Thursday, 31 January 2013


Malaysia Expat Voter

Air, land or sea: Malaysian expats plan election exodus

By  Jan 31, 2013 11:24AM UTC
Pic: Jom Balik Undi Malaysia
Malaysian voters living abroad will be mobilising in their thousands to make the dash home for the 2013 election to make their vote count. And nothing, it seems, will stop them.
From Singapore, Australia and across the region, to the US and UK, voters will be travelling by car, bus and plane to vote in an election ear-marked as a once-in-a-generation opportunity for change.
There are more than a million Malaysians living overseas from a population of about 28 million people – enough to make a real difference come election day.
Buoyed by the online activism that spurred the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, Malaysia’s bloggers and campaigners have been encouraging people to make the trip home.
“We saw successful social media campaigns like the (2008) Obama election, the Arab Spring and the ‘Israel Loves Iran’ campaign, and wanted to emulate something that would bring expatriate Malaysians worldwide together to show their support and solidarity towards Malaysians at home,” says Kevin Bathman, an expat Malaysian living in Sydney.
His Facebook-driven campaign – called ‘Malaysia, It’s Time for Change‘ – shows images of Malaysian voters and their messages of hope and it has quickly picked up a following online.
“Many of us have family and relatives and our bond is still very strong, so we felt we needed to do something to show them that they were not alone,” he adds.
A similar campaign, organised by Singapore’s Bersih movement - a branch of the global Bersih campaign for transparency in Malaysia – is offering a car pooling service for expat Malaysians in the city state. Coaches are also being booked to travel to places as far away as Penang and Ipoh in the Northeast of the country.
There are between 300,000 and 500,000 Malaysians living in Singapore; the Bersih campaign will match drivers and passengers to get as many voters back over the causeway.
The big voter migration has been pushed by growing doubts that votes cast overseas will really count.
Previously, only Malaysian students, civil servants and members of the armed forces living overseas were allowed to vote by post.

However, In January Malaysia’s Election Commission (EC) mandated that overseas citizens who had registered to vote and had returned home at least once in the five years before an election would be allowed to cast absentee ballots.
But arrangements haven’t been clear. MyOverseasVote, a London-based campaign group dedicated to securing the right to vote for all Malaysian citizens living overseas, says there is still uncertainty about how and whether they will be able to vote by post.
Malaysia’s ruling Barisan Nasional coalition was returned in the last election in 2008 but the Opposition took more than a third of parliamentary seats – a huge setback for the government and one of its worst results since 1969.
Part of the government’s dismal showing in 2008 was put down to the rising influence of Malaysians online.
William De Cruz, part of the team behind the ‘Malaysia, It’s Time for Change’ Facebook campaign, says that no one is really convinced of the EC changes to postal voting. He will be flying home with his wife to vote even though he is registered for postal voting in Sydney.
“Malaysia is still a long way from a proper, transparent and verifiable postal vote,” he says.
The internet has become a critical medium for voter participation and Malaysians are vocal critics of their government; increasingly it is social networks that are being used by young Malaysians eager for a change. A Facebook group called ‘100,000 People Request Najib Tun Razak Resignation’ has amassed more than 250,000 likes.
“Malaysia’s young have decided they want a say in the country’s future – you only have to see the reports and view film footage of past rallies calling for reform to see this – and social media is their platform,” says De Cruz.
“It’s the best way to raise awareness of the idea that as Malaysia heads to its most important election ever, every vote must count.”


steadyaku47 comment: 

Following is an email I received recently. Contents are self explanatory. While we have agreed to disagree on a number of issues the writer shows that it can all be done with grace. I have replied to the writer via email and what I wrote to him is for him to know.  At my request he has given me permission to post this email on steadyaku47. I trust you will read it in the manner that I did and with these thoughts - I think that every Malaysian has a role in making things right. We may not agree on how we can make things right and what to do but we all know that our country is in trouble. For now he will remain as Anon:   

steadyaku47 comment:

Have just received a request from Anon to take down his posting "PAKATAN BETTER THAN BN" from steadyaku47. Yesterday I requested his permission to post that letter on this blog and he had agreed that I can do so. He wants it taken out today because "he is uncomfortable with the sudden very very negative attention" he is now getting. I will do as he has requsted. Maaf.

