennium ago on the back of colonials, the Pallavas, from India. The purpose was to act as the middlemen in trade between India and China.

Indian presence in Peninsular Malaysia predates the Thais and the present Malay-speaking communities – Bugis, Javanese, Minang, and Acehnese etc – but has been downplayed by politically-minded historians to a mere phenomenon of British colonialism from two hundred years ago.

Away from history, Indians in Peninsular Malaysia today find themselves marginalized and disenfranchised under the Umno Government which has lasted, by hook and by crook if not default, for 55 years. Indians don’t have even one seat in Parliament or any of the state assemblies.

The result of marginalisation and disenfranchisement has as placed Indians in an unfortunate position where even the little that they have continues to be taken away from them by Umno under administrative laws – government policies in action – and there appears to be no let up in the process.

Najib’s nambikkai focused on ballot box, his survival

It’s in this atmosphere of mistrust and distrust that Najib is pleading for nambikkai from Indians with an eye on the ballot box and his political survival.

An example, as pointed out by Hindraf Makkal Sakthi Legal Advisor P. Uthayakumar, is that no local authority in Malaysia will issue even a cendol licence to Indians. If Najib cannot ensure that Indians can’t obtain even a cendol licence, he has no business asking for nambikkai from Indians.

The civil service, at one time, used to be the bastion of support for Indians to the extent that they made up over 60 per cent of the top-ranking staff. Meritocracy reigned.

Today, it’s a far cry as the lack of diversity – blame it on mediocrity — in the civil service has seen the number of non-Malays decline to less than 10 per cent. This may be attributed to the fact that former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohd advised the civil service in his day to throw away applications from non-Malays. This fact was recorded in a PhD study by Professor Ramasamy, the present Deputy Chief Minister II of Penang. Rama was booted out from a university for the revelation and was invited by Dap to join up. The rest is history.

Najib has made no effort whatsoever to ensure that the civil service embraces the concept of diversity. Instead, we are being told that non-Malays are not interested to signing on and a great pretence is being made in wooing non-Malays. Ajak ajak ayam!

In 2008, Indians voted against the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) and helped the Opposition win by default in the face of an urban-rural divide.

Recipe for political victimization after 13th General Elections

This time, Indians are being asked to choose between the BN and the Opposition. This call makes little sense since the community has been effectively marginalized and disenfranchised as evident, at the risk of repetition, in zero seats for them in Parliament and the state assemblies. Hence, being forced to choose between the BN and the Opposition is a sure recipe for political victimization in the aftermath of the elections.

The Indians would be better off if they eschew party politics and coalition politics.
Hindraf Makkal Sakthi is engaged in talks with Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR). The ad hoc human rights organisation working across the political divide has a 18 Point List of Demands. http://hindraf.org/18-points-demand.html

Najib has jumped on the bandwagon and wants to engage Hindraf too. He forgets that Badawi, his predecessor, spurned the opportunity in late 2007 in the face of racist advice and suffered March 2008.

It’s not really necessary that Indians must be represented in Parliament and the state assemblies since such representation does not benefit them but only a handful willing to subscribe to tokenism and window-dressing. Hindraf calls it mandore politics, whatever that means. But they may have a point or two here if Indian legislators are afraid to even utter the word “Indian” for fear of being branded “racist” and losing their non-Indian votes.

It’s a no win situation.

Indians must flock to the ballot box independent of the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) and other political parties.

Indians must forsake party politics, coalition politics

This calls for voting against any Indian who offers himself or herself to the electorate at the forthcoming 13th General Election.

Indians must also forsake party politics and coalition politics and look at the track record of the incumbents and candidates who offer themselves.

Indians, being members of a 3rd Force which can emerge in Parliament to ensure that no one has a two-third majority, should not vote for or against parties or coalitions.

They should vote against incumbents who have not performed for them.

They should also vote against incumbents who have performed for them but have been in the state legislatures or Parliament three terms or more in a row.

Elements of the 3rd Force in Parliament: Sabah and Sarawak in general and the Orang Asal in particular; Sabahans & Sarawakians in Peninsular Malaysia; Orang Asli; other minorities; Christians in Peninsular M’sia; fence-sitters i.e. those who support neither PR or BN; the Indian underclass and other Indians; Youths including the children of the Tudungs; and Women including the Tudungs who are being enslaved mentally and being deprived of their human rights; the urban poor; and the citizenship-holding relatives of stateless people, special pass holders, temporary residents & permanent residents; and victims of loan sharks, banks – being denied access to credit — the Land Office, local authorities, the Courts and police brutality.

Deepavali is a Time to Focus on Victory over Evil, Light over Darkness.

Evil, keeping the Nazi holocaust in mind, is best defined as the lack of empathy.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


by Joe Fernandez
Guest Columnist

COMMENT It appears that the current Najib Administration has forgotten the bitter lessons learnt during Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s long innings in office when he, the frightened little man he was by default in office, openly and shamelessly rooted for extreme coercion as his preferred modus operandi.

