Posts Tagged ‘Dr Mahathir’


After a gap of 15 years Dr Mahathir is once again Malaysia’s Prime Minister, and his re-election means he’s also a world record holder.

At the age of 93 today, he is now the Oldest current Prime Minister having been born on 10 July 1925.

Dr Mahathir also served as Prime Minister for 23 years from 1981-2003 and came out of retirement 15 years after stepping down as Malaysia’s Prime Minister to stand for re-election.

Having initially been a founder member of UMNO, which had been in power since 1957,  Dr Mahathir resigned from UMNO and formed Pakatan Harapan coalition ahead of May 9th 2018 election.

His election victory means he’s older than the two previous serving politicians who Guinness World Records has recognised as holding the title.

Previous Record Holders

King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz

Saudi Arabian ruler, King Fahd, assumed the office of Prime Minister on 13 June 1982 on the death of his brother, King Khalid.

Born in 1921, he was the Oldest current Prime Minister by the time he passed away on 1 August 2005, aged 84.

King Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz

After King Fahd’s passing, he was replaced as Saudi Arabia’s Prime Minister by King Abdullah, three year’s his predecessor’s junior.

King Abdullah was born in 1924 and remained in the post until his death at the age of 90 in January 2015.

But other politicians have stayed in power long enough to set records.

Other prime ministerial records

The Oldest appointed Prime Minister, where a politician has been made their country’s leader for the first time, is Morarji Ranchhodji Desai.

Born in 1896, he became Prime Minister of India in 1977 at the age of 81.

The Oldest UK Prime Minister in office is William Gladstone (UK, 1809-98), who was 84 years 64 days old when he left office on 3 March 1894.

At 93, the Tun is Malaysia’s political comeback kid. I wish you well, Sir. Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad. You inspired me and men and women of my generation, although some of us may not agree with your politics. But we recognise you did things your way. Happy Birthday Sir Dr Mahathir.

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This is a nicely written editorial piece by The Malaysian Insight.

Here goes…

https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/57409

IF it were up to the politicians, Najib Razak would have been arrested and charged with a string of offences by now.

Indeed, there is some frustration among the Pakatan Harapan (PH) corps that the former prime minister is still a free man, more than six weeks after he and Barisan Nasional were ushered out of Putrajaya.

Judging from comments on social media, anger is percolating among some ordinary Malaysians that Najib’s day of reckoning ‎has not arrived.

This sentiment is understandable, especially against the backdrop of ‎the astonishing and obscene amount of jewellery and cash found at properties linked to the former first couple.

So what gives? What’s the delay in arresting Najib and charging him for offences under the anti-money laundering act?

The simple answer is: professionalism.

Attorney-General Tommy Thomas is not a politician. He does not need to play to the gallery. He has been given a two-year term by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and chief among his responsibilities is to nail all those linked to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal.

A senior lawyer with more than four decades of experience arguing cases in court, Thomas knows that you only go to court when you are satisfied that you have covered all the bases and the witnesses’ testimonies can withstand cross-examination.

To say that this is a high-profile case is an understatement. Media interest in Malaysia over the return of Dr Mahathir and Najib’s political demise has only been matched by the coverage of  the sacking and jailing of Anwar Ibrahim in 1998.

Then, the Malaysian government had put on a show that resulted in the world laughing and ridiculing our legal system. Who can forget the porous prosecution led by then attorney-general Mokhtar Abdullah and Abdul Gani Patail?

Who can forget the many instances prosecution witnesses were demolished within an hour of being on the stand by the superb defence team led by the late Raja Aziz Addruse?

Who can forget the prosecution having to make amendments to the charges to cover embarrassing mistakes?

The world’s media watched from the press gallery and reported with incredulity the amateurish prosecution trial of the former deputy prime minister.

New Malaysia cannot afford its legal system to suffer another black eye. The new Mahathir administration that promises to deliver a more transparent, independent and rule of law-based legal system has to be seen to be ticking those boxes in the trial of the decade.

Ultimately, it is to the benefit of the ordinary Malaysian or the small man that the person in charge of bringing prosecution is influenced only by the files in front of him, and not by pressure from outside sources.

We cannot have a return to the days when we faced enforcement action from government agencies and prosecution as part of a political shakedown or because we had offended some little Napoleon. Or because, it was the politically expedient thing to do.

If the new AG of the Mahathir administration is being more meticulous and thorough in preparing the case against Najib, that’s a good development. It means that he knows that he believes that he is not going to get a free pass in court simply because he represents the government of the day.

He has to win on merit.