Gabriella Cilmi - Sweet about Me

Zimbabwe down to its last $217 (Dua ratus tujuh belas dollar!)

Robert Mugabe

There are governments struggling with deficits, cash-strapped governments and there are broke governments. And then there’s Zimbabwe, which is down to its last $217 after paying government official salaries last week. 
Finance Minister Tendai Biti, known for his exaggerated rhetoric, said that monthly salaries cleared out government earnings and tax revenues in January as he made an appeal for foreign donors to help raise some $200 million for elections this year.

"Last week when we paid civil servants there was $217 [left] in government coffers," Tendai Biti told reporters. "The government finances are in paralysis state at the present moment. We are failing to meet our targets."

Zimbabwe is home to some of the world’s largest plutonium and diamond reserves and financial experts have said that Biti has failed to take into account quick returns from income tax, social security payments and increased taxable spending in shops and stores.

Related: US economy surprises with contraction

Zimbabwe is hardly a stranger to financial trouble with the country’s economy taking a turn for the worse in 2000 when President Robert Mugabe seized the land of over 4,000 white-owned farmers, effectively dismantling the country’s agriculture industry.

Over the next decade, the country spiralled into an extended period of hyperinflation. In August 2008, inflation reached a staggering 11,200,000 percent and around the same time economists around the world began to say the country’s situation was hopeless.

As prices doubled every second day, the government responded by printing 100 billion Zimbabwean dollar notes. The following year, the government printed Z$100 trillion notes, before chopping 12 zeroes off of the currency.

Related: The world's happiest and saddest countries

Having struggled with its finances for more than a decade it’s unclear just how the Zimbabwean government can get itself out of the mess it has created for itself. As Quartz's Tim Fernholz points out, Zimbabwe is looking at a $104 million bill for its upcoming election and dealing with brand new allegations that government officials have been running a corruption ring around the country's diamond mines.

The country obviously desperately needs a major change. "But action against corruption probably won’t come until the end of Mugabe’s reign, and a new constitution coming up for a referendum this spring - presuming the funds can be found - might set up the aging autocrat for another term in power," writes Fernholz.

Pray that God and common sense will save our country but nothing will save Najib Razak

Najib’s and UMNO’s nemesis is Anwar Ibrahim. All things and everything are being rolled out to give credibility to this Najib/UMNO driven train hurtling towards Anwar. Najib thinks he already has Anwar  blind folded, feet shackled, hands tied behind his back and placed at the end of the railway line in front of a 10 ft thick granite wall waiting to be crushed to smithereens.

Like everything that Najib does he is only brave enough to move when he thinks that everything is in place. All the i’s have been dotted and the t’s crossed….so he thinks! He forgets Mahyuddin and Mahathir lurking in the shadows. He forgets that many in UMNO wants him to parade himself in front of everyone but none will tell him that he has no clothes on. Nobody tells him what would happen after the train hits the wall. The train cannot stop. The train does not have the option of reducing speed by steering itself into an uphill direction as a runaway truck without brakes can…..but Anwar, if he moves nimbly,  still has time to free himself and walk away. Najib cannot!

For Najib becoming Prime Minister gained him temporary immunity from the Altantuya juggernaut that was bearing down upon him. He thinks that by taking Anwar out of the 13th GE will extend that immunity. He hopes that by confirming the death sentence on Altantuya’s two proxy “murderers” will set him free of Altantuya and make him again Prime Minister of Malaysia and Rosmah as First Lady…so he thinks! 

The 13th General Election will certainly be upon us soon. Pray that God and the common sense of our people will save our country from another term of government by this UMNO led BN government but nothing will save Najib Razak from Mahathir, Mahyudin and an UMNO that has had their fill of Rosmah and a Najib who cannot lead UMNO out of its own demise! Not even if UMNO wins government again will Najib be saved!

So my friends read what you want. Listen to all that is being said. In the quiet of the evening do as I do….sit and think.

