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Archive for the ‘Malaysia’ Category

History made by repealing ISA (detention without trial) and lifting of media controls

In History, Malaysia on September 16, 2011 at 3:06 am

Came home last night / this morning (it’s nearly 2.30am now), to discover via Google News that history is being made.

Malaysia can finally stand up and be counted as a progressive country. Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Najib Razak, announced last night the decision to abolish decades-old British laws that allows citizens to be detained without trial. In addition, he also promised to repeal media control laws whereby licenses of mainstream publications had to be renewed yearly. Don’t know the details of his speech. But it finally feels good to be Malaysian. And I had to write something!

To put this in context, do not forget the Arab Spring where citizens in nearly 10 Middle East countries had to go through countless beatings and tortures by illegitimate regimes. With the exception of Egypt, the rest required civil wars before anything substantial was achieved.

Yet Malaysia did not have to suffer as others did. And we achieved something last night because one man was willing to stand on principle.

As we prepare for our 48th Malaysia Day, we may have just found a real leader who is able to bring real change, and not just act on self-interest like the others. All these years, our politicians (those in power anyway) ignored the simple principle that everyone is entitled to a fair trial. Yet, they kept getting re-elected.

Najib, however, was not elected as Prime Minister. He was the Deputy who took over mid-stream in 2009. And now he has made history, only after 2 years in office. If he keeps this up, I might just enjoy blogging again. And, hopefully document our progress.

One more thing, the gossiping class says that all this is posturing, especially since we are entering the final year before the next general election. Well, of course they could be right. Much depends on when these Colonial-era suppression laws are abolished. If it is before the next General Election, then it is pretty obvious cynicism has had it’s day and it’s time we look forward to a better Malaysia.

So, Happy Malaysia Day to all and let’s have more of these. Proud to be Malaysian.

More details at Bloomberg, Aljazeera and Bernama.

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Anwar Ibrahim’s Style Revisited: Never Stop Asking

In Blogging, Malaysia on October 1, 2008 at 11:49 pm

( I suggest you read this in stages as it’s a long one. Answering a simple question: Is Anwar our only choice? If not, what can you do).

On 25th Sep, I wrote a post about Anwar Ibrahim’s political style.

Briefly, my point was Anwar is an opportunist in politics. For all his reformer credentials, his ideology is closer to Bush and the neo-conservatives such as Wolfowitz, Cheney, etc. than a believer in constitutional liberty or liberalism.

The neocon government of Bush lied to the people and their Congress (our Parliament), imprisoned individuals on nothing more than hearsay in Guantánamo, dismissed public prosecutors who refused to bend justice and stood up against the White House, and, in recent days, belligerently asking for tolerance from the American people and support from Congress in the latest Wall Street crisis.

The American public knows how to stand up to their politicians – Bloomberg’s reporting on the recent USD$700 billion bailout plan:

The plan would benefit “a bunch of rich good old boys,” said Seattle bicycle messenger Mark Pilder, 39, on a break from his downtown deliveries. “They’re not going to lose money. They’re shifting the burden to taxpayers. The ones actually making the decisions aren’t in danger of losing any money.

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Blog – Short break

In Blogging, Malaysia on September 29, 2008 at 3:13 pm

Taking a break from the raging mediocrity in our ministerial Cabinet and as Malaysian blogs go into narcissistic navel-gazing mode: speculating about opportunists (unprincipled politicians) and who will be made next Emperor of Malaysia (next PM), I will be going off for a week.

Meantime, my posts on Anwar seem to be gaining notoriety and, in blogs, you have to read them chronologically for what I’m saying. You can click here if you want to.

As for Mahathir, here’s my posts.

If you find yourself all alone with nothing much else on, here’s my top 3 posts:

  1. For a better Malaysia – Tony Fernandez, Jeremiah and me;
  2. MalaysiaKini – remaining Web news after Malaysia Today?;
  3. Alternative vs Mainstream Media in Malaysia.

Finally, the next post will probably be a discussion of what one commenter, Outsider asked – one of which – Anwar is the best of the worst, what choice do we have?” See the comments in full here.

Simple, but good, question. May be difficult to answer for some. I will try next week – Monday, 6th Oct.

Meantime, Selamat Hari Raya to all Malaysians.

Visuals for Friday & Sarawak, Malaysia, Borneo

In Malaysia, Online on September 26, 2008 at 8:15 am

Waiting for the Debate (Sat 8am, Malaysian time). The posters below (also available in pdf) are from Design for Obama (see Resource | Links > Insane Creations). You can download / print / re-design as you wish.

3 sample posters here.