Thomas was brought into the system precisely for this reason: to give confidence to Malaysians and foreigners that the new government truly wants a clean break from the past. – June 28, 2018

THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT


Yang di-Pertuan Agong consents to Tommy Thomas as the new Attorney General after 10 days delay. Agong also approved the sacking of current Attorney General Mohamad Apandi Ali, the joker who cleared Najib of wrongdoing in 2016, saying some $700 million that landed in Najib’s bank account was a donation from the Saudi royal family and that most of it has been returned.

Anyway, here is a nice little write up of our new AG Tommy Thomas by #thecoverage. Its a good read, here goes….

 

15 Facts About Tommy Thomas That Every Malaysian Should Know – Tommy Thomas Is The King

“Tommy is the king. He has an unparalleled combination

of skills, knowledge and sense, which enables him to remain a top dog,’ notes one competitor.”
Benchmark Asia-Pacific – Tommy Thomas Website

Tommy Thomas Former Muslim Employee In His Legal Firm Share Her Personal Experience About Him – He Is The Best !

1. Graduate from University of Manchester and London School of Economics 

Tommy Thomas was born in Kuala Lumpur in 1952, and attended Pasar Road English School and Victoria Institution.

He read law at the University of Manchester, graduating in 1973, and became a barrister (Middle Temple) in 1974. He studied International Relations at the London School of Economics, securing an M.Sc. in 1975. He was called to the Malaysian Bar in 1976.

2. Own A Law Firm – Tommy Thomas Advocates & Solicitors

He started his career at Skrine & Co., becoming a partner in 1982. In 2000, he established a  firm, doing litigation matters exclusively, organised along the lines of a barrister’s chambers in England.

Partners: Tommy Thomas, Alan Gomez, Ganesan Nethi Consultant: Sitpah Selvaratnam

3. Thomas Served The Bar Council From 1984

Thomas served in the Bar Council from 1984 to 1988 and from 1993 to 2001. He was elected its Secretary, serving from 1995 to 1997. He was Editor of Insaf, the Bar’s publication from 1985 to 1987. He was a member of the Bar (Disciplinary Proceedings) Review Committee under the Chairmanship of Tun Hussein Onn, and wrote its Report in 1986. Thomas has a keen interest in corporate governance.

4. The United Nations Development Plan (UNDP) Appointed Him As Senior Consultant In 2000

He was a Director of the Malaysian Institute of Corporate Governance from 1995 to 2001. In the wake of the financial and economic crisis that engulfed Malaysia and other Asian countries in 1997, the United Nations Development Plan (UNDP) appointed him as Senior Consultant in 2000 to lead the Corporate Governance Initiative for the countries affected by the crisis. The publication in 2002 of a UNDP Report edited by him identified profligate corporate debt as a principal cause for the crisis.

He is a life member of the Malaysian Economic Association and the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society.

5. Well Known Legal Book Author

In Anything But The Law, Tommy Thomas covers topics as diverse as past general elections, Malaysian icons, the Arab Spring and economics – in fact, anything but the law.

Some readers are aware that he is a lawyer, he notes in an e-mail interview, so he chose a title that would alert them to the fact that this book is about non-legal issues.

It was launched together with Abuse Of Power, which focuses on the law and the Constitution. Both books collect essays he had written over 34 years and that had been published by online portals and by the Malaysian Bar.

6. Ranks Among The Best of Constitutional Law Advocates In Malaysia

Tommy Thomas ranks among the best of constitutional law advocates in Malaysia. Committed, charismatic and vocal, he is without doubt one of nation’s foremost lawyer and thinker, as attested to by his brilliant legal career, the breadth and depth of his dissertations, writings and talks on law, nation, institutional building, financial liberation and globalisation.

7.  More Than 40 Years In Law

As a barrister of more than 40 years standing, Thomas has had the privilege of appearing as counsel in landmark cases in various branches of the law in all the courts of Malaysia, including the Privy Council in London, which was Malaysia’s highest court until 1985. Thomas has had more than 150 reported cases and countless unreported cases. He has been singled out consistently and regularly as one of Malaysia’s leading litigation lawyers by independent international publications such as The Asia Pacific Legal 500, Which Lawyer, Who’s Who Legal (The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers), Commercial Litigation Lawyers of Asia and Chambers Asia.

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In the corporate field, he has appeared in Company, Liquidation, Receivership and Insolvency matters. In the commercial sphere, he has acted in Banking, Hire Purchase, Contract, Intellectual Property, Sale of Goods, Wills, Trusts and Land Law cases. Thomas has appeared in complex litigation involving bonds and other sophisticated financial instruments. In Public Law, Thomas specialises in constitutional and administrative law cases. He has also been very active in statutory interpretation disputes ranging from petroleum, asset management, securities law and local government.