If you have good friends sit with them in quiet contemplation. Take yourself back to that day when balaclava clad thugs from PDRM went to get Anwar from his house in Damansara.

Take yourself back to that time when we see Anwar striding into court with his black eye but still defiant and unbowed.

Take yourself back to the early days of Reformasi when all this started. All this that had led to Barisan Nasional losing their two-thirds majority in Parliament.

Renew your sense of outrage at a BN government and a Mahathir that has gone mad hell bent in going after Anwar again because only Anwar constitute a threat to their existence.

Get back the anger that you had when you saw PDRM bludgeing so many defenseless Malaysian with their truncheons and kicking them with their leather boots.

And remember the many instances of nepotism, corruption and abuse of power that has become endemic in an UMNO that has failed the Malays.

Then bring yourself back to the present and ask yourself what has changed?

For UMNO and BN nothing has changed. They are still arrogant. Corruption and nepotism is still rife. Like in the days of old this Mahathir still rules but this time he pulls the strings from behind the curtains. Najib talks about KPI, about Greater KL, about that Tower, about transformation programs, about giving BN another term in government to do their work..….anything and everything that will allow them to keep their great wealth and make more wealth at the people expense. Our money… their gain!

And Anwar Ibrahim?

What of Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim?

Remember sodomy two…well there that is over and done with but there still have Nalla! Let us see what transpire.

Remember Reformasi…..well we now have Pakatan Rakyat with representatives in the Dewan Negara and the Dewan Rakyat.

Remember Permatang Pauh, Selayang, Puchong, Kepong, Kota Melaka……well we now have Kedah, Kelantan, Penang and Selangor.

Where we go from here is for us to decide. Not Anwar not Najib.

With the Internet we know in real time what is happening in our country. We know in real time when MACC murders Teoh Beng Hock and PDRM bludgeon Kugan to death. We know in real time what the powers that be did at the GH mortuary to stop Kugan’s family from seeing the state of his mutilated corpse. We know in real time every time PDRM kills another suspect in their custody or gun down suspects that they are chasing in what they routinely tells us is “self-defence”. Imagine four adult Policemen with automatic weapons against two teenagers with a parang! And 14 year old Aminulrasyid Hamzah was shot to death

….“seorang yang disyaki penyamun ditembak polis awal pagi di Seksyen 11 Shah Alam….sebilah parang dijumpai di dalam kereta disyaki digunakan sebagai senjata untuk menyamun

We know in real time what PI Bala said Najib did with Altantuya. We know in real time the massive rorts in Mindef. There is no escaping the truth. No escaping if you have done wrong. No forgiveness for lies told. Tiada Maaf bagi mu. You can run but you cannot hide and that goes for every Politician in the country!

Yes we have the Internet but Najib and BN has everything else. Media, Newspaper, Television and a limitless amount of resources – both financial and technical to put their lies and concocted stories to us. 

That is what they are doing now.

Everyday in their Papers, their Television and through every imaginable way they can – their purpose is to kill off Anwar Ibrahim.

Najib thinks that when Anwar is gone he will kill Pakatan Rakyat. Kill Pakatan Rakyat and he will kill the hopes of the people for a decent future for ourselves and our children. We cannot allow him to do this.

Remind yourself that our fight is to rid ourselves of UMNO/BN. This UMNO within our country that kills the very thing that gives life and sustenance to it. UMNO/BN is a parasite that lives off us all. Our struggle to take back our own country from the clutches of a corrupt BN…these parasites! Our fight is against everyone and anyone that stands in our way of doing this.

How skillfully Najib/UMNO/BN has used the resources at their beck and call in their attempt to isolate Anwar. Think my friend…
·      ·      Sodomy against Murder?
·      ·      Saiful against Altantuya?
·      ·      Saiful against RM$500 million of the people’s
          money given to Razak Baginda?
·      ·      Saiful against PKFZ.
·      ·      Saiful against Teoh Beng Hock, Kugan and
·      ·      Saiful against RM$70 million paid to APCO?
·      ·      Saiful against a Political Police Force call  
·            Saiful against NFC.
·            Saiful against Taib Mahmud

Ecetera! Ecetera! Ecetera!