1) “Be like Mike”

2) Backward vs Forwards (McCain vs Obama, respectively) | Bigotry vs Clear Thinking

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Anwar Ibrahim’s Style of Politics

In Malaysia on September 25, 2008 at 7:55 pm

[Update – 27th Sept: At chedet.com, Mahathir has written a post mocking the United States. This was a day after this post went online. Altho’ commenter, “By kamal ahmad on September 26, 2008 11:03 PM” has posted a link here – I doubt Mahathir wrote in reference to my thoughts.

To be clear tho’, let me just say Mahathir is no exception – his style of politics is no different, if not worse.

See this article: “Mahathir Mohamad, a client of Abramoff’s who paid $2.2 million to arrange a visit with President Bush in 2002 (raw story)“. To be fair, Mahathir corrected the reports saying it wasmerely’ USD$1.2 million‘.

For a list of articles about Mahathir & Abramoff, a conservative lobbyist convicted for corruption in political scandals]

Comments on my recent post about Anwar Ibrahim went from ‘how did you find this stuff?‘ to ‘well, you really don’t like him very much, do you?‘.

I want to clear up a few points:

  • First, I have never met Anwar, so I don’t care about the man. I do care about who will lead Malaysia next and I don’t agree with his say anything, do anything‘ style of politics. He does not stand for anything, other than opportunism – as far as I am concerned Read the rest of this entry »

Anwar and the Politics of ISA – Hysteria & Humbug

In Malaysia on September 24, 2008 at 7:37 pm

(from the department of i’m-not-braindead-i-want-to-think)
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[Update-30th Sep: Zaid Ibrahim’s open letter to PM asking ISA to be repealed, with reasons]

In 1946, George Orwell ended his essay, “Politics and the English Language“, with this:

“Political language—and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists—is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

Back then Allies had just won the war but Eastern Europeans, and quite a few Russians, were still being sent to mass graves. The target of Orwell were gutless leaders of Allied states who couldn’t stomach another war, this time against the Soviet empire.

Today, 62 years later, in his tradition, but not his place, I too say to our leaders and young Malaysians:

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the decision of our government to imprison lawmakers and journalists, our Ministers’ lack of sincerity in justifying these arrests, the abandonment of political ideology Read the rest of this entry »

Anwar Ibrahim – Saviour, or the Wooden Chameleon?

In Malaysia on September 22, 2008 at 7:51 pm

Most readers realise I’m highly sceptical of Anwar Ibrahim.

His rethorical skills delivered in commanding oratory does make him unique in Malaysia today. But his appeal, I will suggest, is very much for narrow-minded Malaysians, absolutists following the Piper down the drain.

Most Malaysians can see only one side of the man. Our side, the one for Malaysian masses. When he’s outside Malaysia, his preference for conservative organisations – from newspapers to think-tanks such as the Council of Foreign Relations, has always shielded Anwar from scrutiny.

(For those unfamiliar, conservatives are Bush, Cheney, McCain, Palin – “there’s WMD, let’s kill Iraqis”).

To paraphrase his speech of July 2006, in a Brisbane City Hall, he is certainly free to “throw caution to the wind and seize the moment while he still has the image of reformer (not just the podium) “, yet, keen Malaysian watchers would do well to note his arguments for constitutional liberty a mere 3 months before.

In March of 2006, during his globe-trotting days to shore up international support, Anwar published an eloquently written article in LA Times, and said:

The true cultivation of democracy requires more than simply the Read the rest of this entry »

Dear Ministry of Education: Learn Web Metrics

In Malaysia, Online on September 21, 2008 at 3:46 pm

FMCG is for ‘fast moving consumer goods‘. Most readers will not care for such arcane info unless you have drunk ‘Lipton‘ tea, or pamper yourself with ‘Dove‘ products, or heard of ‘Ben and Jerry’s’ – you will have been affected by Unilever.

The oft-quoted statement by Lord Levehulme, founder of Unilever:

I know that half of my advertising budget is completely wasted, I’m just not sure which half.

I don’t wake up Sunday mornings thinking about Leverhulme, but I did when I read an article today, ‘English on the Web’ , about a website by our Ministry of Education:

THE Online Resources for Learning in English (MyLinE) which was specially created to help UTM students improve their language skills, has proven to be a hit. It’s been so popular that the website has been extended to students in the country’s 19 other public universities.

… By the second semester, the MyLinE website already had 158,192 hits.

Did they say 158K hits? Should it be ‘hits’ or ‘visitors’?