Thomas has acted in ground-breaking high profile litigation involving two State Governments in relation to their off shore oil and gas claims. He has also acted for two other State Governments in constitutional and judicial review disputes. He has represented regulatory authorities as lead counsel in their complicated civil litigation matters at the apex court. Thomas is regularly consulted by other law firms and appointed senior counsel in their litigation. He often appears as lead counsel for the Malaysian Bar in intricate and controversial cases.

8. AMANAH LEGAL HEAD Lawyer

Tommy Thomas, the candidate proposed for Attorney-General (AG), not only has in-depth legal knowledge, “but more importantly, he is a senior lawyer with the utmost integrity, that is crucial for being an AG,” said Hanipa Maidin (pic), who chairs the Legal Bureau of Parti Amanah Negara.

In a letter to Malaysiakini, he said that honestly, he fully supports the proposed candidate, “without any doubt”.

Hanipa recalled his experience with Thomas while handling a contempt of court case filed by Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) against a lady lawyer called Puan Fahdah and the writer/activist Ahmad Lutfi Othman.

Thomas was representing Fahdah and Hanipa was acting for Ahmad Lutfi. They won the case.

“I saw a lawyer who was fantastic (amat hebat) and highly credible (berwibawa),” recounted Hanipa, who is also the MP for Sepang.

9. Chin Peng Lawyer

He once represented Parti Komunis Malaya leader Chin Peng in calling for the government to allow his body to be buried in Sitiawan, Perak.

He pointed out that in his book written in 2016, Thomas had described Chin Peng as one of the great liberation fighters of the second half of the 20th century and a major contributor to Merdeka.

10. Lawyer of for Lim Guan Eng

Press Conference Statement by Chief Minister of Penang Lim Guan Eng Announcing Tommy Thomas As The Penang State Government’s Counsel To Sue The Election Commission And The Federal Government At Gerden Hotel, Kuala Lumpur on 26th Feb 2013.

Thomas is representing Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng in his corruption cases.

11. Lawyer for MH 370 and MH 17

MH 370 Lead counsel Tommy Thomas had argued that the documents, among others, were critical evidence relating to the background and sequence of events for the incident and subsequent search operations. Court orders Malaysia Airlines to hand over documents on MH370 to passengers’ next of kin.

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In court, the family’s lawyer Tommy Thomas submitted that they were concerned that it would be “a paper judgment” if the High Court ruled in favour of the family as MAS would be a shell company because all its assets had been transferred to MAB except the MH370 and MH17 lawsuits.

He said that according to the vesting order gazetted on Nov 6 last year, pursuant to the Malaysian Airline System Berhad (Administration) Act 2015, it appeared that MAS assets such as aircraft, buildings and properties were transferred to MAB and about 1,000 MAS liabilities relating to its trade and business creditors, such as suppliers of catering and maintenance services, were also transferred to MAB.

Thomas said none of the 500 MH370 and MH17 passengers’ families’ claims were transferred.

He said there were a total of 27 lawsuits filed by families of passengers on board the MH370 flight pending at the Kuala Lumpur High Court and litigation pending in the courts in the United States, China and Australia.

12. Believes The “Allah” Decision is Wrong in Constitutional Law

The sustained public attack on last week’s decision of the Court of Appeal in prohibiting the Catholic Church from using the word “Allah” in their internal publication, the Herald, is absolutely unprecedented, even in a nation very used to bad court decisions. From a constitutional perspective, the three judgments are poorly reasoned, the law misread and conclusions reached which will baffle any right-thinking student anywhere in the common law. The decision is not just wrong, it is horribly wrong, and will represent a terrible blot on our legal landscape, unless overturned quickly by the apex court, the Federal Court. Regrettably, what follows may seem unduly legalistic, but it cannot be avoided in a critique of a court decision. – Tommy Thomas 

13. Believes Malaysia Is A Secular State

“UMNO wishes to state loudly that Malaysia is an Islamic country. This is based on the opinion of ulamaks who had clarified what constituted as Islamic country. If Malaysia is not an Islamic country because it does not implement the hudud, then there are no Islamic countries in the world.