That is all they have on Anwar. Saiful….and that too he has been acquitted of. But see how well they craft their battle? Money and power misused and Najib will continue to do this in the present political climate under Barisan Nasional.

As I have said before…we cannot allow this to happen! It insults our intelligence. It will gives free license to UMNO to continue to plunder and pillage our country’s wealth - or what is left of it - an UMNO that has consistently and without fail unashamedly use race, religion and money to further their vested interest.

And so my friends go read what is written. Go  listen what is being said. But always hold on to your right to make your own decisions in the quiet of your thoughts. Remember! You are one. With me we are two. Together we can make a difference. Together we will have Pakatan Rakyat become the Government come the 13th GE. God willing, God willing.

steadyaku47 comment: 
First posted in December 2010 with changes to suit present day.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

KAMPONG PERTAK: They had waited nearly 40 years for their tanah pusaka to be formally gazetted as an Orang Asli permanent reserve. Instead, the Jabatan Hal Ehwal Orang Asli (now renamed Jabatan Kemajuan Orang Asli) conspired with the Land Office to turn the Orang Asli into 99-year leaseholders on their own ancestral lands.

Orang Asli turned into temporary leaseholders on their own ancestral lands!

As some of you may know I married Anoora Chapek, a Temuan lady, almost 18 years ago. Her tribe, second largest in the Malayan peninsula, once roamed the whole of Selangor, Negri Sembilan and parts of Pahang.

In 1999 the Temuan population was estimated at 18,560. I'm not aware if there is a current census, but I know there are fewer than 170 of them in Kampong Pertak, where I have resided since 2002 when a new settlement was constructed by Gamuda to relocate the villagers for the Selangor Dam project.

Note how Anoora (assigned the name Noorhayati binti Chapek by some
Jabatan Orang Asli officer, and later shortened to Noor) has been given a Muslim
identity through the insertion of "binti" instead of "anak" before her father's name.

In 2004 each household received a grant from the Land Office entitling the house owner to a 99-year lease on the 1,101 square meters where their homes stood - plus an additional 0.3 hectare for general use, also on a 99-year temporary lease. In total each householder was required to pay RM70 per year towards the lease.

During the negotiations for the resettlement of the Temuan in connection with the Selangor Dam project, the Orang Asli of Pertak were promised freehold titles to their land. Nothing was said about the 282 hectares of ancestral lands "approved for gazetting" in February 1965. They had waited nearly 40 years for their tanah pusaka to be formally gazetted as an Orang Asli permanent reserve. This did not happen. Instead, the Jabatan Hal Ehwal Orang Asli (now renamed Jabatan Kemajuan Orang Asli) conspired with the Land Office to turn the Orang Asli into 99-year leaseholders on their own ancestral lands.

This entitles my wife to 0.3 hectare of agricultural land on a 99-year lease
whose exact location has never been made known to anyone in the village.

When I read the grant and realized what was happening, I had a long chat with the Tok Batin of Pertak, Bida Chik, who expressed profound anger and distress at being compelled to pay rent to occupy their own ancestral lands. He felt it was a barefaced insult for Orang Asli to be labeled "leaseholders" on lands their ancestors had inhabited for countless generations. Nobody knows exactly how long the Temuan tribe has been around - but many Orang Asli tribes can lay claim to having lived in the Malayan Peninsula for up to 40,000 years - possibly much more.

Batin Bida Chik
I asked Bida Chik if he was prepared to file a class action against the state government for trampling on their inherent right to continue inhabiting their ancestral lands ad infinitum. He balked at the idea at having to take legal action on his own. At the time he was confronted with a renegade faction of pro-BN villagers who were directly under the influence of the Jabatan Orang Asli and who made a point of ignoring or deriding Bida Chik's authority as Batin (headman).

"So far we have not been asked to pay a single cent," Bida noted. "The day they start demanding money, we will consider our legal options." That was more than 8 years ago. Householders in Kampong Pertak received bills from the Land Office about a week ago. The bills are for five years of assessment, 2008-2012. As far as I know, nobody was billed for the preceding years. Perhaps, as a small concession, the Orang asli were given a brief respite of four years.