Read the rest of this entry »

Saturday thoughts & blogger ‘Kickdefella’ freed

In Disconnected, Malaysia on September 20, 2008 at 2:34 pm

Been reading on the web, listening to Fleetwood Mac and Don Maclean, etc.

One of the better pieces is by Paul Jenkins, ‘Obama Still Does Not Know His Place‘. It’s fairly ‘old’ (posted 29th July) but it always reminds me how hard change can be to the status quo.

By definition, emerging thinkers or leaders are not from the old establishment pack. Stories of such new thinkers and doers having their difficult rite of passage must be as old as the Greeks. Yet we still see it in 2008 – up north in USA and here at home. And if we stop for a moment, parse the words and thoughts of old moguls, compare them with what we (the public) seek, we’ll realise we still can get things done and progress without old dogma – what I sometimes, in exasperation, call ‘the box’. Our younger Malaysians can draw inspiration from this. There’s always a better tomorrow.

Hence, this piece is a reminder for me, a reminder that no matter how absurd our lot, there’s a much longer road than we can imagine, and we’ll get there, one day. Anyway, if you haven’t already, it’s a good read.

PS. Requires some knowledge of geo-politics, importance of Clintonistas to Democrats, and so forth. But still brilliant on its own

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Want to give it a rest? It’s Friday.

In Malaysia on September 19, 2008 at 7:05 pm

According to my latest straw poll (of one, me), I think Malaysians are becoming like citizens of the largest democracy in the world, India. They love their politics, and that’s their choice. But do we have to as well? This incessant politicking is driving me crazy. It’s Friday already everyone. Give it a break. Start again on Monday maybe?

I’m writing this with a mantra buzzing between my ears: I’m an intelligent person, and I have a life, I’m an intelligent person, and I have a life, I’m an intelligent person, and I have a life, …

In one week, starting 12th Sep, we’ve had the following:

  • Saturday (13th Sep): The shortest ISA detention in our history when journalist of SinChew Daily, Ms Tan, was released after 18 hours
  • Monday (15th Sep): Zaid’s resignation as Minister for Law
  • Wednesday (17th Sep): Another blogger, Syed Azidi Syed Aziz, who writes as “Sheih Kickdefella”, arrested under ISA.
  • Thursday (18th Sep): Our government’s Cabinet finally realising that we are all Malaysians, regardless of colour, when they approved the Race Relations Bill (hello Star, it’s not an Act of Parliament yet)
  • Friday (19th Sep) @1.30pm : the release of our lawmaker, Ms Teressa Kok, from ISA
  • … now we we have this: “Police report lodged against Anwar for causing unease“, reported by The Sun, at 5.22pm, on a Friday.

Read the rest of this entry »

Who is Anwar Ibrahim?

In History, Malaysia on September 18, 2008 at 7:19 pm

(let the man speak – full statement, then see my questions below; also see my ‘UPDATE – 20th Sep’ at the end)

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Full statement by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim:

Today Pakatan Rakyat leaders have submitted a letter to the Prime Minister requesting him to call an emergency session of Parliament to deliberate a motion of censure against the leadership of YAB Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi no later than Tuesday 23 September 2008.

This is in accordance with Order 11(3) of the Standing Orders of Parliament and warrants an immediate response given the gravity of today’s political impasse. A delay in his response would be interpreted as nothing short of a further sabotage of the democratic process and abuse of Executive Power.

The Prime Minister’s haggling on the syntax of our first letter is puerile at best. The intent of our meeting as described in that letter was clearly to discuss the future course of the nation’s leadership – though in deference to his position and in accordance with acceptable norms we remain considerate and polite in our approach.

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Malaysia-in-progress: Another blogger arrested

In Malaysia on September 17, 2008 at 9:00 pm

Another blogger, Syed Azidi Syed Aziz has been arrested for sedition, as reported abt 15 mins ago by The Star.

According to The Star:

Weeks earlier, Syed Azidi had confessed that he feared he would be arrested because of his online appeal to fly the national flag upside down as a sign of protest towards certain Federal Government policies.

Question: How many blogs have this symbol?

Bar Council calling the kettle, “Black”

In History, Malaysia on September 17, 2008 at 7:08 pm

(from the department of: status-quo-is-in-my-interest,-change-is-bad)

Our wonderful SOLICITORS AND ADVOCATES, theBar Council of Malaysia‘, has a tendency to pussyfoot with what really matters. Sure, Extra Ordinary General Meeting (EGM) will get everyone worked up, file for habeas corpus, comment on use of ‘unfairness‘ of ISA . They also released a report recently – see my earlier post, “Malaysians still blinking like Magoo“. I can fill this post with 1000 ‘things’ – a statement / report / discussion by the Bar Council.