If UMNO says that Malaysia is an Islamic country, it is because in an Islamic country non-Muslims have specific rights. This is in line with the teachings of Islam. There is no compulsion in Islam. And Islam does not like chaos that may come about if Islamic laws are enforced on non-Muslims. – Tommy Thomas

14. Believes Sultan and Agong Does Not Have A Free Hand” In The Selection of the Menteri Besar and Prime Minister

He explained that as a constitutional ruler, the Sultan of Selangor “does not have a free hand” in the selection of the menteri besar, citing Articles 51 and 53 of the state constitution.

Article 51(2) states that the candidate “must be of the Malay Race and profess the Muslim Religion” while Article 53(4) provides that His Highness may in his discretion dispense with provisions in the Constitution like Article 51 (2) which restricts his choice.

“Obviously, the menteri besar of any state must be a citizen of Malaysia but in Selangor there are no residential qualifications. Thus, he or she need not be born in Selangor nor have a permanent residence in the state,” Thomas told The Malaysian Insider today.

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He also quoted Article 53(2)(a) which states that the Sultan can only appoint a person as menteri besar if that person is a member of the state legislative assembly and who, in his judgement, is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the assembly.

“The Federal Constitution and all the State Constitutions have identical provisions to Selangor’s Article 53(2).

“They are all modelled on Westminster constitutions with the standard words ‘commanding the confidence of the majority’ of parliamentarians,” he added.

Since the country achieved its independence in 1957, the political party (or coalition) that gains the most number of seats in general elections always selected its own leader, Thomas noted.

“So, in every case where there has been a vacancy in the office of the prime minister, whether caused by resignation or death, the acting leader of UMNO or Barisan Nasional was appointed the PM.

“Similarly, after each of the 13 general elections, the King had no discretion in such appointments. It is the same in the case of all the states. If there were exceptions in some states, the MBs were appointed without regard to constitutional niceties,” Thomas said. – Tommy Thomas

15. Quotes About Tommy Thomas

“Many Malaysian writers pull their punches or shade the truth about life in Malaysia. Just as many commentators eschew research to back up their opinions….Prominent lawyer and social commentator Tommy Thomas does not fall into either category….The book is a compilation of 32 essays and commentaries over the years, written with courage and clarity. There is his take on polarized and fractured Malaysia; a compassionate portrait of communist leader Chin Peng and the unconstitutional basis of Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s declaration that Malaysia is an Islamic state…” – Brendan Pereira, Former Editor of The New Straits Times

““Tommy Thomas is undoubtedly one of the country’s foremost lawyers and thinkers as attested to by his brilliant legal career and by the breadth and depth of his writings and speeches not only on law but also on nation & institutional building as well as on financial liberalization and globalization, as is readily evident from this collection.

His forays into the political economy issues of the day such as the global financial crisis show how wide is his interest, how well he is read and what a good grasp he has of subjects very different from his field of specialization.

This collection is a must read not only for the specialists in law and the social sciences who have an abiding interest in developments in Malaysia and the Region but also for the concerned citizen who wants a better appreciation of the happenings around them.” – Dr R. Thillainathan, Past President of the Malaysian Economic Association

“Widely regarded as one of the top lawyers in the country.”- Chambers Asia Pacific

“He will be the cream at the top, strategic, clever,” says a peer. “We appear together often and I think highly of him.” – Benchmark Asia-Pacific

“Tommy Thomas has an excellent reputation based on success in some of Malaysia’s most significant court cases in recent years.”- The Legal 500

“Tommy is the king. He has an unparalleled combination of skills, knowledge and sense, which enables him to remain a top dog,’ notes one competitor.”- Benchmark Asia-Pacific


My daughter, Vilashini Somiah, who has several new age fads about food swears by Quinoa. She calls it super food. She has tried to get me to have it for dinner once. I kind of like the stuff and now I take a tablespoon of quinoa every morning with my oats and other grains. I still prefer my wheat and occasionally some rice.  Now quinoa is the cause of a raging fight in Malaysia. I can understand the intensity.

“To millions of Malaysians, rice is at the center of most meals. Many start and end their day with it. Rice is the basis of the national dish, nasi lemak.

So when Prime Minister Najib Razak said this past week that he preferred quinoa because it was “better than rice,” he stirred up a tempest in a lunch bowl.

Opponents pounced and other Malaysians took to social media to fret and fume when Najib was caught saying: “I don’t eat rice. I eat quinoa. My son introduced me to it.”

Dr Mahathir Mohamad, a former prime minister who is leading the Pakatan Harapan (PH) opposition coalition in elections expected by August, took to Twitter to jeer the prime minister and to express his support for Malaysia’s traditional grain.

“I only eat local rice,” Dr Mahathir tweeted.