It’s not so much that Prime Minister Mohd Najib Abdul Razak is calling the shots in the current stand-off with the Bar Council of Malaya on the proposed Law Academy in the wake of Bersih 3.0.

De facto Law Minister Nazri Abdul Aziz, egged on by Mahathir, appears to be single-handedly taking on the legal profession in the country. He must have a death-wish like Mahathir.

Why doesn’t the Election Commission (EC) address, in a rational, detached and professional manner, the issues raised by Bersih 3.0?

Instead, the Government is indulging in the politics of distraction and disruption to camouflage the numerous complaints against the EC, the Electoral Rolls and the electoral process. The EC cowers meanwhile behind the Government which appears determined not to allow a free and fair election lest it end up, after 55 years, in the dustbin of history. Fifty-five is a good time to retire.

To digress a little, Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur will turn into yet another Tahrir Square with reminiscence of the Arab Spring if the ruling Umno wins the 13th General Election with anything more than a simple majority. The fault will lie squarely on the EC and Umno.

The Umno Government can only underestimate the determination of the Opposition for free and fair elections at its own peril.

Now, we are saddled with the Umno’s politics of distraction and disruption again a la Mahathir in the wake of ex-Bar Council Chief Ambiga Sreenivasan assuming the mantle at Bersih. The Government is under no illusions that the Opposition, which has an eye on the 67 parliamentary seats in Peninsular Malaysia where Indians decide, is behind Bersih. It sees the Bar Council as having a hand in Bersih 3.0 via Ambiga. Hence, moves for a so-called Law Academy to “rein in the Bar Council” and at the same time intimidate Indian voters into supporting the Government once again.

Mahathir tried, repeatedly, to do a number on practising lawyers in the country after the sacking of the Lord President. Eventually, he had to retreat with his tail between his legs when jurists worldwide began scrutinizing him and he began to more than feel the heat.

History is set to repeat itself under the guise of the proposed Law Academy and for the aforesaid reasons.

Mahathir appears to belabour under the illusion, or perhaps deliberately, that politics is only for politicians and politicians.

Hence, he castigates the Bar Council as “having degenerated into a political party with no one to look after the profession”.

Politics cannot be divorced from law.

The Constitution is more politics than law and its dry bones, masquerading as law, are clothed by constitutional conventions and administrative law, both of which have nothing to do with law but is all about politics. It’s the politicization of issues, like the need for electoral reform, which eventually finds its way into constitutional conventions and administrative law.

So, the Bar Council stands on firm ground on the legal profession and should not be seen as behaving like a political party anymore than the NGOs which flog a single issue where the politicians have failed.

Nazri, in a contradiction in terms vis-à-vis Mahathir, claims that the Government-mooted Law Academy will look after the interests — whatever they are — of law graduates who are not in professional practice. It’s clear that the Government wants to use the Law Academy for political purposes and mainly to clobber the Bar Council with it.

This is the second such attempt by the Government.

The first was through an association for secular Muslim lawyers. This divide-and-rule tactic has not worked so far because very few Muslim lawyers abandoned the Bar Council to join the new association. Muslim lawyers have no reason to be separate from the Bar Council just as members of other faiths.

Nazri should know that Mahathir doesn’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to the legal profession, given his tainted record on the Judiciary, and should not continue to ventilate his ignorance in public like his political master.

The Bar Council has neither forgotten, nor forgiven him, for single-handedly eroding the Doctrine of Separation of Powers and reducing the Judiciary to yet another Government Department firmly under the thumb of the executive. This was after Parliament had been reduced to a rubber stamp and the King placed in imminent danger of losing his head by way of a so-called Special Court. There’s no precedent for this legal Sword of Damocles anywhere in the world.

If the King has to step down, for any number of reasons, he steps down but he can only be persuaded by the Council of Rulers to do so and not the Government. He doesn’t get dragged to Court like a commoner. But this was what Mahathir, in his supreme ignorance, bequeathed the nation.

Whatever happened to a concept of Crown Privilege? The King can do no wrong.

Now, Nazri and Mahathir are leading those egging any number of publicity-seekers to set up the Law Academy. No doubt there will be some takers, none from the Bar Council, just as in the case of the Muslim Lawyers Association. The Federal Government reportedly plans to fund the Law Academy with an initial launching grant of RM 15 million.

If non-practising lawyers want to band together for some reason, they can always do so, as provided for by Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.

However, they should not band themselves together as a Law Academy. They are not qualified to do so since the great majority is neither in teaching nor are they in professional practice. No doubt they would have forgotten whatever law they learnt in their quest for a paper qualification. Ten out ten they would fail a simple law test.

A Law Academy is an institution of higher learning for the teaching and development of the law via academia, with emphasis on jurisprudence, and research on law, government and politics. Membership of the Academy is honorary.

The right parties to set up a Law Academy would be the Bar Council of Malaya, the Sabah Law Association and the Sarawak Advocates Association together with the law faculties at local universities and those overseas in Commonwealth countries.

The Federal Government has no business whatsoever pushing for a Law Academy or whatever with half-baked characters just to politicize the legal profession for its own ulterior motives.