I wonder where the real lawyers are, certainly not at our superactive Bar Council. The ones we have at the moment goes thru’ the motion creating nice fireworks, but absolutely ineffectual to the bottom-line: protecting rights of Malaysians. They can act indignant but avoid raising real issues, then go home. No wonder Malaysia has one of the worst income-inequality in Asia.

Fellow Malaysians, especially non-lawyers, you guys have been bamboozled all these years by the Bar Council of Malaysia.

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LOOK AT FACTS Look at this report: “Mortgaging freedom for security: Arbitrary detention of five HINDRAF leaders (May 2008) by The Observatory (FIDH-OMCT) , download it here. Then look at the Bar Council’s press release of the report – “Observatory Report : ISA is a violation of human rights principle“. This report by the Observatory was written by one lawyer- Ms Berg; in page 9 she wrote:

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Not going to speculate

In Malaysia on September 16, 2008 at 6:55 pm

If you can imagine, it’s worth a try – visualise yourself watching a particularly lousy B-movie: where the baddies keep coming, they’re disposed off quickly by the heroine, then you notice an anomaly – the bad guys look similiar. An epiphany: budget limitations results in recycling extras/baddies; hence, they’re the same guys/gals playing different characters.

Currently, that’s how it reads to me:

  • Anwar: ‘We’re going to topple the government. No, wait – they left for Taiwan. Never mind, now we have 31 that crossed the aisle, update 1 2. I’m waiting for update 3.
  • Raja Petra was visited by his family at “the police headquarters” and he is not on hunger strike, but his condition is not good (pls read link above). His treatment under ISA? ““He said he was never physically abused, but was mentally abused”.

This is where I disagree.

Sir, all laws are justified – it is not for private citizens (like me) to claim any law I disagree with is not justified and, under protest, to defy it. That will be mayhem.

Read the rest of this entry »

Malaysia-in-progress – 15th Sep 2008 / Monday

In Malaysia on September 15, 2008 at 7:41 pm

Today

  • Law Minister of Malaysia just resigned over inappropriate use of ISA laws on Malaysian civilians.

UPDATE: Badawi has refused to accept Zaid Ibrahim’s resignation – 10.00pm today

  • One of the detainees, Raja Petra Karmaruddin, is on a hunger strike. Due to his medical condition, this might be fatal. Haris Ibrahim, a blogger, is raising the issue and asking for assistance.
  • Detainees, Teresa Kok and Raja Petra, and their lawyers have filed for habeas corpus.

My thoughts:

  • For background info in my posts on ISA, please click tag (bottom of page): “Suppression under ISA“.
  • Zaid Ibrahim, as Minister of Law, has taken a principled decision to leave our government. He should be applauded because that must have been agonising – can he make a difference whilst on the inside or should he leave to make a louder one-off protest – but then lose all internal decision-making influence within the Cabinet.
  • Zaid’s resignation, and the whole saga of using ISA by our government, is gaining traction in international news. And that’s good because now our ministers will have to face the rest of the world and explain why, as politicians, the do NOT make decisions – except our Minister of Law.
  • Final point: Was he not consulted? Why does he hold the portfolio? Does Badawi’s Cabinet even know what is Zaid Ibrahim’s role in the government?

A new template / What just happened?

In Blogging, Malaysia on September 15, 2008 at 8:24 am

As you can see, this is a new template. For several reasons:

1) It’s a cleaner look. No more clutter on the wings.

2) Better navigation. All links are now below. The top links – words between vertical bars – are the new pages. Also, the ‘Home’ which was duplicated in the prior theme is now removed. The landing page should be obvious, “Our Table?” … or not.

3) As requested, I’ve added info on my background = “Who and Why”.

4) This theme is from Derek Powazek, an ‘old’ web designer (in internet years). He writes for A List Apart, one of the oldest blogging sites around, and one of the first sites based entirely on CSS. Very nice site.

5) I don’t normally use RED as the contrast colour, but in this case it sure works.

On Malaysia’s lack of integrity: Badawi really screwed it up over the weekend. It appears the POLICE decides who to detain? What about the A-G? What about the Cabinet? I’m not quite sure if the police force has the authority. I have not read the legislation, but delegating to the police is the lowest I have heard.

More importantly, amongst other absurd developments, ministers are now not making decisions on ISA matters because, get this, ‘we are politicians‘.