Another opposition leader, Lim Kit Siang, said he had never even heard of quinoa.”

*Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa; (/ˈkiːnwɑː/ or /kɪˈnoʊ.ə/, from Quechua kinwa or kinuwa) is a flowering plant in the amaranth family. It is a herbaceous annual plant grown as a grain crop primarily for its edible seeds. Quinoa is not a grass, but rather a pseudocereal botanically related to spinach and amaranth.

After harvest, the seeds are processed to remove the bitter-tasting outer seed coat. Versatile for many dishes, cooked quinoa supplies nutrient content similar to wheat and rice, such as moderate amounts of protein, dietary fiber, and minerals. Quinoa is gluten-free.

Quinoa originated in the Andean region of northwestern South America, and was domesticated 3,000 to 4,000 years ago for human consumption in the Lake Titicaca basin of Peru and Bolivia, though archaeological evidence shows livestock uses 5,200 to 7,000 years ago. Amazingly, researchers have also found that quinoa could have origins in Taiwan as well.

READ THE NEW YORK TIMES

Malaysians were not happy when Prime Minister Najib Razak said he preferred quinoa because it was “better than rice,” the national staple.

May 25, 2017― Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad lamented today over the sale of a 49.9 per cent stake in Malaysia’s national carmaker Proton, once the country’s source of pride, to Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.

The former prime minister, who had founded Proton Holdings in 1983 in a bid to turn Malaysia into an industrialised powerhouse, said he could not be proud of Proton’s future success because it would no longer belong to him or to Malaysia.

“I am a sissy. I cry even if Malaysians are dry-eyed. My child is lost. And soon my country. Please excuse me,” Dr Mahathir wrote on his blog.

“Proton the child of my brain has been sold. It is probably the beginning of the great sell-out. The process is inexorable. No other way can we earn the billions to pay our debts. The only way is to sell our assets. And eventually we will lose our country, a great country no doubt, but owned by others,” added the country’s longest serving prime minister.

The deal between Proton parent DRB-Hicom and Geely was announced yesterday, with Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani saying that Proton would remain a national car because Proton would still have a majority hold of 50.1 per cent.

International newswire Reuters reported that Geely was expected to offer Proton some vehicle technologies in order to grow its sales overseas and to recover some of the global presence Proton had lost in recent years.

Proton reportedly dominated the domestic market by 74 per cent in 1993 at its peak, but saw its market share dwindle to around 15 per cent currently due to low-quality cars, poor after-sales service and tough competition from foreign automakers.

Dr Mahathir said he was certain that Proton would now be sold all over the world.

“It will be like Singapore. Malaysians are proud of this great city-state. If it had not been sold it would be, perhaps, as well developed as Kuala Kedah or Kuala Perlis. Then we cannot be proud of Singapore,” he said.

“Now we can be proud of Proton. With money and superior technology it will compete with Rolls Royce and Bentley. But I cannot be proud of its success. I cannot be proud of the success of something that does not belong to me or my country. Maybe other Malaysians will, but not me,” added the 91-year-old.

Anyway heard it through the grapevine that this is:

Proton Geely’s first model

screen2bshot2b2017-05-252bat2b5-34-442bpm

Read hear Dr Mahathir’s Chedet


Interview + Text Rathika Sheila + Ben Liew
Images Choen Lee @ Bunny+Bear Pictures
Venue Wondermama

They say fathers are closer to their daughters. Could it be or maybe it’s just that fathers put more pressure on themselves and their child when it comes to their firstborns. I spent my afternoon speaking to Marina Mahathir and Nurul Izzah Anwar about the relationships they shared with their fathers and their strangely normal upbringing. After spending 15 minutes chatting away about what CLIVE’s notorious Editor has been up to, and snacking on curry fries, I finally asked them the first question…

When was the last time you had dinner with your dad?
Marina Just the two of us? I think it was March 2011 in London. He wanted to bring his whole [entourage] but I said, “no, I cannot afford to pay.” We meet here in KL during family occasions. I met a young hairdresser in Singapore once and he told me he hasn’t been home for two years but he calls his mother every day. He said, “You cakap sekali sebulan, dia tak tahu apa nak cakap, tapi tiap-tiap hari you cakap 10 minit, dia happy.” I keep telling myself to do something similar but I don’t.
Nurul We don’t have one-to-one lunches because we’re a big family so usually my in-laws will join us. The recent one was along election week because throughout the campaign my sister in-law who works in the States was here, so that was about three weeks back. I don’t know what he’ll say to me when it’s one-to-one…
Marina Sometimes it’s better not to have the one-to-one [laughs].