One bill for the lease of 1,101 square meters of residential land amounts to RM462.90. The other is for RM45 towards the lease of 0.3 hectare of agricultural land - the exact location of which has never been made clear to anyone in the village. Not even the headman knows where his 0.3 hectare is supposed to be. The Orang Asli - or at least the Temuan of Pertak - have never been keen on farming and their present crop of rubber trees was planted for them in the mid-1960s by RISDA (Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority). Together the bills total RM507.90 (with a RM32.30 rebate offered for early payment).

Pic by Peter Walker
Some Temuan households are relatively well-off - especially immediately after a bumper harvest of durians. Many can afford a monthly subscription to Astro. A small handful even own cars and vans and almost every household has a motorcycle plus a couple of handphones. However, income levels are extremely uneven and we also have widows and elderly folk who depend on financial help from relatives - and a meager RM300 monthly welfare cheque from the Welfare Department.

My nextdoor neighbor Nuak @ Shima, for instance, is a mother of three tiny tots whose ages range from 2 to 5 years. Her Indonesian-born husband, Azman Izhak, was diagnosed with colon cancer last year and now has to commute between home and the Sungai Buloh hospital two hours away. He has been unable to work for more than a full year. He applied for welfare assistance many months ago - but the last time I asked, not a cent had been forthcoming.

In effect, some Orang Asli households will have little trouble forking out RM507.90 for five years' lease - while others will find the amount a staggering, if not impossible, burden.

As a former urbanite accustomed to paying rent, being asked to pay RM70 a year for the privilege of living in Kampong Pertak is hardly worth complaining about, as far as I'm concerned. That's the same amount I fork out for my annual road tax.

However, it's against all principles of fair play and justice for an already marginalized community to be turned by legislative sleight-of-hand into temporary leaseholders on lands they can lay claim to for literally hundreds, if not thousands of generations.

Last week I had another discussion with Batin Bida Chik about this issue. He was of the opinion that none of the villagers would wish to pay lease for what they perceive to be their own ancestral lands - even if they could afford it. They regard it as humiliating, insulting and a clear attempt to deprive them of their ancestral lands. He asked if I could bring the matter to public attention - and hopefully solicit the assistance of the Bar Council or any human rights lawyers to take the matter to court. And this is precisely what I am doing. If anybody reading this can help, kindly get in touch via email. Thank you.

Magick River 



CHARLES AZNAVOUR,, Yesterday when I was Young.

Mati Sebelum Ajal/Rights of the Dead.

Tricia Yeoh is currently attached to a local Market Research Consultancy, Dynamic Search. She was formerly Research Officer to the Selangor Menteri Besar and Director of the Centre for Public Policy Studies. She is a columnist at The Sun, the Penang Economic Monthly, and Selangor Times. She is Editor of the book "The Road to Reform: Pakatan Rakyat in Selangor" and its Malay translation, "Liku-liku Reformasi: Pakatan Rakyat.
The Rights of The Dead

The Rights of The Dead

Teoh Beng Hock. Never forget. 

Rights of the Dead /Mati Sebelum Ajal (English version)

Directed by Tricia Yeoh. Produced by Pusat KOMAS for FreedomFilmFest 2012.

Production credits:
Director of Photography: Malek Abdullah
Sound: Jasper Huang, M. Ziyad Zainal, Foo
Editor: Yihwen Chen
Creative Consultants: Anna Har, Brenda Danker
Theme Song: Jerome Kugan


In July 2009, the mysterious death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock rocked the nation. His body was found outside the premises of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), where he was being held overnight for interrogation. The filmmaker was herself  a colleague of the deceased working in the Selangor State government. She tries to make sense of the inquest and royal commission of inquiry into his death and takes a critical look at the Malaysian system of government and politics that is ultimately responsible for ensuring justice for its citizens including those who died in custody or while in detention. The film also shares the perspective from Teoh Beng Hock's family.