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3 Malaysians arrested under ISA on 12th Sep 2008

In Malaysia on September 13, 2008 at 4:05 am

Yesterday, Friday, 12th Sep 2008, my government arrested the following individuals under the Internal Security Act (see also AP-GoogleNews):

1) Raja Petra Kamarudin, editor of Malaysia Today.

2) TAN Hoon Cheng, reporter at Sin Chew Daily

3) Teresa KOK, DAP and Seputeh Member of Parliament

Local politicians, civic organisations and international press:

All these started from a by-election in Permatang Pauh, Penang (see my first post) and here (Economist).

Whilst most Malaysians look forward to the weekend, three of my fellow countrymen, are stuck behind walls – calling them ‘prisoners of conscience’ is not half of it.

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What is Democracy? Who cares – I want my Judiciary!

In Malaysia on September 12, 2008 at 9:14 pm

(This post is going to require a cuppa or two for a slow read, and please remember at least one person is held under ISA because we’re not quite sure what’s going on in Malaysia at the moment.)

First, pls see my post on ‘Malaysians still blinking like Magoo‘. Note near the end I mentioned how ‘democracy’ is misused.

Second, I read an article by Irene Fernandez, whom I blogged on, here: “Malaysia – 10th Sep for Irene Fernandez“. Today, she posted an article at Malaysiakini: “Is 50 years enough“, as a reply to Dr Denison Jayasooria, Executive Director of MIC’s Social Strategic Foundation, where at the end she says:

Is it morally wrong to move forward the process so that we practice genuine democracy, we fight corrupton and instill good governance, we protect the rights of the people, we ensure our resources and our land is protected not just for ourselves but for our children and we free our women, children and ourselves from the violence of the state institutions? Is this transformation immoral?

Her argument is simply that we’ve screwed up for 50 years and we need to, morality requires us to, fix the crappy state of affairs in Malaysia.

I do not disagree with her.

But here’s the problem. Is democracy about good governance? Is democracy about protecting our resources and our land? More to the point, read what she said earlier in the article:

Read the rest of this entry »

20 years on – Malaysians still blinking like Magoo

In Blogging, Mainstream Media, Malaysia on September 12, 2008 at 5:48 pm

I know I said I’m going quiet.

But this is where we are today – 20 years after the dismissal of our Lord President Tun Salleh Abbas and 2 other Supreme Court judges (Tan Sri Wan Suleiman and Datuk George Seah).

A report was released 2 weeks ago, ‘Review of the 1998 Judicial Crisis in Malaysia (26 July 2008)‘ and 20 years on, Malaysians are still like blinking Magoo, the famously nearsighted character who always admonished himself, “Oh Magoo, you’ve done it again!”. Sound familiar?

Oh Malaysia, you’ve done it again Raja Petra of Malaysia Today was detained today under ISA (Malaysiakini).

There are many who see the event in 1988 as a political cause celebre – the famous Karpal Singh asking Mahathir to apologise, a blogger believing Mahathir has every right to condemn the report, and Malaysia’s Bar Council members posing for photos and getting authographs on the report.

Is that it? Politicians writing letters, Bar Council Presidents (current and former) taking photographs and others issuing statements? Let’s not pass the buck so much anymore, and raise the bar a little this time – let’s understand what happened in 1988 and repercussions it has on Malaysia today, 20 years later.

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Malaysia vs The World (Malaysiakini vs EFF)

In Blogging, Malaysia on September 10, 2008 at 7:25 pm

Dedicated to:

All in Malaysia who do not run online businesses and therefore might not appreciate the intricacies of network protocols, hacks, or web services:

Against anonymity: Generally, Malaysians – including Premesh Chandran of Malaysiakini – think it’s a form of cowardice because bloggers avoid disclosure of their actual identity on their blogs. This, he believes, is the same as not showing your idenity to our government. To this I say, its flawed thinking because, in Malaysia, the government requires less time than watching a Batman movie to figure out who you are for many, many reasons. Look, there’s no Data Protection Act, nor right to privacy in Malaysia. Hence, to claim you are releasing your actual name and thus is not a coward when criticising the government is just grandstanding. Our government knows who you are anyway. Nicknames, real names, false names are useless. The point: Don’t be fooled by grandstanding as you’re not anonymous to our government.

[NOTE: Updated 12th Sep, I know readers don’t normally read comments. Please note Premesh Chandran of Malaysiakini has commented on the above paragraph, pls see his point under the comments section]

What can you do? Unless you log in from jurisdictions with strong privacy laws, don’t for a minute think our government can’t figure you out. Even then, privacy is eroding in such places. Another way is counter-measures to anonymise your online surfing, but even if you use tor – they still might find out. So, you can’t do much.

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