Do your conversations around the dinner table revolve around work-talk mostly?
Marina What is work-talk?
Nurul That’s a good point. What is work? After a while, work, politics, daily life, it gets morphed into the personal because it’s engraved in you.
Marina Like anybody’s conversation, it goes all over the place. First you’re talking about your kids, then a little bit about politics and work.

What was the sternest action taken by your dad to discipline you?
Nurul My dad gives the evil eye. He just has to say “Izzah..” in his lowered tone of voice and I know I’m in trouble. My mum was more of a disciplinarian.
Marina I used to get spanked when I was little because I didn’t want to go to school.

Do you personally believe in “spare the rod and spoil the child”?
Marina I don’t agree with it. When you become a parent, you will understand why the temptation to whack them will come. It’s normal to think about whacking them but it’s not normal to actually do it.

Not even raise your hand to falsely threaten?
Marina Raise voice, yes, but not the hand. I remember when my older one was a little baby, I don’t know what she did but I smacked her lightly and my dad said, “Don’t touch my granddaughter!” And he’s the one that use to pinch me when I was little. I can’t do it, as tempting as it gets, I can’t.
Nurul I think it’s also what we went through as children. My parents didn’t do that, although my mum would threaten us with a ruler when she teaches my siblings and I, but I think right now we’re learning a lot from self-help books, “How to talk to children so they listen and how to listen so they talk to you”. This morning in fact, my son didn’t want to bathe so I had to draw and explain how the shower rod works and I was already late for work but after 10 minutes, he finally responded. I guess there are different techniques with different generations. I do believe now it has a lot to do with psychology – listening to them and trying to be their friend. Mind you, he’s four.
Marina I think this generational thing, it’s normal to change. I made a conscious decision that I wasn’t going to bring up my kids quite the same way as I was brought up. I think my husband and I are a bit more democratic with our children, which, of course, means the democracy bites back. But, on the other hand, my parents benefit from the way we bring up our children. Our children are more demonstrative, they’re not shy to say “I love you” and they [grandparents] benefit from it.

At this point in the interview, Nurul begins to share about the time her father sent her off to a local university for her first semester and kissed her on the cheek and forehead in public. “That’s not how I wanted to start my first semester in Uni!” she says, sounding like every other teenager. “He’s like that, he’ll hug and kiss us good night. It was different for us in that sense. Imagine going to Assunta Secondary School, the last thing you need is the Deputy Prime Minister to come and kiss you.” Marina also reminisces the times her father would visit her while she was studying in Tunku Kurshiah College and how stunned her classmates were when she held her father’s hand when they walked together. “It was normal for us to be that affectionate but I don’t think a lot of them shared the same relationship.”

READ MORE HERE


Even before the May polls campaign process has reached full momentum in the state of Sabah, three generalisations dominate the marketplace of political ideas about its consequences:

a) that a third-time victory for chief minister Musa Aman in Sabah is nearly certain;
b) since this victory is a foregone conclusion, the time is ripe for a bigger role for Musa Aman

and

c) this victory is likely to be a direct outcome of ‘good governance’, understood primarily as robust economic growth, delivered under Musa’s leadership.

I see this approach as problematic for two reasons: in terms of method, it seems that QED has been etched in even before one could see the proof of what one set out to examine. More importantly, however, there is a certain naivete in this formulation that leads us to a complacence in examining the very complicated and nuanced role of electoral competition currently being witnessed in this state. I engage myself with unravelling this second strand, as viewed in the terrain of practical politics, analysing the strategies and counter-strategies of the main contenders—the ruling BN/UMNO the Pakatan Rakyat the Star Sabah and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP). I then examine the robustness of each of these three ‘generalisations’, and in conclusion argue that although it is an advantage to Musa Aman, there is political competition to be witnessed before one could declare the match won.

For one, the Pakatan Rakyat Sabah in the field does not have a sense of local issues, an understanding of pockets of disadvantage, and also a macro-strategy of where to deploy its energies spatially. In not associating themselves with Sabahan struggles against Malayan colonisation, the party has been aligning itself on the wrong side of popular grievances. Anwar Ibrahim’s campaigns will be of disadvantage, given his historical roots in the toppling of the duly elected PBS government in 1994 and his hands together with Dr Mahathir’s in the Project IC to dilute the native population in the state. Also Pakatan’s lineup, who is going to be chief minister if they win? Lajim as chief minister? Bumburing? Tamrin? Ansari? Who? They have no one of Musa Aman’s standing and Musa’s record of governance the last ten years can speak for itself.

