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Posts Tagged ‘politics’

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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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)

[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 »

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.

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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)


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?

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.

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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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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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Malaysians, what do we want?

In Blogging, Malaysia on September 10, 2008 at 8:30 am

For several of my previous posts, I’ve fallen into a habit of emphasising letters written to Malaysiakini because they are well thought out and makes a point. So, here we go again.

A well-written letter at Malaysiakini by Keith Leong, ‘Reject Sectarian Violence‘, has made several points which all of us can be proud of.

The most important is in the middle where Keith says:

What is necessary for the creation of a just and unified Malaysia is a citizenry that is active, virtuous and conscious of both their rights and responsibilities.

So, as a duty and responsibility, I will take up the challenge of UMNO Youth Secretary Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, when he said on 8 Sep 2008 (The Star), there was ‘deafening silence‘ on the inappropriate actions by Anwar to become our next Prime Minister. Abdul Rahman also asked:

Where are the voices of NGOs, Bar Council and bloggers who had voiced loudly the need to protect the rights of people?

My posts on the irresponsible words and actions of Anwar Ibrahim are here, here and here (chronologically). More importantly, I have also questioned our current Prime Minister here and our former Prime Minister here.

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Raja Petra Kamarudin + Anwar Ibrahim

In Malaysia on September 8, 2008 at 9:07 am

Reading the MalaysiaKini site, I notice this: “Is Anwar Unstoppable‘ by Raja Petra Kamarudin at Anwar’s site.


Today, I received many phone calls from concerned friends who told me that the government is considering detaining me under the Internal Security Act ‘very soon’. If that does happen, then this could probably be the last article I write, at least until 16 September 2008. So I too need Anwar to succeed. If not I will be in Kamunting for quite some time to come and you will not hear from me over the next couple of years.

But if I am wrong…..well, then see you maybe in six or seven years time, because for sure Najib Tun Razak will not release me in 2010 when he becomes Prime Minister. What he would do, instead, would be to rollover my two-year detention another two years, and another two years, and another two years, until I am too old to think and write anymore.

Till we meet again, if we do meet again, take care and keep the flame burning. There is still a long fight ahead of us in bringing reforms to this beloved country of ours.

Malaysia – 10th Sep for Irene Fernandez / 16th Sep for Anwar Ibrahim

In Malaysia on September 5, 2008 at 9:09 pm

About 16th September: another day in Malaysian politics

This is priceless.

Fearful of the opposition and under the banner of ‘We need to study’, the Malaysian coalition government is going to leave Malaysia, as reported by The Star.

After a strong showing by Anwar-led opposition in our general election last March, Abudullah Badawi thinks its good to idea to run away from 16th Sep – 11 days from now. Rumour has it on 16th Sep Anwar will lead a revolt and file for a no-confidence motion in Parliament.

Harris Ibrahim’s blog, People’s Parliament has a nice post on this and the comments it generated is quite tough reading because one senses how disliked BN is by the populace. But does that mean you go off to another country? Why Australia? Can’t the government ‘study’ in Malaysia?

When I first read this, I thought it’s got to be a joke because this is just the most absurd, hare-brained, strategically ridiculous idea any aspiring politician can think of (read ‘Tiong King Sing’ – see Star article)

Why? Because you need your allies/ friends / party members in Parliament on the 16th September 2008!

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Dear Prime Minister: Whose truth? Whose facts?

In Malaysia on September 5, 2008 at 5:39 am

(in support of A Joint Merdeka Day Message – available here)

On Wednesday, 3rd Sep 2008, our PM Abdullah Badawi said that we should ‘uphold truth without fear. Yet, I don’t think he understands the point.

It’s not the principle of telling the truth that Malaysians fear. So what if they did tell the truth? Will the relevant authorities act on principle? The last I heard, they are corrupt. Is that wrong? I also believe that they are quite incompetent. Is that also wrong? Finally, the banning of an entire website for comments relating to one post at Malaysia Today goes against the very grain of fairness and reason. Am I wrong to say this?

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Raja Petra’s Malaysia Today

In Blogging, Malaysia on September 4, 2008 at 8:00 am

There’s a strongly worded statement out by the Committee to Protect Journalists yesterday and that’s not good for Malaysia:

“The Malaysian government has reneged on its pledge not to censor the Internet by blocking Malaysia Today, and we call for the order to be immediately withdrawn,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s Asia program consultant. “Online curbs have no place in a democratic society.”

From what I gather, it was one article at Malaysia Today that attracted comments which were deemed to be offensive, seditious … or whatever term Badawi’s MCMC uses nowadays.

As this will be a short post, just one question: ever heard of proportionality?

On a more positive note, I believe bloggers of Malaysia are working towards a self-regulatory regime (i.e. Code of Ethics for Malaysian Bloggers), though I don’t have much info on this. This seems a good idea and none too late as any self-respecting profession always does.

As the blog count go up in this country and everywhere else, we seek greater freedom to voice our concerns as a right. Yet, it is also our duty to speak up responsibly. Why else would bloggers tell truth to power?

Finally, the 2008 Memorandum on Media Freedom need your support.

Judging Politicians

In Malaysia on September 3, 2008 at 9:22 pm

(from the department-of-the-not-so-blind)

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
Erasmus – Dutch philosopher & scholar (1466 – 1536)

Although Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam is not popular today, during the Reformation he was known as ‘Prince of the Humanists’.

Nearly 500 years ago, Erasmus knew that ideas and deep-seated beliefs are more dangerous, and harmful, than the individuals behind such misleading ideas. Similiarly, Prime Ministers of Malaysia may come and go – whether it was Mahathir, is Badawi, and might be Anwar – their practises and ideas last longer than their administration. And if they are wrong, the damage to Malaysia is that much greater.

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Anwar and his drama

In Malaysia on August 28, 2008 at 11:23 pm

The last time I checked, there were 26 million of us in Malaysia. However, Anwar thinks winning Permatang Pauh with an electorate of about 60,000 will make him the next Prime Minister of Malaysia. Anwar claimed, as reported by Al Jazeera yesterday:

Clearly the prime minister has lost the mandate of the country.

He needs to learn how to count.

In our general election last March, BN had more than 50% of the votes. Badawi is President of UMNO, and with UMNO forming the largest party in our coalition government (BN), Abdullah Badawi is the Prime Minister. We inherited our electoral system, called ‘first past the post‘, from the Brits when we got our independence in 1957 and I believe a local reporter, Jacqueline Ann Surin, did a pretty decent job explaining how it works. Obviously, Anwar did not read it.

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Is there a place for Malaysians?

In Malaysia on August 27, 2008 at 2:56 pm

Decided to start a blog today. Promised myself I would have to do it if Anwar wins the Permatang Pauh seat. I had hoped, against all presumption, it would not happen. The details of his win – here (Malaysia Sun) and here (AFP).

Most people don’t remember his earlier days when he rose to prominence through populist actions. He preyed on the most base and fearful aspects of Malaysian society, the politics of division and racial identity. He was an UMNO Youth leader with strong support from the Malay youth movement of Malaysia, largely a result of his irresponsible nationalistic and radical messages. For those who cannot speak, read or write English well, even if you are a graduate of a local university, you can thank him.

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