For the SAPP the party’s grassroots base was not evident even in the Batu Sapi parliamentary by-elections held on 2010. Besides, the SAPP had a low vote-share of 10 per cent or less even in the March 2008 elections. This will not be translated evenly into enough seats for the party this coming GE 13th May 5. Also, the margins of losing are very low. The party’s President, Yong Teck Lee failure to win over Pakatan’s Ansari in the Batu Sapi parliamentary by elections means even the Chinese in Sandakan have rejected the SAPP. SAPP’s most impressive pre-poll offering has been its “Autonomi for Sabah” battle cry, promising new Sabah IC for Sabahans if it comes to power, is questionable because they have been in the BN government for 14 years and Yong Teck Lee had been chief minister of Sabah for 2 years yet did not do zilch.

Part of the Star Sabah strategy is to focus on the interiors of Sabah, Jeffrey Kitingan’s roost, where it is said that the natives are disgruntled. As a macro-strategy, the Star Sabah is concentrating on the interiors of Sabah, where natives who are farmers have been adversely hit by high prices of fertilizers and agrochemicals and cost of essentials rocketing sky high The region accounts for nearly a third of the total seats and is the stronghold of PBS supremo Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan the “Huguan Siou”or paramount chief of the Kadazandusun Murut community, the backbone of UMNO Sabah. There is a story about Pairin saying his bids this time is his last battle to retain both constituencies of Keningau and Tambunan for the Barisan Nasional in the interest of the people, meaning Jeffrey will have a tough time to win in Keningau. Besides, there is no tacit approval by Pairin to the natives that Jeffrey will takeover from Pairin, as claimed. As an unfolding of this macro-strategy, Jeffrey might launch the Star Sabah’s manifesto for the May polls’s in Keningau, in the heart of Indigenous Sabah.

Also, the Najib government’s decision to get The Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on Illegal Immigrants in Sabah is of recent vintage, and can win favours for the BN. Natives disgruntlement owing to disadvantages due to the presence of huge numbers of illegals becoming instant Malaysians and Bumiputras. Najib and the Federal Government seriously addressing it by having the RCI on illegals, along with the Lahad Datu drama, makes for a strong force. After all, the defeat of Haris Salleh in 1985‘ was scripted similarly, combining agricultural disgruntlement and fear of illegals reverse taking over of Sabah and sentiments of regional disadvantage.

To the advantage of the Barisan National is the fact that there is no state-wide anti-incumbency even after a decade-long rule by Musa Aman. Economic indicators are certainly robust, with state GDP growth rates averaging 6 to 7 per cent or more (between 2003-12). Interestingly, Musa Aman has raised it to a campaign pitch, telling everyone to “learn” from the Sabah growth story. The sectoral composition of this growth rate, particularly the advances in construction, agriculture and tourism, have received wide attention. Although there have been disputes whether the growth has been as high as Musa Aman claims, even modest estimates available accept agriculture grew at higher than national average at around ten per cent or more. Economists also note the significance of the consistently high growth rate in the agriculture, construction and the tourism sector, notwithstanding the constraints it faces.

But electoral competition, and even more electoral victories, are not simple outcomes of people calculating the benefits of policies and voting for political leaders who set the regional economy right. Were this hypothesis correct, why would Premier Najib Tun Razak have announced a series of cash incentives a year before the May poll dates set in? These include promises of farm loan and free internet usage, electricity bill waivers, enhanced allowances to security personals and civil servants, allowances for youth earning less than RM2000 and payment of arrears to teachers among others and the BR1M and many more goodies. Even the kampong headman has been promised a increase in allowances. The cash transfers build a new constituency of supporters, while countering some of the opposition from the lower bureaucracy and the poor. Advantage to Musa Aman again.

Of greater bearing for electoral fortunes is Musa Aman’s use of political vocabulary and tailoring the campaign language to hype his achievements and castigate the opposition. In state wide ceramahs, the opposition are his target, as if the party’s state unit led by Lajim Hj Okim, Wilfred Bumburing, Dr Jeffrey Kitingan and Anwar Ibrahim has no bearing. To malign the image further, Musa Aman adds that the “Pakatan Rakyat and the local opposition is not united and cannot really be trusted.”

Coming back to the three generalisations I began with, it is the first of which the chances seem highly likely. But Musa Aman’s victory is unlikely to be attained without competition from the local unit of the opposition front. The opposition front has also made pro-poor election promises of housing and employment for the poor, reduction of petrol prices, abolition of PTPTN and Sabah rights. How well they are able to sustain these as campaign issues, and combine their attack along with the challenges from UMNO dissidents, may have very little implications for this election.

The second generalisation about “a bigger role for Musa Aman” for the moment seems to be a ploy to hype the leader into a “larger than real” stature, and is certainly a political statement intended for local Sabah consumption. Finally, robust growth notwithstanding, Musa is not relying on these laurels alone. So also the opposition, which has understood that growth pursued in a certain way produces grievances amongst the displaced and the rural poor, and these can be woven into a counter-campaign strategy. In conclusion, it is advantage Musa Aman, but the battle is yet to be fought.


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.”



When putting his thoughts on the question of : To Be Or Not Be A Racist, Mahathir says hypocrisy is very much alive in Malaysian politics.

For me Mahathir should have quit when he was way behind. But he crapped in his own mess kit “Ketuanan Melayu” for 21 years. Don’t know what Singapore did to him during days in Raffles?

It’s just the way it is.

My Malay friends understand this, and it’s ok by me. I don’t have an iota of guilt about anything, and I’m Malaysian and been around here by nearly 150 years. I get along fine with the Malays I do know. Honorable men all. But we all understand it’s not the same.

So Mahathir can continue with his Ketuanan flight (invented by Mahathir himself) and we’ll just continue getting along with our Malay neighbors as we have for 150 years.

In the end though, Mahathir is a racist. Even if you won’t admit it, he will. But I’m ok with that too as long as he is. Unlike most racist, at least we know where he and I stand.

LONG LIVE PERKASA!

Read below Dr Mahathir’s full text and be your own judge if he is racist or not.

TO BE OR NOT TO BE A RACIST
By
Dr. Mahathir Mohamad

1. Recently I had occasion to talk to a group of former state and federal members of the Barisan Nasional.

2. I had extolled on the virtues of the BN coalition type of Government and the achievements under the BN Government at State and Federal levels.

3. Then came question time. Very sensible questions were posed by these ex-YB’s and I managed to answer them reasonably well.

4. Then an ex-MP or State Councillor rose and pointed out that under the Opposition Government he sees more Chinese holding high posts in the Government. The component parties also seem to be working much closer with each other. As an example, PAS women members not only attended the funeral of a Chinese but also helped to fold the paper money usually scattered at Chinese funerals.

5. Why is it that the BN did not give more posts to the Chinese and appoint Chinese Deputy PM and assistants to the state MB’s? Why is Umno less tolerant of Chinese religious ceremonies?

6. I was startled by this criticism of the BN by an ex-member of the State or Federal BN Government. Do I answer truthfully or do I skip and gloss over things in order not to sound racist? But then in asking the question, isn’t the questioner being racist?

7. After the forum I debated with myself and finally decided that I must give the true reason for the fewer positions given to the Chinese in the BN Governments, and Umno appears to be less accommodating of Chinese religious practices.

8. The NEP has been on now for almost 40 years, far longer than originally planned. Admittedly the Malays had been at fault because they did not make correct use of the opportunities created for them in the NEP. But whatever the reason, the Malays have not gained for themselves the 30% target in corporate ownership even. But more than that if a proper audit is made their wealth is even less than 30% of total wealth of the people of Malaysia. Most of the wealth of the country belongs to the Chinese. It can also be said that the Chinese control the economy of the country.

9. In the political field the Malays appear to be in control. Most of the high posts i.e. PM, MB etc are held by the Malays. If these posts are held by the Chinese, then not only will the economy be under Chinese control but the political arena would also be under the Chinese. What will be the Malay stake in the country?

10. The NEP is about giving the Malays a fair stake in the economy of the country. Should they get this then they should be ready to relinquish a commensurate amount of control in the political field. Since they have not gained a fair share in the economy, then they should be allowed to retain this greater share in politics. If PAS appears to be more accommodating of Chinese religious practices, it is simply because it wants Chinese votes. Remember at one time PAS condemned Umno for having MCA as a partner. Now PAS is willing to accept DAP as a partner. It is political hypocrisy, not sincere partnership.

11. I am talking about racial issues simply because my questioner raised racial issues. It is said that the poor showing of the BN in 2008 was because the people of Malaysia were sick of racial parties and racial politics. I doubt it. Since 2008 there have been more talks about race than previously. And my questioner has illustrated this amply. Race is still very clearly an issue in Malaysian politics.

12. If PAS is extremely supportive of the Chinese today, it is not because the party has become disaffected with race and religion. It is simply because it wants to play up Chinese racial sentiments in order to win Chinese votes.

13. Hypocrisy is very much alive in Malaysian politics.